Many young families and couples who want to have children are faced with a large number of challenges that can quickly lead to a certain amount of strain. Is the rented apartment still enough or is it time to buy a property? How should this be financed? Do you need a new car? How should relationship life continue? Do we still have enough time for each other? We would like to address all these questions in this article. Even if we can’t answer them conclusively, we can give you something to think about.
Table of contents
Career And Education
The first question couples ask themselves is: how to reconcile family and career.
For women, in particular, this often means a difficult balancing act. This begins with the decision as to when the ideal moment for having children has come. During training or in the middle of studies? At the start of a career? During a demanding career?
At least for a short time, a woman’s career has to take a back seat if she wants to have children. Each woman must determine the most suitable moment for herself.
From a purely biological point of view, the ideal age for motherhood is between 20 and 30. There is a trend toward later pregnancy. This is partly due to new medical options such as hormone therapy, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and artificial insemination.
Parental Leave For Fathers?
With a baby on the way, there’s an important decision to make: Who should take over childcare? Despite parental allowance, the option of taking parental leave is rarely used by men. The law allows for up to three years of leave during the first eight years of a child’s life.
However, this baby break is at the expense of family income. According to studies, women still earn significantly less than men for the same amount of work. Even if they are highly qualified, they are less likely to reach the top echelons of management. Accordingly, fathers remain the main earners. However, parental allowance only replaces up to 67% of net earnings.
A baby means additional expenses because numerous new purchases are necessary for the initial equipment. When taking parental leave, the young family has to cover their already existing costs and the newly added burdens for diapers, onesies and Co. with significantly less income. In the long term, this is hardly feasible.
Accordingly, only about one-third of fathers take a baby break. According to the Federal Statistical Office, they care for their offspring for an average of three months, thus relieving the burden on mothers. The remaining men forgo their rights. This decision is based predominantly on financial considerations.
After all, young parents want to be able to enjoy life to some extent, take vacations and offer their children something. If every penny has to be turned over, frustration and anger are pre-programmed.
Grandparents To Help With Childcare
To fall back on the support of grandparents. The prerequisite for this is that they are not (any longer) working full-time themselves. If they can imagine full-time childcare, the problem is solved. However, not every young couple has their own parents in close proximity.
And what if their ideas about upbringing and education do not match those of the older generation? The relationship may be strained anyway. Or the grandparents are unable to take on this responsible task for health reasons.
Many couples prefer to use the services of professional childcare. However, places in crèches and daycare centers for children under the age of three are few and far between. The supply is only nearly sufficient to meet existing demand in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Hamburg.
Daycare mothers are a good alternative to state-run childcare facilities. From the age of three, with a little luck, the child can then switch to a daycare center for older children.
Childminder, Crèche And Daycare Center
The step of entrusting one’s own child to strangers is not easy for some mothers and fathers. Isn’t it selfish to leave child-rearing at least partially in favor of your career? Not necessarily. It could also be argued that it is selfish to deprive children of important learning experiences.
After all, a child’s stay in a daycare center or with a childminder is a very positive experience for the child: it finds playmates there, is encouraged in a way that is appropriate to its age, and continuously learns new things. This not only strengthens their self-confidence. Social skills also develop rapidly. This gives them a head start that should not be underestimated over children who grow up mainly with adults.
Apart from that, parents with a fulfilling professional life and financial reserves are happier and more balanced. They often master the demands of everyday life with more patience and humor. This also benefits the child.
Ultimately, the decision to hire professional childcare has advantages for everyone involved: Competent professionals take care of the child in a loving and age-appropriate manner. The little ones are in good hands.
The opening hours of state-run daycare centers could prove to be a problem. These are not necessarily compatible with parents’ working hours. With childminders, childcare times can be arranged flexibly. On request, they can look after children in the early morning or late evening hours and at weekends, just as they do during standard working hours during the week.
This is ideal for parents who work shifts. It also makes it possible to take small breaks. After all, working, stress-ridden parents need time now and then to replenish their energy reserves. However, this solution only makes sense for young families if their own earnings exceed the cost of the childminder.
Even beyond childcare, financial aspects remain topic number one for expectant parents. Young couples may not yet live together, but live separately in a student apartment, shared apartment, or still with their own parents.
If there is a shared apartment, the question arises: Will there still be enough room for all of us when our family grows? After all, the child or each child needs its own room.
While work and childcare options in the city are in most cases better than in the countryside, the tranquil, idyllic village life offers advantages, especially for younger children.
In addition to better air quality and less traffic, life there is less anonymous. Children can play in the garden and keep their own animals. In addition, lower purchase prices for housing are a lure.
Apartment Or House?
Most young families dream of owning their own home. Whether it’s a condominium or a house with a garden depends on the budget. What equity capital is available? How much disposable income is available each month to cover the home loan?
In most cases, buying a property is the biggest purchase in life. This decision deserves prudent planning. A loan is not taken out lightly; rather, one’s creditworthiness must be checked in advance and the various types of financing must be examined.
In addition to personal advice at the bank, financing calculators can be used to get a first impression of the funds required. It is always in the interest of the bank that a loan can also be repaid. It is important that, in addition to the already general living expenses, no excessive monthly payment is due for the loan.
A house is usually financed over 20 years, in this time you want to live of course not monthly at the limit. In most cases, compromises will be unavoidable in the size and location of the new accommodation. Otherwise, the only alternative is to build it yourself.
Ideally, at least 20 to 30 percent of the total costs for the apartment or house should be covered by existing capital. It is not just the purchase price that needs to be taken into account in the calculation, but also the ancillary costs. Around ten percent of the purchase price is realistic.
In addition, there is about 1.5 percent for the notary and the land transfer tax. At 4.5 percent, this is most favorable in Hamburg. In the other federal states, it varies between 5.0 and 6.5 percent. If a real estate agent is involved, the individually agreed commission is also payable.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Condominium
A condominium is usually cheaper than a house. The more central location can have an advantage in everyday life. If the workplace, shopping centers, doctors and childcare can be easily reached by public transport, it may be possible to do without a car. The running costs are also kept within reasonable limits.
However, a contribution to the maintenance reserve of the entire homeowners’ association (WEG) is mandatory. This pot is used to pay for necessary repairs and renovation work on the house. Decisions are made jointly at owners’ meetings.
Apartment owners should be willing to compromise and be adaptable. In most cases, the use of the garden, cellar, and parking spaces is precisely regulated. Before buying, it is advisable to view the property on a Sunday or public holiday or in the early evening hours.
When most people are at home, it is best to determine whether there is any noise. Admittedly, case law is often extraordinarily parent- and child-friendly when it comes to age-appropriate noise from infants and toddlers. But who wants to live in a permanent dispute with their immediate neighbors?
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Owning Your Own Home
Homeowners bear all repair and maintenance costs alone. In return, no consideration has to be given to upcoming decisions and everyday life. In summer, barbecues and garden parties can take place, children can play, romp and discover nature unhindered in the green. There may even be enough space for a greenhouse, pond, or pool. Living close to nature brings many benefits for health and one’s own well-being.
A home of your own offers enough space and freedom[/caption ]
However, it should not be forgotten that property maintenance and upkeep costs money and time. Those with manual dexterity will take on many tasks themselves, if only for reasons of cost. Depending on the condition of the home, this can take up a large part of your free time.
But the feeling of space and freedom in your own home is enormous. Home cinema fans can turn up the volume on their surround system and don’t have to resort to headphones when watching top blockbusters. Another plus point is the freedom of design: Young families have the option of remodeling their house to suit their needs, subject to building regulations.
If the young family decides to live in the countryside, they may have to accept a poorer infrastructure. The public transportation network is nowhere near as well developed as in the city. Until the children can ride their bikes, they are dependent on parental transportation services.
Is The Car Enough?
This highlights another problem faced by young families: What happens if the car is not (or no longer) sufficient for the family? When a new generation is on the way, the demands on the vehicle increase. It should offer enough space for everyone and, above all, have a high safety standard. Not all available assistance systems are a must-have in a family car.
Nevertheless, a critical look at safety is not amiss, especially when buying a used car: airbags, ABS, and ESP should be present. An emergency braking assistant with person recognition and autonomous emergency braking as well as a seat belt reminder can save lives. Cruise control and lane assist prove their worth when further journeys are made with the family on country roads or highways.
Comfort must also not be neglected. Otherwise, driving becomes an ordeal. The little ones want to be able to look out of the window comfortably in their child seats. Sufficient legroom in the footwell is a must for everyone anyway. The trunk should be a real space miracle so that enough room is available for bulk purchases, the family luggage, or the family dog.
Above all, the family car should offer safety[/caption ]
Anyone traveling with small children knows that in addition to provisions, the favorite stuffed animal, picture books, and games to keep the youngest occupied should not be missing. When it comes to upholstery and floor mats, anything that is insensitive, easy to care for, and easy to clean is suitable. According to Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, head of the Center Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, vans, and SUVs are a good choice for families because of the amount of space they offer.
The question is: Is the budget enough for a new car or at least for a good used one? In addition to the acquisition costs, couples should keep an eye on the running costs (gasoline, insurance, vehicle tax) if they decide to take out a loan.
Take A Vacation
Even in an exceedingly spacious car, long journeys are a strain for small children. But should young families give up their vacation trips because of this? Of course not! A change of scenery is ultimately good for young and old alike. However, the vacation destination should be chosen carefully. The travel time should be as short as possible. It is also essential to make sure that the hotel, vacation village, or resort is child-friendly and geared towards children.
This includes minimal furniture with a crib, changing table, and high chair so that the child can sit at the table during meals. A baby bath is an additional plus. In addition, the accommodation should be large enough so that a stroller can be parked comfortably. Safety precautions are also important: Electrical outlets must be childproof, and windows and balcony doors must not be easily openable for children.
Is there childcare or a children’s program at the vacation destination? Only if the little ones feel comfortable, are occupied, and have something to discover can parents relax during their vacation.
The Relationship Life
When lovers become parents, this has a drastic effect on the relationship. After giving birth, women temporarily lose interest in sexuality. Caring for their offspring becomes the focus of their lives. In addition, work and household chores have to be reconciled. This means little sleep, a lot of organization, and living on the edge. There is hardly any time left for your partner, let alone for your circle of friends or your own leisure activities
Little time-outs keep the relationship alive[/caption ]
It is not uncommon for self-doubt to arise in the face of all the decisions that have to be made about parental leave, moving house, purchasing real estate, and buying a new car: Can we do it? The stress is getting to both parents. Nerves are often on edge and one word leads to another.
At some point in the evening, the couple sinks into bed, exhausted by arguments and worries. There is no longer any thought of togetherness or intimacy. This is certainly not how they had imagined it when they made exciting plans to start a family and dreamed of life as a small family.
But everyday life with children is a stress test for the relationship. 80 percent of parents observe a significant deterioration in their relationship after the birth of a child. How can they succeed not only as parents but also as a couple? Above all, parents need exclusive time for themselves. A childminder or babysitter provides the necessary space for this from time to time. At least one evening a week should be reserved for conversations, intimacy, or even going out.
Scheduling And Its Challenges
Balancing family and couple, not neglecting career, meeting financial obligations, and still leaving enough room for recreation and leisure activities requires one thing above all: organization. It may sound unromantic.
But the more consciously couples plan everyday life and time off, the happier the entire family will be. In the end, it’s like a business: Without competent management, it doesn’t work.
If children are involved, generous buffer zones should generally be planned. Something unexpected can always happen when shopping at the supermarket, driving to the pediatrician, or going to the playground. Children require a calmer pace.
Parents who get rid of the idea that they have to have everything perfectly under control live more relaxed lives in the long run. Then it’s easier to set priorities and, for example, to take care of the house
put housework on the back burner. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Flexibility and humor are secret weapons when it comes to meeting daily challenges.
If both parents work, the family has little time together anyway. This time must be filled qualitatively. The occupation with child and partner should not consist of rushing from one activity to the next or running as a “side activity” to the housework. Attentiveness and genuine attention are required.
With good organizations, family life can be enjoyed together[/caption ]
Young families face a variety of challenges. In order to secure the family’s income in the long term, the parents’ careers must not be permanently neglected. To ensure that the family is doing well, a secure financial foundation is crucial.
Whether the mother or father takes parental leave is usually determined by income. However, the decision may also be made in favor of a daycare center or childminder. Loans help to fulfill dreams of owning a home and a family car. However, the monthly installments must remain affordable and the terms manageable.
Far-reaching decisions have to be made regarding the housing situation and future life. In the end, only one thing can help against feelings of being overwhelmed: tackling the difficulties together as a couple. Life with children is certainly not easy. Nevertheless, there is nothing better than seeing your own offspring grow up.