There is nothing quite like being a parent. Watching your child grow into a kind and accomplished person is one of the most rewarding life experiences. That being said, it takes a lot of work to raise a child. If you are living with a disability, that amount of work increases. To make it simpler, there are several preparations you can make around the house as well as in your finances.
Preparing Your House for Parenthood
All parents nest in their homes before bringing home baby. As a parent with a disability, your nesting process may be a little more intense. Raising kids necessitates mobility. Making renovations and home fixes around the house that facilitate mobility will save you time and reduce stress as your child grows.
- Does your house have a lot of steps? Safety ramps with slip-proof surfaces and handrails are much safer and easier to navigate. You’ll be thankful for the simplicity when you are juggling your child and a bag of groceries.
- If you have the space, create a separate playroom where toys, kid furniture, and other accessories can be kept. If you have mobility issues, you don’t want these things all over the house where you can trip over them.
- Make bath time easier by replacing traditional shower heads with handheld sprayers you can use to rinse off baby. You can also try a lever or loop faucet that you can operate from a distance. If you need extra storage, invest in a rolling cart that you can move from one end of the bathroom to the other with ease.
- Make your doorways wider with expandable hinges. You can get up to two extra inches without having to make major structural renovations.
- Consider tearing up carpet and replacing it with skid-resistant flooring like linoleum and vinyl. Both options are affordable and make it easier for people with mobility issues to get around the house.
Preparing Your Finances for Parenthood
Yes, raising children is rewarding … but it is also pretty expensive! Depending on your household income, the cost of your baby’s first year of life can run from $21,000 to $52,000. Those expenses can increase if you have extra medical bills due to complications during childbirth. Fortunately, there are easy things you can do to make sure your family is financially prepared.
- Budget, budget, and budget some more! When you are paying attention to how you spend your money, you can make more informed decisions in order to save it.
- Consider upgrading your insurance plan. It may cost more monthly, but it will save you thousands of dollars in the case of a medical emergency.
- Set aside money for household expenses before you take maternity or paternity leave.
- Eliminate luxury expenses for things you don’t really need. Once the baby’s home, you will probably find you don’t have much time for things like cable, anyways.
- Apply for as much financial assistance as possible. There are tons of grants out there specifically for parents who live with a disability.
Parenting is one of the most fulfilling of life events. But, as you know, fulfillment comes with some work. If you are a parent living with a disability, that work is amplified. If you want to make life easier, there are several preparations you can make around the home and in your finances. Install ramps over stairs, create a playroom where toys can be stored, make adjustments in the bathroom, and widen your doorways to make the home more accessible. To prepare for the expenses that come with parenting, start budgeting now, upgrade your insurance, set aside household expenses before maternity leave, eliminate unnecessary expenses, and apply for financial assistance specifically for parents with disabilities. Setting yourself up before baby arrives can keep your mind where it belongs once you’re home from the hospital: enjoying your new addition.
Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.