february monthly theme: planning ahead

I’m a planner. I’m not organized, but I’m a planner, and probably to a fault– what else can you call it when someone spends hours making lists but never does any of the listed items? I am constantly thinking way, way ahead, and when I say that I mean I would be sitting and researching local preschools online, pausing to take my Clomid, and then going back to my computer. (Don’t laugh. I really did this.)

But despite my propensity for long-distance planning, M and I still don’t have a living will.

It’s not that we don’t intend to write one, or even that we’re avoiding it because it’s sad and hard to think about. Honestly, I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing this sort of thing and approaching it pragmatically. But there are a lot of awkward nuances to writing a will when you get to the part about “I’m dead, you’re dead, someone needs to be in charge of our kids.” I mean, how do you even ask someone? How do you phrase that question, or even slide the general topic into conversation?

I think about our pre-baby world, the laissez-faire-ness of it all. How we rarely cooked, had no routines, no budget, just flew by the seat of our pants until we got home from the hospital and were plunged into a world that reset itself every three hours. I may have always enjoyed looking several years into the future, but it was probably in part to escape the reality of a cluttered and uncertain present, a life probably better suited to a college kid than a married twenty-something. And although my inability to be completely organized is still very much a part of my daily “trying to be a real adult” struggle, my world is now dictated by two small and demanding people with very specific needs outside of my own, and I can’t bend those needs to suit the fact that I, well, really don’t feel like getting off the couch to feed the babies right now. These days I have to do things like wash the cloth diapers before we run out because the cycle takes two hours or make sure the fish for dinner is defrosted several hours before I need to cook it. And this applies to more important and (blessedly) rare occurrences too, like ensuring that if I suddenly get sick and need to go to the ER, my mom can come over and watch them for us. Planning for yourself can be spontaneous; planning when several people depend on you is more complex.

So that’s our conversation this month– it’s a nebulous topic so let’s call it “planning ahead.” Feel free to draw from these prompts for other ideas as well:

  • Do you have a will? When did you draw it up and what sorts of things did you decide on with regard to guardianship? (Feel free to elaborate on what factors made various people in your life “eligible.”)
  • Where do you live? Are you in a house you hope to stay in for years? A city you’re desperate to escape? Are you farther than you’d like to be from family (or, ahem, too close for comfort)?
  • Does the size of your world match your family’s needs (ie, do you need a bigger car or a house with an additional bedroom if you have another child)?
  • What about the details, like “my sister would be the guardian for our son but she has no idea what he likes to eat for breakfast”?
  • Do you have other safety nets in place, like life insurance?
  • What about those complicated questions, like the fate of your frozen embryos if something happens to you?

Please know that we’re not being strictly literal here in asking for the financial details of your will or anything– we’re interested in your feelings about this process and your train of thought as you make these decisions.

As always, if you don’t have a blog we welcome your comments on the topic below and we’ll link your comment in the post listing.

Entries for this month’s theme are due Wednesday, February 20th at midnight, EST. The full list of links will go live on Thursday, February 21st.

Please submit your entry using the form below:


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