Dear Father Hood: my wife’s due in four months and the builder says our planned renovations will take three months – should we go for it?
As a veteran of a very similar situation, I can exclusively reveal that the decision to proceed or not comes down to one question. Do you have an acceptable Plan B if the building work is delayed or the baby comes early? If you do, go for it. If you don’t, cancel while you still can. And if you have no idea what I mean by an acceptable Plan B, read on while I highlight your options.
Option 1: inhabit a section of the house where the building work is not being done
Due to the fact you don’t have to live out of a suitcase, shell out any extra cash or rely on anyone else, this tends to be most male’s preferred option. But since cold, bacteria and dust are big no-nos for newborns, it is only realistic if your heating is working, your kitchen is fully-functioning and the mess is extremely well-contained. Conclusion? Have a look at your plans and work out whether you can tick all three of the above boxes. If you can, start getting excited about beginning life as family in your own, fully or part-renovated home. If you can’t, swiftly look into the below options.
Option 2: rent a second home
This is by far and away the most expensive back-up plan, so if you don’t have any spare pennies proceed directly to option 3. If, however, you do have some savings, you’re determined to maintain your independence and you don’t mind lugging a significant proportion of your stuff across town in cardboard boxes this could be the solution for you. Just make sure your new place has plenty of parking directly outside as a) car seats are heavy, b) you’re going to have to attend a lot of check-ups in the first few weeks, c) you’re going to make numerous ‘please, please let this product get baby to sleep‘ darts to the shops and d) you’re going to have a lot of visitors.
Option 3: move in with your parents or in-laws
Due to our building work running significantly behind schedule (see above photo taken several weeks after the little man’s birth), we moved in with my wife’s parents. And while there’s no doubt that this had its negatives – lack of personal space, two more opinions as to why he was crying, both of them being much better at soothing a kid than we were, no Sky Sports, multiple occasions when I needed to bite my tongue – these were far outweighed by the positives. Which were… loads of help which enabled my wife to rest (she lost a lot of blood during labour), loads of love and support, dishwashing and laundry services, previous experience of raising a child, home-cooked meals and the entire West Wing boxset. Boy did I nail that series in about eight days.
Option 4: set up camp on your mate Jimmy’s couch
Please note: this is a joke. So if your eyes lit up when you read the headline I feel very sorry for your wife.