Feral hormones. Psychotic dread. Contemplative depression. Fiscal uncertainty. Such are the trappings of pregnancy. With body, mind, soul, and waistline completely out of whack, there are few black-and-white certainties in the pregnant woman's world.
Except for money.
Author, actor, and playwright Betsy Howie latched onto the world of accounting to keep her sanity (sort of) during her pregnancy and first 365 days of motherhood. In her therapeutic tome Callie's Tally (or: What My Daughter Owes Me), she presents an obsessive accounting of all debts that have anything to do with her baby. Every nipple, iron tablet, Pamper, and peppermint patty (for postpartum blues) is meticulously documented and categorized (e.g., breastfeeding expenses are filed under "groceries").
No small sum this child racks up. At the end of year one, Howie presents Callie with the grand total: $26,099.59 for all billed and non-billed expenses (child care not included, thanks to Howie's on-call mom).
Callie does get a few freebies along the way. For example, in celebrating Callie's first fiscal quarter, mom throws her a party, for which her daughter is not billed for even one plastic fork. Callie collects credits, as well, such as the "internment rebate" -- a credit for keeping mom at home and out of the checkout lines.
And mom is certainly sensitive to the plight of long-term debt. "I'm not suggesting she has to pay me back right away, but eventually...," she writes. Hey, what more generosity could the costly child ask for? She's already getting the loaner interest-free.
For new parents, we suggest a few more instructive tomes (think Spock, Seuss, Ferber, and even Freud, if you must). For little Callie, we suggest she start investing for her therapy fund, like, yesterday.
(Hear an interview with author Betsy Howie this weekend on Fool Radio.)