The ever prolific Lylah M. Alphonse wrote a piece the other day with respect to a study that's been done that says that the average cost of raising a family tops a million. It's not the article, it's the comments that got me. The thirdcomment railed against fear mongering and alarmism and noted that it's numbers like these that are preventing her own family members from starting families of their own. Many others followed suit in that same train of thought.
But what's all the outcry for? Kids are damn expensive. I probably won't spend but half a million in the end with my own. We don't have the incredibly high cost of daycare to contend with for one thing, and we're out of the formula stage (I failed at breast feeding).
So,I did some math and came up with a figure of 12 grand for everything we've spent in the last 19, almost 20 months that was solely on or for her. That didn't factor in my OB visits and tests during pregnancy, or the cost of my own hospital stay after she was born - but it did factor in hers because we got whacked with a 3,000 dollar bill that our insurance didn't cover.
I wouldn't trade her for the world, but the cost and the making ends meet struggle is one of (not the only) the reasons we won't plan to have more children.
In fact, I have some friends who keep asking when I'm going to give her a brother or sister. I hate that. My response is, "When you carry the baby to term and foot the bill." Usually, that works. Sometimes though, I get this: "Oh, you'll always find a way."
You know what? We found a way once. There is little else to sacrifice and I'm not going to cut any more just to have another child. It's selfish and frankly, I don't think it would do our mental health any good.
So, why can't we just be happy parents making do with one child? Why does understanding that kids are expensive, even without the fancy toys and classes and day care and all of the other stuff that adds up, make us bad and not, instead, simple realists?
As it is, I'm of the "get a job" school of thought when it comes to gadgets and toys and clothes that aren't necessary. If that job is chores and I end up paying for it vis a vie an allowance, at least the kid learns the value of things (and when the overpriced cheap piece of crap breaks, she will learn the worth of things too). As she gets older, the job can be at McDonalds if necessary, but I'll not be buying this phone or that iPod or that laptop or that Prada just because. She can save and do it herself. Thankfully, her father and I are not only on the same page, but fighting for the same punctuation mark on this score.
If parents don't mind shelling out, well, to each their own. But if the cost of raising a family being public knowledge offends you, you, honestly, scare me and you may well be one of the asses who pesters me about "finding a way" to have more children. So you annoy me too.
What do you think? Would you have children anyway or would this reinforce your decision not to?