Parents of the year right here. Actually no. We had to forfeit that title when we were told our
oldest needs a pediatric dentist. Yea about that.
Nathan and I are mistaken as "babies raising babies" all the time, but we are deceivingly
older than we look. We were actually carded and then re-carded at a bar downtown Chicago one time.
I tried not to be offended by the fact that they kept looking from I.D. pictures to our faces like
we had fakes. I wanted to be flattered. I really did.
You should have seen their faces when we told them we had two children at home.
I'm not here to vent about my youthly looks or anything. I just wanted to share something that I
found most disturbing. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I won't be spending the $242,000+
per kid and more about the issue of parents who actually feel the need to...
CNNMoney in August of 2013 said:
"From daycare to the monthly grocery bill, the cost of raising a child is climbing at a rate that
many families can't keep up with. It will cost an estimated $241,080 for a middle-income couple
to raise a child born last year for 18 years, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report
released Wednesday. That's up almost 3% from 2011 and doesn't even include the cost of college."
And all the would-be parents ran for the hills.
The rest of us are either dishing it out with pleasure or shaking our heads and handing our
5 year old a bag of hand-me-down clothing - promising that Mickey Mouse is not all he's made out
to be and that the tent camping "vacation" we have planned for this summer is going to rock his world.
People ask us all the time, like it's their business or something, how many kids we plan on having.
Could that question fall under "sexually offensive" maybe?! Like I'm going to tell you how many times
I want to sleep with my husband during ovulation. TMI. Why do they want to know?!?
We usually just smile, bat our eyes, shrug our shoulders and give the heavily padded answer:
"However many God gives us?! 7-12. Give or take?! Gosh darn it, I don't know."
I'm just kidding. You can totally ask me how many kids we are going to have.
But then the "seemingly innocent question and answer session" suddenly turns into a lecture
on the costs of raising children in America these days. It is at this point you'll find me
and my quizzical brows bent in disbelief that this person actually plans to have 1.23 children
in order to afford all the bells and whistles. The ones that will most likely NOT cease with
college, but continue to flow like milk and honey from the weddings to the grandbabies.
Raising kids is what YOU make of it. YOU set the bar as the parent.
Not the freakin' Joneses.
I get it. I hear you. I know where you are coming from. And as an educated and informed
citizen of the US of A I'm not planning on spending all that money to ship my kids off to daycare,
put them in name brand clothing, and buy them a car on their 16th birthdays. Sounds barbaric?
I don't see barbaric. I see the priceless gift of siblings and parents who are engaged in
relationships with each other because they don't have all the "afforded things" to distract them.
I see sacrifice, virtue and character building, adventures and memories that money can't buy,
joy in receiving gifts, diligence, perseverance, work ethic, etc. etc. etc.
I was raised to work hard in order to get far. I paid for college (still paying for college)
and I wouldn't have it any other way. I OWNED my education - worked on campus, every break,
and straight through the summer. My education wasn't handed to me on a silver plate, and I
honestly think I am all the better for it. I learned about the real world of loans, paychecks,
bills, and the not-so-modern-American dream of having to make SACRIFICES -
to give til it hurts - to get where you want to be.
Kids want and remember the connection, the feelings associated with even the simplest events,
the love they were given, the security they felt. 242,000 dollars is nice, but not needed to raise
a kid these days. Now I'm not naïve in thinking that every financial situation paves the way to
a happy paradise in the brain of a child, but I am thinking that keeping it simple, organic -
the kind of raising that the "golden era" or our grandparents grew up with - is beautiful, healthy,
and produces a mighty fine generation who knows the meaning of hard work, money, and real life.
Of course we are going to do everything in our power to make sure our kids are comfortable -
that they feel secure and supported all along the way. But I think there has to be balance.
I think if we all cared a little less about the Joneses that maybe the cost of raising a child
would stop going up and maybe come back down to a real, realistic level of reality.
Coffee for all who wake up.
Psssst! I'm giving away $50 to VivoPrint.com this week!!!
Enter to WIN before you go!!!