Thursday, May 15, 2014

So You Can't Afford Kids...

Just ask us. Anything you need to know about anything... we have all the answers. NOT.
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 this week!!!
Enter to WIN before you go!!!

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  1. AMEN! Word for word what I say/think every time people complain about not being able to afford kids! (that, and the fact that they COULD afford kids if they reduced their own luxuries such as weekly nights out with the guys/girls; expensive cars, clothing, etc.; shiny new electronics.)

    1. I think it is hard for some to wrap their minds around the fact that "not having a fancy new boat" means that they might be able to enjoy the presence of a CHILD for the rest of their lives. Children are such a gift!!! But you know that! Thanks for sharing, Katie!!! XO

  2. I think your kiddos are lucky to have you Brittany!!

  3. Yes! Love this line of thinking. While I don't plan to give birth to 7+ kids, I feel somewhat the same way when people say they would adopt if it weren't so darn expensive. Now, we are forking out some HUGE sums of cash to do this ($35,000 once all is said and done, actually), but it is a decision we make, and since we feel called to this, we also trust that the Lord will provide. It's an act of faith.

    1. Congrats on the adoption in process!!! That is so exciting!!!! I think it is SO different... maybe even easier... for those of us with "faith" to trust God in this area of finances and children. I'm right with ya! But I can think of so many people in my own little world that can't even fathom this whole deal - mainly because it doesn't line up with "worldly teaching". Such a tragedy. The world is lying. All day long. Man oh man - we must pray!!!!

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for writing this Brittany. It really touched my heart. We've been touch and go about when will be the "right time" to have another baby, and just came to the moment that all we have to do is trust God because we know He's going to provide when the time is right, just like He did with our first. I'm not saying we're not doing any work on our end, but we came to the moment where we realized if we kept waiting on when the time was right according to society (aka the Joneses), we would never be ready.

    1. Awww that makes my heart happy to hear, Emily!!! All I think we can do is "our best" with discerning for our families and then step forward in faith, trusting that God is going to run out to meet us!!! When it comes to children, I know He shows up though! How could He not? Even in scripture He wants them to come to Him!!! He loves our children SO MUCH more than we do as parents (I know, hard to imagine!) - so we gotta trust He's got our backs in this area!!!!

  5. This is SO good, Brittany! I remember reading about the cost of a child while pregnant thinking that the cost seemed ridiculous (and unnecessary), and that there was no way we'd be spending nearly that much on a child...while still providing them with a good, comfortable, love-filled life!

    1. I know, right?! I'd really like to see a BREAKDOWN of how these people imagine that kind of money can be spent? Gucci diapers for the baby!!?! I mean, come on! Lol.

  6. Can I just say this post made my day!! i am having baby number 4 and you would not believe the comments I "WOW! 4?" .... ummm yes I can count and I know how it :)

    1. Love your spirit! People these days. I tell ya! I think whoever "they" are have done a good job at brainwashing people into thinking "big families" - as in not 1.23 children - are strange! I love how Jim Gaffigan puts it: "Big families are like water beds. Everyone used to have one - now they are just weird." Power in numbers! God bless ya, Christina!!! XO

  7. Amen amen amen. I bought my first car, didn't get a cell phone until I could afford the monthly bill, and didn't have cable. Still don't. There is a lot that is assumed to be a necessity, and life is not always better for it! Glad to know I'm not alone!

  8. Beautiful! Well said! I wholeheartedly agree!


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