I remember in school when they teach you about being an adult and having children they would always reference the “annual cost to have a child”. It’s usually around $275,842,012.03, give or take a few hundred depending on how needy your child is, roughly of course.
I’ve come to realize it’s all a big scare tactic. Yes, financially speaking having children obviously adds cost to your life. From the day they are born it’s diapers, clothes, etc. and it just adds from there. School, activities, entertainment. I’m sure there are actually hard numbers for this, but what they don’t teach you in school is how the cost doesn’t matter. How it is absolutely worth it.
A and I had come to a roadblock in our lives where we had to “decide” between future events.
We are eager to eventually build (preferably) our dream home in roughly 5 or so years. Not saying there is anything wrong with our current home. We love it, we have made it our own, and it fits our family perfectly, for now. Unfortunately we are going to be running out of room in a few years. We see the big picture.
Bud is behind, socially and educationally. He’s had a slower start in life and it’s taken him a bit longer to to get where he is today. “S(ensory) P(rocessing) D(isorder) – how those three little letters (and words) have changed our lives.” He’s 4 years old now and we want to keep him on track, so we have been looking into preschools for him. Something to ease him into kindergarten in a few years that will also work with his special needs. And he’s our child, so we want the absolute best that will give him the best opportunity to grow. And we found it, but of course it comes at a cost.
The girls, Red and Diva are now 10 and 8. They are still babies. They are still growing and learning and absorbing the world around them. So they have interest in music programs. Red wants to play Cello, Diva wants to play Piano. Who am I to tell them no to something I find to be so important (plus, those are literally the best instruments ever, no debate)? But of course, it comes at a cost, especially where we are wanting to send them (one of the best music programs in the area).
So we actually debated on what was more important. And our children were one of the options!
Thankfully my wife and I both had a “are-you-out-of-your-mind?” breakthrough moment and ultimately decided it’s not a question. We have the means to be able to do more for our children. Why are we not doing it? Moving into a bigger home in the future is not more important than giving our children more tools in life now to be able to make their own decisions later. It’s just not. For all I know one of my children could grow up someday and make a career out of music. And I will look back and say “I almost denied them the opportunity”. And whether or not they do decide to further music in their lives is irrelevant, as it is a proven fact that music will benefit their lives. And preschool will benefit Bud. He won’t have to start school being so much farther behind the other children.
Children can be and are expensive. But the return on investment is so absolutely worth it. To see them thrive, to see them happy, to see them being given all the opportunities they can get, to do what they truly want to do.
So the true cost of having children?
Memories, flexible schedules, opportunities, sacrifices.
Late nights, early and busy weekends.
Grabbing dinner on the run.
Stress, happiness, sadness, patience.
So when it comes down to it, I will put off a lot to make sure my kid’s can do the things they want to do. If it takes longer than 3 years to finish my CPA, then so be it. If we have to stay in our current home for years longer, we will make it work.
I will not make them an option anymore. They are the answer. Always.
And to all the parents out there who face similar situations, you are doing an amazing job. You may have bad days, but you are putting your children’s needs first and doing everything you can. There are a lot of things I know I will never be able to do for my kids, but I will do what I can.
Their “wants” may not always be met, but their “needs” always are.
That’s what parenting is all about. Putting your kids first.
I was given all of these opportunities as a child. I participated in sports (football, basketball, baseball, wrestling), I was in music programs (bass clarinet in the band, piano lessons, choir, show choir), I was given all of these opportunities by my family, and it has all helped shape me into the person I am today. I no longer am active in sports, and I do not play music (although I truly wish I would have stuck with piano), but I am who I am today because of the opportunities given to me. And I will give my children the same. They deserve it.