Financial reasons to not have children

Financial reasons to not have children May 5, 2011
Be forewarned, this post is extremely sarcastic, maybe it’s because I’m nine months pregnant. I don’t know.
If I hadn’t found this article on MSNBC, I would have been convinced it was a joke on The Onion.

First let me say that I understand that children cost money, I take that seriously. That will always be one of the things we consider before expanding our family, and it’s one of the reasons we wrestle with how large of a family to have. I also understand that losing a job can be a very scary thing, and can definitely impact your ability to provide for your family.

That being said, the examples in this article are completely ridiculous. First off, the survey was of households that make less than $75k a year, arguing that 44% of these household are putting off having children because of the economy. Is $75k considered the new income required to have a child? If so, my husband and I (and I would wager most childbearing couples) are in way over our heads.

The first couple in this article are both employed, she works from home and could continue to do so after the birth of a baby. The health insurance premium is a real problem, a travesty of living in the USA. But I’ve been there. I grew up uninsured and had two pregnancies and births uninsured in the states, and there are options.

The thing that baffles me about this couple, is that (as far as I can tell) they are talking about one baby, an infant. A baby doesn’t cost that much. Actually, I don’t think I paid anything for baby furniture, clothes, toys or books with our first baby. We used hand-me-downs given to us by friends, items acquired at our baby shower, or we did without. Our single biggest expense for children so far, (besides our uninsured births) was probably diapers, and that’s because I still use disposables. Seriously, they could sell the Dining Set in the picture and probably afford to have a baby for a year.

I realize that school age children will cost more, but that is in the future. This couple is basically saying that they have no plans to increase their ability to provide by ten years from now, and no hope for better times either.

The third woman mentioned is 30, again is employed with good benefits and can work from home. But (horrors!) they will soon be down to only one income because her husband is looking for a different job. She can’t risk having a child if she can’t pay their way through college, or be unable to buy them a brand new car for their 16th birthday. (Somehow she can deduce that won’t be a possibility in the future?) She may have children in a more stable future, but she will “never be as prepared as her parents were”. Really? Maybe your parents were extremely “prepared”, but most people aren’t. And you live in a completely different economy than your parents did, it’s time to adjust your expectations and be OK with your someday 16 year old owning a bike or taking the bus if you can’t afford to buy them a car!

The final example made me laugh. Again, they are both employed, but she knew it would be a “financial stretch” when they decided to have a baby, because their combined incomes are (gasp!) less than $50k a year. (Um, isn’t that most people?) Can you believe that they actually have to plan their errands to save on gas? Imagine the hardship! One day she found herself with only $40 dollars, and needing both baby food and groceries, so she called her mom crying about how she couldn’t feed her family. What?

They make more money than MOST people! (And if she really is that incapable of using the money wisely, what is she expecting her mother to do about it?) Her 7 month old child does not need to have $40 worth of store bought baby food. Actually, a 7 month old doesn’t “need” baby food at all, they are still fine with 100% breast milk or formula at that point, and if you want to give them some table food, mash up whatever you are eating and let them taste it. And if you really feel that you absolutely must have baby food for your child, boil a two cent carrot and mash it up for the kid. Where is this woman shopping? Whole foods? Exotic foods R Us? $40 could easily feed her and her husband for over a week, and she can’t make it stretch for a day? If she is that desperate, she could always sell her car and have enough money to provide groceries for a couple years.

This kind of mindset completely baffles me. What are these people waiting for? They moan about how badly they want to have a child, but they seem pretty desperate to find excuses not to. Am I actually supposed to relate to this article and feel sorry for these people? I guess I do feel sorry for them, but not in a financial sense. More like a sense of pity for how much they limit themselves from experiencing life for no real reason. It’s like someone moaning about not being able to afford to own a boat stored at a private dock where they could use it a couple of times a year. When they could easily afford to buy the boat and store it on their property, and use the public dock. Or, they could rent a boat a few times a year, and not have to maintain, insure and pay to own a boat they rarely use. Or they could even buy a ticket to go for a ride on a public passenger boat.

But no. Instead, they gripe about how they will never be able to afford to spend time on the lake, poor them.

Somehow I’m just not feeling that bad.

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