I’ve been talking a lot about costs on the blog. The cost of youth sports, the cost of freedom, and now the real cost of having children. This post is a response to the post I read about what one family gave up for their dream home. This post contains affiliate links.
Children are costly! As a mom of four, budget is something we talked about before and after having our kids. This is a smart thing to do! (Read my post on how many kids you should have!)
However, planning only takes you so far. The reality is that you never know what surprises might come down the pipeline. And there are a lot of slippery things that are hard to measure when you consider the cost of having children. These figures are estimates, but the costs are REAL. So here is my list to help you as you are making this decision.
The REAL Costs of Having Children
Clothing. Not theirs. YOURS. They will poop on you, pee on you, barf on you, draw on you, rip your shirts, and pretty much anything they can to ensure you need new clothes. Oh, and that whole post-baby body thing, which ensures that your pre-baby clothes may not fit.
Estimated cost: $10,000
Pets. If you have a pet, be sure your child will terrorize if not kill it. Our dog isn’t dead, but he might wish he were. Most of the time he wears a look that says: Why did you have them? WHY? At the least, you will need a pet therapist.
Estimated cost: $1000 in vet bills
Your brain. I thought baby brain was a joke until I hit kid #3. Suddenly I remember nothing. I feel like my head is in a fog. I forget things I never forgot before. I don’t remember important things, like how old I am.
Estimated cost: I can’t do the math anymore to estimate this.
Your sanity. This is a joke, but it also isn’t. Many moms literally do struggle with mental health and postpartum depression after having kids. (Do you think you might need help? Please reach out for help. Please. You aren’t alone.) For those not struggling with mental health, you might simply think you’ll lose your mind after having kids. At the very least, you will find yourself often telling your husband, friends, and parents: “I’m going crazy!!”
Estimated Cost: ?
Your hair. I’m not sure if male pattern baldness is proportional to the number of kids you have, but I have lost enough hair to make 10,000 dolls. I’ve also endured the post-baby-post-hairloss baby bangs that grow in.
Estimated Cost: $35 in Nioxin for hair growth and $100-200 in hair cuts, color, and product
Your free time. This is the hardest cost for me. I knew it would be before having kids. The kids are totally worth it, but this is a hard one.
Estimated Cost: Low-ball, figuring in $8/hour (minimum wage-ish) at a whole lot of hours, that’s…hm. Back to the whole no-brain thing. You do the math.
Your house. Forget upsizing or downsizing. No matter WHERE you live, your kids will write on walls, put holes in walls, break doors, pee on things, rip up furniture, stain carpets, and maybe even set things on fire.
Estimated Cost: $100,000, give or take the cost of a home in your city
This is the highest cost and the one you really need to consider above all. You will get a glimpse of this cost the very first time you hear your child’s infant cry, when you feel that skin against your own.
You will feel it when your child gets hurt or when someone else hurts your child. Something inside of you will break when one of your children’s friends tells him they don’t want to be friends anymore.
You will experience outrage that you did not know you possessed when an older child pushes your daughter down on the playground.
My kids are still young, but I have watched the pain of parents who do: strained relationships, rebellion, and estrangement are more painful than I can now imagine. But one day I’m sure I will know them all too well.
Your heart will expand when you have children, which means that you will experience more pain than you could before, when your heart was smaller. There are more places for arrows to land when your children fire them at you, telling you that they hate you or wish they had another mommy. Your heart with swell and it will break.
The Bottom Line
You should probably NOT have children. The cost to benefit ratio simply does not pan out.
Then again…it’s not all about price tags. You can’t put one on the joy or the struggle or the beauty of raising kids. It costs more than you can tally, but is worth more than anything you could buy.
Agree? Disagree? Did I forget a cost? Let me know in the comments!