My kid is worth the cost

August 10, 2010 · 11 comments

Today’s guest post comes from a personal friend. Janell. Here’s a little blurb I asked her to write about herself…

My name is Janell. I met Ninja through my husband, who is in the same line of work as him. I am a married, twenty-six year old mother of one. I work part time from home, where I also spend my days with my little girl. I was a writing major in college, but don’t have a job where I can exercise my passion, so I recently created a blog to serve as my creative outlet. Feel free to join me as I write about everyday adventures, family, children, and crafts at emptyinkwell.com.

I’m a new mom; my daughter is seven months old. Too often, I hear from acquaintances—even random people—that they’d love to have kids, but aren’t ready for the financial responsibility. The look on their faces as they say this suggests something along the lines of: you look way too young to be a mom… are you sure you know what you’ve gotten yourself into? And to that, I have a few comments:

One. Something my mother taught me a long time ago is this: you will never be “financially ready” for any life-changing event.

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to set some financial/personal goals before making a life-changing decision—I think it’s even wise to do so—but you can’t be one hundred percent prepared for something you don’t yet know about, like getting married or having children—they aren’t things you can save up to buy or set a budget for before experiencing them firsthand. Having children is full of the unknown… you learn, adjust and make-do with what you have, one day at a time.

Two. Kids don’t cost as much as you think (or I thought) they would—at least not right away.

For starters, having a baby shower will pay for the kid’s first six months of life—seriously. Kind of like how a wedding shower will practically fill your kitchen cabinets, bathrooms and linen closets, a baby shower will clothe, clean, and diaper your kid for quite a while before you end up spending any noticeable amount of money.

My husband and I didn’t buy a pack of diapers until our daughter was two and a half months old. We were given enough clothes to fully stock her wardrobe for the first six months of her life. (Of course, we bought a few outfits here and there just because we couldn’t resist how adorable they were.) We never needed to buy bottles, towels or washcloths. We have yet to buy baby bath or baby lotion. And all of the big-ticket items (crib, stroller, etc.) were also given to us as gifts.

Like I said, I am a new mom. I’m sure a lot of you parents out there are thinking… just wait ‘til your daughter gets older. And I totally agree… kids get more expensive as they get older. First they start eating real food (not free mommy milk or 90 cent jars of baby food). Then they’re in school—they need school supplies and lunch money and fieldtrip fees. They go to birthday parties and to the movies with friends. Then they’re driving and need gas money and insurance. College tuition, books. I get it. But as a child’s expenses increase, I’m guessing that so does the family income. My husband and I certainly don’t plan to be making the same income when our daughter turns ten, or twenty, as we do now.

Three. My kid is worth the cost… no matter what.

Having said all that, I’m not encouraging anyone to pop out a kid (and definitely not more than one) if you truly are in a bad financial spot (i.e. you live on the streets, don’t make enough to pay for the bills you currently have, only weigh 100 pounds because you can’t afford to eat, etc.). But assuming you have a relatively “normal” (whatever that means) lifestyle and a decent handle on your finances (and if you read PDITF, I’m assuming you probably do), you’re in as good of a spot as the next for a kiddo.

If you have young children, do you ever get the “are you ready for that” comments or innuendos? If you have older children, any financial advice you can offer to help us newer parents plan for when our younger kids get older and more expensive?