Babies. Dollar signs? Cha ching cha ching?
Does $41,603 per year sound about right when it comes to the cost of raising a child? This number comes from Lowestrates.ca which based their final numbers on things like childcare, transportation, food, clothing, gear, RESP’s, recreation and more. You can read the full article here.
I’ll be honest-that number sounds absurd to me. I will note that the article I linked above also based their numbers on living in the city of Toronto where the cost of living is much more expensive than living outside of the city. You would have to move at a least an hour away from Toronto, out of the city to see a difference in certain costs, though. Ontario is notoriously one of the most expensive provinces to live in, aside from B.C. At least they get the ocean, right?
Statcan.gc.ca statistics showed that as of 2011 the average age of women bearing their first child is 30 years of age. It also records that more and more women are stopping with one child.
(Let me get real here….I wanted only one child after the birth of my son but we’ll talk more about that later.)
When my husband and I shared that we were pregnant with our first child we were told and asked a few interesting things. The most common thing people asked us was if it was planned. (I don’t really know why it’s STILL ok to ask that but seriously people need to stop, just saying.) The second thing we were asked was if we were going to buy a house. Then we were told was that babies are expensive.
All these things told me what the common thought was among people when it came to starting a family. The common thought seemed to be that you need lots of money to start a family. For one, I’d like to know how this has become the common thought process in our society today? Of course, things cost money. We all know that. Nothing is for free anymore. But I disagree that babies are expensive and I most certainly disagree with the sentiment that we couldn’t afford to start a family. I’ll break it down for you. *(I would like to note that in Canada we do have national healthcare that includes midwifery care. This does significantly change the cost of having children, for us. In the US it would depend on your healthcare, I assume. That being said my sister and mama of 4 kids, budgeted to pay for a midwife (one one income) for her 4th child. She never regretted hiring one!)
- You don’t need to own a house to have a baby. Maybe you’d like to own a house? That’s ok. I’ve had people tell me that renting is a waste of money but with the way the housing market is right now, I can’t justify going into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to be paying rent or take on a mortgage that I can barely afford. Most of the young people I know who do own a home, own them because family helped them out. There is nothing wrong with family helping out, I think that is great! Everyone’s situation is different. My husband recently installed a furnace into the home of a young guy, around his age. He said this guy was so house poor he didn’t have any furniture. He couldn’t even afford to spackle the holes in the walls of his newly purchased home. That isn’t a desirable situation for anyone. Affording to buy a house is just not some people’s reality. It also shouldn’t be a reason you don’t have a family. Your child doesn’t need for you to own a home. They simply need a home to come to which you can create in any living space. It’s all about perspective.
- You don’t need tons of things to have a baby. When I created my baby registry, I just about had a panic attack. I revised my registry about 50 times because I kept realizing what we didn’t need. There will be a lot of pressure to register for all the nice things but be realistic. What will you actually use? The majority of the things we received or bought for our little guy were used. I LOVE second-hand, especially when it comes to children. I think second hand can be tricky though because you can justify buying a bundle of junk because it’s so cheap. I’m going to create a minimalist baby registry, detailing the things we found we needed and what was a waste of money for us. Start practicing a minimalist lifestyle now, so that it will be easy to teach your child as he/she grows up.
- Change the way you live. If the reason you feel you can’t afford to have a child is because you love to eat out, go on nice vacations, and buy the best of the best-maybe it’s time to change your lifestyle? Look, I love ALL those things I just mentioned above. I love eating out, I WOULD DIE TO BE SITTING ON A BEACH RIGHT NOW SIPPING A MARGARITA and I love buying nice things. The biggest lifestyle change we’ve faced since the birth of our son is how much we stay home. We both are homebodies to begin with but we literally never go out. We might catch a date once a month but for now, our schedule revolves around our son and we are ok with it. I have a girl’s night once or twice a month and my husband gets out to play sports with his buddies. We gave up our gym memberships in exchange for streaming workouts online, at home. I don’t get my hair done nearly as often because I’m not working anymore and I don’t get out enough to justify it. A vacation might be a trip alone to Costco, seriously. (It’s all about the samples man.) We’ve seen our costs drop significantly in doing these things. I don’t know each person’s situation. I know it can be complicated but it’s not impossible to make significant changes. I had to leave my job when I was pregnant with my son because I was so sick but we already knew that I would be a stay at home mom. It wasn’t an easy decision but it is what worked for our family. Also-I’m not knocking if you choose to be a dual income family. My favourite guys over at Becoming Minimalists talk about designating the lesser income to go directly into savings, all of it. Many people have paid off major debt by doing this, saved a dp for a house, etc. They have some great ideas, I recommend checking them out!
I think those 3 things are great to think about if you are considering starting a family. My sister made an excellent point recently. There is a message being proclaimed LOUDLY in society today. That message says, “It’s all about me. It’s about finding myself and being true to who I am. Whatever inhibits this isn’t worth having.” That is just really selfish. Also-you will find yourself in a whole new way when you have children and there will be plenty of opportunities to stay true to yourself as you raise little people with the values of your heart. Kinda interesting to think about it that way, right?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having nice things as well as plenty of money. Please don’t mistake me to be looking down on those things. But if your reason for not having children is because you don’t want to let go of material things or sacrifice a certain lifestyle, I would say, think things over. Don’t miss out on the joy of parenthood. It’s wildly amazing! Maybe you just don’t feel ready, money aside. I totally understand that and hey-don’t have kids because you think you have to. Your life changes in the most extreme way possible-pretty much forever. But also be realistic-anything can happen. Don’t set yourself up for extreme shock when things may not go as planned. And I can say that from experience as we are going to have babies 14 months apart, come October.
Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever done. Labour and delivery were a piece of cake compared to the aftermath. I have struggled more than I ever thought as well as questioned if this was for me. You guys know this if you’ve read my post on my struggle with post partum anxiety. No one has questioned parenthood MORE than me, seriously. But the closeness I have found with my husband, the joy I experience in my son and the growth that comes with this journey are worth far more than any material blessings or security of money. Now as we anticipate the arrival of our second child, we have an even more humbled perspective on God’s grace towards us, as parents.
Matt Walsh said it well when he said this, “The truth is that nobody is ready, all right? Nobody is prepared. Nobody has any idea what they’re getting themselves into. Most people can’t afford it. Most people aren’t in the ideal position. We’re all in the same boat. You’re no different. But we do it anyway, relying always on the grace of God and our love for each other, because it’s what we’re meant to do, and, believe it or not, it’s worth it.”
I hope you are encouraged. Parenthood- it’s a sacrificial, wild leap into the unknown with incredible eternal benefits. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below =)