You might be tempted to send me a scathing e-mail after this one. DON’T HAVE KIDS IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD THEM. Having kids is not a right, it’s a privilege, and if your financial situation doesn’t support you having that cute little offspring running around your ankles, then you should have planned better and you should not have had a child…or two…or eight. Yes, I’m talking to you Kate Gosselin.
Here’s the thing, I don’t watch Kate Plus 8 because, quite frankly, I could never stand Kate. I’m talking about from waaaay back when the kids were tiny babies. But that’s not why I’m writing this. I guess the public is no longer fascinated with the show and TLC has decided to cancel it. Kate says that she is apparently “freaking out” about the end of the show because “My kids weren’t ready. Nobody was.” Uh, hello? It’s a television show. The fact that it even lasted this long was a miracle. But here’s the kicker. Oh, you’ll love it. While the rest of us would immediately try to find, you know, a JOB or something, she was seen driving a newly purchased Audi TT-S two-seater sports car. Good choice for a mom of eight, right? The kids can fit in the trunk.
But this isn’t about Kate or the crazy Octomom or even the Duggars (shudder), it’s about all of us that have kids when we have no business doing so, or those of us that keep adding kids to our families and then cry broke. Teresa Giudice from the Real Housewives of New Jersey, you’re next in the cross-hairs. How do you file bankruptcy while living in a gaudy mansion with your seemingly seedy and unemployed husband and then pop out another kid? Is it me? Did I miss the memo?
Listen, kids are expensive. According to the USDA, the national annual average of the cost of raising just one kid is $14,938 (in a two-parent household making up to $99,730 per year). That works out to $268,884 over 18 years and that does NOT include inflation or college. Oh, and that’s just for one kid. Give junior a brother or sister and you’re really in for some pain. Single parent? I’m not even going to bother looking at the numbers. Teen parent ( for all you people that watch 16 & Pregnant)? Forget about it. You’ve just set yourself up for a lifetime of poverty and hardship since, according to the March of Dimes, “Only 40 percent of teenagers who have children before age 18 go on to graduate from high school, compared to 75 percent of teens from similar social and economic backgrounds who do not give birth until ages 20 or 21.”
But it’s not even those statistics that bother me. What bothers me are the average every day people that seem to think that they are entitled to having children just because they can. It will be these same people that are complaining about their finance, or don’t know how they’ll make ends meet for the next month or complain that they don’t know where their money went. Yet, they’ll have no problem adding another child into the family. It does not take a genius to see why you’re having financial problems if you keep on having children. Just because you can have kids doesn’t mean that you should.
I’m now 33 and I don’t have kids. When I started this blog I was 29 and I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to have kids any time soon because, like Suze Ormon would say, “you can not afford it”. I can’t afford it and I know it. That is not a problem for me. What bugs me are people telling me that I should have a child “while I can” because I might regret it later. No, I’d regret it now, because if I am struggling on my own, it would be impossible later with a kid. But then again, there are always social welfare programs, right? I would never qualify because even though I do struggle I make too much. And really, why should I have a child knowing that I can’t afford one and then expect to rely on programs to help me provide for and raise my child? I’ve never collected the Earned Income Credit baby making incentive from the government and I expect that I never will.
When the government recently passed a bill requiring health insurance companies to cover birth control I applauded it. Now, if you have health insurance you have no excuse for the extra little bundle of joy that you were not expecting. We’re living in one of the most developed nations of the world in the year 2011, but did you know that nearly 50% of all pregnancies in 2001 were unplanned? The CDC had a goal of reducing that number to 30% by 2010. I can’t find any documentation to say that they met that goal, but I’m inclined to say that they didn’t.
Look, if you are in your child bearing years and your biological clock is ticking, but the bill collectors are calling, put that alarm on mute. You can not afford it.
Am I wrong?
UPDATE: Don’t get me wrong and think that I mean that people in low socioeconomic standings shouldn’t have kids. Not at all. I just don’t think that they should expect that social welfare programs will be the main providers for their kids. I pay enough taxes.