I’m still getting used to saying that so let’s just let this all sink in a for a little bit. The hubby and I are expecting a little person to join our clan of two and a fur baby and I’m in full on quiet panic mode.
First, a little background for you. We didn’t have kids for such a long time because, financially, we just were not stable enough and then as time passed on I honestly didn’t know if I even wanted kids. I didn’t feel like I missed anything because I have a little sister who is 20 years my junior. I pretty much helped to raise her and had totally enjoyed it, but I also enjoyed – and selfishly so – my freedom.
I like being able to work late, or go to an event in the city and come home without having a little person waiting for me or depending on me to feed, clothe and love them. I liked being able to sock away money and concentrate a significant amount of money to my debt while planning, but not actually going, on fabulous vacations with my future self.
I like not feeling so…responsible for a whole entire LIFE – except my dog who’s pretty easy going. I mean, it’s completely different when there’s a person involved and they start changing your life immediately. It starts with things you can’t eat and then being responsible with your vitamins, sleep, stress and exercise.
I just wasn’t sure if I was ready, or would ever be ready for so much…responsibility. But with me headed towards 40 (man, does time fly) we had a baby or no baby moment and baby won. Actually, my husband’s biological clock has been on high alert for the past few years but it was me who wasn’t ready and I’m not the only one. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, of women with master’s degrees “one-fifth didn’t become mothers until they were at least 35. Among mothers with a bachelor’s degree, fully 40% were past their 20s when they had their first child, and 14% were at least 35.” Many highly educated women like me are choosing to delay or forgo motherhood altogether.
One of our issues, which many couples face, is the sheer cost of raising a child. According to a 2015 Consumer Expenditures Survey, “a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17.” Keep in mind that this doesn’t include college or the cost of the actual birth.
Holy crap, that’s a lot of money. And to be honest, I’m already seeing a tiny bit of the costs. Beyond the cost of many doctor visits and tests, our next largest cost will be the actual birth which will take place later this month, then a new house. We live in a tiny starter home with two bedrooms. It’s fine for the three of us (me, my husband and his very elderly mom), but we’ve already seen that it won’t work when an additional person is added.
Baby items alone are taking up quite a bit of space, and we haven’t even bothered to purchase a crib or stroller. We’ve kept baby materials to the barest minimum but the costs of just basic things (car seat, bath, bassinet, bottles, formula, diapers, clothes) can add up significantly.
Now, I’m not discouraging anyone from having children, because it is such an emotional endeavor, and I’m sure, a rewarding life change, but if we’re being completely honest, financially, having children is out of touch for many people, millennials included. According to Student Loan Hero, 71% of students who graduated from college in 2015 had student loan debt totalling tens of thousands of dollars and that number isn’t falling. Millennials are delaying both marriage and parenthood because of the sheer costs of servicing their student loan debt.
With all of that said, Generation X me is less worried about that because childbirth is a much scarier and immediate prospect; so is what happens after having a baby. I’m under no illusions that everyone is able to have a child and go right back to work, picking up the pieces of their careers right where they left it. I’m already envisioning what life post baby will be like, professionally, and I’m certainly not the only prospective mom who has thought of what happens then.
With all of that said though, hubby and I are deliriously happy to be expecting a mini-us. We’ve been pregnant for the entirety of 2017, and as it’s coming to a close, with all of the numbers crunched, nothing else matters more than having a healthy little person to care for. We’re excited at the prospect of having our names change to “mom” and “dad” regardless of the costs.
I had a lively chat about this subject with the folks at Adulting.tv just a few weeks before we got pregnant. If you have time, check out the video!