You can’t afford a baby.
Please read this post, a short-but-slightly-snarky response to Suze Orman, a financial adviser who recently told a couple that they couldn’t afford a baby, with its $700-1000 monthly expense.
I agree wholeheartedly with Connie, the author.
Having a baby in America CAN be expensive, but it doesn’t need to be. I’ll never forget when I told a former neighbor that I was pregnant with my third and she sighed and said, “You’re so lucky. I’d love a baby, but we just can’t afford it.” It was all I could do to not let my jaw hit the sidewalk. She and her husband lived — by themselves — in a 2500 s.f. house, had an RV, brand new vehicles, two ATVs, two Jet-skis, expensive mountain bikes, and who knows what else. In other words, they could totally “afford” a baby if they got their priorities straight. AND, yes: it can be difficult and expensive if you have to have everything new and fancy and trendy, bottle feed, use childcare for when you go back to work at 6 weeks, and use disposable diapers. But, heck. Even name brand disposables will run you about $40-60/month. NOT $700-1000.
Maybe this is inflammatory, but I also believe our American culture which values independence over community is partially to blame. We’re disconnected from our extended families, we don’t root ourselves in a church family either, and we value income and material wealth over family. Even things like baby showers and hand-me-downs are most often provided by our extended community, which we as Americans have less and less of.
I have a wooden cradle that is “making the rounds” between friends from church. This DELIGHTS me. I bought it for $40 from Craigslist, used it for my fifth baby (as I had given away a previous cradle), and now a third friend is about to use it for her her newborn, due in Feb. But, if you have to keep up with the Jones’ baby who had a $2,000 Bellini crib (or this $5,800 one!), you’re going to have a pricey infancy. However, if you breastfeed, raise your own child, and don’t mind having used or hand-me-down things, it’s really quite inexpensive to raise a baby.
EDITED TO ADD: One other thing… (can you tell this has struck a nerve???) I’m not suggesting that selling baby things is wrong, but I have learned that you get back what you give — sometimes literally, sometimes from elsewhere. I have given away cribs, strollers, swings, clothes, countless other baby items, partly because I saw someone in need, and partly because I thought I was “done” with having children. But, whatddya know?? It has ALL COME BACK to me. I have, in return, been given cribs, clothes, toys, slings — I don’t use swings anymore! — everything I need for a baby, when I did have need. My youngest is three and the goods still keep pouring in. Someone just gave us three bags of virtually brand-new girls toys — voila! Christmas for my 3 and 5yo girls. Whether you call it karma or attribute it Luke 6:38, or whatever, if you give, you will receive. We are a panicked, hoarding society, and often fail to recognize that if we are generous, we’re going to be provided for.
Posted on December 6, 2011, in Babies, Budget, Christian Living, Christmas, Cloth Diapering, Clothes, Extended Family, Family, Free stuff, Introspective Musings, Shopping. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.