Daily Archives: December 6, 2011
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.