The Huffington Post reported this week that the cost of raising a child born in 2011 from birth to 17 is now nearly $235,000. Factor in inflation, which is awesome, it’s nearly $300,000.
Oh, and then you have to pay for them to go college, and get married, and move away, and then move back … wait, did I type that out loud.
So, in explain-it-to-me-like-I’m-a-two-year-old language, it costs a lot of money to be a parent. It’s totally worth it, but when you look at the big picture, it is somewhat staggering.
The story says it will cost a parent $550 the first 12 months for just diapers. For new parents, I think the cost of diapers is striking. Perhaps more disappointing (and for those who are either about to have a baby and aren’t big on the whole diaper changing thing, don’t read the rest of this sentence) babies will go through roughly 2,700 diapers the first year.
I’ll wait while you pick your chin off the floor. That means, dear old daddy with the fear of getting squirted on (it will happen), that you’re on duty (or dooty, depending on your luck) about 7.4 times a day for the next 365. For some, that’s a worse than the $550.
Speaking of shocking, the cost of daycare fluctuates depending on where you live, but a significant percentage of your salary will go childcare while you work. It’s a lot of money and it is painful to write the check every couple of weeks, but spend a day or two at home with healthy kids tearing the house apart when daycare is closed for a holiday and you will pay them whatever they want.
The story also discusses costs for activities your kids start take part in. Right now my daughter plays soccer in the fall and spring, takes ballet and gymnastics during the school year and swimming lessons over the winter. They each cost something and we have to cut corners to make all the ends meet, but we do it. Kids should try a bunch of stuff, because it doesn’t hurt to try and you (and they) never really know what is going to stick when you’re 7. I know this because so far my daughter has wanted to grow up to be a policewoman, a teacher, a dancer, a cheerleader, an American Girl doll, Cinderella, Rosetta and now Harry Potter’s girlfriend all in the span of 3 minutes.
So as I sit and think about how much my wife and I (and grandparents and great-grandparents, etc) have spent so far, it is a bit overwhelming. Then I think my son isn’t all that far off from doing his own stuff which means more money.
You know what, I’d pay anything for them to do whatever they want, to become whatever they want, to try anything they want. Just wait, you will, too.