Making a kid? Well now, that’s free (and fun!) But just as soon as the digital test blinks, “Pregnant,” enter the shitstorm of cost. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (nah, I don’t get it either), the average cost of raising a child, from birth through age 17, is $220,000. Yep, that’s before factoring in skyrocketing college tuition, therapy, bail or rehab.
When they’re young, the dollars pour into diapers, daycare and food. Few years later, even more goes for cool shoes and the outrageous cost of shockingly shrinking clothes. Add in summer camp, vacations, private school, a car? Yahtzee.
If we were childless, we’d take vacations, and Six Flags doesn’t count. We’d cash in frequent flyer miles and relax in first class, sipping mimosas and discussing Spinoza. My house would be spotless, free of juice stains on the ottoman and grimy hand prints on the windows. I might get my hair done once a month, spend a day at the spa, drag my ass to the gym. I’d lounge around and just read. I’d write. I’d do a crossword. Sundays would be spent in bed, thumbing through a magazine or napping through CNN. My time would be mine.
But – I’d never hear the tinkling sounds of exuberant giggles, never dig down in the earth to find a wriggling worm, never feel a small back against my chest and breathe in that oh-so-perfect smell of little-boy hair. I’d not myself experience Christmas morning through his eyes or snuggle close under the covers and feel his breathe on my cheek or hear the most glorious words ever uttered, “I love you, mommy.”
So yes, yep, it’s an expensive undertaking. But the payoff? You can’t put a price on that.