The Cost Of Kids

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dollarsPeople often ask young married couples when they're going to start having kids. Often the response those people hear is something like "We're gonna wait 'til it's affordable."

My wife and I had the same idea when we were newly married. But when it comes to having children, I've found that waiting until there's enough money is also a bit of a pipe dream.
Estimates these days show that raising children costs, on average, a half million dollars per child. Five hundred thousand bucks is no small chunk of change. In fact, divide it up over a span of eighteen years—newborn to adult—and you're looking at almost $28,000 per child per year. That's about $77 a day, almost $3 per hour, easily enough to make any parent look at their pay stubs and shudder.

On paper, having children is one of the most foolish financial decisions a person can make. From the first time a mom or dad loads a bundle of diapers into the grocery cart, their child is a constant drain on the family funds. If it was all about the bottom line, would-be parents would take one look at the price tags on baby formula, toddler clothes (they outgrow 'em every week), school lunches, piano lessons, extra car insurance, and years of Christmas presents, and without hesitation those potential moms and dads would just say "no" to parenthood.

But this job doesn't just exist on paper, of course, and it's not about the bottom line. Not even close. The rewards of being a parent are, day-in and day-out, priceless. When you stop long enough to think about it, the dividends are almost overwhelming. You start out with a tiny, helpless person, one that's been made from pieces of you, an infant you love like crazy from the very first minute you see their crinkly pink face.

And then they grow. They grow up. You watch them learn how to talk and how to talk back. You teach them to walk, you hold their pudgy hands as they wobble along. And then they learn to walk on their own, and they learn to do other things on their own too. With wide eyes and endless fascination, they discover the world around them. As time moves on, they take steps farther and farther into that world, and you can't always go with them.

They become a person all their own—still yours, still pieces of you, but also different, sometimes in ways that are beyond surprising. They take their own path in life, they choose their own loves, they pursue their own dreams. From the very beginning you're teaching them to be the kind of person who can leave and leave well. But when they do it feels like your heart is ripping out, because somewhere in that adult shell that's stepping away, you can still see their crinkly pink face peering out from a hospital blanket. From the beginning your love for them is massive, and somehow over time, like magic, it manages to get even bigger.

The cost is more than anyone could imagine. But what it's worth is infinitely more, turning a cool half million into just a drop in the bucket.
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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