Saturday, August 28, 2010
I can understand this. Most of us, prudently, don't want to have a new family member when we just lost our job, got downsized or lost our home to foreclosure.
On the other hand, how many times have you heard someone say, "We are going to wait until we can afford a baby to have one." My standard answer is, "Then you'll never have a baby."
Why? Because babies cost EVERYTHING. It isn't necessarily a monetary thing. On the whole, babies aren't THAT expensive. The biggest cost - for us, at least - was diapers and food. If you're able to breast-feed, than the food cost isn't an issue.
What makes babies cost so much in our society is that many of us are convinced that babies need or are entitled to the "best": new clothes every week from the Gap, a convertible stroller/car seat/bouncy chair/entertainment center, a down payment into a toney nursery school, and so on. Of course, the baby could care less about all this stuff: it's all about the parents at this point.
Dear Husband and I have five kids, all adopted. Because they were classified as 'special needs' adoption by the state, we receive (until the kids are 18), a modest monthly stipend. This is meant to off-set the added expenses of the 'special needs'. It doesn't.
We had a neighbor who once told another neighbor, "You know, the only reason they adopted 'all those kids' (five!) was for the money." When I told Dear Husband about this remark, I said, "We must be doing something wrong, because we haven't turned a profit on these kids yet."
I admit, the kids cost a lot. The giant sucking sound you likely hear is my three teenage sons emptying the refrigerator. We just went shopping for school supplies and some clothes. Ouch. On the other hand, we shop clearance racks, Goodwill and consignment shops. It is -clearly- possible to raise a pack of kids in this economy without ending up in the poor house.
Are there trade-offs? Of course! We don't vacation much, and when we do, it is on the cheap. We go out to the movies, as a family, once a year or so. We have to say 'no' to a lot of 'wants', but their needs are taken care of. What that means, though, is that what many people would consider a 'need' is relegated to 'want' for our family, and for many families like us.
This is not a bad thing, and I'm not complaining. In fact, I wouldn't have it any other way. I read somewhere, a long time ago, that the first rule of Irish families is "There is always room for one more." Bad economy be damned: say yes to life! L'chaim!