Kids are expensive.
As I type those words, I can visualize a mom of a newborn nodding her head at the expense of diapers or the clothes they wear for a minute. I can equally visualize the parent of a college age student as they double check the budget ensuring their student has ample money to live off of or purchase books as they continue academia.
Granted, before we have them, before we become parents we know ‘they’re expensive.’ The truth of the matter is, I’m not sure we truly grasp what that means and/or entails until we’re actually living it.
Brief note: I love being a parent. I love every painstaking, exhausting, joy filled, worrisome moment about it. I’ve shared in this space before, it is not a path I came by easily and I can’t imagine my life without it.
As my children grow older, however, I’ve come to realize/recognize that a fact shared with me while they were younger is indeed fiction. Well at least in the case of our family it is. Parents of young children, listen up.
The expense does not let up. It’s a trade-off and yes, a bit of a trade up.
I recognize as a parent we make choices. We can say no to the activities they inquire about, I’ve done that. We can teach them the lesson of moments over things, I’ve done that too. We can even teach them to save their money to budget for wants they might have.
We can’t stop them from growing. Oh the joys of finding shoes on sale, buying more than one pair in varying sizes only to have them grown through them in a matter of months. Sound familiar? Think that just happens when they’re babies? Think again.
My two are active. I try and do my best to exercise a balance between schooling, school activities, as well as extracurricular. I do this for two reasons. One I think keeping them active is important, not just for their physical health but mental health as well. Watching them stretch themselves, achieve goals and step outside their comfort zone of school familiarity is healthy in my opinion.
My second reason is somewhat selfish and I own that freely. My activities were minimal at best growing up. My mother commuted for work and made it home in time for dinner and the bedtime routine. Why? Well, because kids are expensive and working full time in a city 30 minutes from our suburb was how she earned a decent living to provide for us.
I’m fortunate and so are my children, as they have a mom who can juggle between her day job and her primary job as their mom so that they may ‘do the things’ if you will. We’re equally fortunate that my commute is literally minutes from the office as well as their school.
It’s a good gig, this parenting thing. But last week as I headed out of our office to run a payment to an activity it hit me … kids are expensive. Whether I’m buying yet another gallon of milk, looking for an umbrella to replace one lost or tattered or simply taking a check to one corner of town or the other, the wallet rarely closes.
In short, my thoughts are those which would make a finance investor cringe ... it’s only money. Someday they’ll be off doing the same for their own and I’ll be offering to treat them to a movie and lunch, if I’m lucky. Until that time, I’ll gladly keep my wallet open and my head to the sky as I give gratitude for the means and the sanity to know that it is indeed an expense worth its weight in gold.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.