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April 11, 2006

The Cost of Parenting

I’ve always wondered about the true cost of raising a child.

Occasionally I’ll see news reports about the estimated dollar amount that is required to raise a child for 18 years. Several parenting-related websites have charts for new or prospective parents to assess this information, and the USDA even has a child-cost calculator that considers variables like the price of housing, clothing, healthcare, and so on.

Of course there are numerous faults in such methods, like the obvious one: what kid is financially independent by age 18? Not to mention, the major costs of parenting aren’t necessarily the big-ticket items like a mortgage or health insurance, but the relentless nickel-and-dime stuff like replacing broken sunglasses or buying a jumbo bag of popcorn just to go shopping in Target. And until there’s a calculator that factors in the increased number of 20-oz sport bottles I have to buy because my kids always chew the bite valves apart, I’m not listening.

I bring all this up because my 2-year-old daughter recently discovered the delight in picking the child-proof lock to my bathroom drawer in order to pull out my Bodyglide and dig her fingers through it like a block of Play-Doh. Apparently Bodyglide ranks right up there with toothpaste and hair lotion in the “unusual texture that feels really cool when you squish it, and makes Daddy act crazy when he sees it” category. Unfortunately, it only takes a few episodes of this to render the Bodyglide more or less unusable.

It’s seems equally hopeless and pointless to try curbing such behavior, so let’s just say I’m eagerly waiting this particular phase out. And on top of whatever parenting costs I’ve racked up to this point, I’ll just go ahead and put another seven bucks on my tab.


backofpack 4/11/06, 12:53 PM  

I always wonder why we'd even want to know how much it costs. It'll just make us crazy. By the way, our son is financially independent at 19 - really, he has been for the last six months. That includes tuition. Whoo-hah!

susie 4/11/06, 3:35 PM  

This sounds like "I walked miles in the snow" but....wait until you pay for car insurance on teenage drivers:)

matt 4/11/06, 6:48 PM  

just wait...if you get that garmin, you might have other headaches to handle. my son has dropped mine close to ten times already. luckily, it has held up, but i keep expecting it to have the old macintosh computer x-x eyeballs to indicate that it is dead....ouch, 200 bucks :(

perhaps we need to come up with a new cost workup of our own, donald.

olga 4/12/06, 10:01 AM  

Aww, don't even start with me on this topic...I actually, like Michelle, don't want to think about it. What will it change? I still have those two little monkeys, although I luckily realized on time and stopped a crazy idea of having a bunch more...

Downhillnut 4/12/06, 5:44 PM  

If it isn't one thing financially, it's another. Next year we're not paying special-needs school tuition, but she'll need braces :P My kids keep me from tough decisions, like what to do with my "savings".

I laughed out loud when you described the toddler with your Body Glide - hilarious!

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