When I went out the other night I joked on my way to the ATM that I had to go get a huge wheelbarrow full of money to haul back to my sitter at the end of the night. But really, it wasn't that much of an exaggeration -- childcare costs a lot! And that was just for an evening's care. If you're shelling out for daycare it can really add up. According to a new report, many of us are paying more for childcare than food or housing. "The cost of full-time center-based care for two children is the highest single household expense in the Northeast, Midwest and South. In the West, the cost of child care for two children is surpassed only by the cost of housing in the average family budget."
Which just goes to show you this is all my fault. I made one of the biggest parenting mistakes you can ever make. I went and had a kid BEFORE I became rich. What was I thinking?!? Everyone knows you can't have a baby until you've made your first million.
Not that a million dollars makes you rich these days. But you'll scrape by. Really, until you've got seven or eight figures in the bank plus an annual income of, oh, $900,000 you really have no business reproducing. And if you're thinking of having a second child better double those figures. Basically wait until you can make a huge money pile big enough to jump into from out of a fourth-story window of your McMansion. Otherwise, keep swallowing those no-baby pills.
It's not enough to avoid Parenting While Poor. Middle-income people as well have absolutely no business whatsoever starting families. Who do we think we are, bringing another mouth to feed into the world when there's no way we can afford to save up $500,000 for their college education, never mind the tutors and extracurricular activities it'll take to get our kids into college in the first place.
But most importantly, one must consider childcare. Until we create a robot race of highly intuitive childcare providers we will have to keep paying actual human beings to care for our children, human beings who also need things like food and housing and cannot be paid in wampum and Monopoly money.
This is the world we live in, people. Only the wealthy can afford families. It's kittens and hamsters for the rest of us plebs.
Do you feel like having kids is more expensive now that it was a generation ago?
Image via Dave Stokes/Flickr