I'm More Financially Responsible for Having Just One Kid


oneHere's something I'll never understand. Nine times out of 10, if I let slip that my daughter is an only child, the person I'm chatting with informs me it's time to have another baby. But never has anyone offered me some cash to help raise my kid.

Funny, isn't it? People are so darn opinionated about only children that they'll waltz right into my womb. They love nothing more than to tell us what we're doing wrong, and why we need to fix it. But they don't spend a lot of time finding out whether we're in any place to take their suggestions.

I'll tell you right now, I'm not. The reasons are varied -- from a difficult pregnancy to a husband who was contented to be an only child himself -- but I can't deny that finances have played a role. How can they not? The latest estimate (pulled from The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide by Susan Newman, Ph.D.) claims it costs about $286,000 to raise a kid (not including college) these days. I could buy a new house for that. In some neighborhoods, I could buy TWO houses for that.

As it is, I'm a working mother as much because I have to be as because I want to be. I went back to work when my daughter was 7 weeks old, and since then have retained at least part-time employment. If I didn't, we wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage. Still think I need to have another kid?

As the average age of moms rises (some 41 percent of newborns are born to women over 35 these days) and as the economy dives, I sit here waiting for all those nosy nellies to pull their opinions out of my belly and start crunching numbers. I'm waiting for all the parents who comment on blogs about bad parents with "if you can't take care of children, you shouldn't have them" to assign that rubric to the every day non-child abusing among us.

The way I see it, opting out on a big family is the responsible choice for many families (notice I said many, not all). We're good parents for making the tough choice to be comfortable with one child instead of struggling with two or three.

Where the "only children are spoiled children" folks see a kid being given too many choices, I see a child who will never have to eat ramen noodles because her mom couldn't afford to buy whole wheat pasta for a family of four. Where the "kids need siblings" folks see a kid who isn't sharing a bedroom or toys, I see a child who doesn't have to make do with just one book because mom isn't working two jobs that keep her from taking any of her kids to the library.

Do you give people with only children grief? Do you ever stop to ask about their finances first?


Image via Mrs Logic/Flickr

sibling rilvary, family


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jalaz77 jalaz77

No. We have 3 and we can afford them and more. We just don't want to raise kids past 55 years old is why we choose to quit or my hubby wants to be done having kids : ) it's not my business why people choose how many children to have. However, I am a firm believer if you can't afford kids then you should not have them. Is it really fair to that kid?

nonmember avatar Elle

As a mother of three, I get a lot of heat for having "such a large family!"....especially if it slips that we want one more, or how old I am. I lucked into a dream job at a young age, and can afford the children we have and then more. I don't think it is *anyone's* business to determine how many children have - whether it's raising a child solo, or building a basketball team.

momka... momkaribg

I have (2) and people are constantly asking when i am going to have a girl. UGH

momka... momkaribg

I have (2) and people are constantly asking when i am going to have a girl. UGH

nonmember avatar Helena

I have one currently. But I wouldn't say I'm 'one and done' just yet. I do want more, and I want my daughter to have a sibling but I just can't afford that right now. People constantly hound me about 'giving her a little brother' I just smile and say, "Yes one day when I buy a house with more then 2 bedrooms" Having more than you can afford is just irresponsible.

kisse... kisses5050

  Egads people are just making conversation.. they are not making life choices for you..quit being so hypersensitive to everything...

nonmember avatar Anon

I don't care how many kids you have (and surely very few people do). But honestly, if you're having financial stress in a houshold with two working parents and one normal little girl, then it's because you have expensive tastes or something. As for it taking $286K to raise a kid - that's $15K per year - BS because my whole family of 3 doesn't cost $15K per year - but even if that were true, a second kid will require only a fraction of the cost of an only child, especially if you don't have full-time daycare expenses. PS, my parents had 6 kids before we moved out of our 2-bedroom house, and all of us grew up just fine. Priorities, people. But pat yourself on the back if you want to. Personally I'm very glad I gave each of my daughters a sister.

poshkat poshkat

i have one and people think its their business to tell me that i should have more. i have many reasons for having an only, finances is one of them, but it was not a big issue with my and DH's decision to only have one.

people just cannot believe we chose to have one child when we are perfectly able to have more than one. my uterus is not to be discussed, it is nobody's business, but alas we do have people asking and when they do (since i was so sick of people asking me!!) we had to resort to lying and telling people that DH shoots blanks.

its annoying, but really, why would i want to have another child when me son is already 4, out of diapers, we dont need bottles or sippy cups anymore or a stroller or any of the gear that comes with having a baby? why would i want to start over with all of that when im perfectly content to having one child?


Beths... Bethsunshine

I don't care how many kids you have, as long as you are properly providing for them and caring for them. For myself, I have two and couldn't imagine having less or more than what I have, but that's just me.  My reasons for having just 2 are because of my health. I have to agree with anon, that if it's costing you THAT much to raise ONE child, you need to take a long hard look at your finances.  I don't work outside the  home, I haven't worked full-time since I had my first child, and we manage to make it. It's all about priorities.

Stacey Busenbark Sanders

I think people are opinionated either way-I get told that we shouldn't have any more kids-we have two and want just one more. And there really isn't a good reason they say this, I have a good job, good insurance, we fully support our kids ourselves. People in general just need to butt out.


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