The Cost of Childhood


Sometimes I wonder how many kids I would have if money wasn’t a consideration.

As my husband and I contemplate baby #3, it’s our primary concern. Yes, you are sleep-deprived. Yes, they have meltdowns and eventually learn to crawl out of their cribs. Yes, they ruin your furniture. But all the stresses and struggles of raising small children are – generally speaking – temporary.

Before you know it, they are walking and talking and taking the ACT. But they never get cheaper. In fact, quit the opposite. They just get more damn expensive.

Obviously, my family has chosen one of the options The Other Sarah alluded to in her post on the high cost of raising a child. We moved to a smaller market. I am pretty honest about the many motivations behind our move to Paducah – one of which was undoubtedly the lower cost of living.

If I was to estimate the cost of raising Griffin his first year, I would put it at less than half the national average of $27,000. But even with fulltime daycare costing $900 a month instead of $4000, that’s still $11,000.

And again, babies are expensive but teenagers will bleed. you. dry.

So, what is a parent to do?

At the end of the day, it would be irresponsible to ignore financial considerations. Of course, we have to think about daycare costs and insurance premiums and college savings.

However, it can’t be the only thing we consider. The decision to grow your family has to involve more than math. For me, that meant looking down at a teeny tiny Amos when he was only a few hours old and thinking, “This is not my last baby.”

I just knew. I knew it deep down in the deepest part of myself. It was part gut, part heart, part instinct. Our family is not finished and all the scare tactics and statistics can’t convince me otherwise. Everything worth having costs something. Children are no different.

And no – because I know you’re thinking it – it’s not about wanting a girl. If I knew with a 100% certainty our third child would be a boy, I would still want a third baby.  

Even with all the ups and downs, I’m still ready to ride this roller coaster one more time … no matter the cost of the ticket. 


And tell me - how big of a role did finances play in your own decision to have (or not to have) kids?