My husband and I have been married for just over two years at this point and have slipped into that phase where we are discussing whether, and if so then when, we would like to start trying for a family.
Becoming parents is something we had always agreed on, even though if the particulars such as having our own vs adoption haven’t always been clear (and still aren’t really), but the important thing is that we are talking about the options and trying to be as prepared as we possibly can be. This includes trying to delve into as much preparatory literature as we can, no matter how futile an effort our friends who already are parents seem to believe that to be, and to think about the very real monetary cost that comes with raising even one, not to mention multiple children.
For instance, as I was meandering around town today I popped into a specialist store to nosey at the prices of cots, prams, highchairs and nappy tables and was stunned at what I saw… there wasn’t a single price tag under £150… Of course I am aware that I could get certain things second hand, or as hand me downs, but just for the sake of relative scientific accuracy and my own rare narcissistic tendencies, let’s presume that I am going to need to buy everything new.
The best way I could think of was to create a list of items and equipment that we would need to bring a new baby home for the first time. I am convinced that this will not be a comprehensive list due to my severe lack of maternal experiences, and I know that many of these items also quickly become obsolete as a child grows and certain pieces need to be replaced, however let’s just consider this my (current) version of the “new parents starter kit”.
(Just as reference, I will calculate these prices based on the best deals a quick online search of my local retailers can find me, but I’m perfectly aware that these can cost quite a bit more or a little less, depending on taste and where you shop.)
|Nappies & wipes & creams||£40.00|
|Bottles + Bottle Sterilizer||£69.99|
|Clothes (including socks, shoes, hats, pj’s & bibs)||£100.00|
|Bed (includes bumpers)||£159.00|
|blankets and sheets||£30.00|
|baby toys (cuddlies, rattles etc)||£50.00|
|Teething soother toys (the cold ones)||£15.00|
|“Rucksack” style carrier||£59.79|
|face cloths/ towels||£20.00|
|Nappy Table with Mat||£85.00|
|Learning toys (walker, bouncer, rattle centres)||£100.00|
|All in one pram/buggy||£269.94|
|Baby Bath & accessories||£29.99|
|Healthcare & Grooming Kit||£12.00|
|Baby Safety Gate||£20.00|
Excuse me – what?? £1,378.17?? Factor in my major Disney addiction and the fact that I will probably want to swaddle my babies in all things original Disney and all of a sudden the study that shows that new parents need to have at least £5,500 in the bank before having a baby, looks realistic! I think I might take a trip to some financial advice pages after all…
Add to that the official estimate of £230,000 as being the cost to raise a child from birth to 21 years of age in the UK, and you can start to see why so many millennials are opting to not have children at all.
As a matter of fact, it is causing a great deal of fret internationally, that the cost of raising children is ever rising. Not only are the materialistic things expensive, but children of course have to eat, be sheltered (which often times means needing a bigger/more expensive home), educated and loved. All of which parents can only do if they work and earn money; but who minds the children while parents work? It is estimated that part time (such as after school) childcare for just one child can cost an average of £7549 per year, which is already not that far from the almost devastating £11,700, that full time child care for children between the ages of 2 and 5, tends to cost.
This is leading a lot of young people to either only have one child, or even have no children at all. Of course these are very personal choices, but when we consider that we are having less and less children every year, it is inevitable that the population, especially in “developed” countries which are most afflicted by low birth rates, will have an increasingly aged population. To quote the UK parliament website: “10 million people in the UK are over 65 years old. The latest projections are for 5½ million more elderly people in 20 years time and the number will have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050.” This means we will have less eligible tax payers than people who need feeding and supporting. It might mean that taxes go up, but even scarier, if raising taxes isn’t enough, then it might mean that the average pension age could be hiked up (again) as well… it’s already at 65… what if it got hiked to 70? Or 75? Even with the currently average life expectancy that we have (81.50 year in the UK), how many people have each of us really met who have been lucky enough to live that long?
I don’t want to make this about fear mongering, or statistical speculations, I’ll leave that to the experts… all I know for now is this: my husband and I have made a personal choice to have a family, it will be expensive and will require a lot of clever planning, budgeting and balancing to make sure we all stay as happy and healthy as we can possibly have control over; however it’s interesting to see that if we do decide to only have one or two children, rather than the traditional/old fashioned four to six, that even though it is our choice, it is a choice that many many other people our age are making and it’s taking us down a very particular (and precarious) societal path.
Now… on a lighter note… are there Disney themed nappy bags?? Of course there are … Ooooohhhh
As always, thanks for reading and take care. xoxo