(I did change the figure after googling what it would cost today...so yes, according to google..this is updated information)
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 and came up with $249,376 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock. That doesn't even college tuition!
For those with kids that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the things we would've bought, all the places we would've traveled, all the money we would've banked if not for our bundles of joy. For others that number might confirm the decision to remain childless.
But for $249,376 isn't so bad if you break it down it translates to $13,854.22 a year, $1,154.51 a month, $288.63 a week or a mere $41.23 a day, right around $1.70 a hour...
Still you might think the best financial advice says don't have children if you want to be rich.
It's just the opposite
There is no way to put a price tag on feeling a new life move for the first time and seeing the bump of a knee ripple across your skin. Having someone cry "it's a boy!' or "it's a girl!" then hearing the baby wail and knowing that all that matters is that it's healthy. Counting all ten fingers and toes for the first time. Feeling the warmth of a fat cheek against your breast. Cupping an entire head n the palm of your hand. Or making out Mama or Dada from cooing and gurgling.
What do you get for your $249,376?
Naming rights, first middle and last.
Glimpses of God every day.
Giggles under the covers every night.
More love than your heart can hold.
Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds and warm cookies.
Hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day and cards with backwards letters for Father's Day.
For $249,376 there's no greater band for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee of the garage roof, taking training wheels of the bike, removing a sliver, filling a wading pool,coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs and coaching a baseball team that never wins, but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
You get front row seats to witness history. The first step, the first word, the first bra, the first date, the first time behind the wheel.
You get to be immoral.
You get to add another branch to your family tree and if you're lucky a long list of limbs in your obituary called Grandchildren.
You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications and human sexuality no college can match.
For your $249,376 you get a hand to hold usually covered in jam. A partner to blow bubbles, fly kites, build sand castles and skip down the sidewalk in the rain with. Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.
For $249,376 you never have to grow up. You get to finger paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-n-seek, catch lightning bugs and you never have to stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watch Saturday morning cartoons, go to Disney movies and wish on wishing stars.
You get to frame rainbows, hearts and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted elbow macaroni Christmas wreaths for Christmas.
In the eyes of a child you rank right up there with God.