A long time ago, in a childhood far, far away, I figured out a few things I wanted to do with my life. Join the military, see the world, have a family….you know, the usual stuff. Having kids was on my list, but I never REALLY knew what I was getting myself in to. As if anyone ever knows what to expect in that realm of thinking. My point is, I think some people would probably never have kids if they truly knew the cost of creating a life. Not just monetarily, but also physically and emotionally.
Let me begin with money talk. In 2014 the average cost to raise a child was $241,080. Over an 18 year span. This does not include college. You could pay off a nice house in 18 years with that amount of money. Then you throw in college. That’s another $30K on average. These days, most kids either take student loans (which have RIDICULOUS interest rates) or their parents do it for them. So you can say the average cost for creating a mini-you is roughly $300K. Not to shabby. Did I mention that is the cost per child? Let that sink in. But that is not the only costs involved.
Do you like losing sleep? I mean a LOT of sleep. How about having human waste on you at some point almost every day for two or more years? If you said yes to any of these then parenthood is for you. Not to mention, the stress of raising kids. The constant battle between punishing something you love more than life and teaching them not to be assholes is one that truly tests your mental capacity. Go to Google and search for how parenting affects the parents. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Any luck? I didn’t think so. Everyone always studies how it affects the kids, but little attention is given to how it affects the parent. Kind of amusing to me. Since becoming a parent I have deployed twice, had two divorces (ironic I know), and had more financial ups and downs than I care to remember. Yet the most challenging thing I have done is attempting to raise kids that are not shit heads. It is less stressful to drive down a road, known to have bombs big enough to rip an M1A1 Abrams tank to pieces, than it is to raise kids. There are days I want to punch baby bunnies in the throat with a fucking taser. I regularly catch myself saying “what the fuck?” under my breath….or out loud, when my kids commit acts of heinous assholery. It is astounding how much shit you tolerate and deal with as a parent. Not just from the child, but other adults and parents as well.
Everyone has their two cents worth of bullshit to give you about parenting. “Huggies are better than pampers”, “classical music makes your kid smart”, “don’t get your kids vaccinated, it causes autism”, “chewing on fresh bamboo helps your baby develop adamantium testicles and breasts”. You know, the usual stupid shit. Don’t get me started on the “old wives” tales either. That could go on for days. Some of the advice or criticism is sound, but clearly, some people are fucking idiots that should be spayed or neutered at birth. So, my only piece of advice for new parents….don’t take all advice literally. They are usually nonfactual opinions and specific to one or two children. Every child is different and rarely does the “advice” actually work with your child.
Then there are the people who think your parenting style is wrong. Everything you do is going to make your child into a prodigy Charles Manson. “Don’t spank a child, it makes them think physical violence is acceptable.” “Give kids awards for second place, it makes them feel successful.” Or whatever other stupid shit people say. Here is the deal, I do not live with you or your child. If you want to put your kid in “quiet time” and give them words of encouragement to behave better, instead of beatin that ass for lighting your drapes on fire…then that is your prerogative. At the same time, do not judge how I parent my kids. They are mine to raise. I will be the one disappointed when they do something stupid. Not you. Stay in your lane.
So why the fuck would any sane person submit themselves to this psychological punishment? Who would want to suffer 18 years of soul crushing headache? Well, I would because it is my nature, as it is quite a few of those reading this currently. I grew up the 3rd oldest of 27ish grandchildren. I have five uncles. I kind of have a big family. Even though no one ever told me what shit storm I was walking into when I had kids, I had a decent idea of what to do. At least I thought I did. Nothing can prepare you for the heartache of seeing your child sick. Nothing will ready you for the headache of a child who won’t sit still and shut the fuck up. Abso-fucking-lutely nothing. NOTHING! (My three-year old is currently chasing my dog trying to cover it with a blanket yelling at it to lay down.) But would I change it? No. Why? Because I love my kids and would not change it for anything. So, what is the price of parenting? It does not matter to most people. It is an experience that most cherish and would not trade for anything. Plus, it means assholes like you and I continue to populate this pile of rocks known as Earth.