My wife, Nancy, and I officially got out of the child-rearing business 21 years ago this week when our youngest daughter, Anna, was born. With the passage of just over two decades, I won't pretend to estimate what Anna's first year of life might have cost.
It's funny how when you go “surfing” the internet in search of one piece of information you can frequently wind up stumbling upon another set of facts, which may be totally unrelated to your initial search, but prove to be compelling in their own right.
I experienced just such an occurrence last Friday. While preparing to initiate a web search a headline posted on the search engine's home page caught my attention: Here's how much I spent on my baby's first year. The article by Jeanie Ahn for YAHOO! Finance cited a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that said the average middle-income family in America will spend $12,000 to $13,000 on its baby's first year of life.
My wife, Nancy, and I officially got out of the child-rearing business 21 years ago this week when our youngest daughter, Anna, was born. With the passage of just over two decades, I won't pretend to estimate what Anna's first year of life might have cost. I don''t remember how much baby gear — car seat, stroller, crib and mattress, etc. — that we needed to re-acquire once we learned another blessing was on the way. I'm sure there was a fair amount of baby stuff we had passed along to others, thinking our family was done growing after the birth of our twin daughters, Amanda and Amber, in 1983. No doubt there were other items we just felt we needed new when Anna came along 13 years later.
I doubt we spent anywhere near $13,000 on Anna during her first year of life in large part due to my bride's ability to stretch a dollar on behalf of our new daughter and our family in general. Needless to say no one went hungry, not even the teenage members of our household, after the potentially budget-busting arrival of our fifth child.
Spring forward a few decades and it's other branches of our family tree that is continuing to grow. Counted among that group is my son, Jacob, and his wife, Whitney.
Understandably, with Baby No. 2 on the way sometime in mid August, Jacob and Whitney are already making preparations. Because they held on to many of the baby items that had been utilized by their first daughter, Evelyn, three years ago, I can't help but believe that the costs associated with little Baby No. 2 will be less than $12,000 to $13,000.
At least one of the new baby-related expenses that Jacob and Whitney plan to incur is for a new bed. That piece of furniture won't be for their new daughter, but for the big sister of the household.
Because the plan is for Baby No. 2 to inherit Evelyn's bed, Jacob and Whitney want to get Daughter No. 1 settled into a “big girl” bed long before her new sister arrives to eliminate any chance that Evelyn will consider saying to her new little sister, “You come along and I get booted from my bed. What gives?”
Did I mention that Jacob and Whitney are smart people?
While I stumbled across the estimated cost of a baby's first year, I wonder how much that figure drops during year No. 2? After all some expenses such as for food, diapers and childcare don't magically disappear once a little person turns 2.
I couldn't help but smile on Friday night when speaking with my daughter, Amber, and her hubby, Shawn, about their ravenous 2-year-old son, Aiden.
“He's eating more than I do,” said Shawn.
“Amber and I are already thinking we'll need second jobs just to keep him fed when he's a teenager,” added Shawn.
While confident that the expenses related to child rearing fluctuates, there's no denying the cost of parenthood is never cheap.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.