Baby blues

Recently I blogged – in a rather mercenary fashion– about the financial benefits of getting hitchedand bitterly concluded it was probably only worth it if you were marrying money! Alas DJ won’t tell me where the millions are buried (I suspect the vegetable patch), so if anybody out there has a rich, single brother do let me know!

Well, after visiting friends who have had or are expecting a visit from the stork, I was similarly shocked to discover how non-frugal having children is. And yet, how much peer pressure there can be, once you’re married, to breed. My own doctor recently told me I should get on with it as I’m 31. I told her I’m not sure I want kids but that I have a lot of pets. “If you like pets you’ll love children,” she said. Er…!

True, I knew clothing, feeding and housing a sproglet for nigh on 21 years (probably 30 now house prices are so expensive) doesn’t come cheap. According to research by Liverpool Victoria last year it costs £180,000 to raise a child and £185,000 in the South East. But I hadn’t appreciated the cash people have to shell out before they’ve even given birth to the screaming, vomiting (and… adorable) little things. Something that is meant to be the most natural thing in the world. Incidentally, how natural is it to spend four days in labour as one poor lady I heard did recently. Eeek…!

This is the shocking breakdown – although I guess if you don’t put them through private school you’ll save a cool £46,778!

The cost of raising a child
Childcare – £49,092
Education – £46,778
Food – £16,002
Clothing – £12,352
Holidays – £11,086
Hobbies & Toys – £ 9,592
Babysitting – £9,232
Leisure and Recreation – £6,896
Pocket money – £5,518
Furniture – £2,201
Other – £11,388
Total – £180,137

K, who is due soon, was proudly showing me the brand new pram/pushchair/flame thrower she’d successfully bid for on ebayand saved £100 on. But the thing still cost nearly £300, and this is before she’s bought clothes – which, like the Incredible Hulk, the little monkey will no immediately grow out of – and lost earnings looking after it/child care.

Help was at hand from Vix, who was keen to get rid of baby Clara’s newborn clothes she’s too big for and donated them – all washed – for me to pass on to K, who was very chuffed.

But when I mentioned this to my mother she was horrified by the thought of dressing a newborn in hand-me-down clothes. “What’s wrong with it?” I said. “They’re all good quality and from Gap or Next – and they’d barely been worn. (Sorry Vix, but I checked them for signs of vom just in case before handing them over!).

“Not a first born,” Mum said, in horror. “Maybe a second born!”

Yours truly was an overprotected only child, but DJ, who is a second born, looked resigned when I told him. He recalled complaining to his mother that there were loads of pictures of his brother in family photo albums and none of him. So she had to put together a special album.

In any case, will your £180,000 gamble pay off? Will Rupert and Jemima look after you in your dotage or will you still wind up selling your house to pay for the lonely nursing home they stick you in? I wonder…Certainly, if my doctor’s advice costs me that I shall send her the bill!   Do you think it’s worth the financial pain having children?

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4 Responses to Baby blues

  1. Tattyhousehastings says:

    Ahh, hand me clothes are essential, and 100% accepted by everyone I know, even the poshest people….and yes, babies are pricey but mostly worth it. You save money by never wearing nice shoes again (only models can carry babies and wear heels), never going out again, and not having the peace and time to shop.
    Also once you have one child, you\’ve already got all the bits and bobs needed. Breastfeed and use real nappies, and the only shock will be when they need \’proper\’ shoes, £35 a go, and sometimes only last for 8 weeks!!
    I decided to have a baby \’cos my doctor would not carry on giving me the pill as I was 30 and smoked….and pets are a good starting point for children, sometimes I get their names all mixed up, all bit demanding sometimes really.

  2. piper says:

    Well that\’s what I\’d thought – surely it\’s fine if they\’ve come from a clean home?  K has a second hand cot I think but with a brand new mattress in it just in case. It\’s all a different world to me!  Scares me to death – I\’m terrified if I had kids they\’d grow up to be serial killers or something and it would all be my fault!  x

  3. gemma says:

    in todays world not having hand-me-downs is considered nuts by most people- i am expecting my fist and could no way afford
    to get all the baby clothes from new- thank god for ebay! having helped raise to brothers much younger then me, i can safely say you never have nice things ever again without having to lock them up but its completely worth it!

  4. gemma says:

    in todays world not having hand-me-downs is considered nuts by most people- i am expecting my fist and could no way afford
    to get all the baby clothes from new- thank god for ebay! having helped raise to brothers much younger then me, i can safely say you never have nice things ever again without having to lock them up but its completely worth it!

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