In news that is surprising to no one, kids are expensive as hell. The latest reports estimate that, on average, families spend between $12,350 and $13,900 every year caring for their offspring. Now, I’m no math whiz (let me grab my calculator), but if I’m typing the numbers in correctly that means raising a child from birth to their 17th birthday will, on average, cost about $233,610. Yup, it costs nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise that snot-nosed spawn of yours who is currently eating Cheerios out of the garbage can.
But here’s the thing: Those reports are bullshit.
Because they don’t even begin to cover the cost of parenting. I’m not talking about the money we spend on our kids for things like food, shelter, clothing and education — costs that are accounted for in the annual “The Cost of Raising a Child” report. What I’m talking about are the costs associated with parenthood, which are conspicuously absent from the report.
What about all the money we spent on KitKat bars that we stress-eat in the bathroom while our kids beat each other with our decorative pillows? What about the late-night, emergency runs to the convenience store for cookie dough ice cream while we wait up for our out-past-curfew teenager? What about the crap food that ends up in our grocery carts each week because we cannot bear to listen to one more whiny plea for froooot snaaaaackssss?
Also missing from the report: the hundreds of dollars we spend on heavy-duty under eye concealer we can’t live without because co-sleeping is really just co-lying-awake-while-your-toddler-kicks-your-back. The expensive gym membership so that we can shower and sit in the steam room while our kids are in the childcare room is also not on the list, nor are the padded push-up bras we need to give our pancake titties a boost because our kids literally sucked the life out of them.
In defense of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which puts together the report each year, the costs to raise a parent are a little harder to calculate. I mean, how does one determine the amount of money spent on parenting books to give us advice we’ll ignore and the therapy bills needed because the parenting books told us we were fucking our kids up? These things are impossible to know. Or maybe they aren’t impossible, but our brains are fried from helping our second-grader do Common Core math — and we literally cannot.
The quarter-million-dollar price tag for these beloved offspring doesn’t include the cost of that choker necklace our toddler flushed down the toilet (and the resulting plumbing bill). It doesn’t cover the cost to replace our iPhone because “someone” decided to put it in the dishwasher. And it fails to acknowledge the money spent to color our hair from the onslaught of teenager-induced grays.
Kids are expensive as hell, no doubt, but the costs of parenting these kids is the real kick in the ass. So save your pennies, parents. Those chiropractor appointments to fix our post-baby-carrying alignment aren’t going to pay for themselves.