Girl on Fire: The cost of children

Pawter 1[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, August 21, 2014]

Recently, I have been seeing news stories pop up about raising children and how much it costs to do that.

Having children is one of the furthest things from my mind. I’m 25 years old, single and working a job with inconsistent hours. To be honest, even if I had a job with steady hours and a husband, I’m not sure I would want a child.

One news story from Monday’s issue of the Des Moines Register looked at the cost to raise a child from birth to 18 years old. Citing a United States Department of Agriculture study, it will cost a family an average of $245,340 over the course of 18 years to raise a child born in 2013.

I don’t know about you, but $250,000 seems exorbitant to me. That’s about$14,000 each year spent on food, clothes, transportation and other things for a child.

However, there were variances based on things such as location, annual income and number of children.

Children are not for everybody. There are many singles and couples out there who know they want, or knew they wanted, children, and it’s wonderful they understand that about themselves.

I, on the other hand, understand that I am young, single and do not want that responsibility in my life yet. I have a cat, Pawter, and he’s enough of a handful for me (no, I will not be getting any more pets. I don’t want to be the stereotypical crazy cat lady).

Every day I see pictures on Facebook or other sites online of my friends’ children playing in a park, at church or doing crafts at home. My friends all look happy, because their children are what brings light to their lives.

But, I believe that not every woman is cut out to be a mother. I also have friends who do not have kids, and are just as happy with their lives.

Personal choice is what dictates daily life these days, and who’s to say every woman is required to give birth to another human being? Who’s to say every man is required to be a father? Every couple or single man or woman is allowed their choice, and no one should get in the way of that.

I’m sure someday my opinion will change, and when it does I will start preparing for what the future will bring. But, until then, I am quite content worrying only about my own life, friends, family and cat.

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