Kids Aren’t Expensive, But That Other Thing Sure Is

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My husband and I have always wanted a lot of kids. (Of course, “a lot” is a relative term, depending what your social circles look like, but for the purpose of this post, we’re going to call “a lot” more than 3. Ha.) Over the last 6 years, when we’ve made our feelings known, we’ve often been met with one particular phrase: Kids are so expensive!!

Well, on the one hand, I suppose they are. Depending on your particular situation – medical bills, dental care, school tuition, etc. all definitely add up. So I’m not trying to be flippant with what I’m about to say, but I do think it’s an important distinction to be made when one is saying how “expensive” children are.

Kids aren’t expensive. Greed is.

Kids don’t “need” designer clothes, Etsy outfits, brand new everything, more shoes than they can wear before they grow out of them, and 8 thousand of whatever the latest toy craze is. (I believe it’s currently Shopkins, but I might be a week behind the times. It’s so hard to keep up.) Kids don’t need a play room full of more toys than they know what to do with. (I’ll go one step further with this one. They don’t even want it. It’s stressful and overwhelming for them. But anyways.) Kids don’t “need” to be signed up for a different so-called enrichment class every night of the week. They need sunshine, fresh air, freedom to move, and space to create.

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As parents, as human beings, it is far too easy to get sucked into the vortex of materialism and greed that has so taken over our society.

Bigger is not always better and less is often more.

Are we accumulating “stuff” for our children or are we enriching and developing their lives and hearts?

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Don’t get me wrong – stuff is good! πŸ˜‰ Shopping is fabulous, and if it was a professional sport, I’d be a champion! #justaskhubby bwahaha But I think it’s particularly important as parents to teach and model the difference between enjoying material goods… and merely accumulating things. One is a positive –Β  an accessory, if you will, to our human life together, bringing a definite level of happiness and pleasure. The other is a slippery slope into stress, greed, bitterness and envy.

Our children have toys, they have clothes, they have (for better or worse) more than what they need. My husband and I are thoughtful about spending, but we also believe in the excitement and pleasure of new things – even if “new” sometimes means more like “new-to-me.” πŸ˜‰ We try as best we can to show our children gratitude, with our actions more than our words. Like with every other aspect of parenting, though, there is always that flicker of doubt. Are we getting this message through to them? Are they appreciative, are they grateful, are their hearts content, rather than greedy for more?

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Then, the other day my husband was talking to Mikey about his upcoming birthday (#5, you guys, how did THAT happen!!??), and asked Mikey what gifts he wanted. I’m not even going to lie, our son’s response made my eyes fill with tears and my heart fill with that mother pride that I know you’ve all felt one time or another.

“Oh, Daddy. I have my best toys, and books, and my doggie, and Ellie and Baby Lucas. I want Batman to come to my party. But he doesn’t need to bring anything. I have everything I need right now.”

I have everything I need.

Tonight, I’m walking endlessly with my sick baby boy, trying to ignore the laundry that’s piled up, and the dishes that never got washed. I enjoy my usual chuckle when I watch the couples on HGTV demanding granite counters, walk-in closets, and houses so big you could get lost in them. I wonder what those people would think if they saw our tiny house full of tiny people. Maybe they, too, would say, “Kids are so expensive.”

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But as I kiss my baby’s dimpled cheeks, I know the truth.

Our children, yours and mine, they need so very little and give so very much.

They need compassion, security, respect, Faith and morals to guide them; they need our love. They need our eyes on them as they show their latest skill, our ears open to hear their latest story, our minds and hearts fully present when we sit with them to play, to read, to be. In the end… that is everything they need.

What our children really need from us – it doesn’t cost a thing. <3

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Β [Originally published on my previous blog, This House Is Our Home]

Β If you’re interested in reading my follow-up posts, you can find them here and here.

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611 Comments

  1. Your sentiments are beautiful. I wish everyone could have as many children as they wanted without regard to the financial considerations. Unfortunately, I live in a country where daycare and preschool are hideously expensive, and can cost more than college. And middle class earners by and large, earn too much for subsidies. So you see, you have to pay for it right away, not having 18 years to save. If one of us stayed at home rather than use preschool/daycare, there goes health insurance. It’s a delicate balance, to find a way to afford to work, afford to feed and clothe children, even without the rampant materialism that’s everywhere these days. I don’t have to take my kids to playplace X, enrichment Y, and classes Z and Q. They’re three. They don’t need any of that. They certainly don’t need *new* clothing, or seventeen pairs of shoes, or Patagonia down coats. There are many, many shades of gray to this discussion, even without significant health incidents, designer duds, and magazine-worth nurseries.

  2. I love this article. I also would like to have many children. I don’t know how many but I suppose as many as the lord will allow; whether my own or adopted.
    But I am curious, how much do you spend on your children a year?

  3. I’ll always remember my mom telling me if you wait until you are financially “ready” to have a kid, you might wait forever. She obviously doesn’t mean go for it and get knocked-up without a plan, but it was nice to hear support from my mom (and dad) who has quite the experience living paycheck to paycheck with 3 young girls to raise. It’s all about STATUS now adays, and what “Judy” thinks about “Maria’s” kids new iPad and designer jeans. You’re ultimately setting your childs standards too high and that, my friends, is what sucks about my generation! (90s baby). Sorry for my rambling… I guess I’m bored.

  4. I am number five in a family of seven kids. My Dad was a school teacher and my Mom a stay-at-home Mom. I know financially my parents struggled, but we always had what we needed. I did piano lessons, learned to sew, was in 4-h, played every sport I could, and ultimately had an amazing childhood full of opportunity. It doesn’t take money to raise a child, it takes love and time. That being said, in order for your children to feel that way YOU have to love that lifestyle and be okay with only needs, not wants being met. I knew we were poor, but I also knew it didn’t bother my parents, and they were extremely grateful for what they had. I never once felt like being poor was our fault (meaning the children’s). If you can’t be grateful for only needs being met, if you would ever make the children feel like it was their fault you were poor, then that lifestyle is not for you. Personally, my husband and I are only having two children. Because of finances? Partially . . . My son has Cerebral Palsy and Hemianopsia due to a stroke right after birth. He is literally expensive and the accommodations he will need will only get more so. But ultimately it is the time factor. He needs more time, and I never want his sister to feel like we didn’t have time for her. Whether to have lots or little children should not only be based on the “price” of a child, but should be done carefully with time, money, emotional, and the physical well being of each family member in mind. It is a very personal matter that should never be taken lightly.

  5. i live in a little community on a island, and here kids are expensive. especially for a working family. not alot of employers offer benifits. The cheapest formula is $32.99 a 640g can. if you need child care to return to work it takes up 90% of a mothers income.i was paying $50/day for child care. i buy pretty much “new to you” even as gifts. and trying to feed a family healthy on ends meat is difficult. i use coupons for everything. so to me and others kids are expensive.

  6. hi I only have one child would have loved more but that’s not in the cards. Anyway as I do agree with you that kids do not need material things. Sometimes people can not afford the other things that are nessasary. Like school and medical. We have had to move to send our child to a good public school which was worth it for us. But not everyone can do that. I am on the side that you do not need as you talk about but I do see others worries as well. Just wanted to say that. Thank you for this beautiful post

  7. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. If I wasn’t spending this money on my kids, then I’d be spending it on myself, probably something frivolous . So, I look at it as trading one thing for another. I don’t spend any more money on them than I would on myself if I were alone. But I am so glad that whenever I do need to spend money on them, for whatever reason, I am doing it better their lives.

  8. You know, Anna, to a certain extent I used to feel somewhat like you do. I understand not getting into all the STUFF that a lot of parents think is necessary. I certainly didn’t think some of that stuff, the enrichment for preschoolers and the like, was necessary and still don’t.

    And then my oldest had a bout of the flu. Not so bad, tender motherly care and the like will get us through, right? Nope. He experienced debilitating secondary effects. We got to see whether he had brain cancer (thank goodness, no) or whether it was “just” a lifelong chronic condition where he’ll frequently have episodes requiring thousands of dollars of care at each go, one that will leave him permanently disabled in the long run. Compassion means that I’m going to work to prevent and ease his suffering. Security means that I do what I can to send him through the physical therapy that will enable him to safely participate in basic daily activities.

    And then we discovered that my youngest has a learning disability. Compassion means that I sought out testing when he was having difficulties and that I work to get him the tutoring needed to help him learn to the best of his abilities. Respect means I stand up for his intelligence and work ethic.

    This is before the other things like glasses (needed by both) and braces (will be needed by both).

    You never know what the future will be. Things happen. Yesterday I saw a six year old at my son’s doctor have a seizure and stop breathing. They managed to stabilize her before the emergency workers got there to take her to the hospital, and I’m hoping she’s still alive and able to recover. You can bet that episode was really expensive. Obviously I don’t expect everyone to plan for their kid to be disabled, but you need to plan a cushion because you really don’t know that everything’s going to go according to your plan.

    1. I agree completely. I love the sentiment. Yes nothing compares to the love. But expenses are no joke. My husband just lost his job a little over 2 months ago very unexpectedly. He is still looking and having no luck finding a job that even comes close to what he was making before and what we need to sustain what little we have. And he wasn’t making that much… He also got cut from his insurance (and has epilepsy). We have 2 children. You never know what life will throw at you. I am so content with my 2 and although I would love more in an ideal world where nothing bad happens, I would rather give the 2 I have my everything.

    2. I have four children. From their births to now (my oldest being 13), I can tell you that I have not for one second thought ( my kids are too expensive ). Why? Because I know that if I did not have children at this point in my life, I would either be loaded with debt trying to drive a nice care to impress, or using the money that I would have used to give my kids braces to go on a nice vacation of some sort. So, I look at it this way. I am trading one thing for another. And I am completely fine with that. Instead of using my money for many other things or to go to many other places, I am using it to nurture and care for these beautiful creations. Money is money….it’s replaceable. Each of my children are irreplaceable and if I need something as fleeting as money to care for them, then I will do that. But the word “expensive” does not fit into that category of words to describe my children. When I looked it up in the Webster dictionary, one of the definitions for “Expensive” is “commanding a high price and especially one that is not based on intrinsic worth or is beyond a prospective buyer’s means” (intrinsic means not belonging naturally)…..really? If anything, instead of saying they are expensive, I would say “They are worth it…” They are worth every minute of my time, every penny spent, every sleepless night. What more did it cost me to have my children? It cost me no more than I would be spending on myself if I were alone…so $0.

  9. I am the oldest of 6 children and I love my large family and all of my siblings. That being said as we got older the financial strain from having 6 teens/young adults become much more apparent. Just feeding 6 teens/young adults was an enormous expense. People forget that their adult children may still need help financially. Everyone is not going to turn 18 and be self sufficient. I have 2 young girls and maybe I will have one more but that will probably be all for me. It seems like may people look at providing help with college, cars or homes as something that is unnecessary but to me, children will always need help and often times it will be financial. Obviously I don’t want my children to be entitled brats but I feel like am I’m being realistic about the long term costs. I would like to be able to help my kids when their car breaks down or they have medical bills. Maybe it’s because my parents were not able to help me in this way. I am not talking about giving my kids everything material item they want either. I am 34 years old and I will finally graduate from college this May. I would love it if I could help my girls though college when they are younger. Sure they probably won’t appreciate it as much as I did being an older student. But they also won’t have to struggle as much as I did. I know plenty of wonderful well adjusted people whose parents paid for them to go to college.

    1. In my experience (I’m just 29. Not an expert by any means) adult children who have a financial safety net and parents who are willing to provide financial support (after age 18) never really become fully independent. I would like to be financially capable of rescuing my adult children (should an emergency arise). However, friends and family whom I’ve witness have such fortune, don’t develop their own determination to prevent these downfalls. I believe that life is a learning experience. When my children become adults, whether I am able to financially assist them or not, I won’t. During times of struggle is when I have learned the most and gained the most pride in my own ability to overcome life’s obstacles. Bailing my children out would rob them of such important and meaningful experiences. I’ll always be available to them for advice, love and guidance until my last breath at which time I will have confidence in their abilities to completely take care of themselves. I don’t think its “unnecessary” to financially help my adult children, I think its ridiculous and detrimental. How would your children gain strength to tred difficult water if they are constantly thrown a floatie? Just my thoughts! πŸ™‚

    2. Exactly. Our kids didn’t get expensive until they hit around 13 or 14. We have 6 children from 6-16 and the older ones are much more expensive than the little ones. Food, clothes (which is more difficult to find used as they get bigger), driver’s ed ($450), classes, tutoring, outings,… Many things that are free or cheap for parents of little ones is cost prohibitive once they get older. Every try taking 6 kids to the movies? Skiing? Just buying skates or XC skis at Salvation Army for multiples is expensive. And there is no promise that once they graduate from high school and turn 18 that they will be independent.
      I love all our children, but even with a good income it is very stressful financially.

  10. I completely agree! Don’t let the negative dim your light. You obviously have a passion for motherhood and I can see your fire burns bright πŸ™‚ I am 25 and have 2 kids (5 and almost 3) and I have seriously thought about having more kids. Some days I’m feeling discouraged as a mother and think I’m crazy to think I can handle more. Some days I feel my heart will always have room for 1 more child. In the end it is a personal decision that should involve no one but you and your husband. I don’t know you personally, but your way with words leads me to believe you are a strong, very capable, sweet woman. From one young mother to another, the way others see you means so little compared to how your kids see you. No one knows what goes on in your home, your mind or your heart. Your intention seems to be that of warmth and love. That is what matters most.
    Best wishes,
    Tiana Keith

    P.S. How do I follow your blog?

    1. Ahhhh love this on so many levels. Thank you, thank you. And you are so right – nobody’s view matters in the end, other than my own family and self. Thanks for the encouragement, and best wishes to you! To follow the blog from a computer, there are a couple different buttons on the left side of the screen. You can follow via email or via Facebook. On your phone, I believe you just scroll all the way to the bottom after the comments, and there is a button to follow on Facebook and a place to follow via email. πŸ™‚

      1. It is no trouble at all. I love to read of other young mothers choosing the path of love and confidence. It inspires me. I am following your blog now. Thank for the warm wishes. I look forward to your next post πŸ™‚

  11. Sigh…we are learning this the hard way. My husband and I were raised without much (at certain times we were even homeless). When we met and saw how similar our lives were- not in a good way- we vowed that our children would never EVER live that life. We have gone so far in the opposite direction that half the time I don’t even know how to respond to my children and what they think they deserve. At this point, there are a lot of silent moments in our house now that we’ve removed every single electronic device, downgraded their cellphones (they can text and call us and their grandparents…only), and removed doors from their rooms (you slam it- it’s gone). I pray that when/ if they become parents they understand why we did what we did. I love them so much, but my husband and I were turning them into entitled and ugly-hearted children. It’s because we love them so much that we just had to rip off the band-aid of greed. Thank You so much for your article!

  12. Dear Anna
    Your children are so very lucky to have such loving parents, gently steering them through the correct path in life. Really well done to you.
    Rosemary xxx

  13. I’m kind of old school in the whole, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” mantra. So shame on the bemoaners and hurray for those who were constructive and/or supportive! By the way, I enjoyed the random post as I am a very random momma. πŸ˜‰

    1. “So shame on the bemoaners”

      Wait a second, I thought you weren’t supposed to say anything if it wasn’t nice.

  14. Saw your blog on the kids kloset page and had a moment of relief! I am sure I am not the only “young” mom going through this, but when did having a large family because such a nuisance for everyone else? My husband and I have 5 kids – four of which are under the age of 4 ( I will give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor) ?

    I love having my big family. I love that my children have each other to play with, to interact with, and will one day have each other to depend on. They are each others best friends, they each look out for the other, and they manage to play games where the 7 year old can include a 1 year old.

    We have very similar ideas (although I have no idea how you are able to home school. I am singing your praises on that!☺ I know it’s not my business but are you home schooling in preparation to public school? I only ask because I was thinking of starting a “home school” type program for my son who’s 3 1/2 and my daughter who’s 2 1/2 now but when the time comes will both be attending public school for kindergarten and with all these common core issues I wasn’t sure how to go about it with out confusing them) and love the idea of less is more (although with 5 babies it never seems like less haha) ? but we do our best to keep it, what we call “open play” toys; dress up, cars, blocks, kitchen pieces, toys with no batteries and endless possibilities. It makes such a difference.

    I use to worry my kids would be missing out if they couldn’t have the “latest and great” , but then I catch a glimpse of my babies all playing together and realize that they have everything they will ever need. They have family, they have love, and they will always have each other.

    Thank you so much for reminding all of us moms and dads that we are doing our best jobs possible in raising the next generation.

  15. (For reference, grew up with two brothers.) Many of my preschool toys came from garage sales. It never occurred to me that this was anything other than awesome. We went with Mom, and every sale was a big adventure. We bought “The Little People” by Fisher Price (the old ones that you could theoretically swallow and choke on) and I’m pretty sure those are still at my parents’ house, since they are inedestructible. I remember we had an airplane, a car track/garage, and a barn. When we got older, Mom would buy up buckets of legos (they are interchangeable, and back then there were fewer “lego sets” and more “boxes of legos”). Before Santa came, each of us went through our toys and picked out things we didn’t play with anymore so that other kids could have some toys too. There were always lots of presents at Christmas in my memory, even during the years when we were told there weren’t going to be as many presents.

    I also remember we bought a whole year of school clothes at the factory outlets. That’s back when factory outlets were outlets–big warehouses with racks of seconds and slightly flawed clothes–and long before “outlet malls” came with fancy everything. We also had hand-me-downs (one reason why our jackets were all red). I’m certain this was not cool. In high school, my pants mostly came from Ross/TJMaxx/Marshalls.

    None of this struck me as different or cheap or whatever. Looking back, I have fond memories of many of the things my family did (things that as an adult I now know we did to save money, but back then they were just how we did things). I loved the homemade pizza night (frozen dough), getting baked goods from the bakery outlet (they gave the kids stickers), helping Mom sort the coupons. I also now know my parents had some serious financial struggles at various points, and even rationed their own fun-things to make the dollars stretch. (Dad was once limited to one case of beer a month–and it was Falstaff).

    I’m very thankful that my parents raised me to be thoughtful about these things. I’m not even sure they realized they were doing that. There are few things I wished for but didn’t have (and now that I understand how dumb they were, I can’t believe I wanted them), like Jordache jeans. As an adult I’m more interested in buying things that will last and give me lots of use. Sometimes this means spending more money (sorry, but my $100 yoga pants have outlasted more than 4 pairs of the $30 ones, and I’m going to buy the correct running shoes for my feet to protect my body and save billions in medical care), but most of the time it doesn’t. Lots of the time it means looking at what people are paying for something and I can’t believe HOW MUCH MONEY they are spending on that crazy thing.

    Sorry this turned into a novella. I meant to say I liked your post, there were 3 kids in my family, and we all turned out just fine.

  16. Beautiful and so what I needed to be reminded of as we are about to welcome our first little one in a little less than a month. My husband and I have always wanted a large family also, and like you, we live in a tiny space and are faced with less than encouraging responses from most people.

  17. This x 1000! I don’t have kids yet, but this is absolutely the philosophy I live my life by, and I certainly want to hold to it when I have kids. I can’t even count the number of times people have said to me, “Oh, you’ll get over the minimalism thing when you have kids. There’s no controlling the stuff!” Or, “You’ll really outgrow your house when you have kids. They’ll need [a finished basement, a playroom, their own bedrooms, etc.] to hold all their stuff.” It just fuels me to keep on living simply and teach my kids the value of every dollar, every possession, and every person. Keep on going, girl!

  18. Really well thought out and well written blog post–but maybe wrong title! I am 68 and have raised 5 children. We have been a high end middle income family. I compare my life to my friends who for whatever reason have no children. I don’t think the discussion is really about whether or not children are expensive. Of course they cost more in every way than life without children. I think what is really the point here is that values should be taught no matter what the income level is. And as for many of my friends who chose to not have children, I hear all the time that they wish they had them now. They feel they have no legacy. A lot of things to think about.

  19. In our case it’s childcare that is expensive. Both my husband and I live far from our families and childcare costs really add up. I’m not even taking about childcare to go on a date, childcare to be able to work.

    1. Not your job. People put themselves through college all of the time. Plus they can go to a cheaper institution. Provide them a place to live so they don’t have to work through school and can complete it in a lesser time frame. That is more than enough.

      1. “People put themselves through college all of the time”
        I see – foisting kids out into the world on their 18th birthday is what good parenting is all about. And the way people put themselves through college is by borrowing.

  20. Amen! I was blessed with only 3, but loved each one! Believe it or not, my “baby” is 17 now, and I don’t know where the years all went, they just flew by. So enjoy each one of your days, and make plenty of memories:)

    1. Adelle, that’s what I hear from so many moms of older kids! I already feel like the time is flying. Ahhhhhh. Haha Thanks for reading! Xo

  21. I agree that if you have perfectly healthy children it is not expensive, but you can’t pick what child you have. The cost for a child are significant if your child has special needs, which is something that anybody considering having a child should evaluate.

    Also not buying the newest toys and brand name clothes will cut down on costs, but there are other costs too. The costs of diapers, daycare and doctor appointments do add up. As a parent, I would want to give my child the best chance to succeed, so if they need tutoring or after school help that also costs money. Although extra curricular activities are expensive, some are important life skills, like swimming.

    It is important to recognize that children are expensive and to consider the cost; both in time and money, before choosing to have them. It is not greedy to make sure that your children grow up healthy and happy, it is greedy and selfish to ignore the costs associated to children.

  22. I love this article!! This is the exact same philosophy I have with my kids. I was a single mom for a few years making minimum wage and it was hard but we all survived and not having as much my kids are way more grateful for what they do have. When I remarried, my husband wanted me to be a stay at home mom which the kids and I were very grateful for. Not having a lot meant they had to share and we had a small home so they actually had to spend time together. I think this creates a much closer relationship. My 2 oldest have moved out and started their own lives now and the twins are leaving for college this year so I will only have the youngest left at home. But even as teenagers and adults and with different lives and interests, they still love to be together.

    1. This is amazing. You are amazing! Just shows how different each of our stories and situations are. Thanks for reading! Xoxo

  23. Reblogged this on misslee86's Blog and commented:
    Loved this post from This House is our Home – although I will not be having my own children, these are exactly my thoughts on ‘need’ vs ‘greed’ when it comes to life in general. Loved!

  24. Spot on! I’d only add to that bit about not needing a playroom full of the newest toys: they don’t even need a playroom! I have 3 littles myself and wish for more, although circumstances and age probably dictate no more. They are worth every penny you spend and you really don’t need to spend much. I’d rather have my 3 than $3 million in the bank.

    1. Whaaaat. No play room! Gasp. Just kidding. We don’t have one and we do just fine. Although I’m not going to lie, the idea of having a room I can just close the door to instead of cleaning is very appealing sometimes. Bwahahaha Thanks for your comment. Xoxo

      1. Seriously. Cleaning up the toys. Ugh. And my kids don’t have much compared to many in the West (but so much more compared to where we used to live in Africa). We just turned an emotional corner from me picking up stray Legos to me informing my son that I will vacuum them up with glee if he can’t keep them together and in their right spot (in our non-existent playroom). πŸ™‚

        1. I have never, ever vacuumed up or thrown out stray Legos after stepping on them barefoot. Never. That would be so wrong. πŸ˜‰

  25. I am due with my first any day now. This post is great. There were certainly times in the last few months where I thought we didn’t have everything we needed before the baby came but in reality they don’t need much more than time and love. This should be a frequent read for everyone as a little reminder about what is important.

  26. Thanks for the great article! The perspective is so helpful. We too always heard that “kids are so expensive” phrase and found it to be untrue. Actually the money we receive from the government (child tax credit and universal childcare (Canada)) gives us plenty and our child has quite a good savings for college already (he is 17 months). While we only have one baby and he is young, it is very true that the things kids need are free.

    1. “Universal childcare” in Canada? Where? How? I also live in Canada and have never heard of universal childcare before? I’m curious.

      1. It’s not as exciting as it sounds D. Parents get $60/month/child under 6. Definitely helpful, but not what it sounds like πŸ˜‰

  27. You’re right, kids aren’t expensive. They can sleep on a mat on the floor, go to the library to read books, have only one main meal a day (McDonalds should suffice) go to the free clinic, instead of a pediatrician. They don’t need toys, don’t they like playing with the boxes more anyway? It fuels the imagination! Clothes? Hmmmm well, two outfits should suffice, one to wear, one in the wash! As for entertainment, once they’re in school, they’ll have homework.

  28. There are elements that are expensive. Daycare, healthcare and food are the top of our list when deciding to add children to our family.
    However, I think you just learn to make sacrifices. When we were expecting #1 I had no idea how we were going to do it. But you learn to live within your means and stop spending on one thing to pay for another. Things that seamed important before having kids no longer matters. What does matter is family. We haven’t gone out to dinner in years, but I wouldn’t trade that for the stories our 4 year old tells us at the dinner table. πŸ™‚

  29. While I agree with your outlook, I don’t agree that kids aren’t expensive. It totally depends on your circumstances. If one parent’s income alone isn’t enough to support the family, then having kids IS expensive. When both parents have to work, it costs a ton for childcare. My kids have never owned more than two pairs of shoes at any given time (usually just one), their clothes all come from yard sales, and they only get new toys at Christmas and on birthdays, they aren’t involved in any extra activities, our house is modest, the cars are old, we have almost no debt…you get the drift. We’re reasonable, ungreedy, modest people. But, we weren’t able to make it long term on just one income. So I had to go back to work and it’s really, really expensive to pay that childcare bill each month. We’ve considered a third child, but I’m worried because of the costs. And it’s not because I’m greedy.

    1. Yes. The article was too generalized and a bit demeaning. Your perspective is much more realistic. Great comment πŸ™‚

      1. That’s what is so great about the internet… all different viewpoints and there’s always someone you can connect and agree with! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, ladies! πŸ™‚

  30. Hmm… While I agree that kids don’t need designer clothes or to be signed up for bunches of activities— I have to disagree and say kids ARE expensive!
    $1000 for daycare and $500 for health insurance, and healthy food on top of that???? Yeah…. Kids are expensive without being greedy. :/

    1. Yeah it does sort of ring out of “want to save a ton of money? Give up your daily starbucks!” To people who already live frugally because we have to and not because it’s ideal.
      I know too many couples who both work, can barely pay bills, and most of at least one paycheck goes toward childcare, just to get that extra $100 a week to cover the groceries. Or who works all month for about $50 in actual pay to cover health insurance. Kids are expensive. Period. They may totally be worth it, but they are expensive.

  31. Living in San Francisco (now the most expensive place in the US) has definitely taught us to do with less, and I’m so thankful for it! Families here live outside, throw birthday parties in Golden Gate Park, and pass on hand-me-down clothes to friends because we don’t have space to store them for our future children. But I also think the idea that children aren’t expensive is a suburban, upper middle class novelty (or at least belongs in a place where the median price for a 2br apartment is less than $4,000). Feeding extra mouths adds up and sale rack clothes still cost money. We would love to have more than one child, but unless my husband wants a long commute (another quality of life sacrifice), it’s not in the cards for us. Count your blessings if you can take inexpensive vacations and shop at Goodwill to make the numbers work in your favor. Many families in this country can’t.

    1. For what it’s worth, where I currently live was recently listed as one of the top four most expensive places to live in the U.S. So I’m not sure that location is relevant to my main point here. πŸ™‚

  32. Thank you for this article! my husband and I are thinking about having a child but we worry because everyone always talks about how expensive children are. But we have always lived simply ourselves, so why would we not do that with our child? Thank you for saying what no one else is saying about having children!

  33. This is so touching and amazing. I also believe that kids are not expensive the other stuff is. My oldest is 5 years old going on 6 years old this month. He makes me proud when he tells me all he wants is his family together. <3

  34. I love this article! I could not help but smile throughout your article because we have a similar outlook on life…. Keep it the writing ! πŸ™‚

  35. Beautiful and well written! A great reminder, which we all sometimes need in the hustle and bustle of life. Thank you.

  36. This brought me to tears….I’m going to blame this on my IVF medication I’m currently on. You are such a beautiful Mother! I pray I can remember this in the future. Thank you for sharing. P.s you have adorable cchildren that have been taught well. ❀

  37. My kids never lacked anything they needed and we were a very low income single parent family. Their clothes were always second hand from the charity shop or a school fair. They were always well dressed. We had plenty of toys and many were not played with often. We borrowed books from the library. Again toys were picked up second hand. They also got new things for Xmas etc. They are adults now and one overindulges her kids with stuff. The other does not, They have everything they need and more. This grandma enjoys buying them things too. I am a foster parent now and there are too many toys in my house all bought second hand or found in the hard garbage, In these affluent times I am amazed at what people throw out instead of recycling. It is time for me to declutter and give away what is not needed or not being used here,

  38. I’m trying right now to undo my mistakes of spoiling my son with too many “things.” I’m trying so hard to make him appreciate what he has by taking toys to the consignment store before he receives anything new or new to him. Your post says exactly what I feel about the way I should be parenting! You obviously have done an amazing job with your son and should be proud. Children are only as expensive as you make them and if you wait until you are “financially ready” to have a child, you will never have one :(.

  39. My husband and raised 6 children we were blessed with from birth and 3 grands that we had for up to 13 years plus many others( not foster Parents) for months to years. We did not have much but we had lots of love. It did not cost a lot because we did not buy stuff to keep up with others. We have been married 54 years and have never had a “New” automobile but we have never needed one. We did not have lots of conveniences but we had what we needed. Kids want time with parents more than expensive clothes, toys etc.

  40. Very well written! I think children are as expensive as parents make them! Think about many many years ago when shopping for under armor or north face wasn’t an option. Society plays on the “material” items too much! I am a mother of 5 children, and I can say they don’t have name brand clothing, shoes, etc. On the other hand if you were to ask any one of them, they would all tell you that we cook together, bake together, read together, go sled riding in the winter and walks to the park in the summer. My children are thankful just to have loving parents, a warm bed, clothing on their backs, hot meals every day and a roof over their head πŸ˜‰ thank you for this writing πŸ™‚

  41. This was a beautiful article. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Enjoyed every word of it.

  42. This author is exactly right. But that being said, she needs to revisit and reevaluate this blog entry when her children are in middle school. ?

    1. My kids are teenagers and are fine with minimal living because that’s how they have grown up. I dislike clutter and rooms full of toys. Each Christmas and birthday I went through toys when they were little. The organize and minimalize themselves now that they are teens. They don’t ask for a lot. They don’t care about brand names or “popular” stuff. So in the end it depends on how you raise them. If they are confident in themselves they don’t need clothes or objects to fit in.

  43. Your post is so sweet. I look forward to being a wife and a hope to be able to be a full time mommy and have many kids. Your post encourages me that it’s possible to have a lot of kids without making a fortune. Thank you πŸ™‚

  44. This is really hard for me. I want to say I agree, but it’s hard when ends don’t meet…my husband works in a “professional” field, but is technically a contractor. ..there is no healthy insurance, there is no paid vacation or even holidays…we can’t afford to live some where where outside play is an option…I haven’t bought toys or clothes for my kids in several years…not even thrift store…we unfortunately depend on grandparents and hand me downs…so maybe kids aren’t expensive, but life sure is! So call me greedy because I’m not sure how we can afford this baby that’s on the way…it won’t be the worst thing I’ve been called.

    1. You’re not greedy at all. That’s not at all what my post was about, and I’m truly sorry if you took it that way. What you’re describing sounds incredibly challenging, especially with a baby on the way. Do you have friends or family you can talk to openly? There is so much angst when it comes to parenting, and I’ve found it wonderful to have a few close people that I know I can say anything to, without being judged, you know? It sounds really hard on you, and I’m sorry. Feel free to email me if you want to talk more, but there’s certainly no reason to be ashamed of your feelings. Lots of love to you and your family. xoxo

  45. As a married person thinking about having kids I also have always been told and read that you have to save up money to have kids, they will be so expensive! I’m glad I read your article, it gave me more insight to what really matters and I am looking forward to the fun experiences in the future. Thank you for your thoughts! πŸ™‚

    1. Take this with a grain of salt — kids ARE expensive, even if you don’t buy all the newest toys and gadgets. My children are 2 and 5 months – in order to afford public college my financial planner advised us to save $900 per month for EACH child. I spent $6k in health care last year to deliver my child and a brief hospital stint when the baby had a fever at 3 weeks– this is with health insurance. I totally agree that children don’t need much “stuff” – but they do need education, health care, housing, etc. And all of that is very expensive.

  46. I loved what you wrote. It’s very true. I get caught up in the newest and coolest stuff for my little one and in my heart I know and believe what you wrote to be completely accurate.

  47. Amen..Amen..Amen!!! Sure wish more young couples raising children thought like you. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. :- ))

    1. I agree, it’s how we are all raised, that is what builds America’s Culture & values… Too much of that missing. My kids are now teenagers & have no problem shopping for school clothes at the thrift stores, my kids are awesome, and unashamed of nothing material… I’m blessed & I declare proud of them & myself & hubby for raising such smart girls. We are so Blessed!

  48. So glad I read this today. I’ve been struggling with wet her to quit my job and stay home. Thus just reaffirm s why I want to be home. I have a 12 week old daughter and two boys ages 11 and 9. My boys are spoiled and don’t appreciate anything. I want to be home to be more present in there lives. With me not working we wouldn’t be able to afford those $100 shoes etc etc. I told them they would have to appreciate what they have. But to my surprise the boys really want me home, and that makes me feel so good they would rather have my time than things.

  49. Let me start out by saying that I am one of 6 kids and I have some amazing memories with all those siblings that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I struggle with this a bit because, although I agree with you, I have conflicting thoughts. I love lavish vacations and giving my kids gifts. I love the looks on their faces when we do somehing together for the first time. Some times those experiences have been very expensive. I want to live life to the fullest with them. If I can do this without borrowing money or going into debt then I am ok with it. I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lot of money to have awesome experiences with your family. However, if you have the financial means I don’t think you should NOT do it. I am raising respectful kids who care about others and want to help others. We volunteer together and give back. We are humble and appreciative. Kids don’t have to be expensive, but if parents want to spend a lot of money and can do it responsibly, I don’t think that’s all bad either.

  50. Anna – I just wanted to say that I agree with everything you have said 100%, as we have the same philosophy. Sadly, for medical reasons we have only been able to have one precious blessing (our miracle baby, as I shouldn’t have even been able to have her!) So we are really mindful of how easy it would be for her to be spoilt, get everything and grow up with no appreciation of anything!

    As such, we have a policy of one in one out and she loves it! Recently she had a quick growth spurt and out grew some sandals very quickly. She brought them to me in a bag and said “mummy, I want to give my shoes to a little girl that doesn’t have a mummy or daddy who can buy her nice things” My heart nearly exploded!! We also don’t buy lots of gifts at gift giving time. She will get a token or two to open and then we put money away, as do our parents, into a trust account for use when she’s older (car, college etc)

    In a world of such excesses I think it is so important to instill the values in the next generation of what worth really is so I applaud you and your post. And try not to take on board the negative – people often lash out when the truth causes them to reflect upon themselves and they don’t like what they see…

    Blessings Amber πŸ™‚

    1. Amber, this is just wonderful! You must be so proud of your daughter! Thank you for sharing this with me today, and for your words of encouragement! <3

  51. I have a friend who through a birthday party for her girls .. but rather than kids bringing gifts .. they bring something for the Food Bank or the Animal Shelter .. then the girls all take the donated items to their new home … The mom does provide some “presents at family dinner” but as for the party .. its about getting together, having fun, sharing good times making memories .. and GIVING BACK .. these girls have been doing this since they were early grade school … I love that your children have such a sense of knowing the difference between NEED and greed! Well done mom!

  52. My parents made me take out all of the unsubsidized loans, where you don’t pay interest until you graduate, and I had to save to pay off the rest of each semester with my own money. I always had multiple jobs during college, and while it was tough, I still graduated with a relatively good GPA. Once I was done with college, they surprised me by paying off my student loans, and letting me keep the money I had saved to start paying them off. I appreciated that so much more, and took my schooling so much more seriously when I was spending my own money. I also feel like it really helped me learn how to responsibly budget and manage the money that I make now! My husbands parents paid for almost everything he had, and he has such a hard time budgeting money! While I hated not having “new” everything in high school, i feel like my parents really set me up for success in the real world by making me work for what I wanted!

    1. I’ve heard this exact thing from so many people, and it was definitely my own experience. (Although… your parents surprising you at the end… awesome!) I know so many people who didn’t even begin to act/think like adults till they finished school, because it was all paid for and they didn’t take it seriously. It just makes sense… when you see where your money is going, it matters a whole lot more to you. Thanks for sharing your perspective! πŸ™‚

  53. And my dream is for our boys to have the attitude yours did. Keep up the great parenting!

  54. Thank you for a great article. Simple and well written. And a timely encouragement to me, as I managed to resist all the pleas for toys and candy at the dollar store tonight. We made it out with only what we went in for. It was hard because there were some really cool toys that he really likes and they were only $3! But he already has too much. With 5 sets of aunts & uncles, 2 sets of involved grandparents and a birthday just weeks ago I said no because it wasn’t necessary, in fact it was excessive. And I’m going to keep reminding myself to say no to excess consumption but make room for more interaction. Maybe those board games being dusty is my fault for not playing with him. Thanks for the affirmation I made at least one good choice today πŸ™‚

  55. I loved reading your thoughts and it’s funny that my wife and I are married just over a year with a 6 month old and just moved I to a new construction home with limited upgrades because of our finances. We wanted to have space to grow as a family but agreed not to break the bank to keep up with the Jones’! We talk so many nights about how we hope he grows up to respect and appreciate everything he gets and the people in his life. We want to spoil him but we don’t want him to become a brat! Lol and we have already noticed that some of the extravagant infant toys he has been given as gifts, are no match for the flashy metallic shiny balloon mama got for valentines day! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and keeping us parents hopeful with similar goals for our little peanuts!

  56. Your words brought tears to my eyes. I am the loving and proud mother of four grown children. They are wonderful adults and we all share wonderful memories from their youth. The memories that they and I cherish are not about the material things that they had. The memories are of the time we all shared together doing the things that were not costly yet built valuable memories for all of us. Children are only as expensive as you allow them to be. Always saying yes is not doing them a favour. My children were not deprived but we are not wealthy yet they are in their early to mid twenties and have successfully graduated debt free from University and travelled extensively. They appreciate what they were given and look forward to cultivating their experiences throughout the world. Definitely rich in values and beliefs. The truly valuable things in life.

  57. I love this, I have three kids now and would love to have 1 or 2 more. I think people need to understand the point is you have some control over how expensive your kids are. Yes it cost almost $2,000 to have a kid, but you should have an idea of that when you are planning to have one. I know formula and diapers are expensive but you don’t always have to have the most expansive, buy what’s on sale or the store brand. When I found out I was pregnant I started buying 2 boxes I diapers every month and had a great stockpile by time she was here. Also yes sports can be expensive both my boys play basketball, soccer and baseball. However they have the $20 shoes not the $75 ones, they have used gloves and bats….the point is you don’t have to buy the most expensive brand of everything!! We don’t go on spectacular vacations, they don’t have lots of extra things. They wear hand me down clothes and I buy shoes on clearance. Also with college ye it cost a lot of money but just like everything else I think sometimes we pick colleges for their popularity. I really don’t think it’s a bad thing if you don’t go to a big name college, you still finish with the same degree…. I teach 8th grade and it is a real shame to listen to kids talk about what they think is important in life!!!

  58. I am so sorry, I forgot to say that I agree with you. Time spent together is very important. I remember we knew a pastor with a really nice home but he expected his staff to spend 80 hrs a week working. He told my husband he would never hire him because he wanted to spend too much time with his family. That was a plus as far as I was concerned. When his son was 12 or 13 he asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He told him he had everything he needed but what he wanted most was for him to spend time with him. Their son is grown now & he is not bitter in fact he is the pastor of the church his Dad retired from. I am not condemning him but trying to prove your point about what the kids want is us. Mom & Dad, family time together. We made many mistakes with our kids but thank God for His grace because we are so blessed. I wish you and your husband all the blessings God has in store for you.

  59. First, I want to say, you have absolutely beautiful children. We married very young and had all three children by 22 and 23. We lived in a small 900sf house w/1 bath. Our children had clothes that were made by me when they were too little to know better. (& I am not a terrific seamstress like my Mother-in-law was), my wonderful, talented Mother-in-law, garage sales, other people blessing us with their hand me downs (many times w/much more clothes than they could wear & much more expensive than we could buy), and I loved clearance racks. Because we couldn’t afford daycare for 3 preschoolers and I didn’t want to work until the last 2 were at least 2, our electric, gas & water were turned off regularly. We were very blessed to have a government subsidized home. Our children were soccer players but they were on scholarships. They were on reduced and sometimes free lunch. I chose to work temporary after our 3rd child so I could attend school programs and spend summers with our children. We spent vacations going to free places i.e., little town outside Joplin, MO a man had moved and made a free tourist site, swimming and camping at the lake, we would go to my Aunt’s in Houston and his Aunt & Uncle in Dallas so we could afford to go to Six Flags. Our big 3 week vacation we drove and went to the painted desert, Grand Canyon and put their little pup tent up while my husband & I slept in a double sleeping bag at KOAs & the kids could swim. Our big expense was a hotel & Disneyland & headed up to Washington State to stay with our best friends for a week. We drove to CO where my sister & brother-in-law lived & went panning for gold. We drove up to Pike’s Peak. The main thing our kids remember are, we went to their games, they went hiking & climbing with us, we spent time together. They didn’t have Nintendo or whatever (I can’t remember) the tv game was in the 80s. They were in church activities, scouts & Camp Fire. We spent time with their grandparents. We always wanted our kids to be better off than we are. The two that are married with children are both very “successful” in people’s opinion but most important is they are their coaches & leaders & love each other & teach their children to love us & others. Our grandson was 12 in December (much older than your son) but we were delighted & so proud when he said, he didn’t need anything & he wanted us to give the money to someone who needed it. We wanted him to have the opportunity to do just that. We live in a different state so when we went up for Thanksgiving, we gave him the opportunity to choose how his birthday money would be spent. He could contact the school, ask at church or do an angel tree. He chose to do the angel tree. He picked out the boy & the gifts & took it very seriously. We watched him & could tell how proud he was to do something for someone else. We didn’t want to just contribute but wanted him to be a part. His Mom (our daughter) gave him some money in addition to the money we gave him so he was able to go back & pick another little boy. I am sure he will always remember this experience & who knows he may do it again next year, especially since his birthday is 2 days after Christmas. I know you are so proud of your children. We are very proud of the adults our children have become & they are much better parents than we ever were. We are so proud of our grandchildren & their love for Jesus too!

  60. you are so awesome! And I agree. I have 3 children from a previous marriage and so does my husband. We love them all! And wouldn’t give them up for anything. We also have 1 together and another on the way. When we first got together we both had full time jobs but after the birth of Our 7th child (because the first 6 are both of ours as far as we are concerned) I became a stay home mom. Kids am rent expensive. Children are riches, blessings, irreplaceable and priceless. Thank you for sharing.

  61. I really did agree with this when my children were small. They really aren’t all that expensive when they’re small, unless you choose to spend a lot, which is what your post says. However, if you want to be able to help your children with basic sports (and I’m not talking a ton of expensive sports), help with university, etc. it DOES get expensive. I have three. I cannot imagine trying to help 4 or more kids with post-secondary expenses. We’re also helping our 14 year old twins get their lifeguard certification, which gives them great part-time and summer job opportunities. I could not afford to do that with more children.
    My point is, is that it’s sort of easy to live on the cheap when they’re small. They need little food, basic clothing and mostly, love. But as they get older, it becomes WAY more expensive. These things need to be considered when you’re deciding how many children to have.

    1. I see where you’re coming from. However, my husband and I are both from large, single-income families, and so we’re very aware of what that entails. Neither of us ever missed out on activities growing up, and we’re both college graduates. Different things work for different families. You sound like a very caring mother, I’m your kids feel lucky to have you! <3

    2. Less material things leaves to more reading and learning,in turn better grades, in turn better opportunities for scholarships. And if you twins are swimmers, there is a possibility for full scholarships through a lot of university’s .as well as learning things are not important, they also need to know their choices in life are their resposability. And if they want post secondary education they need to look long and hard at the cost and do their part to contribute as part of the family entity as well

  62. I absolutely agree with the sentiment of this post. My family and I are fairly minimalist and much of this resonates. However after reading some of the comments, it kind of felt like many are feeling ‘holier than thou’ because they have adopted this lifestyle.

    I could be very wrong, but some felt like ‘I’m better than you because I raise my kids with less. Your kids will be terrible because you’re not raising them like I do.”

    It felt like that to me and I actually AGREED with the article and live it in practice. When I think of how it would read to those who feel differently, it makes me cringe. I think we need to say “yes, this works great for my family, but others may choose to raise their families differently and that doesn’t mean their kids are somehow ‘less’ than mine.”

    As a side note, the only thing I disagree 100% with (again this is directed towards other commenters) is not paying for your child’s college education – at least a 4 year degree. Sure, they could work their way through, but this doesn’t ensure they won’t be buried in loans by the time they graduate. Student loans are a terrible thing that stay with many for years. Working enough to support yourself through college can also eat into study time, worsen grades and make them less employable later. I’m sure many will argue and say they worked X amount of hours and had a 4.0, and that’s great for you. I would think that it’s not the norm though.

    1. I agree with you about the tone of some of the comments. Unfortunate that they came off that way, even if unintentionally. I’m glad you were able to read my words in the post and felt like you could relate! In the end, the point is quality time and love given to our children, no matter how each of us chooses to do it. <3

  63. Kids ARE expensive… in my 64 years of life, they have cost me heartbreak whenever they shared pain that was too great for them to handle alone. They have cost me selfishness when I gave to them instead of spending money — or time — on myself. They have cost me pride and sadness when I recognized the times that I failed them. They have cost me childishness when I acknowledged that I was the one who needed to “grow up” in a situation, not them. They have cost me sleepless nights when I saw the consequences of poor choices they have made. And they have cost me even more sleepless nights — and bitter tears — when I understood that some of my own poor choices over the years affected them.

    They have cost me hours and hours of patience, sacrifice, humility, prayers… and love.

    They are SO worth the expense.

  64. Great post. I just found out I’m having twins and I already have a 4 year old and a 15 month old! My mind has been racing on how we are going to afford the twins, but we will make it happen some how!

  65. Such a beautiful post and one i needed to hear today ! I have a spinal cord injury and fibromyalgia and for the past three years I’ve been so wired that I’m not “doing ” enough for my kids….activities, organic meals, buying toys and tons of lessons etc….but reading this post reminded me of the fact that because of what happened to me, i have time. And time is precious. I have time to snuggle and to read to my kids and to listen to their little stories and watch their newest accomplishment with Legos or whatever. I have time to teach them. To really look at them and memorize their perfect faces. So this big trial…is maybe a blessing in disguise. Thank you for sharing this post ! Love jl ~ http://www.lookwhatoilscando.blogspot.com

  66. It’s all about perspective and priorities. Good thoughts. My mother-in-law once told me that “having children is one of the most unselfish things you will ever do”.

  67. I agree with toy. Kids are only as expensive as you make them. That being said if you compare my child with his cousins he is less fortunate with the number of toys amd material items. With that in mind, My son has been swimming, to a play center, social groups with moms, free library classes, etc., my nieces have never. They have their “play room”. I focus more on spending time with him than what can I buy him. This is probably because I work as a full time NICU nurse so shift work and dayhome are our life, but it makes the days I have off that much more precious and special. Being able to have a “date” with my son means more to me and I’m sure him too. And being with him doesn’t cost a thing.

  68. I appreciate your post. I’m a mommy of two, who always wanted more until health problems (physical and mental) got in the way. I still struggle with the fact that my girl will never have a sister, and my boy will never have a brother, and occasionally I wonder if we decided 2 was our limit for the right reasons. But I have enough energy to give my 2 kiddos the love they need, and that’s about it, so we had to quit. I hope that others around me don’t look at our large-ish house and our 2 kids and judge us for having such a small family, thinking we’re greedy.

    1. I’m sure they don’t! I hope you understand that my overall point was NOT that everyone should have have tons of kids, but that, whatever our family size, love, values, and quality time are what matter most. You sound like a wonderful, caring mother. Thanks for your comment! Xoxo

  69. What a great read!!! It was nice to hear that there are still others out there that feel buying anything and everything is not what makes people happy.
    I am mother of 5 one on the way. My each of my kids get to pick one sport per season and they are happy!!

  70. Go get em, girl! This post was beautiful and well written… stay in the truth of who you are and who you are called to be as a mama!

  71. I would love to have more kids. I have a 17year old boy and a 2year old girl but it is expensive when it comes to day care. To have 2kids in daycare would cost more than my husband makes in a month and we can’t afford to live on one pay check and we live super frugally and unfortunately do not own our own home. So in some cases kids really are expensive. But I totally get where you are coming from.

  72. i so needed this! I would love nothing more than to raise my own little herd of kids (ten is my magic number!) but my boyfriend (and future husband) says we will have as many as we can afford. Hopefully now, his and my idea of how many kids that is will be the same!

  73. My husband and I made a deal with both our kids if they paid for first semester we paid for second. One lived at home for three years of a 4 year BTh program , our daughter was away for 4 year BA and 2 year BEd so hers was a bit more expensive as we did not help with second degree. Having them responsible for semester before they saw money from us allowed them to focus and take responsibility for their decisions of how they spent their money and time spent on school work. Our son finished without any debt just working in summers , our daughter had debt from second degree. We were a one income family for most of their growing up years so not a lot of clubs but piano from neighbours, brownies and guides , couple years of swim so they would be safe and lots and lots of thrift shopping and hand me downs. Lots of good labels , at fraction of the price. They managed to grow to be well adjusted adults , spouses and now one parent of 3 boys and one on the way. Quanlity of love will out do quantity of anything.

  74. I always said… Two kids is expensive.. Specially if it’s one of each… 3+ is just cheaper somehow.

  75. I enjoyed reading your articles and am in complete agreement about the commercialization of everything. I grew up in a family that didn’t have much money but I never felt that. We didn’t get the brand new electronic,fancy new toys and expensive clothes. In fact I was in high school before most of my clothes were store bought. My mother made all the clothing. I never went hungry, unclothed, or unclean.
    Children who get everything tend to feel entitled. I work in a retail store and can’t even begin to describe the fits I have seen because a child can’t get some item they desire. This behavior continues into adulthood. It is difficult to hire employees who have a strong work ethic. A lot of applicants feel I owe them a job and I should be catering to their needs.
    Enough preaching. Just wanted to say I applaud your article.

  76. Thanks for the post and for reminding me again on what is truly important

  77. i raised 3kids with one salary (husband’s) and lived payday to payday, they all graduated 2000-2003… With no credit cards.. And consequently no nintendo crap.
    Now They….all work full time and their spouses do too and have kids. And multiple credit cards …it’s credit that screws you. My kids KNEW the sales rack was the only rack. We never had a new car, but we always had two. Our vacations were “mouching” off family kind, or camping. There were no trips to Europe or Hawaii or Mexico. I finally made it out of the country to Mexico for one of their weddings. My son asked me the other day how i afforded hockey (he was a goalie$$$$)for him? With all those out of town tournaments etc? One of the conditions of getting him on the team, was the coach was responsible for his out of town travel, and his equipment was the hockey associations expense. I guess it helps that he was in demand, he appreciated the expense back then and even more so now,cause he has two in hockey .
    The best place that I’ve noticed to raise a family is in a Co-op. One of mine is, and to me it’s like a small town in the big city. Everyone has to learn to play together, the adults have to get along because of all the committees they have to join. There’s always someone to play with, there’s usually some teenager around to babysit….siblings are raising their kids together in the same complex, marriages fall apart but parents coparent in the same complex. Just not next to each other. No one locks their doors… It’s amazing…. Kids just come and go from one townhouse to the other, it’s like living back in the 60’s. And it’s tres’ cheap. Use mortgage money for aNYTHING else.
    If i was raising kids and thirty again… I would move heaven and earth to get into a Co-op. Anything else is just overrated.

  78. We live simply, but have very happy children who are amazing and “well-adjusted”. When asked what they want for an upcoming bday or Christmas, we still often hear “I don’t need anything”. And they’re ages 23 to 12 (5 kids). Simple is good.

  79. I agree with your post. Designer goods and millions of toys are not necessary and the most important thing is quality time and LOVE! That said, respectfully, day care is upwards of $1,200/ month in our area and there is no break for additional children. I also feel that while it’s not necessarily for all parents to pay for or assist their children with college tuition and expenses, it is something to think about when planning for your family. I love the idea of your article but there are other, very important, expenses that do, in fact, make children expensive even after you cut out the hottest toys and designer baby clothes. Some of them come 18 years down the road! I applaud you for creating a large and love-filled family. Just offering a counterpoint and I hope it’s well received! πŸ™‚

  80. Excellent we raised eight kids and now have eighteen grandkids. Kids just want you, well said. God Bless you and yours.

  81. I agree we need to get back to the basic of family time kids don’t need enought pants and tops underwear, clothes what ever to last 2-3 weeks before it washed and worn again.Or every toy in site and still have nothing to do they need family time meals together and book reading together prayers and FAMILY value.

  82. Hi!
    We have 5 boys and our sixth child passed away in utero. We love them all and wouldn’t change a thing about our family size. You can definitely scale down on expenses or take alternative routes when raising them so it costs less. I think they get older and do eat a tremendous amount but if you plan and spend more time you can still feed them and not spend a fortune! Our three oldest have joined the air guards to help pay for their education so far with the younger two already planning that route. Medical and braces can be expensive. But God will provide! I feel so blessed to have each one of them! They are precious too us!

  83. Good thoughts here, Anna. My mom often told my sister and me as we were growing up, “If you wait until you have money to have kids, you’ll never have kids.” I haven’t been blessed with any little ones yet, but my sister has four beautiful daughters. I’d like to adopt sometime soon. I think the hardest part is realizing that we will have to have enough for a child–and since we will have to adopt, that means paying a lot up front just for legal fees. Since getting married, my spouse and I have sometimes not even had enough for the two of us–a situation different from yours and pretty scary to adults–I’m so glad we didn’t have to drag children through the homeless days. Still, whether children are born into a family or adopted, there’s no way to guarantee the income will stay the same or that hard times won’t come. That’s when we step out on faith and pray only for our daily bread.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    1. Marie, have you considered adopting through your local foster care agency? There are often no costs to the adoptive parents and there are so many children waiting for a forever family in foster care. It may be just the perfect idea for you! Good luck with everything πŸ™‚

  84. Really puts things into perspective. My husband and I have been talking and were “putting off” having children because we always thought they are so expensive. We had a conversation a few days ago and I was surprised my husband said, maybe it isn’t as expensive as we think. Maybe we over think. Then I saw a friend post this article on Facebook. I am seeing so many signs that maybe we should just not think so much and not feel as if we “need” to have everything. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    1. Best thing an older mom ever said to me: there’s never a “good” time to have a child and you will never be “ready.” GO FOR IT! Haha But seriously, best of luck to you both, whatever you decide.

  85. I really enjoyed reading this article and I could not agree with you more. I come from a family of ten. While my younger siblings are still at home, the eldest five are out of the house and embarking on our own new adventures. Of course, home will always be our base, our foundation.

    We did not have much money growing up and that was okay for us. We didn’t have the biggest house, the latest technology, the new age hockey equipment. We had each other. When a member was down or not around, we certainly felt it. We are a unit, a whole. That is what mattered the most. My father shared with me recently that he had been feeling guilty that the younger children are able to have nicer things now as there aren’t as many children in the house. He asked me if any of us felt jealous. That thought has never even crossed my mind. And leave it to my dear father, a true parent to think those thoughts. Us older children are more than happy that our younger siblings can have those things. It is the values and the morals we were brought up with that makes us who we are, not material items.

    We continue to remenisce about our childhood, as well as participate in our younger siblings’ childhood to make this crucial time something to remember. We had free time to make the most of what we were given and use our imaginations. We did not “need” anything but the love and support from our parents. I am truly blessed.

  86. I remember when we were in the child bearing days how people were putting the whole paying for college thing into the mix when thinking about how expensive it is to raise kids. Like they were going to make a decision on whether to have another child based on whether they could pay for their children’s college education. That just always felt really weird to me–that people would make such a huge decision as to whether to bring a new amazing LIFE into this world based on the college education thing. Imagine this scenario: “Sorry, Johnny, your mother and I don’t have the money to put you through college. You’ll have to do it yourself.” “But, DAD, why did you even HAVE me if you weren’t going to pay for my college education!” No, don’t think I’ll ever witness such a conversation.

  87. I totally agree with everything you have written. I am sending this to all four of my children. One of who is married with no children yet and the other three engaged and getting married. Love makes the world go round. Children truly just need positive attention. Thank you for your thoughts. It confirms everything I believe in.

  88. While I agree to some extent, I must disagree. Kids are very expensive. I have 3. We just had a baby and all of our doctor and hospital bills that we had to pay out of pocket were nearly $2k and the baby still has to have his frequent well child checks and shots. My oldest son becomes ill frequently (he’s a kindergartener and brings home every illness!!) so trips to the doctor add up (especially if anyone else in the house gets it). Our food bill is on the rise and that is one bill I won’t skimp on because healthy eating is important. My kids are 6 and under and require new clothes and shoes practically every season change because shorts are too tight or pants are above the ankles and shoes are too smal and way too trashed to hand down to the younger kids. And my oldest son is wearing the knees out of his pants so fast, most of them I’m not going to be able to pass down to his little brother. I’m going to have to get him new ones before he even outgrows them because they’re so bad. My youngest is formula fed and that’s about $400 every time I go buy a few cases that’ll last a few months. Not to mention the cost of diapers. I don’t think kids need to be busy every night of the week but some group participation is important. My son plays baseball and my daughter does dance and those add up quickly too. Especially with the gear that they require. Then there is saving for college and my husband and I are tying to put small amounts away for their weddings to help alleviate that cost when it eventually arises. As they grow older, they eat more food and their clothes are more expensive. I don’t think kids need tons of toys or expensive vacations and insanly expensive birthday parties. We hand down nearly everything to the younger kids. But the necessities really do add up. They’re expensive but worth every dime we’ve ever spent on them <3

    1. You missed the whole point.
      Yes, when one makes certain choices, kids can be expensive. But those are the choices you made. They don’t *have* to be that expensive.

      1. I would not say the original poster is making expensive or luxury type decisions. Kids have to eat and you have to pay the medical bills. I would not say those are frivolous choices.

      2. My parents didn’t have very much when I was growing up, and so I had to pay for all of my college tuition that didn’t get covered by scholarships. I had to pay for my own wedding. I bought my own car. Would I trade my younger brother for those things? Absolutely not.
        Yes, kids need “group participation”, but…I was able to learn group participation in a neighborhood park or playing tag in the backyard with my brothers and friends. Yes, eating healthy is important…my mom grew a garden. Yes, having clothes that fit is important–I got my favorite dress for 25 cents at a garage sale. You can’t get around medical bills, I will give you that. But I believe that the author prefaced the article saying something about medical bills?

        The whole point of this article was to say that kids can be perfectly happy and have everything they need…with a lot less than what today’s society says they need.

  89. This is a very good post. As for all of the post that I see about parents paying for all of their kids sports and musical gear… And of course college.. When I turned 16, I was told to get a job. I then paid for all of my clothes and extra curricular activities.
    My parents chose not to pay for college for me or my three brothers. I worked through my junior and senior year of high school. I worked through my under graduate degree and my masters degree. I worked FULL time. I lived at home through school but paid my parents electricity Bill since I didn’t pay rent. My parents were not poor or even living paycheck to paycheck.
    I understand that some degrees will not allow for students to work while going to school but there are student loans. Of course, I wanted my parents to help me pay for college while I was still in school, but I now look back on my college years and feel very accomplished. I love my parents dearly and have no ill feelings toward them and their decision not to help me pay for school.
    IIt will not hurt your kid to have them work for the extras that they want in life when they become of age. I am only 30, so my experiences are from long ago. My parents taught me about money and what it cost to live. They helped me see what was important in life and what it is to earn what you want/need. I don’t feel entitled to anything.

    1. I am happy to hear how you feel about your parents “witholding” schooling funds for you and had you work your way to paying for yourself. We are about to do the same for our kids who will both be in post secondary within a year of each other and feel they will appreciate their schooling more if they pay for it. We too believe students loans are meant to do just that. Of course, we think it is always time to “throw in ” the cost of their books for a session or pay their bus passes for 2 months, as a gift. This is how it was for me and my husband, and we TOO thank our parents for it. Although we are told we are the meanest parents out there and that “all” their friends parents will pay for them, I know that when they will benifit more in the long run to have fought for themselves. Thank you for your comments. :mrgreen:

      1. My reply about kids paying their way to post secondary was for Rachel. And I totally agree with Anna about kids “needs” vs parents “wants” for kids. Fortunately, we were blessed we heathky kids and of course, as mentioned by some, it does get expensive when health becomes and issue but this was not the point of your article. And of course, it costs more to have kids than not have kids. You were talking about needs kids have vs needs we think they have so we can keep up for The Jones or advertisement. It is so easy to get caught up in what everything around us tells us that we ” need” this or that. You have expressed very well what we, my husband and I, have been trying to do for our family. And believe me, it has been challenging as the kids became teenagers dealing with peer pressure.

    2. I was raised the same way, any schooling I received after high school was paid out of my own pocket/slowly being paid for out of my own pocket while I pay my student loans off. I have worked ever since the day I turned 14 and never went without a job because I knew/was told by my parents that anything I wanted to do that was fun with friends I would have to pay for and majority of my clothing. I paid my mom rent to live in her house after I graduated high school etc and at the time I wasn’t super happy about it but I lived through and learned a heck of a lot about life at an early age and I look back to this day and thank my mom for everything she did for me and everything she taught me through what she called “tough love” and that’s exactly what it was too. I know people who are almost in their 40’s and have kids of their own that live off of family members and refuse to work and it just disgusts me but they weren’t ever taught through “tough love” and their kids will be the exact same as them. I am SO proud to say that my daughters will know at an early age that it is so very important to make a name for themselves and work and earn money for what they want and need πŸ™‚

  90. Well put, and if I may add it’s not about the amount of time but the quality and honesty of the time you spend with them that makes the difference. If you choose to work or not has no bearing on if you are interested in you child’s life. Giving them stuff doesn’t replace a genuine concern for their opinion. Well done.

  91. First, I LOVE your *edit*!! Second, thanks for “keeping it real”! I’ve become rather minimalistic over the years and when I decided to have a baby at 36, it was to nourish and teach my child how to be a great human on a planet that needs as many as it can get. How to help impact the world in a positive way. And how to explore and be true to herself for as much spiritual growth as possible. It was definitely not to litter my minimalistic home with oodles of primary colored toys and pink girly gadgets that would babysit my child as I decide to hang onto being an childless woman, because I’m not. For me, that’s what those things would do. I have less energy than I used to and need to force myself to not be lazy. For me, all the gadgets would be too convenient and my true goals would be lost. Most importantly, I just adore my daughter and, more than anything, just want to observe her amazing being learning to use this body I made for her. So, I enjoy spending face time with her. And when I’m tired, there’s always daddy! I muster the strength to get through the day for even 5 minutes of lone time, and right now, since she’s only a few months old, that’s all I need, because her needs outweigh mine right now. That’s just my perspective for what fits into my lifestyle. I know I’m unique compared to many I know, but until I became a mother, I didn’t realize it was what I always wanted and was truly the only dream I had. Everything I’ve done in my life has led up to this moment and I’ve never felt such love and joy before. Motherhood is awesome! But I still only want one! Maybe two. Maybe!

  92. We have health insurance and it still costs us $8000 every time we have a baby (naturally BTW) so between that and housing in CA, kids are pretty expensive. But I totally get what you’re putting down. We drive a beat up car and the kids share a room and don’t have a lot of stuff. They don’t need stuff, they need love.

  93. This was such a well-timed read for me. My husband and I have been talking about “de-toying” the play room (such as it is – a spare room in the basement w/ some bins in it). Our kids don’t use it anyhow, and it has become an excuse to stockpile toys rather than passing them along for others to enjoy. Thank you so much for a simple reminder that our kids don’t need the world. Also…I was astonished to read your post-script! WMs/SAHMs need to be confident enough in our respective choices that we are not threatened by the choices of others!

  94. Just wait until they are teenagers eating you out of house and home. πŸ˜€ Yeah, they get more expensive as they grow older. Worth it, but expensive. πŸ˜€

  95. Yes, I completely agree that kids dont need designer clothes or room full of expensive toys. However, you are missing one huge expense – college tuition and all the expenses related to getting your kids accepted into a decent college. We could squeeze from our budget one Yale/Harvard tuition or 2 Un of Michigan tuitions or 4-5 some “hole in a wall” university tuitions. I would much prefer to give my 2 kids a good start in life rather than a room full of siblings

    1. I do respect your thoughts on that, but would your kids feel the same? As one of six kids, three with master’s degrees, one with a very successful self-made business, and two doing very well in the arts, I would take my siblings and student loans a million times over instead of having school paid by my parents. My husband had his college covered by his parents and one of his biggest wishes in life was that he had a brother. Just something to think about.

    2. It’s not necessary to pay for your children’s tuition. Scholarships and loans in my name guaranteed I never missed or skipped class and I knew exactly how much each class cost me. Working through school is a good thing and made my magne cum laude even more valuable because I had earned it and paid for it. I bet most older adults don’t look around their thanksgiving table and wish they’d had one or 2 less kids to make life easier. We have found the very best gift to give our children has been another sibling to cherish.

  96. I think this is beautifully written. I think we all struggle with this at some level because it’s fun to see their little faces light up when you give them that perfect new toy. I must say though when I got down to your edit my mouth literally dropped open to find out people are turning this into a working mom v SAHM argument. I get nothing like that out of the article and agree that we need to STOP! I’ve been both and both are great! Let’s lift each other up rather than tear each other down. Being a mom is really hard and we need to help each other out.

  97. I just love this. Me growing up didn’t have much of anything including just live from my parents, but as a mom now of two 4 and 1, my husband knows how I grew up so he thinks he needs to make all this money for us and I love the part less is more sometimes because I think as people we naturally think the most out of the little things 😍 I do have a issue with wanting to give everything to my kids they ask for and try wait on them hand and foot, but I dug myself a hole so to come out we started a chart/star system so my oldest knows he has to earn stars and we have a list of ways he can earn them so he understands u have to be good and do good things to get things and can’t just get them whenever you want. And also we have a allowance for him. Some may say its to early but it works and he knows and learns how to save money for things he really wants and will cherish it more because he worked for it. Kids need us to show them life so this post is perfect😁💟💟👍βœ”🙌

  98. This brought tears to my eyes! I needed to hear this!! I hope and pray everyday that my husband and I can raise our family this way no matter what size!

  99. It IS a sacrifice to stay at home, and although you didn’t mean for it to be the main focus, I will add my experience – I left my well-paid job to raise my son, and we lived on a much smaller salary from my husband’s work. It was a commitment, and it was worth it. My youngest just said of friends the other day, “now that they have 4, they’re really a family!” That was not an insult – she was speaking of the fun of siblings and craziness that only comes when there are a bunch of them. πŸ™‚ Her only regret is that I didn’t have one more, so she wouldn’t be last. But we decided 8 was enough. Enjoy your blessings!

  100. Loved this. I had a very awesome Mom moment at Christmas. My boss asked my daughter (5yr old) what was on her Christmas list to Santa. She didn’t make one and when asked why not, she said, “Because I don’t need a bunch of junk” I stood up in my seat like I just won an Oscar. It was so wonderful. πŸ™‚

  101. This is a great article! So many things ran through my mind, I was raised with parents that wanted us to “have” everything like the kids at school, but we couldn’t have the money! What my mom had was a super creative crafty mind and that’s the skills that I built and kept with me until today. I live creating, I love that my friends and family ask me how to do something or which angle to go at a project because of the skills I built starting young. I remember wanting the action figures like my peers but forgot all about them when I got my Christmas gift of my first craft kit filled with things to create from my mom’s sewing closet. We did activities a lot, roller skating, softball, karate, but it was after we were over the other activity, we made a choice of what we were interested in more. We have craft night with the neighborhood kids, best memories. I have a lot of outdoor memories and do not regret not “having” as a child. Not in the least. My parents being broke and attentive was the best thing that happened to me. Ha!

    Now I have my own little gal. As much as my parents raised me not to need and that also stuck with me her family is not that way! I’m talking the most ridiculous over the top mountains of gifts to unwrap. Something weird happens to an adult that has been raised not to need and then gets a pile like that. You feel guilty for not being as appreciative as the givers want you to be! Baby wipe warmers?! Shopping cart covers?! Four different types of humidifier/vaporizer and the clothes…I’m jealous of my daughters shoe collection that I will say! Anyways, in conclusion I feel like I will be making and creating with this little lady more than purchasing. There is an experience you have with people you create with or when I’m making things solo that you can’t replace. Excited for the future.

    Long winded! Thank you for this article it’s putting into words what my best friend and I have had discussions about a lot lately! The baby industry especially is so wasteful. Glad to see it phrases proper in a write up.

  102. Beautiful! This is exactly how I want to raise my (hopefully large one day) family! It is lovely to see that everyone in the world does not think I am crazy πŸ™‚

  103. This is so true. As a mother of 5 adult children I have seen the changes over the years. When I was young, a home had 3 bedrooms, 1 living room and 1 bathroom. The parents in 1 room, the boys in 1 room and the girls in the other. If you had your own room it was only because you were the only 1 of that sex. We learned to share because the living room was were you played and your parents watched tv and entertained. Unless it was raining or dark, we were playing outside. The bathroom was a place where you did what was necessary and got out for the next person. I stayed and home some of the time while my children were little and I worked some of that time. We never had much, but we took care of what we did have. We didn’t decide we wanted something and went out and bought it. If there was a need, we saved to get it. This made all of us appreciate what we had. To this day, my kids will get on each other about how they live their lives. If someone else were to say the same things, my kids would be the 1st to have each others backs. There is never a time when you will have enough $ to have a baby. I have some childless friends and now that they are retired, they wonder who will be there for them in their old age. I don’t have to worry about that. I know not only my children but my grandchildren will always be here for me.

  104. Lovely article, I agree with the overall tone.
    But I’m guessing you’ve never paid for daycare? ; ) Haha! It takes a salary of $50k just to break even on 2 kids in daycare where I live. I could stay home, but I make more than my husband and carry all our benefits. Having my husband stay home would deprive him of his love for his job (nonprofit work) and wouldn’t be a good move for overall family happiness.
    So yes, for many of us who need childcare, more kids do cost more. I’d love more kids, and love that many of my friends have large families, but it does cost more and we know we’re not financially wealthy enough for more, without having to get assistance and have others pay for our decision to have more (this is not a comment against assistance, we just don’t want to be financially strained)

    1. No matter how big or small, families are special. If one of you quit your job, sure you could afford a kid or two more. Maybe. But if you feel complete as you are, why just feel good about what you have created. I am personally so sick of the mommy wars and one-upping. Can’t we all just be happy we all love and care for our children ? As granny used to say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

  105. That’s why parents at my work are in debt or living paycheck to paycheck just to afford to have their kids in daycare.

  106. so true. My daughter wears my a lot of my son’s hand me downs. Everything doesn’t need to be pink! Of the “girl clothes” many of them are hand me downs from friends as well, and I will hand them on the same.
    We have a constant battle with my MIL who wants to buy my children endless toys, crappy and expensive alike. She just doesn’t get it. Material objects do not buy love.
    My kids have more toys than they could ever need, and most of them sit on the shelf (less so in the winter, what with a baby and these frigid temperatures) while we run around outside.
    When I do have pricer designer labels, I feel the need to voice that I did not buy them myself or that I got them second hand, as I would be embarrassed if someone thought I spent that amount of money on something they will grow out of in 10 minutes

  107. Your children are adorable! And you are wise. I have 5 sons, I stayed home with them and I am so glad I did. It was a sacrifice, and now that they are older, I still make sure I am always there for them. My oldest is 28 and youngest is 15. Right now I have 3 in High School. It’s so fun. I enjoy everything they do, they go to a small Catholic school and participate in everything, sports, musical, band, speech and one act plays.
    Advice to you:
    Your children are young but, there will come a day when they will begin to choose what they want to do. Let them. You can guide them, but let them choose. Then when they do choose the activities they like, release them. Release them to their teachers and coaches. Do not be a parent coach, I’ve never seen it work out. Only spend what you have to and only if the child needs it. Our children are bombarded with marketing, turn the TV off. Use PBS or Apple TV where there is no advertising. Limit screen time, computers, iPads, iPods ect. And be a role model when it comes to this, limit yourself. I limit my Facebook to people who live away from me and family. If you are my friend and live in my town and want to know what I am up to, you have to come to my home or ask me to coffee.
    Take care of your marriage. Go on date nights. When our boys were young we went on date night every Tuesday night, we had a babysitter on retainer. Worth the money!!! My oldest son said it was the night we went out and plotted against them.
    If you are not working, have a hobby or something you do just for yourself.
    Finally and most important, PRAY. Everyday, let your children see you pray. Teach them to pray. Pray before meal and bed. Pray as a couple.
    God Bless You, you will never regret having “a lot” of children.

  108. Amen! Thank you for sharing this… I totally get the point your making πŸ˜‰ Your doing a great job! Your wee angels words brought loving tears to my eyes. I’ve been inspired <3

  109. We have four children and there definitely are expenses, whether you plan ahead or not. One of our kids has been hospitalized three times, each to the tune of $20K. One is grown and gone now, but we have two more coming up through the teen years eating us out of house and home. Surgery for our youngest and past experiences with hospitalization, sports injuries and concussions have us still owing the hospital thousands of dollars.
    While I agree that kids themselves don’t “need” all that we might think they need or deserve, there are still very real and unpredictable expenses to raising them. In addition, I know people who have multiple children even though they truly cannot afford them, no matter how little a house or few material things they buy. They are relying on the taxpayers to fund their desire for more children by taking advantage of government programs for food, housing, and medical expenses. I have no issue with people having as many children as they want, if they can pay the way forward and not expect to fund their dreams via the rest of us.

    1. I definitely agree with you on that point… making personal sacrifices like my husband i do, in order to have more kids, is very different than being irresponsible and having children with the expectation that someone else will be paying for them.

  110. i agree with your post 100%. When kids are little they don’t cost that much. But as the mom of a 18 and 21 year old I do have to say their actual financial “needs” increase as they get older. School projects, field trips, birthday gifts for friends, prom, senior trips, college tuition, books, etc really add up. Hugs and snuggles are still flowing plenty but so is the money in my house!
    With that said we have always been relatively poor our whole marriage until the last two years (I stayed home til 3 years ago by choice and my husband has worked non-profit jobs). So my kids learned how to be happy with little material goods and how to vacation in expensively (trips to local museums etc) They had thrift store clothes and toys when they were young and we did crafty things so they learned how to make gifts versus buy many times. I’m proud that now my young adults value people more than brand name things. I’m actually glad we didn’t have much money because it caused us to be more creative, which is a trait I see exhibited in my “kids.”

  111. I agree with you 100%. My kids were dress well – off the clearance racks (never mismatched or cheap material) They played with their toys not just shuffled through them. I don’t recall them being bored. They had imaginations, like to draw, colour, make up their own games. They played inside and out. Watched tv but not as a filler or babysitter (no brainless stuff). They were involved in scouts/guides, sports and other organizational activities and were happy. I loved my kids through the turbulent teen years. They had a good foundation to start so we make it through and they are all living their own individual lives today with direction and purpose.

  112. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing this! Let’s be honest about this constant struggle to enjoy the fun of “things”, but to keep it’s priority in place behind relationship and experiences of the heart. I’ll add one thing – I was home-schooled, but participated in a TON of school sports, clubs, etc. So, my parents were able to give us the education they wanted without private school tuition, I had plenty of friends and no free-time (that was a little rough at times). There are many ways to do life, and I applaud the challenge here to think outside the box, and to constantly negotiate with ourselves to have the best life that we – not social norms – dictate.

  113. Thank you so much for your post! I just found your blog and as a mother expecting her 3rd (my oldest just turned 3), I needed this fresh and very real/true perspective. Bless you for your faith in God and your ability to see what is truly important. Wishing you all the best!

  114. Every word is true. They need our love and is free. Have a bless day and thank you for posting this I love it

  115. Oldest of nine here! I was an only child for ten years. And I can PROMISE YOU I was NOT happier alone with stuff. Having seen both sides of the coin… I greatly prefer the side where I had siblings and little stuff.

    We were always dirt floor poor and you know what? I don’t think we noticed until we were older and our dad got a job making better money! We played outside, dug holes (one of my brothers is now an archeologist… no surprise there), climbed trees, played with legos and Lincoln logs and the old school FP “little people” mom found at garage sales. We read constantly. We walked to the library once or twice a week and we didn’t have tv either (I know right? Like isn’t that child abuse?? Haha) My grandpa taped movies from television and we had seven that we would watch by turn on a dvd/tv thing that didn’t get tv… and ONLY on the night my parents went out on dates! We read books and acted them out. I wrote stories and told them to the little ones. We made cookies and bread and did chores (gasp) and were each other’s best friends.

    The five boys shared a room and the four girls shared a room. Most of our clothes came in great big trash bags donated from friends and family. Twice a year we’d haul them all out and pick our clothes for the next season. We had only one working car at a time, and for a while, no working car. We’d pile in my dad’s work truck for church and pray no police saw us! And you know what? We all made it to adulthood just fine. No one footed our college bills, but we ALL went to good (even Ivy League) colleges (gasp! A homeschooled kid got into Harvard??) And several of us have Masters and two are earning PhDs. And the best part of all??? We still love each other! We’re still each other’s best friends. And you know what? While we have a few more gadgets and gizmos and cars… every single one of us values experiences over things, and we all have rather minimalist homes and lifestyles.

    So Anna… I can say with the experience of both sides of the coin, your point is spot on!! You rock, Girlfriend! Loved this!!

    1. Hahaha Your comment made me laugh and applaud at the same time. I was one of seven and can relate to almost everything you mentioned. The comments on here, especially the ones assuming that my husband and I must be ignorant of what a large family entails, are really eye-opening. The whole “don’t have more kids because I have to pay for their college for them” is … interesting. Every one of my siblings (and myself) went to college, got scholarships, graduated with honors, and got excellent jobs… none of which was funded by our parents. haha It’s like two totally different worlds, and apparently the one we’re from is very hard to relate to these days. πŸ˜‰ But seriously, thanks for sharing. I loved reading your story. xoxo

      1. I’m also discovering there is a whole Netherworld of bitter, angry, critical people who seem to have nothing else to do than post comments on blogs, websites, or YouTube blogs and posts. I have seen some horrific comments left on the posts of some.of my favorite bloggers. Seriously horrific. Cruel even. I honestly don’t understand. But I am learning that it isn’t anything I am doing wrong. It’s just a new form of bullying. I think they think if they bully enough, people they don’t agree with will just sit down and shut up. Well… about no. Ha

        1. I’m learning this the hard way myself with this post. Haha I’m monitoring the comments because some of the things women were saying on here, either to me or to each other. Just crazy! Thanks for your comment. Made me feel a little more sane. πŸ˜‰

  116. Spot on. πŸ™‚

    Bar unfortunate medical bills, etc, kids don’t need to be expensive. Kids are bored with tons of toys, exhausted with too many activities away from home, and totally clueless about fancy clothes.
    Ironically, having all of those “expensive” siblings often give entertainment, build character, and offer companionship. πŸ™‚

    Great post.

  117. fantastic and very well put ,in 100 years from now the toys and designer cloths and so on will not matter ,but a moment spent with a child will .<3

  118. Can I just say Amen!
    I just had my second child and I’m finding myself purging a lot of stuff I thought I needed.
    Life doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive unless we let it.

    Less clothes = less laundry
    Less toys = less mess ( except for the mess in the kitchen when the tot pulls everything out, but still…)
    And to quote my amazing single mom who raised 5 kids, a cat and a dog in a small 3 bedroom town home:
    “I’d rather have more time than more money”

  119. This is a great article. It is a must read for every parent who wants to give their children the best legacy of sterling qualities.

  120. We have 3 girls (21,16, & 10) and one boy (12). When they were younger they weren’t expensive. However, the older they get, the more aware they are of the designer clothes, shoes, and bags that the other kids at school have. Because, I am a SAHM we don’t have the xtra money to get them all of those things (some…but not all). Our 16 yo daughter, more than the others, is feeling very bitter about it. Especially since her love language seems to be receiving and giving gifts/acts of service. Those love languages combined make for a spoiled child (IMO), so I struggle with how to show love to her without spoiling her. So far, it’s not working.

    My husband also is saying he wishes we had more money to give them those things. And has suggested that I go back to work. I am in no way materialistic. He is. So we are struggling with this right now. πŸ™

  121. Enjoyed your article. You hit on very key points necessary for developing positive character traits in your children.

  122. Great blog! When I found out when I was pregnant the 3rd time and people kept asking “how can you afford it?” I would get mad and tell them my kids have all the need, maybe not all they want but everything they need

  123. i am a part time working mom and soni get both worlds and both are equally challenging and rewarding … What a refreshing post this was! It is so hard not to get sucked in…. Or but a little toy at the store so they will stay in the buggy for ten more minutes but I know that all my son wants at the end of the day is to throw football with his dad and cuddle up with me…. Stuff is so tempory but teaching our kids humility, gratefulness, love, and respect is life long! Thank you for the post!!!!

  124. Our children are 16, 14.5 and 5.5. We decided not to have a 4th because college is expensive and selfishly, we want to have money to enjoy life when we retire. Our financial planner ran the numbers and even with saving for college, we will be working well into our 80s to maintain the current (modest) lifestyle with baby #4. We looked at scenarios with our three children vs. having a fourth. And although the my uterus is screaming for a fourth child, and we can afford it now…our decision is based on the kind of life we want in 15 years.

  125. I have a tiny house (698 square feet), and we make it work with our two sons. They share a bedroom, and the finished basement is their playroom. I agree with every sentiment in this blog – less is often more. Now if only the grandparents would fall in line with that…

    1. I hear ya! Two boys here and 800 square feet. We love our tiny house and our simple life. But grandparents, yeesh. If we never bought another toy again our kids wouldn’t even know it with the amount of stuff grandparents buy them!

  126. What a great article! I have always believed that children nowadays often receive way more than they could ever use or need. I know that we all want more and better for our children than we ever had, but why shouldn’t that more and better be more affection and better patience? Love this!!! πŸ™‚

  127. I have 4 children and I absolutely agree! Even though we are able to provide a lot of wants for our kids, it doesn’t mean they need them. It’s even strangely hard not to spoil them when all of our friends spoil their kids. I just think living simply keeps us more grounded and appreciative.

  128. Lovely article… but if you happen to have two preemies with six-figure medical bills you’re still trying to pay off and/or special-needs children, they actually are kind of expensive. Our kids wear hand-me-downs and I’ve never bought an “etsy outfit” for them in their lives, we live very simply, most of the toys they have were given to us, and we homeschool, but medically, yeah, they are very expensive. Still very much worth it though. πŸ™‚

  129. From a wealthy mom. You’re right. Kids aren’t expensive. On the other hand, our habits can be very expensive. The greatest of everything I give is my love.

    Lisa

  130. Love this article. I grew up on hand me downs, new to me toys, the new stuff we got was not name brand. Our list of wants for holidays was very minimal and we were grateful for what we did get but never expected anything. I had an amazing childhood because I spent time with family, used my imagination and got out and played it wasn’t because I had the newest toy or expensive clothes if I did have the newest toy or expensive clothes it’s not something that stands out in my memory so how important could it have really been? I know some kids whose wants are a mile long and they expect to get it all and most time it seems like they do.

  131. Great article! Kids aren’t expensive unless you let that happen. Yes diapers and food can be but WHY the name brand clothes and name brand shoes when their going to grow out of them after they wear them once!! I cringe when i see a newborn in $50 Ugg boots, Really? She will wear them ONCE!!!! Let kids wear comfy clothes or sporty clothes they aren’t going to care if they had Uggs or Jordans or wore top of the line clothes!!!! There is Nothing wrong with consignment store clothes especially to just play in or go to day care in. Yes I buy nice clothes for church or nice events but everything else comes from the local consignment store or our consignment sales throughout the year!
    My son would rather play with empty paper towel rolls, empty containers, boxes with crayons, and pots and pans then have the latest toys. My son would rather me play with him then worry about the newest thing.

    Kids need us, to play, to read, to snuggle with, NOT all the latest STUFF!!!

  132. As a mother of four, and one who works outside the home, I can say based on solid, empirical evidence that yes, kids are expensive. We have an age range from 13 to 20, with the oldest two in college (open those 529 accounts even if you think you can’t afford to!).
    We have friends and family who choose to have only one child, and of course that makes life more affordable. But I can tell you there’s nothing like when all of ours are home, to look around and see the family we are building that’s just the right size for us.

  133. Great article. A few important notes regarding comments. We have been in both positions. Tiny little home, 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom for six people, and by the grace of God, now in a larger home. Almost all of our furniture is purchased from Craigslist and our children wear hand me downs as well as new clothes. I think what is really important to point out is that a grateful heart can be cultivated whether in plenty or in want. We have a playroom that is actually quite small but houses books, toys, creative building toys, artwork, etc. Very few toys kept in the two bedrooms the children share. The playroom also houses a trundle daybed for company. But the number of or lack of toys/books/home school curriculum/clothing/shoes etc. does not hinder gratefulness.

    I know people with much, much more than we have and they are generous and their children grateful.

    We can make an idol of anything in this world, things or being proud of how many things we do not have. I do not believe the author of this blog has done that, but their is a danger that I see in the comments of leaning that way.

    God has been gracious and given much. Enjoy His gifts. Praise Him for the gifts and teach your children to do so. Teach them to hold on lightly to the things of this world but to be generous, especially as you find yourself in plenty. A heart quick to say thank you, is one that is protecting itself from greed.

    1. I get that I spelled there incorrectly. Sorry for those who get easily annoyed with grammar errors.

  134. You my friend have hit thenail on the head! As a mother of 4 beautiful, loving children, yes kids can be “expensive” but to me their loving, caring attitudes towards life out ways everything! I think when people aay kids are so expensive, those are the people that have to have all,the high emd materialistic things.

  135. Awesome!! As a mother to a beautiful 7 mo Old little girl I think this is dead on. I’ve told my fiance so many times that there is no point in buying a bunch of name brand clothes when she is going to grow out of them in a couple of months. My daughter also doesn’t need many toys because it seems like I’m her favorite toy when she climbs on me and sits there hitting away lol Almost everything we have for my daughter was giving to us and I accepted everything willingly and was so very appreciative and blessed! I think,

  136. Hi, I don’t usually comment on articles I see floating around Facebook, but I read this one and said YES , you’ve got it so right. We live on one income and make it work because we live simply. We have so many people tell us how expensive kids are, but they really aren’t. We cloth diaper, breastfeed, and live on hand me downs. For his birthday, our 1-yr-old got a set of moroccas (all of $8) and was perfectly happy–he prefers to play with empty paper towel tubes than toys anyways. Having kids means sacrifice in the parents end too, but since we already sacrifice sleep and sanity ;), what’s giving up new clothes, expensive salon trips, and eating out? Yes sometimes greed hits and I want more– but will it fulfill? Nope. Will it make our home happier? No…. We have all we need, and I thank God for providing for us every day in the little things that DO matter- food on the table, health, and a loving home– and my beautiful, inexpensive little boy who will Lord willing have lots of siblings to pass his hand me downs on to and share his paper towel rolls with πŸ˜‰

  137. Awesome!! As a mother to a beautiful 7 mo Old little girl I think this is dead on. I’ve told my fiance so many times that there is no point in buying a bunch of name brand clothes when she is going to grow out of them in a couple of months. My daughter also doesn’t need many toys because it seems like I’m her favorite toy when she climbs on me and sits there hitting away lol Almost everything we have for my daughter was giving to us and I accepted everything willingly and was so very appreciative and blessed! I think, due to the kindness of others, all we have really bought in the last 7 mo is clothes, diapers, wipes and other little small things!! I know some people who will not put any clothes on their child unless it is Carter’s or osh kosh. I also know people who expect the grandparents, aunts and uncles to buy their child the most expensive toys or the Cadillac of all cribs. This will never make sense to me. Kids are definitely not expensive if you recognize that all they need is something clean to wear, have a clean diaper, a full tummy, and someone there to show them all the love they could take (and more love than they can handle.) Thank you for your posts, I definitely enjoyed reading it!

  138. I so agree with this in so any ways! Don’t get me wrong my kids are spoiled rotten, but we don’t buy any of it.
    However for me the expense of Daycare is what prevents us from being able to have more than two kids. πŸ™ and unfortunitly both my husband and I need to work his pay is our main income and I get the benefits, so there is no chance for one of us to be home. So kids are not expensive but daycare is unfortunitly!

  139. It’s a nice idea, but where I live what many people mean when they say children are expensive is exactly those things that you cannot get away from having to pay for like school (textbooks, stationery, uniforms in addition to the fees to attend), medical expenses and so on.

    1. Kids do not require much when they are little, so you are in control of the things you decide to purchase for them. But from a mother of four boys who are in their high school and college years, things change rather quickly. Food consumption sky rockets. Anything to do with sports is expensive, including just going to watch them play. Proms. Car insurance. ACT/SAT tests. College application fees. Field trips. Back to school supplies. Dating. Orthodontics. Wisdom teeth surgery. Musical instruments and lessons. School fundraisers. Graduation necessities and a party. Clothes and shoes that they just keep outgrowing which garage sales and thrift stores can no longer supply what is needed. Just a small sampling of what might come your way later. Something to think about.

      1. Definitely true that expenses change as kids grow. That said, my husband and I are both from large families and are well aware of what that entails, so it’s not like we’re just mindlessly going into it. Haha But oh my goodness yes to teen boys and food… I have four brothers and the amount they ate was crazy! Haha Thanks for reading and commenting! πŸ™‚

      2. I couldn’t agree with this comment more. I too, am a mother of 4 boys, 5 counting the one we lost. My husband and I also wanted a big family, and to be honest we would have had a 6th (5th alive) if it would not have been for my uterus rupture an such high risks involved after repeated medically needed emergency c-sections. I get the message that you are trying to share and I truly appreciate it. I agree, children DON’T need expensive things to be happy, they need love and care above all. But it is important to mention the reality of things as they grow a bit older, just like the last commenter did. The older they get, the more expenses that come with it. Simply feeding 4 boys can be extremely costly. I’m not feeding them expensive food, just healthy meals with simple ingredients, and I can tell you groceries expense on our monthly budget is painfully growing. Even as I buy wholesale, prep meals and work hard at reducing food waste. And yes, medical expenses (including emergencies, which will happen), sports (gear, gasoline to drive like an uber car), musical instruments, it all represents a significant expense. I am horrorized at the thought of college tuition for the four boys even as we’ve been planning for it! Absolutely, as they grow, expenses grow exponentially. We don’t buy designer clothes or Etsy outfits, our 3 smaller ones wear hand me downs from their older brothers, we don’t eat out, no luxuries, and even with my husband’s successful profession we are still struggling because our expenses as a big family are large. Raising a big family can be, and most likely will be, expensive. It’s not always easy, even when there’s lots of love. That being said, I wouldn’t change my big family for the world. They are my heart and reason to live. Yes, am exhausted every day, budget is very tight, stress levels are high, but I do have a house full of love, and I know my boys will always have each other as they grow up. Grateful for what we have.
        Thank you for you article and for pointing out what’s most important in raising a family. Big families are a special blessing, just as smaller families are. Every couple has to do what works best for them. Lots of blessings to you and your family!

  140. My girls are all grown up now, but one of many treasured memories I have is buying shoes. Even though money was tight I would not compromise on shoes. They had to be leather. My daughter had realised that the leather shoes were more expensive so she told me she didn’t mind having plastic shoes if we couldn’t afford the leather pair. Most of their toys and clothes were second hand and one Christmas my four year old only wanted a toy camera. I couldn’t find one so made it out of junk (e.g. Using a washing up bottle top as the ‘switch’). Really it was her favourite present!

  141. This is absolutely beautiful. We live in such a materialistic world! And I’ve found some of the most Grateful & happy children are those who have All that they need. I believe in rewarding your children in stages. Not Always JUST BECAUSE! Then you raise an adult who wants to spend spend spend just because! This was a great read. You have a beautiful family.. And when I have children, I wish to instill such great practices that you’ve spoken of! God bless!

  142. When my kids were little all of their friends had $200 plastic play houses to use in the back yard. i got a cardboard diswasher box and some washable paints and my kids enjoyed that more and played with it longer than my friends’ kids did with the expensive playhouses. Sometimes the solution that allows kids to use their creativity and imagination are the best things to do for them, no matter whether you have the money to buy the expensive toys or not.

  143. I think this is a great message. My husband and I separated when our daughter was 6 months old, a year later we reconciled. Just over a year later our son was born. He will be three months old this week. My husband and I, for all our efforts, have not yet been able to unite our family under one roof yet. He is still living in the US while myself and our two little ones live in Canada. At times I spend more money on stuff for my children than is really necessary, sometimes it is because I feel bad that their dad isn’t here. And so I enjoy the look of excitement on my daughter’s face when she gets a new beanie baby puppy or new book or doll. And for a few moments I put out of my mind the incredibly important thing she is missing out on by having her dad live so far away. However, I know the most important “thing” I can give her is my time and attention. Playing, laughing, snuggling, and talking together is the best I can give her. I try to say no more often to the just buying stuff for the heck of it. That said I buy most of her clothes on sale, I am not opposed to second hand or hand me downs, and 95% of the clothes I have for my son are hand me downs or gifts.

  144. What a great reminder! Thanks so much. Sometimes its overwhelming to think about all the lessons our children learn without us consciously teaching them. This was such a valuable article for me! Thanks again.

  145. So right on. Kids need a simplified life. Toys they receive are forgotten in 6 months. It’s go, go, go here, there. They need to be kids and not always on a schedule. Let them use their imagination in making and doing. I’ve seen where kids like to play under a table w/a blanket over it and play in boxes. Simplify.

  146. Kids are not expensive at all. I have one 16 month old child n hope to have more but she has more than what she needs books and toys galore! Most of which were gifts for holidays or birthday but she could care less about all of that as long as I’m there to read a book or 12 to her. I use cloth diapers with her n have breast feed her from day one. I think the total amount spent for things she actually needs is still under $1000. Granted I come from a large family and at the baby shower we recieved everything we needed and then some but even her crib is a hand me down. I really enjoyed reading this!

  147. Beautifully said….very enriching and just the right argument I needed to convince my husband of having a big family πŸ™‚

  148. I am 32 just started the career of my dreams like 2 months ago husband just started college career (guess we just like to do things late!) Want to have a baby but don’t want to give career up? And the kicker I want to stay home with the baby! But I’m not getting any younger :'(
    What do I do…

    1. You will never regret having kids. You may regret waiting to have them since that could possibly limit how many you could have. If you wait for the “right” time to have them, that time may never come.

    2. Girl just do it! You’ll be fine and so will your body. Go for it. If you miss the opportunity you’ll regret it more than taking on it. Remember you’ll be pregnant for about 9-10 months which will mean you will have been on your job for a year which is great. You should also consider the fact that it may take a few months for you to conceived period. I say you have about the next 9-15 months to work your dream job. Go get your family! 👪

    3. @ SRice1, hopefully the career of your dreams, will enable you to get home at reasonable hours… I believe a couple who both work, would benefit from a “live-in ” nanny, hopefully one that will be there “all” the early years (same person) It is not that I am against day-cares, it is just all that dressing up and carting children back and forth to them, is what bugs me, and that stress that is involved. also, when they are sick, parents are continuously trying to figure out (more stress) on who will stay home, or who can watch over them, (as the day-care will not) When I mention … reasonable hours…If both parents are gone 12 hrs each day, that is a very long time for a child. (ex 7 am to 7 pm)… I know of many “parents” who do that. It is hard to teach a child “your” values, when they are always with others… I think that is always the dilema that has been thrust on women….. work or stay at home…. some have no choice, they absolutely must work… others have options…. also, like the point in the blog, we make our choices (large expensive homes) or (small “snug” homes) lol, but this also, means other choices are available… While I have just mentioned a women’s dilema, it is also a man’s dilema . My point, is that whoever makes the choice of career or parenthood (or both), one should have their eyes open…. a career would take a step back for the early years of parenthood (especially under age 6) after that it is much more manageable. and when both parents work it is very stressfull, and not all marriages survive….. Myself, I had to work, I got divorced when my child was 5. I was fortunate, in that I had a “government” job, with benefits, i.e. sick days, great working hours (9 to 4:30) and I lived 5 minutes away. so my time away from my child was limited, and was very easy to arrange doctor appt’s, dentist, drive to school, etc or pick up from school, etc. I think if a person has to work, they might not necessarily have their “dream jobs”, unless they make their “dream” larger. In this dream, they must find a way to minimise travelling, and be able to have more “flex time”… and be prepared for the horrors of expensive “good” day cares, or nanny’s… otherwise, an employer is not as quick with the salary raises, if you are off work too many times (day cares have lots of germs and the kids get sick-often, ), the employer will find that your time is not focussed enough on their needs vs your needs and your families…. also, today (well in Canada) women often take a full year maternity leave….so that also takes away from the work time (for many bosses, out of sight out of mind)… anyways just a lot to say, that therein starts the “guilt” of parenthood, guilt of not doing enough of what is needed…time, love, play, education, activities, and “stuff”…. and of course ….taxiing time for all of these…because soon you will learn, if you enroll the children in lots of activities, you are now the taxi-driver….

      @ Anna, and I just want to mention, a big congrats, for you sure deserve lots of rounds of applause, you are raising a fine, caring family, and looks like you are all enjoying and loving each other….. that is the way it should be !!! congrats

    4. I have a great job, and 3 little ones at home (ages 6, 2, and 7 months). My husband works full time too, but opposite of me so they get lots of Dad time too. We started our family while my husband was in school full time, and working, and I was working full time. Part of me would love to be home with them, but I also truly love my job, and feel like my kids get many advantages that they might not get if I was at home.
      Time with Grandma’s, time with other cousins and friends. Exposure to different caregivers and situations. My oldest was reading at age 3 thanks mostly to an awesome Pre-school. My kids are all very well behaved, and respectful, they know how to act in various situations, they easily make friends and are outgoing, and caring. A lot of these things are because they get to experience so many things outside of our home, while I am at work. And when I am home they get quality mommy time!
      Whatever situation works best for your family just know that like this article says if the choices you make are based in what is best for your family (including yourself) and full of love, your kids will thrive.

  149. Wow! My fiancΓ© and I do not have kids yet but this is something we go back and forth on all the time. What a great article! Thanks for sharing!

  150. In reality most of the time people get into getting their kids everything so they can feel better about themselves. It’s not they are trying to do anything bad they are just trying to make sure they don’t fail. The truth is as long as their kids are genuinely loved, they can’t.

  151. Yes to everything you said! In reality most of the time people get into getting their kids everything so they can feel better about themselves. It’s not they are trying to do anything bad they are just trying to make sure they don’t fail. The truth is as long as their kids are genuinely loved, they can’t.

  152. Thank you! I agree with you whole heartedly. What is expensive is time away from work and in Australia, the cost to put a roof over their heads. I’m not talking about a large palatial home with ocean views. I just mean a small 3 bedroom, very run down half finished house that is close enough to Daddy’s work so he doesn’t have to commute for hours everyday. It is most of one income and if the other is only part time so she can be a mum then kids are expensive.

  153. I am a mom of 4 children….3 that are in college right now. Yes, THIS is expensive, but you know what? We knew it was coming. My husband and I told the kids we would have X amount of money to contribute to their college education (what we were able to save), and they had to figure out the rest. I am confident they would have studied hard regardless, but the scholarship money THEY EARNED allowed our students to enroll in their “dream colleges”. So yes, you can focus on the expense….or focus long-term on the goal and how to get there, realizing that the unnecessary stuff, as you have said, is not what matters at all!

    1. I was waiting for college to be mentioned. I want lots if kids (4 to 6 or more ?). My husband is so afraid of college and, if it’s a girl, wedding expense, both of which our parents were able to help us out with. I appreciate his practicalness, but my heart years for more kids (we have 1 with 1 on the way). My position is we do what we can and instill a sense of ownership in their tuition, or scholarships! Thanks for the article and the above comment.

  154. Thanks for this excellent article. It should be required reading for young parents before they allow themselves to get “sucked in” to this “buy me” propaganda. I fully agree with you.
    As has ben said above, many of us of the previous generation had no choice in the matter; it was a case of priorities and essentials. Thanks again. .

  155. I think the reason some working moms might have their guard up a bit is that day care is really expensive. In fact, when I read the headline I thought that’s what “the other thing” was going to be. I don’t see any hint of this in the story, so I think it’s unfounded. However, for the record, kids are really expensive. You either pay another mortgage for daycare or you sacrifice your income to stay home, or a little of both.

    1. That is a good point, Erin. Obviously, I made the choice to sacrifice a second income, but that is just not possible for many, and that goes without saying. The whole point of the post was that it really is about the quality of time and care we show our children, and time things have nothing to do with day care/working/SAHM. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective! <3

  156. My children wear clothing from cousins and friends. I buy them lots of things from yard sales. I shop thrift stores. Yes, they do get new things, but they are still thrilled with the used. I have tried so hard to convince family members to get them “time” instead of “things”…it hasn’t happened. Thank you for your sweet post!

  157. Yes., I agree with this. My husband and I only have one child (so far, we hope to have more). Most of her toys and clothes are second hand. She has more stuff than she needs, but I don’t consider it too expensive. The cost to get her into this world was more expensive than I would like, but so very very worth it in the end for my angel.

  158. I absolutely loved what you were conveying here; and for the record, I never ONCE thought you were alluding to working moms versus SAHMs! My fourth little cutie has far less toys than his sisters and brother did at his age, yet is my happiest child yet! Although he’s just entered the “2’s” he is still so happy just to push his $14 shopping cart from target or an older book from his siblings. There is no pottery barn table & chairs ( which the middle two had and ruined after writing all over it in permanent marker ) no motorized escalade out in the garage, no mountain of other assorted toys in the corner of the playroom … But my last little guy just loves to help mommy, take a “baff” with his brother, and take the garbage out ! Wish age hadn’t beaten me and I could have just ONE more …😍

  159. This post gave me chills!! Thank you! When I tell people that we want a whole baseball team of kiddos, we always hear something to the tune of, “How will you be able to afford them?” As a Pastor’s family, money is often tight but God always takes care of us and our daughter is well taken care of. What a beautiful message! Thank you again!

  160. I am a 34 year old mother of three ( they are a 9 year old girl and a 5 and 2 year old boy). My husband I and both teach music and have so much going on. My kids have hand me down and used cloths and toys. They are their own people. My husband and I have be trying to simplify things for a long time. I hate when people ask me what they want/need for gifts because they need nothing and they want very little. We also live in a 1100 square foot house with one bathroom ( I would love a second bathroom but we have one and we make it work with 5 people). We don’t have room for all the “stuff” people think we should have. I am thankful that my daughter is seeing her friends that have “everything” and see that they don’t value what they have. Thank you for this artical.

  161. I love this! Yes, diapers, formula, clothing, doctor visits and so on cost money, but it will all work out and they are so worth it! All kids need are love and attention and everything else is just extra. My child is happy with a toilet paper roll and putting things in and taking them out of my purse and she has a toy box full of toys lol.

  162. Well said, I grew up as an only child who was given everything I wanted whether my reaction to my parents response was positive or negative. Unfortunately I learned that material possessions were how people showed affection…which as an adult I know is false. As a result I squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars on material possessions that I thought would make me happy…all they did was make me broke and crawling back to my parents for financial support. I don’t have kids at the moment, and my husband and I are currently struggling to get pregnant, but when the time comes I want my kids to know the value of personal affection, attention, and a parents time. Thank you for this – I wish I could share this with my friend who’s kids can’t even get into their rooms – not that her hoarding tendencies are any better – but because she’s all about material possessions that is what her kids are learning and she doesn’t see the issue with it.

  163. This is fantastic! I 100% agree! If kids are expensive it’s because of all the unnecessary stuff they are bought.

  164. Love this! That’s what I’ve always said, kids aren’t expensive, all the unnecessary crap we have been told to need and want to buy it’s what’s expensive!

  165. Your 100% on target … i always tell my peers as a parent my job is to keep them safe healthy and educated… anything else is up to the child… now there are many sub topics that come under safe healthy and educated… but thats another blog for another time. I as a parent do not have the time or will to clog my aready crammed brain on whats hot and trending they have what they have and better be thankful for it. Ps…. i hope your boy stays as humble as he is because as a parent of 2 teens… they sure have lost sight of that phrase “i have all i need” not because i have over spoiled them but what society has pressured kids into thinking.

  166. As me and my husband are taking the steps to start our family it is such a blessing and encouragement to read this article! Thank you for writing this! My husband is so stressed that when we do have our first child it is going to be so expensive so I need to have him read this!

  167. Could not have said it better myself. And it is exactly the truth and anyone that has anything negative to say about it must have doubts about the word greed.

  168. I have 3 kids and it is extremey expensive. Not toys or clothes, those are very minor expenses in our home. Food, health care, dental care, housing, larger vehicles, more fuel costs, all that combined with loss of income if one parent stays home, or childcare if they both work. Greed has nothing to do with it. Just the basics are quite substantial, and that’s not even considering entertainment, education, sports, etc.

    1. I agree with you, and also appreciate the original post. All the stuff- clothes, toys, baby furniture- we got 2nd hand and continue to thrift shop. That stuff doesn’t have to be expensive. But food, our mortgage on a very modest house, maintenance on 2 used (and paid for) cars- it IS expensive on 1 income! Now we’re paying for preschool (and we picked an inexpensive one) and even if we homeschool, we will need to purchase a curriculum, gas for extracurriculars, etc. We don’t vacation or buy frilly things, we don’t eat out much. It’s hard. We have 2 little guys and the medical co-pay on a future baby is $3,000 so we are hesitant. We got married in the recession and sometimes I’m pretty sure money will ALWAYS be this tight. That said, we have always been provided for by God. It just takes wisdom and sacrifice.

  169. I love this post! I am one of six kids myself and prego with my second girl. I never knew my family “struggled” financially early on, all I knew was that I had parents who loved me and disciplined me and siblings who I played (and fought) with. I didn’t need the stuff (even though sometimes I wanted it) I had all I needed. I hope I can bring my girls up the same way!

    1. Same here, Caroline… I’m one of seven. Congratulations on your second pregnancy, and prayers for a healthy baby and delivery! Xoxo

  170. Beautifully written from the heart. I haven’t yet been given the blessing of children after 5 years of being married, but I am very encouraged by your article. One of my goals in babysitting has been to cultivate a grateful heart in the children because I have seen such much greed and disatisifaction among the children. It has made my heart sad. I always tell them: if you are thinking about all you don’t have instead of being thankful for what you do have – you will have a sad life.
    Thank you for sharing this and what a beautiful response by your boy!
    Blessings to ye!

  171. I don’t have any children but even as a child myself I always felt a level of stress when I got things. Something that still lives within me today. I loved your article so much and truly believe you guys are in the right path!!!! Xoxo

  172. Absolutely beautifully written!! Sending this along to my wonderful daughter in law who just became a mommy for the first time. She will love this and agree wholeheartedly since she wants “a lot” of kids! πŸ™‚

  173. This is so true. Thanks for the post. We have three (and we want five) and we get that “kids are expensive” response. What I love more is “how will you pay for college” my response is they better work are and get scholarships like their mom and I did. Since when did paying for your kids college become a requirement to be a good parent? I’ll help how I can with that stuff but entitlement never goes a long way in my book. Kids need time, love, and a atmosphere that inspires learning:)

    1. I had to laugh when I read your comment. I just read an unbelievable article about a senior in high school becoming angry at her parents for making her obey the house rules . The grandparents allowed her to move in with them (why would grand parents send the message “you don’t have to obey your parents?”). Anyway, this rebellious teen who moved out chose to go to an expensive out of state college with loans to pay for tuition. About the time she was to graduate after a two year degree she SUES HER PARENTS FOR MONEY TO PAY OFF THE LOANS!! (I can’t even comprehend). BUT, the judge awarded her all she sued for. NOT KIDDING she got it ALL! Turns out their state has a law that parents must pay for the kids education! The parents argues she could have gone to an in-state school much cheaper…they should at least get by with paying the amount a local college would cost. Especially since she had chosen not to speak then except through the attorney during this whole process. Judge said no you pay all!! Really?!?? So, now you know the rest of the street! Haha

  174. I get your message, I really do but I don’t understand why you take offense to some mentioning that kids are expensive. People like to share their wisdom. It’s human nature and I personally like to hear opinions and advice. Its what gets your brain working. You start making comparisons and thinking realistically about a budget. Budgeting for children is absolutely necessary.
    I totally agree with your point on greed. I too live with a “less (stuff) is more” mentality but I also know its going to cost my family of 5 anywhere from $60-$100 for ONE mid-range meal while we’re camping/hiking/climbing at a nearby National Park & while vacationing at the beach this year and that teenagers just don’t care much for digging in the sand with buckets anymore. It will also cost me $160 to rent ONE fishing kayak for the week. One kayak won’t do the trick though. Who wants to fish in the ocean alone?! Kids may not be expensive but teenagers sure are!!!

    1. Taking offense and disagreeing with the concept are two different things. πŸ˜‰ I’m not at all offended by it. I just think it’s inaccurate in many ways. Like I’ve replied to many on here, my husband and I are both from large families, where handouts and college funds were non-existent, and both of us grew up happy and grateful for the awareness and responsibility that were instilled in us. We both took part in music, sports, activities, etc. but at various levels were expected to contribute to them. As far as college – myself and all 5/6 of my siblings graduated college with honors, and got jobs in our various fields. None of which my parents paid for. None of this is to say that another parent couldn’t/shouldn’t make a different choice!! But since it clearly worked so well for my husband and I, we see no reason not to pass the same values and work ethics onto our own children. But like always, EACH PARENT DOES WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM AND THEIR OWN KIDS. πŸ™‚

  175. This article made me so sad! I was an only child and I hated it. Sure I got a few things I would. It have had if I had siblings but still it was and is so lonely. We have two kids, a 5yo boy and a almost 2yo girl. I would love absolutely love to have more babies. I want them to be a “group” of siblings, I would live for them to know they have tht unconditional support beyond jut mom and dad. I always think they will grow up and they will have different personalities and yes they will live each other and if we had more than two they probably would relate more to one sibling than the other but they would always be there. I have always dreamed if a big family. My husband refuses to have more, his reasoning is two is enough we got one of each and we should stop here so we can afford more things :/. I honestly couldn’t care less about the things we could afford.

    1. I could have written this myself. I have very little family, and feel like having more than my 5 yo boy and 2 yo girl would give them a sense of belonging unfortunately my husband is done with children . Good luck.

  176. We just had our forth; mostly before we were thirty. We live on one slightly above average income. And were in the best financial position we’ve ever been in! Kids aren’t expensive – having kids and trying to live like you don’t is expensive :)!

  177. I am the mother of 5 and can relate to your beautiful article. I was dumfounded by the rude comments made when I was pregnant with my 5th. A lot of whispers and some went so far as to say “you have heard of birth control right?” People ask all the time how I do it with five kids. I simply respond I don’t know HOW I would do it without them. They have all they need and then some. The number of children people have is totally their own decision. I wouldn’t have my life any other way.

    1. I’ve gotten some pretty wild comments, too, Ann, and I “only” have 3 so far. Just last week, a woman came up to me and outright asked if my youngest was “a mistake, ” since I already had a boy and girl. Ahhhhh.

    2. I absolutely love ur comment because I can relate. I’m 21 and we are on our fourth kid. My mother (of seven) was obviously excited and very supportive. All of my siblings were too. We understand big families because we grew up happy. But others were somewhat negative. Worst thing I had heard was someone said “u can hardly afford the kids you have now. ” just because I don’t drive a fancy car or have the amount of money they do. But the thing is we afford them just find. They never go to sleep hungry. They have more clothes than I know what to do with. We have roof over our heads. Two vehicles in our drive way. All bills paid. To me I think that is affording it just fine an we have room for another. We have plenty of room for more love and my kids are so excited to have another sibling on the way. I’ve felt a little bad about it lately but reading your comment made me feel like I’m not alone in this world and by all means its OK for me to be happy about this fourth child on the way.

      1. I love reading that. We got married young and had a kid almost every year for a while. We have now been married for 10 years and have 7 children. You just enjoy your beautiful family

  178. I have had people tell me, “I’m only having x amount of kids, because I want to give them everything.”

    Compare these “everything kids” to the kids of the Great Depression and the Workd Wars. The difference is staggering and is “what can I give” vs “what can I get.” One leads to joy and one leads to disappointment.

    “Everything” is not necessarily better.

  179. I can not even begin to tell you how much I love this!!! I am feeling a lot of pressure from my hisband’s family to do more and have more. I have even noticed a change in my kids attitudes since my inlaws move back to town a few months ago and my kids have been spending a lot of time with them. It breaks my heart. I feel like all the hard work I have done over the years is being undone. I don’t know what to do or how to fix it without damaging that sweet grandparent/grandchild relationship. :/

  180. You sound as if you are doing an excellent job parenting! I had a similar philosophy when raising my children. As a grandparent now, I try to give my grandchildren simple but thoughtful gifts, for birthdays and Christmas. One grandchild has a plethora of “stuff”, much more than their cousins, and mostly from the “other” grandparents. Everyday is a big occasion, it seems. Gifts of clothing, toys, things, money. Sometimes for no reason, or a day like Valentine’s day is now as big a gift day as Christmas. There seems to be no end to it and I wonder if our dear little grandchild sees this as a some sort of competition? I can’t compete with the other grandparents, either financially or with my time as they live closer and we live live thousands of miles away. I can only continue to do what I have been doing and pray this grandchild will somehow learn that life isn’t always about how much “stuff” you have!

    1. Take heart Grandma, it is not the competition you think, at least not for the grandchild. I had two grandmothers. One who spent quite a penny on gifts and very little time and another who had very little, but gave us her heart and time. While the gifts were very thoughtful, she really didn’t know us at all nor realize that spending time with us meant more. I think it’s more of a competition for the grandparents more than it is for the child and just so you know…that only makes kids uncomfortable. No one wants to feel like they have to choose, but I can agree with this article that quality is better than quanity.

      1. And while you cannot give a lot of time, quality time is key. Sitting down playing games or playdoh or drawing, etc.

      2. I don’t remember a single gift I received from either of my grandparents, but I will be blatantly honest and tell you that I had no loving connection to my paternal grandmother. I didn’t look forward to visiting her, and I never got to know much about her because she quite literally scared the poop out of me. She was a very quiet, very serious woman who put on a VHS whenever we visited and instructed us to sit on the floor while she sat in a rocking chair behind us and played electronic solitaire.

        As an adult, I understand now that she had a very troubled, very tragic life which molded her personality into what it was. But at 4-10 years old, I just thought she was old and mean and only let us visit because she felt obligated.

        My maternal grandmother, on the other hand, picked up my cousins and I in NH every year and brought us down to her home in MS to spend the summer. She was sick at the time, but none of us knew, as she made sure to hide it well. She stayed up with us until midnight/2am at times playing Skip-Bo (a card game), rummy, chess, dominoes, and letting us put her thin, fragile, grey hair into 100 separate pony tails and exclaimed at her beauty when we walked her over to the mirror. She always had a peanut butter sandwich ready when we can’t in from the pool. We pulled straws from the broom to decide who had to go to the grocery store with her and who got to stay behind and continue swimming…. It always ended up being me for some reason…. But she secretly bought me a snowball on the way home and let me pick out the cereal for the week! She rocked us all in a rocking chair and sang old Mardi-Gras songs to us well past rocking chair age (lol). She was an absolute shining gem.

        Those are the things I remember of them both…… I have no memory of gifts.

      3. My daughter-in-law told us that we could spoil the kids with our time. Since we don’t live in the same city, it’s tricky but whenever we visit we pretty much take over the kids’ time while awake! And looovvvvviinnngg it!

    2. Sheila, I would suggest sending letters and cards. My boys LOVE to get fun cards in the mail! It’s a special treat when something comes with their names on it… include a picture or two and it’s as good as a new toy!

    3. I remember very little of the gifts that I received beyond several of her gorgeous needle cross stitches. But every time I smell rain in the middle of a scorching summer, I think of my grandma and how we would stand out under the carport to watch it fall. Every time I hear thunder I remember counting with her to see how close it was. I remember sitting at her feet and listening to stories. Taking walks. I could go on and on about my sweet grandmother until the tears blur my vision from missing her so. So while she didn’t give the most elaborate physical gifts, she gave me pure gold in memories that I will cherish until my time is no more. So while it may seem like the “gifty” grands are winning right now, trust me, in the end, all they will want is more time with the one grand who was willing to give it.

    4. My grandparents rarely gave me anything but their time and love and I love them far more than the one who had to buy us things to show us love. It’s not about the things you give, or how much time you have with them but the quality of time given. My most favorite memories with my grandpa was being in his garden with him, or playing our favorite board games, not the gifts that were given. And if we went on a trip we all piled in his camper he had had since my mom was little and drove off to find a place to camp! It was rarely expensive or grand, but it was so full of such sweet memories.

    5. I’ve never seen it as competition. My cousins always had more than us, but their parents always worked to give it to them. I had my dad home every night at the table eating dinner with me. I have one grandma that has more money than she knows what to do with, and one grandma that the best things I got from her were recipes and life lessons. I love them both the same.

    1. No second thoughts! Motherhood is amazing and kids are the hardest but most rewarding work every. Congratulations on your new baby! Xo

    2. I was 32 when we had our first biological child. 34 when I had our second. I just lost a baby and I was 35. I’m now 36 and hoping to get pregnant again this year. We have 5 we adopted in our 20s during our journey through infertility. I seem to have hit the fertility peek in my 30s. LOL I’m just getting started. πŸ˜€

    3. remember who you are and who you answer to…hint-not people outside you & your husband. If you want more, have more if you are able & enjoy each one of them at each wonderful stage!

    4. If the choice is good for you to have four, then have four. As an only child, I wish I had siblings, lots of siblings. As an adult who can’t have children physically, I always encourage those who have access to the blessings of children to have as many as they can for those of us who can’t; so we can “borrow” a child for a day, spoil them, have an excuse to see a Kid movie on opening day, etc. and then return them exhausted. πŸ™‚ It’s a win:win. We get the kid fix and you get a break. πŸ˜‰

  181. I think what your saying is right on. Kids these day are glued to computers gameboys ipads ipod or what ever else is put there. Yes my kids have all of those. But they get temperature as bday gifts or Christmas. Not just because it’s the newest thing out and they want it. Even as getting g them as a gift they still have to earn it or it gets takin away. We make our kids go outside and stay. They have a ton of thi g to do out there. Ride horses play basketball baseball ect. .they only way my kids get name brand cloths is if I find them at goodwill. Now my daughter on the other hand can’t go outside unless someone is with her. She just turned 16 and has been having seizures since late Oct early Nov and the doctors don’t know why. She can be just walking along and just fall backwards from having one. Most of the time she has no warning of when o e is going to hit. So there is always exceptions to the rules. But i still day ur right on pint and this is how our kids need to be raised. It also teaches them respect and to appreciate the things that they have already.

    1. I just had to reply, because when I was 16, I went through the exact same thing. My sister also has them and the doctors still don’t know why. But 11 years later I have my seizures under control with meds, as is my sister. I hope your daughter is able to do the same!

  182. I totally agree with the way you feel about having and raising your children. As a teacher, I can see the difference between children who are growing up the way you are raising your children (which is how I grew up with 5 sisters) and the children who are so materialistic because their parents have over indulged them. They don’t appreciate anything and think they are owed everything they want, where the other children appreciate everything and are so thankful for everything they get. Your children are so lucky to have parents like you. Keep up the great job you are doing for you kids.

  183. Any suggestions on how to tell extended family to not give too much? In-laws love to buy a ton of stuff for my little ones..

    1. I am a grandmother who keeps fmy 2 and a half year old granddaughter 2 to 3 days a week. I grew up with 5 sisters and we weren’t given things all the time. It made us appreciate what we had. Just tell the grandparents that you feel it is best for your child not to be given too much, because you want them to learn to appreciate what they have and getting too much stuff all the time will not let them learn this.

    2. Honestly, we found it best and easiest to be very clear about our rules as far as gifts. Your rules, whatever they may be, should be respected. Both of our families respect our wishes, but we did need to be vocal and clear about them. Because grandmothers love to shop! πŸ˜‰ If you’ve already told them and they keep buying, then I would start donating the unwanted gifts. I’m sure that’s not for everyone, but I believe that my children’s welfare comes first. Hopefully, just a nice, open conversation will work just fine! Haha

    3. What about suggesting gifts of experiences, vouchers for play gyms, rock climbing centre, pools, movie tickets. Or if they want to buy stuff, expand their library with books?

      1. We are going this route for my son’s birthday in April, as he simply does not need anything! He has clothes, toys, games, at supplies, friends, parks, a nice neighborhood to play in, a bike, a nice yard, and his mommy and daddy! So I’ll be sending a list of places he’d like to visit in his invitations and asking for gift certificates or a donation to his college fund instead. I’m thinking zoos, movie theater, arcade, indoor play gyms, gymnastics classes (he loves them!), duck boats in Boston, museums, etc. Experiences we can have together as a family.

    4. Think of what you authentically want instead, but otherwise you just work on intentional gratitude. My world greatly improved when I convinced Grandma to buy the kids swim lessons (at her expensive gym with great teachers) instead of stuff for Christmas. I’ve also had great luck with convincing 2 of my sisters to take one kid at a time out for special dates like coffee (steamers) and an activity catered to them (playing at the park, shopping for something needed, doing a ceramic project together etc.) Fostering those relationships has been priceless and great for everyone involved. Just a side note – I have 5 kids and I can’t imagine life any different. I don’t pretend it is easy, but it is full of wonderful.

    5. I have a very large family and gifts seem to accumulate over the holidays. Two years ago I asked, please no toys for Christmas, of course no one listened, and I wound up with about 30 new toys for Christmas for my two boys…. not including what we bought ourselves. The following year, my family was told if they purchased an extravagant toy it would be donated to a child in need. Needless to say, people were much more creative in choosing gifts after this.

  184. I have 4 beauties 4 and under, my youngest 2 are twins. We started our family right away and with our unexpected twins we were shocked! I felt peace knowing that The Lord knows what we need before we ask for it! We have all free furniture, which I love because im not scared of it being ruined. We have a ton of hand me downs, once in a while I will spend money on good winter coats and boots because we live in Canada. I do have resp set up because I want to give them a little bit of help but realistically we can’t pay for all of it for all of them, and I expect them to work and contribute to their savings as soon as they are old enough . Enough to do something but not enough to do nothing. Many of my friends are waiting to be financially stable to have kids. What is financially stable? Is there such a thing? Of course we want everything perfect for our children but real life happens and all you can do is have faith and work hard:)
    Great post:)

  185. Totally spot on. Thx for giving me a opportunity to share our side of the argument. I desire to have a lot of kids and even maybe adopt a few more but people are always so negative telling me kids are basically a burden. They say it in a non judgemental way n I can respect their opinion but they just can’t see beyond the Β£/$

    1. children are never a burden they are a blessing from God I find it hard to believe that people think that having children is a burden they just don’t know the love and the joy that children bring to your life.

  186. My 4 kids are 12-20, and one thing that has helped on our one income has been to consider what we do for the oldest, and what the younger kids will expect (and we will feel pressure to continue). Thinking twice before starting expensive traditions has saved us! Personal phones we delay until 15, because by the time our youngers are 15, the older 2 will be on their own plans. An expectation for them to pay for data plans helps. Also, gift giving. Setting a $ limit, whatever is logical to your minds, helps. Pick a little lower than you think you need to, because later it will help! Our kids didn’t always get official gifts at 1 & 2 because they didn’t need anything. We did do parties at home because we all enjoyed those! Also, life isn’t fair, so when kids hit the ‘comparison years,’ have the responses or logic straight in your head. On social media, kids only share the expensive, fancy gifts to brag about. Meaning, families we know to be more strapped to us sometimes give their kids really expensive stuff, and then our kids think it’s the norm. Ugh. We’re in that now. Our 4 kids are the best gifts to us, and there is no way I’d have less in order to fully fund their college educations. We’re able to help them, but believe the striving to work things out is a character building exercise.

    1. Smart…. I definitely find tee=nagers to be more expensive than young kids… harder to find yard sale clothing, running shoes, sports equipment, etc, etc. And music lessons and sports team fees aren’t cheap either. I tell young parents to stop spending on baby clothes and gear and save up for the teens!

  187. Growing up in a very low income family we learned to love each other and even though our toys weren’t the fanciest we made memories together! I always tell others that I grew up in a very poor home but our parents definitely spoiled us…with love and attention! Now, a mother myself to a 15 month old I hope to spoil him with all the love I can give! Love your article! Thanks

  188. This brought me to years, especially the part about children need so little and give so much. It is us who get caught up, big houses lots of toys. It is overwhelming for them. I am always surprised at how selfish first world children can be with fighting about what’s ‘mine’ when kids in 3rd world countries share so much more willingly. This is a nice reminder to keep it simple and just love them. Thanks

  189. idk who assumed that this was a sahm vs wkgm, but I don’t see that anywhere. Having my DD has opened my eyes to the true value of the dollar. Money can’t make my baby feel better from the flu instantly, money can hug and kiss my baby when she’s excited Mommy’s home, and money definitely can’t buy the amount of pride I felt when she took her first steps and we clapped and screamed louder than any concert or sporting event I’ve ever been to (a lot). Her true needs are met with hugs, kisses, patience, and attention.

  190. When I was a child, for several years my dad painted the same transfer truck each year for Christmas. My mom would make a new outfit for my same doll each year, too. Funny, I don’t remember being disappointed at Christmas!

  191. I can’t honestly tell you how many times people have said those things to me as well as my husband and I in just a few short weeks will welcome home baby number 5… My response is always to those that say wow how can you afford them my simple reply is what our children need is provided from our love the Lord’s love and everything around them. Our idea of vacations is camping and seeing our beautiful country by road trips and exciting adventures and we don’t buy high tech data devices for them either. Its all in what each individual family feels is truly best for them.

    1. Congratulations! So exciting! Prayers for a healthy labor and delivery for you and baby. Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

  192. So true!
    I would love to have 3 kids, by now we have fertility problems and still seeing if we can even have 1.
    The other day, discussing with my mother in law (we are from different countries / cultures / races / backgrounds…everything) she told me that If I wanted to have 3 kids I should do it.
    She regreats she had 2 (even with the one child policy) and she said we will figure things out.
    So true!
    I am an only child and I have never been spoiled, I remember camping (no hotel ever) and that was so much fun, sharing toys with my cousins and using 2nd…3rd…4th hand clothes wasn’t an issue.
    Is all in our heads, little ones do not need that much.
    And after saying all this, that I deeply believe, I am so silly I will still participate in contests to try to win more no needed stuffed for kids I do not even have …

  193. I have five siblings. I never had nice clothes. Everything I owned was a hand me down. At times I was very embarrassed by my clothes, my small room that was shared, and that I never had the latest toys like all my friends but I wouldn’t have traded any of my siblings for those things. Even when we were young and we couldn’t be in the same room without fighting, I knew what I had was a rare and great thing! And it only gets better with age.

    1. Thank you louise. even though I did not write this article, I am the stressed mom of 6. (We are a blended family, did not really ever plan on having 6 kids!) With all the arguing, sharing, complaining, it is good to hear that hopefully one day they will appreciate the sibling relationships.

  194. Thank you for these down to earth expressions of love. Being a parent is a gift of the human experience. How I love being a mother and happy children don’t need things, they need time and love from devoted parents.

  195. What a perfectly written article. I have an 8 month old neice.My sister & Brother in law have put the breaks on “stuff” early on .We are allowed to love her as much as we want , but keep the gifts at a minimum .Practical is highly appreciated .This child and her Momma smile more than anyone I know .They are a terrific family…….Keep up the good work girl.

  196. HI! I had a friend share this to my FB page. The photo that was showing in the post was the one of your daughter lying under the bed. My heart skipped a beat ( or three) because for a solid few seconds, I thought it was my daughter, Rosalind. If doppelgangers really do exist, our daughters would be living proof. You have a beautiful little girl by the way πŸ™‚

  197. I love this! My husband and I try to be as minimal as possible and then a birthday or the holidays pop up and we are asked the dreaded question from gift givers…”What do they need? or worse “what do they want?” Our girls are 2 and 6 they certainly do not NEED anything, and how the heck do they know what they want…it changes constantly. How do you Anna deal with this? We dread holidays because the girls get so much stuff…its overwhelming for them and later we see things not being used.

    1. Be firm and give good ideas. I always asked that if they wanted to give a toy, could it please be one that was modest, educational, not made of plastic and would not make noise all by itself. And then give ideas for things that aren’t toys: card games, board games, books, (this is a great time to ask for a really nice hard-cover, nicely illustrated copy of a book to read aloud now, or soon, that you enjoyed as a child and hope your daughters will cherish like Little Women, or the Little House series or The Phantom Tollbooth, or Anne of Green Gables), fancy hair barrettes, pretty socks, the opportunity to give to someone else ( a gift to Heifer International in her name that she gets to help pick), KIDS LOVE TO GIVE THINGS, try the book “Beatrice’s Goat”, a contribution a college account, savings bonds. My parents gave my kids coupons for special grandparent time and my daughter can’t wait for them to visit so she can play “ship” with grandma—and my daughter is almost 12!

    2. Mt grandaughter handles this very well. For Birthdays and christmas, if the baby gets too many things, she doesnt allow her to open but a few, and then in a month or so, she then allows her to open another…this way she doesnt get tired of all her stuff at the same time…Then she culls out what she doesnt play with anymore, and donates them to other children or to a local salvation army or such.

  198. Great read. I have 2 neighbors that choose to only have 1. One mom said, she wanted to make sure she could spoil her son with everything he ever asks for ( he is 10 and has no neighborhood friends). The other mom said her and her husband each had 3 siblings and they want her daughter to grow up without sibling battles! Both times I was left speechless. They are putting greed as a priority in their child’s life. I am an only child and I never felt I had a connection to anyone. Siblings are the best gift! I always wanted 4, but am blessed with 2 beautiful girls.

    1. I agree, siblings are the best gift! My youngest two are a little over 2 years apart and are best friends. Sure they fight plenty, but all is forgotten a few minutes later. And even though my oldest is 12-14 years older than the younger two he adores his little brothers. Sibling relationships teach so much about life, love & friendship…so much more than just arguments. I can’t believe someone would use that a reason to only have one child. I don’t think my boys will ever say no thank you I don’t need any presents for my birthday, but I like to think they have an appreciation for the things they do have. πŸ™‚

      1. Nicki, I’m pretty sure he’ll still have a little wish list when the time comes, but it still totally made my day to hear him say that. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading!

    2. There is nothing wrong with having lots of children – the same as others shouldn’t be judged for just having 1. Many of my friends are only children, and are wholesome, very giving, loving people. I don’t feel this article is necessarily about the number of children someone has, but the way that they are raised and their lives filled with ‘stuff’.

    3. I think it’s quite harsh to label a singleton parent as “selfish or greedy.” I’m sure there is a reason for mom #1’s belief in spoiling her child, and I might guess that it has to do with her own troubled childhood. I, for one, have used those exact same words when answering people as to why we will only be having one child, and it is not to say that “spoiling” my child only refers to material possessions. I prefer to have the extra time to spend one-on-one with him each day, that I wouldn’t have if I were attempting to wrangle multiple children as well as work demands, chores, home repairs/upkeep, and a fulfilling relationship with my husband. Some of us were simply not made to raise multiple children. The funny thing is that I am a Toddler Teacher, with 12 two year olds in my classroom each day, and I endlessly love each and every one of them. I am great at wrangling large numbers of children and keeping things moving along in a neat and orderly fashion. But despite my knowledge of child development, my love of children, and my innate ability to be good at raising smart, compassionate, grateful, polite, happy, well adjusted children, it’s simply not part of my life plan. I have done ENDLESS hours of research on singleton children, to make sure i will not be scarring my child for life, and there is simply NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that only-children are at any disadvantage to their peers with siblings. Our well thought out family-plan does not make us “selfish or greedy,” it’s simply the plan that works for us.

      I grew up in a family that financially struggled every day because my parents chose to have another child, (me!), that they couldn’t afford. And luckily, even with 6 years between my sister and i, we mostly got along okay….. But she was more like an aunt than a sister until i got older, and then she moved out when I was 12.5 anyway. Having siblings, does not guarantee your children will enjoy one another’s company. I know many siblings who literally do not even have contact with one another once they are out of their parent’s home, or who’ve been in constant physical and verbal altercations throughout their lives. One could argue that having multiple children to fill a void for an only-child is greedy and selfish. But, alas, i don’t believe any loving parent has anything but the best intentions for their children, and for not make any of these decisions from the slightest angle of selfishness.

      So, in the end, i only have one child, because I want to be able to provide for his needs and not live beyond my means. Perhaps things will change when I pay off my last community college loan this year and he’s off to kindergarten. But that will be a family-wide decision that my very intelligent 5 year old will have his say in. For now, another child is not in our plan. If that makes me selfish, then so be it.

      1. I would love to add that things change and sometimes we have no control. My first daughter was born just shy of my 21st birthday. She was a an unplanned gift to us! Being (what I consider “so young”), we didn’t immediately have another one. Three years leter, we felt it was time. Brooke turned four on June 2nd, and we gave her a baby brother ten days later. On August fourth, our seemingly healthy, intellectually advanced little girl was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Her baby brother, Brody was just 7 weeks old. Brooke died that September.

        I had wanted a lot of kids, I wanted to take care of my kids, kiss their owies and make things better when they’ were sad. That is what mommy’s and daddy’s do. But I found myself facing my biggest fear, and there was nothing I could do to “make it better”. We got through it because we had been blessed with a brand new baby that needed us for his own survival. And then, we were well, shell shocked I guess. The pain was unbearable, and we would cry alone. In the car, in the shower, anywhere the other parent wasn’t. We had to be strong for one another, strong enough to keep ourselves alive, and care for our newborn they way our daughter wanted us to care for and love him. My husband was adamant that we would never have anymore children, EVER! Our dreams of having a house full of children were gone. We had two beautiful children to love, and life was perfect. And now we only have one. One child to carry the burden is what I kept telling myself. But, I would still ask, typically being met with is reply before I had finished asking my question. “No Cari, we’re done”. “If it’s something you need to be fulfilled, then we have to have another talk, because I can’t give that to you again, I can’t go through that again,”.

        I completely understood, because I was just as scared, but had trust that God would (hopefully) never let us suffer in that way again.

        When our son, Brody, was four + years old, we were riding in the car. That old question came into my head again, but I was ready to hear the answer. If you don’t ask, then who knows, Right? So, here we are turning onto the highway, and look over at him in the drivers seat and say “Hey, babe. Do you think you might…” I was interrupted by his “yes honey, I think it’s time. I’m ready”. He already knew what I was going to say. And he gave me the answer I never thought I’d hear. He wasn’t doing it just for me, it was his dream as well, and he had let the fear settle a bit. And was falling more and more in love with our Brody, every single day. Brody had also just passed the age at which we lost Brooke, and that was HUGE for us.

        Our second son Jorden, was born that August (10 months after our conversation) and we had our third son 24 months after that. By this time, I was 32. I had wanted to be done having my children by the time I was 30, but hey, 32 is pretty good.

        I think large families are a blessing, it just took 12 years for me to have my four. When we have children, we also have to accept the fact that there are challenges, financial, health and crisis. But families that typically want multiple kiddos, are those families with the love it would take to care for a special needs child or situation. It seems to me, the people on this “blog” have it right. More kids, more love, more memories, and then more GRANDBABIES to love.

        I hope you all have a blessed life! And I apologize for the length of this post.

        Cari

      2. Grateful for your comment. The same way that others say they can’t believe the comments they get for their brood, the “only child”, “greedy parent” comments are hurtful for us singleton mamas. I love kids! But one is best for our family.

        1. Family size is nobody’s business to comment on. Period. That said, if one chooses to share one’s reasons/decisions for having a certain amount, does that open the door for opinions on the matter? Gaaah… that’s definitely a whole other conversation, and I’m not really sure even how I feel about that. hahaha Bottom line, no one should be shamed for the kind of parent they choose to be. <3

  199. What an amazing article, I love your point of view. It’s all about choices. I left my teaching job to raise our children. We did the math and after deducting child care, gas, clothing for work, etc, there wasn’t much point to working for about a $1.50 an hour! My husband worked overtime, I used cloth diapers, gardened and spent great quality time with my kids! Once they were school aged, the rule for activities was Scouts and one other thing (be it soccer or piano lessons), it was more important to us that they be allowed to be kids and not stresses about all the extra activities. Now one is about to graduate high school. There were times they wished for more, but they’ve always had more than they needed. Oldest heading to community college for two years and joining the military reserves to defray costs. Someone mentioned vacations- clearly not a necessity, but fun! Our families answer was camping- most of our fondest family memories involve one camping story or another, something to consider! It all comes down to choices, but I agree, children don’t need to be expensive!

  200. My boyfriend is very materialistic and it drives me crazy! I have never had a need for lots of things and don’t want my kids to feel like they NEED stuff. I have no issue throwing things out that I don’t use (and by throwing out I mean donating to someone who will use and appreciate them). I actually want to go on an extended summer camping trip and travel the entire US with my kids but can’t get anyone to go with me because they are so stuck on material things.

    1. I would go with you! I have a 4 year old little girl and we would love a trip like that. But then there is that work thing πŸ™ but seriously, I hope you get to go πŸ™‚

  201. Great post!
    Those of you taking offense to this because you are not a stay at home mom may need to re-examine your insecurities …. I am a work at home mom and could get offended either way and didn’t get any of that from this post.

  202. ok…..so I agree and disagree to an extent…..babies can be expensive, with diapers, clothes cause they grow so fast, formula (I am not able to breastfeed), wipes, baby food when they’re a little older (I just don’t have the time to make baby food anymore, with 2 other kids it’s a tough)…..and whatever else a baby may NEED…….as they grow they get quite inexpensive……ya sure, my grocery bill kills me, 2 boys eat A LOT lol. but I don’t go crazy with toys and clothes, and whatever else is new that week…….hand-me-downs are my saving grace lol……People tell me all the time “How can afford 3 kids?” I don’t believe in spoiling my kids is generally my answer lol

  203. Good heavens–for the record, I am an employed mom and the “employed” vs. SAHM thing didn’t even cross my mind. Great insights. I am glad you shared them.

      1. I think these are great thoughts for all of us to hold in our minds – whether we’re a family of many or few or out on our own! To use as a purshasing guide, “Do I need? Do I have the ability to appreciate? Is this adding value or clutter?” Wonderfully written reminder of gentle gratitude – thank you!

  204. Great article! I love it. My husband and I had 7 children…and I always have to add here all from me, together…not that I have a problem with others with a blended family….I just need to explain the extra lbs, and “poouch” belly…lol. They grew up in the country, and pieces of sticks a s boats on the pond, trash barrels full of water as pools, lightening bug catching…those were the best toys.

  205. Yes, very well written. My husband and I raised four, lost two to miscarriage, and helped raise eight others. As teachers in a small rural community, our home was always open to any and all. It was not always easy- but it was always worth it! I wouldn’t have traded it for the world!

  206. Oh I adore this so much!! They really just want us – our time, our attention, our love. Our daughter is 4 now and we didn’t elaborately decorate her nursery or bedroom and the most we have done for her birthday is have a few special families over for cupcakes to celebrate. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t feel deprived. She KNOWS she is loved and that we are so grateful that we get to be her mom and dad. She is secure in her place in our lives and is happy, healthy and VERY outgoing. We don’t give her everything, but we give her enough.

  207. Great post. Every weekend I try to declutter one area of the house and I am throwing so much out because we have way too much stuff lol.

  208. We raised two kids on one income with a stay at home mom. My kids are now 26 and 24. I wouldn’t trade being at home with my kids and raising then the way we did for anything but don’t kid yourself. To raise a child correctly and to get them off to a great start in life is very expensive. I am glad I only had 2. Driving and school activities and college are not cheap. I was dropped on my head at 18 and left to fend for myself. You do not want your child to be treated this way. In the world we live today your child needs certain things to succeed in this world and not struggle their whole lives. You have to support them financially as they figure out their path in this world. I have seen it time and again the difference between children who are supported and how they thrive and those whose parents can’t or won’t support them and how they don’t thrive nor realize their full potential. To raise a child correctly calls for dedication, sacrifice and money. No two ways about it. If you can’t afford to do that for all 20 children you have you should stop at a number you can afford. By the way, one of my children is a doctor and the other is an accountant and my husband and I are not wealthy just dedicated to the well being of our children.

    1. Well I am one of those kids whose parents were able to give very little support during college and surprising to you I thrived just fine. I worked and because it wasn’t handed to me I learned the value of saving. I knew even in college that I wanted to stay home with my kids when I had them so one whole paycheck from my second job went into a savings account and started our nest egg to make that possible. Please do not make assumptions as you did. Perhaps you have bitter feelings towards how your parents let you on your own at 18, but I appreciate the independence and responsibility I gained from it. And enjoyed knowing my parents weren’t having to work harder to get me through college.

    2. No offense, but my parents didn’t pay a dime for my college education and I’m doing fine. What they did give me was an attitude of perseverance and responsibility. I took my schooling very seriously because I knew that I would be paying for all of it. Raising good kids takes more than just money, and money is definitely not the key. I agree that children need to be supported, but disagree that the only way to support your children is by giving them money. There are many kids who have very wealthy parents but can’t function because their parents thought money could replace the actual stuff they need (such as emotional support, love, etc). Perhaps a healthy medium is something we can agree on? I just want you to rethink your stance. I didn’t have a car until I bought it for myself. If I wanted something, I saved money and bought it for myself. And I am paying for college myself. My parents might not have been able to support me financially but they taught me how to work hard and how to take care of myself, and I’m more grateful for that than for anything they could have given me ever.

  209. As a mother of 5, I’ve found that what my kids want most is each other. They love their brothers and sisters. It’s people who matter most… not things. Our problem today is we place value on others based on what they have instead of who they are. I’m praying my children grow up to be kind, gentle, patient adults who serve others.

    1. Mother of 6 here. I love your article. My children range from 5 months to 9 years old. I wouldnt have it any other way. We are blessed beyond words.

      1. Mother of 6 here. I love your article. My children range from 5 months to 9 years old. Epilepsy is one struggle that holds us close. Never take health for granted. Even though it is rough at times I wouldnt have it any other way. We are blessed beyond words.

    1. Hahaha yes! Or when they walk in a massive room with hardwood floors and they’re like, “I don’t like the paint color on the walls.” BUY A CAN OF PAINT, DUDE. hahaha

      1. I happened to see one of those shows and just couldn’t believe the budgets and thought processes!

    2. House Hunters is hilarious. The realtor always seems to talk the young couple into buying so much more than they need or budgeted for. They come in with a carefully worked budget and she’s like you can afford so much more. Eventually they get a house way over budget. I always want to scream.

  210. Thank you for this post. Beautifully written and I admire your devotion to your children. I don’t have any yet but being the bread winner, I wonder how we will manage. You have helped me to see that we can do it and have great lives. Your kids are adorable, btw!

  211. Thank you for posting this. I’m 31 and expecting my second son in May. My husband and I are hoping to parent 6 children and whenever I am asked how I will handle that many, “with costs and just 2 hands,” I simply tell them that we will figure it out. If we are blessed with 4 more children or none, we will always have each other and our love. That’s what it’s all about.

    1. Love is wonderful:). However you still need to ensure you are able to care financially for the children you have. It is neglect to bring a child into the world and not be able to feed or clothe them. No they do not need designer outfits but you do need to be able to provide necessities.

  212. We did the same as you – lots of second hand clothes and toys etc when the kids were young which was very inexpensive. Our kids don’t care about or even notice clothes brands etc.
    However we’ve found the expense comes with school – school fees, excursions, books, music lessons, sport…. All $$$ that we didn’t spend when the kids were little ! Also our teenage boy eats like an elephant… start saving now πŸ˜‰

    1. Hahaha My husband and I say that all the time about teens and food. Figuring we’ll be doubling or tripling our food budget for a while there! πŸ˜›

  213. Thanks for writing this. It’s true even if some people don’t agree. Ask someone who grew up in another country, like me. I remember having food, clothes and a home, even though it was one room with a small kitchen and a hallway. We slept in that room and during the day it was our living room/dining room.There was no running water but it didn’t bother us because that’s how it was and there was no other way. I don’t remember wishing I had more or wishing for an inside bathroom. I was always in books, in my own little world. We spent a lot of time outside and used our imagination to play. I never felt like I don’t have something because others had similar things. I don’t remember being discontent. I was happy and hope to give my kids a similar childhood because then they can appreciate people, gifts and nature, like I do!

  214. What a beautiful post and I agree 100%. I did not see, nor could I have read into this any insult to working moms. I think people who already feel guilty see judgement where there is none. If someone reads this and feels judged, she should look in her heart and figure out why the truth is so offensive.

  215. Oh my goodness, you are soo spot on! Thnx for taking the time to share this!! Agree with it all!!! My son also rarely plays with toys, he is happy as ever with tape, scissors, paper and cardboard….anything to craft!! We love the value pack of cheap tape!!! Thnx again, wise lady!!!

  216. Our four children were born between 1977 and 1985. There were times we had so little that our lives fit into 6 fiberboard barrels. We knew each other because we had so few distractions. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything!

  217. For the last 2 year I’ve given my grandson gift of time envelopes for Christmas. He gets 12 of them, one for each month. He opens them on the first and we decided when we are going to do what is in it. They usually don’t cost much and it’s about doing things together. Like in September we go and pick apples and then make an apple pie. He loves it! I think what you are doing is right on. It’s about the people and not the things. If more people did this the world would be a much better place.

    1. Ahhhhh, I absolutely love this. Might have to steal this idea from you! Your grandson is very lucky to have you! Xo

  218. As a teacher with 30 years in the classroom, I can tell you what children REALLY want and need- your time! I hear it all the time “We were too busy this weekend…..” ” Isn’t that sad? A 7 year old who feels over-scheduled and busy. They don’t need the newest gadgets, toys, and clothes. They don’t want or need organized sports and activities every night after school. They need YOU! Be present. Get off your phone. They are only little once.

  219. I love this. Very true. The cost of children is more of a heart cost over time than anything else. I have 6, ages 8-20 and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  220. This is so true! I wanted 4 children so bad but after losing our stillborn 3rd child to Trisomy 18 and then 8 days later I was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my left lung), we decided it was simply not safe for me to have any more children. A very sweet friend of mine joked that I got my 4 children, they are just wrapped up in my 2 very high energy and rambunctious daughter and son. πŸ˜€
    [Anna, I’m from Oklahoma and you have a kindred spirit here; I don’t do ironing either, in fact my husband irons better than I do. (sending a high five from the heartland)]

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby. Thanks for sharing your story with me… and yes… NO IRONS EVER. Bwahaha

      1. Sorry so for your loss! I would do ironing for you if I lived close by…because I am strange…I actually enjoy ironing….lol

  221. Thank you for your words. We’re expecting our first and I’ve been freaking out thinking, “I can’t afford a kid!”. But hearing you and some of my older friends who say, “when I was a kid, I had one toy.” It makes me feel like, even if I’m not “a typical mum” (the stereo-type i have in my head of a mum who buys there children anything they want) I can still be a good mum. Thank you.

    1. Pamela, I’m telling you, my youngest ignores toys and plays with spoons and pot lids. Haha You will be a wonderful mother!! Hugs to you!

      1. Yes! My oldest lately likes to take either spoons or crayons and pretend like they are people, plays with them for hours!

  222. I am confused by many of the comments about working moms vs SAHM, debates about daycare, etc. This article wasn’t about any of those things….. I think the point of the article is how greed is affecting our society and our children, and that children don’t need more “things” they need our love and guidance. I think Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest play a huge role in people constantly feeling like they need give their kids more and more. For example, many moms on Instagram posting their kids outfits, or showing their closets full of clothes. People’s Pinterest worthy parties, etc. I think we live in a world where we share quite a bit of each other’s lives that before social media we didn’t see, so we didn’t compare what we had to what others have. I love the quote from Theodore Roosevelt “Comparisson is the Theif of Joy” I have many times been caught up in material things for my Children. I feel like a huge part of it is that I enjoy buying things for them more than for myself. I am embarressed at the amount of clothing my kids have. They definitely have more than enough and one reason I care a lot more about my kids clothing is because I was bullied as a child and remember many times having kids laugh at what I wore. It is SO easy to get caught up in material things for our children (and ourselves) for one reason or another, but it is important for us to remember that less is often more. Teach our children gratitude and more than material things our children want our time. They want us to teach and guide them.

  223. The working-outside-the-home-working-inside-the-home suggestion isn’t once a given thought in my head while I read this. I completely agree, though, that the kids don’t need all that stuff. Our kids are now 22, 21, 20, 18…they grew up like your kids are growing up. My only regret is that the farm we bough 1.5 years ago wasn’t bought sooner in their lives.

  224. I completely agree with you. (The only exception being the formula I have to buy for my son. Damn that stuff is so expensive. The woahs of not being able to breastfeed I suppose.)
    Any way, all I really have to say is that my parents were together untill I was 11 and my dad would spend all our money on stupid stuff and himself so my mom had to do what she could with what she had. To this day my favourite meal is still what we would have quite often when we couldn’t afford anything else. Hamburger with noodles butter and salt and pepper. (Steak spice if we were lucky!) but I love it because of the memories I have making it with me mom. I didn’t know untill I was much older that we ate it for those reasons!

    My mom told me once though, it’s a good thing you liked it cause if not we’d have been screwed! Lol

    Thanks for your perspective! πŸ™‚

    1. Haha When we were low on cash growing up, my mom would give us pancakes for dinner. We all thought it was the best thing ever… now I do it with my kids, and they love it, too!
      Formula prices… uggggh, so ridiculous. :-/ Thanks for commenting!

      1. agreed, formula prices suck. I found SMA to be the cheapest, it is made by the same company as s26 but its cheaper because it doesn’t carry the s26 name tag. Otherwise i used to look for disscounted ones. My LO refud the breast. Oh joys. Thank you for sharing, and i agree about its quality and not quantity that matters

  225. I often think that the way I learned about money and gratitude growing up was that we didn’t have any money, so I was grateful for really small stuff. Honestly, I worry about how my kids will learn these lessons since they have everything…I always appreciate thoughtful perspective on this topic, so thank you!!!!

    1. Thanks, Paula! I appreciate hearing that. As a child, I really didn’t want for much. My husband’s family was quite the opposite on one income with a self-employed dad. We’ve tried to strike a healthy balance between the two, but on one income, with 4 kids, my children definitely don’t get near the amount of “extras” that I had growing up…which is good! I think they are actually more grounded in their faith and better people than I was at 18. They are more grateful and don’t struggle with discontentment the way I did in my twenties. Why is there so much pressure to hand over everything from toys to education to our kids – they become much better people when they actually have to work for it, and when they have to really take care of and be responsible for the few special things that they have.

    2. Paula, I love your thought process. My husband and I have the exact opposite problem. Not that we grew up rich but we had everything we could have wanted or needed. We are now raising our 18 month old on an extremely tight budget. So we are the ones learning how to instill frugality into our own lives while teaching our little pumpkin along the way. It’s a stressful process but also a wonderful one! Thanks Anna for such a wonderfully written article!

      1. good luck. We were lucky taht about 2 years before we had our LO, we had to live on 1 income for a year, so when i got made redundant while i was pregnant, we knew what to do. We are still struggling sometimes but i look for bargains where i can πŸ™‚

  226. Anna, so much truth and wisdom written here. We have a large family (8 children) we are trying to instill these very same things into. We live in a small house , we actually built it small on purpose . Having less is so much easier and so much better for you in so many ways. Thanks for sharing these great truths!

  227. I read this article and think it is great! I’ve also read alot of these comments and I don’t think alot of people get the point. Everyone seems to be taking it in all the wrong ways!

      1. Your very welcome!! I think people these days jump so quick to assume judgement when in reality that’s not the case. This article is in no way judging or putting down other house holds cause well their all different. And it’s a shame that the people of this earth are so quick to assume negativity toward themselve.. I’m 24 years old and a new mom and I understand that better then most people who have kids my age

  228. Not sure how some people missed the whole point of this but I agree wholeheartedly that what kids really want from their parents is their time and attention.

  229. Yes! Beyond basic necessities, what children need from parents is the one thing that many parents don’t seem to give them – time! The children need time to be themselves and to be adored and admired by the parents without causing undue narcissism in them. Too many parents, IMO, neglect their children in a way that isn’t seen by Child Protective Services. They neglect to give them their time. This can even apply to a Stay At Home Mom who gets so bound up in being sure that the child is enrolled in all the right classes (or whatever) that there is no time left to just be with the child. In fact, again IMO, those SAHM’s are probably more likely to neglect their children in this way. Working moms struggle too often with guilt. So, they’re more likely to be sure to “make time” to be with the child. Don’t get me wrong. Working mothers can also neglect the time aspect. It’s just an individual thing. It seems to me that the author is a SAHM who is getting it right! Thanks for sharing.

  230. This was a good read and I agree — most of the time. It reminded however of the one time we had to have a time out as were to pray and seek advice. We had four beautiful children, no rent or mortgage, we were eating meat twice a month, I made my own bread, I used cloth diapers, we depended on the blessings of gifts and hand me downs for our clothes. I didn’t even go garage sale or thrift store shopping. Yet we were still having trouble making ends meet. We wanted more children so much so my husband found a better paying and more stressful job. We saw very little of him for 2 years until the Lord blessed him with an even better paying 8-5 job. We then had our fifth little blessing. So though I don’t disagree with the article, on rare (extremely rare) occasions they are too expensive.

  231. Anna, your priorities are in order. My husband & I worked opposite schedules on a very tight budget while raising 5 kids. We homeschooled for many of those years, as well. Much fun can be had when imagination & creativity are put to good use.

  232. I really enjoyed reading this. I don’t have kids–and I’m not sure if I’ll ever want kids–but this was a refreshing read. One of the reasons I didn’t want kids was because I see parents pouring huge amounts of money and time into their children. I don’t mean time as in time spent with the kids–I mean time ferrying them around to their various sporting events. These parents have no lives on their own because they spend their evenings and weekends with their kids’ sports activities.

    I don’t like how the comments have degraded mothers with careers, though. Just because a woman wants to focus on something in addition to her children doesn’t mean she’s not a good mother. I’m getting an education so that I can get a career that I love–and I’m not going to give that up to become a stay-at-home mom. That’s another reason I don’t want kids… other women shaming me for having a career.

    1. I agree with you on that. My post has really nothing to do with career path. Excellent parenting has much less to do with working vs stay at home, and everything to do with the lifestyle and love we show our children. It’s never okay to shame another mother simply because she made a different career choice. Thanks for commenting!

  233. Thanks for the post Anna. You are absolutly right. Just reading this makes me want another one. Doesn’t mean I will.lol. Thank you for sharing and reminding me whats important for parents to know and what really is important for the children. And for the first response from Cat G, I dont think she was trying to start a battle between moms that work vs. moms that stay. I think she was trying to clarify and reassure that kids dont have to be expensive. I will keep sharing this post and will actually send it to people who comes up to me with comments like, “why so many kids,” after I tell them that I can not keep my hands off my wife.

  234. What about the single parents out there? I’m a single mother, an adjunct university professor with many other part-time jobs so that I can feed and house my amazing daughter. I am poor enough to have medicaid. Staying at home with her is obviously not an option. The materialistic items you are talking about are only items that privileged families can have. They are not options for even most middle class families. A large percentage of the children in my daughter’s public school have their uniforms donated by the other, less poor families, after they’ve outgrown them. Almost 50 million people live in poverty in the U.S. 1 in 5 children receive food stamps and worry everyday if they are going to get breakfast or not. Maybe you could write about ending the systemic greed of racist capitalism in this country. Not about Etsy outfits.

    1. You seem to have missed the point of the post, but that said… obviously a single parent is in a totally different position. I’m not a single parent or in the circumstances you described, so I write from my personal perspective on here. There are levels and extenuating circumstances to anything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      1. I understand. And I was where you are now when I was married. I loved staying at home and spending time with my daughter. I got to do it for 2.5 years. But now I’ve gained a new perspective on life and mothering. I’ve gained a deeper sense of empathy that I didn’t have before. I thought about life on a micro level rather than macro one. And the greed issue is way bigger than what we manage within our personal family units. It’s a larger social issue that is allowing for such financial disparity. I wish more families could contemplate the things you and I have been lucky to contemplate. But for them, it’s much more basic. They don’t always get to consider compassion, security, and respect. Rather, they fight to survive.

      2. I have been a single parent, and everything in this article totally applies! It doesn’t matter if you are filthy rich or need assistance…What our children really need from us – it doesn’t cost a thing. If anything, I think this article highlights one of the silver linings of single parenting. When there is no money to spend, the memories are made from the things that really matter.

    2. I don’t know you, Melissa, or where you live. But in my area ALL the young mothers seem to feel it necessary to dress their kids like they are going to see the queen. Professional family portraits several times a year are considered normal. And I am talking about middle class families, and under. I am sorry you have to work so hard. I did too. But it does sound like you are bitter because others have something you don’t. I never had all those things, and our 3 children turned out just fine. Let it go.

      1. It doesn’t sound anything like she is bitter. And she didn’t say all kids who have a lot of things turn out spoiled. But it sounds like you are a bit spoiled by not at all seeing where she is coming from. She is simply saying that all those things are not necessary and people don’t realize how little children really need to be happy.

  235. I love this post and agree 110%! I’ve done the daycare thing, etc. but that’s not the point of this article. I live in less than 900sqft in the middle of no where. We don’t vacation every year, or even every other year. My boys don’t play summer sports all summer. My youngest son wears hand me downs 90% of the time, we play outside summer-spring-winter-fall, we get yearly passes to our zoo, we picnic, we rarely eat out, and we pinch ourselves daily because we can’t believe how blessed we are! Kids are an expense the “greed” in our society is sickening and is the “true” expense in everyone’s life. Small spaces build strong families!

  236. So sad that this article seems to have fueled yet another stay-at-home vs. working mom battle. Everyone has their own situation and challenges to deal with. Just because you choose to keep your family size small and have a career does not make you a bad mother because you didn’t bring more children into the world and you want to continue to use your degree. Choosing to stay home to raise your family doesn’t make you less strong or empowered than those who choose to work. I have done both. I was home for a year with my daughter, then went back to work so that we could afford to buy a house with a backyard (greedy, maybe, but I want a garden to plant with my children and a place for them to run around and play). Now we’re expecting our second and I won’t have the luxury of taking a year (or more) off this time. I’d love to be at home, but I’ve seen how my daughter has blossomed in her small daycare and I know that no matter what she will grow up to be the person we help guide her to be. That said, I love the sentiment of less is more. We have hand-me-down clothes and toys. Sometimes a box, a stick, or an old jar is the best toy anyway. We don’t need to have pinterest worthy nurseries, outfits and parties for our little ones. How beautiful that your little guy could see the message loud and clear already, you must be great parents!

    1. I agree with you on the whole working vs. stay at home thing. Good parenting is not necessarily guaranteed based on which “career” you choose. Each of us has to choose what is best for our own family. Some of the best, most involved moms I know are working moms. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here! Hugs to you and your babies!

  237. Amen and thanks for a wonderfu post. Many years ago in a spate of cowardice and disobedience I aborted my child because I did not want to be a father and we could not “afford” children.
    What a lie from hell!
    Children will cost us time, money, convenience, but what a blessing and their cost need not be exhorbinate! My wife graduated law school and heard from the Holy Spirit to come home raise the kids, home school etc. It was not always easy or pretty on one income, but it’s possible if we stop persuing the biggest, latest thing or fad.
    Our adult children stilk thank us to this day for their mom’s sacrifice.
    The type of child (or if you choose to have any at all) will one day take care of you. Will they say I cannot afford mom or dad and act accordingly? Think about it.

    1. Brian, thank you for sharing your family’s story. I’m so glad that you both listened to the Holy Spirit. I also want you to know that your first child has been cared for by Jesus Himself and if you and your wife have not already, there are resources out there to find healing. God Bless your family!

  238. Cute article. Although my daughter was the most expensive thing I’ve ever paid for! She was a preemie and left the hospital with and $225,000 medical bill, so yes I technically had to pay for my daughter’s life. Without it my daughter wouldn’t be here, and yes I consider her an expensive child because of that. Anything she has gotten since has been within our budget, after bills, gas and food was paid for. I do not consider any of that expensive because I have had to deal with EXPENSIVE.

  239. unless you don’t have home insurance….. my dvd player alone has been replaced three times in as many years! but for what this article is highlighting ten yes I completely agree :! πŸ™‚

    1. LOL!! I had to laugh when I read that. When I told my then 3 yo son to dispose of an apple core, I meant the trash can Then I hear the commode flush in their bathroom. He was not potty trained and my daughter was with me in our master bedroom. Next thing I knew, our commode started “a burping and bubbling sound.” Turns out he flushed the core down the commode. We had to call (on a holiday weekend no less) a highly specialized plumber to come fix our septic line. Thank goodness for emergency savings fund (ala Dave Ramsey). πŸ™‚

  240. Until they get to school age and there’s fees and field trips and swimming lessons and music lessons and drama lessons and sports costs and uniforms…

    1. It is cheaper to stay home with your kids. Daycare, of course, is necessary if a single parent is raising the family. I stayed home with my little ones and struggled to make ends meet. It was a struggle that I am glad my husband and I made. I saw many moms my age working away from home to get the “things” that my family didn’t have. I had to shop carefully and take “hand me downs” and sew. We may not have been prompt on paying our bills at times, but they did get paid. I do see the greed in daycare. It provides the extras that a family can do without. It also changes the lives of children. I would recommend anyone to live within their means without daycare. It can be worked out and it will be better for the children.

      1. If by greed you are saying you don’t want your children to die, then yes daycare is greedy. My wife and I both work full-time jobs and barely make ends meet. We could not support our family with one of us at home even with the daycare cost subtracted. We have no family near by able to watch our son. So I guess I am greedy for wanting to come home to my wonderful son. Not every situation is like yours so think before you say such a blanketed statement.

    2. SO SO SO TRUE…. If it weren’t for daycare I’d say raising a child isn’t expensive until you have to pay daycare which can equal out to paying a house mortgage and then some. I’m lucky at the moment to get a discount because I work where my child attends daycare, but I’m looking to move on and work somewhere with better pay and my goodness that weekly cost will be the most. :-O

    3. Charlotte, have you ever met a single parent? It is great that you chose to stay home with your children, but I do think there are plenty of parents who are extremely dedicated to their children’s well-being and still need daycare. I am also a teacher and have seen many wonderful children from one= and two-parent households who used daycare from infancy with no ill effects whatsoever.

    4. Birdie, you got that right!!! Where I live, it’s $800.00 a kid a month x’s 2!!! Yep, it’s expensive to have a kid but totally worth it.

  241. They truly are the most precious gifts, so lets all keep them loved and safe no matter the costs. That is what we did for our kids:) They both turned out to be two of the most loving, and caring kids, one could ever dream of having:) So proud to call them, both, mine:)

  242. I don’t have kids.
    I can’t afford kids.
    We’re told (constantly) that you simply “find a way” but let’s be real here…
    We (husband and I) live a very minimalist lifestyle. The cost problem? Childcare. Where we live it AVERAGES $800-900 a month. It’s usually more…Per child. When you can’t afford to have one person stay home and both parents need to work and their jobs are, let’s say, modest (re: just above min wage) how do people afford to have kids?
    I get that you don’t need to buy them a lot – I agree 1000%. But how do families do it?
    Our choice is to be childless for several reasons but I would be lying if I said cost wasn’t a major factor in that decision.

    1. I do enjoy the perspective of the article, and I agree with it in many ways. However I think it depends on a stay-at-home/work-from-home parenting situation. My husband and I both work full time, and have a healthy sized household income, we both make over three times the rate of minimum wage in our area. When it comes to children the cost prohibiting factor is not new clothes, or shoes, or the last fad toy. It is childcare, hands down. We have two children under 5, and we are not planning on having another because we cannot afford more. Childcare in our area ranges in the ballpark of $20,000 per year for our two children. The cost is so high that I considered leaving my job (that I love, and went to university for 6 years to do) to stay home with my little ones, as our childcare bill eats up over 50% of my take home pay after taxes and deductions. I would have loved to stay home and be the one taking care of my babies, however if I left the work force for 5-10 years I could essentially guarantee that I would never be able to return to my field in any meaningful earning capacity. I would have to make the decision to stay at home permanently, which would not allow us to have any income to save for our children’s post secondary education, which we value greatly.

      We make it work. We budget, and coupon, and buy used, borrow, use hand-me-downs. But I honestly don’t understand how couples or single parents who make minimum wage afford to support one child, much less several.

      1. I understand the situation, but look at it this way – you are saying that it is better to never be born than to not have your parents pay for your college education. You are also saying your job and the ability to use your degree is more important to you than the life of a potential child. You admit you could leave the workforce and afford another kid, but your job means more to you than a child so you won’t. Just something to think about.

      2. Most single parents or parents of large families don’t “plan” to pay for their children’s higher education. I came from a big family (with a stay at home mom) and the only child my parents could afford to help through college was the youngest. For that reason alone I chose not to have more than 2 children. I wanted my children to have the opportunity to go to school without having to spend half their adult life paying off student loans while trying to raise their own children. Like you, I had a budget, couponed, bought used, rarely spent money on myself and at one time had to work 2 jobs … but my children had the opportunity to continue their education after high school. My decision also allows me now, as the parent of adult children, to help my children out financially when those unforeseen things happen in their lives. This would not be possible if I’d had a brood of children. I love children and know I could have loved many more than 2, but I wanted the children I had to have all the opportunities I didn’t because there wasn’t enough time or money. Now that I can look back … I know I will never regret my choice.

      3. Exactly! Our mortgage, insurance, electric bill and school loans exceeded one salary for us. Our second just turned two so now daycare costs slightly less than our mortgage! We buy very little new, even most of our furniture is used. I seriously don’t understand how people do get by.

    2. I don’t think anyone has claimed you don’t need to adjust to make space for children. If it’s important to you, you’ll make space in your life. If overhead is too expensive, move. If your job doesn’t allow you the flexibility, find a different job. Not having kids is fine too.

  243. This a fantastic post. Thank you for sharing. We don’t have any children yet but I share many of these views and it’s reassuring to see there’s others who feel the same! ☺️

  244. Reblogged this on Re: Patrick and commented:
    A really interesting perspective piece on the ‘cost’ of having kids. Anna is a New York based wife/mother, but she doesn’t iron… don’t ask her to iron…

  245. Amen! I told my husband that we need not worry about everything being clean all the time because we should spend time with our kids now while they are young and want to be with us. I have taught my kids that consignment and Walmart clothes are just as good as designer clothes. We are very frugal with our money and watch every penny. You can’t take material items with you when you die.

  246. Love this! Ten years ago I had a ten year plan, earning an MBA, climbing the corporate ladder, having 2.3 kids that would go to daycare then school. Now, we have two 9 year old boys. One through birth, one adopted 6 months ago from Bulgaria. And, I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mama. My husband works full time then works a 2nd job part time so that I can stay home with out boys. Both of our boys have genetic conditions and are considered special needs. I’m thankful that my husband’s job provides us with great insurance. Now that we have two most people seem to think we should be content. They look at me a little weird when I say that I don’t think God is done growing our family and that I would like to adopt at least 4 more. Unfortunately my husband doesn’t share my thoughts, for now (He said we were done after the first, said we’d never adopt internationally…you’d think the man would learn to quit making plans since God seems to take pleasure in proving him wrong). All of that to say this, the things I thought I wanted ten years ago seem like another person’s dreams. I’m thankful that God put us on this path we’re on. It’s definitely not an easy one, though I don’t think there’s really any way to parent that could be considered easy. The things you said, are the things that I say to my husband when he says we can’t afford more kids!

    1. I agree, I am a helping grandmother and feel so blessed to be able to love & care for working or deceased grandmother’s children.?

  247. i just read this wonderful site. i loved it .itam a grand mother. i’m so proud of my daughter and her family. they love thier children so much and that’s all kids really need. love. respect. attention. teaching them the difference between right and wrong. but knowing that they are loved is the most important of all. ocu

  248. May I just speak up for all of my friends and relatives for whom this is just not true? I have lost count of the women in my life who have been dealt with the tragedy of primary infertility. Just to “simply” have a biological child has cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Those I know who have desired to adopt a newborn have also spent tens of thousands of dollars along with experiencing the pain of long waiting periods and being “rejected” numerous times along the way.

    I have had both scenarios in a way: a few bio kids very quickly and then years of wanting more but not being able to get pregnant. Adoption fees are sky-high in so many cases these days, but we borrowed tens of thousands against our retirement plan in order to adopt our youngest children. Their special needs are now very expensive.

    Sorry to vent like this, but not everyone is able to have the large family they desire and then announce to the world how they do it in such a little space with such little money. In my experience, social workers were pretty clear with us regarding standards of space and income. We don’t live in a mansion, we are on a budget, and our kids work hard for what they want. Still, they are very expensive. Worth it, but still expensive.

    And, for those who are tempted to criticize those of us who have adopted newborns rather than fostering and/or adopting through foster care (which doesn’t entail the fees I have mentioned above), please try to understand. Bringing home a newborn is an experience that many women want to have. Adopting children via foster care involves other high costs. We are now about to experience this ONLY after building up a huge support system of people who have gone before us. The needs of these children must always be considered seriously in order to make sure the “right” family is found for them.

    Thanks for reading this and letting me share some of the irritation experienced by other moms and me on this topic. You sound like an awesome wife and mom!

    1. Oh my goodness, your comment made my heart hurt. I would never, ever put myself in the same boat as a mother who struggles with fertility and all the emotional and financial strain that causes. I truly hope that you understand the general content of what I was saying in my post, and realize that it comes my own personal perspective, and is not meant to cut off, or shame the many wonderful women who bear a pain I couldn’t even imagine.
      That said, you sound like a beautiful, loving person, and your children are so blessed that your generous heart led you to adopt! Much love to you and your babies!! xoxo

  249. This is an interesting article :D. Kids aren’t expensive?! I chuckled hahaha. You are right….this world is overtaken by greed…. tooooo much greed. Unfortunately in order to survive in the world….you have to pay the price for this so called greed. As a mother of 3, I work full time. Daycare……DAYCARE is EXPENSIVE. I can stop right there just with that statement hahahaha.

    I understand the message. Unconditional love, there is no price tag on that. No. But there is a price tag, yet again, on living in this world.

    Designer clothes not a “need”. Nope they sure are not. I DO NOT make it a priority to buy designer clothes, so don’t get this message wrong. However, send your kids to school without, and you may change your mind. Kids are mean. Remember….the world is greed. Sure you can teach your kids about sticks and stones and the message of materialistic things. Wait until they get older and they try to fit in with their peers. Also, with that being said, buy the cheaper knock off version, and the clothes have half the life expectancy…yet again a product of greed from manufactures. Shopping for clothes for 3 boys for 13 years, I can truly vouch for that. I watch for sales only.

    Extracurriculars is a beautiful way for your children to get involved with the community and figure out what their passions are. Soccer, baseball, swimming lessons, gymnastics, Cadets…. Cant put a price tag on that? I don’t have a soccer field, baseball diamond or pool in my back yard…nor do I have enough space so they can run around and burn off energy. So what is my next option? Pay for the extra so they can learn different things and have opportunity and get exercise. (I go thru the community though, which is a way cheaper way). Coming from a climate that is cold and miserable for almost 9 months, bundling your young children up to head out to the great outdoors to brave the -32 weather is just not an option. Arts and crafts only go so far. I do also find free community activities to get them involved in, and in the summer almost all our time is spent outdoors :D! But still the costs add up with 3 children.

    “College is not a parental responsibility”. Hmmmm this is the comment kind of took me back by surprise. Isn’t it your parental responsibility to set your kids up for the future? Ensure that they have all the tools and essentials that they need to survive in this world? Unconditional love will develop a “proper sense” of emotional skills. What about their life skills? Ten years ago living was affordable and practical. Now its ridiculous and almost unmanageable. Can you imagine what its going to be another ten years from now, and its not your “parental responsibility” to set them up for that future? I am confused by that.

    We live very modestly. Both my husband and myself work very hard to provide just the necessities. I cannot be a stay at home mom, the cost of living just does not allow it to be so. I would love for my children to grow up loving life, not having to deal with the stressors of this GREED in this world. My children don’t get to go on hot vacations, don’t have any of the newest technology gadgets, the only toys they get are on birthdays, and Christmas. In fact, I even think my 13 year old son is the only one of his peers that does not have a cell…..nor will he get one anytime in the near future hahaha. Instead….we invest our money on setting them up for the future :D.

    Good luck to you and your family in the future :D.

    1. Day care – yes. Totally different and automatically large expense. The rest, including college, my husband and I both had, because despite our large families being 1-income (1 low income haha), we were all taught to contribute, and an awareness and responsibility that we have to this day. None of us lost out, and every one of the 7 kids in my family graduated college with honors and got jobs in our various degrees – none of which was funded by my parents. None of us seem to mind. πŸ˜‰ We got jobs, studied hard (which led to scholarships) and took out very minimal loans to cover the rest. But like with everything else, each set of parents has to decide what is best for themself and their kids. You sound like a wonderful, caring mom, and I’m sure your kids are learning to be wonderful people from you! Thanks for sharing a different perspective! <3

  250. Good for you for getting this so early because believe me.. as the mom to three girls between 11-16.. they get even more “expensive” as they get older thanks to the parents who DON’T understand that giving kids everything. We actually talk a lot about over-entitled kids on Ten to Twenty and even just had a podcast on the topic. You show me one kid who “deserves” a $40,000 car and Tory Burch boots and I’ll show you an ocean in the middle of Idaho. But sadly, by the time they get to their tweens and teens, they’re so used to that behavior from mom and dad, why would we expect any differently. It just adds another layer of parenting challenges to those of us with common sense.

    Fabulous post and perspective.

    1. We had our twins first, and so right away daycare wasn’t really an option because it would have consumed over 85% of my teacher salary. So, my hubby found a job working 3pm-midnight so we would only needed a babysitter for about 3 hours/day. When my daughter came along 2 years later, we quickly realized it made more sense for me to stay home with the children and learn to be very resourceful because his earning potential was greater than mine. We also moved about an hour away from the expensive area we lived in to a place where living expenses were more affordable – as hard as it was at that time to give up my “career” and leave the area where much of our families lived, I’m glad we did it! We went on to have #4, and people called us crazy! I have worked part-time here and there, but was able to home school my kids and have a profound impact or their faith and values. Also, my kids have such strong and special bonds with each other – they are great teens now! And, in the area we moved to, we made some very special friends – several families that had more than 4 kids!

  251. This is a touching and well written article, and the message is true. Greed is expensive and β€œwhat children need from us doesn’t cost a thing”. Children require our love, affection, attention, and guidance, but it is naΓ―ve to say that kids are not expensive because they don’t need stuff. Kids are expensive because they also require basic needs that are expensive: food, clothing, healthcare, and education. You dismissed that fact to make a point that kids aren’t expensive.

    1. I didn’t dismiss that fact. My point is that kids are nowhere near as “expensive” as they are made out to be. Coming from a family of 7 kids, and my husband one of 4, it is eye-opening for us as parents to see all the things parents consider “needs.” That aside, my greater point is that, no matter how old they are, the best thing we can give our children is quality time and our love. πŸ™‚

  252. We have two kids and we both work. My kids are not spoiled. They do have more clothes than they need but we don’t buy brand new(most of the time) clothes because of how fast they grow but everything still adds up quick. My parents had six kids and my parents worked themselves in the ground just to make sure we had what we needed. When school started every year it was all they could do to make sure we had everything we needed. And at Christmas my dad was always so stressed out he was hard to be around cause he would work day and night to get every penny he could scrape up. My parents struggle is the reason I got my tube tied after two. Now we were poor when it came to money but our parents always took us camping and fishing during the summer and those are my favorite memories as a kid. I don’t think it’s responsible for people to have a ton of kids to the point that the kids are suffering and it’s a big deal when they go to school and everyone has a northface or miss me jeans and they know their parents just can’t afford it. Now my oldest sister has four kids they oldest is 11 and they are all so spoiled I want to slap her. She buys miss me jeans for her 10 and 8 year old daughters but they have the money to do that. I guess what I’m getting at is don’t have more than you can genuinely afford.

  253. I really like the message in this article and I’m in the same boat. Most, and I mean 90%, of my toddler’s clothes are hand me downs from my sister’s children, the same with toys and other items.

    That being said, kids are expensive, and I think it’s misleading to say otherwise. I would say having kids doesn’t have to be very expensive, but it’s not cheap either.

    We live on a very modest income in an expensive city. Daycare is exorbitant. Rent/housing costs are high. And daily expenses with a little one are stretching our budget. And pre-emptively, we try to keep our cost of living low. My husband will literally walk for an hour to save the $3 cost of public transit. That’s right, we also don’t own a car.

    We had the same thoughts before our little one was born that all our baby would really need is love, food, and shelter. We had so much being given to us or pass on to us. I think this was naive, especially regarding the daycare. Milk, diapers, organic food, RESP, new shoes cause the daycare doesn’t like the ones you got them, whatever it is for the week. Agreed, you do not need to buy the newest fad in toys, or go to every enrichment class, etc. I agree, spending time outside, utilizing free activities around town, having playdates, are all great way to show children that money and owning things isn’t the be all and end all. That being said, children are expensive.

    1. Children obviously have a significant impact on one’s income, that goes without saying. And I would definitely qualify by saying that income should be a consideration when it comes to family size because things like food, education, clothes, diapers, etc ARE necessities that need to be provided. My point is that many parents, such as myself and my husband, have the choice to live simply with more kids or lavishly with less… and we choose more kids. haha But you make totally valid points about practical, necessary costs. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! <3

      1. Thank you for your kind and supportive response. It’s a tough one because I think a lot of people may live beyond their means or live lavishly, but I think others like myself are in a balancing act financially. I think the key is the words you wrote is that some people are afforded the choice to live simply with more kids, but that may not be an option for many people.

        To be able to do so presupposes a couple of things (potentially, but certainly not in all cases depending on a lot of things like cost of living in your city, close to family, car ownership, etc.). One, that one parent stays home because they want to (which is an awesome choice!) or because daycare costs for one kid is a mortgage payment (let alone for 2+ kids). Second, the working parent or parents must also make a relatively high income to support the necessities. Myself, I’m in the middle, which is where the crunch comes in. So even while living simply, kids are still expensive. Amazing, awesome, and joyous, but expensive, as are many things in life. For many, there isn’t that choice.

      2. We had four kids and lived on a teacher’s salary (I stayed at home). My youngest is 14, and I wouldn’t trade all these years at home with them for anything.

    2. Have you considered moving to an area of the country where the cost of living is more manageable? It is very hard, indeed, but in the long run, maybe you could even afford to stay home with your children for a few years and not even have to worry about childcare expense.

      1. Absolutely, and we might move yet. But, I’m at the end of my PhD, so we’re here for now. Once I’m done school and work full time, that will change things significantly, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenge for now (or that children aren’t still expensive). As well, I love work and my little one, so I doubt I’d stay home full time. As well, my little one loves daycare. He’s incredibly social and loves his teachers, so I wouldn’t want to take that away from him. That being said, if we could, we’d go part time and my husband would stay home, but finding a part time daycare spot is virtually impossible. There’s so much to consider being a parent. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being a parent!

  254. oh my gosh. After 4 years without satellite, we signed up for dish’s sling service getting me hgtv back. It’s driving me crazy the things people THINK they have to have. I find myself thinking how shallow they are being and how they have lost touch with reality. ? I agree with everything you have said in this article!

    1. Haha Jess, we went for 2.5 years sharing one little car, and people thought we were crazy for that. We finally got a second, bigger one when Baby #3 arrived, but the temporary inconvenience was well worth the money saved, IMO. Perspective is everything. And yes, HGTV people are hilarious. πŸ˜›

    1. Choldren need their parents. That’s the point. Truth be told, parents need to love their children and train them themselves. My mother was always home when I was home. She was always home when I was at school and was busy providing a clean home and clothes and good food. She made bread every day. They provided rock solid security to us. My dad worked 1 job and came home every day. We had 1 car and lived in the country. They loved us 12 children. There is a sufficiency for man’s need but not for man’s greed. (Gandhi). They loved being married and being our parents. We had perfect attendance at church. They taught us to obey and we all had work to do, and we loved them back. They taught us to worship and love GOD and His Son Jesus. Perfect childhood. The LORD provided for us everything we needed.

  255. Though I completely agree with this and LOVE your message I think it is important to also comment that kids can have unknown expensive circumstances. We also wanted a large family but unfortunately the debt that we have due to medical bills from my two kids chronic medical conditions means we are likely done sadly due to the expense

    1. That’s a good point, and would definitely be something to consider. I think I’m more focused on all the superficial, mindless type spending that goes on, you know? Obviously, extreme situations, emergencies, and medical needs are totally different. Caring for chronically ill kids is a whole other level of mothering, and I have so much respect for you. Hugs to you and your family!

  256. For me the part that makes them expensive is not stuff or clothes, it’s daycare. And that’s not something I’m willing to bargain shop for.

  257. This is a beautiful sentiment and I believe that children are as expensive as you make them, there is a pretty big problem that arises when they turn 18. I was one of 5 children and we sure didn’t have a lot growing up. I graduated high school with top grades and an associates degree completed and paid for by an amazing program that I worked really hard for. Then I was on my own. There was no money for college. I applied for and received student aid, went to a state college, worked, married young and we did everything we could to minimise student loans. But the fact remains, college is required for a lot of jobs. College is expensive and getting worse all the time with less aid to go around then ever. When you have a lot of children and no money to help them, you are sending them into a world completely unprepared financially. My mother is a lawyer, my sister is a doctor now. They will both have student loans until they turn 65 and can no longer be hounded to pay them. I am a nurse with $20,000 hanging over my head and I’m one of the lucky ones. I have friends with loans so high, it feels like a noose around their neck. I have 2 children. I will pay for all they need to complete school debt free. Have a lot of children if you want, but don’t call it cheap.

    1. It’s all about perspective. My husband and I are both from large families, and lived simply by necessity growing up. College is not a parental responsibility. My husband and I paid our way (and continue to pay our loans) through college because we chose to attend. Because we were responsible for those loans, it made us more thoughtful of how MUCH we were taking out, rather than, as you mentioned, ending up with astronomical loans in our names. Our children will be free to make that same choice, or to enter a field that does not require a degree- which still leaves them plenty of career options. My point is, there are many better ways to prepare a child financially than by handing them money. That said, every family is different and every parent has to make choices for their own children. Best of luck to you and yours, and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! πŸ™‚

      1. I agree. Our kids know that we will not be helping them financially with college. A few of my kids shouldn’t even go to college in my opinion as their gifts and talents are not things you need college for. I have told me children that if they want to go to college, while we won’t be able to help them financially they are free to live at home and we will still support them. They will need to be going to classes and keeping grades up. They will also still have responsibilities around the home. Around middle school we sit down and look at current college expenses and then projected expenses for the future. We talk about things they can do without a college degree. We also discuss duel enrollment which our state lets highschoolers do for free. They can get almost a full AA degree in highschool for free from our local community college. I think making your kids financially responsible and equipping them to make good financial choices for adulthood is the way to go. Heck, with college expenses becoming so exorbitant I don’t think I could pay for ONE kid to go to college so it really doesn’t matter how many we have. πŸ˜›

  258. Kids are relatively expensive not because of designer clothes and stuff but more because of a change in lifestyle. For example, either you send them to daycare (around here as much as $2,500 a month per child full time or one parent stays home and loses that income. Also, once you have 3 kids, and especially if they’re different genders, a bigger place is needed and far more expensive then living in a 2 bedroom condo. And I’m not saying a McMansion either. A simple 3 bedroom split level that is 1,500 square feet in 3.5 times the cost of a 1 or 2 bedroom condo.

    Geography is huge as well. Around here, even with coupons and smart shopping, grocery bills are $200 or more a week compared to $75 a week for two people. Diapers, minivans (for 3 or more when all in car seats), and health plans change the financial landscape drastically. 2 individual health plans or even a 2 person plan is hundreds less a month than a family plan. Any sort of family vacation is more expensive especially since most places now have a 4 person limit per room, getting a Suite is pricey. Even a local non destination hotel.
    Instead of $25 for a simple dinner out now it’s $50 or more. Less money for retirement being set aside, etc. Birthday parties, not just for your kids but going to several a year for their friends plus Hosting even the simplest can run in the hundreds. Toys for your own kids or not. Equipment as they try new things, such as music, sports, theater. All have price tags. Now even cell phones are expected for kids as they get of age. Every school has expectations of parents supplying classroom needs like crafts and sanitizers.

    Now all of this is not even a second thought because of the love and joy we have for each of our children but to say they having kids is not expensive and to focus just on the designer stuff as justification is overlooking the very real and unavoidable aspects that will drastically impact your checking account.

    We have several double income no kids (DINKs) friends that make similar incomes than us. They are beyond loaded financially because of how much they save sans kids. Bottom line. Kids costs. Whether you buy designer or not. Most of our kids clothes and toys are handme downs for our kids.

    1. It goes without saying that kids have an impact on income. But it also goes without saying that how MUCH impact they have is significantly affected by how one chooses to parent and live.

  259. Thank you Anna for the article…..we live in a small town in MO with lots of families who want more kids and homeschool and the Moms like staying at home and so we are not alone!!! We had 3 children of our own and then my husband got cancer and we were not able to have any more children….please readers the Lord will only give you as many children as He knows you can handle…do not try and fix things your self……we were able to foster some children and adopt one of them….now 3 children are grown…the oldest 25 lives here the 15 yr old lives here and 93 year old Grandma lives here and a great friend…24 and her baby 10 mo stay here off and on….we are blessed….and these 27 yrs that my husband and I have been married we have always had a house with plenty of room….not fancy cars….not new furniture….but the Lord has provided exactly what we need…Thank you Lord!!!

  260. Here is my story: my hubby and I have 2 girls they are 13 months apart…..While me being a nurse have always (in theory) afforded us more money we chose to use daycare only when was truly necessary and be with our girls as much as possible…..while hubby worked days I worked evenings (just 5 per 2 weeks) and then nights so I could homeschool….We always shopped in garage sales and thrift stores…I grocery shopped sales and cooked from my pantry….4 years ago while I was in RN school (was LPN at the time) and home schooling and sole provider I found out about extreme couponing…..and life got better….I have been able through lots of work to not just graduate without student loans but also bless so many with food….and my girls? they rather shop at thrift store…have had some type of paying jobs since they were 15 years old (they are 17 and 18 now)….we live in a house much smaller than most of the people at church and I tell the girls that being frugal should not be because you HAVE to but because you choose to…..when we home schooled the books were used and cheap…I also prep lots of meals and now have the girls helping….my girls were not expensive at all….They had everything the need and not too much of what they want….they now look back and thank us for not getting them all the silly things they wanted.

  261. Thank you for this post! I often struggle with the guilt of not being able to afford to buy a bunch of the latest stuff for my daughter, however I don’t even want her to have a bunch of “stuff”. I want to have experiences.

  262. Add a few kids, change a couple names and I could have written this πŸ™‚ Just today I was thinking about a family I know and the difference in needs vs wants. This family makes at least double what my hubby and I make and yet she keeps telling about how tight money is, side jobs to make ends meet, etc and I just don’t get it. Of course, she drives a late model car, posts picts from their high end photo shoot every couple of months, and shops at all “those” kids clothing stores. Our cards are both 1999 models, we do picts with a coupon at Penney’ s and spend about $150 each season at the consignment sale to dress our three little girls. (We have three grown children as well.) We live in a two bedroom house and love garage sales. Despite all that my children still have more than they truly need but they are loving grateful children and most days I wouldn’t change a thing. (I really hate my kitchen, lol!)

    1. Yesss… to everything!! We finally bought a newer (still not new haha) large car last year, but prior to that, we were a one car family driving a little Honda civic. πŸ˜› People were always mind-blown when I said that, like it’s unthinkable to share a car a temporary money saver. haha It’s amazing how far you can stretch a budget – enough to live happily and comfortably! – with a little care. I’m glad I’m not the only one who cringes over my kitchen, though. BUUUUT… we finally got around to painting and doing some easy things that made a huge difference! Check back later in the week, I should have it updated. Thanks for reading and commenting! xoxo

  263. I absolutely live this! I have 4 kids myself an everyone ask so are you done jow that’s a big family it cost so much to raise them! So people have even gone so far to come right and say I don’t think u need anymore! So hats off to you I loves this read !! πŸ™‚

  264. Anna, This is so beautifully written! My hubby and I raised four awesome children mostly on one income. Most of their clothes and toys were hand-me-downs or purchased at yard sales. They went to Christian school which was a wise investment for our family (and the tuition break i got for teaching there helped quite a bit). Now all four of them are awesome and responsible adults! Three are married, one is soon to be married and I love their spouses. i could not be more blessed. But while they were growing up I felt bad for not giving them more stuff and nicer clothes. We gave them a lot of love, attention and passed on our Faith. Thank you for confirming that much of what we did was right:)

    1. People like you are my encouragement when the days occasionally seem waaay too long and full of diapers and goldfish crumbs. haha Thank you so much for sharing your story and God bless you for your generous love to your children. xoxo

  265. Thank you much for this. In an environment that seems to generally view kids as an inconvenience in many ways – including financially – your positivity and words of truth are just the kind of message I need to hear!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that. I feel the same way – sooo many blogs and articles complaining about kids and/or presenting the negative aspects of parenting. There’s way more good than bad, and it’s time to share some of that! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

  266. I so agree. Everyone always flips out when I tell them I have 9 children and 5 grandbabies I am 47 yrs old I had 1 child my huaband had 3 and we had 1 together. When they started getting older and out and about more we decided we still had so much love to give that we started foster care. We ended up adopting 2 that was supposed to stay for only 2 weeks…that was 8 yrs ago. Three years ago they called and had 3 siblings to the 2 we adopted. The oldest went to his dad but we adopted the youngest 2 for a grand total of nine. They range from 3yrs old to 30.. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    1. Well, this comment pretty much made my night. Wow, wow, wow. Absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and lots of love and prayers to you and your whole family!

    2. What a beautiful story πŸ™‚ I too am 47 and we have six. We had three children then when the youngest was fourteen decided to have more! Ours range from 1-27 πŸ™‚ And we have two grandbabies, too. People tell us we’re crazy…I wouldn’t have it any other way.