We all know that raising children is expensive and all sorts of numbers get thrown around for the average cost of raising a child to age 18, but how do we really put that number into perspective?
Whereas X=the life you always dreamed of living . . .
If You Have One Child
Your new life equals X minus Ferraris, Porsches, Audis and Mercedes.
Subtract the fancy European vacations and instead go on vacation to the “European-Style” spa in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where they have some very nice coffee table books about Paris and France.
Multiply by about 75 pageant and recital costumes you will pay someone else to sew for you after trying to do the first one yourself and accidentally wind up sewing your thumb to your lower lip.
If You Have Two Children
In addition to the above, also subtract Lexus, Infiniti and Acura.
Add a handful of shifts per month at a part-time job in addition to your full-time job.
Forget all about the magic of Moose Jaw and add “vacations” to your basement, to which you add kitty litter “sand” to make it feel beach-like.
Multiply by approximately 30 sports and activities fees including your very prudent investment in karate lessons for your 11-year-old daughter who shortly thereafter learned about pacifism from her stupid friend Brooke and quit after 3 lessons.
If You Have Three Children
In addition to the above, also subtract all new vehicles.
Instead add the “family deal” your uncle gets you on a ’92 Corolla with a scratched-out VIN that is later found to have been part of an “unexpected and devastating engine fires” factory recall.
Subtract the lightweight, comfortable aluminium stroller you always wanted and instead go with the “stop crying, it can’t be hurting your back that much” umbrella stroller you found at a garage sale.
Add some back-to-back graveyard/day shifts, a couple of kids you babysit on the side and a handful of semi-illicit business deals.
Add a near-clinical obsession with coupon clipping and the occasional “I scraped the moldy bits off, I’m sure it’s fine” dinner.
Multiply by approximately 12 years of college tuition, including the sure-to-be-a-goldmine two years of Art History for your pacifist daughter.
If You Have Four or More Children
Seriously? Has birth control education not reached your area of the world yet?
Okay, in these cases, subtract vehicles altogether. Add a falsified bus pass that some dude downtown sold you for $6 and a rusty ten-speed bicycle with an old catcher’s mitt duct-taped on for a seat.
Subtract new appliances and instead add a stove your hillbilly cousin sold you for $20. Try to remember that when the left-front burner is at MEDIUM and the right-rear burner is at SIMMER, touching any part of the front of the stove gives the kids a pretty serious electric shock.
Add some ‘grey market’ toothpaste, a minor ponzi scheme that never really gets off the ground and a backyard play center you built yourself out of asbestos (allegedly), mold-salvage lumber and half-burnt tires (remember to hammer in all the rusty nails before you start playing, kids!).
Multiply by the cost of the approximately 42,398 lunches that you will have to pack each evening before rushing off to your night shift driving a liquor delivery truck through Junkieville.
Add the cost of one tear-stained Ferrari brochure you hide in the bottom drawer of your cardboard filing cabinet and take out late at night as you ponder where things went so terribly, terribly wrong . . .