Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Should you have another child? Here's my advice.


Haha, just kidding! Sort of!

So I have five children, all of whom are wonderful and a joy and a constant source of pride and all of that, and all of whom also occasionally frustrate me to the brink of homicide.

Right? You parents know what I'm talking about. Most of the time they're awesome. One of the best things that ever happened to you. Other times you want to strangle them.

That's the dichotomy of parenting: Deep, intense love intermingled with periodic criminal rage.

"I just love you so much. You're so wonderful and the best daughter anyone could ask for and...wait, did you just leave your granola bar wrapper on the floor again? YES, YOU DID. PICK IT UP. PICK IT UP NOW! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO DO THAT? WHY ARE YOU SO BRAIN DAMAGED?!? PICK IT UP NOW! NOW! NOW!"

And so on.

Single-kid parents sometimes worry that they could never love a second child as much as they do their ever-so-perfect first one. Which is wrong. If you have a second child (or a third child, or a fourth child...), your capacity for love will grow proportionately. I don't know how it works, but it does.

So don't worry about that part of it. Worry about the bills. I know that's a Dad Thing to Say, but seriously, multiple kids means multiple expenses.

Like car insurance. If you have a toddler, the last thing on your mind is car insurance. But trust me, it will be an issue for you one day very soon.

Car insurance is expensive no matter who you are. But try getting coverage for a 16-year-old boy. Or an 18-year-old girl who has had a couple of accidents. Your premiums will have more digits than you even knew existed.

"Make the kids pay for the insurance themselves," you say. Which I would do if they didn't have to go to school and instead had 30-40 hours a week available to work and earn the requisite cash.

So there's that. And college. There's college. Presumably you'll want your children to pursue some form of post-secondary education. As you may have heard, college is a wee bit expensive.

As are clothes, food, housing, and everything else the law (for whatever reason) requires you to provide for your children.

You need to take that stuff into account.

Another important factor? Your age. People are different, and we all have different levels of energy. But as you may have figured out from your first kid or two, having a baby is exhausting. Doing it in your 20's or even your early to mid-30's is a whole lot different from doing it in your late 30's or 40's.

If you're pushing middle age  or if you're already there  you need to consider what having a baby will do to you. Even a baby that sleeps through the night the day you bring it home from the hospital. Babies in general sap a lot of energy from their parents. If you're cool with that, OK. I just want to make sure you're aware.

One last thing: If you decide to venture into large family territory, which I define as four kids or more, then understand that people will look at you funny. They'll assume you're Mormon or Evangelical or angling to get your own reality TV show or something. They'll say things to you like, "You know what causes that, right?" (NOTE: The correct reply to that is, "Yes, but look at me. My wife can't resist me, and if I'm being honest, neither can yours.")

As a father of what nowadays passes for a large family, I can tell you that you will become a borderline outcast from society. Few people will want to have you over their house for fear that your family will wreck the place, which they most likely will. They'll make assumptions about you and your motivations and the amount of time you're able to spend with your children.

Ignore them. You need to save your energy for walking around the house picking up discarded granola bar wrappers anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment