The $ Of Parenting

My sister sent me an e-mail the other day noting that the average price to raise a child in the United States was something like $200,000 to $300,000. Seeing as I live in sunny (read expensive) southern California I’m thinking we’ll be closer to the upper end of that range.

I have four kids, so through simple arithmetic, even if we develop some efficiencies, I’m looking at somewhere north of one million bucks to get my kiddos raised and out of the house. Let me repeat that figure to let it sink in. More than ONE MILLION dollars!!!

My hands sweat and my heart pounds whenever I look at that number. That’s an awful lot of scratch.The Four Kids

Basically, it means that I could have kids, OR I could be a millionaire. But it would be highly unlikely for me to achieve both. Not only are they going to cost me a million bucks but until I kick them out of the house, I get the pleasure of dealing with dirty diapers, throw-up bowls, dirty clothes left on the floor, fist fights over stupid toys, spilled cereal under the couch, very late nights and very early mornings (yeah, this list could easily fill this entire page).

Despite all this, I know that I am incredibly blessed to have my four rugrats. I may go prematurely gray and the bags under my eyes might now be a permanent fixture, but that’s cool. And let me tell you why – as annoying and costly as those little buggers can be, they fill my life with laughter, love and sometimes with shear head-scratching bemusement. That being said, there are definitely times when I need a little reminder of why they’re so special to me. Here is the list I made.


The List

  • Snuggling – probably the best part about having kids. I’m going to really miss this once they hit the teen years!
  • Wrestle-tack – This is what we call our play wrestling that we will usually do on mom and dad’s bed to annoy mom while she’s watching one of her girly shows (probably some version of Pride and Prejudice)
  • Hugging – an altered form of snuggling but I’m actually thinking I might be able to talk them into some hugs even when they’re teenagers.
  • Watching them grow into distinctly different people – If they didn’t all look so much alike there are times I would have serious doubts that they come from the same parents.
  • Seeing how they are both like me and totally different from me – the fact that they are all various mixes of their mom and me is probably a really good thing (for instance, none of them have been suspended from school and, in fact, they’re teachers actually seem to like them)
  • Teaching them about things – I am admittedly a bit obsessive about teaching them stuff. I changed the words to twinkle, twinkle little star to more accurately reflect our current knowledge about stars (I’ll include the lyrics at the bottom of this post).
  • Reliving the joys of a swimming pool – It’s not just the pool of course. They remind us how to play and use our imaginations and enjoy.
  • Kids running around the house totally naked – It is inexplicably hilarious to watch the naked butt of a three year old running down the hallway (and it never gets old).

My list could go on but you might get bored, stop reading and not get to my revised version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Before we get there though, I challenge you to make your own list. Keep it to yourself or share it here if you’d like. I’d love to hear some of your reasons for enjoying parenthood.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (Revised)

Twinkle, twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are?

A big fiery ball of nuclear explosions

Held together by gra-vi-ty.

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Now I know just what you are.

1 comment on “The $ Of Parenting”

  1. Kimberly Michael Reply

    2 of my favorites: listening to their silly jokes and their made-up (or creatively adapted) words. This brings me to my all-time favorite sound: my children’s happy laughter….that is worth so much more than a million dollars!

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