The Cost of Parenthood

One of the neat things about working for the USDA is that I'm among the first to hear inspiring stories of first time farmers, new technology that is making farm-to-table a real possibility and research like this article about the cost of raising a child.


On any given day I swing between being wildly excited about the prospect of motherhood and completely terrified by the idea of physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually caring for another living being. So in my attempts to keep my baby fever at bay, I really try to be realistic about the costs of parenthood.

Costs like spontaneity. I'm a pretty spontaneous person, to my core. I'm virtually incapable of forming plans with friends because I never know what I'll be doing from minute to minute. I want to be ready to have a baby attached to my boob at all times and have someone else's minute-to-minute consume my entire day.

Costs like freedom of movement. I like to travel, a lot. And I feel like I have so much more traveling to do with my new husband. There's so many places I want to experience with him that just wouldn't be possible with a mini-Stuckert in tow.

Exhibit A: Our honeymoon in Jamaica.

Costs like childcare. I would love nothing more than to stay home with our wee ones when the time comes. At least for a few years, like Chuck's and my mom did with us when we were little. But the reality isn't looking so great. With our finances being as they are, we're going to have to work on our debt for at least 10 years before we could think of being a single income family.

I'm not trying to be a Debbie downer about parenthood, really I'm not. But Chuck and I are both kind of head-in-the-clouds, dreamers. So about every other day one or the other of us will utter something along the lines of, "I can't wait to make babies with you." We need to constantly reflect on the very real demands of parenthood to keep us from jumping into something we're entirely unprepared for.

Until the time comes, we're content to keep practicing baby-making ;)

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When did you know it was the right time to start trying?


  1. I don't think you ever feel REALLY ready. Ryan was all about it last year. Then we got pregnant and lost that pregnancy. We kept trying to get pregnant again, and even though we had decided we were "ready" you never really feel that way! When we got pregnant this time we were excited and I can't wait to meet our little girl soon, but I still say some nights in bed "Are you sure we are ready to do this?"

    I also did a whole post on how we adjusted to being a one income family when I had to give up my job. We had a ton of debt. We got rid of it through FPU and Dave Ramsey (:

  2. My time hasn't come yet. I've been married 6 years. I think it may come in about two to three years. :) Enjoy your time.

  3. Watch Teen Mom and that should help keep the baby fever at bay. I would want to stay home too for at least a few years and I know that we can't afford to. I don't feel that we can afford to raise a child the way that I would want it to be done so chances are we won't have any. They say you make do and you make it work but I'm just no so sure that we want to. It changes everything and realistically I guess you are never ready for that! You just have to decide how much you want it.

  4. We waited about four years after we got married before we had a baby. We both love traveling and thought it was important to spend a few years of just being us, cause once the baby comes you can't give him (or her) back. As far as being ready emotionally, I'm pretty sure that won't happen until the first time you are holding your brand new little bundle of a baby in your arms. Financially: just be smart with your money, babies will always be expensive, but they are worth every penny :)

  5. We've been married for over 3 years, homeowners for over 2 and we're still not "ready". We still enjoy our freedom and LOVE to travel like you guys plus we would also like to go down to 1 income so I can be at home with the kids and that's not possible either in the near future. So right now we're just enjoying our time together as just the 2 of us and paying down debt.

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  7. I think, just like everything else in life, God's timing is perfect and when he decides it's the right time he will provide. There have been many, many times that my parents couldn't afford for my mom to not work, but God has always made a way. God gives us the desires of our heart and will always provide a way for us to fulfill his plan for our life, so don't give up hope! That being said, as you know, I am so very far away from having baby fever and don't know if I ever will, but I just know that if it's in God's plan for Jon and me he will change my heart at the right time.

  8. I don't think you are every truly ready and my philosophy is that if you wait for everything to be perfectly wonderful before you have a kid, you might be waiting a long, long time - maybe even forever, because the chances of everything being exactly the way it needs to be are slim. There is always more you can do. When we first tried to get pregnant, we thought it would take a while, and we got pregnant on our first shot. So while I had thought we were ready, I realized that I wasn't as ready as I thought I was, because I anticipated it taking much longer. But you get ready, even if you aren't ready, and even if circumstances were less than ideal, I would not trade it for the world.