Raising a baby
We’ve all seen the articles about how much money it takes to raise a child from a newborn to a young adult, but how much faith can we really put into the figures? There are just too many choices to make along the way that will affect the final figure. For example, education can either be through the public system or you can go private, and that’s a big difference just there.
Will your child attend every ballet-, singing-, piano-, rugby-, soccer- or tennis lesson there is? Or will they be content to play in the backyard, and hang out with friends? Will they need braces? Will you holiday at the local caravan park or use your timeshare points to go to the seaside?
The alternatives are too great to quantify. Also, there’s no point suggesting that raising your children is going to cost you a small fortune if you’re never going to be able to spend that sort of money; that will only lead to us all feeling depressed and turn us off having any more children.
As a group of women, we’re all very resourceful and will successfully raise our children with whatever resources we have available. The reality is, kids don’t need to attend baby yoga, music and jazz classes from the time they can sit up. Most of us never did and we’ve turned out just fine!
What we did have were the basics for survival in the world that we live in: shelter, food, water, good health, an education, a good set of values and, most importantly, feeling safe, loved and wanted. Like most children and teenagers, we tend to take it all for granted; it isn’t until you become a mother that you realise just how selfless and self-sacrificing your parents were. So, to achieve the outcome of a well-balanced, kind, considerate and happy young adult, there are sacrifices that we have to make along the way and you could call these the real “costs” of raising your child.
Here are just a few of the “Costs and Sacrifices” you may have to make:
- The loss of your previous self-identity.
- The loss of your sleep.
- A changing relationship with your partner.
- The loss of your ability to work in your chosen profession with ease.
- Being on call 24/7 (and I mean on call, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”).
- Never going to the toilet or having a shower on your own.
- Stretch marks and a body that’s shaped a bit differently.
- Not buying yourself new clothes because your kids need something more than you do.
- And, most importantly, missing out on the last piece of chocolate cake just so your kids can have it.
We are not suggesting that moms are resentful of these “costs”, but the reality is that these are the sorts of sacrifices we make when we enter the role of parenthood, and it’s nice to know that we’re all in the same boat.
We all had one…at least we think so – it’s almost impossible to remember life before children. They are so totally consuming that it is very easy to forget that you were somebody else in another place and time. When you have a baby, your identity changes whether you like it or not. All of a sudden you are no longer just you, or a partner, you are now officially a mom and that role isn’t just while they are a baby, it’s forever. It can take a while to adjust to this new identity and over the years it will change as your children grow older.
Occasionally there are glimpses of the old you, usually when you are having some child-free time (if you’re lucky enough to have support around you that allows that time). Or perhaps you’ve waited until the children are at pre-school or kindergarten before finding some time for you the individual. You may be a working mom and find that time for yourself is more and more limited. Finding those times is a great way to revisit your old life. Many mothers’ groups or friends establish a roster to help each other find the time to spend alone or with their partner. Take the opportunity by going to the gym together or taking in a movie all by yourself. Whatever you do, it is important to spend time on yourself – the better and happier a person you are, the better a mother you’ll be.