Why you don’t need money to have a baby

Image“We’re waiting until we’re, you know, set-up financially before we have a baby.”

This statement – and the usual smugness with which it’s delivered – annoys me tremendously. While my irritation is somewhat rooted in my own resentment at being far from “set-up” when my daughter was born (I was a legally single, 25-year-old student when I got myself knocked up), my contempt for this statement also arises from its classist nature.

Here’s what you’re actually saying: only people with money are fit/deserve to have babies.

This is how our society is now wired. If you have money, you can offer your children the best resources in education, extracurriculer activities, organic food, brand-name clothing, monstrous housing, electronic goods, cell phones, holidays and toys. Because we all know the amount of money you spend on your children is a true measurement of how much you love them.

And guess what! You can start proving this love before your child is even born.

In his new book, Charles Duhigg details how department stores actually figure out that you are pregnant (before you even start showing!? WTF?!?) so that you can receive flyers and coupons to start spending money ASAP. That’s right, they start marketing to you when your baby is still as cute as an inchworm (see above photo).

Here’s an excerpt from Duhigg’s book:

“…for companies, pregnant women are gold mines.

New parents buy a lot of stuff–diapers and wipes, cribs and Onesies, blankets and bottles–that stores…sell at a significant profit. One survey conducted in 2010 estimated that the average parent spends $6,800 on baby items before a child’s first birthday.”
~ Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

Can we please stop and breathe for a moment? Despite what your hormones are screeching at you, can we all just be rational here and think this through for a minute?

If you want a baby or you’re already pregnant, there are some things you’ll need – like diapers, maybe bottles. Other than these essentials, you’ll also need:

  • a car seat
  • a stoller (imperative so that you can leave your house and maintain a semblance of sanity, but you do not need a pimped-out $750 stroller. I think @kellyoxford sums it up best:
    “If your kid’s stroller is as big as a smart car: fuck off.”
  • a bed

That’s seriously it. In fact, use this rule: if my mom/dad didn’t need it, I probably don’t need it for my kid*. Your baby does not need wipes warmed up before they grace his/her precious bottom. Your baby does not need a bathrobe (unless it’s to do hilarious Hugh Hefner impressions). And I’m pretty sure your baby doesn’t need anything that’s being billed as “trendy” or from a store with “boutique” in its name.

Your baby needs love, nourishment, a roof over his/her head, and you not to be a jerk by spending his/her post-secondary education money on a stroller to make you look cool in front of your friends.

~HS

*Please don’t apply this rule to the car seat. It may have been OK for our parents to bring us home from the hospital in basinets on the truck’s floor or let us stand on the passenger’s seat next to them on the way to swimming lessons. But they didn’t know any better. They also fed us KD and blew cigarette smoke in our faces. They truly didn’t know any better, so just forgive them already.

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3 thoughts on “Why you don’t need money to have a baby

  1. msSelina says:

    Well put. I liked the beginning of your blog – the implication that people who are poor should not have children because they can not provide for them – and I wish that was explored more.
    I am also a mother and was not (and still not) in a financially stable situation when I had my daughter at 21. Yeah, it’s tough being broke and it seems at time I will always be broke but I wouldn’t trade having my daughter then for a time when I’m supposedly better off.
    To me, it’s an excuse. In our society we never have enough. When/what is enough to raise a child? Even if you think you’ll be okay, you never know what happens down the road.
    My daughter is a bit biased, she said this weekend I’m the best mom a little girl can have, (and I know my failings well enough) what’s comforting to note is that she doesn’t care I don’t have a lot of money. She doesn’t care that I live at home with my parents and I’m working shitty jobs. What’s important to her is that I’m there for her and I love her, no amount of money will ever change that.

    • Thank you for your honest comments. I really appreciate it. I know what it’s like to struggle as a single mom, but honestly – my best times with my daughter have never involved money.

  2. Erin says:

    ha! That was me standing on the seat next to mom when we went to swimming lessons! I even had my arm around her while she was driving. Although that is not recommended… I still survived without a super deluxe, ultra-mega, surround sound, car seat equiped with air bags and built in entertainment center so that you don’t have to spend one second talking to or aknowledgeing your child.
    I just went to a baby shower this weekend and it was insane the amount of stuff that this (still in the womb) baby received. From clothes, to blankets, to socks, to shoes that I am sure the kid will never wear or immediately try to kick off once placed on his precious feet. I swear, when I have a baby. I am going to throw a shower where the people I invite have to donate money to a charity for kids that need do need the essentials of life because they honestly don’t have them (i.e.food, clothes, shelter). How do you like them apples!!

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