Parenting is simultaneously one of the most ordinary yet extraordinary jobs an individual or couple can tackle. Raising children from birth to the age of adulthood requires an enormous commitment of time, energy and resources. Weigh the pros and cons of this consequential adventure before deciding to proceed.
The moment you return home from the hospital with your new family member, you are affixed to a responsibility that doesn't leave when the office closes. Although more time at home allows you to bond with your new baby and adjust to your new family dynamic, unless you are blessed with live-in babysitting help, gone are spur-of-the-moment dinner dates, movie nights or trips to the grocery store. Every excursion from the house requires planning and hauling of baby and gear or childcare arrangements with someone you trust.
Parenthood has health benefits. According to a study conducted at Brigham Young University involving 24-hour blood pressure monitoring of test subjects, those with children fared better than those without and had lower blood pressure readings. The correlation between parenting and reduced blood pressure was not tied to the number of children parented, but seemed to apply to any parent. Parenting may also result in an increase in your vitality as you become more physically active and responsible with your diet. Your efforts to model a healthy lifestyle for your child improve your own well-being. Having children helps you live longer as was demonstrated by a Danish study published in December 2012 involving 21,276 in vitro fertilization candidates which showed that childless women had a premature death rate four times as high as mothers. The corresponding statistic for men was not as decisive although fathers were still twice as likely to live longer than men with no children.
CNN Money cites a US Department of Agriculture report that was released in August 2013, stating that the cost to raise a child from birth to age 18 is about $241,080. This does not include any allocation for post-secondary education. Expenses factored into the estimate include clothing, housing, food, daycare, toys, computers, transportation, health care and education. Urban Northeast families earning more than $100,000 per year spend even more and average about $446,100 to provide for their kids; whereas, lower-income households in rural areas spend about $143,160. No matter where you live or how much you earn, raising children is expensive.
Having children connects people. A couple becomes a family when they have a child and create a legacy connecting their ancestors with their progeny and beyond. Your status as a parent facilitates social interaction by inspiring conversation rooted in common ground. Parenting challenges are universal and span generations. Often, they are the impetus behind solution-seeking discourse. Advice, fears and joys are just a few of the topics shared when parents meet and initiate conversation, whether on the sports field, school grounds or at baby showers or birthday parties.