This morning a friend of mine, a young mother to be sent me this article. She didn't see it as serious, but as I read it it pissed me off.
We're planning to have a third child.
What shocks people, when we tell them, isn't the thought of hauling three kids onto a place for a vacation, or even the idea of coming home every night to a houseful of runny noses and homework assignments. What gets them is the sheer financial audacity. Raising kids today costs a fortune. Last month, the Department of Agriculture estimated that each American child costs an average of $204,060 to house, clothe, educate and entertain until the age of 18.
But to me, a family with just two kids seems minimalist, and even a bit sad. Back in the 1970s, when my husband and I were born, sprawling families were more common. My husband had two sisters and, following a Brady-Bunchy set of remarriages in my family, I wound up with seven brothers, real and step. I've always fantasized about creating a "Meet Me in St. Louis"-style household of my own, with children constantly underfoot and enough relatives around to skip to my lou en masse.
And yet nowadays, people seem aghast if a couple wants more than two children. When Elana Sigall, a 43-year-old attorney in Brooklyn, was pregnant with her third, people came up to her constantly, she said, to admonish her: "You've got a boy and a girl already. Why don't you just leave it alone?"
What's worse, the desire to have another child opens one up to charges of elitism and status consciousness. In many major U.S. cities and their suburbs — especially New York, where I live — having three or more children has now come to seem like an ostentatious display of good fortune, akin to owning a pied-Ã -terre in Paris. The family of five has become "deluxe." Last year, novelist Molly Jong-Fast mused in the New York Observer, "Are people having four or five children just because they can? Because they feel that it shows their wealth and status? In a world where the young rich use their $13,000 Birkin bags as diaper bags, one has to wonder."
We not only wonder, we marvel, we get jealous, we gawk. "Having three kids in the city is a way of showing off, absolutely," says Elisabeth Egan, who, like many families she knows, moved out of New York to the suburbs of Montclair, N.J., to manage the feat. "A third child in the city is definitely a luxury good."
To me the writer seems like she's trying to explain that it's not "the expense" that matters but all through the article she missed the point entirely. A child is A PERSON, not an investment, not an expense, not an accessory, and not a fucking lifestyle. It is a living breathing individual with a soul and the author despite herself can't actually see that that's the arguement she should be making. Not about "is it good for my kids to have extra brothers and sisters" or "I don't care if my friends think I'm a snob".