Monday, November 15, 2010

The Best Things In Life Are Not Free

Tummies! Tummies! Tummies! If they are not growing, they are popping. It's baby fever, baby, and I'm a little worried it's contagious.

Deep breath.

No, No, No - I'm (emphatically) not preggo. Dear lord, no!! I'm hemorrhaging as I type. But, for the first time today when one friend reminded me of those first butterfly kicks and another of seeing her tummy pulse as a limb bulged...just for a moment, I was well, envious.


I'd heard that this happened. Mothers lose brain cells or have to give up precious archive memory space to make room for remembering all that other daily stuff. Diapers? Check. Cheese sticks? Yep. Garbage bags? Got 'em! Milk? Oh crap - back to the store. They forget the lack of sleep and the lack of sleep and the lack of sleep. Anyway, I'd heard that you start to romanticize pregnancy and then POP, before you know it you are pouring away half a bottle of white wine...well, most of it.

So, I'm on the subway and I catch myself thinking about it. And I think about it. And then I'm distracted by the thought of the boots that I tried on at lunch, that I really need, but I didn't buy them because we can't afford it. Back to thinking about babies - wait, what? I can't afford a pair of winter boots yet I am actually wondering about having a child? (for the record I do have a husband that this would be discussed with before I yank out my paragard).

Oh yeah, i'd forgotten - that having a baby thing is so expensive! Actually, it's not just when they are babies - it's never ending - I think I actually owe my mum money at the moment and I'm 31. So, if we're so in debt now, how can we logically afford number 2?

(insert stomp of foot here) BUT I WANT ONE...maybe.

Now I've heard what people say... 'it doesn't matter how much money you have, you just make it work' - but in that case, can I go back to Nine West tomorrow? I know you can't compare boots and babies. Boots are actually useful. Boots give something back. Yes, but babies give you love. Babies are for life, not just for Christmas. Yeah, are dogs. And cats. And I can't afford one of those either.

The sad reality is, our generation is now set to work until we are 72. This giant national ponzi scheme called Social Security is going to cripple a country before long. If you thought Madoff was bad, wait till it's us.

And yet past generations had more than one or two children. Perhaps it was because they had the rest of the family around them for support. They would live in the same house they grew up in until they married? Family would help family and family businesses were literally that. I mean, I have heard my parents and grandparents talk about being poor and working their way up the ladder. Here's the difference, we not only have no money - we have negative money! We are the debt generation.

The generations above us may look at our generation as not having the same traditional family values. "Our priorities are mixed up". Fact is - we can't afford to. These days, it's more common that both parents have to go to work. College debt crucifies us before we get out of the gate. We have to go where the jobs are and often that is not where we grew up or near the retirement villages our parents have gone out to pasture in. Sadly, grandparents can't always save us a killing in childcare. We can't pay back into our own family because we are trying to survive ourselves.

I think that that is why our generation isn't the 2.4 children that our parents were. More and more parents are perhaps asking those same questions - can we afford another child? Especially when 80% of the week is spent away from them working to afford them and ourselves a better life.

Plus - if we are going to live until we are 92 (Lord willing) that's 20 years of retirement to have to save for. Oh God - I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Anyway, before I schedule a hysterectomy (think of the tummies, the tummies, the tummies) I just wondered if in any other part of your life, would you encourage getting something that you can't afford? Probably not.

Except for boots from Nine West.

(And probably a second child - who am I kidding?)