Down the street from me lives a family who would likely give Octomom a run for her money. I am almost completely certain that the mom has a revolving door in her uterus, because she pops out kids more frequently than your garden-variety toaster gives birth to your morning installment of Pop-tarts. With eight kids already on the ground, it seems like she has more than what she can feasibly handle. However, every time I see her, she is either pregnant or planning to get pregnant. However, as I watch her tots run around naked in the front lawn and take off across the street barefoot on an almost daily basis, it got me to thinking: How many kids is too many?
The Cost of Raising Kids
According to an article in Investment News, it costs approximately $235k to raise one child, not including college. For my neighbors, multiplying that by eight, their tab is already at $1.8 million dollars. Now, I'm no mathematician, but with mom working as a server and dad out of work, I imagine it is somewhat challenging to pull $1.8 million in tips over 18 years. In fact, the couple would need to pull in $104,000 (after taxes) a year just to raise their brood, not accounting for bills, cars or a house payment.
The Cost of Parenting
I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with just three children. It's difficult for me to find enough time in the day to foster each one, to care for each one and spend quality time on a one on one basis regularly and still accomplish my other tasks in life. If I am spread so thin with only three children, someone with more than that must be some kind of super mom.
Are the Kids Missing Out?
As I watch what I can only liken to a "Lord of the Flies" pre-school down the block, I have to wonder if the kids are really getting what they need. Naked toddlers and barefoot elementary school kids running in the middle of the street make me question how much actual parenting is actually going on. From an onlooker's standpoint, it seems like the kids are raising one another. I have yet to see an adult set foot on the front lawn to correct or discipline this unruly brood.
My Final Word on the Subject
In my mind, having more kids than you can financially (on your own) and emotionally support borders the line of irresponsible. Children aren't meant to be displayed as a collection of "things", and I feel as though there are a few too many families who do this today -- especially the one down the block.
So, I leave it to you dear readers, when I ask:
At what point does caring for the kids you already have supersede your desire to reproduce?
More from this Contributor: