Dear Grandparenting: Lila is my only child. She is going on 27 and doing quite well for herself. She’s made a career in information technology and doubled her salary when she switched jobs. Her house and car are totally paid for.
Lila married Zack three years ago. Last weekend I decided to bring up the subject of children. Lila said she’s “not the least bit interested” in having children anytime soon.
She talks about people whose marriages broke up after they had children. Things were never the same. Money has a lot to do with it too. It costs a small fortune to raise a child, but that’s not Lila’s problem.
I tell Lila that children can make a good marriage even that much better, but she’s not buying. Call me the Grandparent-in-Waiting. What else can I do? Louise Waller, Alameda, California
Dear Louise: The arrival of a newborn can certainly cement a marriage, but decades of research also attests to the toll it takes. Two is harder still.
About 90% of couples, the blissfully happy included, reported a decrease in marital satisfaction after childbirth according to an eight-year study by the National Institutes of Health.
Then there’s the matter of paying for the little bundle of joy. The average cost of raising a child born in 2022 to age 18 is $272,000, according to Federal government estimates, a number that doesn’t include the rising costs of higher education.
“Having a baby is like buying a house,” concluded a Wall Street Journal article. “Except they don’t increase in value, you can’t sell them, and after 16 years they’ll probably hate you.”
There are other things to think about before bringing a child into this world today — COVID and global conflicts, housing and childcare issues, inflationary pressures and the looming possibility of recession. All in all, more than enough perhaps to give one pause.
Grand remark of the week
Lance Brown from Fishkill, New York was enjoying a fat slice of German chocolate birthday cake with grandson Thomas.
“I am so happy to be six-years-old,” announced Thomas between bites. “I’ve got to let it sink in. I’ve never been this old before, you know.”