Jewish Journal


August 15, 2011

Thrifty Parenting, Part 1


When my son, Jonathan, was little, he used to ask me why he didn’t have any brothers or sisters, and I would say, “We didn’t have more children because we got the one we wanted.”  This was almost true.  What I left out was that kids cost money.  They demand costly things like baby-sitters, and college, and braces. 

I solved the child-care issue by giving piano lessons at home when Jono was little - plus my parents lived nearby.  We all know that grandparents are the best babysitters – and the price is right!  My sister-in-law lives in the same suburb as her married daughters, so the grandkids just bike over for visits.  I live three thousand miles away from my son, so if he has children I will not enjoy the privileges of an extended family.  I’m very sad about this, but I’ve already set up Skype with a webcam as a way of keeping in touch.

Raising a child is an expensive proposition, but money doesn’t necessarily lead to good parenting.

• I sometimes take a look at The Real Housewives of Someplace-or-Other just for the sheer pleasure of feeling superior.  One mother took her two surly teenage girls to the mall and spent $1800 on seven pieces.  These were not prom dresses, they were everyday items.  One of the girls was still surly, however, because she didn’t know for sure if she was going to get a BMW for her 18th birthday.
• An affluent mother on one of those wife-swapping reality shows had three kids and two nannies, and spent her days on what she called “me” time: shopping, lunching, exercising and grooming.  She spent an average of two hours a day with her kids and never had dinner with them - which proves that wealth has absolutely nothing to do with good parenting

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