We all know children do not come with a manual. Over thousands of years, evolution has changed the way we raise our children. What they don’t teach you is all the added expenses and drama you have to do go through. Besides raising, clothing and feeding your children, you have the expense of daycare, school activities, college, sleepovers, fundraising, the list goes on.
My first rant is Estates. When my mother in law passed away, we found out she left some of her retirement to our 3 kids. After receiving the paperwork from the retirement company, we had to formulate Letters of Appointment. If you don’t know what that is, you have to petition the court for guardianship of a minor in order to claim their inheritance. When we went to the courthouse to find out this, they told us to go to the county website, find the forms, fill it out, pay $60/per child, submit to the judge and he decides whether to sign off on the petition or schedule a court date. I only thought you had to do this is you were petitioning for custody of minors. So we have to submit these forms, a copy of their birth certificates, proving they are ours, and wait. They were not allowed to tell us about filling out these forms because they are not attorney’s. You have to either figure it out yourself or have a lawyer help you out, which could result in hundreds to thousands of extra dollars. If you are on a fixed income, how can someone afford these extra charges? We have to pay out $180 for these forms and wait a few days, weeks or months until everything is signed off. They said if we have to go to court, only one parent can show up. So if I go, I’m signing off that I’m the guardian of 3 kids, not both of us, which could complicate things down the road if something were to happen to me. Meaning if I sign off and I die, my husband would have to go through all of this again to prove guardianship. With his work hours, it is going to be near impossible to get these scheduled with courthouse hours as I would rather have both of us sign off.
Let’s talk Daycare. I was fortunate enough to have a friend of a friend that was only charging me $60/week to watch 2 of my kids while I had one in school. When those rates doubled, I had to chose between them and working. I could not afford both. With what I was making, I would be working for almost free to pay for daycare and we were strapped as it was. With rising costs, I don’t know how most people do it. It is very rare to be able to have one person stay home while the other works. I have to find other means to make some money to contribute especially when my husband gets paid every 2 weeks and I have to go grocery shopping every week, which is anywhere between $100-$200 depending on where I go. I tend to go to discount stores or Aldi’s to pick up most of the goods, which I can get cheap, but sometimes I don’t like their selection so I have to go to either Giant or Walmart, which is not always budgeted. Coupons or getting cash back from Ibotta may help in the long run but you have to accrue a certain amount before you can take out. We made too much for food stamps but I’m happy that the girls get free lunches for school. It’s hard when you have to chose between feeding them and making sure you have enough to eat to take care of them.
When I was in school, they had HomeEc which I learned how to balance a checkbook but I never did the one of having kids. They had classes on how to plan a wedding as they did mock weddings and some kids did the baby test of taking a doll home while it recorded how you took care of it. Between high school and college, there should be more classes on how to run households, budgeting, kids, emergencies, estates, anything to help plan for the real world.
The price of raising kids is only going to increase and with today’s economy, birthrates may decline or we have to move to more economy friendly countries. Honestly, I’m terrified for the future and what my kids will encounter.
What is some advice you would have taken before kids or have found out later on that you wish you knew?