Stop with “I can’t afford another child”

Stop with "I can't afford another child"

Argh this is a real bug bare of mine. I have a friend who will often come out with “I don’t want anymore children, we just can’t afford it, and I don’t want my kids to go without because I have three instead of just two.”

Sigh. I am stood right here. With my THREE kids.

I have to say “we can’t afford it” is a phrase that really annoys me. It is so presumptuous, don’t you think? Firstly, it presumes that those with large families either earn big bucks or are on benefits so they can “afford it” and secondly, it assumes that multiple children households get less or do less with/for their children… Something that is simply not true.

Now, I’m not blind or stupid (no matter what my husband would have you believe upon occasion..) so I am well aware that with more than one child, prices for big days out get HIGH. Food prices can go up… especially if you have one child who has a a predilection for mango chunks, seriously, mango? We couldn’t just eat bananas and apples like all the other kids?! I digress.

I’m not doubting that prices and costs go up, but I also think it’s about how to you live and how you manage things. Getting savvy is not something that is impossible with a big family. You might be paying for a martial arts class for one child, but with two, three or more you’re multiplying your costs. On a logical level I can see why people would come out with “we can’t afford another one”, but the truth is, who the fuck can afford one?

The average cost of raising a child from 0 to 18 is astronomical, more money than the vast majority of people ever dream of seeing, yet they are spending it every damn day. You probably aren’t a millionaire (if you’re reading this and you are, we could be good friends…) but you will almost certainly have earned, spent and withered away over £1,000,000 smackaroos in your lifetime so far without ever knowing. I know I inadvertently spend thousands this year alone – thousands I don’t have… but on my mortgage, my kids, my dogs, myself and day to day living. Work it out, if your food bill comes to £120 per week (average living cost for family of 4) that is a huge £6,240 and it doesn’t take into account the holiday bills such as christmas food, the days you want a treat, take outs… it’s not a stretch to see that climbing to £10K easily over a year but you would never know. Having a large family does increase your costs, but it doesn’t mean you are rich or that you are on benefits, nor does it mean that your kids miss out. It means you adapt.

Take for example a family day out. Your friend is taking her one or two kids to a big theme park at the cost of £115 for a family of four. You take your family out to a national park, at the cost of £8 per car. Your friend’s child is enrolled in 8 classes and 2 summer camps and has the gear for everything, your large family is involved in park games, family learning and maybe one sports club. No one in either of these scenarios is missing out, they are just different. Just following a different path and enjoying a different lifestyle.

I remember being pregnant with Edie and being told by a colleague that I wouldn’t be able to have anymore without moving house, after all that was all my bedrooms take up, and the kids just wouldn’t have enough space… Erm… No. Have we not heard of sharing? Did you know that if a child doesn’t have his/her own bedroom it automatically puts the family under the poverty line? What a load of bollocks! Often it’s a choice, one that my boys in particular would be heartbroken if I took away. Sharing a room doesn’t mean you have too many children, can’t afford another one or any of the above. It’s simple a different lifestyle choice. We have become a society who thinks only of money, but rarely sees the bigger picture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to correct people who are stood there slagging off the hit TV series “17 kids and counting” because they are scroungers… actually, they aren’t. They earn their own money, pay out of pocket for their own kids and own their own house with a mortgage and everything, lucky devils. They work hard to sustain a lifestyle they chose and will adapt to make sure that the “big family days” don’t cost as much but will be worth it all the same.

So, next time you think to say to someone with more kids than you, or a large family “I don’t want to have anymore children because I can’t afford it”, think. Your child is not an investment, a franchise or placed with a monetary value. You can almost always “afford” more children, because no one can really “afford” one child nowadays, but you may not wish you alter the lifestyle that you have to do so – and that is fine, but don’t make other’s feel bad because they choose a different path.

*steps off soap box*

H x

87 Comments

  1. Dan Peterkin
    September 12, 2019 / 7:51 pm

    I do think this is because of over sensitivity.

    Now I’m not angry at you, because it’s all differing life perspectives.

    But to put it on the point of view of someone actually mid crisis.

    We have 4 children in a 2 bedroom small house in England. I can barely afford to feed all of us as it is with Bill’s, rent, taxes, clothing costs – you know the drill.

    My wife has fallen pregnant on the coil, and we now have a 5th child coming.

    We cannot afford a bigger house, couldn’t save a deposit if I wanted to. I will probably have to feed my family out of a food bank. I currently skip a lot of meals, because we simply do not have the food. We have bare essentials, and I make use of work facilities to their fullest.

    So when someone says I cannot afford another child, or I cannot afford my children, sometimes they are right.

    Sometimes, they feel like I do.

    I’m tired of struggling. I’m tired of not being able to make my own way, be it with my own businesses or someone else’s and just make enough money to be able to take my children to the cinema and make them feel like normal children for once. I’m just tired. Really tired. I’m failing my family, and I’m failing myself. 

    It’s not always a negative comment towards people who have found a way to do well. I do not resent you, though I envy you. I face the possibility of leaving my family home to live with my father simply to provide some space for them.

    If that’s not being unable to afford another child, I really do not know what is.

  2. Sara
    August 30, 2019 / 10:55 pm

    This post is so fucking idiotic.
    You got your feelings hurt so you rant about people not being able to afford a large family. Clearly you haven’t been under the poverty line or even just barely above it, because sometimes people are broke and literally can not afford to have more children. Stop being insecure about yourself and choices and shitting on others for theirs. Obviously you don’t have real problems to worry about so you’re spewing this word vomit to feel like you do, spoiled cunt. 🙄

  3. Mama of 1
    January 27, 2019 / 4:36 pm

    This was an interesting read! I have 1 son. I’m a stay at home mama and my partner supports us financially. We have a small 2 bedroom apartment and I’m not sure we could afford a larger place right now unfortunately. I was an only child and it was honestly really lonely. I want to give my son a sibling but I really worry financially if we can. My family constantly tells me not to wait until we are financially ready because then it may be too late. They say this because my mom suffered from endometriosis. she wanted another child but physically could not. It’s so much to digest. As we already watch all our money closely. I consider going back to work often but then we’d have to pay childcare costs and I’m not sure it would be worth it. As I would miss out on raising my son for such a small check. I understand where you are coming from and your upset. Parents can be so judgmental. I feel like we all do the best we can and need to be more mindful of our words.

  4. D
    November 3, 2018 / 7:10 pm

    Are you kidding me? My husband and I live in New York. We rent the world’s smallest one bedroom apartment that we share with a 9 year old and now a newborn baby that will be born any day. We both work (I work part time, Him full time). We make just a pinch too much for food or medical benefits which would provide the space in our budget for a larger apartment. We cant afford a car or any extras. We wear hand me downs and I’m considering a food pantry at this point. And we tried to move out of state somewhere cheaper but his job transfer fell through and we had to return in worse financial shape than when we left. Credit was shot. Bank account drained. All our belongings had to be left behind and we moved into my mom’s basement for a while.
    Yeah, you can “share” a room with your kids, but there’s a difference between choosing to share a room with a baby and having to share a room because you have no other options.
    I was saying we couldn’t afford another baby but this child was a blessing and a surprise. We thought I was unable to have more children since I had three previous miscarriages over the years. But if you asked me if I wanted more kids, I’d say the same thing – I’d love to but we couldn’t afford it. We can barely afford to live as is. This post is so frustrating.

  5. Caley
    October 29, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    Hi,

    I just wanted to say I kind of see what you are saying but I’m not sure affording ‘meals out’ or ‘theme park tickets’ is what many people are worried about when planning for another child. My husband works full time shift-work, I work 20 hours a week and we have a 4.5 year old and a 1.5 year old. We can’t afford for me not to work, my 20 hours a week brings in £900 a month but £400 a month goes on childcare for my 1.5 year old so that I can even have that job…..and that’s with my mum doing the after-school childcare for my eldest because after school club for 3 sessions a week would cost another £60 a month. Having a third child would cost another £400 a month in childcare whilst my two youngest were under 4 years old- meaning my wages would be next to nothing, I might as well just stay at home- but we can’t afford to do that because my husband doesn’t earn enough so herein lies the issue.
    When my youngest is 4, he will go to school and my childcare costs will be pretty small- in term time- school holidays it will still be huge. I basically have to save £100 a month from my wages through the year just to pay for childcare in August!
    It’s hard- and many people really CANT afford another child – I think it’s a very fair thing to say. I’d have loved a third but we know our financial limits.

  6. Arrianne
    October 26, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    Someone else’s decision about money and children is actually a slight on /you/ – Got it.

  7. Melina
    August 16, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    I agree with some of the posts. You are ignoring the many many parents that “can’t afford” for one parent to stay home, they need two salaries to cover housing, insurance, food and other basic expenses, and those parents are forced to spend $1,000+ ($1,300 in our case) for child care every month. That is a huge expense and if you add another child you are adding a huge financial burden. For all those parents, it really is a question whether they can or cannot afford another child. Your arguments and whole article really is only true for stay at home mums, which is kind of frustrating, because there are only so many families where the mum is able to stay home.

  8. Jordan
    July 11, 2018 / 3:55 pm

    I’ll be completely honest. This post strikes me as completely ignorant. I understand your perspective (not to make children sound like an investment or something tangible that you are paying off” but it is certainly not possible for some to have more children. As a parent who works full time, the cost of daycare in my town runs well over $1000 a month. To add another child, just for daycare alone, would be at least $12,00 a year. I can assure you we aren’t big spenders by any means, and we could not live with a $12,000 deificit. Yes, things can be rebudgeted, but I’m sorry, that just a lot of money to not have. I work in social work and do not bring in a lot of money as it is. We never go out to eat and already are on a tight budget for our one child. I hope you have an understanding of others peoples perspectives, and not just your own.

    • Jess
      April 9, 2019 / 2:59 pm

      AGREED thank u, this sounds very ignorant, the original poster. I literally could barley afford my 1 child, had him and 6 years later still struggling and now i work 2 jobs, my husband works FT, we truly can NOT afford another child, we cant afford daycare or the extra food/clothes for another child. That does not mean i think u are rich if u have more kids, but ur making it work. I would most likely loose my home and 2nd job if i had another child and NO im not going to just have one and hope it works, bc logically, financially, i know it would cause harm to the stable life i’ve created for my 1 child.

  9. Anonymous
    June 9, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    We cannot afford putting a second child in daycare. I’d love to have a second soon but we need to wait until kid one is closer to school age before we can afford number two. We are not destitute, but that is the state of the economy. We don’t eat out, we don’t travel a ton. We really just cannot afford it.

    • MomAnon
      July 4, 2018 / 5:04 am

      Exactly our rationale. I think googling that leads here first to this odd and slightly self-righteous rant. What about those of us who genuinely cannot survive without two incomes?!? Or what if *God forbid* I LIKE MY JOB?!? Here in the US, there’s no subsidy for daycare unless you’re under the poverty line, which is oddly low considering the cost of living in most areas. Our daycare cost for two is $300 more than our mortgage. That does not take into account diapers, wipes, activity fees, etc… Basically, some of us truly cannot afford it and it’s not always about you. Ugh.

  10. Incisive
    June 13, 2017 / 7:49 am

    Not sure about this perspective. I think maybe you are being over sensitive to the phrase OR whoever said it to you previously put it in the wrong “I dont want my kids to suffer” context.

    Im a dad. Of one. We own a two bedroom flat in west london. I want to buy a bigger place. A house. I am still yet to propose. Have a wedding. With my ridiculously large family in attendance. Both our parents however, live quite far away. So we feel the full brunt of childcare costs. Its expensive. On our personal time. And finances. Which I feel is important to still maintain (a little bit of) both after having kids :

    “I cant afford to have another child right now”

    There. Ive said it. But. Please note when I say it, I know we can TECHNICALLY afford another child. We just dont want to have to restructure and reprioritise my life to do so but – thats normally what people mean by that statement.

    If im out with a friend and we look at a porshe speeding by, I may say “I cant afford to have a porshe”. However, most people on an average salary, Im sure if they restructure and reprioritise, probably could afford to drive such a car. But. In the context of the phrase, in its normal use – surely you know what people mean. If not, I will say:

    When we NORMALLY say we cant afford things, we mean we cant pay for them without changing our current lifestyle. Thats just a normal use of the phrase and I think, based on a few bad experiences with a few (rude) people that may have said it to you in a different context, the phrase has been tarnished for you.

    Just my two pence.

    Good read.

    • Sarah
      May 8, 2018 / 12:02 am

      I appreciate this response . I also want to add that when I say, “We can’t afford it” I mean that we can’t have three kids and stay on track to meet out long term goals. Yes, current lifestyle is part of it (I see comments on here about activities, vacations, nice clothes, eating out) but it is also about funding college and planning for retirement. My husband and I are ambivalent about going for a third for these reasons. Part of me feels like we’ll figure it out, and I appreciate your post. We can enjoy a simple life and put limits on what we do and have. But part of me thinks it is taking on too much financial risk to have #3 and I don’t want to strain the lives of the people already here. When I say, “I’m not sure we can afford it,” that is what I mean. To echo this post, we can TECHNICALLY afford it, but we have to make a choice about our values . As such, I don’t think it is fair to react negatively to that comment as it is a value statement, and everyone has different values. There is no right or wrong.

  11. Lea H.
    April 17, 2017 / 10:25 pm

    My husband and I only want one child. We have several reasons and some of them are personal, but what I don’t understand is the incredibly high pressure placed on people to have more kids?!? Why? My theory is: If you don’t want kids, fine. If you do want kids, OK. If you want dozens, hey go for it. But why is there so much pressure to have more than one? Yes, I’ve used the excuse that we can’t afford it to keep busy bodied people out of my face. It’s not a topic I bring up. I never look at someone and say, “Oh my are you done yet?” Why should they ask me, “When are you having another?” There are many reasons why my son is an only child but I hate feeling I have to discuss those reasons, they are personal and it’s nobody’s business. But rather than be “rude” I use default answers like “too expensive” when I just need people to back off.

    • Harriet April 18, 2017 / 9:04 am

      I think you’re absolutely right, it’s often a default to get people to back off. I have another friend who doesn’t have kids yet and from the second they announced they were getting married, the badgering started. Everyone really ought to just mind their own beeswax – for me this instant is more when it’s used as a dismissal of bigger families, a way to put them down. THAT I can’t abide. Big families don’t miss out, nor do they struggle, to imply so is just as frustrating as “poor only child” to me.

  12. March 28, 2017 / 3:46 am

    Totally agree. We decided on two children and we choose not to have third not because we cant afford another one but for many other reasons that i won’t bore you with. However having their own bedrooms is a huge thing for me. I didnt get my own room till my late teens and there was only two of us but my boys have a five year age gap so master 7 has toys with small pieces that master 2 would have tried to eat. And I dont really want another c-section.

  13. Ali
    March 24, 2017 / 11:32 am

    Just found your blog and i like it. This post intrigues me, reflects different life experience i suppose. I feel I can’t afford another child – but to me it is obvious in that statement​ that ‘i can’t afford another child and still pay for childcare and have the lifestyle i want’. To me it is obvious! It’s never intended as a criticism of others. I wonder if the people who use it to imply criticism are actually jealous of you?

    For me though the main cost is childcare – i need to work to pay the bills but also honestly yes i enjoy the job i do. I can just about afford full time nursery and rent and still afford the odd trip to Europe for holidays (which is my luxury – i rarely buy clothes for myself, my daughter’s​ clothes are all hand downs and from charity shops). I could work extra shifts and earn more, but then I’d worry about missing more time with her. I could skip the holidays – but i don’t want to. I’d quite like another child but not enough to make these changes (it’s not the only reason, I’m also at a point in my career where it would be difficult, and if I wait i might well be too old).

    These are my choices, summarised as “i can’t afford it”, but definitely not intended as judgement or critism of others who have made things work in a different way.

  14. March 6, 2017 / 12:35 am

    I love love love this post. We have just had our 3rd child and the number of people who say to me ‘ we wish we could have more but we just cant afford it’ These are the same people who go on multiple holidays or wear expensive clothes. It is all about priorities really, everyone makes different choices.

  15. Aimee
    January 28, 2017 / 11:45 pm

    We have two boys and we do talk about having another child but money is a huge issue for us. My husband keeps saying “we can’t afford another one”, mainly because it means going on maternity leave again and struggling to pay the mortgage/bills on a reduced salary / no pay at all. And then when I went back to work there’d be more childcare costs for nursery as we can’t afford for me to stay at home. I wouldn’t worry about things like food as there are ways to make meals go a long way to feed another mouth, and I don’t need fancy holidays, but other costs we’d struggle with as we don’t have much disposable income after bills, eg my eldest does swimming lessons at £30 a month, when my youngest starts that’s £60 a month, so add swimming lessons for a 3rd child and it would be almost £100 a month! On just swimming!! Yes doing these activities is not everything, but you have to consider it. And then if I had a girl imagine the cost of clothes!!!! 🙂 Having said all that I’d still have another one in a shot if I could convince my husband!! 🙂

  16. January 21, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    I totally, totally get what you’re saying and agree with you to a large extent. We also shop frugally, and our days out are not your big family days out you’ve described (today we went to a country park, for example), even though we only have one child. For us though, the ‘not being able to afford another child’ isn’t about food, or material things, or days out. We have all of the Bsby kit that send recycle for a second baby, etc. For us, it’s the cost of childcare. The cost of childcare fog two children would be more than I earn, and without my wage, we wouldn’t be able to afford our mortgage on just his wages. So that’s ultimately why we say that we can’t afford it.

    • Harriet January 23, 2017 / 1:47 pm

      Thanks for your comment lovely – for me it’s not so much about that particular phrase being true or not, it’s more when it’s used to “put down” other families, do you know what I mean. Bit of a “Oh I wouldn’t just have one child, they’d be lonely” thing but in the reverse? It’s a hard one, I can totally see how childcare would be crippling, we are lucky enough that I have been able to forge a career for myself from home but not everyone can, yet you would say “we can’t afford another child, childcare is obscene” not “we can’t afford another child, I don’t want xyz to miss out on fun things” which is just unfair!

      • February 8, 2017 / 11:52 pm

        Oh yes, I totally get where you’re coming from on that too! It’s really not fair to put people down with a statement about not being able to afford another, I agree. As you say, it’s just as bad as saying “oh it’s selfish to only have one”. People just don’t think do they?! Really they should just all mind their own business, but that’s never going to happen, ha!! We all make choices that suit our family situation and that’s all we can do 🙂 Also, can I just apologise for my appalling typing in my original comment, not too sure what was going on there, sorry!! xxx

        • Harriet February 9, 2017 / 12:24 pm

          Thank you lovely – it’s great to see it taken as it’s meant 🙂 x

  17. January 11, 2017 / 12:05 am

    Great post. We have four little ones and still manage to do many things with them. It’s not always easy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I was once told “Never plan to have children financially, as you will never have them”. This is so true, as we didn’t have large amounts of spare money before starting our family but have managed fine.

  18. December 26, 2016 / 11:38 pm

    Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!!!! I have four kids. Money is not everything. Karate, dance etc isn’t everything. They are fed (very well), clothed and have a warm home. We enjoy our time together and get creative with free fun. It is 100% doable. You just have to want it.

    • Melina
      August 16, 2018 / 7:41 pm

      I bet you’re lucky and able to stay at home so you don’t have to worry about $1,000+ a month per child on day care, like so many other parents.

  19. Clara Taylor
    December 14, 2016 / 11:19 pm

    I’m not too sure I agree with you here. I see your point but everyone’s life and wage is different. My wife and I can’t afford to have more children as that means maternity leave and child care to take in to consideration. We require both our wages to pay the bills and the mortgage, which is why we both work full time. So to spend the time off work, on SML isn’t an option or to spend the little money we have left over after all expenses on ever increasing childcare costs is also not an option.

    I totally get that we all adapt and get through and shouldn’t put a value on our kids but I also see it from a point of view growing up in a family who was on the povity line as a child and watched my mum work 3 jobs just to get by because she had me and my elder brother to support.

    It’s a good post and I’m not bashing it as it’s your opinion but I just ask you to see it from another perspective.

    • Harriet December 14, 2016 / 11:36 pm

      Thanks for such a lovely comment Clara, I really appreciate it. I totally get where you are coming from and while I would never expect anyone to “justify” or “clarify” what they mean by “we can’t afford another one”, I think my main outrage is when it is used as an excuse to put larger families down. I too watched my mum struggle and while I perhaps wouldn’t want that for my children, I also wouldn’t say I had a less happy or fulfilling childhood – does that make sense?
      To me it is similar to “ugh, I wouldn’t have an only child, they would be lonely!”. I wouldn’t say that to a friend (or anyone) with an only child, it’s simply not true and unfair… there are a lot of posts out there to raise awareness of that and I guess this was my point of view as a mum of several kids, it is equally upsetting to hear “I can’t afford another one, I wouldn’t want them to miss out” – why would they? There is also the hidden (and most likely totally unintentional in most cases) implication that someone is either wealthy or getting a lot of money somewhere (ie benefits) if they have lots of kids.

      I hope that explains the post a bit better!

  20. Melanie
    December 14, 2016 / 4:58 am

    It’s certainly an interesting point of view. We certainly say we can’t afford any more kids usually as a response to people telling us we should have another one because we can’t have an only child. But to be perfectly honest I think you just figure it out when it comes to finances and I just dont want another child. Sometimes people cant understand that and think there must be an underlying reason so that’s just what we say.
    I can certainly see how that could be like saying people with more kids must be poor and struggling to give there kids the “best” life. but people certainly dont mean it like that, im sure they are just talking about there own personal situation. We are not a well off family but we are comfortable. I see families with more kids who work less than us and wonder how they do it. We pretty much already stretch every dollar as it is and we both work and get benefits. But you know what, whilst everyone might not agree with this its your opinion and you feel this way and its perfectly valid.

  21. December 8, 2016 / 11:31 pm

    I am wondering why you take it as a personal attack when you hear people say they don’t want more kids because they can’t afford it? One second you are saying that we all have different lives, needs and perspectives, then in the next, you seem quite horrified that people dare to say they can’t afford more children (which is their personal perspective, right?). The bottom line is that it is more expensive to have more than one child. Should we put a price on our kids? Perhaps not, but when your money is tight and you are just scrimping through as it is, a second (or third) child is not only not feasible, it is reckless and stupid. I think I kind of get where you are trying to go with this, but don’t really understand why you are attacking a group of people who choose not to have more kids because they feel they wouldn’t be able to provide them with the very best life.

    • Harriet December 11, 2016 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks for your comment Tracy. Firstly, this isn’t an attack on anyone – I’m sorry you see it that way, many didn’t, though some did and perhaps I didn’t get my point across well enough and that’s why.
      You say you think you see what I’m getting at but I don’t think you do really. I have said so many times that the phrase “I can’t afford another child” is rarely said alone and usually followed by “I wouldn’t want them to miss out/ couldn’t love them properly/ don’t think it’s fair/ they’d have to share a room” etc. In the same way that I HATE people saying “ugh, I will have another child, I would hate to see my child miss out on siblings” I really can’t abide this either – it is such a huge hidden implication (whether intended or not) and it drives me mad. No one should be made to feel that they have made the wrong choices for their kids and even in your comment you say I’m attacking a group of people who “choose not to have more kids because they feel they wouldn’t be able to provide them with the very BEST LIFE”. Who is to decide what is the best life? So, by your words there, because me kids perhaps won’t have as many toys for Christmas as some of the kids at school, or be able to go on a foreign holiday in the next 2-3 years… am I letting them down and providing a lesser life? I don’t think so.

      My whole point is that as a society we have become insensitive, judgemental and thoughtless. It’s not ok to make other’s feel lesser, in any way be that for project procreation or anything else. I think if someone wanted to say “Ahh we can’t afford another child” and leave it at that, then that is fine, but I can say with hand on heart that I’ve only known it said with a follow up or a comment about how someone’s life is “better” for fewer kids. It’s just not fair and in the same way that there are lots of posts to raise awareness of not commenting on only children, I thought this was my way of expressing the other side of the coin. I hope that explains it a bit better and I have made my point a bit clearer. H 🙂

  22. Lisa
    October 11, 2016 / 11:19 am

    I have 1 child and I tell people I can’t afford anymore because that is my reason for having no more. Everyone has a different income or lifestyle so in no way does my comment relate to other people and their chosen situations. My husband and I love to travel and we can afford to take our son on our expensive trips but not if we had anymore. I can afford to take my son on plenty days out to the zoo or peppa pig world or softplay which would be too expensive with more. I can afford to send my son off to that £1500 school trip later when he’s older but not with more kids. I can also pay for him to go to university or pay his driving lessons or buy his first car but this just gets too expensive adding more kids into the mix and giving them the same treatment or scrapping it all. I have friends with 3 and 4 kids…even 2 children and I see how they struggle and I personally think they’re daft for having them all. I’d rather have a content and peaceful lifestyle with 1 child and I was an only child, I had the best upbringing and glad I had no brothers and sisters sohe’s not missing out, will probably thank me later. I think your nuts to believe everyone can afford lots of kids.

    • Harriet October 11, 2016 / 1:14 pm

      You’ve made my point for me though Lisa – you’re friends haven’t imploded because they have more children than you and like you say “you think they’re nuts”, so you definitely do pass a judgement on how many children they have and how that affects their life and happiness. My point is to say that not everyone values the school trips at £1500, the days out etc above the relationship between siblings – there is no one way that is right or wrong. I was an only child and never missed out on siblings, yet I had a tonne of things financially that my kids won’t get, but by the same token they aren’t missing out because they have a DIFFERENT lifestyle. My point is that by making comments about how others struggle and are nuts for having 3 and 4 kids, we put bigger families down. Ultimately, you cut out those days out and expensive trips – you CAN physically afford another child, but you choose not to and thats cool, it’s your choice entirely. In the way that I don’t judge you for having one child and preferring a certain standard of living over having a large family with less materialistic opportunities, you shouldn’t judge others (which you clearly do, otherwise you wouldn’t be passing the opinion that your friends are nuts and struggling).

      With that kind of comment, you illustrate my point perfectly – and you even agree by your own volition, it’s a lifestyle choice and neither is wrong or should be judged.

  23. June 28, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    I think this is a really interesting post. I totally agree with lots of it. Kids aren’t missing out etc, everyone has different lifestyles etc. However, I found it a bit strange though that you refer to being super wealthy OR on benefits. Being on benefits isn’t a equivalent to having mega bucks. Benefits provide people with a safety net to ensure they can afford the basics. As you say families adjust and being on benefits may make things right but families on benefits still try to do the best by their kids even if their life does not include as many expensive activities x

    • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:13 am

      Thanks lovely. What I mean by OR is not to equate the two, but to say that there is an assumption you are either living the high life of cash being chucked at fancy holidays etc, or you are struggling, penny pitching and on benefits to get the extra help to afford the extra child. For me, the whole thing that sticks in my throat is the attitude that children miss out somehow in a bigger family. It just isn’t right.

  24. Diana Milner
    June 27, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    I have indeed said this to people and never meant any harm, in my case its true otherwise I wouldn’t say it! Perhaps it’s worth considering that some people (like me) are already taking sandwiches and sharing bedrooms and they only have two children. So in which case the crux of the issue is maybe you have a larger income than that person who says they can’t afford another child?

    • Harriet June 27, 2016 / 6:48 pm

      You may well say “I can’t afford it” but do you say “because I don’t want your kids to miss out”? That is really the whole point to the post. It’s not so much that you can’t afford it (everyone is within their own comfort limits) but how you put that across. If you feel the need to say you can’t afford it, then maybe don’t add the snide, under hand dig about children missing out. It definitely implies that a child somewhere is missing out because mum and dad had too many kids and that isn’t right.

      • Rita
        September 30, 2019 / 8:16 am

        WHY woukd you say this???:

        “then maybe don’t add the snide, under hand dig about children missing out.”

        It’s Not a snide at all it’s the truth…
        I missed out when l was a teenager! I was not missing out at all when l was a child.
        Because my Mom had a big family I Missed out in a few things l wanted!!!
        So yes having more brothers and sisters Meant there was NO money for the some of the things l wanted.
        Your twisting the TRUTH around saying l didn’t miss out when l Did!! Because there was lot of us and if there had veen fewer l Wouldn’t have missed out!!!

  25. Jo
    June 27, 2016 / 11:54 am

    Change the title then. I would so love to have 3 but we could afford the childcare costs and that is us working long compressed hours. So if you think we have totally misunderstood you change the title of your post!!

    • Harriet June 27, 2016 / 6:52 pm

      Or, in a shock move, you could read the post. Clearly plenty of people agreed with it!

  26. KateA
    June 19, 2016 / 6:20 pm

    Do you not work then? Because if I had another baby, I would have to either give up work or pay £8k a year out of my net salary to send the baby to nursery. £8k is a hell of a lot of money to find for three years until the hypothetical baby was free, where it would only be £6k a year for 1/2 years until they went to school, and then it would only be £4/5k a year for after school/holiday care.

    I don’t have £8k a year spare, so I can’t afford another baby. No amount of NT trips and cheese sandwiches brought from home will magic up £8k. We aren’t taking yearly safari trips we can forgo or anything, believe me.

    • Harriet June 20, 2016 / 6:30 am

      Yes we both work Kate, and I’m not suggesting that “I can’t afford it” is an issue when someone genuinely can’t afford or chooses not to have another baby so they don’t have to make alternative compromises – I’m talking about when it’s used as a way to put other families down – something that is SO common.

      • Claire
        June 28, 2016 / 7:09 pm

        I haven’t come across this but I have myself said ‘I couldn’t afford another one’ closely followed by ‘I want to be able to give them a certain lifestyle and I wouldn’t be able to do that with a third’. I dont judge anyone else’s choice though, everyone is entitled to have the size of family they choose and is fortunate to have. Personally as the mother of two boys I get more offended by the constant ‘are you going to try again for a girl?’. I wasn’t ‘trying’ for a girl in the first place. I was trying for a child on both occasions and I was lucky enough to have beautiful, healthy boys that fill me with pride and insanity on a daily basis! So no, I’m not trying for a girl!

        • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:10 am

          Ohhhhhhh I can’t tell you how much that drives me insane. There is NO reason to say to someone “are you trying for…” it’s just so bloody frustrating!

      • Elie
        January 7, 2018 / 6:40 pm

        I totally agree with you dont know why people are taking you

  27. June 12, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    Love this post. It’s all relative isn’t it. If you are one for theme parks and expensive days out, Several holidays abroad a year , then obviously more children cost more money. However if you’re quite happy pottering in a park or camping or taking less holidays then it won’t make much difference. It just depends how you ate willing to adapt your lifestyle.

    • Harriet June 14, 2016 / 10:56 am

      Yes Alyssa, this is my point!

      • Kate
        June 29, 2017 / 4:31 pm

        We live in a country where schooling has to be paid for as well as private health . There is no option of local schooling somit really does impact your choice of how many
        Children you will be able to have . That is very real I feel
        Sad we won’t be able to afford a third child but there is no way we could do
        A
        Third school fee .

  28. June 12, 2016 / 10:07 am

    It’s just a point of view least your friend is not saying oh wow how do you afford it

    It’s not just adjusting financially it’s adjust mentally et etc

    • Harriet June 12, 2016 / 10:50 am

      Oh of course – but it’s still adjusting. That is my point, it’s optional, it’s not for everyone but by and large it’s doable if you choose and it is something that you shouldn’t use to put down or discriminate against larger families!

  29. June 11, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    I have to disagree. Some people simply can’t afford to have more children and some people can afford to have lots. You state ‘who can afford to have one’. I can afford to have twins because my husband and I work hard. We’re not struggling financially so two children financially doesn’t cost us much in comparison to what we earn. On the flip someone I know has two kids, is in the poverty ‘bracket’ and struggles to make ends meet. Their fridge is always empty, they’re in debt up to their eyeballs and their house is in dire need of repair. They have two children that they can just about afford and they really couldn’t afford to have more. I think your statement is actually quite rude and rather presumptuous. Some people really can’t afford more children. I’d love to have more children, but I wouldn’t a third child to feel left because of the bond the twins have. I’m a twin myself so I know just how strong that bond is. I feel a third would feel a bit left out of that relationship.

  30. June 10, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    I came from a family of 5 and we didn’t have many luxuries but we were really happy and I loved being from a big family so on that front I know where you’re coming from. However, as I am from the US if we had another it would mean we couldn’t afford to visit my family so while everyone would survive, seeing my family often is something that is really, really important to me. So ‘affording’ doesn’t always mean that people want fancy food and holidays. I’m honest your friend sounds like she’s being a bit of a jerk about it (when she says she can’t afford 3) but I think some people say ‘I can’t afford more’ because it’s a socially acceptable thing to say. It’s harder (and less socially acceptable) to say I don’t want more or I don’t want to give X, Y and Z up.

  31. June 10, 2016 / 8:32 am

    Having even 1 child is hard work and expensive but it doesn’t stop us from having kids if we really want to. I believe it is all down to lifestyle choices at the end of the day and I agree with your points H. We spend money on what is important to us.

  32. June 9, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    I definitely think it’s a case of if you want kids that much you learn to make changes and sacrifices to ensure that they have everything that they need. x

  33. June 8, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    A great post. I have said before that I didn’t want anymore children after my third because we won’t be able to afford it, But I have only said it a couple of times, just because it is the truth. But I do totally understand what you mean by this post. I have been extremley lucky to have a few things for baby through blogging. But as you say, anything is affordable if you save and budget.

    • Harriet June 9, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Thanks Beth – I think you get my point. This wasn’t aimed at people who genuinely don’t want another child because they can’t afford the lifestyle they have. Not at all. Rather at the “you’re child is getting less than mine” brigade, which there are PLENTY of.

  34. June 8, 2016 / 11:55 am

    A really interesting post, and it made me think about the ‘other side’ but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stating you can’t afford to have another child.

    Every family is different and if you want to maintain a level of lifestyle for yourselves and your children (nothing extravagant – I’m talking swimming classes, after school clubs and a few pieces of new clothing every couple of months) then there is a big difference between paying for (in my own case) two and three children.

    I also don’t agree that this statement implies the belief that larger families are either missing out or scrounging; it doesn’t mean that at all, it simply means that – for some families who want a particular lifestyle – there’s simply not enough money left at the end of each month to cover the added costs of another child.

    But that’s a personal statement and an individual choice, and has nothing to do with how any other family chooses to live their lives, and/or spend their money (however, I do get that some people might say it in a way that’s MEANT to be a dig – those people are probably jealous and resentful, and certainly don’t represent the majority)!

    Of course it doesn’t help that there ARE big families out there that are shamelessly manipulating the benefits system, and with those cases I freely admit to being annoyed.

    One of the (many) reasons we chose not to have a third child was so we could be completely financially responsible for them and have a reasonable lifestyle while still living within our means, so it’s galling to see people having children then expecting the Government to largely foot the bill. It’s a real shame that these examples can sometimes cast a bad light on larger families in general, who don’t deserve to be tarred with the same brush.

    Thanks for the talking point, it’s been interesting to mull this over! x

    • Harriet June 9, 2016 / 9:22 am

      Thanks for such a brilliant comment Jacqui. I agree with what you have said, it is about lifestyle and I do think that the majority wouldn’t say it in an offensive way, but I suppose it’s a bit like saying “oooh I wouldn’t have one child, it’s not fair, I want my kids to get that experience of a lovely sibling…” – it’s a bit thoughtless, even if not intentional.
      I want to make it really clear that I have written this off the back of so many hurtful comments – not the standard “we can’t afford it” but rather to point out that there is a side to those comments that could be unfair.

      • Rita
        September 30, 2019 / 8:04 am

        “but I suppose it’s a bit like saying “oooh I wouldn’t have one child, it’s not fair, I want my kids to get that experience of a lovely sibling…” – it’s a bit thoughtless, even if not intentional.”

        Long time ago or even a couple of yrs. ago or even now – even people would say that to each other! Because they Feel that when people have more then one then the brother & sister should have the unique experience of having companions/friends.to play with and confide in each other!!
        Then if they have one it looks like the child won’t get to have a rich bond with another
        child that is the same as himself and is blood and flesh together with their mom and dad!!
        I Love having a sister to Share So Much Emotionally and now we love mostly the same things and think mostly the same way etc. etc.
        I Wouldn’t trade that for the world!!
        So thats what people are thinking about when they see people having one child and it’s Natural to think maybe the women can have another one because she is capable of having another one.
        I fully agree if people don’t have the money theres no way you can afford having one.

  35. June 7, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    My bug bear is people complaining about having to pay for their 3, 4,5+ children in play areas and entertainment centres and expecting people to feel sorry for them. I think with having any child it is ultimately the parent’s decision and you have to take responsibility. Great thought provoking post.

    • Harriet June 8, 2016 / 11:44 am

      Yes, I find that annoying too. It’s so unnecessary – there are plenty of options that are cheaper BUT I do think that massive companies over price family tickets – though that is a different topic!

  36. allison sullivan
    June 7, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    as you know im a mum of 4 and yes at times it was finacaially hard but we cope.luckily when we have both worked we have juggled children and work quite well and i was self employed 7 year so i could take the children to work with me so that was a bonus.now my children are rapidly growing up and i thinlk to myslef i wish id of maybe had another but im happy with my family and how at the end of the tunnel you do manag e and get by

    • Harriet June 8, 2016 / 11:44 am

      Thanks Allison – that is my point.

  37. June 7, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    In my honest opinion if we try to financially prepare ourselves for kids or having more kids, there will never be the perfect time or amount. It’s all about just enjoying life and I totally agree with everything you shared. xx

  38. June 7, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    I love your soap box posts! I have been guilty of saying that we’re stopping at two because we can’t afford another one, but our rationale is slightly different to the holidays etc argument and is more to do with Phil’s age and retirement plan. I fully intend of the kids being old enough once Phil retires that we can leave them home alone and bugger off on a 6 month round the world cruise 😉 xx

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Haha thanks Hannah! I have to be honest and say we have been saying the same thing. Is affordability because the other kids would “miss out” no. It’s because we don’t want to change our lifestyle or make major life adjustments to afford the childcare etc just yet. In the future, who knows? I doubt it though!

  39. June 7, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    Well done you! You’re right – no one can afford a child really. We have one, and may never be able to have another, but it won’t be money holding us back!

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      Thanks Katy – I think you got the jist of what I’m trying to say. H x

      • Corrine
        February 16, 2018 / 8:10 am

        I really enjoyed reading this and I agree. I have 4 and I have a friend that has 1. She’s no better off financially than we are and her child always wants to be at our house bc kids to play with. Also, I feel that having siblings encourages sharing and empathy for others. Also, the bond they share is amazing and worth all the money in the world. I have 5 younger brothers myself. Yep I’m the only girl like my daughter 🙂 and I couldn’t imagine growing up without them. Money while necessary isn’t as important as Love and Family 🙂

  40. June 7, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    I haven’t got children yet but I don’t think anyone should be made to feel bad about their life choices. For me, I know I would be one of those who would weigh up the cost but if I really wanted another child then I’d find a way 🙂 xxx

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      Exactly Laura, it’s not something I’m saying is easy but I don’t think it should be used to put down other families and their choice to have a “large family” x

  41. June 7, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    I remember my step mum saying to me that you’ll never be able to ‘afford’ children so why wait! If I’d have waited until I could ‘afford’ it, I don’t think I would ever have had Erin!

  42. mum of two girls
    June 7, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    Read a few of your replies on Facebook…feel quite,angry…I disagree totallly it’s a lifestyle choice …to continue working therefore incuring childcare costs. Majority of us have to work….otherwise we’d be on benefits?! My husband is self employed so can’t guarantee his income…My income which us low but guaranteed we can’t give up. My husband does one day childcare per week but he can’t commit to more for when he is busy working. Most of us can’t just give up work and work from home…especially if we dont have partners with wages that can support the family. I scrimpt and save and spend the minimal money possible. Sorry to rant

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      Ahh I’m sorry you feel that way. I think you have misunderstood what I’m trying to say entirely. Not working doesn’t automatically mean you would be on benefits – there are plenty of opporuntities for earning small incomes from home, but it’s not for everyone or feasible, I get that.
      What I’m trying to get across is that, when you have people who are sneering at the larger family – implying that they would NEVER have that amount of kids because they miss out on all the fun things and can’t have as much as smaller families unless you’re loaded or on benefits – then it’s important to remember that frankly no one can afford kids without making major adjustments. I have one friend who harps on about how she won’t have any more kids as they just can’t afford it and it’s “not fair”… yet they never have a beer free fridge and he frequently goes on “lads weekends” abroad for £400 a pop. You can afford it, but you like the lifestyle you have, which is your choice and there is nothing wrong with that… it just doesn’t mean that my kids are missing out more because I chose not to make those lifestyle choices.

      Does that clarify what I’m trying to say?

  43. mum of two girls
    June 7, 2016 / 11:46 am

    Iim sorry but I’m hurt by this post…I literally can’t afford another child (I have a 4,year old and 20 month old.) We aren’t making ends meet as it is with two…I’m very frugal and we are not extravagant by any means but nursery fees and low wages means that we can’t afford anything. To add in another gulf and nursery fees would just make life I possible. I’ve had people say to me before not to use,money as an excuse to not have a third child but until you know peoples financial situations you can’t say this.

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      Again, sorry you feel this way. I’ve already replied to your second comment, but just in case you miss it, this might clarify that I’m not having a pop at people like you, rather trying to stop people using it as a way to put down or be negative about larger families. My kids don’t miss out because I have three anymore than the child that has no siblings and is an only child – we’re all just different.

      This is what I wrote above:
      I think you have misunderstood what I’m trying to say entirely. Not working doesn’t automatically mean you would be on benefits – there are plenty of opporuntities for earning small incomes from home, but it’s not for everyone or feasible, I get that.
      What I’m trying to get across is that, when you have people who are sneering at the larger family – implying that they would NEVER have that amount of kids because they miss out on all the fun things and can’t have as much as smaller families unless you’re loaded or on benefits – then it’s important to remember that frankly no one can afford kids without making major adjustments. I have one friend who harps on about how she won’t have any more kids as they just can’t afford it and it’s “not fair”… yet they never have a beer free fridge and he frequently goes on “lads weekends” abroad for £400 a pop. You can afford it, but you like the lifestyle you have, which is your choice and there is nothing wrong with that… it just doesn’t mean that my kids are missing out more because I chose not to make those lifestyle choices.

      Does that clarify what I’m trying to say?

  44. June 7, 2016 / 11:00 am

    Well said, its all about managing costs because even having one child is hard enough. I think you are an amazing parent figure and I love that you are so passionate about parenting debates.

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Thanks Ana, you say such kind things 🙂

  45. June 7, 2016 / 10:17 am

    This is a really interesting read, I have a daughter and I am not sure that I will ever have another child – but due to suffering with HG and now with Chronic Illness – but I do hear that phrase a lot. I totally agree with you – these days who can ‘afford’ one child? It’s about adjusting. I think that people are thinking about children all wrong when they use this phrase.
    I was actually thinking about this the other week and growing up I would rather have my younger brother than more after school clubs and days out etc (except on the days he was really really annoying!). We didn’t have lots of money when I was a child but I don’t look back and think that I missed out. And when I was growing up and never felt like I missed out either – and it’s sad that today it would probably have been seen that my parents ‘couldn’t afford’ to have second child (my brother).

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Ooohh sorry to hear you had such a shitty pregnancy and are suffering. Thanks for the lovely comment xx

  46. June 7, 2016 / 9:43 am

    I don’t have any children so don’t know the first thing about how much it costs to raise children. But I agree with proper budgeting and being smart with money anything is affordable.

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      Thanks Sarah Jane, that is my main point – if you want it enough, most things are affordable.

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