In November 2015, I wrote a piece called “Babies Aren’t Birth Control, Day Care Is Birth Control,” where I expressed the myriad frustrations, both financial and psychological, that arise when you lose the battle with prophylactics or fate and are required to find a safe, secure, and healthy place for your child to be when you have to work to provide for them. At the time, I was the proud
owner parent of a 6-year-old and an 8-month-old, with another on the way.
Daycare is a motherfucker.
Listen, babies and kids are great. Having to find somebody to watch them? That’s that bullshit. If you’re like most people, you are not rich. And you also cannot afford for one of you – assuming that there are two of you at the ready in the first place – to quit your job and stay home and watch the baby/babies until they’re old enough to speak and tell you what’s going on. That? That’s the ideal situation. Almost nobody but the rich has the ideal situation. Most of us need our jobs and multiple incomes coming in to take care of the lives we’vc created.
So what this mean is that you’ll fall down the rabbit hole of having to locate some stranger whose entire job it is to convince you that they’re the best option available to take care of your child. Keep in mind, this person will spend more waking hours per day with your child than you will. So this new person at this new facility is going to tell you everything you need to hear, then charge you an arm and four legs for their services which, let’s be real, you’re inclined to want to pay. The belief is that the more you pay, the better quality services.
All of that is true and livin’. Daycare still remains the single biggest cost associated with child-rearing because it’s a constant. And if you live in a city like DC, you can add the cost of education to that tab. Pretty much, if you don’t have kids, to see what it feels like to be a parent, instead of direct deposit, get you a physical copy of your next check, look at it, smile, then light it on fire.
Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting. But parenting isn’t bad. I love being a parent. I’d wager that all of us who are parents have discovered a sense of pure joy at these little people sharing our genes as we get to watch them evolve into their own personalities and faces. Sure they’re of our blood, but they are forging their own lives. It’s a beautiful thing. Bigly.
And to top it off, every year, you get the opportunity to celebrate another year of keeping them alive with these annual festivities called kids’ birthday parties.
Just add kids' birthday parties to the list of expenses that fly out of the window like Lil Kim CDs and my phone every time a grime rapper shows up on a playlist while I’m washing dishes, peacefully, in my humble abode. I wash dishes with my windows open. Fully clothed, but windows open.
Little children don’t really need big birthday parties; parties are for the parents. A 2-year-old will not remember his birthday party nor will he or she even know it was their birthday. But here we go, doling out HUNDREDS of dollars. We like to see our kids with joy on their faces and you'll be amazed at what you're willing to pay for that.
So for you unitiated individuals, let me drop some cold, hard science on you.
Let’s say that you have a kid, maybe 3-years-old. You ask the kid if he wants a party. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t give a shit. He’s a honeybadger. But you want him to have all the fun because your baby boy deserves the world. Turns out that the world isn’t cheap and tomorrow is never enough.
You remember that baby place you took your kid too where he had fun? Well, that place, JUST to have your party there is easily $300 bucks. Now that includes admission for, say 10 kids. But you know more than 10 kids because unfortunately for you, you and your kid are popular. And you can’t NOT invite people because feelings and shit. So add, say, $10 bucks per extra kid. You have just spent $400 for 20 kids to literally enter an establishment and play for 2 hours (all parties are like 2 hours).
But you can’t just let kids come in and play. Kids need cake. And you aren’t going to skimp on a birthday cake for Lil Johnny. Lil Johnny loves Spiderman. So you scour pinterest and the internet for the dope Spiderman cake and you find one. It costs $200. You haggle and get the price down to $100-$150 since its specialty.
We’re at $500.
You need food. Kids can’t NOT eat. They also cannot eat your love for hip-hop. So you have to feed the chilluns. There goes at least another $100 in pizza, chicken nuggets, or whatever plus drinks.
We’re at $600.
You need party favors. $50
And this assumes you don’t buy an additional decorations, which the venue might provide or maybe they just own a big ass open room and you have to get a huge Spiderman blowup doll for $25-$30 plus extra streamers or shit to put on the wall.
You can get to $700 REAL quick for a party your kid will forget by the next day. Obviously costs fluctuate and that can change drastically if you do the party at home (though you then have to clean up extensively because kids are a disaster waiting to happen at all times). But your costs for cake, food, favors, and decorations is a constant. The least you’ll be paying is the cost of a few weeks worth of brunches at that spot you like with those bottomless mimosas you love because they add that little thing you like when they do that little thing they do.
And lord, don’t let you have a kid whose birthday is RIGHT after Christmas (like I do) because you will drop a yard on Christmas and turn right around and have to spend another grip on a birthday party because your child doesn’t deserve to get shortchanged.
As kids get older, the parties can get cheaper (you start to limit the number of people because cost, or alternate years they can have parties instead of a family night, etc.) but if you look to do an experience, the costs can go up. Your kids will remember those things and they’re dope, but your bank account may curse you out because you STILL have to get kids gifts. Well, at least kids who are old enough to realize that gifts are part of birthdays.
Point is, for those of you considering children but ain’t sure you’re ready, you better keep making sure that condom is still on and those pills are on time because you will love your kids and those kids are deserving of parties and fun. And it’s gon’ run ya. Sure it’s only once a year (or twice or thrice or frice, etc. depending on how many kids you have) but it can still amount to major hit that will have you wondering where the hell the money went.
But ultimately, Lil’ Johnny will have had a blast and you’ll be happy about it. Until the next time and you start to say, where the hell is all this money going? The answer? It’s going to the money pit: your happy and joyously appreciative in the moment kid.