The beginning of the parenting journey is ungodly expensive. You can save money by maximizing the baby shower and reverse guilting the relatives into buying stuff. Even if you make out like bandits, you still must pay to play parent.
The single largest expenditure during pregnancy is the birth. The cost of traditional hospital birth is about $10,000. If there are any medical complications, the price will skyrocket toward six figures.
There’s not much you can do about delivery-related and postpartum healthcare expenses. It’s not like you will save a few bucks for the circumcision by telling the pediatrician to take a little less off the top. (I apologize for that cheap joke. I should have cut it. Again, my bad.)
You can reduce out-of-pocket expenses by embracing a critical developmental fact: babies can’t read.
“Dr. Mark, thanks for stating the obvious.”
Toddlers also have limited long-term memory abilities.
“OK, Dr. Mark, a little less obvious, but what’s the point?”
Human brain development occurs mostly after womb residency. The hippocampus, which manages long-term memory, isn’t online at birth. Thus, everyone has infantile amnesia – no recall of experiences before the age of three.
That means anything you buy for your toddler only makes a difference to you. Your child will never remember that mommy and daddy were cheap-asses. Yes, the grandparents and relatives will notice, but we’ll deal with the small people in future blogs.
“But, Dr. Mark, what about when the kid is older and looks at their baby pictures and sees no brand name products?”
That’s an excellent point and could be an issue for some kids. A caring, childless psychologist might be empathetic and worry about the long-term consequences of parental cheapassness on a child’s self-esteem. As an experienced, single-parent psychologist living a life of negative cash flow, I would tell the kid, “Deal with it.”
For some parents, the tough love approach is too parent-centric. I understand yet still advise against buying expensive stuff for brain-challenged mammals. The parenting journey is already costly enough without succumbing to PC and family pressures. I give the doubting, guilt-ridden parent the same advice, “Deal with it.”