The costs — and rewards — of motherhood

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The costs — and rewards — of motherhood

We all — especially the moms out there — know that parenthood requires a lot of sacrifices.

There are, of course, the lifestyle changes that require trading in freedom for the most significant, most permanent commitment of all. And there are the financial costs of raising one, two, or more children.

Every now and then, a report comes out reminding us about the price tag that comes with raising a child. The cost of diapers and baby wipes are tallied up ($1,850 for the first year). Day care is probably the largest expense in the early years for working parents, especially in cities where fees come in at $1,000 or more a month. Add in clothes, food, housing and all the other associated costs, and the totals increase steeply.

The estimates for raising a child in Canada have put the cost at around $13,000-plus a year, or about a quarter of a million dollars to see a child from birth to their nineteenth birthday.

There are also many financial hits not accounted for in these estimates, like taking a reduced salary during parental leave, or upgrading to a larger home with more bedrooms. Then there’s higher education: the cost of putting a child through a Canadian university for four years is estimated at $37,000 if they live at home, $80,000 if they live away.

Thankfully, most parents make the decision about whether to have children with their hearts rather than with calculators and spreadsheets.

No amount of money can put a price tag on the emotional rewards of being a mom. We can worry about the cost of diapers, but for most mothers, that worry melts away when baby says their first word or takes their first tentative steps.

We can itemize how much we’ll pay in child care costs until the school years begin, but we can’t quantify the smile on a child’s face when they reach a major milestone like getting the hang of balancing on a two-wheel bike.

We can calculate the cost of higher education, but we can’t put a price on the pride we feel attending our child’s graduation or seeing our first-born land the first full-time job of their career.

So, with Mother’s Day coming up, on behalf of all the financial advisors, I’d like to give a shout-out to mothers everywhere. Thank you for your sacrifices, financial and otherwise. And thank you for believing, through it all, that the joys of motherhood are worth it, whatever the price.

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