There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ parent – but that doesn’t stop many parents from trying to be one at all cost.
BabyCenter.com, the #1 pregnancy and parenting digital resource, today released its 2015 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, which examines the rising cost of having a baby. Nearly 1,100 BabyCenter moms completed the survey, which found that parents not only spend an average of $13,000 per year on each child, but they are striving to be the “perfect” parent. That pressure can be intense. Three out of 5 moms are worried about having enough money to raise their kids, and 53 percent are stressed trying to create the “perfect” life for their children—one filled with enriching activities, superior experiences, and perfect meals. But in their quest for perfection, Mom’s bank account, relationships, and children are suffering.
The Price of “Perfection”
BabyCenter found that 56 percent of moms feel some type of pressure to keep their children’s days filled with important activities and that they are spending extra to make it happen. Moms spend an average of $1,391 a year on extracurricular activities for their children.
And in an effort to give their children the best and introduce them to new things and experiences, the majority of moms say they are willing to stretch beyond their comfort zone for vacations/experiences (47%) and entertainment (36%). Additionally, a third would also stretch for organic foods, education, and clothes/accessories.
As a result, 46 percent of moms have gone into debt, 1 in 3 are working longer hours, and 32 percent say their children feel overscheduled or frazzled at least sometimes.
“Moms have a very specific idea of what type of life they want their children to have, but they are putting too much pressure on themselves to make this fantasy a reality,” said Linda Murray, BabyCenter Global Editor in Chief. “In the long run, a loving and connected family brings more satisfaction than a calendar packed with activities.”
This idea of “perfection” is taking a toll on more than bank accounts: 44 percent of moms say they argue with their partner over money at least some of the time. This percentage jumps to nearly 50 percent in households with two or more children. The main causes of arguments include cost of living, lack of financial support, savings, daycare, education, and bills.
Kids feel it, too. According to the report, 47 percent of children whose parents have finance-related friction in their relationship are somewhat affected by these issues.
“It’s important for couples to take steps toward improving their finances and ultimately their relationship,” said Andrea Woroch, BabyCenter financial contributor. “Parents should set money dates once a month to review their budget and work toward shared saving goals, which will keep each other’s spending in check and also set a good example for their children. Also, meeting with a financial planner or using a budget tool such as BabyCenter.com’s Cost Calculator is a great way for new parents to get insight into their finances.”
The “Perfect” Image
Social media puts moms under a microscope and makes it easy for them to draw comparisons between their lives and what they see on other people’s social channels. BabyCenter found that 40 percent of moms feel they can only share good things about their life on social media, and 31 percent of moms worry about having a positive or perfect image on social media at least some of the time. While 53 percent of moms maintain a positive outlook and feel as though they have a good life, 22 percent feel as though their life is not as fun, nearly 20 percent feel less organized, and 13 percent feel like their life is not as good as others’ when looking at social media.
“It’s important for moms to remember that social media only tells a portion of the story, and they shouldn’t make financial decisions solely based on what they see,” said Woroch. “They should unfollow or block posts from people who make them feel less adequate. And using social media sites that are actually uplifting, like Pinterest, can get the creative juices flowing and make moms feel much happier!”
For more information on BabyCenter’s 2015 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, please visit: www.babycenter.com/child-cost.