‘On The Couch’ With Jasminda

DEAR Jasminda,

When I had my first baby and my sister had hers, we agreed to buy gifts for our nieces and nephews at Christmas and for birthdays. Seven years later, I still have one child and she has four and plans more. It’s becoming expensive for me.

Helen D.

Dear Helen,

AH, the joy of giving. Countless trips to the shop to trawl through potential presents that cost more than a week’s worth of groceries, only to watch the recipient get more joy from the packaging.

It’s a thankless gig, and yet we persist. You’ve really drawn the short straw here, but there’s another way of looking at it.

Research shows that it costs between $300,000 and $500,000 to raise a child until they leave home (childcare, education, clothing, healthcare, power costs) from them leaving their light on all day and night and having half-hour showers, the therapy needed after the near-misses accrued from chasing the school bus due to their disorganisation, hefty food bills, sporting commitments including your time off work to nurse broken arms and other injuries, the lounge replacements after the puppy they pleaded for turns into a destructive monster and so on.

If you multiply those costs due to your sister’s additional children as well as the sad realisation that today’s kids will never leave home because housing is so unaffordable, then you are way out in front.

A few presents each year is nothing compared to your sister’s multi-child financial burden.

Carpe diem,

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