Quick hit: We Bought a Huge Effing House, and Now We Can’t Afford More Kids

An Elle Decor essayist has come out with a horrible confession: She and her husband sacrificed a child to buy their dream home.

(How awesome would it be if that were the actual story? “Our realtor didn’t mention the fiery, bottomless hellpit in the basement into which we have to throw a small child at the peak of the new moon to keep our mortgage rate low. She said it was a walk-in wine closet.”)

Really, what happened was that they planned responsibly and ate canned food and shopped consignment until they could afford their “luxury dream home.” Only now have they realized that they want a sibling for their two sons but can’t afford one without lifestyle changes. Her uterus literally aches for a third kid, but they’ve priced themselves out of the three-kid market, and now all they’re left with is the fully-loaded luxury home of their dreams, several dogs, a fenced yard, a riding lawnmower, an annual family vacation to their timeshare, and two healthy, happy children with a happy-to-stay-at-home mom. With an achy uterus. #TheStruggleIsReal.

Sometimes, I can see us living in a smaller, older home somewhere, selling this one, and adjusting to accommodate life with a third child in a home that is definitely anything but a dream, but then I overhear our boys having a blast playing in our big, beautiful, safe backyard, or listen to their laughter billowing out of the colorful playroom space we have created and designed just for them, and I know this was always meant to be our forever home. This is the American dream and we are in it, living it, every day, just the four of us.

With that said, the sacrifice has been made. Because we live in this dream home, we can only afford to have two children. It’s our quiet sacrifice but it’s also our beautiful life, well-earned and fully-lived.


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20 comments for “Quick hit: We Bought a Huge Effing House, and Now We Can’t Afford More Kids

  1. Lauren
    July 2, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    This might be the whitest article ever written.

    Oh, to have their problems.

  2. July 2, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    They’re basically Ross.

    Yup. Having a real hard time drumming up sympathy.

  3. tenya
    July 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    I don’t entirely understand why they can’t afford another child.. I mean sure, long-term there are things such as school expenses and college costs and so on would loom, but aren’t those moderately flexible? Couldn’t they buy consignment again for a few years? I mean, she’s already staying home with the two children, why would a third necessitate going back to work and then, essentially, handing over her paycheck to daycare services (for all three, I presume)? Her description is that they’re living quite comfortably with two children, would a third child really move them so radically to “can’t afford anything nice again, ever, including our current house.” This is really pretty baffling.

    • trees
      July 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Yeah, I don’t really get it either. This all seems like not-problems and non-issues. Shrugs shoulders.

    • July 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      I think it’s entirely about them having to make lifestyle changes to afford a third child. Like you said, they could just shop consignment some more — but I’m sure that once you get used to buying current fashion, it’s hard to give up. She could take a job substitute teaching instead of going back to work full-time — but she loves being at home with the kids. And I’m assuming (possibly unfairly) that there are a few other luxuries they enjoy that they could trim down; there’s a big gulf between canned food and Whole Foods, and fewer electronics mean lower power bills, and the colorful playroom space doesn’t need constant updates with the newest toys.

      But it’s not about soothing her achy uterus with a third kid. It’s about having everything she wants, which includes adding a third kid while keeping everything she already has, and… well, good luck with that.

    • LolaMontez2
      July 14, 2015 at 11:58 am

      It’s pure unadulterated, self-serving BS.

      A stay at home mom can handle ONE more kid. They have the space. The kids can all go to cheaper state colleges, big whoop.

      Most likely this is the HUSBAND, not wanting to be tied down for another dozen years with a new baby, so he’s told the wife “we can’t afford it”.

      I am very offended, as an average American in a working class modest suburb, that this woman thinks any place but Uber McMansion Suburbia is “unsafe” for her precious spawn.

      Lastly: has she ever heard of “Zero Population Growth”? Just saying’.

  4. shfree
    July 3, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    You know, if they dumped the damn timeshare, they could probably afford the kid.

    • July 7, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      It sounds like it’s already paid off, so I say hold onto it. Selling it would give them a onetime infusion of cash that probably wouldn’t make a significant dent in their overall expenses. Holding onto it means they would get to keep their annual family vacation, and if money gets tight, they can skip the vacation and rent out their unit for that week. But it sounds way more dramatic to say Sigh, we’d have to sell the property that’s been in our family for years, and the children would never get a vacation again.

      • shfree
        July 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm

        I dunno, it seems like a weird thing, in that I can’t imagine going to the same place on vacation year after year after year, particular as vacation priorities would change between not having kids vs. having kids, and having their own opinions about vacations change as they grow up. (If my parents had bought a cabin in the woods near some lake, for example, and we went there every damn summer I would have been the worst, most insufferable vacationer EVER. And if the next large family vacation is centered around not going to a walkable city, they can count me and my daughter out. We’ve had enough of sitting in cars, driving to locations that neither she nor I want to go, but FAMILY.)

        Anyway, it’s still so much whining from people that could afford to buy a house AND a time share when they were starting out. I don’t think I’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight over the fact that they HAD to choose a huge yard over a third child.

      • July 10, 2015 at 4:54 pm

        @shfree right? I mean, my parents and I didn’t formally vacation much – and I’ve been hideously financially strapped for the last few years – but we chose a bunch of different places. Partly because my parents travel for work, and we’d stop by tourist locations on the way home, and partly because….well, fuck, what’s more boring than the same goddamn place every goddamn year for the same goddamn activities and the same goddamn sights and ugh even typing this is boring the shit out of me.

      • July 11, 2015 at 10:41 am

        See, it’s always been the absolute opposite for me. Our family generally got in one vacation-vacation a year, and would pretty much always be to the same spot — sometimes even the same exact rental. But, introverts that we pretty much all are, I think we all found it more relaxing to go back to a familiar place and eat at familiar restaurants and spend most of our time getting irresponsibly sunburned on a familiar beach.

        Most of the time, the novel stuff would come as a spinoff from some non-vacation activity. Traveling somewhere for a specific reason, two-day car trip, Dad’s business trip, and we’d add on a day trip or check out the sights in the surrounding area. When we kids were old enough to appreciate it, we did manage a few pretty significant go-somewhere-just-to-do-stuff trips, but I’d say the lion’s share of it was add-ons. (And even then, now that I think about it, half of it was usually I want to go back to Williamsburg or I want to go back to the Air and Space Museum. I guess we’re a pretty habit-bound family.)

      • Ludlow22
        July 11, 2015 at 11:32 am

        @caperton- your family sounds really sweet, if that’s OK to say.

      • shfree
        July 11, 2015 at 8:25 pm

        @Caperton, yeah we definitely did have spots that we returned to, but it was always about the camping. Camping camping camping. It did make sense, my parents couldn’t afford a lot when me, my brother and sister were young. And since my grandparents had some land that was purposed for large, outdoor family gatherings, damn straight my family was going to spend at least one weekend there every year. (We couldn’t stay any longer though, there was no running water at all, not even a well.) But, unless extended family came, there was fuck-all to do, as the land was in the middle of nowhere, there is a large age gap between my siblings and I, (I’m the youngest) and the only things to amuse kids was a rusty, poorly balanced swing set, a riding lawnmower with a wagon attachment we would ride in, and a set of jarts. (It was like my grandparents wanted to kill us all, looking back.).

        All of that doubtless colors my opinion on the concept of taking the same vacation year after year, but it sounds like you went to places where there was actually stuff to do. So while you had the comfort of something familiar, you still could stretch out a bit and maybe see something new? That, that would have been better, or to have had someone close to my own age along. Plus not fucking camping. I am DONE with camping.

  5. Ledasmom
    July 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    But they’ve sacrificed so much! They bought consignment! Who has suffered as much as they?
    I’m probably being unfair, but it’s because my uterus is literally aching right now, because I am menstruating.

    • LolaMontez2
      July 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      LOL

  6. Athenia
    July 6, 2015 at 10:56 am

    As someone who lives in NYC where literally a second bedroom can cost an extra $50K, I do know understand why they can’t have another child. The only reason she gives is their budget, which means like they can’t afford an extra $50 a month or something (ok, maybe it’s a bit more than $50 a month, but still…)

    • LolaMontez2
      July 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      They already have a huge house with 4 bedrooms. She’s ALREADY a stay-at-home mom. She must have all the cribs and car seats and baby clothes from the last 2 kids (or you can acquire them dirt cheap at garage sales in any ‘burb).

      A new baby breastfeeds. They are covered under a family health insurance policy, it does not charge “by the child” so extra kids are “free”.

      The only “cost” I can see is that she has to stay home another 5-6 years with a new baby — and likely her husband is eager for her to rejoin the workforce soon.

      This has to be the most spoiled, self-serving whinging I have heard in a long time, and that’s saying something!

  7. Alexis
    July 6, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    she’s bragging,
    I found your blog because I was looking for someone, anyone, who hated ‘Bridesmaids’ as much as me.

    • July 7, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Ooh, I hated Bridesmaids! Come over to the open thread and let’s rant!

  8. tintin
    July 27, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Well, I think it is wonderful, considering we have overpopulated the planet. Any excuse to lower the number of children people will make is great.

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