I could’ve told you that

I think all parents know that having kids has some economic impact on your life, but does this mean that we really need to think hard about the budget when we’re talking about our children? Of course we want our kids to one day go to college, eat healthy organic foods, and go to nice schools, but what does all this talk about how much a child “costs” ultimately do to how we perceive not only our offspring but every other human being in our lives?

I’m asking these questions because of this article today in the New York Times entitled “Mothers of Children With Autism Earn Less”. Well, duh, but how does this information effect our lives?

Mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder are less likely to be employed than mothers of children with no health limitations. They work seven hours less per week, on average, and they earn less: 35 percent less than mothers of children with another health limitation, and 56 percent less than the mothers of children with no health limitations.

Figuring out the exact amount a child may or may not financially cost a family seems to be a morally responsible act on the surface, but putting these figures into practice, letting them effect our decisions, doesn’t reek of the kind of unconditional love I’d like to aspire to as a parent. Either you believe that your bundle of joy, not to mention the elderly and the sick and the generally unemployable, have a value and a dignity irrespective of how much they tap your paycheck, or you value something else entirely.

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