Raising Kids ‘n Having Fun

(Fund)Raising Active Kids   
by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Pleasant Prairie, Bonnie Hahn

You know how before you had kids everyone would tell you how expensive they are?  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I mean, how expensive could they possibly be?  Oh, believe me when I say I’ve figured it out, but just for kicks let’s all get a good laugh at my expense at how clueless I was.

Using just my first (child) as the example, I had myself convinced that kids are no big deal in the financial department.  Here’s a bit about how I fooled myself:

  • Making babies the traditional way is free.  Hallelujah.  Might have been down a bit for a bottle of wine and a nice dinner, but whatevs.  Insurance paid for most of the doctor visits, hospital stay, etc.  We were out a couple hundred bucks.
  • Cutie maternity clothes…I spent a bit.  Had to be a fashionable preggie, right?
  • Baby shower.  Everything you could possibly need to feed, clothe, and care for a baby, except the elusive instruction manual of course… all at one happy party.  Cha-ching.  Thanks, everyone!
  • Bring baby home.  Diapers, wipes, cream for their little tushies. Let’s say $25 at Jewel.  Nursed the baby for quite some time and saved a bundle on formula.
  • Picked out some clothes and stuff that I just had to have…couple hundred bucks.

Considering we just had a kid, this doesn’t seem crazy expensive, does it?

  • Went back to work and paid for daycare.  Ooof, that’s a little painful, but we managed.

Time goes by.

  • Preschool – couple hundred for the school year.
  • Clothes – buy a couple things here and there, but boy do we love hand-me-downs.
  • Toys – that’s what holidays and generous relatives are for.
  • Elementary school – gym shoes, clothes, school supplies.  Etc. etc.

Ok, so things are really starting to add up, but these are minimal expenses considering the big picture, right?  Is it college tuition these people were talking about?  I mean, that’s years down the line!  And anyway, my kid is a bona fide genius who will be loaded with scholarships.  College – bah!  We’ve got it covered.

Clothes can be a decent expense, especially if you don’t have friends or relatives with an older child to pass stuff down.  Boys are tough too, cause they beat the heck out of everything. So every school year we have to shop for new jeans twice, new gym shoes, a couple hoodies, new backpack, blah blah.  Then half way through the school year they decide they won’t be caught dead in the $200 of stuff you bought at the beginning of the year.  Or only certain brands, please.  All the other kids have NorthFace winter coats?  Sorry dude, not happening.  What?  A dress outfit for the concert at school?  Wait, he can’t wear his old beat up DC gym shoes to that?   Skidded out on the playground and ripped the knees out of another pair of jeans?  So, ya it’s adding up, but still seems fairly manageable.

Then the sports begin.

All you other parents with kids in sports just collectively shuddered, didn’t you?  Our boy has been the karate master since he was 3 and got the Tommy Nitro and the Crimson Sausage karate set, so there’s never been a question of what he wanted to do.  So, we sign the kid up…$130.  Can’t do taekwondo without a taekwondo uniform…sounds reasonable, $50.

180 bucks?  The kid better like it!

A couple months of classes and hi-ya’s!  Then belt promotions start – $60 each.  (Ya, that’s $60 TWELVE TIMES).  Then they start sparring and need all the gear to protect their body, head, and especially those teeth, cause God forbid anything happens to them, you know how expensive that would be?

Then they need weapons.  More weapons.  Then tournaments at $120 a pop.  Then we travel for tournaments, then he wins and needs a new uniform to tout his prowess.  A shelf!  He needs a shelf to display his trophies and medals!  Special shoes, warm up suits, bags and cases to carry all his stuff around in.  What the heck?  This is definitely an investment.

I’m sure all parents with kids in sports go through the same thing.  The cost of registration, uniforms and equipment is astronomical.  I’ve heard that hockey costs are off the wall, ice skating is insane, and friends of ours with three kids in traveling soccer leagues are in for over a grand each season.  Et tu, soccer?

Obviously kids are expensive.  This is the real world, but it seems to me that keeping them out of sports because of cost shouldn’t be an issue.  Kids need to be active and learn how to be team players and the discipline and confidence and all that. And besides…if they’re not in it now, their chances of getting on the varsity team in high school are nil.  Gasp!  Of course there are cheap and/or free things they can do, but we want what they want, they love the sport, they love playing it and everything else that goes along with it, so we swallow the cost of it all.

Makes a sports-mom (or dad!) want to hold their own fundraiser…you bet I’ve considered it!

There are always second-hand stores we can check out for gear, namely of the Play It Again brand, but sometimes it seems that even though the items are used they aren’t much of a deal, and places like Goodwill are hit or miss (mostly miss) when you’re looking for one particular item.

As an alternative I created a Facebook group for parents of kids in sports who may either have an abundance of sports equipment, or may be looking for such items and don’t want to pay (re-)retail price.   Parents can buy, sell, trade, give away, whatever.  In this economy it is all we can do for some of us to just stay afloat.  So check it out… For the Kids: SE Wisconsin: Sports Edition! and feel free to join and post.

THAT’S using your dojo mojo.

Raising active kids…it takes a village!

Read more of Bonnie’s blogs (including a version of this one) at http://adventuresingreenness.blogspot.com/

Go to the Just Add Kids website here:

http://www.JustAddKidsOnline.net

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