HOW MANY CHILDREN CAN YOU HANDLE?
During the good, old days, it wasn’t uncommon for our parents to go as far as having 4, 5, 6 children and somehow still find a way to carry out their parental duties diligently.
However today, the pattern has drastically changed. You’ll be lucky to find a couple planning for 4 children. Though quite a number of people consider going as far as 3, putting a firm fullstop after number 2 appears to be more of the norm.
Considering the very high cost of living in today’s world, one can understand why the change in numbers. Take for example the cost of a decent education in today’s Nigeria…basic fees range from about N200,000 per term to as high as over N1,000,000 per term. For those who regard N200,000 as change, maybe you should have a chat with the average single mom struggling to give her child the best she can or the average hardworking Nigerian family who is lucky enough to together gross in maybe N350,000 per month after taxes and tithes. Asides from these basic fees, remember there are the extracurricular costs to bear. This is very unlike the years before when we were able to get fantastic education from government funded schools. Actually looking back, the government secondary school I went to was so highly competitive that everyone; including top civil servants and highly placed private sector employees; struggled to get their children in. In fact the only time my parents had to pay an arm and a foot for my education was when I enrolled for an overseas masters program.
Besides the high cost of education, back at home there are still the hospital bills, food and clothing costs, house rents, transportation costs and so many other unavoidable bills to contend with. Then as a parent, you are likely to have this natural compulsion to occasionally give your children those little treats that light up their faces. For example, even if you can’t afford a birthday party you’ll want them to at least blow out candles on their own birthday cake. You’ll also want them to have some measure of exposure. For example you’ll want them to know that asides from markets there are malls and beyond the regular eateries, you’ll want them to experience the finesse of a classy restuarant.
On and on the list goes but at the end of the day one can understand why couples fear venturing into the realm of ‘many children’. Besides we mustn’t forget that to meet these basic needs, both parents in most homes now have to work. Then to make matters worse, the demands from employers and businesses are sometimes so ridiculous that it sometimes takes a lot of tasking deliberate effort to make out quality time for one child, not to talk about two or more, in which case you will then have to be careful that equal opportunities in terms of time and resources are given to all children.
With that said, I am unlikely to settle for two because after growing up in a house of 4 children, 2 just seems too small a number. But that doesn’t take away the fact that 4 appears rather overwhleming and that’s why I probably would lean towards the number 3.
With that said, how many children do you think you can cope with in these changing and very challenging times?
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