Eddie Byrd, and his wife Gabriela, who is from Peru, dote over their only child - five-year-old Brandy.
They make me laugh.
Her father said they spend whatever they have to for her. “You look at it as an investment in another human being who you love very deeply.”
The expenses began adding up even before Brandy was born.
Eddie Byrd: “You have to put together your nursery, you have to get a stroller, all of those things, and you’ve invested several thousand dollars.”
According to the Agriculture Department report, the biggest cost of raising a child is housing, followed by childcare, education and food. Other expenses include clothing, transportation, and activities for the child.
It’s all having an impact on this middle-class family in the pricey Washington, D.C., area.
Eddie Byrd: “We’re not doing well financially. It’s a struggle from month to month.”
And while it’s a struggle for many parents worldwide to raise children, some countries are making it easier by providing subsidized health and child care, such as Norway, Sweden, Finland and Australia.
The Byrds are saving on child care costs since Gabriela is a stay-at-home mom. But like many middle-class families, they are paying for additional activities for Brandy, such as ballet and swimming classes.
Eddie Byrd: “It’s not like when I was growing up, when I could hop on my bicycle at home and ride 5 miles into town and spend the day in town, come back in the afternoon. There are bad people out there these days.”
He said education is one of his biggest expenses, since they decided to send Brandy to a private Catholic school. He’s concerned that, years from now, paying for Brandy’s college education will be out of reach.
Eddie Byrd: “She’ll have to work herself to get through college, or hopefully, college won’t even exist the way it does today, and there will be alternative means for her education.”
As older parents, Byrd said, he (his) and Gabriela’s dream of an early retirement isn’t going to happen.
Eddie Byrd: “We hoped to return to Peru in retirement and live there. The savings that we would have had are now going into our child and our family.”
But he said it's well worth the investment. Deborah Block, VOA News, Alexandria, Virginia.