Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Baby Bonus My Bum, It's A Baby Boom!

Once upon a time, in 2003, or was it 2002...whatever, the government of the day, which I believe was run by that odd little man with the glasses, no not that completely bonkers one who keeps trying to make a come back, the first one.  Let's call him John.  

John thought that not enough people were having babies.  He thought that not enough mums were staying at home, chained to the kitchen sink, popping spoonfuls of mushy food into little open mouths and vacantly singing "If you're stir crazy and you know it".

Apparently the birth rate had dropped...or something...and we were only having 1.73 kids per couple.  And some mothers had the gall to be going out and getting jobs, clearly they were bored at home because they didn't have enough kids to keep them busy.

See, babies are very boring. 

John and his merry band the best way to get those Mums back home where they belonged, was to offer them wads of cash.  Loads of it, like um, $3000.  Because that so equates to what a working mother would earn in a year if she went to work instead of having a baby.   

Anyone who's ever procreated knows $3000 disappears faster than you can say "two lines on a stick".

But something funny happened.  Something unexpected.

Around 2002/2003 the birth rate went up and kept going up. Somewhere in the mid 2000s it went gangbusters, getting up to nearly 300,000 in 2010. More babies have been born in the last 5 years than any other 5 years ever.

And some people if you ask them, say, "oh yes, that's because of the baby bonus".

Yeah right, are you mad? Any correlation between the baby bonus and the birth rate is complete and utter bollocks if you ask me.  And I have proof.  Sort of.

The year of my birth 1971, was also a bit of a baby boom, with a peak of kids being born that year and the 2-3 years on either side.  These years coincide with the first cohort of baby boomers (born 1946-1965), reaching maturity, getting married (much earlier than we did as a rule) and popping out a few kiddos.

And now, the first decade of the 21st Century sees these little baby boomlets (or as we know ourselves, the restless, angst ridden, recession plagued Gen X), thinking perhaps we need to crack out a few kids ourselves, now we are nearing 40.

See! Don't you SEE?  We had babies because we wanted babies, and could, and we certainly pocketed that $3000 but the fact that we were getting some cash had um...(pulling number from bum)...0.1% impact on our decision.  It may have had a tiny influence on our choice of pram, or highchair, and I know a couple who went out and bought themselves a new winter wardrobe with it, but it wasn't a major factor in our decision to procreate. 

Because if you really wanted to save money, you wouldn't have kids at all.  They are like tiny cute money pits who grow into bigger, hungrier, less cute money pits. 

If having babies was a financial decision, instead of this...

We could be enjoying this! 
The desire to have babies come from the emotional part of ourselves, not the practical, or the financial.  I mean, would you ever tell a woman, desperate to have a baby, but can't, that it's all for the best, because babies are expensive?

No, because that would be utter madness. And this is how I know the baby boom isn't about the money. *folds arms*

And the fallout of all this reproduction...

All these little darlings are growing up, schools are starting to stretch out into weird pyramidal shapes with (in some cases) 6-10 Kindy classes, and just 2 year sixes.  The impact on private school waiting lists means where once you were fine to put your kid down at 6-8 months of age, even 2-3 months is too late, driving some people to visiting a registrar the day the little treasure makes an appearance just so they can follow in Daddy or Mummy's footsteps.

I know this has been the case for some private schools for many years, but it's becoming the norm rather than the exception. My brother did it in 1980, the day his son was born.  Not because there was any doubt his kid would get in to the school, but because he's a natural born tosser.  And I hated my school, so no chance I'll be lining up to get my kids in (it's in Brisbane anyway), but maybe if I had loved it, I'd want to do the same and be a tosser too.

I'm not sure if the secondary school system, public and private, knows what's about to hit them.  And I'm not about to tell them, because it's not my job.  My job is to blog massive generalisations in order to get my opinion off my chest.  Which I have now done.

Please note, my generalisations are all mine, no one else's.  And my point of view is stuck, right where it belongs because it knows nothing else, in suburban middle Australia.