Put a price on parenthood if you must, but leave me out of it - I passed that point a long time ago

Counting the cost of childhood is like asking an alcoholic to tot up their units. If you find yourself doing it, there's probably something wrong with your life

Ah, another year, another cheery report about the cost of raising a child. Don’t talk to me about the cost of raising a child. The cost of raising a child is astronomical. We know this. Counting the cost is like asking an alcoholic to tot up their units. It’s too late. They already drank them. Except you can give up drinking. You can’t give up parenting.

Apparently, it doesn’t take a village to raise a child to the age of 21. It takes £220,000; this is according to a report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research. And we’re supposed to count ourselves lucky because it’s only going to get worse. Quick! Bang them out now before they get more expensive! “Parents could face a bill of £350,000 in 10 years’ time.”

But that’s just the thing. There is no bill. There is no reckoning. There is no £220,000. Apart from inside the Centre for Economic and Business Research’s computer cataloguing fictional, so-called “average” lives. Which cannot possibly reflect anybody’s real lives. I wish there really was a real £220,000 because then I would steal it and use it to fund the upbringing of one of my three children. Although that would still leave me another £440,000 to find for the other two.

What’s most disturbing is that this mad figure has been calculated as the median spend; £917 a year on food seems a bit stingy to me, but I’m an over-caterer. On the other hand, £771 a year on holidays per child? People have that kind of money? That’s an average? Or £302 a year on electronic gadgets? Per child? Again: average? Every single year? Children have £6,342 worth of electronic gadgets by the time they’re 21? Are you sure? Or are you taking Steve Jobs’s household as the average?

The problem with putting a price on raising a child is that it’s like putting a price on being alive. If you’re counting the cost, you’re probably not enjoying it as much as you should be.

In other (related?) news: Boots has Fun Pack Condoms on special offer: £7.99 for 18. Choose wisely.