Your second kid’s not worth as much as the first
As the second child, I grew up in the shadow of the first one. The photos were fewer for a start. There are hundreds of photos my brother in the family photo box, but not many of me.
My mother had the time and inclination to fill out the ‘baby’s first year’ book for my brother. But she admitted she didn’t do one for me.
There were times when I wore his blue clothes and people would ask ‘how the little fella is today’. So I lost my gender for a while there, but today blue is my favourite colour.
As a young child I had to do what he wanted to do and watch the programs he wanted to watch. If we were being taken to the movies, we were going to see something like Star Wars and not Candleshoe.
If there was a family outing when we were on holidays, it was to the video arcade and not the fairy shop. Or the entire family had to go fishing.
At school I was often compared with my brother and came out wanting. ‘If she applied herself like her brother did’ or ‘Her brother is better at maths, isn’t he?’ I suspect in the staff room they openly questioned whether I was dropped on my head at birth or fed enough protein.
So as the perennial second child, I am offended by Treasurer Wayne Swan’s changes to the Baby Bonus.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to have another baby, I’m not annoyed about being cheated out of $2000 of money that is meant to lift the birth rate in Australia.
I’m annoyed that the government is putting a lesser dollar value on second and subsequent children – state sanctioned second child syndrome.
I’ve always thought that Peter Costello’s baby bonus was good for Australia and our birthrate. It did encourage women to have a baby and perhaps a second baby.
Costello said at the time, and I loved his comments, “One for mum, one for dad and one for the country”. Every time I hear of someone having a third child I congratulate them on doing it for Australia.
Imagine my delight when I see families of four children!
Paid parental leave and the baby bonus are a bit of a ‘thing’ for me. But as a second child and the friend of twins the obvious question was: does this measure apply to the second twin?
There is no economy of scale when you have twins, ask the parents of any of them. You need two car seats, two cots, a pram which is wider than the Queen Mary (or longer than it), and you need twice as much wine to ease yourself into a relaxed state for the first 18 months or so.
Here is another question: why would any woman opt for the baby bonus for their second child when it’s now one-third the value of the parental leave entitlement?
I don’t know that it’s worth it.
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