It'd go something like this:
You know, Kate — Lisa and I were ~30 years old when we had our daughter. I am not exaggerating when I say that the prospect of daddyhood scared the CRAP out of me. We weren't "kid people" either. You know what? We probably still aren't. Actually, I would contend that that's a good thing. Sometimes, doubting your own abilities just means you're paying really good attention to what's at stake.
Are kids expensive? You better believe it. I shoulda gone into the diaper business. Or done some sort of consulting for the baby-formula companies.
How do you know when you're ready for kids? Time to face facts: You never will be. There will always be ONE MORE THING you could do to make yourself more prepared. (More savings. Bigger house. More reliable car. Bigger supply of Q-Tips.) People who think they're ready are overconfident. People who think they're not are right.
Will your kid be hopelessly maladjusted if you don't dole out the kind of money the Yahoo article author does? I seriously doubt it. My wife and I have no plans or intentions to meet numbers like those. Even so, I bet our daughter will manage okay. I can teach her how to get by without all those parental gifts. Because I never had them, either. I'd like to think I've turned out pretty stable.
Are kids worth it? Depends. What does it take to fill your heart, assuming you have one?
Seriously: Let your 2-year-old ask for, and give you, a goodnight hug from her crib, followed by a quiet "Nigh' nigh', dada," in the darkness, and you'll know the answer. Watch your kid dance around the living room, grinning ear to ear, clapping her hands as Beethoven's Ode to Joy erupts from the speakers, and again, you'll know the answer. You'll know it as surely as you know that parenthood will be a big responsibility. A huge change. Like nothing you've ever undertaken.
I was terrified, too. I am not exaggerating when I say that some days, I still am. But that little girl curled up and dreaming in her crib, right now, in the next room — she is astounding. Perplexing. Rewarding.
Have a kid. You will understand every word of this post.