Author Topic: Having only one child  (Read 34573 times)

LibrarIan

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Having only one child
« on: September 10, 2014, 11:56:05 AM »
In light of today's MMM post about it being okay to have only one child (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/09/10/great-news-youre-allowed-to-have-only-one-kid/), I wanted to hear (in a more organized fashion) from more of you about experiences raising children. Whether you have no kids or you are planning on pumping them out as long as possible, I'd like to hear about your experiences.

My wife is currently in grad school but when she gets out in two years I have a feeling the baby thing will finally come around (I'll be 27 or so). Talking about children seems to get her really upset because I'm so indecisive at the moment. Sometimes I want a child, other times I don't. But I am pretty certain I want no more than one child. I think she falls into the camp of wanting two at minimum (because, you know, they need a friend while they're growing up). This causes a lot of tension at times. While I don't like to admit it, I feel pressured to have more than one child even though I don't want to, else my marriage will end in.

I admit, my motivation for only one child (if any) is selfish to a degree. I highly value my alone time and I have a lot I want to focus on that isn't kid related. I also want to achieve FI early, which kids can make more difficult. I'm not sure what else to say at the moment so I'll wait to elaborate after some people respond.

Thanks!

enigmaT120

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 12:44:54 PM »
I haven't read MMM's post yet.  I knew when I was about 21 that I didn't want kids.  I don't like them.  I didn't when I was one.  I managed to talk a doctor into giving me a vasectomy back then and I've never regretted it.  I have been told many times that I would be sorry some day.  I'll be 51 this month and I'm not sorry yet. 

I'm not sure there are any reasons to either want children or to not want them that aren't selfish. 

I don't know how to have the conversation you need to have with your wife.  I married an older woman who already had her two kids out of the way.  I don't know that two kids would be significantly more trouble than one, though. 

Cassie

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2014, 12:51:01 PM »
I read his blog post and he makes it sound like having a baby is such hard work & takes all your time, etc.  That I say is crap!  I raised 3 kids and sure there are times when it is hard, etc but if it was as hard as he described it there would be a lot fewer kids in this world.  Many times siblings don't really even like each other so the reason for having more then 1 should be that you want more kids not so that they will have a buddy.  This is a serious issue that you and your wife need to resolve to the satisfaction of both of you.  There is nothing wrong with having only 1 child if that is what both people want.   

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2014, 01:02:05 PM »
Have as many as you want. Personally I think it's more selfish to have 18 kids than it is to have 0. The strain on resources, time management, etc is immense. And I come from a large family so I'm speaking from experience here.

Kids are hard. I just wrote about this in my journal and we had a decent dialogue over there. Don't do it until you're ready. As hard as they are, I wouldn't trade them for the world and I'd do it all over again. We are stopping at 2 though, that's plenty for us.
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rocksinmyhead

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2014, 01:16:01 PM »
Sometimes I want a child, other times I don't. But I am pretty certain I want no more than one child. I think she falls into the camp of wanting two at minimum (because, you know, they need a friend while they're growing up).

obviously I don't know how your wife feels, but I will say for me personally the biggest reason I want more than one kid (probably two, maaaaybe three) isn't so they can have a friend growing up, but so they can have some family support as an adult. my sister and I are 6 years apart so we weren't really buddies growing up, but we are much closer as adults and I'm SO glad that when my parents eventually get old and need help, I won't have to deal with it alone.

(obviously to each their own and I sure wouldn't judge someone for having only one kid, just sharing my own preferences/reasoning)

justajane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2014, 01:23:15 PM »
That's a tough one LibrarIan. If you're open to having one, why don't you just start there and see how you feel after that? It doesn't sound like you are absolutely sold on having none. Did you two discuss this before you were married?

Honestly I can't recall ever having the discussion about kids with my husband pre-marriage. I'm sure we did, though. We were completely on the same page that we wanted two. The struggle came when, three years after having the second, I expressed my desire to have one more. He was on the fence, and we agonized over it for at least six months. We ended up choosing to have the third, who is now four months old.

I think it is true that you definitely know when you are done. I am of the mind that if you are not sure, then you are not finished. But I'm sure others feel differently.

buchanaj

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2014, 01:42:32 PM »
Well . . . I personally have an "only" . . . but my husband does not.  Stepkids!!!  Built in siblings for my daughter!

It does help if you actually like your stepchildren (as I do).  However, don't underestimate the additional set of issues blended families bring to the table.  I really lucked out with my stepkids (as well as a reasonable ex) but I know that's not always the case.

But having my stepchildren sure made the decision to stop at 1 much easier for me!

daymare

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2014, 01:49:47 PM »
I guess my husband and I are in basically the same situation, just reversed. :). I am pretty neutral on kids, and not thrilled with the idea of loss of time to myself and more stress/obligations if we have kids.  And I don't want to sacrifice myself or lose my personality.  My husband would like several kids - he has two siblings and loved that his family was slightly larger than standard and had special treatments like an extra chair to a 4-person table at restaurants, plus he loves kids.  I have a 2-year younger brother, and while we fought a lot as kids, it was also nice having someone around to play with wherever we went.  My brother and I aren't super close, mostly due to the fact that we've lived in different cities for 7 years, but I think he's great.  The compromise is that we'll definitely have one kid.  And at this point, that's all I want.  It feels like a nice compromise because we'd be more able to retain the elements of our pre-kid life that we love the most, yet we'd have the experience of raising our child.  Of course, who knows how things will turn out, everything's quite a ways away - no kids in the next 5 years (we're both 25 now). :)

Argyle

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 02:09:30 PM »
I just want to note that sometimes it's easier to have two.  I have one, and on his own, he gets bored and restless.  Bring another kid over and they amuse each other.  This has been true since the age of three or so.  We spend a lot of time angling for friends to come over.  It's not that he can't spend time alone in fact he spends a lot of time alone.  But it's a lot less work for me when there's another kid over.

If you're adamant that you don't want more than one, I think you should find a way to discuss this very calmly with your wife. Of course, the optimum way is if you both can compromise, but ultimately one person will have to give way.  You also may both be okay with waiting to see (this is what I would recommend).  She may find one exhausting and not want to have a second.  You may find one enchanting and want a second.  People flip-flop a lot on these things.   But if one of you is so adamant that you'd end the marriage over not getting your choice, then that's something to know up front.

Philociraptor

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2014, 02:15:56 PM »
Interesting article, I like that he included the 0 number of children on his simplified chart.  My wife and I are 25 and neither of us want children, but it certainly doesn't stop people trying to push us towards them.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2014, 02:24:53 PM »
Unless you've had experience raising a kid, I don't think that you even have enough perspective to determine whether you want 1 or 2.

We have a 2.5 year old. We've both always stated that we want 2 kids... and we still do (we're trying for #2 now), but man oh man was it hard sometimes.  Our kid hasn't even had a lot of the major problems that some have, but it is an immense amount of work, and we've done a ton of shuffling around so that we could have him at home instead of daycare (another personal decision).  As much as I have just complained, I'd do it all over again to have my son.  I personally love the part of parenting where you're teaching a tiny human all that you know about the world. It's fascinating.

I'd say to OP that if you manage to get past the mental barriers of having 1, re-evaluate after the kids 1st birthday. 
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mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2014, 02:32:31 PM »
I enjoyed this article and posted something about this last year:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/parents-of-onlies-tell-me-how-it-is/msg192600/#msg192600

I have one child who is a joy to have.  At almost two, things get better and more fun every day.  The first year was a bit rough, but not too bad.  I think I could regret not having a second child or regret having one.  I would probably feel the same way about having or not having children.  For now, we are very pleased with our little family.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 08:34:27 AM by mrsggrowsveg »
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TrMama

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 02:46:19 PM »
My experience (and I think there's research to this effect) is that individuals usually feel more strongly about either having kids, or not having them, than they do about their relationship with their partner. To put it bluntly, if your partner really wants kids but you really don't, then it's going to be very hard on your relationship.

It's also important to keep in mind that whether or not you like being around other people's kids has little bearing on whether you'll like being around your own kids. I don't particularly care for other people's children. However, I love my own children and love spending time with them.

fantabulous

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 02:49:34 PM »
Just an anecdote from an only child that's probably not going to have any children of her own:

My parents are each the oldest of seven children. I haven't really talked to them on how seriously they wanted more, but it was a challenge for them financially with just me at times and that ruled out having more. I imagine each having six younger siblings was a big factor, even if finances allowed for more than just me.

I didn't read the blog post so much as "wow, this parenting thing is awful and I don't want to do it even longer by having another child" so much as "Hey, an only child isn't doomed to be some maladjusted antisocial outcast so I don't have to have more just for the sake of the existing child(ren)". I don't know how much of my personality as an adult is a result of being an only child. I am in fact an unapologetic introvert, because being apologetic is inherently extroverted and no thank you. I didn't grow up feeling deprived by the lack of a sibling.

Nords

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2014, 02:57:31 PM »
My wife is currently in grad school but when she gets out in two years I have a feeling the baby thing will finally come around (I'll be 27 or so). Talking about children seems to get her really upset because I'm so indecisive at the moment. Sometimes I want a child, other times I don't. But I am pretty certain I want no more than one child. I think she falls into the camp of wanting two at minimum (because, you know, they need a friend while they're growing up). This causes a lot of tension at times. While I don't like to admit it, I feel pressured to have more than one child even though I don't want to, else my marriage will end in.
I admit, my motivation for only one child (if any) is selfish to a degree. I highly value my alone time and I have a lot I want to focus on that isn't kid related. I also want to achieve FI early, which kids can make more difficult. I'm not sure what else to say at the moment so I'll wait to elaborate after some people respond.
I share your ambiguity.  We started our family because... well, I had shore duty coming up, we weren't gettin' any younger, and we wanted to find out early whether fertility testing and in-vitro fertilization would be necessary.  Part of the start-a-family conversation happened to me when I was blindsided during a spouse phone call after our crew had gone through a significant life-threatening incident.  So part of starting a family may be just as much about a couple feeling secure and loved between each other as it is about kids.

I was not the one who suggested starting a family, but it was a good suggestion.  (We all know that my spouse is smarter than me.)  I the back of my mind I was still ambivalent about starting a family, but I figured that it was better to have the experience than to spend the rest of our lives wondering "what if".  We'd seen a few couples torturing themselves with IVF and adoption questions, so it seemed better to try to start a family now rather than get boxed in later.  We'd seen another couple torturing themselves over career vs family, and we definitely did not want to get trapped in the career side of that dilemma. 

22 years later, I've concluded that starting a family has been better than not starting a family.  I'm immensely proud of what our daughter has done with our genetic material (more than I did with mine at her age!) and I'm surprised that she survived our attempts to raise her.  However I'm still keenly aware that parenting is a life sentence with no parole, and not even any time off for good behavior. 

I hear the same conclusion from most other families about their own progeny.  Of course that could be confirmation bias with a huge chaser of alcohol-fueled rationalization, but if you think you're ready to start a family then you're right.  If you think you should not start a family then you're also absolutely right.  If you're ambivalent then you're probably ready to hack it.

There's also the issue of "revenge parenting", which I didn't find a name for until a couple of years ago.  It's your attitude that you're going to do a better job of raising your kid than your parents did of raising their kids.  Guilty.  However that's probably not a sufficient reason for starting a family.

I'm with MMM on parenting proficiency & requalification.  When our daughter was one year old we had the conversation about trying for more: 
Me:  "What if our next kid is as tough to handle as this one?"
Spouse:  "What if our next kid is worse?"
Me:  "Never mind.  Good night!"

Another reason to start a family, aside from blessing the world with your highly-evolved human capital?  Maturity.  If you're really ready to be a parent then it'll make you grow up and straighten out your behavior in a hurry.  It'll also get you started on the track to financial independence.  That's not necessarily the best reason for starting a family, but it's reassurance that you'll make it all work.
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justajane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2014, 03:08:16 PM »
Quote
It's also important to keep in mind that whether or not you like being around other people's kids has little bearing on whether you'll like being around your own kids.

This is definitely true. Like you, I still don't like many other children I encounter, but I love my own to pieces.

SisterX

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2014, 03:39:34 PM »
I don't think this is a question that anyone other than you and your wife can answer.  My husband and I have one so far (9 months) and we're still in the midst of the "OMG, this is rough some days" period, but it's getting much easier.  My "me-time" went down a lot (as the mom) in the beginning but it's picking back up again.  I have time to read, time (and inclination) to exercise, I managed a small garden this summer, I've still been preserving and cooking and foraging, and now that it's getting into autumn I'm taking on some knitting projects.  Free time will never be what it was pre-child, at least not until she's out on her own, but there are ways to make time for yourself and for time with just you and your partner.  All this, and ours is a relatively high-needs baby.  Not so much as one with developmental problems, but demanding a lot of attention and focus.  My husband and I are pretty good about letting each other know our needs.  "Hey, I need to get this done.  If you watch her for half an hour, I'll take over after that and you can spend some time to yourself."  She doesn't always let this plan go through (sometimes she just wants Mom) but like I said, it's getting way easier.
We're planning to move closer to family next summer and I think that will make things even easier on us and, likely, better for her since she'll get so many more people to pay attention to her.
We'll have one more, but just one.  Originally I wanted 3, husband has always been set on 2.  It's a complicated math I've done with myself over how many kids to have.  If I was thinking solely of the environmental impacts, 0.  Only about how much I love kids and babies, 6.  Only about how much I hated being pregnant, 1.  Based on finances alone, 1-2.  Based on my need for time to myself, time for hobbies, etc., 3 (under the assumption that they will get more independent as they get older--which my daughter is quickly proving to be true).  If I'd known how awful her birth would be, maybe 0-1.  (Maybe.)  If we had more family close-by, ready and willing to help out during the first year, 3-4.
See?  Complicated math.  As someone else said, wait until after you've had the first one and then see how you and your wife feel.  I had a relatively easy pregnancy and still, hated it.  Her birth could be used as a campfire story to scare people.  And still? I'd do it all over again.  All the sleepless nights (like last night), the discomforts and pain, the (very few) moments when I've thought, "I really can't do this, oh God I really wasn't actually cut out to be a mom what have I done??!!", which were probably fueled mostly by exhaustion, the worries which start immediately, etc.  This has been more worthwhile than anything else I have ever done in my entire life and I love it.
My husband, while wanting kids "someday", didn't want them as soon as I did.  I'm 2 years older, so age played into it a little bit.  Turning 30 really made me realize that I wanted to finally do some of the "adult" things I'd pushed off during my 20s, like having kids.  Obviously, I got my way in this.  How does my husband feel?  He wouldn't trade her for the world either.  Other than going to school he's SAHD so it's a huge change for him and one I don't think he ever anticipated, but he's loving it.  He actually had class last night during her bedtime and when he came home he said, "Man, a big part of me really wants to wake her up just to say hi!  I missed her."  I think it's helped to actually know that she hasn't made him completely housebound, or stopped him from doing his favorite things, and the older she gets the more fun she is because she can do so much more month by month.  It's incredible to watch.
That being said, I would like to think that if we were infertile, I could accept it and wouldn't put us through the pain and hassle of IVF.  I already know that my husband wouldn't have been up for adoption.  I might have been able to talk him into fostering kids (and am keeping it in the back of my mind later on), but we might very well have ended up childless if we couldn't conceive naturally.

There will be people on these forums who hate me for this, but I kind of wonder if having a difficult (but developmentally normal) child is correlated with higher intelligence?  It might be one reason why smarter people have fewer kids: more difficult children.

MsRichLife

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2014, 06:36:01 PM »
We are 95% sure that our son (2.25yrs) will be an only child. We are in the camp where we found raising him for the first two years of his life to be hard work.

He's a sensitive, high needs little guy who slept really badly for the first 18 months. He's been at the late end of meeting his gross motor milestones, which has caused him immeasurable frustration. He's quite behind in his speech too. Although he gets by with sign language, he is just frustrated a lot. I also think he's very intelligent and his little brain is ahead of what his body is able to do. He's not an easy going child. He's intense, passionate, highly observant, thoughtful, empathetic and often anxious.

Knowing how hard it's been on us and our marriage, would we change anything? NO WAY! He is the joy of our life. I didn't know the depths of love I could feel for another person until I met him.

Having said that, at 37 I am not prepared to go through it again. I don't have the energy. We feel like our family is complete.

We are not concerned that he will lack a playmate while he's growing up. He's an introvert and quite content in the company of adults or older kids. He goes to day care a few days a week and he chooses to hang around the carers rather than the other kids. But, we have lots of kids in the neighbourhood that he plays with, and who he loves. I recall when I was growing up, I played with the neighbours, rather than my sister (who I just fought with!)

We also want to get back to travelling and other things we love doing. With one child, we feel like we can more easily give him wonderful opportunities.

Some of my friends seem to do wonderfully with 2, 3, 4 or even 5 children. I admire them for it, but I just know it's not for us.



« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 08:06:47 PM by MsRichLife »

mapleseed

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2014, 07:01:13 PM »
We have an only, by choice, and we love love love our little family of 3. He has lots of friends, cousins, and other loving family members, is not lonely, and can entertain himself for hours on end. At 10, he has never asked for a sibling. It was the perfect choice for us. So many people I know with multiple kids seem so stressed out and frazzled (of course there are parents of onlies and child-free people who are stressed and frazzled, too, but a herd of children does seem to exacerbate one's natural responses to stress). I hope having an only is becoming a common enough choice in America that people consider it a reasonable option. (We live in a very highly educated and environmentally conscious area, so my kid knows many many other onlies, but it seems that's a geographic variation.)

DecD

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2014, 07:53:14 PM »
We have two.

We had #1 while in grad school (post-quals, pre-prelims).  We made the decision following a logical path (cause if I make emotional decisions I'll second guess them for the rest of eternity- I knew that I'd need to be able to follow the logical path back to the decision in the midst of Holy Crap What Have We Done moments.)  We knew that we wanted the hangin-with-family-and-kids lifestyle over the long term, and we were 29/30, my sister had just had a hysterectomy at 32.  We knew that we wouldn't ever be MORE ready.  There's weren't any more must-do-before-kids things on our lists.  There would never be a perfect time, so we took the leap cause who knows how long it'll take.

Always intended to have two or three quite close together.  But reality hit.  I discovered I don't do great with the first year.  The first two years, really.  I don't handle sleep deprivation well.  Some folks have that gift for hangin with tiny babies, but that doesn't happen to be me.  Plus, I realized that having #2 during school would end the degree right there.  And research products follow their own schedules.  We were NOT READY to add more chaos to our lives.

Things got easier after he turned 2.  And by the time he was 3, we had things under control. 

Our decision to have #2 was less logical.  I was definitely under the impression that a sibling would be a good thing.  I lost a cousin to brain cancer as a child and worried about having all my eggs in one basket, so to speak.  And it just kind of felt right.  Not logical.

He was born when his brother was 4.  The chaos level in the house more than doubled, for sure.  The alone time plummeted.  The one-on-one time for each was diminished.  It is HARD.  But....the boys ADORE each other.  I was prepared for sibling rivalry...but it never showed up.  Our first loved his brother at first sight and now, 3 years later, they're best friends.  It's utterly heartwarming.  (in fact, after having #2 home for about a month, #1 requested 3 more siblings.  Dream on, kiddo!)  Also, our first is very much a momma's boy, and #2 is much more equal-opportunity.  And the level of fun has definitely increased along with the chaos.  Camping, swimming, playing- it's all more fun with two.  And on weekends they run upstairs and play together, have swordfights, built forts, they've each got a built-in friend despite (because of?) the age difference.  And it's been fascinating to see how different they are, even from day 1.  They're just total individuals with completely different personalities.

So I'm happy with our decision.  Our lives are richer.

On the other hand-
I completely understand the benefits of choosing to not have children.
I 100% get the idea that having just one child has really great advantages.
and
I can imagine the joy that would come from 3 or 4 children (for someone with more patience and more skill at the first year and more adaptable to limited sleep than I!)

Reading the latest MMM post on the topic- that's essentially our logic for stopping at 2.  We have reached our limit for chaos and internal resources and we are DONE.

I don't know that there's one right answer.  It's just a choice, and you embrace what you get!!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 07:58:12 PM by DecD »

frugalparagon

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2014, 08:57:46 PM »
While I don't like to admit it, I feel pressured to have more than one child even though I don't want to, else my marriage will end in.

Don't do this: Agree to have a child to keep your wife, thinking that that will make her happy. If she wants two plus, having one WILL NOT make her happy. And if you really don't want them at all, having one will definitely not make you happy, either, at least in the short term. That first year sucks big time if you weren't fully on board.

I hope that you and your wife can reach consensus. We have two but never actually agreed--we were fighting about whether to have a second child when, oops, along he came, and then endured an IUD failure debacle about which we had, to put it mildly, different feelings. We're finally starting to bounce back.

I actually think you should consider getting marriage counseling to try to reach common ground before the issue comes up, or at least to strengthen your marriage more generally. I'm picking up a whiff of resentment in your letter (you resent her desire for multiple kids, no?) that won't get you to a good place.
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DecD

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2014, 09:00:53 PM »
While I don't like to admit it, I feel pressured to have more than one child even though I don't want to, else my marriage will end in.

Don't do this: Agree to have a child to keep your wife, thinking that that will make her happy. If she wants two plus, having one WILL NOT make her happy. And if you really don't want them at all, having one will definitely not make you happy, either, at least in the short term. That first year sucks big time if you weren't fully on board.

I hope that you and your wife can reach consensus. We have two but never actually agreed--we were fighting about whether to have a second child when, oops, along he came, and then endured an IUD failure debacle about which we had, to put it mildly, different feelings. We're finally starting to bounce back.

I actually think you should consider getting marriage counseling to try to reach common ground before the issue comes up, or at least to strengthen your marriage more generally. I'm picking up a whiff of resentment in your letter (you resent her desire for multiple kids, no?) that won't get you to a good place.

This is good advice. 

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2014, 12:13:34 AM »
Unless you've had experience raising a kid, I don't think that you even have enough perspective to determine whether you want 1 or 2.

We have a 2.5 year old. We've both always stated that we want 2 kids... and we still do (we're trying for #2 now), but man oh man was it hard sometimes.  Our kid hasn't even had a lot of the major problems that some have, but it is an immense amount of work, and we've done a ton of shuffling around so that we could have him at home instead of daycare (another personal decision).  As much as I have just complained, I'd do it all over again to have my son.  I personally love the part of parenting where you're teaching a tiny human all that you know about the world. It's fascinating.

I'd say to OP that if you manage to get past the mental barriers of having 1, re-evaluate after the kids 1st birthday.

This.

I was totally not sure how many kids I wanted. Definitely one, but no more then three. Having baby no.1, who is 2.5 years old now, cemented my & DH decision to have another one and then stop.

MDM

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2014, 01:31:35 AM »
For some perspectives different than most of the posts here so far, see http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/larger-family-forum-how-are-you-doing-it-3-kids.

Crying kids (e.g. on a plane) used to annoy me.  Then we had our own - and rather than annoying, it became "ahhh...someone else has to deal with that baby...I can ignore the cries and sleep/read/work to my heart's content...."  As justajane and others noted: your reactions to other people's kids are probably poor predictors of your reactions to any of your own.


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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2014, 05:28:11 AM »
I have just one child, she is now 25.  No issues with the pregnancy or her easy raising, I just didn't want any more.  She was an early 'oops' and never regretted it.  At age 26 I got my tubes tied, I have not regretted that decision, I am now 43. 

For sure you guys need to be on the same page about children.  To put it in another perspective, my daughter has had to grow up with a father (now ex, imagine that) who pretty much resented her being born.  She's felt that her whole life.  I had to pretty much be the mommy and daddy, and watch the hurt in her eyes from feelings of being unwanted from him.  He is trying to make up for it now, old hurt dies hard, and she deliberately has nothing to do with him.  He has earned that (and no, never from my words, from his actions).  She is cool with just having a mom, we are best buds.  She calls her 'real father' my late hubby of 11 years, so I am blessed she at least had him as a loving awesome father figure.  My point is, kids can feel when they are unwanted.  If either is unsure or are on different pages about children, please work that out before bringing them in to this world!   It wouldn't be fair to a child.  Just my two cents.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2014, 06:50:29 AM »
I have three kids. 

I think that if you want to have another kid only as a gift to your first kid, that's a terrible idea.  But if you want to have another kid because you have the desire to love another kid for their own sake, then you should have another.

I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.


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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2014, 07:01:22 AM »
I wanted zero kids. Before I got married, I made sure we were both okay with having zero. I knew there was a possibility I would change my mind, but I wanted to make sure I would not get divorced over this issue.

Eventually, I wanted kids. Spouse was good with it. Best decision ever.

I tell my kid that I did not want kids, and that I changed my mind and love her loads. I think it's good for a kid to see that adults can change their minds and be open in that way.

Good luck!


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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2014, 07:34:18 AM »
How did your conversations go when you were dating and talking about kids?  (You did talk about this key life decision, right?) 

We talked before I would move in with him, and agreed we'd have kids.  (DH was reluctant due to cost and energy required for kids.)  Now, DH is back to reluctant which leaves me in quite a quandry.  I don't think people should be forced into having kids (although, neither do I think he should have told me he was willing so we move in and get married and then backpeddle) so I've tried to be patient and talk it through with him, but we're running out of time to make this decision, particularly as I do want 2.  (I'm 35, he's 39 and my doctor's made me aware it will be harder/take longer/possibly require assistance/risk more birth defects & issues if we take too much longer.)    Now he's at agreement to have one if I feel "my life will not be complete", which is less agreement than I'd like, so we haven't yet started trying.  Interestingly, I've learned several friends had husbands who were reluctant and wives that eventually laid down some variant of an ultimatium (not a "do or I'll divorce", more that one said after ~13 years together, ~6 married, either have a kid now - and they were only planning on ever having one - or I will need to consider my options) or made clear "this is really important to me".  Although I know this isn't always the case (and particularly if someone were opposed to kids versus uncertain), at least in this very small sample that all those dads are happy with their decision in the end.

You have more time, so keep talking about it.  Really try to understand both perspectives.  (For example, DH's really boil down to issues with his job - not with kids.)  Take it one kid at a time as well.  And good luck!  Ultimately this needs to be a decision between the two of you and not anyone else.

AllChoptUp

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2014, 07:47:32 AM »
We have two.

We had #1 while in grad school (post-quals, pre-prelims).  We made the decision following a logical path (cause if I make emotional decisions I'll second guess them for the rest of eternity- I knew that I'd need to be able to follow the logical path back to the decision in the midst of Holy Crap What Have We Done moments.)  We knew that we wanted the hangin-with-family-and-kids lifestyle over the long term, and we were 29/30, my sister had just had a hysterectomy at 32.  We knew that we wouldn't ever be MORE ready.  There's weren't any more must-do-before-kids things on our lists.  There would never be a perfect time, so we took the leap cause who knows how long it'll take.

Always intended to have two or three quite close together.  But reality hit.  I discovered I don't do great with the first year.  The first two years, really.  I don't handle sleep deprivation well.  Some folks have that gift for hangin with tiny babies, but that doesn't happen to be me.  Plus, I realized that having #2 during school would end the degree right there.  And research products follow their own schedules.  We were NOT READY to add more chaos to our lives.

Things got easier after he turned 2.  And by the time he was 3, we had things under control. 

Our decision to have #2 was less logical.  I was definitely under the impression that a sibling would be a good thing.  I lost a cousin to brain cancer as a child and worried about having all my eggs in one basket, so to speak.  And it just kind of felt right.  Not logical.

He was born when his brother was 4.  The chaos level in the house more than doubled, for sure.  The alone time plummeted.  The one-on-one time for each was diminished.  It is HARD.  But....the boys ADORE each other.  I was prepared for sibling rivalry...but it never showed up.  Our first loved his brother at first sight and now, 3 years later, they're best friends.  It's utterly heartwarming.  (in fact, after having #2 home for about a month, #1 requested 3 more siblings.  Dream on, kiddo!)  Also, our first is very much a momma's boy, and #2 is much more equal-opportunity.  And the level of fun has definitely increased along with the chaos.  Camping, swimming, playing- it's all more fun with two.  And on weekends they run upstairs and play together, have swordfights, built forts, they've each got a built-in friend despite (because of?) the age difference.  And it's been fascinating to see how different they are, even from day 1.  They're just total individuals with completely different personalities.

So I'm happy with our decision.  Our lives are richer.

On the other hand-
I completely understand the benefits of choosing to not have children.
I 100% get the idea that having just one child has really great advantages.
and
I can imagine the joy that would come from 3 or 4 children (for someone with more patience and more skill at the first year and more adaptable to limited sleep than I!)

Reading the latest MMM post on the topic- that's essentially our logic for stopping at 2.  We have reached our limit for chaos and internal resources and we are DONE.

I don't know that there's one right answer.  It's just a choice, and you embrace what you get!!

Thank you for this!  Great story and a nice look at spacing children out more than the usual two years my friends seem to think is the only way to go. 

AllChoptUp

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2014, 07:50:41 AM »
I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.

I disagree with this...many (many) kids don't sleep through the night at 1 yr old.  Especially if sleep training is not used.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2014, 07:53:33 AM »
I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.

I disagree with this...many (many) kids don't sleep through the night at 1 yr old.  Especially if sleep training is not used.

Yes, but it's still a valid question.

We have friends that believed one needed to be up with the kids at all time (just concern something would happen).  We thought this a little ridiculous - for the most part a kid would either cry loud enough to wake you up, or it wouldn't bc say SIDS, but it's also not something you'd notice in another room.    They ended up hiring night nannies (expensive because it was a special twin service - I think $35/night) for 4 of 7 nights a week for the twins so they could get more sleep.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2014, 08:06:17 AM »
Thanks for all your responses so far. Fortunately kids are not on the immediate horizon but I wanted hear about other experiences now rather than later.

How did your conversations go when you were dating and talking about kids?  (You did talk about this key life decision, right?) 

We sort of talked about it. We started dating when we were 16 and we've known each other since kindergarten. Back then (in high school or college) the conversations were along the lines of "having kids is something that will happen in the distant future, so why worry so much about it now?"

But now that we're in our mid-twenties and time is passing by faster, I think she is starting to feel like to the time is nearing. Add in the fact that when she logs onto Facebook (which I no longer use) every "friend" on there is having kids and posting photos of them. The topic is coming up more but it's definitely a touchy subject. She knows I'm indecisive and I think it upsets her when I express the desire to only have one kid or no kids.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #32 on: September 11, 2014, 11:11:11 AM »
That's rough.  To say "you should have talked about it more earlier" is rather silly now because all you can do is move forward.
All I can say is, I know plenty of people who've changed their minds after having the first.  Either, one or both were determined only to have one and found out that they loved it so much they had one or two more.  Or, more frequently, they had one and realized how difficult it was on one or both of them.  One of my best friends was determined to have three.  She grew up lonely with only a much older half brother whom she no longer even talks to and she really wanted a slightly larger family so that her kids would "have buddies".  Well, they had their second just before my first was born and shortly after, her husband got a vasectomy.  A combined 8 months of daily throwing up and the constant nausea of morning sickness between the two kids was enough to convince her that she didn't want to do that again.  As she so eloquently put it, "Fuck that shit.  I am DONE!"  Really, I think the only reason she pushed forward with the second one was because of her determination to give her older child a friend and companion, otherwise the crappiness of being pregnant would have stopped her at one child.
For my part I was super excited to get pregnant and thought it would be lovely.  7 months into it, whenever I heard someone gush about how they just loved every second of being pregnant I wanted to punch them in the face but couldn't summon the energy to do so.
So, don't think that your wife's determination to have more than one or two is set in stone.  The bigger issue is probably your ambivalence about having any kids at all.  I think that's far harder to surmount than the number of kids, as long as you're both on board with having kids in the first place.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #33 on: September 11, 2014, 12:36:57 PM »
Having additional children just so your current one(s) can have built-in playmates seems a gambler's proposition to me. Some kids will be best friends with their siblings, and others will fight like cats at the slightest provocation. One of my dearest friends in high school was the middle of three sisters, and theirs was a household absolutely exploding with competition, slights both real and imagined, and an endless supply of drama. Time, and not being under the same roof anymore, seemed to smooth over the worst of it, but it all comes down to personality, and whether those personalities clash or compliment.

As for myself, I have a single sibling, a brother nearly nine years my junior. My parents knew they wanted a second child, and it wasn't really about me. That said, I adored my baby brother (still do), and our parents wisely made use of my free adolescent labor for child care. I changed diapers, I played with him, I bathed him, I helped him with school work, I read him bedtime stories. Even though we're both adults now, I'm still not entirely sure I'm broken of the habit of reaching for his hand at a crosswalk. Honestly, I think having that relationship with him in my formative years is the main reason I don't feel like I need to have children of my own now. When I was younger, I never really imagined motherhood as a part of my future, and always figured that eventually that would change, but I'm 34 now and it hasn't.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2014, 01:19:51 PM »
I have a few thoughts on this topic.

1) I am an only child and I wish I had a sibling, mostly for support in dealing with my aging, mentally ill, substance abusing mother.  It is very, very hard dealing with it on my own.  My husband helps, but it isn't the same thing as having a sibling that I could share the experience and responsibility with.  I also, as I get older, really feel like I missed out on the possibility of the sibling relationship.  Now, all that being said, I am a reasonably well adjusted adult who didn't suffer dramatically from being an only, but I still feel like I would have liked a sibling in my life.  This is a lot of the reason I had two children. 

That being said, the reality is is that there is NO perfect family arrangement or number of children.   You can have a wonderful family with lots of different variations, and I think that there are lots of benefits to having an only child if you have supportive, capable parents.

2) Having two children is not necessarily harder than having one child.  My first child was a very difficult infant, colicky etc etc...  My second one was the easiest baby in the world so dealing with two kids was actually easier for me.  I also was so much more relaxed with the second one also which lowered the stress level significantly for me.  It really is a crap shoot in some ways and depends on the temperament and personality of your child.   I can't personally speak to having more than two children, but my husbands uncle who has five children once told me that three was the hardest (because you were outnumbered), then after that the next two were no harder. 


Maigahane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #35 on: September 11, 2014, 02:58:25 PM »
Thanks for all your responses so far. Fortunately kids are not on the immediate horizon but I wanted hear about other experiences now rather than later.

How did your conversations go when you were dating and talking about kids?  (You did talk about this key life decision, right?) 

We sort of talked about it. We started dating when we were 16 and we've known each other since kindergarten. Back then (in high school or college) the conversations were along the lines of "having kids is something that will happen in the distant future, so why worry so much about it now?"

But now that we're in our mid-twenties and time is passing by faster, I think she is starting to feel like to the time is nearing. Add in the fact that when she logs onto Facebook (which I no longer use) every "friend" on there is having kids and posting photos of them. The topic is coming up more but it's definitely a touchy subject. She knows I'm indecisive and I think it upsets her when I express the desire to only have one kid or no kids.
Wow, we're in the almost the exact same situation except switched. DH and I met in 4th grade, started dating at 16, got married at 18 and we both turn 30 next year. He's always wanted 2+ kids, I've never really wanted any though at first I figured I'd want them when I got older.
For the last 10 years we've both seemed pretty ambivalent towards kids to the point were our mothers have both stopped asking for grandkids (though both are sorely lacking despite 11 kids between them). Recently he brought up kids and seems to really want them, though he's not pushing it. While I know I would do just fine with kids I'm missing that 'normal' maternal need for kids and honestly the idea of pregnancy and delivery are very unappealing. We've agreed that we'll probably start trying next year but at this point I can't imagine wanting more than one. DH is very against only children because he thinks they're all badly behaved brats (and our one nephew helps prove that theory...). This isn't a deal breaker with him though and unless I change my mind after the first he's only getting one kid outta me.

Not sure I have any advice for you though except don't be a vague indecisive on it. I hate when I'm trying to make an important decision and DH just goes "meh". Do some soul searching to figure out why you're ambivalent about having kids and have a real discussion with her

justajane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2014, 06:51:51 PM »
I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.

I disagree with this...many (many) kids don't sleep through the night at 1 yr old.  Especially if sleep training is not used.

Yes, but it's still a valid question.

We have friends that believed one needed to be up with the kids at all time (just concern something would happen).  We thought this a little ridiculous - for the most part a kid would either cry loud enough to wake you up, or it wouldn't bc say SIDS, but it's also not something you'd notice in another room.    They ended up hiring night nannies (expensive because it was a special twin service - I think $35/night) for 4 of 7 nights a week for the twins so they could get more sleep.

Your friends sound extremely neurotic, but AllChoptUp is right that it is more common than you think. I have three. My first two didn't sleep through the night until....well, I've frankly forgotten in the fog of sleep deprivation, but it could be as late as two or two and a half. We'll see what happens with the four month old, but if the way he is behaving right now is any indication, we're in for quite a ride!

I love sleep as much as the next parent, and I guess in some respects some parents might do some things that don't help matters. But I resent the idea that parents cause their kids' sleep "problems." I put this in quotations, because sleeping through the night is somehow this generation's barometer for their parental success in the early years. If that's the case, I'm the worst parent ever! It's alternately something that parents use to pat themselves on the back for some imaginary success they've achieved, or conversely like me a subject they avoid with other parents like the plague.

I seriously had someone ask me when my current baby was four weeks old if he was sleeping through the night yet. What the hell? I just smile and say, "He's sleeping well," even though that's totally a lie. Perhaps that's why you think it is a common as it is, because parents are lying to you because they get the sense that it is something you expect and that you might view them as a failure if they tell the truth.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2014, 07:23:53 PM »
How did your conversations go when you were dating and talking about kids?  (You did talk about this key life decision, right?) 

We talked before I would move in with him, and agreed we'd have kids.  (DH was reluctant due to cost and energy required for kids.)  Now, DH is back to reluctant which leaves me in quite a quandry.  I don't think people should be forced into having kids (although, neither do I think he should have told me he was willing so we move in and get married and then backpeddle) so I've tried to be patient and talk it through with him, but we're running out of time to make this decision, particularly as I do want 2.  (I'm 35, he's 39 and my doctor's made me aware it will be harder/take longer/possibly require assistance/risk more birth defects & issues if we take too much longer.)    Now he's at agreement to have one if I feel "my life will not be complete", which is less agreement than I'd like, so we haven't yet started trying.  Interestingly, I've learned several friends had husbands who were reluctant and wives that eventually laid down some variant of an ultimatium (not a "do or I'll divorce", more that one said after ~13 years together, ~6 married, either have a kid now - and they were only planning on ever having one - or I will need to consider my options) or made clear "this is really important to me".  Although I know this isn't always the case (and particularly if someone were opposed to kids versus uncertain), at least in this very small sample that all those dads are happy with their decision in the end.

Yeah, I would be in the ultimatum team. Or not. But I always made it very clear that I wanted kids, at least 2 but rather 4, and that I would do "independent production" if I was single at the time I thought was right to have kids (I used to say at 32yo I'd reproduce no matter what). Thankfully it never came to that - DH's parents are older than mine, we just got to a sweet spot work-wise, and we found out we want to be younger with our kids so we can enjoy their youth with them (and maybe backpack with them in their 20s if they don't hate us). So he said "yeah, I don't think I'll ever feel the time is perfect, so what the hell" - and we're expecting the first. As for 2 or 4, we decided to see how things go. He's leaning towards 2, and I don't know how well I'll deal with babies to see if I'll actually even want 4. Plus finances, lifestyle, etc.

MsRichLife

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2014, 09:20:48 PM »
I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.

I disagree with this...many (many) kids don't sleep through the night at 1 yr old.  Especially if sleep training is not used.

Yes, but it's still a valid question.

We have friends that believed one needed to be up with the kids at all time (just concern something would happen).  We thought this a little ridiculous - for the most part a kid would either cry loud enough to wake you up, or it wouldn't bc say SIDS, but it's also not something you'd notice in another room.    They ended up hiring night nannies (expensive because it was a special twin service - I think $35/night) for 4 of 7 nights a week for the twins so they could get more sleep.

Your friends sound extremely neurotic, but AllChoptUp is right that it is more common than you think. I have three. My first two didn't sleep through the night until....well, I've frankly forgotten in the fog of sleep deprivation, but it could be as late as two or two and a half. We'll see what happens with the four month old, but if the way he is behaving right now is any indication, we're in for quite a ride!

I love sleep as much as the next parent, and I guess in some respects some parents might do some things that don't help matters. But I resent the idea that parents cause their kids' sleep "problems." I put this in quotations, because sleeping through the night is somehow this generation's barometer for their parental success in the early years. If that's the case, I'm the worst parent ever! It's alternately something that parents use to pat themselves on the back for some imaginary success they've achieved, or conversely like me a subject they avoid with other parents like the plague.

I seriously had someone ask me when my current baby was four weeks old if he was sleeping through the night yet. What the hell? I just smile and say, "He's sleeping well," even though that's totally a lie. Perhaps that's why you think it is a common as it is, because parents are lying to you because they get the sense that it is something you expect and that you might view them as a failure if they tell the truth.

Agreed. My son is 2.25 years old and still wakes during the night half the time. I think people are just reluctant to tell the truth in real life because sadly, babies sleeping through is the barometer of 'parental success' in those early years. Never mind the physiological and developmental reality!

My internet mummies group is far more candid and open and it was very common for 1 year olds not to be sleeping through the night.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2014, 04:24:50 AM »
I have 3 kids and my take is if you don't have them you are missing out on a lot. I like my alone time and I would be a lot wealthier without them but I'd be a lot less happy when I die as well as right now.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2014, 05:20:10 AM »
I am glad I had two, but it's such a personal decision.  My kids are 4 and 1/2 years apart because it took me a long time to want to experience it all again.  I hated being pregnant and my son screamed for six months after he was born. 

But, my son and daughter are the best of friends (they are now 6 and 10) and I am so glad they have each other. My daughter has made my son nicer, and my son has made my daughter braver.  They also entertain each other, which is wonderful.

However, my little brother and I hated each other and fought like growing up.  I would have been totally miserable raising two if they were like me and my brother.  You just never know what you're gonna get! :)

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2014, 05:22:49 AM »
I'm eldest of 4, and our spacing was 3-2-4. I always thought I wanted 3, but after reading these experiences I hope I'll be able to adjust to what's right for us as we go through. I thought years ago that I'd want to have my first by now, but health reasons made that a terrible idea for me, and SO is not ready to get married or have kids yet. I'm so glad to hear people can feel comfortable with whatever number of kids they have and that there are so many different ways people did their own personal maths!

Penny Lane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2014, 06:33:09 AM »
Dear LibrarIan,  I would say take it one at a time!  There is no reason, before you have even one, that you need to agree on how many little ones you ( hopefully) will have.  You are young, as I assume your wife is; after the first, either of you may see things differently as your whole perspective will change once you are a parent.  As much as you try to prepare, there will be a huge--wonderful--surprise emotion once you gaze on your firstborn.

I had the easy baby first; we were in our early 30's and I was the one dragging my feet into parenthood, not DH.  The second came when I was 37 (yes, it is harder the older you are!) and after 3 months of her much more "emotive" style, DH said no mas and got snipped.  They are in their 20's now, different as night and day, and  still a joy and worry.  We both had professional careers before and after kids, but managed to do this parttime for much of their childhood. 

Whatever you expect it to be like, it won't be like that.  So don't worry!

Philociraptor

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2014, 07:01:42 AM »
No kids, never wanted them. We discussed it thoroughly before marriage and agreed that we'd check in from time to time if either of us had changed his/her mind. Hell, the 2 dogs are enough cramp in our style. But say I had become pregnant, although I am staunchly pro-choice, I would have probably kept it, raised it, loved it, and would be here telling you it was the best thing ever. I think that's how humans are, you know what you know and healthy people find joy in what is. But I never ever wanted kids and I am happy with our life.

This almost perfectly describes my wife, right down to the likely keeping accidents part.  One time we committed to checking up on my parents' dog while they were out for the weekend, got so angry when we had to leave our friends' get-together early in order to check on it. We love our freedom.

PloddingInsight

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2014, 07:19:54 AM »
My parents are not savers, so I am glad that I am not an only child.  I'll be happy to contribute to my parent's upkeep because of all that they sacrificed for me, but it's nice that that cost can be spread around a bit.

I was never a teenager or adult who "liked kids" before I had my own, but boy am I glad that I didn't let that stop me from having kids!  Because my kids are awesome.  My dream job now is to be a stay-at-home dad.  Not going to happen, but a guy can dream.

I go to bed at 8 and my social life is the parents of my kids' friends and classmates.  This includes a lot of old friends who had kids around the time we did.  Life is good!

Kids do teach you how to live for others, and not for yourself.  Spoiler alert: living for others is a life well-worth living.

Our fifth kid is due in April, so I guess we're weirdos now.  Fine with me!

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2014, 07:23:26 AM »
I have a few thoughts on this topic.

1) I am an only child and I wish I had a sibling, mostly for support in dealing with my aging, mentally ill, substance abusing mother.  It is very, very hard dealing with it on my own.  My husband helps, but it isn't the same thing as having a sibling that I could share the experience and responsibility with.  I also, as I get older, really feel like I missed out on the possibility of the sibling relationship.  Now, all that being said, I am a reasonably well adjusted adult who didn't suffer dramatically from being an only, but I still feel like I would have liked a sibling in my life.  This is a lot of the reason I had two children. 


This.  I have three siblings and it has been incredibly helpful as we deal with mom and dad's aging health and capabilities.  I can't imagine not having those sibling to rely on in tough times.  Between the four of us, we have supported each other through cancer, a loved one's alcoholism, and etc. just to name a few.  By itself, it isn't a valid reason to have more children.  But I think it deserves to be part of the equation.  I have known people with no one to help with those hard times and decisions, and I'm glad my kids will have each other.
Don't take your organs to heaven.  Heaven knows we need them here!!!

LibrarIan

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #46 on: September 12, 2014, 07:44:15 AM »
This isn't exactly in-line with the thread topic, but it's related enough that I feel I can put it in here. There's always more to the story...

My wife and I went on a walk the other day and talked. We didn't specifically talk about how many kids we wanted, but we did talk about what might happen after she graduates. I was posing theoretical questions to her like, "What do you plan on doing after you graduate?" Obviously she wants to find a job in her field (anthro/archaeology), but she also said she wants to start having kids and buy a house.

We're only living on my income right now since she's schooling full time. Unfortunately this means we aren't really able to save up for a house/baby/much else. I explained to her that if she graduates, immediately wants a child and a home, that it's going to be very difficult. It's not exactly a desirable situation to be having to travel around and potentially be working on digs while pregnant and attempting to settle into a house. I suggested finding a job, working a few more years and then considering a child/children then since we'd presumably be in a much better financial situation at that point. However, she just doesn't seem to want to wait until she's about 30 to maybe have kids.

Obviously I've got a lot to work out here. She seems to want to fast-track us to home/baby regardless of whether she has a job to help us get financially fit to be able to do all this. And her field requires travel and flexibility. Just... *sigh*. I don't know what to do.

justajane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #47 on: September 12, 2014, 09:45:24 AM »
Kids do teach you how to live for others, and not for yourself.  Spoiler alert: living for others is a life well-worth living.

Wonderful sentiment. I feel exactly the same way. Life is about loving and serving others, and kids give you both in abundance.

SisterX

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #48 on: September 12, 2014, 11:07:15 AM »
This isn't exactly in-line with the thread topic, but it's related enough that I feel I can put it in here. There's always more to the story...

My wife and I went on a walk the other day and talked. We didn't specifically talk about how many kids we wanted, but we did talk about what might happen after she graduates. I was posing theoretical questions to her like, "What do you plan on doing after you graduate?" Obviously she wants to find a job in her field (anthro/archaeology), but she also said she wants to start having kids and buy a house.

We're only living on my income right now since she's schooling full time. Unfortunately this means we aren't really able to save up for a house/baby/much else. I explained to her that if she graduates, immediately wants a child and a home, that it's going to be very difficult. It's not exactly a desirable situation to be having to travel around and potentially be working on digs while pregnant and attempting to settle into a house. I suggested finding a job, working a few more years and then considering a child/children then since we'd presumably be in a much better financial situation at that point. However, she just doesn't seem to want to wait until she's about 30 to maybe have kids.

Obviously I've got a lot to work out here. She seems to want to fast-track us to home/baby regardless of whether she has a job to help us get financially fit to be able to do all this. And her field requires travel and flexibility. Just... *sigh*. I don't know what to do.

I hate to say it, but the heart wants what the heart wants.  If she really, truly wants to be a mother then no matter how much you point out the logistics involved and the logical thing to do, in the end it will always come back around to the fact that she wants kids.  You're trying to logic away her emotions, and on such a strongly felt topic I don't think you'll be able to.
If you're really concerned about the finances, there are a few threads in the Mini Money Mustaches category about how much babies really cost people.  It runs the gamut from just a few hundred dollars + medical bills to ALL the monies.  I'm not saying this to try to talk you into having kids on your wife's timeline, but just so you get a better idea of what having a kid might really cost you.  If you still think it would be too expensive for your time of life, that gives you more weight for your point of view and your wife will no doubt appreciate that you actually took the time to look into the matter rather than just dismissing her wants/needs as too expensive.

CommonCents

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2014, 11:18:57 AM »
This isn't exactly in-line with the thread topic, but it's related enough that I feel I can put it in here. There's always more to the story...

My wife and I went on a walk the other day and talked. We didn't specifically talk about how many kids we wanted, but we did talk about what might happen after she graduates. I was posing theoretical questions to her like, "What do you plan on doing after you graduate?" Obviously she wants to find a job in her field (anthro/archaeology), but she also said she wants to start having kids and buy a house.

We're only living on my income right now since she's schooling full time. Unfortunately this means we aren't really able to save up for a house/baby/much else. I explained to her that if she graduates, immediately wants a child and a home, that it's going to be very difficult. It's not exactly a desirable situation to be having to travel around and potentially be working on digs while pregnant and attempting to settle into a house. I suggested finding a job, working a few more years and then considering a child/children then since we'd presumably be in a much better financial situation at that point. However, she just doesn't seem to want to wait until she's about 30 to maybe have kids.

Obviously I've got a lot to work out here. She seems to want to fast-track us to home/baby regardless of whether she has a job to help us get financially fit to be able to do all this. And her field requires travel and flexibility. Just... *sigh*. I don't know what to do.

I hate to say it, but the heart wants what the heart wants.  If she really, truly wants to be a mother then no matter how much you point out the logistics involved and the logical thing to do, in the end it will always come back around to the fact that she wants kids.  You're trying to logic away her emotions, and on such a strongly felt topic I don't think you'll be able to.

I agree with this, but add that it's possible to compromise on timeline.  It seems like a lot of your concerns as detailed most recently revolve around supoprting a kid immediately after graduation versus waiting to build up an emergency fund.

So again - talk this out.  Say your concerns and how you see the finances working.  Propose a plan.  Ask questions to flesh out the details.