Author Topic: Having only one child  (Read 41734 times)

tj

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #100 on: October 08, 2014, 12:12:13 PM »
Quote
If the goal is to meet someone that you are absolutely compatible with, that is rare (or depending what level of detail you go down to, impossible).

I'm not sure what absolute compatibility even means, and I realize that the decision on family size is something that can change with time, and as you have the kids, to me, it just seems like your less likely to have conflict if you go into it with the same desires, but perhaps that's naïve of me.

justme89

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #101 on: October 09, 2014, 08:21:08 PM »

I'm still not sure why people get married who aren't planning to start a family.

Gee..maybe because these two people want to show the world that they're legally committed to each other? Maybe it's because there are benefits to getting married and now you're the closest kin to that person should anything happen to them? BTW, a family can consist of a husband and wife.

In terms of kids or no kids, humans always have to justify their life choices. If you have no kids, justify how you have freedom and options and self fulfillment. If you have kids, then justify it with how fulfilling it is. It's a coping mechanism for both since you have to live with your choice and say "I wouldn't change it" cause you can't..so one must justify it.

Pigeon

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #102 on: October 13, 2014, 01:13:38 PM »
Dh and I both came from huge families.  I never had a burning desire to have kids.  I'm also not a kid person.  When we were in our thirties, he started to think about it more and eventually I came around to agreeing to one.

We had fertility issues, but didn't have much interest in medical intervention.  We adopted.  Our first child was a non-sleeper.  Like for five years, she pretty much didn't sleep.   She's a bit highly strung, but funny, smart and has become quite accomplished.  A few years later, we adopted our second.  I thought there was something seriously wrong with her the first night she was home and she actually went to sleep after my experience with her sister.  She is much more laid back and one of the most emotionally wise people I know.  While I don't like other people's kids much, I do love mine.

Two is my limit for a lot of reasons, mostly having to do with growing up in a big family.  I didn't want that for my kids.

My kids now are both teens and they get along very well.  But they are nothing alike and for a long time, they fought a great deal.  Who knows what the future will bring.

There is no good reason for having another kid other than you want to parent them.  My siblings and I aren't particularly close and we weren't playmates growing up.  Dh can't stand his siblings.  I wouldn't assume that siblings are going to be friends.  Caring for his elderly parents is much harder because his siblings don't do any of the heavy lifting, but are happy to criticize and interfere.

Between the two of us, we have 27 nieces and nephews.  Some are only children.  They turn out just fine.  There's something to be said for having more resources available and more parental attention.

loveChloe

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #103 on: December 14, 2014, 11:09:46 PM »
Having a child is ossom! He / she brings you an ocean of happiness, and he / she will be always a part of you, you will be able to give and teach him all  you could not by yourself. This is a cool copie of you that you have a chance to make better and better every day.  And of course this is a great portion of love!

Firefly

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #104 on: December 27, 2014, 08:06:32 PM »
We have 2 kids. My husband would be fine with no kids or just 1. I would prefer to have 3 or 4. So we agreed on 2 - my husband adores them and does not regret having 2. Although we both agree that financially we would be better off with no kids. Our kids are almost 6 years apart, not the way we wanted, but it happened. It's a lot harder with 2. They have different needs. It's harder to split your time and attention. If I could stay home and focus on kids only, I would have more. But with the full time career 2 is enough. My 2 kids have completely different personalities. The older one is a very high need kid, the second one is the easiest baby on the planet. If I had more of my younger ones - i'd have more kids no problem, but you can never predict those things. Having said that, I can not imagine not having those 2 in my life. I never knew that I could love anyone so much. And you just can't put a price on that.

iowajes

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #105 on: December 29, 2014, 10:48:00 AM »
Number of mates possible in the world:  Pool of 10 Billion
Within 30 minutes driving distance:  Pool of 5 Million
Opposite Sex: 2.5 Million
Between 20-25 years old: Now down to 300,000
Same religion:  100,000
Same politics: 60,000
Same race: 30,000
Of those, nuber your ever meet: 100
Full time stable job: 60
Frugal values: 6
Wants kids: 4
Wants 3 kids: 1
Has blonde hair: 0

Want I'm trying to say is that you can "picky" yourself out of ever finding a mate if you want someone absolutely compatible.  Mathematically, it is not possible (for most of the population anyways).

Man, the people who live near me are screwed. The population within a 30 minute drive of here is under 450,000.  You estimate 5 million. Of course, I'm a little sad to see that " same race" is required for compatibility.

That being said, I think it is important for people to be on the same page about kids before they marry. You can't compromise on them.  You can't get half a kid. You can't return it or get rid of it if you change your mind.   But do keep in mind, people change- my husband and I were on the same page 10 years ago when we married, and now we've had some awful long talks because his mind changed from what it was.  And like I said, it's not an issue we can compromise on. One of us has to lose.

justajane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #106 on: December 30, 2014, 05:54:10 AM »
Has someone posted about our overpopulation-environmental problem on planet earth?

It's interesting that it is such a taboo subject.

It's not taboo on here. It's comes up almost every time having a child is discussed and even in unrelated discussions sometimes. Just search overpopulation and you can read to your heart's content.

Peacefulwarrior

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #107 on: January 11, 2015, 08:49:31 AM »
I had my son at around 23. I'm 28 now (male). Initially I was the type who said I would never had kids. While deeply in love with his mother I decided I would like a child with her. We split up when he was 2 years old. I quickly grew into the role of being a father and think I've done a really good job. Looking forward I would say though, that honestly I don't want more kids. Mainly because it's a HUGE burden when they're babies. It seems to have become a lot easier (and more fun, if you ask me) now that my son is son turning 5 very soon. If magic was possible and women were able to give birth to more 5 year olds I would probably not hesitate to get a few more. But I'm not willing to go through hell again with pooping and screaming 24/7. I also feel like I love my son so much that I don't really want to divide my love and attention between him and more kids. My experience might be colored by the fact that I was the one who took care of him all the time, and still do. Might have been a different experience had I found a more mature mother for him.

FFA

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #108 on: January 30, 2015, 09:14:32 AM »
If magic was possible and women were able to give birth to more 5 year olds I would probably not hesitate to get a few more.
Laughed out loud when I read this!! Well said! We have two , eldest is 2.7 yrs. I actually believe in magic and would settle for women giving birth to 2.5 year olds.... Just kidding!

Our two are the joy of our lives and the best thing I ever did , but that said it sure has been tough and frankly I don't think we would opt for number 3.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #109 on: March 03, 2015, 12:23:21 AM »
I'm an only child.  If my mother would've had another, it would probably be a little harder for me to use family resources to the fullest.  I can only imagine halving each of the monetary gifts I get from my family members.  I like being the only one, sometimes selfishness may accompany more responsibility.  But don't take my word, I'm not in a position to have children yet.
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MrsCoolCat

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #110 on: March 21, 2015, 02:11:23 PM »
Do you want to raise a child? Do you want to spend the next 18 years+ putting their needs before your own? What do you want your day-to-day life to look like? Is loving a child important to you?

Good points! I don't have kids but realized that I'd rather have 1-2 than not, and by 34/35. I'm turning 31 soon. There were phases where I was like I don't want to be tied down, lose my free time, my identity and wreck my body even more than the cupcakes I eat! BUT I am a sentimental person and want to believe that I would be a good mother, despite knowing no one is perfect and that I just can't wait when they become TEENS. Oh joy.

Ask me when I was 25 and the idea petrified me. My life wasn't together and I wanted to live more and for myself. I'm not saying it's perfect now, but the idea no longer scares me and I realize that it will be hard and never perfect. A few years ago I wanted to wait but this year I just feel ready and decided better now than me trying to perfect everything, and that's ok.This is also despite my mother wanting to be a grandmother and offering to take care of them, though an incentive. Plus it really hit me that waiting sometimes turns into I'm 45 and trying to have a kid. I personally just don't want that when I'm 40s.

matimeo

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #111 on: March 22, 2015, 08:31:23 PM »
I have five kids, so I can take a stab at this topic from that standpoint. We've taken it one at a time and didn't feel our family was complete until the last one.

I can tell you that nothing is more badass than raising kids. They will challenge and totally be a drag at times. But I could never learn as much or he as happy without my kids. They take up all my free time, and that's OK. Time much better spent than any self-serving interests I could pursue. Not saying that having five kids is for everybody. Obviously you shouldn't do it if you aren't able to make the commitment.

Will it delay when I reach financial independence significantly? Of course, but I wouldn't trade it. You've got to remember that the goal in life is not to finish fastest, and financial independence is not an end. Rather, what (I think) MMM preaches is living a meaningful life and living principles that create happiness. Do that with or without kids and you'll be fine, but don't put off kids to reach FI sooner or to avoid doing something that is hard. MMM is a big proponent of doing the hard thing.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #112 on: June 10, 2015, 12:34:40 PM »
I actually loved this particular post, partly because I sympathize - DH and I definitely wanted to stop after our first but there's is plenty of pressure out there to have two at minimum (friends, coworkers, my mother, my mother's friends, etc.). It has been an enriching and altering experience with dear daughter who is super sweet and super cute... But F*@# if it hasn't been the most stressed out, sleep-deprived, at-wits-end, toughest couple of years of my life. Call me a wuss, but bad sleepers do run in my family (my sister went through fatigue-induced-depression with each of her two bad sleepers, my mom claims neither of us let her sleep for two years), so between the onslaught of various daycare-inflicted pathogens, growing pains, and nearly a year of baby insomnia striking frequently at random (she'd sleep great for three weeks then not sleep at all for the next two - I will never argue that sleep deprivation is not a valid form of torture)... I just can't bring myself to do it all over again. When she was still an infant I'd occasionally have thoughts that two might be nice, but even now, as she's finally started to sleep more consistently, the more time that passes the less I can imagine choosing to go through everything from pregnancy through toddlerhood growth spurts one more time. (At least not on purpose.)

Not everyone's meant to be a parent. Plenty of people out there have kids "just cause" and plenty of people regret it or make a royal f@#k-up of it. There were many nights I lay awake wondering if I shouldn't have questioned more seriously whether or not I was cut out for parenthood before I made the decision.

On the other hand, my cousin and his wife had two worse sleepers than mine in a row and still decided to have a third. They seem to be made of tougher stuff than I (he also finds the energy to train for and run marathons).

Which leads to what I think MMM's point is: everybody's different (values, priorities, patience, energy levels), so the number of kids you have (whether it's zero or twelve) is a deeply personal decision and to not feel bad for daring to be different (from having 2.5 kids and a dog with a giant SUV in a big mortgaged house)...
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barbaz

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #113 on: June 25, 2015, 09:35:12 AM »
Is there really that much pressure to have 2 or more kids in the US?

Here in Germany (average 1.4 kids/women), having more than 2 children is generally seen as a sign of lower social class.

justajane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #114 on: June 25, 2015, 03:50:29 PM »
Is there really that much pressure to have 2 or more kids in the US?

Here in Germany (average 1.4 kids/women), having more than 2 children is generally seen as a sign of lower social class.

I would say that is absolutely not the case here. In fact, in some circles larger families are a status symbol of sorts, because it shows that you can afford them.

Here's an example of the phenomenon: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/fashion/The-Growing-Three-Child-Household-in-Manhattan.html?_r=0

Lots of kids by different fathers still has a degree of social and class stigma, though.

partgypsy

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #115 on: June 29, 2015, 08:42:52 AM »
Not to scare you, but I can think of at least 3 instances where the husband didn't want any more kids, made that clear, but the wife went and did what they wanted to do anyways (have another kid). So if you really don't want any more kids, simply get a vasectomy otherwise an "accident" might happen. (this happened with my parents, my parents in law, and a sibling in law). 

AZDude

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #116 on: June 29, 2015, 02:03:58 PM »
*schedules vasectomy*

SisterX

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #117 on: June 30, 2015, 10:25:26 PM »
Not to scare you, but I can think of at least 3 instances where the husband didn't want any more kids, made that clear, but the wife went and did what they wanted to do anyways (have another kid). So if you really don't want any more kids, simply get a vasectomy otherwise an "accident" might happen. (this happened with my parents, my parents in law, and a sibling in law).

I can also think of several instances in which the wife didn't want to have any more kids and the husband was the one who was baby crazy.  I can even name several guys who "accidentally" got their girlfriends or wives pregnant by poking holes in their condoms.  What's your point?  Because if it's anything other than BITCHES BE BABY CRAZYYY!!!!, you'll shock the hell out of me, and I'm here to tell you that A) not all women are like that and B) a lot of men ARE like that, it's just not the stereotype.

Frankly, scheduling a vasectomy without talking it over with your partner is just as bad as creating an "accident" on your own.  This is one of those things which both parties should be on board with. 

Don't be that guy.  That guy's an asshole.

iowajes

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #118 on: July 01, 2015, 07:36:06 AM »
Is there really that much pressure to have 2 or more kids in the US?

Here in Germany (average 1.4 kids/women), having more than 2 children is generally seen as a sign of lower social class.

I think there is a lot of pressure against only children in the US.

There seem to be a lot of families with 3 children right now.  More than 3 and you start getting weird looks for having a "big" family.

CommonCents

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #119 on: July 01, 2015, 07:52:03 AM »
Not to scare you, but I can think of at least 3 instances where the husband didn't want any more kids, made that clear, but the wife went and did what they wanted to do anyways (have another kid). So if you really don't want any more kids, simply get a vasectomy otherwise an "accident" might happen. (this happened with my parents, my parents in law, and a sibling in law).

I can also think of several instances in which the wife didn't want to have any more kids and the husband was the one who was baby crazy.  I can even name several guys who "accidentally" got their girlfriends or wives pregnant by poking holes in their condoms.  What's your point?  Because if it's anything other than BITCHES BE BABY CRAZYYY!!!!, you'll shock the hell out of me, and I'm here to tell you that A) not all women are like that and B) a lot of men ARE like that, it's just not the stereotype.

Frankly, scheduling a vasectomy without talking it over with your partner is just as bad as creating an "accident" on your own.  This is one of those things which both parties should be on board with. 

Don't be that guy.  That guy's an asshole.

+1
Particularly as I've heard stories of men who don't tell their partners about their vasectomy - yet agree to "try" for a kid.  That's asshole behavior right there, to let someone think they have a chance of having kids but really don't.

AZDude

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #120 on: July 01, 2015, 02:15:52 PM »
Uh... no. I dont need permission to have a vasectomy. Not telling the partner about it might be assholish, but its my decision.

MarciaB

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #121 on: July 02, 2015, 12:08:25 PM »

Quote - I think there is a lot of pressure against only children in the US.


I agree with this, and it was true a generation ago when I had my child. As soon as you have that one (she's now 27) there's pressure to have a second one. Why? All the usual crap about children "needing" siblings, spoiled only children are bad, but-this-one's-so-lovely-why-wouldn't-you?, etc.

We endured about 8 years of pressure ("suggestions") to add a second child to our family. Finally they gave up.
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iowajes

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #122 on: July 02, 2015, 12:15:33 PM »
Uh... no. I dont need permission to have a vasectomy. Not telling the partner about it might be assholish, but its my decision.

Are you married?

AZDude

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #123 on: July 02, 2015, 01:46:51 PM »
Yes.

iowajes

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #124 on: July 02, 2015, 02:01:49 PM »
Wow.

(For the record: I don't think the LAW should dictate the husband must have the wife's permission.  But for a healthy marriage, I cannot imagine a man just up and deciding to do this without discussing it with his wife.)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 02:47:24 PM by iowajes »

mamagoose

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #125 on: July 03, 2015, 07:27:05 PM »
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

CommonCents

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #126 on: July 03, 2015, 09:25:07 PM »
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

I googled briefly and it seems to be a doctor by doctor practice and not the law in any state.

As abhorrent as I find the idea that one would have a vasectomy without at least informing your wife (much less consulting/discussing), I do have to say the idea that a wife's permission is required is concerning and a bit slippery slope (i.e. I think Casey v. Planned Parenthood was correctly decided and a wife should not need to have her husband's consent to have an abortion). 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #127 on: July 03, 2015, 09:33:22 PM »
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

I googled briefly and it seems to be a doctor by doctor practice and not the law in any state.

As abhorrent as I find the idea that one would have a vasectomy without at least informing your wife (much less consulting/discussing), I do have to say the idea that a wife's permission is required is concerning and a bit slippery slope (i.e. I think Casey v. Planned Parenthood was correctly decided and a wife should not need to have her husband's consent to have an abortion).

Definitely a slippery slope. While it is usually male on female abuse, reproductive abuse is a real thing. No one should be forced into having children, and sometimes, they need a way to stabilize the situation before they are ready to leave. Stages of change and all that.
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partgypsy

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #128 on: July 07, 2015, 07:25:06 AM »
I am pro choice, so if I am for women, I am for men, in that it is their choice to have a vasectomy or not. Obviously not a sign of a healthy relationship to do so without discussing or informing one's partner! but that is a different matter. Except in rare cases, vasectomy is permanent (if it is done correctly, you no longer produce viable sperm). So it should only be done if the person understands they will not have biological children in the future.

My husband and I after having our 2nd child knew that we didn't want any more, and of all the permanent choices, vasectomy seemed the best option. I appreciated he "took the hit". We thought it humorous the doctor scheduled it for Valentine's day. 

golden1

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #129 on: July 07, 2015, 08:08:37 AM »
I was revisiting this thread, and it occurs to me when reading about early stage parenting and the sleep deprivation and nonstop care that this requires, that a fair number of people stop at one or two because those years are just so emotionally and physically taxing.  A lot of the reason why birth rates in industrialized populations are declining is related to this fact combined with the expectation that you need to provide for college for your children.    This is a relatively new development, and I wonder sometimes what the birthrates would be if parents had more support in those early years like they did in more traditional societies or in other cultures around the world. 

AZDude

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #130 on: July 07, 2015, 09:46:47 AM »
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

I googled briefly and it seems to be a doctor by doctor practice and not the law in any state.

As abhorrent as I find the idea that one would have a vasectomy without at least informing your wife (much less consulting/discussing), I do have to say the idea that a wife's permission is required is concerning and a bit slippery slope (i.e. I think Casey v. Planned Parenthood was correctly decided and a wife should not need to have her husband's consent to have an abortion).

It is somewhat terrifying that a doctor would require a wife's signature before performing a procedure on a husband. Also, comparing abortion to vasectomy is idiocy. Its prevention vs termination. Don't want to get into a whole abortion debate here, but there is a drastic difference.

CommonCents

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #131 on: July 07, 2015, 02:52:51 PM »
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

I googled briefly and it seems to be a doctor by doctor practice and not the law in any state.

As abhorrent as I find the idea that one would have a vasectomy without at least informing your wife (much less consulting/discussing), I do have to say the idea that a wife's permission is required is concerning and a bit slippery slope (i.e. I think Casey v. Planned Parenthood was correctly decided and a wife should not need to have her husband's consent to have an abortion).

It is somewhat terrifying that a doctor would require a wife's signature before performing a procedure on a husband. Also, comparing abortion to vasectomy is idiocy. Its prevention vs termination. Don't want to get into a whole abortion debate here, but there is a drastic difference.

Let me try this again.  From my pro-choice* perspective, as I believe a woman ought to have autonomy in her decisions with her body, I believe a man ought to have autonomy in his decisions with his body.  That means I would support the right for you to not have to have your wife sign off on your procedures and we are in agreement.  However, I still find it abhorrent that you (or someone) wouldn't tell your wife (in a marriage free from abuse - as I similarly wouldn't expect an abused wife to tell her husband about an abortion, a point which was made in Casey). 

I also looked up the claim that it was the law to point out it seemed not the case and rather individual doctor requirements - who could require that people do 25 jumping jacks before doing the procedure if they so desired and very different from a state mandate.

*If you are pro-life and believe you have the right to tell someone what to do with their own body, then I'd say that completely undercuts the argument of not telling your wife.  We can leave this exceedingly off topic conversation for another thread though.

AZDude

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #132 on: July 07, 2015, 03:10:13 PM »
Never said I would have a vasectomy without telling my wife first, but just saying that I *should* be able to, if that is what I want. So yes, we are in agreement. Again though, abortion and vasectomy are not comparable. Whatever birth control method a woman chooses is her business, same with a man.

frugalparagon

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #133 on: July 07, 2015, 04:21:52 PM »
Never said I would have a vasectomy without telling my wife first, but just saying that I *should* be able to, if that is what I want. So yes, we are in agreement. Again though, abortion and vasectomy are not comparable. Whatever birth control method a woman chooses is her business, same with a man.

Well, it's not against the law to have a vasectomy and not tell your wife--but doctors are human beings with their own consciences to consult. Mr. FP's doctor wanted to meet with both of us before scheduling the procedure and I totally get why.

I don't think the person who suggested getting a vasectomy meant "and don't tell your wife." I like to think that most people are decent human beings who would not DELIBERATELY cause an unwanted pregnancy. But... speaking for myself, asking me to be in charge of birth control is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. I mean, when I was on the pill I always took it, but if it was a question of whether to use a condom or not on a particular day, cycle-wise, I was a lousy enforcer, and that is how we wound up with two kids instead of just one. (You would think that someone who was 100% sure he did not want any more kids would be the enforcer, but no.) So we had to take enforcement out of the equation altogether (first IUD and the the big snip).
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And I tell the real story in my journal, https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/still-living-well-in-the-living-room-but-what's-my-next-move/

Last Night

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #134 on: January 09, 2016, 09:45:07 AM »
I was raised as a single child and I always wanted a sibling.  It was tough especially because my parents divorced and I was lonely a lot, but that propelled me to build much better relationships with my friends.  I have friends that I would consider brothers and would give up a lot for and we've been together since the beginning.  I guess being a single child allowed me to open up to others in order to fill that void of not having a sibling.

We are planning on having kids and while 1 kid definitely seems like the easier/cheaper and best bang for the buck life compromise (more free time, more attention, etc) we will try for two.

Blueeyes7767

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #135 on: January 10, 2016, 01:32:33 AM »
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.

Great post.  Kids are not like puppies.  If you are not sure you are not ready for them or want more "alone time", you cannot take send them back. 

We discussed having children and agreed that two would be the limit.  I raised two beautiful daughters and would not trade a moment with them for the world.  My girls in their mid and early 20's now. Being a Mother is a rewarding adventure every day.

partgypsy

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #136 on: January 12, 2016, 01:30:47 PM »
To wrap up, here's a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that is extremely on-point:

“There are many good people who are denied the supreme blessing of children, and for these we have the respect and sympathy always due to those who, from no fault of their own, are denied any of the other great blessings of life. But the man or woman who deliberately foregoes these blessings, whether from viciousness, coldness, shallow-heartedness, self-indulgence, or mere failure to appreciate aright the difference between the all-important and the unimportant—why, such a creature merits contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away in battle, or upon the man who refuses to work for the support of those dependent upon him, and who though able-bodied is yet content to eat in idleness the bread which others provide.”

I hate to disagree with ole Teddy, but seriously... being able to have children isn't a gift. It's something that animals do. The gift we have been given is one of choice.

Due to science and our culture, we are allowed to choose how to shape our own lives. Do we want to be parents? How many children do we want? Do we want to travel? Do we want to be educated? Do we want to marry for love?

There are many people (women especially) who have none of those choices.

You should be grateful not for your fertility - but for the fact that when your child is born, you'll worry about how much money to put in the college fund, instead of where you'll get clean water. You should be grateful that -you- chose who to share parenthood with (whether or not you made a good choice, it was yours to make). You should be grateful that when you decide that your family is perfectly sized, you get to stop.

When someone says that they don't want children - you shouldn't be thinking about how selfish and ungrateful they are. You should be thinking about how great it is to live in a place where they can make their choice and you can make a different choice and it's ok. The reasons don't matter. You don't need a good reason to have kids and they don't need a good reason not to - because you're both free and that's a beautiful thing.

I agree with this post. Having kids could be seen as a giving thing or a selfish thing, depends on how you look at it. But the argument that there are many many people on this planet and having that as a reason to have 0 or fewer kids, is not invalidated by the rationale that other people will use up those resources. Especially as first worlders Americans first of all use the most resources per capita in the world. I admit that I had children for selfish reasons. I wanted to have genetically related offspring to love and to love me back and hopefully descendants. If you were doing it for unselfish reasons then adopt a kid, especially one who has special needs. 

partgypsy

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #137 on: January 12, 2016, 01:40:24 PM »
For the guy who doesn't want to have kids and the wife to have kids, they should both be brutally honest with each other what they want, and what they are and are not willing to do. If both people agree to stay together despite this disagreement, it is of their own voluntary decision. I do not agree with either the female or male secretly either inducing a pregnancy or preventing one without telling one's partner! Very coercive and manipulative thing to do.

I think the ideal number of kids to have will vary by couple. But I also agree for the planet's sake, I feel the number should be on the fewer side. But people feel very emotional and strongly about it.
Regarding the women in grad school and wanting kids, not to be too pessimistic, it sounds like having a kid and getting house may derail her career. 30 is not something in stone to get pregnant by. If anything I have heard 35 is when doctors start telling their female patients to get off the fence regarding family planning. So my advice is for her to work 1-4 years after grad school to get established before trying for kid.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 11:10:44 AM by partgypsy »

Krolik

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #138 on: August 18, 2016, 12:12:01 PM »
I started this thread back in 2015 and really appreciated all the responses

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/have-you-ever-wished-you-had-sibling(s)/
Born and raised in Poland. Living in US. Planning to retire somewhere.

moof

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #139 on: August 18, 2016, 04:01:37 PM »
We have one kid.  I never really saw myself as a dad, and was also indecisive when the wife first started pushing the issue.  Of course I love the kid to death and have a ton of fun with him now that we have him.  I am also glad we only have one.  But that is not the real question.  Would I be better off, happier, healthier, more fulfilled, richer, etc without a kid?

Happiness:  A wash.  I have had to scale way back on all of my favorite things like rock climbing, backpacking, sewing, and other hobbies because I have very little "me" time.  The kid brings a different kind of happiness, but I wouldn't say I am significantly more or less happy than if we had just one.  Lazy mornings and evenings have been replaced by early wake up calls of a kid climbing up into our bed, making breakfast, immediate requests to play when arriving home, bath time, book time, changing into jammies, and finally bedtime.  If I am lucky I get my first "me" time at about 9 PM when I already feel exhausted.

Health:  Worse.  Less time to work out, and an even smaller overlap Venn diagram of food choices for the house makes meal time and cooking a modest point of frustration.  More frequently than I would like to admit we resort to Mac & Cheese or other slam dunk kid friendly choices rather than cooking good stuff that is complained about, not eaten, followed by a hunger driven rough evening battling at the snack scrimmage line.  After age 2 I was much more able to resume better activities, and bike 7.5 miles to work every day, but it is major effort to get close to the activity level I was typically at 5 years ago.

Financial:  Worse, obviously.  Wife is stay at home, and never got off the ground trying to become a teacher (bad timing, then kid).  She would have been pulling in ~$40k as a teacher.  Kid is an extra drag of $10k a year, easily, for food, clothes, classes, gifts, trips, etc.  I also have had to outsource more house work than before.  Less spare time means less time to mend fences and paint the house myself.

Fulfillment:  Better.  Not sure how to say it, but seeing a little kid blossom in part due to your parenting efforts is very fulfilling and at least feels like it makes up for a lot of the crappy stuff.

Risks:  Some kids just suck.  Most can be parented into becoming fantastic adults.  But being a pragmatic engineer I will say that there are plenty of kids that take tons of extra effort, are stubborn, learn the hard way, lack common sense, are naturally mean or bullies, lack empathy, etc.  So while our kid has been pretty easy going with a great personality, it is a huge crap shoot.  Will you being willing to risk a kid with major medical issues, mental issues, or who just happens to have a really difficult personality?  Look around at how much "fun" a lot of parents have through the teenage years and make sure you are ready for 5-6 years of being yelled at and hated for doing your level best.

I will say that it was very useful to have candid conversations as to how I was feeling about having kids, about parenting philosophies, finances, etc before we had the kid.  Many of those discussions have been overridden by events, but it really made us part of a team going into it.  In part it sobered up my wife as to some of the difficult realities of child rearing that she was glossing over all too easily.

Pitagirl

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #140 on: September 10, 2016, 11:25:26 PM »
Hubby wants to two, I only want one. I'm dealing with someone who wants to retire at a certain age. I wonder, won't having kids slow you down? We're trying for one, but to have two, I question it. Yes, it sucks to be the only child, but you're paying double, college, etc.

ender

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #141 on: September 11, 2016, 08:08:10 AM »
Hubby wants to two, I only want one. I'm dealing with someone who wants to retire at a certain age. I wonder, won't having kids slow you down? We're trying for one, but to have two, I question it. Yes, it sucks to be the only child, but you're paying double, college, etc.

I'm not sure if you are serious or not, but it feels like you are not even attempting to look into other options. Do you have to pay for college? Do you have to pay all of college? What will college cost 20 years from now?

There are many unanswered questions which should make you feel better about things, if your only objection is double college.

Helvegen

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #142 on: September 12, 2016, 05:47:23 PM »
I was in IKEA a few weeks ago with my husband and we saw this big dining room table that was nice. For a moment, I wondered what life would be like where we had enough kids or family to make buying such a thing worth it. Romanticizing the thought. But reality is a cruel bitch. There are very good reasons why we just have one kid. Kids are just too expensive, not just financially, but in terms of monopolizing your time. Also we have no real social support - it is all on us and it is exhausting. There are also fringe reasons like environment/climate change, etc.

The older our daughter gets, the harder it is to say that we would happily go back and do it all over again from scratch with a second. Our daughter is low maintenance at this point and as self-sufficient as a 10.5 yo can be.  I'm not thrilled with the idea of changing diapers or breastfeeding or having a destructive toddler again.

My husband thought he wanted a bunch of kids until we had one. I never could see myself with more than two and then I had one and I knew immediately I was done within a week of her birth. As much as we care about the environment and whatnot, it is sad to think of how our families are taking the fast track to extinction. Both my husband and I come from three sibling households. Of that, husband and I have one, my sister and BIL have one. My brother, and my husband's brother and sister, and my sister's husband's brother and his wife have none. My family and my sister's family are one and vasectomy. It seems very unlikely that my husband's brother and sister will ever have children. Same for my sister's husband's brother and SIL. My brother is a tossup, but very newly divorced, so not much going on there for awhile. So of 9 people, only 4 have had children, and then those 4 together only had a grand total of 2. Upside down pyramid for sure. :/
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 10:28:13 AM by Helvegen »

englishteacheralex

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #143 on: September 12, 2016, 06:41:14 PM »
I have to admit, this is one of my all-time least favorite posts on the blog. The thing that appealed to me most about MMM's philosophy from the start was that it wisely rejected a lot of the most toxic aspects of modernity in favor of a more traditional, conservative viewpoint: saying "enough is enough" to money instead of pursuing unlimited greed, ambition, materialism, and consumerism; rejecting mindless passive entertainments like TV and video games in favor of active hobbies and reading; fostering a sense of self-reliance and responsibility for one's life; seeking fulfillment from community and family (I was very touched that MMM and his wife quit their jobs to have more time to start a family) instead of accumulating status symbols or empty job titles; all of this stuff made good sense to me and represents the kinds of values our insane culture has drifted far away from. A little bit of that modern insanity crept into this latest post, however.

The first blindingly obvious fact is that it isn't about what it claims to be about. I was perfectly ready to believe MMM thought that everyone should have the number of kids that feels right to them... until he wrote a long, vaguely defensive post arguing that 1 child was hands down the right number for him (he even has the spreadsheet to prove it). Nothing screams "I have a dog in this fight" louder than than spending 1,000 words explaining why you don't. Barely even reading between the lines, the real story seems to be that he originally wanted more kids but was emotionally unprepared to make the sacrifices involved, and wrote the post to assuage his guilt over ultimately deciding to stop at 1. Why would he feel guilty? Presumably because now his son will grow up without siblings and his grandchildren will grow up without aunts, uncles, or cousins, plus MMM Jr. will probably someday find this post complaining to the whole world how his parents' marriage was "stretched to the thinnest of threads" because he "displaced the needs of the relationship" and forced them to pass up precious, precious "social and travel opportunities". Hence the need to hilariously offload the blame to a random library book THAT TOTALLY OPENED MY EYES, MAN about how only children don't do any worse on the SAT or whatever, therefore there is no downside to denying them siblings and they won't secretly hate you for it when they're older (protip: you can find books and studies justifying virtually any lifestyle choice you want, including chopping off your genitals and becoming a Scientologist. That doesn't make all these choices equally legitimate).

The reason this is so disappointing is because it reflects so many of the selfish attitudes against children and family that are commonplace in the wider culture. People who want "maybe 1 kid, but not until I'm in my 30's and have been promoted a couple times and own a German car" are a dime a dozen, and it's always sickening to hear. People whining that "I can't stand other people's kids, plus I would hate to not sleep through the night and I can't deal with puke or diapers" make me wish that their parents had had the same attitude. People can find a million reasons why having children is too much bother, and all of them make them sound like overgrown children themselves (not unlike people who are too devoted to consumerism to accept a frugal lifestyle). If a huge part of this blog is about beating it into people's skulls that money, job titles, and shiny new cars are secondary, not primary things in life, then it's really embarrassing to drop the ball so badly here because children and family absolutely are a primary thing, the exact kind of thing for which it's worth sacrificing the former. It's pretty rich for a guy who constantly crows about "Badassity" and takes people to task for having "Complainypants Disease" to whimper about having to postpone some of his travel plans for literally several years because his ungrateful infant son had the temerity to have needs of his own. Parenthood is about paying forward the gift of life you've been given, and sacrificing many of your own desires for the sake of participating in something much larger and more profound than your self. It's more honest and forgivable to cower away in terror from that reality, than to try to define it down to a mere lifestyle choice, like buying a house vs. a condo.

This is getting pretty long, but I wanted to give a few quick responses to some of the more absurd reasons people give for not having kids:

"I'm doing the planet a favor by consuming less resources and not contributing to overpopulation"
- You're not conserving anything, and I promise you that the people who wind up consuming those resources instead of your kids (largely Third Worlders these days, where birthrates have exploded and nobody cares about conserving the environment) will think it's hilarious, at least until you and your family line is so utterly erased from history that not even they can remember.

"Siblings are a coin toss, they might get along and they might not"
- Nothing is certain in life, but unless you're a complete failure as a parent the odds are very heavily on the side of them being at least good friends and helpful supports to each other, if not lifelong best friends. Yes, I know you have one dubious anecdote to the contrary, it convinces no one.

"I don't want to take time off from my career to have kids"
- We admittedly have insane expectations of women where this is concerned these days. The smart thing would be to have women marry in their early 20's, have kids while they're young (and the odds of a successful pregnancy are dramatically higher than in a 30's geriatric pregnancy), and then do the grad school and career thing afterwards if they want. This would require making it possible for men to support the family on a single income in the mean time, which I support, but that's beyond the current scope. Putting off kids for years to accumulate degrees and money and job titles is a dangerous race against the clock for women, one that many of them lose permanently.

"I can't stand the diapers/not sleeping enough/cleaning up messes"
- It's incredible that people who have the long-term awareness to embrace frugality don't understand that kids are only infants/toddlers for a tiny fraction of their lives. Yes, it feels like it lasts forever while you're in the middle of it. It's also over literally before you know it, and it's not at all uncommon for parents to cry over how fast their kids grew up as they become teenagers and go off to high school/college. Have a little temporal perspective; in the big picture parenting has very little to do with the things named above.

Having said all that, believe it or not I don't mind it if people don't want to have kids, as long as they're honest about the reasons why: too immature, aren't up to the challenge, don't want to give up their jet-setting consumerist lifestyle, etc. That I can respect. Claiming that it's all one and who are you to judge, anyway? is where, as MMM might say, I can see we have a lot more to learn together. But to publicly blame your child for damaging your marriage and interfering with your social calendar, that's truly hateful behavior and that earns my contempt.

To wrap up, here's a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that is extremely on-point:

“There are many good people who are denied the supreme blessing of children, and for these we have the respect and sympathy always due to those who, from no fault of their own, are denied any of the other great blessings of life. But the man or woman who deliberately foregoes these blessings, whether from viciousness, coldness, shallow-heartedness, self-indulgence, or mere failure to appreciate aright the difference between the all-important and the unimportant—why, such a creature merits contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away in battle, or upon the man who refuses to work for the support of those dependent upon him, and who though able-bodied is yet content to eat in idleness the bread which others provide.”

Oh Amen amen and amen.

This was awesome. I'm at 26 weeks with my second baby and am overwhelmed by the pervasive selfish attitude towards not having children. The unintended consequence of this (it's a pet theory of mine and maybe it's stupid) is that ironically, HAVING children is seen as this selfish hobby, which is why we have the whole helicopter parenting thing. If children are this life-altering, crazy-making, soul-sucking endeavor, and it's possible not to have them, well then, people who have more than one of them must be martyrs or selfish or not interested in a career or obsessed with living out their frustrated dreams in their children.

And this is why we have parents doing misguided things like giving out goodie bags to seat-mates on planes. Parent feel like they have to apologize for having offspring, since it's just this insanely expensive hobby that we have and that we beg the indulgence of others around us for the inconvenience of having to deal with on a limited basis.

Look, I don't know what my kids are going to wind up being. They could be leeches on society, sure. But the doctor that cured your cancer, the teacher who taught you how to read, the...oh, you get the picture, insert somebody who helped you in the blank--he was a baby with a mom at one point. The screaming child I'm holding could end up being a productive member of society. He probably will, actually.

Few people WANT to have a 0-2 year old. It's rough! I'm not really looking forward to going through it again. But I definitely want a family with another generation to love and experience and teach and learn from. I'd have three but pregnancy is hell for me.
I journal at https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/the-aloha-journal/msg1267277/#msg1267277

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Kitsunegari

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #144 on: September 12, 2016, 07:00:30 PM »
We're expecting our first, but we plan 2 for selfish reasons: so if the first one is a fuck-up, we'll have a back-up option. I'm confident we won't mess up 100% of our kids.
Basically we want to diversify our emotional investment.
Nothing happens in contrast with Nature, only in contradiction of what we know of it.

Milizard

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #145 on: September 17, 2016, 11:51:43 AM »
Thank you for these last few posts.  It drives me up the wall when the childless insist that having children is selfish.  In fact, it has been the most unselfish thing I've ever done.  Before kids was the selfish era--everything was about me, myself and I. 

Landlady

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #146 on: October 24, 2016, 02:22:52 PM »
I read the below ny times article this morning and there was one question that stood out to me as relevant for this conversation. For this question you have to assume "when you retire" means "when you are old" since we all know that we are retiring early. :)

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/27/your-money/7-essential-money-questions-sure-to-start-a-conversation.html?rref=collection%2Fspotlightcollection%2Ftimes-tips&_r=0

How many children would you like to have when you retire?

Credit for this brain-twister goes to Derek Tharp, a financial planner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who said he drew heavy inspiration from a book called “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids,” by the economist Bryan Caplan.

Mr. Tharp said the younger couples he counseled often thought too hard about the financial cost of children in the short term and the amount of attention that younger ones needed. He encourages them to more carefully consider their future selves, the ones who will want to improve the odds of being surrounded by grandchildren — and having adult children who may be able to help in their old age.

For the record, Mr. Tharp has no children, but he has not been married for long and expects that the family dog, Eli, will not be the last living being that he and his wife will care for.

kite

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #147 on: October 25, 2016, 06:06:40 PM »
I read the below ny times article this morning and there was one question that stood out to me as relevant for this conversation. For this question you have to assume "when you retire" means "when you are old" since we all know that we are retiring early. :)

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/27/your-money/7-essential-money-questions-sure-to-start-a-conversation.html?rref=collection%2Fspotlightcollection%2Ftimes-tips&_r=0

How many children would you like to have when you retire?

Credit for this brain-twister goes to Derek Tharp, a financial planner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who said he drew heavy inspiration from a book called “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids,” by the economist Bryan Caplan.

Mr. Tharp said the younger couples he counseled often thought too hard about the financial cost of children in the short term and the amount of attention that younger ones needed. He encourages them to more carefully consider their future selves, the ones who will want to improve the odds of being surrounded by grandchildren — and having adult children who may be able to help in their old age.

For the record, Mr. Tharp has no children, but he has not been married for long and expects that the family dog, Eli, will not be the last living being that he and his wife will care for.

I've long thought this.  The older I get the more relevant it is.  My mom had a bunch of kids, and has a far easier time in her old age than her peers who had none, or who outlived their kids.  Mom also made life easier on me by giving me siblings. The childless elderly are invisible. 
Two of my sisters each have one daughter.  One did so as a junior in college. By the time that sister was 35 her daughter was driving, by 40, her daughter was independent.  The other had a baby at 38.  At 40, she's still got a toddler.  And she's tired.  The younger you are when you have kids, the younger you are as a grandparent.  It's unfathomable at 18 or 22 that you'd ever even be old enough for that, but when I see my middle aged peers (we're all around 50) the happiest are the ones with grandbabies, not teenagers.  It's easier to play with the grands when your knees and hips aren't screaming for replacements.  By the time you know what you should have done, it's too late to do anything about it.

Letj

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #148 on: October 25, 2016, 08:38:46 PM »
I read the below ny times article this morning and there was one question that stood out to me as relevant for this conversation. For this question you have to assume "when you retire" means "when you are old" since we all know that we are retiring early. :)

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/27/your-money/7-essential-money-questions-sure-to-start-a-conversation.html?rref=collection%2Fspotlightcollection%2Ftimes-tips&_r=0

How many children would you like to have when you retire?

Credit for this brain-twister goes to Derek Tharp, a financial planner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who said he drew heavy inspiration from a book called “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids,” by the economist Bryan Caplan.

Mr. Tharp said the younger couples he counseled often thought too hard about the financial cost of children in the short term and the amount of attention that younger ones needed. He encourages them to more carefully consider their future selves, the ones who will want to improve the odds of being surrounded by grandchildren — and having adult children who may be able to help in their old age.

For the record, Mr. Tharp has no children, but he has not been married for long and expects that the family dog, Eli, will not be the last living being that he and his wife will care for.

I've long thought this.  The older I get the more relevant it is.  My mom had a bunch of kids, and has a far easier time in her old age than her peers who had none, or who outlived their kids.  Mom also made life easier on me by giving me siblings. The childless elderly are invisible. 
Two of my sisters each have one daughter.  One did so as a junior in college. By the time that sister was 35 her daughter was driving, by 40, her daughter was independent.  The other had a baby at 38.  At 40, she's still got a toddler.  And she's tired.  The younger you are when you have kids, the younger you are as a grandparent.  It's unfathomable at 18 or 22 that you'd ever even be old enough for that, but when I see my middle aged peers (we're all around 50) the happiest are the ones with grandbabies, not teenagers.  It's easier to play with the grands when your knees and hips aren't screaming for replacements.  By the time you know what you should have done, it's too late to do anything about it.
+1 On everything you said. I have 6 siblings and that was the best thing that ever happened to my parents. In your old age is when you really see the value of your children and certainly when you have that many a few of them are likely to be very close and helpful to you. My parents are in a happy place with their children and grand children who help them financially and make sure they are taken care of. I think the saddest older people are those without children or have one or two children who don't care.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #149 on: October 27, 2016, 03:09:00 PM »
We're expecting our first, but we plan 2 for selfish reasons: so if the first one is a fuck-up, we'll have a back-up option. I'm confident we won't mess up 100% of our kids.
Basically we want to diversify our emotional investment.
haha