Author Topic: Having only one child  (Read 41735 times)

frugalparagon

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #50 on: September 12, 2014, 02:32:33 PM »
I'm really sympathetic to your wife because I've been there. But... I did wind up waiting until I was almost 30 to have a baby, and it was fine. And we had lost our asses on the house we had bought and were living in a rented duplex, and that was fine, too. I was guilty of engaging in magical thinking and I think your wife is doing that, too. She thinks that once she gets out of school, everything will come together all at once.

IMO timing is more important for buying a house than having a baby, so if you have to cave on one or the other, cave on the baby :-). (Kidding! Try for consensus on both!)
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SisterX

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #51 on: September 12, 2014, 02:37:51 PM »
When my MIL's parents died, they left a meager estate. And yet there was a lot of arguing, theft and problems between the 6 siblings, relating to the estate. No one feels very supported in that family.


My in-laws put a clause in their will that if my husband and his brother try to fight over the will, they each only get $1 and the rest goes to charity.  I am totally doing that because I think it's the simplest way to avoid possible fighting.  My husband and his brother are really close, and we're all frugal so the money doesn't matter so much to us, so it won't come to that but still.  I'm actually glad the clause is there.

Kind of agree with the rest of your post.  I will add, some kids really want to be older siblings.  I've known several parents who were hounded by their older kids to have a sibling.  Now, if the parents had only wanted one then the kids wouldn't have gotten the sibling, but them being gung-ho about having a younger sibling did factor into things.  Even Mrs. MM said in the original post's comments that their son's desire to be an only factored into their decision.

Maigahane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #52 on: September 12, 2014, 02:51:56 PM »
When my MIL's parents died, they left a meager estate. And yet there was a lot of arguing, theft and problems between the 6 siblings, relating to the estate. No one feels very supported in that family.


My in-laws put a clause in their will that if my husband and his brother try to fight over the will, they each only get $1 and the rest goes to charity.  I am totally doing that because I think it's the simplest way to avoid possible fighting.  My husband and his brother are really close, and we're all frugal so the money doesn't matter so much to us, so it won't come to that but still.  I'm actually glad the clause is there.
Love your in-laws clause! I'll have to keep that in mind if I have more than one.
Kind of agree with the rest of your post.  I will add, some kids really want to be older siblings.  I've known several parents who were hounded by their older kids to have a sibling.  Now, if the parents had only wanted one then the kids wouldn't have gotten the sibling, but them being gung-ho about having a younger sibling did factor into things.  Even Mrs. MM said in the original post's comments that their son's desire to be an only factored into their decision.
The inverse of this though is the kids that don't want younger siblings. DH's older brother wanted to be an only kid and would constantly do things like knock his brothers down when they were learning to walk or let them outside when they were still toddling so they could run away. Then when he was in high school his parents adopted 3 more kids and he still resents it 15 years later, he was bitching about it to DH as recently as 2 years ago

Mannerheim

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #53 on: September 12, 2014, 04:09:46 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.”
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 04:12:08 PM by Mannerheim »

farmstache

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #54 on: September 12, 2014, 04:17:02 PM »
The inverse of this though is the kids that don't want younger siblings. DH's older brother wanted to be an only kid and would constantly do things like knock his brothers down when they were learning to walk or let them outside when they were still toddling so they could run away. Then when he was in high school his parents adopted 3 more kids and he still resents it 15 years later, he was bitching about it to DH as recently as 2 years ago

Well, from the bright side - he was bitching about it to his brother. :)

I'm not sure how I would deal with a situation like this, but it sounds kind of terrible for a family... Hopefully my baby won't mind or will like having a sibling.

workathomedad

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #55 on: September 12, 2014, 04:24:27 PM »
I only have one and really hope we can have at least 3 someday!

smalllife

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #56 on: September 12, 2014, 05:13:44 PM »
No kids, tubes tied.  I don't want them, never have - learning that birth control existed and that it was possible NOT to have kids outside of a nunnery was a sigh of relief.  My maternal instinct kicks in for furry animals with four legs :-)

Some people are born to be parents, some get moved by whatever floats their boat ("change their mind", "just decided", "oops", etc.), and some are born without any desire whatsoever.  Parenting is best left to those who want to raise a human being: raise, nurture, cherish, and hopefully mold into a productive member of society.  It's hard work, worthy work, but not necessary to live a fulfilling life or positively impact the world.

I will say one thing if you are on the fence - your kid will know exactly how much they were wanted, and by whom, whether or not you say a word about it.  Don't bring a human into a situation where they aren't at least 90% wanted.  It's a crappy situation for everyone involved: stressed marriage, unhappy parent-who-was-dragged-along, and a kid stuck in the middle who didn't volunteer for that position.

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" - William Morris

Argyle

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #57 on: September 12, 2014, 05:53:53 PM »
In response to Mannerheim, our planet is getting pretty full and we're squeezing other species out, and each of us in the West certainly uses a ton of resources.  So if people don't want to have kids, I'm certainly not going to try to argue that they should.  Who cares if they have a "selfish" reason?  I don't see that there's any obligation to have kids to be a moral person.

For LibrarIan, your description of the discussion you had with your wife sounded as if you felt she was making choices out of emotion and you're making them out of reason.  But you've already said that you don't want two kids and you sound on the fence about even wanting one.  I think it would help to acknowledge that you both have emotional reasons behind your preferences; the logistics of it just backs up your basic gut feeling.  Plenty of people have kids before they've got everything in their life tied down.  They have them in rented houses, they have them while they're still in grad school.  It's not folly to have them early on unless you're not emotionally ready.  That's where you are.  So that's the real issue.  "We need to have X in savings and a down-payment on a house" is not as cogent a reason as "I'm just feeling anxious and not ready to handle it all," even though the first might take less bravery to say.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #58 on: September 12, 2014, 09:31:36 PM »
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.

I disagree that it should be part of the equation. It's nice if it works out this way - but it often does not. You can't predict what kind of relationship your children will have as adults.

I know a woman who has 100% of the burden of taking care of an aged mother. What's more, when the father died, the other sibling entered the home and removed items. The mother is impaired, so she's not particularly aware of the problems - but it has caused a lot of stress and resentment for the woman who cares for her mother. It's hard to argue that this person is better off with a sibling.

When my MIL's parents died, they left a meager estate. And yet there was a lot of arguing, theft and problems between the 6 siblings, relating to the estate. No one feels very supported in that family.

I, myself, have a brother who is mentally ill. He bounces back and forth from being dependent on my mother and being independent. When she dies, who will take on this burden? I don't even live in the same country as him. Hopefully, he'll become and stay independent at that point. But I couldn't say that he will able to rely on me for help.

People shouldn't have more children in order to provide siblings. Just because a sibling pops out of the same womb and is raised by the same people does not mean that person is going to be a net positive in your child's life.

Have kids because it's what you want, not because you think it might be what your child will want. You can't reliably predict what your child will want/get from a sibling later in life.

So an only child caring alone for aging parents is happier than a child in the same situation who has deadbeat sibling?  The net effect is the same, but there's anger and resentment?  I have no statistics, but I'd bet that siblings are more likely to care for each other and their parents than not, especially if they have been raised in a loving supportive home.  My kids are all different, but are great friends as well.  I have no reason to believe that to change.
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justajane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #59 on: September 13, 2014, 06:03:02 AM »
I think you make some very valid points, Mannerheim. My reaction to his original post wasn't as passionate as yours, but I'm saying this from the fog of 4 month old sleep deprivation. My mind immediately goes to, "Wise choice to only have one!" But you are of course right that in many respects the ultimate badassity is giving to others. And parenting is basically just one basic give fest.

How many kids you have is a deeply personal thing, and I don't imagine it was much different for MMM and his wife. Now that you mention it, the piece reads as a weird justification for what was probably the most emotional decision of their lives. I have respect for people who pull no punches and just admit that they couldn't hack the sleepless nights and the sacrifice. Creating a public justification with dubious reasoning is probably a defense mechanism.

Quote
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.
   

I just had my third, and I will be completely honest. I am too selfish to have a fourth. We are done, done and done! At what point will you allow a parent to admit this? Would you be okay with him writing what he did after the second? The third? Or do you just object to the epistle altogether?

Again, I found your post very thought provoking, but I just want to push you on it a little bit. This isn't the first time that MMM has engaged in some fuzzy logic to justify his life choices (e.g. the bike post about how it is safer than driving a car). I guess I just see it as his modus operandi sometimes. 

ender

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2014, 07:20:20 AM »
I think the key takeaway, regardless of where you stand is -

Talk with potential future partners and get a feel for expectations/desires regarding children soon enough to determine if it's going to cause your relationship longer term problems.

Waiting until you are engaged is honestly not a good time to find out you have significant differences on whether to have kids or the number to have...

Cpa Cat

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #61 on: September 13, 2014, 09:02:50 AM »
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.

LalsConstant

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2014, 12:27:03 PM »
Hehe, I saw that post and had to throw this in.  I have no children myself and being 33 already it's too late, but I grew up with a father who was an only child and a mother who was one of 18 blood sibilings who grew up in a house with over 30 people living in it.

They had three children together, so make of that what you will!

GuitarStv

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #63 on: September 14, 2014, 09:49:57 AM »
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.

Believe it or not, I don't mind if people want to have many kids in their families as long as they're honest about the reasons why:  too stupid to understand how birth control works, too selfish to care about how their actions affect others, and afflicted by some sort of deluded over-active base animal breeding impulse.  That I can respect.

People just having different values than me though?  Can't respect that.  They have to fit into one of my predefined judgemental categories to get respect.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #64 on: September 14, 2014, 10:14:31 AM »
Parent of an only here.  My husband and I tried having a second, but it was not in the cards.  When my son was about five years old, I realized that it was preferable for us to have the one for a variety of selfish reasons. 

I think the number of children one chooses to have is deeply personal.  I cannot tell you the number of people who asked me when I was going to have another (not knowing about my miscarriages) or even asking why we only had one--as though it is anyone's business but ours.

We saw advantages for us in having an only.  We like to travel and could afford to fly hither and yon with one.  We did not have to sweat paying for his college education.  My son spent summers in a rambling cottage with cousins and friends surrounding him on bunk beds.  He did not miss out on communal sharing.  He plays well with others.

I did not produce a child to have a caretaker for me or my husband in our dotage. 

As a parent of an only, I have probably had more free time to spend with other people's children--dragging them hither and yon as a coach or chaperone.  Which actually was sort of nice.

Please decide for yourself on this one.  Children are wonderful but they are a greater responsibility than some every realize.

DoubleDown

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #65 on: September 14, 2014, 05:44:22 PM »
The ideal number of kids to have? 2.5. Strive for that.

Kids = The Best Thing I Ever Did, and I was someone who would have been reasonably content to have none.

Also, perhaps the best advice I ever got, from dear friends of ours who waited too long and now deeply regretted it: Don't wait until the "right time" to have kids (i.e., once we're in the new house, once husband is stable in his career, once student loans are paid off, once we've taken that trip to Europe, once...). There is pretty much never a "right time," and biology doesn't care two sh*ts about your timetable for checking things off your bucket list. If you think you'll want kids, just do it now.
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Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #66 on: September 14, 2014, 06:05:24 PM »
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.

Believe it or not, I don't mind if people want to have many kids in their families as long as they're honest about the reasons why:  too stupid to understand how birth control works, too selfish to care about how their actions affect others, and afflicted by some sort of deluded over-active base animal breeding impulse.  That I can respect.

People just having different values than me though?  Can't respect that.  They have to fit into one of my predefined judgemental categories to get respect.

+1 guitar.

Actually, I disagree with about 90% of what mannerheim said. Most of it I will just chalk up to the fact that we are different people and we all have our own opinions. Not necessarily right or wrong.

The one part I take extreme exception to is that if your siblings aren't supportive of each other, get along well, or aren't best friends then you are a parental failure. That part is just extremely ignorant and ridiculous. Some people aren't meant to get along. Some people are so intoverted they aren't close to anyone. Special needs anyone? Open your mind a bit mannerheim. Try to see the world from your neighbors eyes. Its not always rainbows and lollipops.
Indecision may or may not be my problem.

iris lily

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #67 on: September 14, 2014, 06:23:11 PM »
I'm 60 years old, never had children, didn't want any. I didn't have any family problems, had great parents myself and they always encouraged both of their children to think carefully about having kids, it's a choice. Not surprisingly, neither my brother or I had children. It's not that I don't like children, it's that I'm not attracted to them much and mainly, I have an absence of maternal longing. And I do know what that maternal longing is because I have yens for dogs and cats, just not human children.

Since I didn't care about having children, it didn't matter to me if I got married or not. When DH came along I told him "I am 95% sure I don't want to have kids" so he knew up front what the deal was.

I share this for the crowd that says "oh you will regret not having children when you are old." No, I don't think so.   
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 06:40:27 PM by iris lily »

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #68 on: September 15, 2014, 12:16:31 PM »
The one part I take extreme exception to is that if your siblings aren't supportive of each other, get along well, or aren't best friends then you are a parental failure. That part is just extremely ignorant and ridiculous. Some people aren't meant to get along. Some people are so intoverted they aren't close to anyone. Special needs anyone? Open your mind a bit mannerheim. Try to see the world from your neighbors eyes. Its not always rainbows and lollipops.

yeah, that struck me as ridiculous as well. my BF and his sister grew up pretty close but always competitive. then several years ago they were on a camping trip together, got into a huge fight where both said extremely hurtful things to the other (you know, the kind of things you only even know to hurt someone with when you are very close and know each other very well), and haven't spoken since unless it was extremely necessary, like when they're both at their mom's house and completely ignoring each others' presence would be super awkward. it's a foreign concept to me personally, because my sister and I get along really well, but I don't think it means their parents totally failed... like others have said, siblings aren't magically best friends just because they came from the same womb. in my BF's case I actually think they might be TOO similar (my sister and I are pretty different, but in a nice/complementary way... we have NEVER been competitive with each other) although he would probably get mad if I said that because he thinks she's a huge bitch :)

anyway, that's an anecdote, but I don't think it's "dubious," whatever was meant by that.

I know kids and dogs are a TOTALLY different level of commitment (like, you can leave one in a cage all day and not get in trouble with the law... LOL) but sometimes I notice similarities in the way people approach the two, and my BF and I were talking about this the other day. like, we know people that have dogs that really probably shouldn't (or should have a much lower-maintenance breed than they have). these are the people that want to have a dog around on their schedule/when they feel like it, but don't really want to make the financial and time sacrifices that it takes to keep a dog happy, healthy, well-trained, and well-adjusted. they don't want to take it for walks every day or socialize it with other dogs, and they struggle with not being able to go on last-minute trips without making arrangements for their dog. then they wonder why their dog is such a whack job, LOL. I feel like I also see people who are kinda like this with their kid. like, not that they're actually NEGLECTFUL or anything, but it seems like they didn't really expect they were going to have to change their lifestyle or make sacrifices. I dunno. it's actually one of the reasons I think my BF will make an awesome dad (we've talked about it, neither of us are really "kid people" yet somehow we both feel confident that OUR kids will be the best kids ever... go figure)... he's pretty much one of the best dog owners I know and has for years (his/now our dog is 11) changed his lifestyle to make sure his dog gets plenty of fun and exercise and time with him. like, he was just really good at adjusting his lifestyle around dog ownership, which I hadn't really seen before (my family and pretty much everyone else I knew growing up had really small low-maintenance dogs).

I don't know, I'm totally rambling, just something I've been thinking about lately. I guess my point is that I disagree with Mannerheim in that I think some people just really DON'T want to be parents, aren't cut out for it, don't want it, whatever... and they SHOULD NOT be parents and that's not selfish, it's just knowing yourself.

wild wendella

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #69 on: September 15, 2014, 12:43:46 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.

To add my two cents... our son (now two) was a horrible sleeper.  He's only recently starting to get better.  He didn't 'cry it out' as people claim will happen.  We tried 'sleep training'.  It did not work for him.  He would just get more and more hysterical.  After three hours of hysterical crying, I didn't really see the point of torturing the little guy further, so no, we never let him cry 'it out' for an infinite period (what would that be I wonder - two days?)  We also hired a sleep consultant.  She basically said everything that all of the books I'd already bought said, which was completely useless for our son.  (Do they really think we haven't already tried everything?!?!)

There is at least some percentage of the population of babies who are/were bad sleepers, and cannot be forced to calm themselves to sleep using the methods written up in books by people who had easier children.  I'm adding my two cents just to say my son is one of these babies, and so MMM's son isn't the only one.  I don't know what the percentage is.. 5%?  20%?  Regardless, that's the point of view from which MMM is writing.  And I can certainly relate.

Jane

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #70 on: September 15, 2014, 12:58:10 PM »
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.
This is a big problem and I think the one that needs to be focused at least, if not more than the number of kids. I'll admit that when I was in my 20's I felt similarly. It seemed like an out for the post-college life I was not enjoying. Having kids and a house and husband was preferable to working 8-9 hours a day at a place that made me miserable. Thankfully, it didn't work out and I didn't have kids that young, and I ended up maturing and finding a job that I don't hate where I can still contribute even after our first will be born in a couple months (we're in our 30's now). Not saying both spouses need to contribute financially, and certainly not judging families who have a stay at home parent, but for our goals I feel better working right now. It sounds like it might cause some problems or even resentment, if it all fell on you before you guys are financially ready.

I think your differences are especially problematic since you are pointing out some very important things, namely you can't really afford a kid right now, and she sounds like she doesn't care. Whatever you do, don't rush into having a family. Make sure you are both 100% on the same page before you make such a huge, life changing decision with no turning back.

In regards to the only child thing, we plan to be one and done after this guy is born. We want to experience raising a child, but we are both very introverted and highly value down time. Having more than one kid does not sound appealing to us. We did start early enough that if we change our minds, age won't be a huge problem.

My husband is an only child, and he is happy with that overall. I have a brother, and while he's a fine human being and I like him as a person, we aren't particularly close. We played as kids sometimes, but we fought at least as much as we got along, so no built in playmate. He lives a few thousand miles away, so the aging parents will fall on me. I think people often put too much weight on how important siblings are to childhood (and maybe even adult) happiness. I think there are so many other factors that play into it and a sibling, or lack thereof, is not really a big one.

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #71 on: September 15, 2014, 02:17:18 PM »
I will say one thing if you are on the fence - your kid will know exactly how much they were wanted, and by whom, whether or not you say a word about it.  Don't bring a human into a situation where they aren't at least 90% wanted.  It's a crappy situation for everyone involved: stressed marriage, unhappy parent-who-was-dragged-along, and a kid stuck in the middle who didn't volunteer for that position.

Very much this.  I'm the youngest of four.  My brother is the oldest, born nine months after my parents got married.  My oldest sister came along a year and a half later, my other sister arrived almost exactly two years later.  My parents told everyone they were done having kids.  My siblings were getting out of the baby stage, and my mother planned to go back to work (she was a nurse) once Sister Two was in school.  Then along I came, the biological monkey wrench.  There is a near three-year gap between Sister Two and me, and I also stuck my foot in it being born a girl; my parents were so positive that they'd have bookend sons they didn't bother to pick out a girl's name or have any idea for one until the nurse filling out my birth certificate pressured them.  I've known from my earliest memory that I wasn't a wanted child, although to be fair Mom tried.  Unfortunately, she died when I was 12 and after that ... yeah, it was bad.  As I wrote in my reply to this entry I'd rather regret not having children than regret having them--because I know only too well what it's like to be regretted.
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SisterX

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #72 on: September 15, 2014, 02:31:22 PM »
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.

Believe it or not, I don't mind if people want to have many kids in their families as long as they're honest about the reasons why:  too stupid to understand how birth control works, too selfish to care about how their actions affect others, and afflicted by some sort of deluded over-active base animal breeding impulse.  That I can respect.

People just having different values than me though?  Can't respect that.  They have to fit into one of my predefined judgemental categories to get respect.

+2.
Mannerheim, that has got to be one of the silliest things I've read in a long time.  Your entire thesis was about the fact that people are so selfish when it comes to having no kids or one kid, then you try to say that you're actually fine with it as long as they own up to the selfish reasons why they've made the choices they've made (because people need to justify their choices to you apparently? or to anyone?) and conclude with a quote about how selfish people are if they don't become parents. 

I actually consider it a very selfless act for people who don't want kids to not have them.  Sure, they might find out that they love their kids and end up being great parents.  But it's more likely that the reverse is true, and I want to thank them for not burdening the world with more crappy parents and messed up kids.  How is it a bad thing to have enough self-awareness to realize you don't want kids?  That's not selfishness, that's awesomeness!  They're fighting billions of years of evolution for the sake of everyone else. 
So on behalf of the world, thank you non-parents, childless by choice, and child-free couples, for realizing before making an irreversible decision that you don't want children.  I just hope that the high-flying careers, travel, education, and charitable works/donations you've found time and money for instead of becoming parents has been enough compensation for your sacrifice.  Enjoy a fully rested night for those of us making the reverse sacrifice, on the altar of continuation of the species.

(I realize this reads like I'm joking, but I am actually totally serious.  Thank you for not having kids "because you're supposed to" and turning into resentful--or worse--parents.  Please don't let anyone make you feel guilty for that choice.  To all: be kind and remember that just because it's not a choice you would have made, doesn't make it a bad, immoral, or "wrong" choice.)

pachnik

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #73 on: September 15, 2014, 03:24:24 PM »
I am a woman in late middle age and I don't have any children.  I don't regret my choice since I was never interested in being a parent.  Not to mention that the relationships I was in during my childbearing years were pretty awful.  The relationship I am in now with my husband is by far the best one I have been in.  To get here I did have to do a great deal of work but it was worth it. 

My husband has an adult daughter from his previous marriage and she has chosen to have very little to do with us.  I would be happy to have her in my life but she has said 'no' now for close to nine years so I think something drastic would have to happen for a change to occur there. 

This has been an interesting thread. 

Cassie

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #74 on: September 15, 2014, 03:46:52 PM »
People should only have kids if they really want them.  People that choose to be child free are not selfish-they are doing what is right for them.  The world certainly does not need children that are not wanted.  I have 3 adult kids but have a sister & a son that never wanted them.  I would never pressure someone to have a child-it is a tough job that in some ways never ends because you always worry about them no matter how old they are.  Many siblings do not really like each other as adults.  That is not horribly unusual.   

thepokercab

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #75 on: September 15, 2014, 04:12:49 PM »
Parent of 2 here.  Probably can't add much more to what has been said here, but i can come at from someone who was sure they only wanted 1 child.  We had our first and we were extremely happy with 1, and honestly, I thought we would end up stopping there.  Then, we got unexpectedly pregnant.  We had just gotten through the baby and infant hurdles, and I must say I wasn't quite excited about going through it all again.  We ended up having him, and I couldn't be more happier.  He brings a whole new perspective and personality to the family, and now I can't imagine not having him here. 

One thing I find interesting though is the implicit or explicit pressure some folks seem to feel put upon them by others in terms of having kids or multiple kids.  Personally, I never felt any pressure to provide a "sibling" to child #1 and no one had suggested otherwise. I honestly can't remember even having that type of conversation with my wife.   

In fact, in my social/professional circle I've always felt a bit ostracized for having kids.  This has definitely manifested itself professionally, where I always feel like I need to step it up a bit more because people seem to assume that because I have kids I'm not able to work as hard or be as productive as others.  I had a boss once who I was sure wasn't assigning me certain projects because of this.  Then, when we knew that child #2 was on the way, I really waited a long time to tell certain people, because I was honestly not looking forward to the "really, you're having another"? conversation.  Maybe its a generational thing, or I just hang with weird people.     

Regardless, I wouldn't trade my kids for anything.  But I certainly don't blink twice about dropping them off at the grandparents for a weekend :)

golden1

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #76 on: September 19, 2014, 01:03:43 PM »
What I get out of this thread is that happiness is not found in a certain set of life circumstances, one kid, two kids, 10 kids, married, not married, married to a goat, whatever.... It is found in seeing the brightness and joy in the life that you do have.

Having one child is amazing!  You get to devote all of your energy to that child...  You get to trade off parenting duties with another parent and get some rest.  Having two children is awesome too!  You get to see your child interact with a sibling.  You get to see your genes play out in different ways.  Having lots of children is great too!  Lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids etc.....  Not having children is also a great choice!  You can spend your life working on an exciting career, or volunteering or doing whatever you want without the constraint of dependents to keep you tied down. 

P.S.  Not having children by choice does NOT make you selfish.  That is just ignorant. 

cavewoman

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #77 on: September 19, 2014, 06:04:37 PM »
I got to this post by MMM yesterday, after about a month of reading from the beginning.  I'm happy that there is a forum for more discussion (the comments are great, but sometimes format causes me to skip all the replies to replies).

I'm going to post from a purely personal perspective, not in anyway a judgement or announcement about how I think others should be/do :)

I'm 28 and my boyfriend of a couple years is 25.  About 2 weeks ago I brought up kids, as in "hey, so we joke about kids and marriage a lot, but I just want you to know in all seriousness, that I truly know I want to have children".  And let it go at that.

Then about a week later (yeah, let it go at that, haha) I brought up number of kids desired.  I asked him, while in my head thinking 3 (I'll get to my why in a bit) and he said "I don't know, like 4 or 5?"  Cue cartoon like double take!

We talked about it for a while, also coming to the understanding that we may have one and decide that's it.  Oddly enough, even before the Kids/No Kids talk my boyfriend knew I was really gung-ho about doing foster care.  That's something I'd like to get into when I'm older, having a permanent nursery set up and basically doing emergency baby placements.  I sold him on this by telling him how you can "custom order" your foster kids (I'm not a terrible person for this, I promise).  Yes please, I'll take any kid age 0-3, please no serious medical conditions, etc etc.  Who knows if after having babies if we'd rather foster teens, or end up adopting 4-5, or whatever.  We are good communicators so I'm not worried about changing minds.

I also made sure he knew the (man I hate this reference) clock is ticking, because I'd like to get the birthing done before age 35 (so if he wants 5, we better start soon!)

As to why I want three - based on my life, strange as it is:  I lost my only brother 3 years ago.  I couldn't guarantee he'd be there to help me cope with aging parents, as he dealt with demons his whole life, but through our times of closeness and sibling hatred, I loved him dearly.  4 years ago, I lost my boyfriend at the time.  He left behind an only sibling, his sister.  We've had some drunk winey whiney nights where we've shared how we both wish we'd had a third sibling in life just for the shared experience, maybe to help with grief, etc (although as mentioned earlier in the thread, no promises on the 3rd being a help at all).  She has 2 girls, and recently got married to a man with a daughter, so I'm happy she's gotten her number.
My brother had a young son, and I plan to give him cousins, but it's sad to think that my kids will miss out on their Uncle.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #78 on: September 22, 2014, 07:29:48 AM »
Having one child is amazing!  You get to devote all of your energy to that child...  You get to trade off parenting duties with another parent and get some rest.  Having two children is awesome too!  You get to see your child interact with a sibling.  You get to see your genes play out in different ways.  Having lots of children is great too!  Lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids etc.....  Not having children is also a great choice!  You can spend your life working on an exciting career, or volunteering or doing whatever you want without the constraint of dependents to keep you tied down. 

this comment is a delight. thanks golden1!

rubybeth

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #79 on: September 22, 2014, 08:23:10 AM »
I think marriage and family therapy* might be a good option here, to help you both sort out the feelings and facts surrounding this decision. It sounds like your wife wants this but hasn't thought out the specific logistics involved. And you're thinking about this highly logically, but maybe not fully understanding the emotional needs involved. A therapist can help. It might also help for both of you to do some homework in the other direction, for example, ask her to price out daycare for an infant for full-time care, since you'll both be working full-time, while you do some soul-searching on becoming a father--read about other fathers' experiences, journal about your feelings, etc.

Edited to add: I think this study sounds really interesting: http://ccopl.org/

*Note that my husband is in grad school to become a marriage and family therapist, so I am somewhat biased, but I really believe it can help, and seeing a therapist sooner rather than later is better. :)
**Also note that we are a childfree couple. I was very clear about not wanting children while we dated, and DH was good with that.
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Spartana

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #80 on: September 22, 2014, 03:50:09 PM »
Hehe, I saw that post and had to throw this in.  I have no children myself and being 33 already it's too late, but I grew up with a father who was an only child and a mother who was one of 18 blood sibilings who grew up in a house with over 30 people living in it.

They had three children together, so make of that what you will!
Why is it too late to have kids at 33 - especially since you are a guy?

I'm in the camp of an older female who chose not to have kids and have never regretted that decision. Unlike Mannerheims.... um...  "reasons" that people do not have kids or just have one, he/she left out the most important one - lack of desire. In my case I just never felt a desire or a yearning or a longing to have a child or to raise a child. The decision had nothing to do with money, time, career ambitions, hobbies, work loads, selfishness, or anything else, but was simply lack of desire. Never really thought about it unless asked. Never had even a smidgen of an urge to have or raise children (although I like the little critters and think they are adorable).

As for the OP, I second the suggestion to go to counseling to talk things out with a neutral person. The issue to have a child/ren and how many is too big and important of a decision to make if you are on different pages as to what you want.

ETA: In my case I would not have married/partnered with someone who wanted kids. When I met the guy who would become my future DH I was very upfront about my wants, as was he, and neither of us wanted kids. Had he wanted them, I would not have married him as he should be with someone who has the same desires in life as he would.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 04:02:05 PM by Spartana »

Spartana

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #81 on: September 22, 2014, 03:56:05 PM »
What I get out of this thread is that happiness is not found in a certain set of life circumstances, one kid, two kids, 10 kids, married, not married, married to a goat, whatever.... It is found in seeing the brightness and joy in the life that you do have.

Having one child is amazing!  You get to devote all of your energy to that child...  You get to trade off parenting duties with another parent and get some rest.  Having two children is awesome too!  You get to see your child interact with a sibling.  You get to see your genes play out in different ways.  Having lots of children is great too!  Lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids etc.....  Not having children is also a great choice!  You can spend your life working on an exciting career, or volunteering or doing whatever you want without the constraint of dependents to keep you tied down. 

P.S.  Not having children by choice does NOT make you selfish.  That is just ignorant.
HUGE plus 1 to all of this!

Cassie

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #82 on: September 22, 2014, 09:56:48 PM »
I have 3 boys & they do not want to have kids which does not make them selfish at all!  WE should all do what we feel is right.

Tempe

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #83 on: September 22, 2014, 10:29:25 PM »
My siblings and I were having dinner with my dad and step-mom a few years back, and somehow it got on the topic of kids. None of my siblings and I wanted kids, and my step-mom was horrified, saying one of us would have to give my parents grandchildren. My parents don't care, although we are amused my father is grandpa to my step-moms grandchildren. My little brother just started dating a girl who is pregnant (not his) so I guess he will be the first to be involved in a kids life lol. We joked that one would be dad's first grandchild. I myself have no great drive for children, it was never a must have like someone people I have known. I'm open to it, once we are financial stable, but no way in hell will I work and try to take care of kids at the same time. I'm planning on stashing so I have options later.
A lot of my kneejerk feeling of not wanting kids was seeing so many family members have kids without planning, and watching them struggle with work and caring for children. Now I know if I plan for it and feel prepared I'm more open to it.

Cressida

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #84 on: September 22, 2014, 10:44:35 PM »
Wow. There's a lot of BS in this thread.

Look. If you want 10 kids and have 10 kids, you're doing what you want to do. If you want 0 kids and have 0 kids, you're doing what you want to do. Therefore, neither position is any more "selfish" than the other, because neither person is sacrificing what they want.


kite

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #85 on: September 24, 2014, 06:26:06 AM »
Wow. There's a lot of BS in this thread.

Look. If you want 10 kids and have 10 kids, you're doing what you want to do. If you want 0 kids and have 0 kids, you're doing what you want to do. Therefore, neither position is any more "selfish" than the other, because neither person is sacrificing what they want.


+1 on the BS comment.

I grew up with enough siblings to field a baseball team, loved every minute of it and wanted my own large brood too.  It was not to be, as my spouse and I drew the infertility short straw.  Now that I'm middle aged and looking at things from the other side of the hill (almost) I'm a bit amused at the control that people believe they have.  I don't think Robert Burns was referring to fertility,  but the best laid plans often go awry nonetheless. 
The happiest (and healthiest) of my friends (we're mostly around age 50) are the ones who are grandparents.   So while I don't give a fiddler's fart what anyone else does with their reproductive organs, if you asked my advice,  I'd say the following:  if you want children,  don't waste your twenties on alcohol or immature partners.  Focus on both finding and being a good parent for your kids, and realize that all the other crap in life is really secondary.   

2ndTimer

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #86 on: September 24, 2014, 11:52:06 AM »
We knew before we got married that we didn't want children.  We have been married nearly 30 years now and are very satisfied being nonparents.  A co-worker who did have them said we should so that we would know how much our parents sacrificed for us.  Huh?  This is a reason? 

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #87 on: September 24, 2014, 02:32:20 PM »
I'm a childfree pet owner, so I like to replace the word "children" with "pets."

Is having pets frugal? --No, it costs money that you otherwise wouldn't have to spend.
Do pets tie you down and create various responsibilities? --Yes, just like kids.
Is having pets rewarding? --Yes, they bring a great deal of joy and meaning to my life.
Are some of the rewards incomprehensible to people who don't want pets?  --Yes, just as with kids.
If someone doesn't want to have pets of their own, are they being selfish and immature?  --Now that sounds a bit silly, doesn't it? Does anyone believe you really have to have a pet to be a mature, responsible, caring person?  If not, then why would you have to have children to be the same?

To put it another way--being a good parent requires sacrifice, maturity, and selflessness. However, not being a parent doesn't mean you do not practice those qualities.  There's more than one way to be a mature, giving person.


MarciaB

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #88 on: September 25, 2014, 03:36:16 PM »
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. 

I have a similar story to Theadyn's - only one child (who is now 27) and no issues with pregnancy or raising her (she was a great kid and an easy teenager). And we were really happy with just one.

In my case though, we both wanted a child and the timing was good (well, a little earlier than planned, but things worked out). Parenting is too serious a thing to do if someone really isn't on board with it.
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sobezen

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #89 on: September 25, 2014, 04:45:46 PM »
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.

@ LibrarIan:  Honestly, it is painful to read that your wife wants to "fast-track" you to a home/baby regardless of the negative impact these life altering decisions will create. I highly recommend counseling for both of you before resentment builds up. Her desire to have a family is her choice. But you both need to be on the same page emotionally and truly committed to making it work. I don't get that sense from what you've shared with us. Try asking her again what ideas she has to lesser the strain and burden. So far it does not sound like she has any viable ideas, but she certainly wants it all, now. I feel she is basically saying it is my way or else. If this is true, it does not sound like she is willing to compromise at all. This is a major red flag IMO. Please do not ignore this.

You prudently raise the financial considerations the two of you really need to discuss and plan a strategy. Namely, housing, her obtaining employment, saving for retirement/education and other major life goals. As your instincts are already telling you, proceed very slowly. Let us know how it goes and good luck!

What I get out of this thread is that happiness is not found in a certain set of life circumstances, one kid, two kids, 10 kids, married, not married, married to a goat, whatever.... It is found in seeing the brightness and joy in the life that you do have.

Having one child is amazing!  You get to devote all of your energy to that child...  You get to trade off parenting duties with another parent and get some rest.  Having two children is awesome too!  You get to see your child interact with a sibling.  You get to see your genes play out in different ways.  Having lots of children is great too!  Lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids etc.....  Not having children is also a great choice!  You can spend your life working on an exciting career, or volunteering or doing whatever you want without the constraint of dependents to keep you tied down. 

P.S.  Not having children by choice does NOT make you selfish.  That is just ignorant.

Huge +1
@ LibrarIan:  I wholeheartedly agree with golden1! As an only child myself, I loved it. I never felt deprived of anything. I did not grow up in luxury, but I was loved, safe and had a healthy and happy childhood. I did not have siblings and cousins my age during my childhood. But I was happy and had plenty of friends. I grew up well adjusted and happy. So please do not feel you must have more than one child to make your child feel less lonely.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 04:58:50 PM by sobezen »
The best thing money can buy is financial freedom.

justme89

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #90 on: October 02, 2014, 10:47:50 PM »
If you're on the fence, please DON'T do it. More importantly, know what you want and do not waver if it doesn't feel "right."

Read this poster's thread here: http://www.reddit.com/r/childfree/comments/201prv/reporting_back_from_the_other_side/
http://www.reddit.com/r/childfree/comments/1t2y8j/wondering_if_a_child_free_so_can_make_it_work/

I know that there's a 95% chance that I won't want kids and to address some of the misconceptions here:

- having kids does not automatically make you a better person or more mature. Hah. Proof: Casey Anthony, scott peterson, bin laden
- siblings are their own individual person and you cannot assume that they will be best friends. Proof: my bf does not talk to his 2 sisters at all (they're not very good role models)
- being selfish is not doing what you want, but asking others to do what you want them to do. That's selfishness.
- anyone can have kids. From druggies, rapists, serial killers, thieves to mass murderers. Anyone can have kids, not many can be goood parents. The thought that you can kill 10 people and still be a better/more mature person than someone who is childfree is laughable.
- you will truly never be ready to parent. However, if you don't want them, you simply don't want them. It's not a matter of when you want them, but a matter of simply not wanting them...just don't do it. Kids don't deserve resentful parents.
- many people have kids for selfish reasons (change your diapers when you're older, to have someone to love, to fulfill a need for constant company for 18 years at least, to entwine your husband/wife with you forever) Some of the most caring and selfless people who constantly gives to others (ashley judd, oprah) are without children cause they can focus more on other's needs and not just lil jenny's/johnny's college fund.
- i hate it when childfree people think it's stupid to have kids cause kids can be wonderful. I also hate it when people with children feel that they are superior for "sacrificing" so much for one entity and call others out on living out their lives.

-  just know that if you have no kids, you're selfish for having so much time and money for yourself while others feel cheated for following the life script. If you have only one, then you're selfish for not giving lil jenny or jimmy a playmate or God forbids if one dies (the nerves of some people). If you have two girls...then you have to have one boy or vice versa. If you have 4 kids, then it's wow you sure will be busy and poor. If you have 5+ then people will comment how it's so selfish cause the first two are probably neglected. Bottom line is that you will be selfish regardless. Know yourself and you only live life once, so dig deep within your soul cause only you know what you want. :) You're rather be 'selfish' in the eyes of others than be miserable with such a huge commitment.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 11:10:41 PM by justme89 »

darkadams00

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #91 on: October 07, 2014, 08:27:14 AM »
One advantage that my wife and I have enjoyed with having two kids--each child was extremely different in personality, attitudes, strengths, weaknesses. Frustrations that we faced with one child weren't even a topic with the other child. Accomplishments by one child weren't even interests for the other. Our two sons truly displayed a wonderful mix of the best and worst of my wife and me. Neither son was always "good" or "bad", but they tended to be "good" or "bad" in different areas. Had we only had version 1.0 or 2.0, then we would have only seen one of these perspectives. Furthermore, for more than ten years the two were able to play together and entertain themselves as needed. This enhanced their social skills of give-and-take at an early age, continuing repetitively throughout their childhood.

Now they're both in college in separate cities, so the wife and I have spent many evenings in the past couple years thinking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of rearing children. We've agreed that there were good and bad decisions made by us over the years, and we've discussed many of them in retrospect, but the one decision we've never regretted was the choice to have children.

hdatontodo

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #92 on: October 07, 2014, 10:36:30 AM »
My wife and I were older when we met. We agreed that if we were lucky enough to have a kid, that we'd get married, else we'd just stay together unmarried. We ended up fortunately with the kid/marriage option.

Since I was 47 when mine was born, I'll be near or in retirement when he's off to college. So I'll be free from work and from playing daddy (other than sending money.)

Because of an arterial issue (FMD) and her age, it was suggested that my wife not have another kid.

Kids really really need to play with other kids, else they'll just play catch with dad and then watch TV or play video games. My wife has been great going with him to knock on neighbor's doors asking if they can come over and play. She takes him (and neighbors) biking and swimming and signs him up for sports.

I feel bad that when we're gone to the great beyond, he won't have any siblings. He does have local cousins--one of the reasons we don't move away.

When we're old, he might be living across the country and not able to visit us. My mom had 6 kids and only 2 are local and able to visit her in her nursing home.

Initially, a newborn takes time and you lose sleep, but you can actually go out to dinner and they'll sleep in their carrier. Then they'll be old enough for infant/toddler day care, and then preschool. So you can still work. You can get a sitter for 1 weeknight per week. You can take turns having time away from the house on weekends to do something you want to do. Just make a calendar.

Once the kid is in school, you have to get him ready and put him on the bus. Sometimes one parent does morning school prep and one does after school. There are programs to keep them at school longer if you have to work until 5pm or so. Also, there might get more grandparent help if you have kids while your parents are able to help.

Kids are a blessing. Kids are a pain. Just like all other humans.

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

smalllife

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #93 on: October 07, 2014, 11:05:43 AM »
I'm still not sure why people get married who aren't planning to start a family.

Really?

A basic premise of the legal benefits of being married:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html 

Marriage has nothing to do with children, although it does help with custody issues (see same sex adoptions, legal step-parent issues, etc.)
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" - William Morris

Constance Noring

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #94 on: October 07, 2014, 01:40:50 PM »
I'm still not sure why people get married who aren't planning to start a family.

Getting married is starting a family. Having kids is adding to it.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #95 on: October 07, 2014, 01:51:44 PM »
We have 4 kids (2 singletons and 1 set of twins) and wouldn't trade them for anything.  That said, if we never had them, I probably wouldn't trade that life for anything either.  Once you make your choice (or even if you have one that you didn't intend to), my belief is that is exactly how your life was meant to me.  I would never tell anyone that they should or should not have kids.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 01:53:23 PM by VirginiaBob »

tj

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #96 on: October 07, 2014, 08:21:56 PM »
Quote
There is no reason, before you have even one, that you need to agree on how many little ones you ( hopefully) will have.

i don't really understand this. As I am close to entering my 30s, I don't really beat around the bush with women. If I tell them I want 1 or 2, and they say they want 4 or 5, how is that compatible? I mean, sure, we theoretically could compromise on 3, but wouldn't it make a lot more  sense to pair up with someone who has the same vision for one's future family?


VirginiaBob

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #97 on: October 08, 2014, 05:54:47 AM »
Quote
There is no reason, before you have even one, that you need to agree on how many little ones you ( hopefully) will have.

i don't really understand this. As I am close to entering my 30s, I don't really beat around the bush with women. If I tell them I want 1 or 2, and they say they want 4 or 5, how is that compatible? I mean, sure, we theoretically could compromise on 3, but wouldn't it make a lot more  sense to pair up with someone who has the same vision for one's future family?

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).  For example consider anyone you meet and the following example criteria (numbers are not meant to be accurate):

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).



Spartana

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #98 on: October 08, 2014, 08:44:32 AM »
Quote
There is no reason, before you have even one, that you need to agree on how many little ones you ( hopefully) will have.

i don't really understand this. As I am close to entering my 30s, I don't really beat around the bush with women. If I tell them I want 1 or 2, and they say they want 4 or 5, how is that compatible? I mean, sure, we theoretically could compromise on 3, but wouldn't it make a lot more  sense to pair up with someone who has the same vision for one's future family?

 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).
I don't think he was saying he wanted "absolute" compatibility, just someone who shared his basic values and the general family size he wants.  He doesn't want a Duggar who wants to pop out 19 kids before age 33, and he probably doesn't want someone like me who didn't want to have kids at all (and most of us have found mates who didn't want kids either). There are many many people out there who would share his same vision of his future family.

farmstache

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Re: Having only one child
« Reply #99 on: October 08, 2014, 11:27:03 AM »
I don't think he was saying he wanted "absolute" compatibility, just someone who shared his basic values and the general family size he wants.  He doesn't want a Duggar who wants to pop out 19 kids before age 33, and he probably doesn't want someone like me who didn't want to have kids at all (and most of us have found mates who didn't want kids either). There are many many people out there who would share his same vision of his future family.

I agree, but I think the "kids vs non-kids" conundrum is much more of a deal-breaker than "2 vs 4 kids". Of course "2 vs 8 kids" starts to become a problem too, but even the person who wants 3-4 doesn't know yet if finances will allow, if they'll have the energy or the fertility to get that far, or if they'll even like having kids, if one of them won't have a special condition that will make ir harder to have other kids, etc.

And the person set on 1-2 doesn't know either if maybe they'll love having kids so much and find their calling in parenthood and want a few more.

(of course each person knows themselves better or worse, but at least me and my SO are keeping ourselves open to anything between 2-4, with him tending more towards 2 and me towards 4. We might stop at 1 from all I know)

Basically, it depends on what's a deal-breaker for you. For me, no kids or definitely just 1 kid would have been a deal breaker. Just be careful not to picky yourself out of great people who might be willing to compromise (I agree with that).