Author Topic: on the fence re: kids  (Read 26352 times)

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2016, 11:00:02 AM »
You really struck a chord with something I've been feeling with the "fatherhood" vs "motherhood" thing. I'm a woman, and while fatherhood sounds ideal, motherhood sounds like too much: too much anxiety, too much worry, too much responsibility, too much of the logistics of running a household with small people in it. I don't want to be the primary care giver. I don't want to be the point person for everything. And my partner really does try to do his fare share! But there are things that he just doesn't think about, and I know that would be compounded with kids.

But it's mostly the biological/hormonal stuff that worries me. Every one of my female friends has turned slightly crazy after having kids. They feel anxious and guilty all the time. The ones who work feel they should be spending more time with their kids. The ones who stay home feel they should be doing more with their lives, or miss adult interaction. Some moms I know can't leave their baby for more than a few hours, even with their own spouse, because they don't trust their husband to take care of the baby the way they would. Their husbands, on the other hand, feel nothing but freedom when they are away from their children, probably because they are confident that their mom has got this. These dads aren't bad parents, they are great parents, it's just that hormones make moms kind of crazy, and I'm not sure I want to sign up for that.

I want to be able to love and nurture and take care of a child without feeling like it is part of me. And I don't think that is possible for moms.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #51 on: December 30, 2016, 11:26:30 AM »
You really struck a chord with something I've been feeling with the "fatherhood" vs "motherhood" thing. I'm a woman, and while fatherhood sounds ideal, motherhood sounds like too much: too much anxiety, too much worry, too much responsibility, too much of the logistics of running a household with small people in it. I don't want to be the primary care giver. I don't want to be the point person for everything. And my partner really does try to do his fare share! But there are things that he just doesn't think about, and I know that would be compounded with kids.

But it's mostly the biological/hormonal stuff that worries me. Every one of my female friends has turned slightly crazy after having kids. They feel anxious and guilty all the time. The ones who work feel they should be spending more time with their kids. The ones who stay home feel they should be doing more with their lives, or miss adult interaction. Some moms I know can't leave their baby for more than a few hours, even with their own spouse, because they don't trust their husband to take care of the baby the way they would. Their husbands, on the other hand, feel nothing but freedom when they are away from their children, probably because they are confident that their mom has got this. These dads aren't bad parents, they are great parents, it's just that hormones make moms kind of crazy, and I'm not sure I want to sign up for that.

I want to be able to love and nurture and take care of a child without feeling like it is part of me. And I don't think that is possible for moms.

You sound to me like the prime candidate for fostering or adopting then. Not getting the direct hormonal changes that way then.

Also, I've met an older nurse like that through my job. We do Home Health Nursing of medically fragile kids. She has had one of her patients for 13 years. Raised this child, in so many ways. Never had kids of her own. She gets that fulfillment through work.

There's are multiple ways to be a part of a child's life. Big Brother/Big Sister is another possibility. Having your own biological children isn't the only way to help shape a young life.

Lagom

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #52 on: December 30, 2016, 11:48:23 AM »
P.S. Though I am not the OP, I want to give huge thanks to the people who dare to be honest about regretting having kids, in this thread or anywhere else. Thanks to you, there might be fewer regretted children out there. I have personally always felt indifferent about the whole kids thing (I don't find the idea repulsive, but I'm not enthusiastic about it either), and probably the main thing that sways me is the massive chorus that says "you'll regret not having kids" and "it's different when it's your own, it's incredible like nothing else and it's always worth it". But because of voices like yours, I know that there are all sorts of possibilities and I can make a more educated decision.

This. Thanks for being so brave. I am the person IRL that people tell that they (either in a desperate moment or in general) wouldn't have children again. Every single one thinks that they are the only one. This is not a helpful situation. I know that you love your kid(s).

I'm also the person that needs to hear some balance instead of this permanent stream of pro-baby parents telling me that child rearing is 100% sunshine and no shit.

I know there are a lot of people out there saying this sort of stuff. These people are liars. That said, assuming you are confident in your choice to become a parent and have a good attitude about the drawbacks (of which there are many, obviously), raising kids is like investing in the stock market. Lots of down days, and potentially even quite lengthy periods of depression and uncertainty, and yet in the end your happiness portfolio inexorably marches upward.

I know it's an imperfect analogy (special needs/BD kids, random "I don't know how they could have turned out that way" outcomes, etc.), but those are a small minority of cases (when we are talking also about parents who wanted kids in the first place and well prepared for it), and also many of them still don't preclude a happy and fulfilling life. But I do agree you should be prepared to accept those possibilities before committing to children in the first place.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 03:10:02 PM by Lagom »

iris lily

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #53 on: December 30, 2016, 12:04:00 PM »
I am 62 years old, dont have children, have never regretted it. I never had the yen for kids.i think it is important for those on the fence to hear from people lile me with NO regrets.

At my age I think occasional grandchildren would be fun, but seeing a couple of people our age who are stuck raising grandchildren as well as funding their grown children, uh, no. I will take a pass on that.

There was a brief period, about six months, when I halfheartedly explored adoption from China. I love Asia and have always liked little Chinese girls I see. But I lost interest. See? Not cut out for it, cant retain that desire for even a year. Haha.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 12:08:40 PM by iris lily »

skeptic

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #54 on: December 30, 2016, 12:24:30 PM »
Erae,

First, I'm sorry to hear about you feeling down lately. I hope you are able to make the best of it and enjoy the upswing when the time is right.

Regarding kids, it sounds like, although you can appreciate the positives and sometimes feel interested in having kids, you don't have a strong and consistent desire for children. So my thoughts is: don't have them. And your spouse has already said he'll be ok with that, so all the bases seem covered.

I will say that most of the negatives you have listed (things like the stress about taking responsibility for the household and child) I do not consider deal-breakers or even near deal-breakers. I think of those kind of difficulties can be overcome... and even more easily in your case where, as you have noticed, you can hire out a lot of the labor.

Nevertheless, having a kid will probably take more time and energy than anything else in your life, ever, even if you were splitting the effort 50-50, and there's no going back once you're a parent. So... no. I think you should focus your energies elsewhere, on things you REALLY want to do and not just, on a good day, think would be nice.

On the off chance you and your spouse decide this turned out to be the wrong decision, there is always adoption, even after your own fertility has passed. But it seems unlikely you'll need that fallback.

(And: not that you should feel any pressure to do any nurturing, but if ever feel the need, the world needs many more devoted Aunts, neighbors, babysitters, after-school reading mentors, temporary foster parents, coaches, volunteers, godmothers, tutors, merit badge counselors, etc. )

Given how thorough and multifaceted your own appraisal of the situation was, I have no doubt you will make the best decision for you regardless of how it matches with anything we commenters come up with. Cheers!

golden1

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #55 on: December 30, 2016, 01:24:33 PM »
Quote
If you're not sure you want kids, I would advise against it.  They suck.  Only in retrospect have I realized how totally I had to abandon my old life to have kids.  It's like I'm a totally different person, and not in a good way.  Everything that I once thought made my life interesting or worthwhile is gone, replaced with stress and obligation.

Having said that, I firmly believe everyone should have kids.  We are biologically programmed to like sex and parenthood, it's like they fulfill some deep seated instinctual urge that we can repress but not ignore.  Reproduction actualizes your evolutionarily instilled biological imperative, and will bring you joy like no other.  Also heartache and pain like no other.  Evolution is a harsh mistress.

This made me giggle a bit.  It really does sum up the paradox of having children.  I think it taught me, in the truest sense, that joy does not come from luxury or material and physical comfort or even just contentment.  That something incredibly hard and grueling can be absolutely wonderful.  If you have a good partner, it makes you appreciate them in new ways. 

One thing to keep in mind.  You can't really "plan" children or how parenthood will affect you, you just can't.  You can make your best guess, but there are just too many variables.  I have a child with special needs, and a child with mental illness.  It's goddamned hard.  Would I trade them to childless?  No way.  Would I trade them for different children?  Nope.  Each of their struggles has and is making me grow as a person in ways I know I would not have otherwise.  To have children is often to deliberately seek pain in search of joy.  But there are really no guarantees.  It's a gamble. 

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #56 on: January 02, 2017, 03:58:14 AM »
P.S. Though I am not the OP, I want to give huge thanks to the people who dare to be honest about regretting having kids, in this thread or anywhere else. Thanks to you, there might be fewer regretted children out there. I have personally always felt indifferent about the whole kids thing (I don't find the idea repulsive, but I'm not enthusiastic about it either), and probably the main thing that sways me is the massive chorus that says "you'll regret not having kids" and "it's different when it's your own, it's incredible like nothing else and it's always worth it". But because of voices like yours, I know that there are all sorts of possibilities and I can make a more educated decision.

This. Thanks for being so brave. I am the person IRL that people tell that they (either in a desperate moment or in general) wouldn't have children again. Every single one thinks that they are the only one. This is not a helpful situation. I know that you love your kid(s).

I'm also the person that needs to hear some balance instead of this permanent stream of pro-baby parents telling me that child rearing is 100% sunshine and no shit.

I know there are a lot of people out there saying this sort of stuff. These people are liars. That said, assuming you are confident in your choice to become a parent and have a good attitude about the drawbacks (of which there are many, obviously), raising kids is like investing in the stock market. Lots of down days, and potentially even quite lengthy periods of depression and uncertainty, and yet in the end your happiness portfolio inexorably marches upward.

I know it's an imperfect analogy (special needs/BD kids, random "I don't know how they could have turned out that way" outcomes, etc.), but those are a small minority of cases (when we are talking also about parents who wanted kids in the first place and well prepared for it), and also many of them still don't preclude a happy and fulfilling life. But I do agree you should be prepared to accept those possibilities before committing to children in the first place.

What makes you so certain that all other people's experiences are the same as yours?

Etihwdivadnai

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #57 on: January 02, 2017, 07:04:25 AM »
A subtly different perspective:
When I got married my spouse and I already knew that having children was unlikely but not completely impossible. This meant that we were prepared to accept a child-free life despite quite liking the idea of having at least one child. So after 4 years of marriage we tried, for about 8 years, unsuccessfully, to conceive with the attitude of: if it happens, it happens but if not then never mind.
During these 8 years we strove to live off just one person's income (and save/invest the other income) such that, in the event of having a child, one of us could give up work to be a stay at home parent. We did consider adoption but were not sufficiently desireous of children to go down this route. When I discovered this forum, I began to think that early-ish retirement was therefore a possibility.

Mariposa

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2017, 09:27:26 AM »
I asked the OP about special needs (disabilities, if that was unclear) or crises.  No one gets a guarantee that their child will have no congenital conditions, never become seriously ill, never suffer an accident or trauma, never experience violence or aggression, never struggle developmentally, never develop behavioural or psychological issues.  If you don't have a perfectly issue-free child then you're looking at an increased logistical load of parenting and household management when kiddo is having a rough time, and possibly a lot more caregiving.  OP is already concerned about these aspects in a scenario that doesn't mention any consideration for extra challenges.

While parents certainly should have their own interests and resources for self-care, they're still on the hook for ensuring their kid has (at a minimum) food, shelter, safety, attention, and physical/mental development.  There is no break from those responsibilities, and they will consume time, money, and energy previously available exclusively for the parents' careers, leisure activities, and relationship.  That's the self-sacrifice that goes on and on.  If you have a sick or troubled child then there's even more of it.

There are families with profoundly disabled children who provide 24/7 care themselves and others whose disabled children essentially live in nursing homes. People do what they can, and I have no judgement for the choices that parents make. I don't know any parent, including my own, who hasn't had to deal with a child's crisis at some point or other. I'm not doubting that those healthy, issue-free kids exist; I just don't know them. We have mental illness, addiction, and suicide running through both of our families, and embracing those possibilities is part of why we were on the fence ourselves for such a long time.

I just want to point out that there are many ways to be a parent. One of my closest friends chose to stay home with her two children and is finally looking to go back to work now that her kids are 9 and 11. I was not one of those people who immediately found meaning and direction when my son was born, and I was ready to go back to work when he was about 6 months old. So we "outsource" a large part of the caregiving in the form of daycare. I agree with the posters who said you have to embrace uncertainty to be a parent; you don't necessarily know how you're going to feel or what kind of parent you're going to be ahead of time. You can do you, and that's ok.

Your spouse or parent can get hit by a bus tomorrow, or get Alzheimer's / a stroke / cancer, and you can find yourself in the unexpected and possibly unwanted role of caregiver. While this is categorically different from choosing to bring new life into the world and have a child, life itself is full of uncertainty. I do think you need a certain level of optimism to choose kids.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 09:30:47 AM by dca »

Lagom

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2017, 11:26:16 AM »
P.S. Though I am not the OP, I want to give huge thanks to the people who dare to be honest about regretting having kids, in this thread or anywhere else. Thanks to you, there might be fewer regretted children out there. I have personally always felt indifferent about the whole kids thing (I don't find the idea repulsive, but I'm not enthusiastic about it either), and probably the main thing that sways me is the massive chorus that says "you'll regret not having kids" and "it's different when it's your own, it's incredible like nothing else and it's always worth it". But because of voices like yours, I know that there are all sorts of possibilities and I can make a more educated decision.

This. Thanks for being so brave. I am the person IRL that people tell that they (either in a desperate moment or in general) wouldn't have children again. Every single one thinks that they are the only one. This is not a helpful situation. I know that you love your kid(s).

I'm also the person that needs to hear some balance instead of this permanent stream of pro-baby parents telling me that child rearing is 100% sunshine and no shit.

I know there are a lot of people out there saying this sort of stuff. These people are liars. That said, assuming you are confident in your choice to become a parent and have a good attitude about the drawbacks (of which there are many, obviously), raising kids is like investing in the stock market. Lots of down days, and potentially even quite lengthy periods of depression and uncertainty, and yet in the end your happiness portfolio inexorably marches upward.

I know it's an imperfect analogy (special needs/BD kids, random "I don't know how they could have turned out that way" outcomes, etc.), but those are a small minority of cases (when we are talking also about parents who wanted kids in the first place and well prepared for it), and also many of them still don't preclude a happy and fulfilling life. But I do agree you should be prepared to accept those possibilities before committing to children in the first place.

What makes you so certain that all other people's experiences are the same as yours?

Where the hell did I say that? All of those who regret their choice to become a parent want their say and seem to think those of us who wouldn't trade the experience for anything are full of crap when we wax poetic about it. I actually agree with that to some extent (which I specifically stated), but for the purpose of this thread wouldn't you still agree that it's useful to hear from happy parents as well as unhappy parents?

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2017, 12:08:06 PM »
Lagom,

100% agree that it is valuable to hear from happy parents. My question was how you can be certain that other people are lying about their experiences.

I wasn't entirely sure whether you were saying the happy waxing lyrical sunshine people or the people saying they wouldn't choose to have kids again were the ones that were lying.

Lagom

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2017, 12:23:48 PM »
Lagom,

100% agree that it is valuable to hear from happy parents. My question was how you can be certain that other people are lying about their experiences.

I wasn't entirely sure whether you were saying the happy waxing lyrical sunshine people or the people saying they wouldn't choose to have kids again were the ones that were lying.

Ah, apologies. I meant the puppies and sunshine folks are the liars. Even the happiest, most loving situations still have plenty of challenges, as I can attest! :)

NeonPegasus

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #62 on: January 02, 2017, 01:01:12 PM »
I've got 3 kids. Some days, I 100% regret having them. Other days, I can't imagine my life without them. Most days, it's much more of the latter than the former. This is basically how I feel about my husband as well. I don't think there is any sort of meaningful human experience that is all joy or even 80% joy and to believe that parenthood or marriage is supposed to be 100% wonderful just sets you up for failure and disappointment.

If you want kids, have them. You make quite enough money, not only to pay for a cleaner but also for childcare so you can continue working if you want. You have enough money to do all of that and still have a kick ass savings rate. And hiring help is not outsourcing motherhood. Anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot and believes that parenthood should be an exercise in masochism. For generations, mothers have had a close network of family members to help them shoulder the responsibilities of the home and it's only recently that we've lost that. So hire some help and be glad that you can.

Children will not fix a marriage or depression or a shitty job. They can put those things into perspective rather quickly, though. They can make your prior troubles and worries seem vapid and silly. They can highlight that you've got a great partner (or a crappy one). They can make you realize that you don't need to earn as much money and still be happy and therefore, you might as well leave that horrid job.

I am not the same person I was before kids, in some good ways and some bad ways. I have been tested by fire and hardened stronger. I have been the rock in the middle of the stream that has my edges softened by constant flow of water. I can get more shit done than ever before and have become much more unflappable. Except on the days when I've been pecked near to death by chickens and lose my mind at the top of my lungs. It's like that - good and bad all together.

So, keep thinking about it. If you start feeling you're moving from "do I want to have kids" to "how can I make this work" I think you'll know you're ready.

Mezzie

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2017, 01:15:15 PM »
I'm another one without kids to whom people feel comfortable telling me they regret having kids. Most the parents in my life are quite happy, but they always wanted kids and get real joy out of parenthood. A few had unplanned pregnancies and all worked out. The ones who caved to spousal pressure (or in one case, got caught up in baby fever when all her friends had kids) tend to be the ones who regret it.

Kids are awesome. I adore them in small doses, but I've never felt the desire to have any of my own.

Do you spend much time with children? Does it wear you out or excite you if you do? Do you have a support system where you are (you mentioned family is far away, but friends?).

I don't know... based in your first post, if I were going to choose for you (and I know I can't), I'd say don't do it. If your husband wants to help kids have more opportunities than he had, you are both in the perfect situation to do so. He could be a Big Brother, as someone mentioned, help fund a Boys and Girls Club or a local public preschool.

Just some thoughts. I'm a teacher, so people having kids keeps me employed, but I think it's important that parents really want their kids.

GuitarStv

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2017, 01:26:28 PM »
Our son is:
- The biggest problem we've had to deal in 10+ years as a couple.
- A constant energy, money, and time drain.
- Something that has disrupted my (or my wife's sleep) about 70% of all nights since he was born, with no end in sight.
- Occasionally pretty awesome/funny/cool (this point did not apply for the first 6 months or so - fuck babies entirely).

We were on the fence about having a kid and chose to have one.  A little over three years later, given the chance to do it all over again . . . I think that we would still be on the fence.  Your life changes an awful lot having a kid.  I'm not completely sold that it's for the better or the worse, but it is certainly different.

Lanthiriel

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2017, 04:05:36 PM »
I identify with just about every single thing in your post. Seriously. The gender dynamics, the ambivalence about children and the reasons for it - I could have written this post.

I got married when I was 20 and we weren't sure if we wanted children. Now I'm 34 and I'm sure I don't want children. My husband continues to be ambivalent, and as he gets older he sometimes ruminates on the idea that we're not leaving anything behind.

I've told him that we could have a child if he wants, and I wouldn't object to it. I would grow the baby in my own womb, even. But once it was born, I would rent an office outside our home and work full time. I do not want to be a stay at home mother. The idea that I would be the person who is 100% responsible for making doctor's appointments and going to them and meeting with teachers and staying up late with a sick kid - ack. It might be different if I was the person who was 25% responsible for those things, or if my husband decided to take on being a stay at home father. But that's not what would happen. In fact, I feel like I would resent it if I did 25% and my nanny did 74% while my husband did 1%. Oh sure, he'd play games with our kid - but clean up vomit and poopy diapers? Guess when he last cleaned the cat litter.

I think this is what you mean by outsourcing motherhood. It's not that you wouldn't love your child and nurture your child, it's that there is a traditional job of "motherhood" that involves taking on the majority - or all - of the labor tasks, and you do not want that job.

I don't know how to advise you. We are making the childless-by-choice decision and I do feel that I'm happier than if we had a kid. I am not 100% sure that my husband is happier. But then, I would probably be more inclined to have children if he was "mommy" and I got to be "daddy". I understand that for some parents, they feel that there should be no difference in those two roles - but there would be in my relationship.

This is me too. Married at 21, currently 29, and finally admitted that I don't want children and never have. I always assumed we'd have one because it's what you do, right? But my husband can barely work and do 25% of our household chores. It's not totally his fault; I'm pretty sure he's on the autism spectrum. I knew I'd be the primary parent for any kids with him being reliable for fun activities but for a limited amount of the hard stuff. This is just not something that appeals to me at all.

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2017, 05:13:00 PM »
I have 3 adult kids and none of them want to have kids.  I have never pressed them to have kids because it is such a huge decision and tons of work. It is not over at 18 either. Young adults can hit hard times and need to move back in with parents, etc. You also never stop worrying about them to some point. I really enjoyed the journey of raising my kids but for 2 of them the teen years were pure hell. I wanted kids badly so it was the right choice for me but certainly not for everyone. From your post I don't really think you want them. My sister never had kids and does not regret it at 70.  Some men are equals or more in kids/chores, etc but most are not. 

CanuckExpat

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2017, 11:16:26 PM »
Hi OP, while you consider your choices, here is a book you might be interested in: All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

The title comes from the reams of social science data that seems to show parents less happy overall, though they respond to experience more joy/fulfillment (this is location/time specific).

A good read overall, if a bit rose tinted :)

azure975

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2017, 11:45:33 PM »
Taking a much longer view on the subject...I loved having my two children for the first 17 years. Then they got old enough to more or less go out into the world and do what they wanted. (We did pay for college for both of them.) Now that both adult children are at middle age and I guess I am almost a senior citizen, I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money. Shouldn't have bothered. Neither has much in common with me or cares much about me, except when they want something. I'm not being negative or critical--I certainly want both of them to have the lives they want. But I find that close friendships and a second, very happy marriage have given me a far better life than relationships with my adult children have. Good families are golden, but not all families are like the Waltons or families on the Disney channel...and there's really no way to know how your kids are going to turn out in the long haul. Just saying.

Interesting.....I'm childfree by choice but have often said that I would like to have the end result of kids (grown, adult children) but am not willing to go through the labor intensive first 18 years. Thanks for giving me a different perspective.

damyst

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #69 on: January 03, 2017, 02:15:14 AM »
It's amusing how discussions about "having kids" tend to refer to them in plural automatically, like "having lice". As if the exact number doesn't matter.
Granted, the change from having zero children to having one is the biggest shift in lifestyle, but when it comes to financials and other practicalities, having the second sometimes makes an even bigger difference.
MMM has reflected on this topic in a blog post, by the way.

My wife and I are raising one child, and have no plans for more. We sat on the fence for about a decade. We weren't anti-kids (see, I'm doing it too!), but seeing friends of ours virtually cease to exist as independent human beings upon becoming parents was a huge turn-off. We vowed to never let that happen to us, and so far it hasn't.

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #70 on: January 03, 2017, 07:36:50 AM »

Granted, the change from having zero children to having one is the biggest shift in lifestyle, but when it comes to financials and other practicalities, having the second sometimes makes an even bigger difference.
MMM has reflected on this topic in a blog post, by the way.

The good thing is usually (unless you have multiples) you can phase in.  If one child is enough or too much, you can stop right there. I will agree that in the five years that I had only one child, I still had it together and the main downside was that I had a tendency to hover and spoil my (now) oldest; those of my friends and family who had a single child seem to to be thriving, have successful careers, travel lots with their child, etc.  When I had two kids, things were chaotic at first but I soon had enough left over to volunteer in the community and be a bigwig in the PTA.  With three, I am hanging on by my fingertips, but since I was always the type who liked to over schedule and live on the edge, this is not bad for me.

Here is another thought: it's better to have kids if you feel like you are overflowing with excess time, money, and fun that you'd like to share.  It''s a bad idea to have kids to fill a hole you feel in yourself or your relationship.


Case

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #71 on: January 03, 2017, 07:38:20 AM »
End-of-year reflections are fertile ground for an existential crisis. Here are the headlines:
  • Money: Spouse and I pull in almost 300k annually - he's earning roughly 2/3 of that and I'm earning the other 1/3. We live off of 70k, gift around 20k a year, and invest 100k. While our income will dip in the next few years as one of us heads back to school, our combined income should stay above six-figures for the foreseeable future. I start with financials b/c they're the most comfortable part of this conversation. We haven't been earning this money for long, but are closing in on 300k net worth
  • Biology + Health: I'm a 33 year old female. Spouse is 34. We're approaching shit-or-get-off-the-pot territory for procreation. I've also put on 40 pounds in the last few years with a demanding desk job and have only recently begun to seriously address the weight through a better diet and exercise. Asked my Ob/Gyn in my last appointment if I'd be better off waiting a year to conceive to get my weight down or starting now and increasing our likelihood of getting that baby out by 35. She recommended youth over a healthy BMI
  • Family dynamics: Been married almost 3 years. Marriage is healthy overall, though there is an ongoing tension around some of the gender dynamics. We've got our current situation sorted out, but a baby would put pressure on a big nerve of mine.  I work from home and handle the vast majority of household management. He works for a bunch of consecutive days then has 6+ days off at a time. None of that downtime was spent on household stuff, so I've begun sending him weekly emails with to do lists for his days off. Anything that is on the list gets done.  He's an incredibly attentive partner emotionally and would rather spend time together than clean a bathtub that hasn't been cleaned in four months. We rent, have no pets and no kids, so it's do-able, though I have sacrificed some things I liked (shared dinners) because I got resentful about the work required on the back end. He eats frozen dinners now and I cook for myself as I did when I was single. He doesn't mind. We went to a therapist a few months ago to talk about this - specifically my concerns about adding more responsibilities to the household through having a child -  and the therapist just laughed when he figured out our ballpark income and told us to get a cleaning service + a nanny. We mumbled something about our savings rate and wanting to retire early and never went back. I know my husband would handle all the direct care (late night feedings, diapers) of the baby, but I'd be on my own handling the increased logistical load of the house with a child. Both of our mothers were stay at home parents and devoted their working years to running a well-oiled and loving household. I am not a good candidate for SAH parenthood and my husband is our primary earner.
  • Desire for kids: When we got married, we didn't think we were going to have kids. I worked with kids in my 20's and that seems to have met my caregiver needs (though I hear a lot of "it's different when they're YOUR kids"). He's an immigrant to the US and his desire for kids seems to stem largely from a desire to give a child access to the opportunities he didn't have growing up middle class in an under-developed country. He's getting the fever and I wax romantic occasionally. He's told me that he knew going into this marriage that neither one of us wanted kids and it's not on me to accommodate his changed mind. As we've talked (and talked and talked) about parenting, I've come to the conclusion that I'd be interested in fatherhood but not motherhood. I can see a path to joint "fatherhood" if we allocate my salary to outsourcing "motherhood" through nannies, cleaning services, grocery delivery, etc (maybe that therapist was on to something...). Husband balks at spending so much money, but I think I could get him on board with a more detailed budget. He's assured me that he'll be fine if we don't have kids, but this pregnancy purgatory of being off the pill but not actively trying to conceive is a drag
  • Living situation: We're in the middle of a 3 year contract in a part of the country where we have no family and don't have much in common with the people around us. We've got almost 2 years to go before we can move, and are both showing some signs of depression, so we're low on optimism and energy. On my best days, I feel excited to grow our family. Most days, I just want to put my head down and drive our savings rate as high as possible with this fat contract we've got. I suspect a kid would both stress us further when we're already down and give us a little much-needed sunshine and perspective.
It doesn't show up on this list, but I swear we'd be kick-ass parents. I've read every think piece out there about parenthood and happiness and childfree couples, and I'm ready for some face punches and reality checks from the incredible folks on this forum. Appreciate your time and perspectives.

Overall, your post does not make me think you are the right people to have children right now.  You remind me of myself (and my wife).  Listing pros and cons, debating over details, trying to make rational choices on something that I think is largely and emotional choice (e.g. the desire the have children).  All the people I know that have children all just knew they wanted to do it, it wasn't a large deliberation.  I am somewhat young (early 30s) but these people do not regret having children; they are all happy with their choice.  Maybe this is will change with time.  There are a lot of ways that having children can go wrong and is out of your control; if you aren't whole-heartedly into it, it may be a sign that you don't really want to have children but rather are worried about missing out on something that you don't necessarily want due to vicarious living.

Your last point, about temporarily living in a place you don't like, causing you to consider having children, worries me.  It is a temporary situation (2 years is not very long), while a child is very much long term.  A child might make you more stressed, or also fill in the emptiness in your life.  But this is not he purpose of a child, to help deal with temporary problems.  I'm guessing you didn't mean it exactly this way...

Since you listed family dynamics being enough of an issue to be a factor in your post, might I recommend trying to take care of that first?  If have children and the your relationship with your husband goes to shit (due to him not pulling his weight or whatever), it's going to rapidly become a very bad situation.

Some points I have not yet seen on this thread:
-Not pushing one way or the other here.  Just consider the following:  how will having children impact your social life and friendships?  Do all of your friends have children?  Do none?  Do some?  Will your friendships go to the back burner?  Is this ok with you?
-Of my friends, most of them have young children and I am the main one who doesn't.  For some friends, it doesn't matter.  For others, I feel like they are moving onto a different stage of life.

Easye418

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #72 on: January 03, 2017, 10:31:38 AM »
Based on the responses I have read, I am definitely on MMM forums. 

To the OP, this is something you need to figure out on your own, I don't think this is the right place for this question... at all.


Do it! Commit to it and do it well!
Seriously, it helps give purpose, direction, meaning to life. Put something into the world instead of just taking. Best of luck!

Really like this post.  Thanks.

KBecks

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #73 on: January 03, 2017, 10:38:31 AM »
* Have a baby and enjoy the fun of the mechanics.
* Spend date time together and enjoy that time before baby disrupts everything
* Hire a cleaning service to help take a load off both of you.
* Have you tried Zumba?

Happy New Year!!

Note:  Kids are messy, sticky, icky little things, and they are wonderful.  Just be aware.  I am sure you can handle it. 
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 10:43:12 AM by KBecks »

golden1

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #74 on: January 03, 2017, 11:19:54 AM »
Quote
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god. 

COlady

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #75 on: January 03, 2017, 11:41:25 AM »
Quote
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

limeandpepper

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #76 on: January 03, 2017, 11:49:10 AM »
Do it! Commit to it and do it well!
Seriously, it helps give purpose, direction, meaning to life. Put something into the world instead of just taking. Best of luck!

Really like this post.  Thanks.

I don't.

Because:

- The insinuation that child-free people only take and don't give.
- Conveniently forgetting that creating a child means creating another being that will be doing a whole lotta taking.
- Let's face it, people generally have children because they want to, which is great! But the point is, it's not to "put something into the world instead of just taking".

However, people who choose to adopt otherwise unwanted children even though they are capable of having biological kids - that really does deserve serious kudos.

For the most part, I believe people should have kids if they want (subject to the ability to care for them), and not have kids if they don't want any. Just don't kid yourself (pun intended) that you're doing it for some noble reason. The whole "it's for the greater good" argument comes up from both sides (e.g. "they'll be paying taxes [not necessarily] and they might cure cancer [probably not]" vs. "the planet is overpopulated and resources are finite"), which is funny, because at the end of the day the real reason is because you wanted them enough or you didn't want them enough, or sometimes for other reasons e.g. because you just thought it was what people do, etc. But very, very rarely is it actually for a truly magnanimous reason.

mrsnamemustache

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #77 on: January 03, 2017, 12:00:51 PM »
You really struck a chord with something I've been feeling with the "fatherhood" vs "motherhood" thing. I'm a woman, and while fatherhood sounds ideal, motherhood sounds like too much: too much anxiety, too much worry, too much responsibility, too much of the logistics of running a household with small people in it. I don't want to be the primary care giver. I don't want to be the point person for everything. And my partner really does try to do his fare share! But there are things that he just doesn't think about, and I know that would be compounded with kids.

But it's mostly the biological/hormonal stuff that worries me. Every one of my female friends has turned slightly crazy after having kids. They feel anxious and guilty all the time. The ones who work feel they should be spending more time with their kids. The ones who stay home feel they should be doing more with their lives, or miss adult interaction. Some moms I know can't leave their baby for more than a few hours, even with their own spouse, because they don't trust their husband to take care of the baby the way they would. Their husbands, on the other hand, feel nothing but freedom when they are away from their children, probably because they are confident that their mom has got this. These dads aren't bad parents, they are great parents, it's just that hormones make moms kind of crazy, and I'm not sure I want to sign up for that.

I want to be able to love and nurture and take care of a child without feeling like it is part of me. And I don't think that is possible for moms.

Motherhood doesn't have to be that way. I'll admit that I see some of these tendencies in many mothers I know, but it isn't my personal experience. I work without guilt, enjoy time with my kid, and trust my husband with my kid for days at a time. I think in additional to possible hormonal contributions, to the extent that this happens, it is a product of culture and personality. I think there is a recent cultural phenomena around motherhood that involves it having to be full of excessive sacrifice, but I think mothers can and should resist the guilt around these things when it doesn't makes sense. But I do think it is almost always true that the mother becomes the "point person" for most things.

I'd also like to add that my husband and I were on the fence about having a kid but decided to go for it. About 16 months in, we are ridiculously pleased with our decision. So I am not sure if being on the fence has much bearing on how much you will enjoy parenthood. Good luck!

okits

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2017, 12:12:27 PM »
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

Yeah, depressing, but I appreciate the honesty.  There are many facets to family situations, so a pat explanation (if the parents have a bad attitude the kids will stay away) can't capture the complexities of many real life situations.

Lanthiriel

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #79 on: January 03, 2017, 12:17:26 PM »
Based on the responses I have read, I am definitely on MMM forums. 

To the OP, this is something you need to figure out on your own, I don't think this is the right place for this question... at all.


Do it! Commit to it and do it well!
Seriously, it helps give purpose, direction, meaning to life. Put something into the world instead of just taking. Best of luck!

Really like this post.  Thanks.

Serious non accusatory question(s) as there seem to be many folks here who feel that having kids is a biological and evolutionary imperative: Why shouldn't logic and quantitative reasoning be applied to having children? Why is having kids the one thing in life that we're somehow not allowed to question? Isn't Mustachianism about finding what makes you happiest and pursuing it? Why are we allowed to opt out of consumerism, which, let's be honest, makes the US economy go 'round, but we can't opt out of having children?

Quote
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god. 

The cult of having children feels a lot like religion to me. For people in it, who really believe in it, it seems almost impossible to see how something that brings you so much meaning could be a burden to someone else. For those on the outside, you're confused why everyone is involved in this ritual that has no meaning for you. Both sides would argue that they're the ones with their eyes open and know what really matters, but in the end can you really prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach for everyone?

The person who sees raising children as a waste of time and money is not saying that her children are a waste of time and money. It's completely reasonable to find other aspects of your life more fulfilling and acknowledge that you would not make the same choice again without it meaning that you wish your children had never been born. For me, it's a huge burden that so much of my own mother's identity is wrapped up in me and my sisters. Our lives and our relationship with her would be much easier if she didn't see our every move as a reflection upon her, and if she was able to have an identity outside of being a mother.

OP, a lot of other people have said it, but the only good reason to have kids is that you really want kids. If you can't look yourself in the mirror and say, "this is what I want," then why do it? Would you do that with any other decision in your life?

azure975

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #80 on: January 03, 2017, 12:32:01 PM »
Quote
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

I find these responses pretty judgemental. I appreciate the poster's honesty. Your reactions are probably why people with kids don't feel comfortable being honest about their experiences and feel the need to "evangelize" everyone else.

pbkmaine

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #81 on: January 03, 2017, 12:32:44 PM »
With the world teeming with people, along with the general availability of reliable birth control, shouldn't the default mode be "no children"?

Easye418

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #82 on: January 03, 2017, 12:39:12 PM »
Serious non accusatory question(s) as there seem to be many folks here who feel that having kids is a biological and evolutionary imperative: Why shouldn't logic and quantitative reasoning be applied to having children? Why is having kids the one thing in life that we're somehow not allowed to question? Isn't Mustachianism about finding what makes you happiest and pursuing it? Why are we allowed to opt out of consumerism, which, let's be honest, makes the US economy go 'round, but we can't opt out of having children?

To answer your serious non accusatory question, there isn't anything set in stone to tell me how I should live my life.  In all seriousness, I just like the quote, I like the idea of expanding my family and parenting, I feel it is the next step in our life.  If someone wants to opt out, by all means, opt out.  Whatever makes you the best you.

pachnik

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #83 on: January 03, 2017, 12:43:20 PM »
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

Yeah, depressing, but I appreciate the honesty.  There are many facets to family situations, so a pat explanation (if the parents have a bad attitude the kids will stay away) can't capture the complexities of many real life situations.

+1 My husband has a great attitude but his daughter from his previous marriage stays away.    No guarantees whatsoever.


Lagom

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #85 on: January 03, 2017, 12:56:02 PM »
Some of you who don't want kids are being too touchy about it. I get it, a lot of people judge your choice, but I don't think there has been much judgement in this thread other than the comments related to lizzzi's post, I suppose. Just because some of us derive great joy from our children doesn't mean we have any issue with those who choose not to have them. In some ways I wish I didn't want kids. Much of my life would be so much more straightforward and I envy the FIRE advantages of DINKs, not to mention their flexibility to live as they please without worrying about a little one. But I was wired to procreate, it seems, and I don't regret it whatsoever :)

With the world teeming with people, along with the general availability of reliable birth control, shouldn't the default mode be "no children"?

This doesn't really apply to pretty much any first world country, the majority of which are peaking, or even declining in population, especially if you take immigration out of the equation. See Japan as exhibit A why we don't want a population decline. Plus from all recent accounts I've read, the world as a whole is slowing in growth and heading towards a stable population that should be sustainable as long as we actually do something about global warming and other ecological threats (which is entirely possible with current technology).


Lanthiriel

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #86 on: January 03, 2017, 01:09:57 PM »
Some of you who don't want kids are being too touchy about it. I get it, a lot of people judge your choice, but I don't think there has been much judgement in this thread other than the comments related to lizzzi's post, I suppose.

The only part I take issue with is people saying "Just do it. It will be fine." I think it's awesome to share your experience bringing up kids and its challenges and rewards. That's helpful! But I think it's dangerous to discount someone's concerns, especially in light of OP's ongoing issues with distribution of domestic duties and ambivalence about motherhood, and say "You'll love it. I promise."

nobody123

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #87 on: January 03, 2017, 01:12:17 PM »
If you're not sure you want kids, I would advise against it.  They suck.  Only in retrospect have I realized how totally I had to abandon my old life to have kids.  It's like I'm a totally different person, and not in a good way.  Everything that I once thought made my life interesting or worthwhile is gone, replaced with stress and obligation.

+1.  It's not like 150 years ago where you had to pop out 10 kids to make sure at least a couple would survive and help you out on the farm.  If you aren't sure, don't have them.  Kids are a total PITA.  At times I envy my divorced friends because they get to send their kids to their exes and can live the child-free lifestyle a few days every week.  Even "perfect" kids add a huge amount of stress to a marriage, limit your career choices (good luck selling a move to your family mid-school year, or away from the grandparents, etc.), and suck up pretty much all of your free time.  I'm the "good husband, shitty roommate" type, and if my wife wasn't a SAHM and willing to do a disproportionate amount of the housework, we would probably have had to hire a housekeeper.  I love my kids fiercely and would do just about anything for them, but they are challenging.  I always liked the Wanda Sykes joke that your friends with kids always say "They're a lot of work, ...but they're worth it" but they can't look you in the eyes when they're saying it.  Kids completely turn your world upside down, and unfortunately there's no way to know what it is going to look like before having them and you see how you and your spouse adapt to the new reality.  If both of you aren't completely open to doing what is best for the family as a whole once the child arrives, it will be tough sledding.


limeandpepper

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #88 on: January 03, 2017, 01:13:03 PM »
Quote
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

I find these responses pretty judgemental. I appreciate the poster's honesty. Your reactions are probably why people with kids don't feel comfortable being honest about their experiences and feel the need to "evangelize" everyone else.

+1

Maybe the world would be a better place if people can talk about these things without other people immediately assuming the worst about them? Why is there immediately the assumption that the parent must have done something wrong or have a bad attitude? Maybe the person with the bad attitude is not the one who admits to regretting kids, but the one who tries to make them feel awful for it?

To me, the poster quoted sounds like someone who enjoyed raising kids, and hoped to have a good relationship with their kids throughout their lives, and felt disappointed because that didn't quite happen, which is kind of an understandable/reasonable situation to me? There are no guarantees for these things, there could be a reason for it, there may not be, seems unkind to assume it must be the parent's fault.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 01:16:30 PM by limeandpepper »

KCM5

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #89 on: January 03, 2017, 01:13:56 PM »
With the world teeming with people, along with the general availability of reliable birth control, shouldn't the default mode be "no children"?

For me, as a childless 20 something, that absolutely was the default. The act of deciding to have a child was active - stopping birth control, and in our case, actually taking fertility meds.

I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

Yeah, depressing, but I appreciate the honesty.  There are many facets to family situations, so a pat explanation (if the parents have a bad attitude the kids will stay away) can't capture the complexities of many real life situations.

I appreciate the honesty as well. Also, I think the negative reaction to that story really has more to do with the person reacting than the reality of the situation. If you have a child that you enjoy right now, you don't want to think that your relationship could sour in the future. So you think it must have been something the parent did, and that you won't do.

wenchsenior

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #90 on: January 03, 2017, 02:16:45 PM »
Quote
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

I find these responses pretty judgemental. I appreciate the poster's honesty. Your reactions are probably why people with kids don't feel comfortable being honest about their experiences and feel the need to "evangelize" everyone else.

+1

Maybe the world would be a better place if people can talk about these things without other people immediately assuming the worst about them? Why is there immediately the assumption that the parent must have done something wrong or have a bad attitude? Maybe the person with the bad attitude is not the one who admits to regretting kids, but the one who tries to make them feel awful for it?

To me, the poster quoted sounds like someone who enjoyed raising kids, and hoped to have a good relationship with their kids throughout their lives, and felt disappointed because that didn't quite happen, which is kind of an understandable/reasonable situation to me? There are no guarantees for these things, there could be a reason for it, there may not be, seems unkind to assume it must be the parent's fault.

+ 1000.  Plenty of parent/child relationships are perfectly fine when the offspring are young and dependent, and gradually become more of an obligatory thing as the kid grows up. Kids don't always take on traits a parent might wish they had, regardless of parental effort and quality of parenting skills. There's a very distinct possibility that as adults, you would not necessarily ever hang out with each other if you weren't blood relatives. I know lots of people who rarely have contact with their parents and don't really care that much that they don't.  I know a few parents who feel the same way.  Generally speaking, it's not uncommon for relatives to actively dislike or simply not relate to each other; why should parent/kid relationships be any different?

No one is necessarily at fault for this. .. I don't understand why being honest about it is so upsetting to people.

Case

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #91 on: January 03, 2017, 03:34:59 PM »
Do it! Commit to it and do it well!
Seriously, it helps give purpose, direction, meaning to life. Put something into the world instead of just taking. Best of luck!

Really like this post.  Thanks.

I don't.

Because:

- The insinuation that child-free people only take and don't give.
- Conveniently forgetting that creating a child means creating another being that will be doing a whole lotta taking.
- Let's face it, people generally have children because they want to, which is great! But the point is, it's not to "put something into the world instead of just taking".

However, people who choose to adopt otherwise unwanted children even though they are capable of having biological kids - that really does deserve serious kudos.

For the most part, I believe people should have kids if they want (subject to the ability to care for them), and not have kids if they don't want any. Just don't kid yourself (pun intended) that you're doing it for some noble reason. The whole "it's for the greater good" argument comes up from both sides (e.g. "they'll be paying taxes [not necessarily] and they might cure cancer [probably not]" vs. "the planet is overpopulated and resources are finite"), which is funny, because at the end of the day the real reason is because you wanted them enough or you didn't want them enough, or sometimes for other reasons e.g. because you just thought it was what people do, etc. But very, very rarely is it actually for a truly magnanimous reason.

Very much agree.  A much better way to give to the world in the truest sense is to adopt or be a bigger brother/sister or help educate the less-fortunate.  All of these options help disadvantaged people who are here already (like it or not) and are more likely to consume.

There's also not much of a guarantee that everyone's child here will become a perfect little mustachian.

HappierAtHome

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #92 on: January 03, 2017, 11:10:54 PM »
Do it! Commit to it and do it well!
Seriously, it helps give purpose, direction, meaning to life. Put something into the world instead of just taking. Best of luck!

Really like this post.  Thanks.

I don't.

Because:

- The insinuation that child-free people only take and don't give.
- Conveniently forgetting that creating a child means creating another being that will be doing a whole lotta taking.
- Let's face it, people generally have children because they want to, which is great! But the point is, it's not to "put something into the world instead of just taking".

(snipped)

For the most part, I believe people should have kids if they want (subject to the ability to care for them), and not have kids if they don't want any. Just don't kid yourself (pun intended) that you're doing it for some noble reason. The whole "it's for the greater good" argument comes up from both sides (e.g. "they'll be paying taxes [not necessarily] and they might cure cancer [probably not]" vs. "the planet is overpopulated and resources are finite"), which is funny, because at the end of the day the real reason is because you wanted them enough or you didn't want them enough, or sometimes for other reasons e.g. because you just thought it was what people do, etc. But very, very rarely is it actually for a truly magnanimous reason.

THIS TIMES A MILLION.

There is no guarantee that a child you create will be of net benefit to the world.

I want kids (I'm pregnant right now) but that doesn't somehow make me a better person than my childfree friends. They're not selfish. They wanted something different from life, so that's what they're doing - that's very, very rational.

I'm not "giving something back" by having kids. I'm creating human beings who will require a huge quantity of time and resources for at least the first few decades of their lives. And because I sadly do not have a time machine or crystal ball, I have no guarantee (or indeed, any belief that it is even vaguely likely) that any child of mine will be the one in a billion who cures cancer or solves climate change. I still believe that it's worth having kids, but it's worth it to ME because I WANT them. It's not a selfless act by any stretch.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #93 on: January 04, 2017, 02:54:13 AM »
Some of you who don't want kids are being too touchy about it. I get it, a lot of people judge your choice, but I don't think there has been much judgement in this thread other than the comments related to lizzzi's post, I suppose. Just because some of us derive great joy from our children doesn't mean we have any issue with those who choose not to have them. In some ways I wish I didn't want kids. Much of my life would be so much more straightforward and I envy the FIRE advantages of DINKs, not to mention their flexibility to live as they please without worrying about a little one. But I was wired to procreate, it seems, and I don't regret it whatsoever :)

I like this. In the (or at least my) wider world then the child-free do get a lot of judgement. I've found the MMM boards in general more accepting of the child-free.

I won't have kids, hearing the viewpoints of people who are super-committed and enthusiastic about their kid(s) actually reinforces my belief that they are wrong for me. I think the different opinions are useful data for the OP.

Having kid(s) is a little like following MMM, or starting Crossfit, or finding a new religion. It has such a positive impact on one person's life that there can be a tendency to assume that it will have a similar positive experience on everyone else's life. There can also be a bit of backlash against people who tried [Crossfit] and said that it wasn't really for them. It is easier to suppose that the person should have done [Crossfit] better or differently rather than accept that what is life-affirming for me isn't for everyone.

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #94 on: January 04, 2017, 10:52:05 AM »
New father here (4 month old son).

I feel like anything I say will just sound like me trying to justify having kids, but I don't want it to sound that way.

I LOVE IT, and my DW loves it too. It's been fun so far and we are already talking about our next child, hopefully a daughter!

From the mustachian perspective, the kid hasn't been super expensive.  A few bills insurance didn't cover, diapers, and some second hand stuff.

It hasn't changed our lifestyle much either. We bundle the kid up and carry him hiking and snowshoeing. We visit friends, and go out to eat occasionally. When he was just 4 weeks old we carried him out to my friend's remote cabin for a a night. So far it seems having kids is like the rest of life: it's what you make of it.

little_brown_dog

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #95 on: January 04, 2017, 10:54:17 AM »
Was thinking about this thread the other day….specifically the psychology of being a parent and the extreme emotional toll it can take on people (lots of highs, lots of lows). It’s another factor to consider, and I’m not just talking about the general exhaustion of parenting, or the unending responsibility…I’m talking about that saying “having a child is like having your heart walk around outside of your body.” I think for many parents, this statement is absolutely true, and it goes way beyond just YOUR kid too.

Before I had kids, I was still a very empathetic person but I have seen some tough sh*t through my work (poverty, drug addiction, homelessness, dying children in PICUs, and that’s just the tough stuff that didn’t happen to me!) so I wasn’t the type to get really emotional about news stories, the state of the world, etc. I’m pretty even keeled. After having my daughter, that changed. I’m still really resilient and optimistic, but I can’t seem to get stories (even made up ones!) of child endangerment or whatnot out of my head when I see them. They bother me more deeply. They unsettle me in a way they never would have before. I can’t see a news story about a dad who beat his baby to death and just forget about it like I used to. Or the other night we watched a movie with a scene with a plane crash…there was one brief second they flashed to a mom comforting her crying baby on the doomed flight as the plane was going down…can’t get it out of my head. REALLY bothered me. Or the time the Newtown shooting happened, and I walked into the living room to find my 60yr old parents crying on the couch watching the news flash pictures of agonized parents on their knees in the road. They didn’t know any of these kids or these people, but a small part of them was dying inside too.

This was something no one really told me about, but I think it is an important consideration, especially if people already have struggles with anxiety and depression.

On a lighter note...this Family Guy clip sums this up nicely :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOP2aaWUwzI
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 11:02:29 AM by little_brown_dog »

money beard

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #96 on: January 04, 2017, 11:20:44 AM »
Like others have suggested, you should make your decision on kids vs. no kids based on your personal preferences.  FI doesn't really play into it too much. 

I will add that I have two children, three and one.  They are at a really expensive stage right now because both attend day care (my wife and I both work full time) and diapers, formula, and all the medical care is very costly.  Plus we are trying to front load some 529s so they can get some compounding growth.  They will get a little cheaper when they get potty trained, a lot cheaper when they can attend public school instead of day care out of my pocket.  At that point, I think they get steadily more expensive (but never as bad as the day care / diaper / formula costs) until college when obviously if you are paying for that its worse than day care.  They do cause you to become even more frugal on restaurants, alcohol, and entertainment because taking care of them uses so much of your free time. 

That being said, I have figured out what portion of our expenses are kid-related, and ran it through my FI/RE spreadsheets to see when we would have retired if we had invested everything we spent on the kids.  My kids cost us around 7 years on our path to FI.  I would have retired at age 43 without them, and with them, I will be around fifty.  And I might work an extra year or two if one of my girls gets into Harvard or something and our adequately funded 529s can't cut it. 

For me, the seven/eight years difference is worth it; obviously your mileage may vary based on your thoughts about kids and also on your savings rate.  If kids were going to tack on twenty years instead of seven maybe I would feel differently, but overall I still think I would have them.  I really enjoy being a father and it is an experience unlike anything else I have ever done.  Sure there are days I question what the hell we were thinking but I also have moments where my three year old does something funny or says something sweet and I think to myself that I would not trade my decisions for anything in the world. 

The other thing you should take into consideration in deciding whether or not to have kids is how much you like your spouse.  Your kids will bring out new sides in both of you, you will get to see him/her at their very best and at their worst.  For some couples that stress is a good thing, for others its bad.  But something to consider.

golden1

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #97 on: January 04, 2017, 01:03:03 PM »
Quote
Quote from: okits on January 03, 2017, 12:12:27 PM
Quote from: COlady on January 03, 2017, 11:41:25 AM
Quote from: golden1 on January 03, 2017, 11:19:54 AM
Quote from: lizzzi on December 30, 2016, 08:44:58 AM
I have to say that other than those first, fulfilling, child-raising years, it's been a huge waste of time and money.

This is the single most depressing thing I have read on these forums.  Without question.  My god.

I second that. Maybe the kids don't come around because you have a bad attitude about life so they're distancing themselves?

Yeah, depressing, but I appreciate the honesty.  There are many facets to family situations, so a pat explanation (if the parents have a bad attitude the kids will stay away) can't capture the complexities of many real life situations.

I appreciate the honesty as well. Also, I think the negative reaction to that story really has more to do with the person reacting than the reality of the situation. If you have a child that you enjoy right now, you don't want to think that your relationship could sour in the future. So you think it must have been something the parent did, and that you won't do.

Quote
The cult of having children feels a lot like religion to me. For people in it, who really believe in it, it seems almost impossible to see how something that brings you so much meaning could be a burden to someone else. For those on the outside, you're confused why everyone is involved in this ritual that has no meaning for you. Both sides would argue that they're the ones with their eyes open and know what really matters, but in the end can you really prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach for everyone?

I didn't say that that statement was depressing to be judgemental.  It was a gut emotional reaction to a very strong statement about LIVING children that this person spent 18 years with and has apparently no emotional attachment.  Child-loving or child-free, that is just a sad, sad thing to read.  Imagine being told, or just knowing that your parents consider you a "waste of time and money".  It just took my breath away to read, that's all.   And yes, as a parent of a teenager, I would be heartbroken to think that I could ever feel this way.  Even if my teen ended up being a horrible adult, I am as certain as I can be that I would not view raising the child as "a waste of time and money". 

Personally I am all for people not having children if they choose not to.  We have over seven million, we don't need more.  So don't think this is some sort of judgement on people who responsibly choose not to have children. 

Snow White

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #98 on: January 04, 2017, 04:04:04 PM »
I've been thinking about OP's dilemma and thought I'd share my story...maybe helpful? I absolutely, positively did not want or plan to have children. Period. No ambivalence. Three years into a five year marriage I got pregnant while on the pill. I couldn't face abortion so I had a daughter and shortly thereafter, a divorce. I had a tubal ligation before she was a year old so as to never make that "mistake" again.

Now I shudder to think what my life would have been without her or the two granddaughters she gave me. Truly, it strikes a cold fear in my heart to know what I could have missed. I remarried and never regretted not having more children and I firmly believe we don't all have the interest, disposition or spousal support to have children and we should NOT feel a moment of guilt about it.  Somehow I rose to the occasion though and managed to be a reasonably good mom despite my lack of initial interest.

I am not sure what the message is in this story except that you really can't know how you are going to feel before you get there.  I am sure I would have had a lovely life without a child but I know that I had a better one because I did. Not everyone has the same experience but it worked out for me.  I wish OP the best of luck as this is such a momentous decision.

GilbertB

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Re: on the fence re: kids
« Reply #99 on: January 04, 2017, 04:42:26 PM »
Had a hard day digging out broken sewage pipes in the garden.
Moving more the three tons of earth to find an elusive fault in a 1965 system.
After diner I my 4 year old, sensing my tired frustration gave me a very long cuddle to cheer me up and generally was very sweet to me.

Theses moment make all the poop smeared diapers worth it.

I get frustrated with parents complaining about their teen being the worst, yet when I spend time with them, they are generally quite with me, probably because I listen, don't judge, and remember that I was an awkward one too. Only rarely do you actually met someone that is really bad, prevented or sick.
If your kids voluntarily infuriate you, then distance themselves, I'm no psychologist, but it seems that they were asking for something then got tired of getting no answers.

But, hey, I could be wrong, y'all are perfect and it's all the fault those closely genetically related ungrateful  leeches :)

And if your spouse and yourself are asking yourselves about kids, life and consequences, you probably have a far higher IQ than those who are asking themselves the same questions at around kid no5... so please procreate for the good of the human gene pool!