Author Topic: reconsidering having a child  (Read 4826 times)

living_la_vida_mi

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #50 on: November 15, 2017, 08:40:55 AM »
I agree that much emphasis is being put into "your old life is over", etc. Sure, it is a huge change. But children come to add and enrich your life, not make it burdensome. And while A LOT of your life revolves around them (and it is very exhausting at times), you are still YOU. Just a matter of organizing yourself. My husband still does paragliding and kittesurfs, while I am with the kids. About once a week he gets together with friends and plays in a band. In contrast, if I want to spend a few hours at the beach, read a book, go to a spa, go to dinner / happy hour with my friends, it is my husband who stays with the kids. If we both want to go out for dinner, we get a babysitter or ask the grandparents if they are in town. We also have travelled extensively with them. Travelling is huge for us and there is no way we would give that up. My 6 year old has been to 14 countries, while my 2 year old has been to 6. Our trips with kids are AWESOME and keep getting better.
We were at the fence for a long time. On a whim, decided to make it a go  (no 100% certainty... maybe 80%)? How are you ever 100% sure of something? At 35 I had our son. Deciding whether to have the second was way harder. We were finally done with the toddler years, and felt "we got this," life was certainly easier. Decided to open a small (3 month) window of opportunity (just not to say we didn't try) and sure enough, pregnant again at 39. The sweetest, most loved baby girl in the world. 
For us it was sooooooo worth it. Love those two so much. We are easygoing, flexible about most things but make sure the kids understand that they are part of the family as opposed to everything revolving around them (which is inevitable sometimes, but...). Very glad I waited till mid-thirties. Have done a lot of what I wanted to do already, am more self assured, and ready to dedicate a lot of my time to them. My life has for sure only benefitted with this change. Good luck with your decision!

Louisville

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #51 on: November 15, 2017, 09:20:36 AM »
Wow.
I'm just not understanding all these responses about "you old life will be over" and "don't do it if you're not 1000% crazy about the idea", etc.
Having a kid or two will change things, and yes it's difficult. But, god damn, it's not like doing 20 in prison or being confined to a wheelchair.
For every person you see walking around, someone had a kid. In most cases they lived through it.
You'll have challenges to overcome that you wouldn't have without kids, and rewards and regrets to reap, but you'll still be you.
Both of my kids were unplanned, childish mistakes. "I'm pregnant" was not good news. We had no money and few prospects. But we turned all that around. And with kids now in their mid-twenties and living good lives, I'm super glad I had them. A deeper love you cannot imagine.
So, ease up. Pump out some kids. Again, parenthood is not a prison sentence, a death sentence, or a one-way ticket to Mars. It's just parenthood. Goes on all over the place all the time.

Ugh.

It was only a matter of time, really.
A bit indelicate, perhaps...

Louisville

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #52 on: November 15, 2017, 09:29:51 AM »
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Really? Are sure that's not hyperbole?

Not hyperbole.  When you haven't slept more than a couple of hours for three nights, and the baby is colicky and still crying, and you have to go to work where people are counting on your contribution ... bad thoughts can go through your head, and you start to wonder what kind of person you are.   Of course it all goes away with a good night's sleep and the baby's smiles :-)

This is not even touching the late teen years.

I can see how some people might have a great partner and an easy baby, or just more self-confidence, and it might not be so bad.  I'm betting every parent has had some pretty low points, though.
Like fantasizing about smothering the little fucker with a pillow? Yeah, been there.  Letting them cry a little (or a lot) too long before getting up? Yeah. Getting so depressed that your spouse is afraid to leave you alone with the kid? Not me, but my wife, yes.
But, those shouldn't make you doubt your worth as a human being. Those things should, frankly, be expected. They're perfectly natural reactions to the situation. Do I feel a twinge of guilt, still? Sure, but I have to be as sympathetic to myself (and others) as I am to the baby.
Anyway, no regrets about having kids - even in a less than ideal situation.

jezebel

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #53 on: November 15, 2017, 10:25:24 AM »
Quote
Really? Are sure that's not hyperbole?

Not hyperbole.  When you haven't slept more than a couple of hours for three nights, and the baby is colicky and still crying, and you have to go to work where people are counting on your contribution ... bad thoughts can go through your head, and you start to wonder what kind of person you are.   Of course it all goes away with a good night's sleep and the baby's smiles :-)

This is not even touching the late teen years.

I can see how some people might have a great partner and an easy baby, or just more self-confidence, and it might not be so bad.  I'm betting every parent has had some pretty low points, though.
Like fantasizing about smothering the little fucker with a pillow? Yeah, been there.  Letting them cry a little (or a lot) too long before getting up? Yeah. Getting so depressed that your spouse is afraid to leave you alone with the kid? Not me, but my wife, yes.
But, those shouldn't make you doubt your worth as a human being. Those things should, frankly, be expected. They're perfectly natural reactions to the situation. Do I feel a twinge of guilt, still? Sure, but I have to be as sympathetic to myself (and others) as I am to the baby.
Anyway, no regrets about having kids - even in a less than ideal situation.

While I agree that parents shouldn't doubt their worth as humans, it's pretty easy to do when one is in the depths of depression or sleep deprivation, or both.  Obviously we need to take it easy on ourselves, but it's certainly not hyperbole to feel like that at some point as a parent.

LadyMuMu

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #54 on: November 15, 2017, 10:40:27 AM »
I think it comes down to WHY you have kids. If you're doing it to enrich YOUR life or to give YOURSELF the full parenting experience--you may want to reconsider. The happiest and most fulfilled parents I know have kids because they want to be a part of THEIR lives.

For example, we are a backpacking family. When our sons were too small to backpack, we went camping and hiking instead with an eye towards building the love of nature and outdoors skills. After 10 years, we're finally at a place where our guys can carry their own gear and their share of family gear for a week-long backpacking trip. It was a huge moment for us as a family. But someone else might just look at this story as a 10-year stretch where you couldn't backpack like you were used to doing. It's all about your outlook.

acroy

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2017, 10:53:51 AM »
If you're doing it to enrich YOUR life or to give YOURSELF the full parenting experience--you may want to reconsider. The happiest and most fulfilled parents I know have kids because they want to be a part of THEIR lives.
^^
Yep. kids help you become an adult. Give instead of just take. Put something into the world instead of always just wanting crap from it. Done properly, kids will turn you into a much much better person. Change your whole perspective on chit.

Obviously I wouldn't have it any other way ;)

yes it is hard work. Hard does not equal bad. Hard is GOOD for you.

If you do it, do it right, OWN it.

Good luck!!
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Case

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #56 on: November 15, 2017, 12:42:04 PM »
I am a strong believer in that the questions that we are most seeking an answer for - we already have or know within ourselves.

Hopefully, reading the MMM community members' perspectives continues to give you additional insights into your own thoughts. maybe some responses felt viscerally agreeable and others not? If so, that may give you more clues into what it is you're already thinking.

I have no stats to back me up on this - but I have a hunch that if you're an MMMer, asking these questions, and thinking through this decision, and having these discussions with your wife respectfully and honestly, AND with your demonstrated willingness to ask for help when you need it...it means [insert answer that comes to mind immediately here]

wishing you the best of luck!

Unfortunately I'm not a gut-feeling type of person.  I'm more the type that agonizes over decision, and bigger decisions (this is one of the biggest of all), are hard.  The answers here are a mix of useful and not so useful, which I fully expected (and is ok).  There are a lot of people here seemingly arguing that your entire purpose in life becomes your child; they give the impression that you get the extreme end of this, where you live vicariously through your child, and don't really have anything going on personally beyond the child, and that is either wrong or impossible to have anything fun in your life (aside from the child).  I am doubtful of this, but certainly acknowledge that your life changes dramatically.  I also don't think people really mean this in most cases, but the information I'm more looking for his how to balance things in life with a child.  For example, some people are saying "all your plans to travel and backpack are gone", while meanwhile other people are giving examples of making it happen.  Therefore I'm look for more practical, semi-quantitative/applicable information.

I think there are probably different ways to raise a child, multiple of which can be good.  There have been and continue to be plenty of people that live exciting lives doing adventurous things for a long time.  The question more for me to answer is how much freedom I am willing to give up.

affordablehousing

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #57 on: November 15, 2017, 01:01:08 PM »
Good that you are stirring the pot with this- and that at least you are thinking about whether to have a kid or not. I think you knew you wouldn't find an answer here, and this whole chain is somewhere between trolling and naivete. Good luck but I don't think anyone ever decided something huge by asking a message board.

koshtra

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #58 on: November 15, 2017, 01:10:40 PM »
I am a strong believer in that the questions that we are most seeking an answer for - we already have or know within ourselves.

Hopefully, reading the MMM community members' perspectives continues to give you additional insights into your own thoughts. maybe some responses felt viscerally agreeable and others not? If so, that may give you more clues into what it is you're already thinking.

I have no stats to back me up on this - but I have a hunch that if you're an MMMer, asking these questions, and thinking through this decision, and having these discussions with your wife respectfully and honestly, AND with your demonstrated willingness to ask for help when you need it...it means [insert answer that comes to mind immediately here]

wishing you the best of luck!

Unfortunately I'm not a gut-feeling type of person.  I'm more the type that agonizes over decision, and bigger decisions (this is one of the biggest of all), are hard.  The answers here are a mix of useful and not so useful, which I fully expected (and is ok).  There are a lot of people here seemingly arguing that your entire purpose in life becomes your child; they give the impression that you get the extreme end of this, where you live vicariously through your child, and don't really have anything going on personally beyond the child, and that is either wrong or impossible to have anything fun in your life (aside from the child).  I am doubtful of this, but certainly acknowledge that your life changes dramatically.  I also don't think people really mean this in most cases, but the information I'm more looking for his how to balance things in life with a child.  For example, some people are saying "all your plans to travel and backpack are gone", while meanwhile other people are giving examples of making it happen.  Therefore I'm look for more practical, semi-quantitative/applicable information.

I think there are probably different ways to raise a child, multiple of which can be good.  There have been and continue to be plenty of people that live exciting lives doing adventurous things for a long time.  The question more for me to answer is how much freedom I am willing to give up.

I think what some of us are driving at is somewhat different. The point isn't that you don't get to do your favorite stuff any more. Of course you do! And a lot of times it's more fun, because you're getting to introduce your kids to it, too. But the point is that you don't belong to yourself any more. And to people with a certain sort of modern American upbringing (where the message children absorb is "I am the center of the universe and all things hinge on me!") that's both a shock and a blessed relief.

It's not that you don't count, it's just that you come in decidedly second. Your freedom actually is precisely what you give up, and in a way you give up all of it. When they need you, you're there for them, period. You may get an easy kid, you may get a hard kid; they may sleep through the night, they may not; they may be healthy, they may be sickly. You don't get to know ahead of time, and you don't get to bail if it's not what you expected.

For me, not being the focus of my own life for a couple decades was a liberating and humanizing experience, and I'm really grateful for it.

When my daughter was thinking about having kids, and asked me whether I thought it was a good idea, I said "it's not really something you can make a rational decision about. Is it a good idea to take on a lifetime responsibility of which I know NONE of the details? ... um... I don't know. No one knows. It's not possible to know." 

me1

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #59 on: November 15, 2017, 01:24:40 PM »
Well you can't seriously expect anonymous people on the internet to make a decision if you want to have a kid or not. It comes back to what you want. And only you know that. You will never have all the information to make that decision, because you will never know what it's like to have a kid until you do...
Of course each of the people described what the experience was like for them. While some details may be similar, yours will be entirely your own.
Yes, it's possible to travel internationally with kids. Yes, it's possible to have fun while travelling with kids. It's possible to hike and camp with kids, and have fun doing it. We have done all of these. Will it be the same as it was without kids? no! It will be completely different and you will have to be flexible to make it happen.
I have even started to learn a martial art WITH my kid. and it's a blast (newsflash: he is way better than me!)
I think that's what people had been trying to tell you. Doing anything with kids will be different than doing it without kids. Going to a restaurant, going to the movies, going to a concert, even small things like that will be completely different. THey are all possible to do, but will take an entirely new approach.
How much your life revolves around your kid will depend on your personality and how you decide to raise your kids. I don't think everyone was saying you will never have your own interests again, but once you have kids, they are ALWAYS around and need to be considered for any decision you make, including how you spend your time.
I think that's what people were trying to tell you when saying that your life will change. Not necessarily that you won't be able to have any fun. Just that different things will be fun. Things you can't predict now.
And for me, I agree that it has made me a better, more thoughtful human being.
For the record, we never planned on having kids, but it's an experience I am very very glad I had. I agree that it's the hardest thing I, personally have ever done (I am sure there are harder experiences one COULD have, but I have never had to do 20 years hard labor, so hard to compare...), but it's also been extremely rewarding.
One thing I have noticed is that there are people who are really into babies, and ones who are more into kids once they start to communicate. The baby stage was very hard for me. But ever since he started being able to communicate, it has only gotten easier and more fun. To watch how his brain works and discuss stuff with him is amazing. He knows a lot more than me about a lot of things that interest him. He is just kind of an awesome little human, and the fact that we have a lot of similar interests makes it all the better.

koshtra

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #60 on: November 15, 2017, 01:33:31 PM »
But, seriously now. Little baby toes are SO CUTE!

You have to factor that in too.

Case

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #61 on: November 15, 2017, 02:49:36 PM »
Well you can't seriously expect anonymous people on the internet to make a decision if you want to have a kid or not. .

There seem to be a lot of people here who want to answer that question, the question I didn't ask.  Not asking about what the answer is; asking about the information used to make the choice.

Chrissy

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #62 on: November 15, 2017, 05:16:46 PM »
I'm trying to understand how child-raising will impact the things I wanted to do in retirement (FIRE is ~5 years away). 

Having one child did not impact our timeline for FIRE, but having two will... and we're expecting again in a few months.

I originally was like many people on this forum: wanting to retire from a conventional job so that I could go on more fulfilling adventures in retirement, travel internationally, pursue all of these things that I find hard to focus on when my life revolves around a conventional corporate job.  Does a child compromise all of that?

No.  It makes it more expensive, and what you do WHILE you're traveling will be impacted.  A child isn't going to have the stamina to go to 3 museums in a day, and would not be welcome at (or awake for) the opening night of an opera in Helsinki.

Certainly our independence is impacted, right? 

Not your independence, but say goodbye to spontaneity.  My husband and I do all the things we used to, but the other has to cover with the kiddo, so we have to plan and communicate.  I think this works well with one, but will probably go away with two, because two-kids-on-one-parent will be too hard to do often.

affordablehousing

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #63 on: November 15, 2017, 06:23:12 PM »
Still hilarious. What are you expecting? Most people have kids, and most of those are not going to say, well that was the dumbest thing I did in my life. Same principle as people in fraternities (which I think are uniformly idiotic) not saying how dumb they are.

I think the other thing to think about- you don't need to be a good parent. You can have kids and then just not pay much attention to them and be selfish. Let them deal with the fallout. This might sound tongue in cheek, but tons of parents do that, then wonder why their kids are screwed up. But think too, you're giving the world a gift not having kids, so much less resources they use in terms of carbon, pollution, waste, water, etc.

CanuckExpat

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #64 on: November 15, 2017, 07:19:49 PM »
Thanks all for the opinions.  I think another aspect I would be interested in is the impact of raising kids while retired-early vs not retired.  Any thoughts?
Having kids while retired can suck
Having kids while working can suck even more

Though with latter work was a nice escape everyday so 6 of one, half dozen of the other?
Retired, or just homeless and jobless.
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tthree

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #65 on: November 15, 2017, 07:55:20 PM »
My parenting mantra: Even if you do everything right, everything can end up wrong.  You need to make your peace with this before kids.  Note this statement does not absolve not trying, but rather acknowledges there is no magic formula for the desired outcome.

For me, I never considered not having kids.  But I can respect that not having kids is the right decision for some people.  FWIW I only know one person who flip-flopped from a definite NO to children, to having a child.  It was the wrong decision.  Please address why your wife is having a change of heart.

I would more cautiously consider children if:
  • Either of you have surrendered a pet to the Human Society, or put a pet down that wasn't at the Palliative Care stage. 
  • Either you or your wife had a traumatic childhood.
  • Your wife has a history of anxiety or depression.

Goldielocks

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #66 on: November 16, 2017, 03:16:16 AM »
I will take a stab at some of your questions directly.  My opinion, only, of course.  May not work for you.


Unfortunately I'm not a gut-feeling type of person.  I'm more the type that agonizes over decision, and bigger decisions (this is one of the biggest of all), are hard.  The answers here are a mix of useful and not so useful, which I fully expected (and is ok).
For me the "decision" to have a child was no decision at all.   I knew I wanted a child just like I know that this is my right hand, and this is my left hand.   Like how I know that I am female, not male.   It is not actually a choice for me.   But, just like those examples, it is not a super passionate "drive" to have a child or anything, just an utter acceptance that is what I would try to make happen as a #1 life priority.   

-- Having kids is the priority for me but I don't make kids my #1 priority day in and day out.  I just was not able to. Often work came first (as sole family income for many years), or my health, or need to learn new things.   But kids modified all the choices, one way or another, and they squeeze out many options.  I did not have time for relationship + work + parenting + personal tie + friends + spiritual time + keeping the house clean.    None of us do, and we let some of these things drop.
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There are a lot of people here seemingly arguing that your entire purpose in life becomes your child; they give the impression that you get the extreme end of this, where you live vicariously through your child, and don't really have anything going on personally beyond the child, and that is either wrong or impossible to have anything fun in your life (aside from the child).  I am doubtful of this, but certainly acknowledge that your life changes dramatically.

Most parents actually DON'T live vicariously through their child.  Most parents that start off doing so wise up around age 9 if not sooner.   Kids are not "mini me's".   It is quite aggravating when they spectacularly fail to have an interest in what you think they should excel at.

My life purpose is not my child,  My child is a fact of my life.   I have had to make many choices for the benefit of the child/ family.  Things like not strangling the 2 year old who won't go to bed.  Buying a house with a yard away from my work, working a job I needed to quit but could not because of the bills.  Not moving away from the high school district that my kids were going to, because of their friendships.   Paying for extra seats when we go on vacation, so we don't go on as fancy or as many vacations.   Buying them clothes when money was tight instead of myself.

Because I have a child, I actually did not WANT to spend my only free time (saturdays) on the golf course  away from family-- I wanted to take a family road trip instead.  I actually want to spend some time each week with my kids, just like I want to spend time with my spouse.   It is like having a new awesome life / hobby interest that is more fulfilling and equally thrilling.   
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I also don't think people really mean this in most cases, but the information I'm more looking for his how to balance things in life with a child.  For example, some people are saying "all your plans to travel and backpack are gone", while meanwhile other people are giving examples of making it happen.  Therefore I'm look for more practical, semi-quantitative/applicable information.
I am FIRED, and I backpack now, I hated it in my 20's,... and I travelled to europe (with DD) last summer.
Some things sucked.  Like skiing with 2 - 6 year olds.  One person is left with the kids on bunny slope / child care so the other can ski.  But now, with my spouse in poor back health, I have built in ski buddies anytime I want to go.

It is pretty easy to plan things to do with your kids in your free time.  But they won't always be the same things as you did  when you were single.   Some things are more amazing (building a snow fort).  We go swim at the beach and play water tag instead of DH and I scuba diving at that same beach.   It is because we want to be with them, and also because scuba is so much more pricey, especially if we have to pay a sitter.
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I think there are probably different ways to raise a child, multiple of which can be good.  There have been and continue to be plenty of people that live exciting lives doing adventurous things for a long time.  The question more for me to answer is how much freedom I am willing to give up.

Freedom is certainly given up (or shared) when they are small.  No doubt.  Can't pee with the door closed, need to keep a special blanket on your person at all times when away from the house, etc.  If personal time is important to you, you can plan to hire a nanny for part of the time.   Remember that may parents work / away from home for work for 80 hours per week, or travel for work (I certainly did), which is always required away from kids...   it is normal for parents  to not be there all the time.   If you don't work long hours, you don't have to come straight home from work each day if you choose to create personal space (go to gym, meet friend for a drink).  Just equal opportunities for spouses...   We balanced my long work week with family time on the weekends, for example.   But again -- it was because I WANTED to be with my family...

...I wasn't losing freedom to do what I wanted, I simply found 100 more new things that I wanted to do.



Case

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #67 on: November 16, 2017, 05:48:07 AM »
Still hilarious. What are you expecting? Most people have kids, and most of those are not going to say, well that was the dumbest thing I did in my life. Same principle as people in fraternities (which I think are uniformly idiotic) not saying how dumb they are.

I think the other thing to think about- you don't need to be a good parent. You can have kids and then just not pay much attention to them and be selfish. Let them deal with the fallout. This might sound tongue in cheek, but tons of parents do that, then wonder why their kids are screwed up. But think too, you're giving the world a gift not having kids, so much less resources they use in terms of carbon, pollution, waste, water, etc.

I fully expected a mix of answers, and only brought up the nature of people answering the question not asked, when someone suggested I was trying to get an internet forum to give me the answer.

My preference is really for this thread to be about the details of balancing time, priorities, etc... in order to have both children in your life as well as things that typically involve greater independence.  Some people have chimed in to say "you give up everything and lose all independence", while others

Doing a shitty job as a parent is not really an option; I wouldn't bother having children in that case.  But I speculate it is possible to have an exciting adventurous life even with children, and that while children significantly effect all of your plans, it is possible to do some fun exciting things.  Most of the time with the kids, but sometimes not.  The goal is really to understand the mechanics of making that all work, and central to a lot of that is being retired early.  The fact that people exist who are good parents and work full time is the evidence.  If you have those extra 8+ hours a day available, that dramatically changes things.  But that said I also want to more concrete understanding the limitations.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #68 on: November 16, 2017, 06:11:25 AM »
Still hilarious. What are you expecting? Most people have kids, and most of those are not going to say, well that was the dumbest thing I did in my life. Same principle as people in fraternities (which I think are uniformly idiotic) not saying how dumb they are.

I think the other thing to think about- you don't need to be a good parent. You can have kids and then just not pay much attention to them and be selfish. Let them deal with the fallout. This might sound tongue in cheek, but tons of parents do that, then wonder why their kids are screwed up. But think too, you're giving the world a gift not having kids, so much less resources they use in terms of carbon, pollution, waste, water, etc.

I fully expected a mix of answers, and only brought up the nature of people answering the question not asked, when someone suggested I was trying to get an internet forum to give me the answer.

My preference is really for this thread to be about the details of balancing time, priorities, etc... in order to have both children in your life as well as things that typically involve greater independence.  Some people have chimed in to say "you give up everything and lose all independence", while others

Doing a shitty job as a parent is not really an option; I wouldn't bother having children in that case.  But I speculate it is possible to have an exciting adventurous life even with children, and that while children significantly effect all of your plans, it is possible to do some fun exciting things.  Most of the time with the kids, but sometimes not.  The goal is really to understand the mechanics of making that all work, and central to a lot of that is being retired early.  The fact that people exist who are good parents and work full time is the evidence.  If you have those extra 8+ hours a day available, that dramatically changes things.  But that said I also want to more concrete understanding the limitations.

I guess what you have to think about if youíre retired with kids is how much time youíll be around them. Kids are exhausting in keeping up with their energy and constantly worrying that they are going to kill themselves. You can look to MMM himself who has been raising his kid while he semi-retired.  Thereís no doubt it can be done but you have to have that desire to be involved with kids, to make them your center. You canít be a, I like to do my own thing person.

To make it work you either do what your kids doóvolunteer at school, be a sports parent, scout leader, homeschool, etc; or the kid becomes your mini-me and you make the kid do everything you do. If youíre involved and loving, the kid will be happy. However, it starts with you being happy and in a good place. You need to make sure that after all these years, working on your plan for FI and doing what you want, youíre not going to be resentful that your kids have de-railed things and now itís all about them and youíve ďmissedĒ your boat. If you start thinking like that, it will make it tough to be a loving parent, retired with your kid 24/7.

tag

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #69 on: November 16, 2017, 01:22:14 PM »
No matter what your thoughts are leading up to actually have a child, once you do - you will never, ever, EVER regret it.

koshtra

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #70 on: November 16, 2017, 01:27:23 PM »
I've known people who have regretted it bitterly. It's not the kind of thing you say in public: but it happens.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #71 on: November 16, 2017, 01:56:59 PM »
No matter what your thoughts are leading up to actually have a child, once you do - you will never, ever, EVER regret it.

There are so many abandoned, abused children, ones in foster care and ones on that are homeless that make your statement demonstrably false. Plenty regret it and take it out children, lives are destroyed. Donít do it half-assed, commit ahead of time to being a great parent or do your own thing and donít have kids. Children arenít a vanity project or accessory.

Watchmaker

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #72 on: November 16, 2017, 02:53:56 PM »
No matter what your thoughts are leading up to actually have a child, once you do - you will never, ever, EVER regret it.

This is not true.

wenchsenior

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #73 on: November 16, 2017, 03:57:00 PM »
No matter what your thoughts are leading up to actually have a child, once you do - you will never, ever, EVER regret it.

There has been at least one poster on this very forum who  has specifically said they regretted having kids.

firelight

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #74 on: November 16, 2017, 03:59:05 PM »
Still hilarious. What are you expecting? Most people have kids, and most of those are not going to say, well that was the dumbest thing I did in my life. Same principle as people in fraternities (which I think are uniformly idiotic) not saying how dumb they are.

I think the other thing to think about- you don't need to be a good parent. You can have kids and then just not pay much attention to them and be selfish. Let them deal with the fallout. This might sound tongue in cheek, but tons of parents do that, then wonder why their kids are screwed up. But think too, you're giving the world a gift not having kids, so much less resources they use in terms of carbon, pollution, waste, water, etc.

I fully expected a mix of answers, and only brought up the nature of people answering the question not asked, when someone suggested I was trying to get an internet forum to give me the answer.

My preference is really for this thread to be about the details of balancing time, priorities, etc... in order to have both children in your life as well as things that typically involve greater independence.  Some people have chimed in to say "you give up everything and lose all independence", while others

Doing a shitty job as a parent is not really an option; I wouldn't bother having children in that case.  But I speculate it is possible to have an exciting adventurous life even with children, and that while children significantly effect all of your plans, it is possible to do some fun exciting things.  Most of the time with the kids, but sometimes not.  The goal is really to understand the mechanics of making that all work, and central to a lot of that is being retired early.  The fact that people exist who are good parents and work full time is the evidence.  If you have those extra 8+ hours a day available, that dramatically changes things.  But that said I also want to more concrete understanding the limitations.
Taking another shot at answering the balancing act with kids.
We have two and we both work full-time. Weekda mornings are mostly everyone getting out the door. Weekday evenings, I take care of both kids while husband spends an hour everyday playing sports, gym, catching up with friends/teammates, etc. Saturdays husband takes care of kids while I get a solid five to six hours of me time. I catch up on work, spend time on my hobbies, catch up with my friends. Saturday evenings and Sundays are mostly for kids and chores.

If you are retired, you can work out similar pockets of time with spouse, nanny, etc to do everything you want to.

Kids are costlier than not having kids. We'll be working three extra years for both our kids. It's a worthwhile exchange for us for a lifetime of fun and new experiences with them.

Also travel with kids is harder than traveling without them. But my kids taught me to look at life with fresh eyes. Even a small experience of rain becomes something fun when experienced with them. So travel with them is more fun for me than traveling without them. Similarly for other experiences.

GuitarStv

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #75 on: November 16, 2017, 06:12:21 PM »
No matter what your thoughts are leading up to actually have a child, once you do - you will never, ever, EVER regret it.

I've regretted having my son on occasion, and would be rather surprised if most parents don't sometimes feel this way at some point.  Kids are great a lot of the time. . . and they're also occasionally the hardest, most frustrating and difficult problem you'll ever have to deal with.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 07:03:56 AM by GuitarStv »

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #76 on: November 16, 2017, 08:03:44 PM »
I disagree with those who say you shouldn't have a child unless you are 100% sure. While some people are capable of that level of certainty, many (most) will probably never reach 100%. I certainly was not at 100% and decided to go for it. And I think it was a great decision (and that I am confident that I am a good parent).

It makes me sad to think that I almost didn't have children because most of what I had heard about parenting (or, at least, what I had listened to) was about how hard it was. I never heard/attended to people talking about how amazing and joyous it was. It may have been to my benefit to go in to it expecting it to be hard and not fun, because I have found it to be way less hard and more fun than anticipated (not to say that I haven't had rough moments). I have several girlfriends who were not totally sure about the parent think but are really enjoying it (and some who were very sure about it and are having a harder time adjusting). My husband has had much more stress related to the kids, though I have no doubt that he would overall count it as a life-enhancing choice. I think the difference between our experience has been that I am a laid back person that adapts easily, and he stresses easily.

I feel like we are at a cultural moment (at least among higher educated folks) of expecting certain sacrifices that must be made as a parent, many of which are not necessary. While some sacrifice is necessary, it is ok to cut some corners and not be the perfect parent all the time in order to also enjoy your life. For someone who is as thoughtful about this decision as you appear to be, it is unlikely that you will be an abusive or neglectful parent, so just say no to excessive parent guilt.

Carrie

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #77 on: November 17, 2017, 07:28:50 AM »
We didn't want kids for the first 10 years of marriage, then we wanted to. Now we have three and had several devastating miscarriages between the 1st & 2nd.
I was mopping up throw up last night. Now I'm spending my morning cuddling a puny-feeling kid.
But, I am so excited for the upcoming week off for thanksgiving break, because I'll get to spend more time (older two are in full day school) playing with my kids. We're going to walk our dog, go to the neighborhood park, meet up with friends, explore a local cypress swamp, watch movies and play games. I'll also do my own thing, work on my hobbies - because my kids can entertain themselves.
The absolute best thing for kids is to have parents who love each other and who prioritize keeping their own relationship strong. Gives the kids peace, and sets a good example. So while I love each of my kids, my spouse is always #1 priority. 
Our life is peaceful because we don't keep up with Jones family, we don't do a million extra curricular activities, and we set our own priorities. We don't cater to the kids' whims, we have rules but we're loving & kind, but not suckers. We're raising our kids to be down to earth thinkers. So far so good, fingers crossed.
Of course there are still things we could do better, like travel more, but we're working on it. Life is good with kids, absolutely no regrets, but it still would have been good without them too. If you're a happiness from within type person you should be fine either way, whether you decide to have them or not.
That being said, if you don't want to put in the time, don't do it. No sense in having kids just to ship them off to daycare at 6 weeks old, summer camps all summer, sports/activities every night  (meaning no family time around the dinner table). It was a financial sacrifice, but work hours were cut so that we could have a less stressful life with kids.

Louisville

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #78 on: November 17, 2017, 12:19:09 PM »
My preference is really for this thread to be about the details of balancing time, priorities, etc... in order to have both children in your life as well as things that typically involve greater independence. 
You might as well ask for details on how to live a child-free life, balancing time, priorities, etc. Because, the answer is: the same way you do those things now, just with a few other things thrown in. There's no magic 'parent living plan'. Smart people are smart parents, stupid people are stupid parents, organized people are organized parents, slobs are slob parents, etc, etc.

CanuckExpat

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #79 on: November 17, 2017, 08:44:34 PM »
Doing a shitty job as a parent is not really an option; I wouldn't bother having children in that case.  But I speculate it is possible to have an exciting adventurous life even with children, and that while children significantly effect all of your plans, it is possible to do some fun exciting things.  Most of the time with the kids, but sometimes not.  The goal is really to understand the mechanics of making that all work, and central to a lot of that is being retired early.  The fact that people exist who are good parents and work full time is the evidence.  If you have those extra 8+ hours a day available, that dramatically changes things.  But that said I also want to more concrete understanding the limitations.

If you wan't a succinct version of the possibilities, I came across this strip from a cartoon recently:


It's from a kids cartoon, so presumably they know their material

I guess what you have to think about if youíre retired with kids is how much time youíll be around them. Kids are exhausting in keeping up with their energy and constantly worrying that they are going to kill themselves. You can look to MMM himself who has been raising his kid while he semi-retired.  Thereís no doubt it can be done but you have to have that desire to be involved with kids, to make them your center. You canít be a, I like to do my own thing person.

There is a lot I can relate to here. The thing people don't tell you (or perhaps should be obvious) is that if you retire with kids at home, you are becoming a stay at home parent. This is fine for some people, and something some people really want. Is it what you want?

It is possible to hire out some of that, daycare is the best thing ever, but that can either be expensive or infeasible depending on the specifics of your early retirement. It might be hard, or just expensive, to find regular child care if you are travelling a lot for example

The latter part is something I very much identify with. I find myself often doing kids activities, or just things with the kids, and it's not that the activities them selves are that bad. They are ok, and more enjoyable than many other things I could be doing, but given the choice there are certainly even better things I'd rather be doing at that time. It's the opportunity cost of that lost time and freedom that I find most stinging. I don't think everyone feels that way.

No matter what your thoughts are leading up to actually have a child, once you do - you will never, ever, EVER regret it.

There has been at least one poster on this very forum who  has specifically said they regretted having kids.

There's a whole book regarding that, from the author: "I really regret it. I really regret having children"
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begood

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #80 on: November 19, 2017, 07:22:16 AM »
The best reason to have a kid is because you want to have a kid. Not because you want to pass on life lessons, your particular value system, or to have a mini me who loves all the same things you do. Those things are all about YOU, and I promise you a kid will not be all about you. Children are the original selfish creatures, and they are utterly dependent on adults for years and years. And then they become teenagers, when they both need you and push you away, sometimes at the same time.

Parenting can't be ego driven. You really do have to surrender a piece of yourself to the amoeba of family.

Rimu05

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #81 on: November 20, 2017, 09:48:48 AM »
Op, do you have any friends, relatives, etc that have children where you can help out with baby sitting?

Nothing quite like some level of tangible experience to give you a dose of what you might be in for.

Just remember, with your own, you don't get to give them back.

Then again, take my advise with a grain of salt. I actually adore children. I enjoy interacting with them, but at the same time, I absolutely do not want them. I don't like the bad aspects. The crying, the tantrums and literally everything is a fighting match from eating, showering, sleeping, etc.

Baby sitting is also great in helping you develop a "must not strangle" tolerance. Which I think is of utmost importance.



historienne

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #82 on: November 21, 2017, 07:17:53 AM »

The motivation is the possibility of a very fulfilling/satisfying experience of getting to know/shape/teach someone, etc...  I'm not really one of those persons who sees a baby and gets all giddy.  I don't really have a deep yearning to care for infant.  It's more about forming a long term bond and getting to teach all the life lessons as I see them, watching someone grow from zero, etc...  I don't feel that something is missing in my life, per se... I'm not trying to fill a void with a child.  I don't feel left out of conversations with my friends, even though a lot of my good friends have kids.  Rather, I'm more trying to fill a void with all of the stuff I want to do when I FIRE.  Because of the career path I chose, which involved going to grad school, and now living in a very boring midwestern town, there are lots of things I'd like to go do and places I'd like to see.  This is more the motivation not to have kids, though I wonder if there are hybrid scenarios where I can have the best of both worlds.

We are early/mid 30s now, so timing is becoming a factor.

FWIW, I think this is a totally good set of reasons to have kids.  As others had said, I'd focus on the "getting to know them" part over the "getting to teach them" part, since the latter is not guaranteed.  But you don't have to be a baby person to be happy having kids.

For me, life with kids works because I like my job a lot.  I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old, and I don't have time in my life to do much outside of family and work.  I do travel, but for work, not just for fun.  We see friends, but often in ways that are pretty kid-focused.  But I enjoy my job enough that my life feels pretty balanced even with just these two components.

In terms of early retirement, my husband and I decided pretty early on that 1) we wanted kids, and 2) we did NOT want to retire before the youngest is in kindergarten (I don't actually want to retire at all, but he does, and probably will shortly after our son starts school in four years).  The life of a stay at home parent is not for either of us.  So it does shape that decision a lot.

We used to camp and backpack, and I'm sure we will again, but not right now.  We've tried to do basic car camping several times with my older kid, and it's been a disaster each time.  I'm sure it depends on the kid, but we probably won't try again for at least another year.  Backpacking is, realistically, about a decade away - at least, if we take the kids.

Overall, for us, the kids are a lot of work but also a lot of fun.  The first year is rough, just from lack of sleep, but it gets much easier after that.  We lived in a small town in western NY for several years, and having a kid was definitely more entertaining than anything else to do there.  In your case, I wonder if kids might help you feel more rooted in, and satisfied with, your current living situation - rather than pinning all your hopes on getting out of town a lot.  Not trying to talk you into it, as I certainly don't think everyone enjoys parenting or should be a parent, but that was our experience.

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #83 on: November 21, 2017, 08:44:56 AM »
Op, do you have any friends, relatives, etc that have children where you can help out with baby sitting?

Nothing quite like some level of tangible experience to give you a dose of what you might be in for.

Just remember, with your own, you don't get to give them back.

Then again, take my advise with a grain of salt. I actually adore children. I enjoy interacting with them, but at the same time, I absolutely do not want them. I don't like the bad aspects. The crying, the tantrums and literally everything is a fighting match from eating, showering, sleeping, etc.

Baby sitting is also great in helping you develop a "must not strangle" tolerance. Which I think is of utmost importance.

I disagree. I never liked kids too much, strangely decided to have 2. I looooove mine, not a fan of most other people's kids.

FLBiker

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #84 on: November 21, 2017, 11:26:07 AM »
My experience is apparently different from some.  My wife and I decided to have a child after much fence sitting.  I was more firmly in the no camp, she was more ambivalent.  While we did change to the yes side of things before trying to have a kid, neither one of us were 100% sure.  I was absolutely concerned that I was too selfish / how would I get my time for X / what about the money / etc.  DD is now 2.5 years old, and she is sometimes a pain.  And I have absolutely loved the entire experience (and my wife would say the same).

That said, we have colleagues that are similar to us (in terms of age, means, etc.) and they don't all necessarily feel the same way.  In my experience, the biggest difference is a willingness to make your life about the kid(s).  DW stayed home for 2+ years with DD, which meant less money, but it made things much easier in a lot of other ways.  Most of our colleagues won't / can't make that same decision.  DW and I already lived a pretty family friendly lifestyle -- we didn't drink, stay out late, etc.  We liked hiking, camping, biking, etc.  So, despite my fears of being too selfish, it hasn't really felt like a sacrifice.  Going to a playground is fun for me, as is just playing on the livingroom rug.  I wasn't going out to poker nights, etc., beforehand, so I didn't really give anything up.

At the same time, we absolutely have less time for hobbies.  We DIY less than we used to.  I play less guitar (but still some).  I never really play videogames or watch TV (and don't miss it).  To be fair, though, some of that is an increased commitment to my meditation / Buddhist study (not just having a kid).  It has gotten harder to exercise, too (aside from playgrounds) but it's still doable.

So, for us, being 100% sure was not a prerequisite.  And, truthfully, I don't know how you could be, because you have no idea what having a kid is really going to be like until you do it.

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #85 on: November 21, 2017, 12:57:24 PM »
I'd like to push back some on the notion that once you have a kid you have to put them first 100% of the time.  I was on the fence and then read Bringing up Bebe which talks about the French way of parenting.  I also saw friends have kids and not lose themselves and their marriages in the process.  I don't have children yet due to unexpected fertility issues.  But, I would say that the notion of putting your child first 100% of the time is actually very unhealthy for the child.  It's better for a child to have well rounded parents that have interests of their own too.  My parents didn't have much of a life outside of having kids and I realize I don't have good models of adult friendship because of that.  There is nothing wrong with having kids and each taking time to focus on hobbies or having a regular sitter so you can still have date nights.  You can also RE and have kids and not be a SAH parent.  If you can afford it, there is nothing stopping you from having childcare just like if you were going to work everyday.  There are ways of being a responsible involved parent without changing your entire identity to mommy/daddy.

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #86 on: November 21, 2017, 01:02:20 PM »
We used to camp and backpack, and I'm sure we will again, but not right now.  We've tried to do basic car camping several times with my older kid, and it's been a disaster each time.  I'm sure it depends on the kid, but we probably won't try again for at least another year.  Backpacking is, realistically, about a decade away - at least, if we take the kids.

It's possible: http://www.wta.org/news/signpost/backpacking-with-baby-15-days-round-rainier

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historienne

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Re: reconsidering having a child
« Reply #87 on: Today at 06:58:59 AM »

It's possible: http://www.wta.org/news/signpost/backpacking-with-baby-15-days-round-rainier

I think that the only limits are those that we place on oursleves.

Sure, in the most general sense that might be true.  By the same token, it's pretty meaningless.  My point is that, given the temperament of our actual kids (the plural is important here), the effort that would go into backpacking right now would outweigh our enjoyment of it.  I predict that the balance will shift again when they are old enough to carry their own packs. 

Also, in our experience, hiking with one 16-pound baby is actually easier than hiking with a 25-pound baby and a four year-old.  When we only had one kid and she weighed less than 35 pounds, we used to hike and ski much more regularly than we do now.  Others might choose to soldier on, but we've chosen to scale back and focus on other things.  Given that backpacking with a baby is the subject of a news story, I think our choice is pretty common, and therefore relevant to the OP.