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Around the Internet => Continue the Blog Conversation => Topic started by: LibrarIan on September 10, 2014, 11:56:05 AM

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

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

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

Thanks!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: enigmaT120 on September 10, 2014, 12:44:54 PM
I haven't read MMM's post yet.  I knew when I was about 21 that I didn't want kids.  I don't like them.  I didn't when I was one.  I managed to talk a doctor into giving me a vasectomy back then and I've never regretted it.  I have been told many times that I would be sorry some day.  I'll be 51 this month and I'm not sorry yet. 

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

I don't know how to have the conversation you need to have with your wife.  I married an older woman who already had her two kids out of the way.  I don't know that two kids would be significantly more trouble than one, though. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cassie on September 10, 2014, 12:51:01 PM
I read his blog post and he makes it sound like having a baby is such hard work & takes all your time, etc.  That I say is crap!  I raised 3 kids and sure there are times when it is hard, etc but if it was as hard as he described it there would be a lot fewer kids in this world.  Many times siblings don't really even like each other so the reason for having more then 1 should be that you want more kids not so that they will have a buddy.  This is a serious issue that you and your wife need to resolve to the satisfaction of both of you.  There is nothing wrong with having only 1 child if that is what both people want.   
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cheddar Stacker on September 10, 2014, 01:02:05 PM
Have as many as you want. Personally I think it's more selfish to have 18 kids than it is to have 0. The strain on resources, time management, etc is immense. And I come from a large family so I'm speaking from experience here.

Kids are hard. I just wrote about this in my journal and we had a decent dialogue over there. Don't do it until you're ready. As hard as they are, I wouldn't trade them for the world and I'd do it all over again. We are stopping at 2 though, that's plenty for us.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: rocksinmyhead on September 10, 2014, 01:16:01 PM
Sometimes I want a child, other times I don't. But I am pretty certain I want no more than one child. I think she falls into the camp of wanting two at minimum (because, you know, they need a friend while they're growing up).

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

(obviously to each their own and I sure wouldn't judge someone for having only one kid, just sharing my own preferences/reasoning)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justajane on September 10, 2014, 01:23:15 PM
That's a tough one LibrarIan. If you're open to having one, why don't you just start there and see how you feel after that? It doesn't sound like you are absolutely sold on having none. Did you two discuss this before you were married?

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

I think it is true that you definitely know when you are done. I am of the mind that if you are not sure, then you are not finished. But I'm sure others feel differently.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Jenny1974 on September 10, 2014, 01:42:32 PM
Well . . . I personally have an "only" . . . but my husband does not.  Stepkids!!!  Built in siblings for my daughter!

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

But having my stepchildren sure made the decision to stop at 1 much easier for me!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: daymare on September 10, 2014, 01:49:47 PM
I guess my husband and I are in basically the same situation, just reversed. :). I am pretty neutral on kids, and not thrilled with the idea of loss of time to myself and more stress/obligations if we have kids.  And I don't want to sacrifice myself or lose my personality.  My husband would like several kids - he has two siblings and loved that his family was slightly larger than standard and had special treatments like an extra chair to a 4-person table at restaurants, plus he loves kids.  I have a 2-year younger brother, and while we fought a lot as kids, it was also nice having someone around to play with wherever we went.  My brother and I aren't super close, mostly due to the fact that we've lived in different cities for 7 years, but I think he's great.  The compromise is that we'll definitely have one kid.  And at this point, that's all I want.  It feels like a nice compromise because we'd be more able to retain the elements of our pre-kid life that we love the most, yet we'd have the experience of raising our child.  Of course, who knows how things will turn out, everything's quite a ways away - no kids in the next 5 years (we're both 25 now). :)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Argyle on September 10, 2014, 02:09:30 PM
I just want to note that sometimes it's easier to have two.  I have one, and on his own, he gets bored and restless.  Bring another kid over and they amuse each other.  This has been true since the age of three or so.  We spend a lot of time angling for friends to come over.  It's not that he can't spend time alone — in fact he spends a lot of time alone.  But it's a lot less work for me when there's another kid over.

If you're adamant that you don't want more than one, I think you should find a way to discuss this very calmly with your wife. Of course, the optimum way is if you both can compromise, but ultimately one person will have to give way.  You also may both be okay with waiting to see (this is what I would recommend).  She may find one exhausting and not want to have a second.  You may find one enchanting and want a second.  People flip-flop a lot on these things.   But if one of you is so adamant that you'd end the marriage over not getting your choice, then that's something to know up front.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Philociraptor on September 10, 2014, 02:15:56 PM
Interesting article, I like that he included the 0 number of children on his simplified chart.  My wife and I are 25 and neither of us want children, but it certainly doesn't stop people trying to push us towards them.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: bo_knows on September 10, 2014, 02:24:53 PM
Unless you've had experience raising a kid, I don't think that you even have enough perspective to determine whether you want 1 or 2.

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

I'd say to OP that if you manage to get past the mental barriers of having 1, re-evaluate after the kids 1st birthday. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: mrsggrowsveg on September 10, 2014, 02:32:31 PM
I enjoyed this article and posted something about this last year:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/parents-of-onlies-tell-me-how-it-is/msg192600/#msg192600

I have one child who is a joy to have.  At almost two, things get better and more fun every day.  The first year was a bit rough, but not too bad.  I think I could regret not having a second child or regret having one.  I would probably feel the same way about having or not having children.  For now, we are very pleased with our little family.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: TrMama on September 10, 2014, 02:46:19 PM
My experience (and I think there's research to this effect) is that individuals usually feel more strongly about either having kids, or not having them, than they do about their relationship with their partner. To put it bluntly, if your partner really wants kids but you really don't, then it's going to be very hard on your relationship.

It's also important to keep in mind that whether or not you like being around other people's kids has little bearing on whether you'll like being around your own kids. I don't particularly care for other people's children. However, I love my own children and love spending time with them.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: fantabulous on September 10, 2014, 02:49:34 PM
Just an anecdote from an only child that's probably not going to have any children of her own:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another reason to start a family, aside from blessing the world with your highly-evolved human capital?  Maturity.  If you're really ready to be a parent then it'll make you grow up and straighten out your behavior in a hurry.  It'll also get you started on the track to financial independence.  That's not necessarily the best reason for starting a family, but it's reassurance that you'll make it all work.
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2014/09/10/bad-advice-having-a-baby-im-glad-i-followed/
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justajane on September 10, 2014, 03:08:16 PM
Quote
It's also important to keep in mind that whether or not you like being around other people's kids has little bearing on whether you'll like being around your own kids.

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

There will be people on these forums who hate me for this, but I kind of wonder if having a difficult (but developmentally normal) child is correlated with higher intelligence?  It might be one reason why smarter people have fewer kids: more difficult children.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MsRichLife on September 10, 2014, 06:36:01 PM
We are 95% sure that our son (2.25yrs) will be an only child. We are in the camp where we found raising him for the first two years of his life to be hard work.

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

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

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

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

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

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



Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: DecD on September 10, 2014, 07:53:14 PM
We have two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don't know that there's one right answer.  It's just a choice, and you embrace what you get!!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on September 10, 2014, 08:57:46 PM
While I don't like to admit it, I feel pressured to have more than one child even though I don't want to, else my marriage will end in.

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

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

I actually think you should consider getting marriage counseling to try to reach common ground before the issue comes up, or at least to strengthen your marriage more generally. I'm picking up a whiff of resentment in your letter (you resent her desire for multiple kids, no?) that won't get you to a good place.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: DecD on September 10, 2014, 09:00:53 PM
While I don't like to admit it, I feel pressured to have more than one child even though I don't want to, else my marriage will end in.

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

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

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

This is good advice. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: urbanista on September 11, 2014, 12:13:34 AM
Unless you've had experience raising a kid, I don't think that you even have enough perspective to determine whether you want 1 or 2.

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

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

This.

I was totally not sure how many kids I wanted. Definitely one, but no more then three. Having baby no.1, who is 2.5 years old now, cemented my & DH decision to have another one and then stop.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MDM on September 11, 2014, 01:31:35 AM
For some perspectives different than most of the posts here so far, see http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/larger-family-forum-how-are-you-doing-it-3-kids.

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

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

For sure you guys need to be on the same page about children.  To put it in another perspective, my daughter has had to grow up with a father (now ex, imagine that) who pretty much resented her being born.  She's felt that her whole life.  I had to pretty much be the mommy and daddy, and watch the hurt in her eyes from feelings of being unwanted from him.  He is trying to make up for it now, old hurt dies hard, and she deliberately has nothing to do with him.  He has earned that (and no, never from my words, from his actions).  She is cool with just having a mom, we are best buds.  She calls her 'real father' my late hubby of 11 years, so I am blessed she at least had him as a loving awesome father figure.  My point is, kids can feel when they are unwanted.  If either is unsure or are on different pages about children, please work that out before bringing them in to this world!   It wouldn't be fair to a child.  Just my two cents.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: brand new stash on September 11, 2014, 06:50:29 AM
I have three kids. 

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck!

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

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

You have more time, so keep talking about it.  Really try to understand both perspectives.  (For example, DH's really boil down to issues with his job - not with kids.)  Take it one kid at a time as well.  And good luck!  Ultimately this needs to be a decision between the two of you and not anyone else.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: AllChoptUp on September 11, 2014, 07:47:32 AM
We have two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for this!  Great story and a nice look at spacing children out more than the usual two years my friends seem to think is the only way to go. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: AllChoptUp on September 11, 2014, 07:50:41 AM
I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.

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

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

Yes, but it's still a valid question.

We have friends that believed one needed to be up with the kids at all time (just concern something would happen).  We thought this a little ridiculous - for the most part a kid would either cry loud enough to wake you up, or it wouldn't bc say SIDS, but it's also not something you'd notice in another room.    They ended up hiring night nannies (expensive because it was a special twin service - I think $35/night) for 4 of 7 nights a week for the twins so they could get more sleep.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: LibrarIan on September 11, 2014, 08:06:17 AM
Thanks for all your responses so far. Fortunately kids are not on the immediate horizon but I wanted hear about other experiences now rather than later.

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

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

But now that we're in our mid-twenties and time is passing by faster, I think she is starting to feel like to the time is nearing. Add in the fact that when she logs onto Facebook (which I no longer use) every "friend" on there is having kids and posting photos of them. The topic is coming up more but it's definitely a touchy subject. She knows I'm indecisive and I think it upsets her when I express the desire to only have one kid or no kids.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: SisterX on September 11, 2014, 11:11:11 AM
That's rough.  To say "you should have talked about it more earlier" is rather silly now because all you can do is move forward.
All I can say is, I know plenty of people who've changed their minds after having the first.  Either, one or both were determined only to have one and found out that they loved it so much they had one or two more.  Or, more frequently, they had one and realized how difficult it was on one or both of them.  One of my best friends was determined to have three.  She grew up lonely with only a much older half brother whom she no longer even talks to and she really wanted a slightly larger family so that her kids would "have buddies".  Well, they had their second just before my first was born and shortly after, her husband got a vasectomy.  A combined 8 months of daily throwing up and the constant nausea of morning sickness between the two kids was enough to convince her that she didn't want to do that again.  As she so eloquently put it, "Fuck that shit.  I am DONE!"  Really, I think the only reason she pushed forward with the second one was because of her determination to give her older child a friend and companion, otherwise the crappiness of being pregnant would have stopped her at one child.
For my part I was super excited to get pregnant and thought it would be lovely.  7 months into it, whenever I heard someone gush about how they just loved every second of being pregnant I wanted to punch them in the face but couldn't summon the energy to do so.
So, don't think that your wife's determination to have more than one or two is set in stone.  The bigger issue is probably your ambivalence about having any kids at all.  I think that's far harder to surmount than the number of kids, as long as you're both on board with having kids in the first place.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Constance Noring on September 11, 2014, 12:36:57 PM
Having additional children just so your current one(s) can have built-in playmates seems a gambler's proposition to me. Some kids will be best friends with their siblings, and others will fight like cats at the slightest provocation. One of my dearest friends in high school was the middle of three sisters, and theirs was a household absolutely exploding with competition, slights both real and imagined, and an endless supply of drama. Time, and not being under the same roof anymore, seemed to smooth over the worst of it, but it all comes down to personality, and whether those personalities clash or compliment.

As for myself, I have a single sibling, a brother nearly nine years my junior. My parents knew they wanted a second child, and it wasn't really about me. That said, I adored my baby brother (still do), and our parents wisely made use of my free adolescent labor for child care. I changed diapers, I played with him, I bathed him, I helped him with school work, I read him bedtime stories. Even though we're both adults now, I'm still not entirely sure I'm broken of the habit of reaching for his hand at a crosswalk. Honestly, I think having that relationship with him in my formative years is the main reason I don't feel like I need to have children of my own now. When I was younger, I never really imagined motherhood as a part of my future, and always figured that eventually that would change, but I'm 34 now and it hasn't.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: golden1 on September 11, 2014, 01:19:51 PM
I have a few thoughts on this topic.

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, but it's still a valid question.

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

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

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

I seriously had someone ask me when my current baby was four weeks old if he was sleeping through the night yet. What the hell? I just smile and say, "He's sleeping well," even though that's totally a lie. Perhaps that's why you think it is a common as it is, because parents are lying to you because they get the sense that it is something you expect and that you might view them as a failure if they tell the truth.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: farmstache on September 11, 2014, 07:23:53 PM
How did your conversations go when you were dating and talking about kids?  (You did talk about this key life decision, right?) 

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

Yeah, I would be in the ultimatum team. Or not. But I always made it very clear that I wanted kids, at least 2 but rather 4, and that I would do "independent production" if I was single at the time I thought was right to have kids (I used to say at 32yo I'd reproduce no matter what). Thankfully it never came to that - DH's parents are older than mine, we just got to a sweet spot work-wise, and we found out we want to be younger with our kids so we can enjoy their youth with them (and maybe backpack with them in their 20s if they don't hate us). So he said "yeah, I don't think I'll ever feel the time is perfect, so what the hell" - and we're expecting the first. As for 2 or 4, we decided to see how things go. He's leaning towards 2, and I don't know how well I'll deal with babies to see if I'll actually even want 4. Plus finances, lifestyle, etc.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MsRichLife on September 11, 2014, 09:20:48 PM
I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.

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

Yes, but it's still a valid question.

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

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

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

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

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

My internet mummies group is far more candid and open and it was very common for 1 year olds not to be sleeping through the night.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: steveo on September 12, 2014, 04:24:50 AM
I have 3 kids and my take is if you don't have them you are missing out on a lot. I like my alone time and I would be a lot wealthier without them but I'd be a lot less happy when I die as well as right now.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: JennieOG on September 12, 2014, 05:20:10 AM
I am glad I had two, but it's such a personal decision.  My kids are 4 and 1/2 years apart because it took me a long time to want to experience it all again.  I hated being pregnant and my son screamed for six months after he was born. 

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

However, my little brother and I hated each other and fought like growing up.  I would have been totally miserable raising two if they were like me and my brother.  You just never know what you're gonna get! :)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Anatidae V on September 12, 2014, 05:22:49 AM
I'm eldest of 4, and our spacing was 3-2-4. I always thought I wanted 3, but after reading these experiences I hope I'll be able to adjust to what's right for us as we go through. I thought years ago that I'd want to have my first by now, but health reasons made that a terrible idea for me, and SO is not ready to get married or have kids yet. I'm so glad to hear people can feel comfortable with whatever number of kids they have and that there are so many different ways people did their own personal maths!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Penny Lane on September 12, 2014, 06:33:09 AM
Dear LibrarIan,  I would say take it one at a time!  There is no reason, before you have even one, that you need to agree on how many little ones you ( hopefully) will have.  You are young, as I assume your wife is; after the first, either of you may see things differently as your whole perspective will change once you are a parent.  As much as you try to prepare, there will be a huge--wonderful--surprise emotion once you gaze on your firstborn.

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

Whatever you expect it to be like, it won't be like that.  So don't worry!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Philociraptor on September 12, 2014, 07:01:42 AM
No kids, never wanted them. We discussed it thoroughly before marriage and agreed that we'd check in from time to time if either of us had changed his/her mind. Hell, the 2 dogs are enough cramp in our style. But say I had become pregnant, although I am staunchly pro-choice, I would have probably kept it, raised it, loved it, and would be here telling you it was the best thing ever. I think that's how humans are, you know what you know and healthy people find joy in what is. But I never ever wanted kids and I am happy with our life.

This almost perfectly describes my wife, right down to the likely keeping accidents part.  One time we committed to checking up on my parents' dog while they were out for the weekend, got so angry when we had to leave our friends' get-together early in order to check on it. We love our freedom.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: PloddingInsight on September 12, 2014, 07:19:54 AM
My parents are not savers, so I am glad that I am not an only child.  I'll be happy to contribute to my parent's upkeep because of all that they sacrificed for me, but it's nice that that cost can be spread around a bit.

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

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

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

Our fifth kid is due in April, so I guess we're weirdos now.  Fine with me!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on September 12, 2014, 07:23:26 AM
I have a few thoughts on this topic.

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


This.  I have three siblings and it has been incredibly helpful as we deal with mom and dad's aging health and capabilities.  I can't imagine not having those sibling to rely on in tough times.  Between the four of us, we have supported each other through cancer, a loved one's alcoholism, and etc. just to name a few.  By itself, it isn't a valid reason to have more children.  But I think it deserves to be part of the equation.  I have known people with no one to help with those hard times and decisions, and I'm glad my kids will have each other.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: LibrarIan on September 12, 2014, 07:44:15 AM
This isn't exactly in-line with the thread topic, but it's related enough that I feel I can put it in here. There's always more to the story...

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

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

Obviously I've got a lot to work out here. She seems to want to fast-track us to home/baby regardless of whether she has a job to help us get financially fit to be able to do all this. And her field requires travel and flexibility. Just... *sigh*. I don't know what to do.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justajane on September 12, 2014, 09:45:24 AM
Kids do teach you how to live for others, and not for yourself.  Spoiler alert: living for others is a life well-worth living.

Wonderful sentiment. I feel exactly the same way. Life is about loving and serving others, and kids give you both in abundance.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: SisterX on September 12, 2014, 11:07:15 AM
This isn't exactly in-line with the thread topic, but it's related enough that I feel I can put it in here. There's always more to the story...

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

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

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

I hate to say it, but the heart wants what the heart wants.  If she really, truly wants to be a mother then no matter how much you point out the logistics involved and the logical thing to do, in the end it will always come back around to the fact that she wants kids.  You're trying to logic away her emotions, and on such a strongly felt topic I don't think you'll be able to.
If you're really concerned about the finances, there are a few threads in the Mini Money Mustaches category about how much babies really cost people.  It runs the gamut from just a few hundred dollars + medical bills to ALL the monies.  I'm not saying this to try to talk you into having kids on your wife's timeline, but just so you get a better idea of what having a kid might really cost you.  If you still think it would be too expensive for your time of life, that gives you more weight for your point of view and your wife will no doubt appreciate that you actually took the time to look into the matter rather than just dismissing her wants/needs as too expensive.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: CommonCents on September 12, 2014, 11:18:57 AM
This isn't exactly in-line with the thread topic, but it's related enough that I feel I can put it in here. There's always more to the story...

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

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

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

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

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

So again - talk this out.  Say your concerns and how you see the finances working.  Propose a plan.  Ask questions to flesh out the details.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cpa Cat on September 12, 2014, 11:28:27 AM
This.  I have three siblings and it has been incredibly helpful as we deal with mom and dad's aging health and capabilities.  I can't imagine not having those sibling to rely on in tough times.  Between the four of us, we have supported each other through cancer, a loved one's alcoholism, and etc. just to name a few.  By itself, it isn't a valid reason to have more children.  But I think it deserves to be part of the equation.  I have known people with no one to help with those hard times and decisions, and I'm glad my kids will have each other.

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

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

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

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

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

Have kids because it's what you want, not because you think it might be what your child will want. You can't reliably predict what your child will want/get from a sibling later in life.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on September 12, 2014, 02:32:33 PM
I'm really sympathetic to your wife because I've been there. But... I did wind up waiting until I was almost 30 to have a baby, and it was fine. And we had lost our asses on the house we had bought and were living in a rented duplex, and that was fine, too. I was guilty of engaging in magical thinking and I think your wife is doing that, too. She thinks that once she gets out of school, everything will come together all at once.

IMO timing is more important for buying a house than having a baby, so if you have to cave on one or the other, cave on the baby :-). (Kidding! Try for consensus on both!)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: SisterX on September 12, 2014, 02:37:51 PM
When my MIL's parents died, they left a meager estate. And yet there was a lot of arguing, theft and problems between the 6 siblings, relating to the estate. No one feels very supported in that family.


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

Kind of agree with the rest of your post.  I will add, some kids really want to be older siblings.  I've known several parents who were hounded by their older kids to have a sibling.  Now, if the parents had only wanted one then the kids wouldn't have gotten the sibling, but them being gung-ho about having a younger sibling did factor into things.  Even Mrs. MM said in the original post's comments that their son's desire to be an only factored into their decision.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Mannerheim on September 12, 2014, 04:09:46 PM
I have to admit, this is one of my all-time least favorite posts on the blog. The thing that appealed to me most about MMM's philosophy from the start was that it wisely rejected a lot of the most toxic aspects of modernity in favor of a more traditional, conservative viewpoint: saying "enough is enough" to money instead of pursuing unlimited greed, ambition, materialism, and consumerism; rejecting mindless passive entertainments like TV and video games in favor of active hobbies and reading; fostering a sense of self-reliance and responsibility for one's life; seeking fulfillment from community and family (I was very touched that MMM and his wife quit their jobs to have more time to start a family) instead of accumulating status symbols or empty job titles; all of this stuff made good sense to me and represents the kinds of values our insane culture has drifted far away from. A little bit of that modern insanity crept into this latest post, however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“There are many good people who are denied the supreme blessing of children, and for these we have the respect and sympathy always due to those who, from no fault of their own, are denied any of the other great blessings of life. But the man or woman who deliberately foregoes these blessings, whether from viciousness, coldness, shallow-heartedness, self-indulgence, or mere failure to appreciate aright the difference between the all-important and the unimportant—why, such a creature merits contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away in battle, or upon the man who refuses to work for the support of those dependent upon him, and who though able-bodied is yet content to eat in idleness the bread which others provide.”
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: farmstache on September 12, 2014, 04:17:02 PM
The inverse of this though is the kids that don't want younger siblings. DH's older brother wanted to be an only kid and would constantly do things like knock his brothers down when they were learning to walk or let them outside when they were still toddling so they could run away. Then when he was in high school his parents adopted 3 more kids and he still resents it 15 years later, he was bitching about it to DH as recently as 2 years ago

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

I'm not sure how I would deal with a situation like this, but it sounds kind of terrible for a family... Hopefully my baby won't mind or will like having a sibling.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: workathomedad on September 12, 2014, 04:24:27 PM
I only have one and really hope we can have at least 3 someday!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: smalllife on September 12, 2014, 05:13:44 PM
No kids, tubes tied.  I don't want them, never have - learning that birth control existed and that it was possible NOT to have kids outside of a nunnery was a sigh of relief.  My maternal instinct kicks in for furry animals with four legs :-)

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

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

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

For LibrarIan, your description of the discussion you had with your wife sounded as if you felt she was making choices out of emotion and you're making them out of reason.  But you've already said that you don't want two kids and you sound on the fence about even wanting one.  I think it would help to acknowledge that you both have emotional reasons behind your preferences; the logistics of it just backs up your basic gut feeling.  Plenty of people have kids before they've got everything in their life tied down.  They have them in rented houses, they have them while they're still in grad school.  It's not folly to have them early on unless you're not emotionally ready.  That's where you are.  So that's the real issue.  "We need to have X in savings and a down-payment on a house" is not as cogent a reason as "I'm just feeling anxious and not ready to handle it all," even though the first might take less bravery to say.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on September 12, 2014, 09:31:36 PM
This.  I have three siblings and it has been incredibly helpful as we deal with mom and dad's aging health and capabilities.  I can't imagine not having those sibling to rely on in tough times.  Between the four of us, we have supported each other through cancer, a loved one's alcoholism, and etc. just to name a few.  By itself, it isn't a valid reason to have more children.  But I think it deserves to be part of the equation.  I have known people with no one to help with those hard times and decisions, and I'm glad my kids will have each other.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So an only child caring alone for aging parents is happier than a child in the same situation who has deadbeat sibling?  The net effect is the same, but there's anger and resentment?  I have no statistics, but I'd bet that siblings are more likely to care for each other and their parents than not, especially if they have been raised in a loving supportive home.  My kids are all different, but are great friends as well.  I have no reason to believe that to change.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justajane on September 13, 2014, 06:03:02 AM
I think you make some very valid points, Mannerheim. My reaction to his original post wasn't as passionate as yours, but I'm saying this from the fog of 4 month old sleep deprivation. My mind immediately goes to, "Wise choice to only have one!" But you are of course right that in many respects the ultimate badassity is giving to others. And parenting is basically just one basic give fest.

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

Quote
Parenthood is about paying forward the gift of life you've been given, and sacrificing many of your own desires for the sake of participating in something much larger and more profound than your self.
   

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

Again, I found your post very thought provoking, but I just want to push you on it a little bit. This isn't the first time that MMM has engaged in some fuzzy logic to justify his life choices (e.g. the bike post about how it is safer than driving a car). I guess I just see it as his modus operandi sometimes. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: ender on September 13, 2014, 07:20:20 AM
I think the key takeaway, regardless of where you stand is -

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

Waiting until you are engaged is honestly not a good time to find out you have significant differences on whether to have kids or the number to have...
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cpa Cat on September 13, 2014, 09:02:50 AM
To wrap up, here's a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that is extremely on-point:

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

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

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

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

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

When someone says that they don't want children - you shouldn't be thinking about how selfish and ungrateful they are. You should be thinking about how great it is to live in a place where they can make their choice and you can make a different choice and it's ok. The reasons don't matter. You don't need a good reason to have kids and they don't need a good reason not to - because you're both free and that's a beautiful thing.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: LalsConstant on September 13, 2014, 12:27:03 PM
Hehe, I saw that post and had to throw this in.  I have no children myself and being 33 already it's too late, but I grew up with a father who was an only child and a mother who was one of 18 blood sibilings who grew up in a house with over 30 people living in it.

They had three children together, so make of that what you will!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: GuitarStv on September 14, 2014, 09:49:57 AM
Having said all that, believe it or not I don't mind it if people don't want to have kids, as long as they're honest about the reasons why: too immature, aren't up to the challenge, don't want to give up their jet-setting consumerist lifestyle, etc. That I can respect.

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

People just having different values than me though?  Can't respect that.  They have to fit into one of my predefined judgemental categories to get respect.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Worsted Skeins on September 14, 2014, 10:14:31 AM
Parent of an only here.  My husband and I tried having a second, but it was not in the cards.  When my son was about five years old, I realized that it was preferable for us to have the one for a variety of selfish reasons. 

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

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

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

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

Please decide for yourself on this one.  Children are wonderful but they are a greater responsibility than some every realize.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: DoubleDown on September 14, 2014, 05:44:22 PM
The ideal number of kids to have? 2.5. Strive for that.

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

Also, perhaps the best advice I ever got, from dear friends of ours who waited too long and now deeply regretted it: Don't wait until the "right time" to have kids (i.e., once we're in the new house, once husband is stable in his career, once student loans are paid off, once we've taken that trip to Europe, once...). There is pretty much never a "right time," and biology doesn't care two sh*ts about your timetable for checking things off your bucket list. If you think you'll want kids, just do it now.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cheddar Stacker on September 14, 2014, 06:05:24 PM
Having said all that, believe it or not I don't mind it if people don't want to have kids, as long as they're honest about the reasons why: too immature, aren't up to the challenge, don't want to give up their jet-setting consumerist lifestyle, etc. That I can respect.

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

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

+1 guitar.

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

The one part I take extreme exception to is that if your siblings aren't supportive of each other, get along well, or aren't best friends then you are a parental failure. That part is just extremely ignorant and ridiculous. Some people aren't meant to get along. Some people are so intoverted they aren't close to anyone. Special needs anyone? Open your mind a bit mannerheim. Try to see the world from your neighbors eyes. Its not always rainbows and lollipops.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: iris lily on September 14, 2014, 06:23:11 PM
I'm 60 years old, never had children, didn't want any. I didn't have any family problems, had great parents myself and they always encouraged both of their children to think carefully about having kids, it's a choice. Not surprisingly, neither my brother or I had children. It's not that I don't like children, it's that I'm not attracted to them much and mainly, I have an absence of maternal longing. And I do know what that maternal longing is because I have yens for dogs and cats, just not human children.

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

I share this for the crowd that says "oh you will regret not having children when you are old." No, I don't think so.   
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: rocksinmyhead on September 15, 2014, 12:16:31 PM
The one part I take extreme exception to is that if your siblings aren't supportive of each other, get along well, or aren't best friends then you are a parental failure. That part is just extremely ignorant and ridiculous. Some people aren't meant to get along. Some people are so intoverted they aren't close to anyone. Special needs anyone? Open your mind a bit mannerheim. Try to see the world from your neighbors eyes. Its not always rainbows and lollipops.

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

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

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

I don't know, I'm totally rambling, just something I've been thinking about lately. I guess my point is that I disagree with Mannerheim in that I think some people just really DON'T want to be parents, aren't cut out for it, don't want it, whatever... and they SHOULD NOT be parents and that's not selfish, it's just knowing yourself.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: wild wendella on September 15, 2014, 12:43:46 PM
I also wonder about what he was doing that at a year old that Mr and Mrs Money Mustache were only getting a half night sleep a piece.  I know that all kids are different, but to still not be sleeping through the night at 1 is not average, but he seems to make the assumption that it is.  Also, two kids doesn't double the financial cost, it increases it, but once you are in the kid-having lifestyle the costs for each additional kid isn't as much.  Even daycare has discounts for second and third kids.

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

Yes, but it's still a valid question.

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

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

There is at least some percentage of the population of babies who are/were bad sleepers, and cannot be forced to calm themselves to sleep using the methods written up in books by people who had easier children.  I'm adding my two cents just to say my son is one of these babies, and so MMM's son isn't the only one.  I don't know what the percentage is.. 5%?  20%?  Regardless, that's the point of view from which MMM is writing.  And I can certainly relate.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Jane on September 15, 2014, 12:58:10 PM
Obviously I've got a lot to work out here. She seems to want to fast-track us to home/baby regardless of whether she has a job to help us get financially fit to be able to do all this. And her field requires travel and flexibility. Just... *sigh*. I don't know what to do.
This is a big problem and I think the one that needs to be focused at least, if not more than the number of kids. I'll admit that when I was in my 20's I felt similarly. It seemed like an out for the post-college life I was not enjoying. Having kids and a house and husband was preferable to working 8-9 hours a day at a place that made me miserable. Thankfully, it didn't work out and I didn't have kids that young, and I ended up maturing and finding a job that I don't hate where I can still contribute even after our first will be born in a couple months (we're in our 30's now). Not saying both spouses need to contribute financially, and certainly not judging families who have a stay at home parent, but for our goals I feel better working right now. It sounds like it might cause some problems or even resentment, if it all fell on you before you guys are financially ready.

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

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

My husband is an only child, and he is happy with that overall. I have a brother, and while he's a fine human being and I like him as a person, we aren't particularly close. We played as kids sometimes, but we fought at least as much as we got along, so no built in playmate. He lives a few thousand miles away, so the aging parents will fall on me. I think people often put too much weight on how important siblings are to childhood (and maybe even adult) happiness. I think there are so many other factors that play into it and a sibling, or lack thereof, is not really a big one.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MandalayVA on September 15, 2014, 02:17:18 PM
I will say one thing if you are on the fence - your kid will know exactly how much they were wanted, and by whom, whether or not you say a word about it.  Don't bring a human into a situation where they aren't at least 90% wanted.  It's a crappy situation for everyone involved: stressed marriage, unhappy parent-who-was-dragged-along, and a kid stuck in the middle who didn't volunteer for that position.

Very much this.  I'm the youngest of four.  My brother is the oldest, born nine months after my parents got married.  My oldest sister came along a year and a half later, my other sister arrived almost exactly two years later.  My parents told everyone they were done having kids.  My siblings were getting out of the baby stage, and my mother planned to go back to work (she was a nurse) once Sister Two was in school.  Then along I came, the biological monkey wrench.  There is a near three-year gap between Sister Two and me, and I also stuck my foot in it being born a girl; my parents were so positive that they'd have bookend sons they didn't bother to pick out a girl's name or have any idea for one until the nurse filling out my birth certificate pressured them.  I've known from my earliest memory that I wasn't a wanted child, although to be fair Mom tried.  Unfortunately, she died when I was 12 and after that ... yeah, it was bad.  As I wrote in my reply to this entry I'd rather regret not having children than regret having them--because I know only too well what it's like to be regretted.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: SisterX on September 15, 2014, 02:31:22 PM
Having said all that, believe it or not I don't mind it if people don't want to have kids, as long as they're honest about the reasons why: too immature, aren't up to the challenge, don't want to give up their jet-setting consumerist lifestyle, etc. That I can respect.

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

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

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

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

(I realize this reads like I'm joking, but I am actually totally serious.  Thank you for not having kids "because you're supposed to" and turning into resentful--or worse--parents.  Please don't let anyone make you feel guilty for that choice.  To all: be kind and remember that just because it's not a choice you would have made, doesn't make it a bad, immoral, or "wrong" choice.)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: pachnik on September 15, 2014, 03:24:24 PM
I am a woman in late middle age and I don't have any children.  I don't regret my choice since I was never interested in being a parent.  Not to mention that the relationships I was in during my childbearing years were pretty awful.  The relationship I am in now with my husband is by far the best one I have been in.  To get here I did have to do a great deal of work but it was worth it. 

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

This has been an interesting thread. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cassie on September 15, 2014, 03:46:52 PM
People should only have kids if they really want them.  People that choose to be child free are not selfish-they are doing what is right for them.  The world certainly does not need children that are not wanted.  I have 3 adult kids but have a sister & a son that never wanted them.  I would never pressure someone to have a child-it is a tough job that in some ways never ends because you always worry about them no matter how old they are.  Many siblings do not really like each other as adults.  That is not horribly unusual.   
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: thepokercab on September 15, 2014, 04:12:49 PM
Parent of 2 here.  Probably can't add much more to what has been said here, but i can come at from someone who was sure they only wanted 1 child.  We had our first and we were extremely happy with 1, and honestly, I thought we would end up stopping there.  Then, we got unexpectedly pregnant.  We had just gotten through the baby and infant hurdles, and I must say I wasn't quite excited about going through it all again.  We ended up having him, and I couldn't be more happier.  He brings a whole new perspective and personality to the family, and now I can't imagine not having him here. 

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

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

Regardless, I wouldn't trade my kids for anything.  But I certainly don't blink twice about dropping them off at the grandparents for a weekend :)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: golden1 on September 19, 2014, 01:03:43 PM
What I get out of this thread is that happiness is not found in a certain set of life circumstances, one kid, two kids, 10 kids, married, not married, married to a goat, whatever.... It is found in seeing the brightness and joy in the life that you do have.

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

P.S.  Not having children by choice does NOT make you selfish.  That is just ignorant. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: cavewoman on September 19, 2014, 06:04:37 PM
I got to this post by MMM yesterday, after about a month of reading from the beginning.  I'm happy that there is a forum for more discussion (the comments are great, but sometimes format causes me to skip all the replies to replies).

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

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

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

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

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

As to why I want three - based on my life, strange as it is:  I lost my only brother 3 years ago.  I couldn't guarantee he'd be there to help me cope with aging parents, as he dealt with demons his whole life, but through our times of closeness and sibling hatred, I loved him dearly.  4 years ago, I lost my boyfriend at the time.  He left behind an only sibling, his sister.  We've had some drunk winey whiney nights where we've shared how we both wish we'd had a third sibling in life just for the shared experience, maybe to help with grief, etc (although as mentioned earlier in the thread, no promises on the 3rd being a help at all).  She has 2 girls, and recently got married to a man with a daughter, so I'm happy she's gotten her number.
My brother had a young son, and I plan to give him cousins, but it's sad to think that my kids will miss out on their Uncle.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: rocksinmyhead on September 22, 2014, 07:29:48 AM
Having one child is amazing!  You get to devote all of your energy to that child...  You get to trade off parenting duties with another parent and get some rest.  Having two children is awesome too!  You get to see your child interact with a sibling.  You get to see your genes play out in different ways.  Having lots of children is great too!  Lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids etc.....  Not having children is also a great choice!  You can spend your life working on an exciting career, or volunteering or doing whatever you want without the constraint of dependents to keep you tied down. 

this comment is a delight. thanks golden1!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: rubybeth on September 22, 2014, 08:23:10 AM
I think marriage and family therapy* might be a good option here, to help you both sort out the feelings and facts surrounding this decision. It sounds like your wife wants this but hasn't thought out the specific logistics involved. And you're thinking about this highly logically, but maybe not fully understanding the emotional needs involved. A therapist can help. It might also help for both of you to do some homework in the other direction, for example, ask her to price out daycare for an infant for full-time care, since you'll both be working full-time, while you do some soul-searching on becoming a father--read about other fathers' experiences, journal about your feelings, etc.

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

*Note that my husband is in grad school to become a marriage and family therapist, so I am somewhat biased, but I really believe it can help, and seeing a therapist sooner rather than later is better. :)
**Also note that we are a childfree couple. I was very clear about not wanting children while we dated, and DH was good with that.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Spartana on September 22, 2014, 03:50:09 PM
Hehe, I saw that post and had to throw this in.  I have no children myself and being 33 already it's too late, but I grew up with a father who was an only child and a mother who was one of 18 blood sibilings who grew up in a house with over 30 people living in it.

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

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

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

ETA: In my case I would not have married/partnered with someone who wanted kids. When I met the guy who would become my future DH I was very upfront about my wants, as was he, and neither of us wanted kids. Had he wanted them, I would not have married him as he should be with someone who has the same desires in life as he would.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Spartana on September 22, 2014, 03:56:05 PM
What I get out of this thread is that happiness is not found in a certain set of life circumstances, one kid, two kids, 10 kids, married, not married, married to a goat, whatever.... It is found in seeing the brightness and joy in the life that you do have.

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

P.S.  Not having children by choice does NOT make you selfish.  That is just ignorant.
HUGE plus 1 to all of this!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cassie on September 22, 2014, 09:56:48 PM
I have 3 boys & they do not want to have kids which does not make them selfish at all!  WE should all do what we feel is right.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Tempe on September 22, 2014, 10:29:25 PM
My siblings and I were having dinner with my dad and step-mom a few years back, and somehow it got on the topic of kids. None of my siblings and I wanted kids, and my step-mom was horrified, saying one of us would have to give my parents grandchildren. My parents don't care, although we are amused my father is grandpa to my step-moms grandchildren. My little brother just started dating a girl who is pregnant (not his) so I guess he will be the first to be involved in a kids life lol. We joked that one would be dad's first grandchild. I myself have no great drive for children, it was never a must have like someone people I have known. I'm open to it, once we are financial stable, but no way in hell will I work and try to take care of kids at the same time. I'm planning on stashing so I have options later.
A lot of my kneejerk feeling of not wanting kids was seeing so many family members have kids without planning, and watching them struggle with work and caring for children. Now I know if I plan for it and feel prepared I'm more open to it.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cressida on September 22, 2014, 10:44:35 PM
Wow. There's a lot of BS in this thread.

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

Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: kite on September 24, 2014, 06:26:06 AM
Wow. There's a lot of BS in this thread.

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


+1 on the BS comment.

I grew up with enough siblings to field a baseball team, loved every minute of it and wanted my own large brood too.  It was not to be, as my spouse and I drew the infertility short straw.  Now that I'm middle aged and looking at things from the other side of the hill (almost) I'm a bit amused at the control that people believe they have.  I don't think Robert Burns was referring to fertility,  but the best laid plans often go awry nonetheless. 
The happiest (and healthiest) of my friends (we're mostly around age 50) are the ones who are grandparents.   So while I don't give a fiddler's fart what anyone else does with their reproductive organs, if you asked my advice,  I'd say the following:  if you want children,  don't waste your twenties on alcohol or immature partners.  Focus on both finding and being a good parent for your kids, and realize that all the other crap in life is really secondary.   
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: 2ndTimer on September 24, 2014, 11:52:06 AM
We knew before we got married that we didn't want children.  We have been married nearly 30 years now and are very satisfied being nonparents.  A co-worker who did have them said we should so that we would know how much our parents sacrificed for us.  Huh?  This is a reason? 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: NoraLenderbee on September 24, 2014, 02:32:20 PM
I'm a childfree pet owner, so I like to replace the word "children" with "pets."

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

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

Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MarciaB on September 25, 2014, 03:36:16 PM
I have just one child, she is now 25.  No issues with the pregnancy or her easy raising, I just didn't want any more.  She was an early 'oops' and never regretted it.  At age 26 I got my tubes tied, I have not regretted that decision, I am now 43. 

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

In my case though, we both wanted a child and the timing was good (well, a little earlier than planned, but things worked out). Parenting is too serious a thing to do if someone really isn't on board with it.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: sobezen on September 25, 2014, 04:45:46 PM
This isn't exactly in-line with the thread topic, but it's related enough that I feel I can put it in here. There's always more to the story...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huge +1
@ LibrarIan:  I wholeheartedly agree with golden1! As an only child myself, I loved it. I never felt deprived of anything. I did not grow up in luxury, but I was loved, safe and had a healthy and happy childhood. I did not have siblings and cousins my age during my childhood. But I was happy and had plenty of friends. I grew up well adjusted and happy. So please do not feel you must have more than one child to make your child feel less lonely.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justme89 on October 02, 2014, 10:47:50 PM
If you're on the fence, please DON'T do it. More importantly, know what you want and do not waver if it doesn't feel "right."

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

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

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

-  just know that if you have no kids, you're selfish for having so much time and money for yourself while others feel cheated for following the life script. If you have only one, then you're selfish for not giving lil jenny or jimmy a playmate or God forbids if one dies (the nerves of some people). If you have two girls...then you have to have one boy or vice versa. If you have 4 kids, then it's wow you sure will be busy and poor. If you have 5+ then people will comment how it's so selfish cause the first two are probably neglected. Bottom line is that you will be selfish regardless. Know yourself and you only live life once, so dig deep within your soul cause only you know what you want. :) You're rather be 'selfish' in the eyes of others than be miserable with such a huge commitment.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: darkadams00 on October 07, 2014, 08:27:14 AM
One advantage that my wife and I have enjoyed with having two kids--each child was extremely different in personality, attitudes, strengths, weaknesses. Frustrations that we faced with one child weren't even a topic with the other child. Accomplishments by one child weren't even interests for the other. Our two sons truly displayed a wonderful mix of the best and worst of my wife and me. Neither son was always "good" or "bad", but they tended to be "good" or "bad" in different areas. Had we only had version 1.0 or 2.0, then we would have only seen one of these perspectives. Furthermore, for more than ten years the two were able to play together and entertain themselves as needed. This enhanced their social skills of give-and-take at an early age, continuing repetitively throughout their childhood.

Now they're both in college in separate cities, so the wife and I have spent many evenings in the past couple years thinking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of rearing children. We've agreed that there were good and bad decisions made by us over the years, and we've discussed many of them in retrospect, but the one decision we've never regretted was the choice to have children.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: hdatontodo on October 07, 2014, 10:36:30 AM
My wife and I were older when we met. We agreed that if we were lucky enough to have a kid, that we'd get married, else we'd just stay together unmarried. We ended up fortunately with the kid/marriage option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm still not sure why people get married who aren't planning to start a family.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: smalllife on October 07, 2014, 11:05:43 AM
I'm still not sure why people get married who aren't planning to start a family.

Really?

A basic premise of the legal benefits of being married:

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

Marriage has nothing to do with children, although it does help with custody issues (see same sex adoptions, legal step-parent issues, etc.)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Constance Noring on October 07, 2014, 01:40:50 PM
I'm still not sure why people get married who aren't planning to start a family.

Getting married is starting a family. Having kids is adding to it.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: VirginiaBob on October 07, 2014, 01:51:44 PM
We have 4 kids (2 singletons and 1 set of twins) and wouldn't trade them for anything.  That said, if we never had them, I probably wouldn't trade that life for anything either.  Once you make your choice (or even if you have one that you didn't intend to), my belief is that is exactly how your life was meant to me.  I would never tell anyone that they should or should not have kids.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: tj on October 07, 2014, 08:21:56 PM
Quote
There is no reason, before you have even one, that you need to agree on how many little ones you ( hopefully) will have.

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

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

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

If the goal is to meet someone that you are absolutely compatible with, that is rare (or depending what level of detail you go down to, impossible).  For example consider anyone you meet and the following example criteria (numbers are not meant to be accurate):

Number of mates possible in the world:  Pool of 10 Billion
Within 30 minutes driving distance:  Pool of 5 Million
Opposite Sex: 2.5 Million
Between 20-25 years old: Now down to 300,000
Same religion:  100,000
Same politics: 60,000
Same race: 30,000
Of those, nuber your ever meet: 100
Full time stable job: 60
Frugal values: 6
Wants kids: 4
Wants 3 kids: 1
Has blonde hair: 0

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


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

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

 Want I'm trying to say is that you can "picky" yourself out of ever finding a mate if you want someone absolutely compatible.  Mathematically, it is not possible (for most of the population anyways).
I don't think he was saying he wanted "absolute" compatibility, just someone who shared his basic values and the general family size he wants.  He doesn't want a Duggar who wants to pop out 19 kids before age 33, and he probably doesn't want someone like me who didn't want to have kids at all (and most of us have found mates who didn't want kids either). There are many many people out there who would share his same vision of his future family.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: farmstache on October 08, 2014, 11:27:03 AM
I don't think he was saying he wanted "absolute" compatibility, just someone who shared his basic values and the general family size he wants.  He doesn't want a Duggar who wants to pop out 19 kids before age 33, and he probably doesn't want someone like me who didn't want to have kids at all (and most of us have found mates who didn't want kids either). There are many many people out there who would share his same vision of his future family.

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

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

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

Basically, it depends on what's a deal-breaker for you. For me, no kids or definitely just 1 kid would have been a deal breaker. Just be careful not to picky yourself out of great people who might be willing to compromise (I agree with that).
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: tj on October 08, 2014, 12:12:13 PM
Quote
If the goal is to meet someone that you are absolutely compatible with, that is rare (or depending what level of detail you go down to, impossible).

I'm not sure what absolute compatibility even means, and I realize that the decision on family size is something that can change with time, and as you have the kids, to me, it just seems like your less likely to have conflict if you go into it with the same desires, but perhaps that's naïve of me.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justme89 on October 09, 2014, 08:21:08 PM

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

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

In terms of kids or no kids, humans always have to justify their life choices. If you have no kids, justify how you have freedom and options and self fulfillment. If you have kids, then justify it with how fulfilling it is. It's a coping mechanism for both since you have to live with your choice and say "I wouldn't change it" cause you can't..so one must justify it.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Pigeon on October 13, 2014, 01:13:38 PM
Dh and I both came from huge families.  I never had a burning desire to have kids.  I'm also not a kid person.  When we were in our thirties, he started to think about it more and eventually I came around to agreeing to one.

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

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

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

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

Between the two of us, we have 27 nieces and nephews.  Some are only children.  They turn out just fine.  There's something to be said for having more resources available and more parental attention.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: loveChloe on December 14, 2014, 11:09:46 PM
Having a child is ossom! He / she brings you an ocean of happiness, and he / she will be always a part of you, you will be able to give and teach him all  you could not by yourself. This is a cool copie of you that you have a chance to make better and better every day.  And of course this is a great portion of love!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Firefly on December 27, 2014, 08:06:32 PM
We have 2 kids. My husband would be fine with no kids or just 1. I would prefer to have 3 or 4. So we agreed on 2 - my husband adores them and does not regret having 2. Although we both agree that financially we would be better off with no kids. Our kids are almost 6 years apart, not the way we wanted, but it happened. It's a lot harder with 2. They have different needs. It's harder to split your time and attention. If I could stay home and focus on kids only, I would have more. But with the full time career 2 is enough. My 2 kids have completely different personalities. The older one is a very high need kid, the second one is the easiest baby on the planet. If I had more of my younger ones - i'd have more kids no problem, but you can never predict those things. Having said that, I can not imagine not having those 2 in my life. I never knew that I could love anyone so much. And you just can't put a price on that.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 29, 2014, 10:48:00 AM
Number of mates possible in the world:  Pool of 10 Billion
Within 30 minutes driving distance:  Pool of 5 Million
Opposite Sex: 2.5 Million
Between 20-25 years old: Now down to 300,000
Same religion:  100,000
Same politics: 60,000
Same race: 30,000
Of those, nuber your ever meet: 100
Full time stable job: 60
Frugal values: 6
Wants kids: 4
Wants 3 kids: 1
Has blonde hair: 0

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

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

That being said, I think it is important for people to be on the same page about kids before they marry. You can't compromise on them.  You can't get half a kid. You can't return it or get rid of it if you change your mind.   But do keep in mind, people change- my husband and I were on the same page 10 years ago when we married, and now we've had some awful long talks because his mind changed from what it was.  And like I said, it's not an issue we can compromise on. One of us has to lose.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justajane on December 30, 2014, 05:54:10 AM
Has someone posted about our overpopulation-environmental problem on planet earth?

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

It's not taboo on here. It's comes up almost every time having a child is discussed and even in unrelated discussions sometimes. Just search overpopulation and you can read to your heart's content.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Peacefulwarrior on January 11, 2015, 08:49:31 AM
I had my son at around 23. I'm 28 now (male). Initially I was the type who said I would never had kids. While deeply in love with his mother I decided I would like a child with her. We split up when he was 2 years old. I quickly grew into the role of being a father and think I've done a really good job. Looking forward I would say though, that honestly I don't want more kids. Mainly because it's a HUGE burden when they're babies. It seems to have become a lot easier (and more fun, if you ask me) now that my son is son turning 5 very soon. If magic was possible and women were able to give birth to more 5 year olds I would probably not hesitate to get a few more. But I'm not willing to go through hell again with pooping and screaming 24/7. I also feel like I love my son so much that I don't really want to divide my love and attention between him and more kids. My experience might be colored by the fact that I was the one who took care of him all the time, and still do. Might have been a different experience had I found a more mature mother for him.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: FFA on January 30, 2015, 09:14:32 AM
If magic was possible and women were able to give birth to more 5 year olds I would probably not hesitate to get a few more.
Laughed out loud when I read this!! Well said! We have two , eldest is 2.7 yrs. I actually believe in magic and would settle for women giving birth to 2.5 year olds.... Just kidding!

Our two are the joy of our lives and the best thing I ever did , but that said it sure has been tough and frankly I don't think we would opt for number 3.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Dmoneyzzz on March 03, 2015, 12:23:21 AM
I'm an only child.  If my mother would've had another, it would probably be a little harder for me to use family resources to the fullest.  I can only imagine halving each of the monetary gifts I get from my family members.  I like being the only one, sometimes selfishness may accompany more responsibility.  But don't take my word, I'm not in a position to have children yet.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MrsCoolCat on March 21, 2015, 02:11:23 PM
Do you want to raise a child? Do you want to spend the next 18 years+ putting their needs before your own? What do you want your day-to-day life to look like? Is loving a child important to you?

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

Ask me when I was 25 and the idea petrified me. My life wasn't together and I wanted to live more and for myself. I'm not saying it's perfect now, but the idea no longer scares me and I realize that it will be hard and never perfect. A few years ago I wanted to wait but this year I just feel ready and decided better now than me trying to perfect everything, and that's ok.This is also despite my mother wanting to be a grandmother and offering to take care of them, though an incentive. Plus it really hit me that waiting sometimes turns into I'm 45 and trying to have a kid. I personally just don't want that when I'm 40s.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: matimeo on March 22, 2015, 08:31:23 PM
I have five kids, so I can take a stab at this topic from that standpoint. We've taken it one at a time and didn't feel our family was complete until the last one.

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

Will it delay when I reach financial independence significantly? Of course, but I wouldn't trade it. You've got to remember that the goal in life is not to finish fastest, and financial independence is not an end. Rather, what (I think) MMM preaches is living a meaningful life and living principles that create happiness. Do that with or without kids and you'll be fine, but don't put off kids to reach FI sooner or to avoid doing something that is hard. MMM is a big proponent of doing the hard thing.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Mika M on June 10, 2015, 12:34:40 PM
I actually loved this particular post, partly because I sympathize - DH and I definitely wanted to stop after our first but there's is plenty of pressure out there to have two at minimum (friends, coworkers, my mother, my mother's friends, etc.). It has been an enriching and altering experience with dear daughter who is super sweet and super cute... But F*@# if it hasn't been the most stressed out, sleep-deprived, at-wits-end, toughest couple of years of my life. Call me a wuss, but bad sleepers do run in my family (my sister went through fatigue-induced-depression with each of her two bad sleepers, my mom claims neither of us let her sleep for two years), so between the onslaught of various daycare-inflicted pathogens, growing pains, and nearly a year of baby insomnia striking frequently at random (she'd sleep great for three weeks then not sleep at all for the next two - I will never argue that sleep deprivation is not a valid form of torture)... I just can't bring myself to do it all over again. When she was still an infant I'd occasionally have thoughts that two might be nice, but even now, as she's finally started to sleep more consistently, the more time that passes the less I can imagine choosing to go through everything from pregnancy through toddlerhood growth spurts one more time. (At least not on purpose.)

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

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

Which leads to what I think MMM's point is: everybody's different (values, priorities, patience, energy levels), so the number of kids you have (whether it's zero or twelve) is a deeply personal decision and to not feel bad for daring to be different (from having 2.5 kids and a dog with a giant SUV in a big mortgaged house)...
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: barbaz on June 25, 2015, 09:35:12 AM
Is there really that much pressure to have 2 or more kids in the US?

Here in Germany (average 1.4 kids/women), having more than 2 children is generally seen as a sign of lower social class.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: justajane on June 25, 2015, 03:50:29 PM
Is there really that much pressure to have 2 or more kids in the US?

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

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

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

Lots of kids by different fathers still has a degree of social and class stigma, though.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: partgypsy on June 29, 2015, 08:42:52 AM
Not to scare you, but I can think of at least 3 instances where the husband didn't want any more kids, made that clear, but the wife went and did what they wanted to do anyways (have another kid). So if you really don't want any more kids, simply get a vasectomy otherwise an "accident" might happen. (this happened with my parents, my parents in law, and a sibling in law). 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: AZDude on June 29, 2015, 02:03:58 PM
*schedules vasectomy*
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: SisterX on June 30, 2015, 10:25:26 PM
Not to scare you, but I can think of at least 3 instances where the husband didn't want any more kids, made that clear, but the wife went and did what they wanted to do anyways (have another kid). So if you really don't want any more kids, simply get a vasectomy otherwise an "accident" might happen. (this happened with my parents, my parents in law, and a sibling in law).

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

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

Don't be that guy.  That guy's an asshole.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: I'm a red panda on July 01, 2015, 07:36:06 AM
Is there really that much pressure to have 2 or more kids in the US?

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

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

There seem to be a lot of families with 3 children right now.  More than 3 and you start getting weird looks for having a "big" family.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: CommonCents on July 01, 2015, 07:52:03 AM
Not to scare you, but I can think of at least 3 instances where the husband didn't want any more kids, made that clear, but the wife went and did what they wanted to do anyways (have another kid). So if you really don't want any more kids, simply get a vasectomy otherwise an "accident" might happen. (this happened with my parents, my parents in law, and a sibling in law).

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

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

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

+1
Particularly as I've heard stories of men who don't tell their partners about their vasectomy - yet agree to "try" for a kid.  That's asshole behavior right there, to let someone think they have a chance of having kids but really don't.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: AZDude on July 01, 2015, 02:15:52 PM
Uh... no. I dont need permission to have a vasectomy. Not telling the partner about it might be assholish, but its my decision.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MarciaB on July 02, 2015, 12:08:25 PM

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


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

We endured about 8 years of pressure ("suggestions") to add a second child to our family. Finally they gave up.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: I'm a red panda on July 02, 2015, 12:15:33 PM
Uh... no. I dont need permission to have a vasectomy. Not telling the partner about it might be assholish, but its my decision.

Are you married?
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: AZDude on July 02, 2015, 01:46:51 PM
Yes.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: I'm a red panda on July 02, 2015, 02:01:49 PM
Wow.

(For the record: I don't think the LAW should dictate the husband must have the wife's permission.  But for a healthy marriage, I cannot imagine a man just up and deciding to do this without discussing it with his wife.)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: mamagoose on July 03, 2015, 07:27:05 PM
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: CommonCents on July 03, 2015, 09:25:07 PM
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

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

As abhorrent as I find the idea that one would have a vasectomy without at least informing your wife (much less consulting/discussing), I do have to say the idea that a wife's permission is required is concerning and a bit slippery slope (i.e. I think Casey v. Planned Parenthood was correctly decided and a wife should not need to have her husband's consent to have an abortion). 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Bracken_Joy on July 03, 2015, 09:33:22 PM
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

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

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

Definitely a slippery slope. While it is usually male on female abuse, reproductive abuse is a real thing. No one should be forced into having children, and sometimes, they need a way to stabilize the situation before they are ready to leave. Stages of change and all that.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: partgypsy on July 07, 2015, 07:25:06 AM
I am pro choice, so if I am for women, I am for men, in that it is their choice to have a vasectomy or not. Obviously not a sign of a healthy relationship to do so without discussing or informing one's partner! but that is a different matter. Except in rare cases, vasectomy is permanent (if it is done correctly, you no longer produce viable sperm). So it should only be done if the person understands they will not have biological children in the future.

My husband and I after having our 2nd child knew that we didn't want any more, and of all the permanent choices, vasectomy seemed the best option. I appreciated he "took the hit". We thought it humorous the doctor scheduled it for Valentine's day. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: golden1 on July 07, 2015, 08:08:37 AM
I was revisiting this thread, and it occurs to me when reading about early stage parenting and the sleep deprivation and nonstop care that this requires, that a fair number of people stop at one or two because those years are just so emotionally and physically taxing.  A lot of the reason why birth rates in industrialized populations are declining is related to this fact combined with the expectation that you need to provide for college for your children.    This is a relatively new development, and I wonder sometimes what the birthrates would be if parents had more support in those early years like they did in more traditional societies or in other cultures around the world. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: AZDude on July 07, 2015, 09:46:47 AM
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

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

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

It is somewhat terrifying that a doctor would require a wife's signature before performing a procedure on a husband. Also, comparing abortion to vasectomy is idiocy. Its prevention vs termination. Don't want to get into a whole abortion debate here, but there is a drastic difference.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: CommonCents on July 07, 2015, 02:52:51 PM
In some states men need the wife's signature for a doc to perform a vasectomy.

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

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

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

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

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

*If you are pro-life and believe you have the right to tell someone what to do with their own body, then I'd say that completely undercuts the argument of not telling your wife.  We can leave this exceedingly off topic conversation for another thread though.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: AZDude on July 07, 2015, 03:10:13 PM
Never said I would have a vasectomy without telling my wife first, but just saying that I *should* be able to, if that is what I want. So yes, we are in agreement. Again though, abortion and vasectomy are not comparable. Whatever birth control method a woman chooses is her business, same with a man.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on July 07, 2015, 04:21:52 PM
Never said I would have a vasectomy without telling my wife first, but just saying that I *should* be able to, if that is what I want. So yes, we are in agreement. Again though, abortion and vasectomy are not comparable. Whatever birth control method a woman chooses is her business, same with a man.

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

I don't think the person who suggested getting a vasectomy meant "and don't tell your wife." I like to think that most people are decent human beings who would not DELIBERATELY cause an unwanted pregnancy. But... speaking for myself, asking me to be in charge of birth control is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. I mean, when I was on the pill I always took it, but if it was a question of whether to use a condom or not on a particular day, cycle-wise, I was a lousy enforcer, and that is how we wound up with two kids instead of just one. (You would think that someone who was 100% sure he did not want any more kids would be the enforcer, but no.) So we had to take enforcement out of the equation altogether (first IUD and the the big snip).
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Last Night on January 09, 2016, 09:45:07 AM
I was raised as a single child and I always wanted a sibling.  It was tough especially because my parents divorced and I was lonely a lot, but that propelled me to build much better relationships with my friends.  I have friends that I would consider brothers and would give up a lot for and we've been together since the beginning.  I guess being a single child allowed me to open up to others in order to fill that void of not having a sibling.

We are planning on having kids and while 1 kid definitely seems like the easier/cheaper and best bang for the buck life compromise (more free time, more attention, etc) we will try for two.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Blueeyes7767 on January 10, 2016, 01:32:33 AM
That's a tough one LibrarIan. If you're open to having one, why don't you just start there and see how you feel after that? It doesn't sound like you are absolutely sold on having none. Did you two discuss this before you were married?

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

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

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

We discussed having children and agreed that two would be the limit.  I raised two beautiful daughters and would not trade a moment with them for the world.  My girls in their mid and early 20's now. Being a Mother is a rewarding adventure every day.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: partgypsy on January 12, 2016, 01:30:47 PM
To wrap up, here's a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that is extremely on-point:

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with this post. Having kids could be seen as a giving thing or a selfish thing, depends on how you look at it. But the argument that there are many many people on this planet and having that as a reason to have 0 or fewer kids, is not invalidated by the rationale that other people will use up those resources. Especially as first worlders Americans first of all use the most resources per capita in the world. I admit that I had children for selfish reasons. I wanted to have genetically related offspring to love and to love me back and hopefully descendants. If you were doing it for unselfish reasons then adopt a kid, especially one who has special needs. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: partgypsy on January 12, 2016, 01:40:24 PM
For the guy who doesn't want to have kids and the wife to have kids, they should both be brutally honest with each other what they want, and what they are and are not willing to do. If both people agree to stay together despite this disagreement, it is of their own voluntary decision. I do not agree with either the female or male secretly either inducing a pregnancy or preventing one without telling one's partner! Very coercive and manipulative thing to do.

I think the ideal number of kids to have will vary by couple. But I also agree for the planet's sake, I feel the number should be on the fewer side. But people feel very emotional and strongly about it.
Regarding the women in grad school and wanting kids, not to be too pessimistic, it sounds like having a kid and getting house may derail her career. 30 is not something in stone to get pregnant by. If anything I have heard 35 is when doctors start telling their female patients to get off the fence regarding family planning. So my advice is for her to work 1-4 years after grad school to get established before trying for kid.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Krolik on August 18, 2016, 12:12:01 PM
I started this thread back in 2015 and really appreciated all the responses

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/have-you-ever-wished-you-had-sibling(s)/
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: moof on August 18, 2016, 04:01:37 PM
We have one kid.  I never really saw myself as a dad, and was also indecisive when the wife first started pushing the issue.  Of course I love the kid to death and have a ton of fun with him now that we have him.  I am also glad we only have one.  But that is not the real question.  Would I be better off, happier, healthier, more fulfilled, richer, etc without a kid?

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

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

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

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

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

I will say that it was very useful to have candid conversations as to how I was feeling about having kids, about parenting philosophies, finances, etc before we had the kid.  Many of those discussions have been overridden by events, but it really made us part of a team going into it.  In part it sobered up my wife as to some of the difficult realities of child rearing that she was glossing over all too easily.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Pitagirl on September 10, 2016, 11:25:26 PM
Hubby wants to two, I only want one. I'm dealing with someone who wants to retire at a certain age. I wonder, won't having kids slow you down? We're trying for one, but to have two, I question it. Yes, it sucks to be the only child, but you're paying double, college, etc.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: ender on September 11, 2016, 08:08:10 AM
Hubby wants to two, I only want one. I'm dealing with someone who wants to retire at a certain age. I wonder, won't having kids slow you down? We're trying for one, but to have two, I question it. Yes, it sucks to be the only child, but you're paying double, college, etc.

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

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

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

My husband thought he wanted a bunch of kids until we had one. I never could see myself with more than two and then I had one and I knew immediately I was done within a week of her birth. As much as we care about the environment and whatnot, it is sad to think of how our families are taking the fast track to extinction. Both my husband and I come from three sibling households. Of that, husband and I have one, my sister and BIL have one. My brother, and my husband's brother and sister, and my sister's husband's brother and his wife have none. My family and my sister's family are one and vasectomy. It seems very unlikely that my husband's brother and sister will ever have children. Same for my sister's husband's brother and SIL. My brother is a tossup, but very newly divorced, so not much going on there for awhile. So of 9 people, only 4 have had children, and then those 4 together only had a grand total of 2. Upside down pyramid for sure. :/
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: englishteacheralex on September 12, 2016, 06:41:14 PM
I have to admit, this is one of my all-time least favorite posts on the blog. The thing that appealed to me most about MMM's philosophy from the start was that it wisely rejected a lot of the most toxic aspects of modernity in favor of a more traditional, conservative viewpoint: saying "enough is enough" to money instead of pursuing unlimited greed, ambition, materialism, and consumerism; rejecting mindless passive entertainments like TV and video games in favor of active hobbies and reading; fostering a sense of self-reliance and responsibility for one's life; seeking fulfillment from community and family (I was very touched that MMM and his wife quit their jobs to have more time to start a family) instead of accumulating status symbols or empty job titles; all of this stuff made good sense to me and represents the kinds of values our insane culture has drifted far away from. A little bit of that modern insanity crept into this latest post, however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh Amen amen and amen.

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

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

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

Few people WANT to have a 0-2 year old. It's rough! I'm not really looking forward to going through it again. But I definitely want a family with another generation to love and experience and teach and learn from. I'd have three but pregnancy is hell for me.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Kitsunegari on September 12, 2016, 07:00:30 PM
We're expecting our first, but we plan 2 for selfish reasons: so if the first one is a fuck-up, we'll have a back-up option. I'm confident we won't mess up 100% of our kids.
Basically we want to diversify our emotional investment.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Milizard on September 17, 2016, 11:51:43 AM
Thank you for these last few posts.  It drives me up the wall when the childless insist that having children is selfish.  In fact, it has been the most unselfish thing I've ever done.  Before kids was the selfish era--everything was about me, myself and I. 
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Landlady on October 24, 2016, 02:22:52 PM
I read the below ny times article this morning and there was one question that stood out to me as relevant for this conversation. For this question you have to assume "when you retire" means "when you are old" since we all know that we are retiring early. :)

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

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

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

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

For the record, Mr. Tharp has no children, but he has not been married for long and expects that the family dog, Eli, will not be the last living being that he and his wife will care for.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: kite on October 25, 2016, 06:06:40 PM
I read the below ny times article this morning and there was one question that stood out to me as relevant for this conversation. For this question you have to assume "when you retire" means "when you are old" since we all know that we are retiring early. :)

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

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

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

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

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

I've long thought this.  The older I get the more relevant it is.  My mom had a bunch of kids, and has a far easier time in her old age than her peers who had none, or who outlived their kids.  Mom also made life easier on me by giving me siblings. The childless elderly are invisible. 
Two of my sisters each have one daughter.  One did so as a junior in college. By the time that sister was 35 her daughter was driving, by 40, her daughter was independent.  The other had a baby at 38.  At 40, she's still got a toddler.  And she's tired.  The younger you are when you have kids, the younger you are as a grandparent.  It's unfathomable at 18 or 22 that you'd ever even be old enough for that, but when I see my middle aged peers (we're all around 50) the happiest are the ones with grandbabies, not teenagers.  It's easier to play with the grands when your knees and hips aren't screaming for replacements.  By the time you know what you should have done, it's too late to do anything about it.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Letj on October 25, 2016, 08:38:46 PM
I read the below ny times article this morning and there was one question that stood out to me as relevant for this conversation. For this question you have to assume "when you retire" means "when you are old" since we all know that we are retiring early. :)

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

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

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

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

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

I've long thought this.  The older I get the more relevant it is.  My mom had a bunch of kids, and has a far easier time in her old age than her peers who had none, or who outlived their kids.  Mom also made life easier on me by giving me siblings. The childless elderly are invisible. 
Two of my sisters each have one daughter.  One did so as a junior in college. By the time that sister was 35 her daughter was driving, by 40, her daughter was independent.  The other had a baby at 38.  At 40, she's still got a toddler.  And she's tired.  The younger you are when you have kids, the younger you are as a grandparent.  It's unfathomable at 18 or 22 that you'd ever even be old enough for that, but when I see my middle aged peers (we're all around 50) the happiest are the ones with grandbabies, not teenagers.  It's easier to play with the grands when your knees and hips aren't screaming for replacements.  By the time you know what you should have done, it's too late to do anything about it.
+1 On everything you said. I have 6 siblings and that was the best thing that ever happened to my parents. In your old age is when you really see the value of your children and certainly when you have that many a few of them are likely to be very close and helpful to you. My parents are in a happy place with their children and grand children who help them financially and make sure they are taken care of. I think the saddest older people are those without children or have one or two children who don't care.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: hoping2retire35 on October 27, 2016, 03:09:00 PM
We're expecting our first, but we plan 2 for selfish reasons: so if the first one is a fuck-up, we'll have a back-up option. I'm confident we won't mess up 100% of our kids.
Basically we want to diversify our emotional investment.
haha
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: azure975 on October 29, 2016, 11:42:46 PM
+1 On everything you said. I have 6 siblings and that was the best thing that ever happened to my parents. In your old age is when you really see the value of your children and certainly when you have that many a few of them are likely to be very close and helpful to you. My parents are in a happy place with their children and grand children who help them financially and make sure they are taken care of. I think the saddest older people are those without children or have one or two children who don't care.

Actually, studies have shown that older people with children are no happier than older people without children. Happiness levels in old age seem more related to having a good relationship with a spouse or SO, close friendships and meaningful activities. However, I do agree that it would be nicer to have grown children who will check up on you than to have to depend on paid caregivers. Since I'm childfree by choice, I'm making sure to allocate extra to provide for my long-term care needs since I know I won't have children to fall back on.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: marion10 on October 30, 2016, 06:59:59 AM
Both my parents were only children ( my father had a brother who died in childhood) - so I had no aunts, uncles or first cousins. I saw not only practically but emotionally how hard it was for my parents when my grandparents died. But there are no guarantees- your kids might not get along as adults.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on October 30, 2016, 09:21:16 AM
I think the best way to make sure you're cared for in old age is to build close, warm relationships, whether you have kids or not. If you have kids but aren't very nice to them, they won't want to take care of you. I have childless aunts that I will certainly check in on when they age (both have plenty of resources for their care as far as I know, but of course there is much more to it than that).

Years ago I worked in an accounting firm that did the household employer tax for a lady with dementia. She knew she would need round-the-clock care and had a horror of nursing homes. She had no family but lots of money. A dear friend interviewed and hired a team of nurses--the full-time day nurse, the night nurses, the weekend nurses--and handled all this paperwork for her. There are so many ways to make sure one is looked after in old age.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Letj on October 31, 2016, 06:39:24 PM
I think the best way to make sure you're cared for in old age is to build close, warm relationships, whether you have kids or not. If you have kids but aren't very nice to them, they won't want to take care of you. I have childless aunts that I will certainly check in on when they age (both have plenty of resources for their care as far as I know, but of course there is much more to it than that).

Years ago I worked in an accounting firm that did the household employer tax for a lady with dementia. She knew she would need round-the-clock care and had a horror of nursing homes. She had no family but lots of money. A dear friend interviewed and hired a team of nurses--the full-time day nurse, the night nurses, the weekend nurses--and handled all this paperwork for her. There are so many ways to make sure one is looked after in old age.

In most cultures around the world, there's an obligation on the children to be kind to their parents even though their parents even if they never had a warm close relationship with them. I understand that American culture is different. I once read that the saddest people in nursing homes were those without children.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: financiallypossible on November 03, 2016, 01:14:49 PM
I really appreciate that MMM wrote this article. My wife and I currently only have one child, but we've been deciding whether or not to have a second child.

My biggest fear is ending up with twins and then jumping straight from the 1 to the 3+ on your chart. I've known too many others that have had that happen to them. Uggh..

At one point several years ago I wanted to blog on why the world needs lower birth rates worldwide and most families having 1 or 2 children. I now think that people will naturally come to that conclusion if we can improve their financial literacy around the world.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Metric Mouse on November 07, 2016, 12:45:57 AM
I really appreciate that MMM wrote this article. My wife and I currently only have one child, but we've been deciding whether or not to have a second child.

My biggest fear is ending up with twins and then jumping straight from the 1 to the 3+ on your chart. I've known too many others that have had that happen to them. Uggh..

At one point several years ago I wanted to blog on why the world needs lower birth rates worldwide and most families having 1 or 2 children. I now think that people will naturally come to that conclusion if we can improve their financial literacy around the world.

Actually, increasing life expectancy and the availability of birth control have much greater negative effects upon birth rates than financial literacy.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: partgypsy on November 17, 2016, 01:35:28 PM
I probably posted in this thread before, but for the original poster, really let your wife know, that you are fine with one but more than that, no, because of valuing personal time, or essentially being too selfish to want kids, which is perfectly fine. It is really important for you to be brutally honest with yourself and your spouse about this. My husband and I have 2 kids. First one I knew for sure I wanted and he was excited, the 2nd one kind of an impulse but one we both agreed on. I just assumed we would adapt for having a bigger family.

However my husband didn't want to change his lifestyle which became glaringly obvious with the 2nd one, both in how much and when he worked (only part time, and on the weekends), and not wanting to cut back on multiple hobbies which made me a solo parent in fact if not in name.
When he left he said he appreciated all the time he was given for his bands, art and hobbies, but wanted even MORE time. Obviously, had I known that he was OK saying he wanted kids but not wanting to have the commitment to actually having them, I would have made a different decision. Even if you are thinking you are being kind to say yes, it is not a kindness.  He even brought up when I had brought up these things before, that he only had kids because I wanted them. Ouch.
And when I say make a different decision, most likely I would have tried to find someone who shared my values.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: I'm a red panda on November 17, 2016, 02:29:37 PM

 I once read that the saddest people in nursing homes were those without children.

I think I'd be sadder if I had children who never visited me...
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: CanuckExpat on November 18, 2016, 12:06:49 AM
I really appreciate that MMM wrote this article. My wife and I currently only have one child, but we've been deciding whether or not to have a second child.

My biggest fear is ending up with twins and then jumping straight from the 1 to the 3+ on your chart. I've known too many others that have had that happen to them. Uggh..

At one point several years ago I wanted to blog on why the world needs lower birth rates worldwide and most families having 1 or 2 children. I now think that people will naturally come to that conclusion if we can improve their financial literacy around the world.

Actually, increasing life expectancy and the availability of birth control have much greater negative effects upon birth rates than financial literacy.

I don't know about financial literary specifically, female education in general is pretty closely linked to decreased childbearing (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/11/the-relationship-between-womens-education-and-fertility/) and there is reason to suspect it might be causal and not correlation (though always hard to determine for sure in retrospective data)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Metric Mouse on November 18, 2016, 06:17:51 AM
I really appreciate that MMM wrote this article. My wife and I currently only have one child, but we've been deciding whether or not to have a second child.

My biggest fear is ending up with twins and then jumping straight from the 1 to the 3+ on your chart. I've known too many others that have had that happen to them. Uggh..

At one point several years ago I wanted to blog on why the world needs lower birth rates worldwide and most families having 1 or 2 children. I now think that people will naturally come to that conclusion if we can improve their financial literacy around the world.

Actually, increasing life expectancy and the availability of birth control have much greater negative effects upon birth rates than financial literacy.

I don't know about financial literary specifically, female education in general is pretty closely linked to decreased childbearing (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/11/the-relationship-between-womens-education-and-fertility/) and there is reason to suspect it might be causal and not correlation (though always hard to determine for sure in retrospective data)

Yes, as education increases birth rates decrease.  A much more accurate statement.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Metric Mouse on November 18, 2016, 06:22:35 AM

At one point several years ago I wanted to blog on why the world needs lower birth rates worldwide and most families having 1 or 2 children. I now think that people will naturally come to that conclusion if we can improve their financial literacy around the world.

Hans Rosling disagrees.
Don't Panic  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ks064fU7_M)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Tuskalusa on December 05, 2016, 12:09:49 AM
I remember having these conversations with my DH. We waited until our mid-30's to have a kid.  For a bunch of reasons, we have only one child. He's now 10, and he's awesome. Also, he LOVES being an only child. He actually tells me how much he likes being an only child...because he gets "more attention" and "more calm." (His own words.). I spent a lot of time worrying about if he'd be sad or lonely without a sibling. Turns out that it's all fine. 

What I've learned, more than anything else, is that things tend to work themselves out. If you've got the basics of a good partner and a solid relationship, the rest falls into place.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: talltexan on January 31, 2017, 09:15:21 AM
I was already at the 2-level when I saw this article, but I'm taking it into great consideration as my wife and discuss whether 3 children will make sense.

We're used to crowd-sourcing decisions like car purchases. Our Facebook friends were very willing to discuss Honda Pilots, etc., but who is out there with a 3rd child that would put on facebook that they really see now how two (or fewer) was probably the optimal number for their family?
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: englishteacheralex on January 31, 2017, 01:42:58 PM
I read an awesome book last week called Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. The premise is that people overestimate the cost (both financial and energy) of having kids and underestimate the long-term benefits. The author cites several studies that find child-rearing techniques are much less important in long-term outcomes for adult children than people think; thus, modern parents generally make child-rearing overly difficult for themselves.

I have two kids; a 2.5 year old and a 5 week old. Right now I'm longing to have a third, because I'm having so much fun and the thought of the future with my kids fills me with joy. Another one sounds just awesome. Honestly, I'm not sure how in the world we would afford daycare for three, though. We'd have to wait at least three years before it would be daycare for two ($2k/month) and by then I'll be 40. And 40 seems so darn old to have a newborn.

If I had family help and more resources, I think I'd have a third in a year or so. Yeah, the upfront cost is high, but the payoff seems so worth it. But if we had a third within our time frame, I'd probably have to stop working, and that would be a huge sacrifice because I love my job and I make pretty good money.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: firelight on January 31, 2017, 05:39:54 PM
^^^ this! We are expecting our second soon but I'm already planning for the third in the next two years. But daycare and preschool costs (age difference would be 2.5 between the kiddos) will eat us alive :( we can swing it if there was help but at this point, very doubtful.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: financiallypossible on January 31, 2017, 08:54:33 PM
^^^ this! We are expecting our second soon but I'm already planning for the third in the next two years. But daycare and preschool costs (age difference would be 2.5 between the kiddos) will eat us alive :( we can swing it if there was help but at this point, very doubtful.

Congrats on having your 2nd on the way firelight! Is there a meaning behind firelight? (I like it)
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: talltexan on February 01, 2017, 01:38:38 PM
The converse of this material is that there may be childless people around you who--as they age--are increasingly disappointed in not having had any children. Remember to be sensitive to those people.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: I'm a red panda on February 01, 2017, 01:54:58 PM
The converse of this material is that there may be childless people around you who--as they age--are increasingly disappointed in not having had any children. Remember to be sensitive to those people.

+1


I'd love to have more than one (living) child; it doesn't look like that is going to happen. We are really hoping we manage to get 1.  Despite advertising a "baby sale" at the local grocery store, it doesn't appear I can just go buy one.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: ysette9 on February 01, 2017, 02:41:15 PM
Yeah, what a humbling lesson biology/Mother Nature can be. I am blessed that we were able to have one after three tries. We would love to have #2 but after over a year of trying with assistance, and me just turning 35, it is certainly possible that we will not be successful.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: firelight on February 01, 2017, 08:11:39 PM
Very true. We lost a baby and it still stings. Not having or losing a child at any stage is never easy :(
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: ysette9 on February 01, 2017, 08:27:01 PM
That is very true and I really feel for you. Losing our second pregnancy in a row in ththis 2nd trimester was very hard on me. I was in a dark space when it subsequently was hard to get pregnant again. I expect just being older contributed as well as my stressful job assignment. I also feel like the emotions and not-fully-processed grief also contributed. In any case, it is easier to deal with the longer process of trying to get pregnant this time around because I do have this absolute blessing of a daughter. I can only imagine what a wreck I would be had we not succeeded with her. My heart goes out to you and I wish you the best.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: firelight on February 02, 2017, 07:59:40 PM


That is very true and I really feel for you. Losing our second pregnancy in a row in ththis 2nd trimester was very hard on me. I was in a dark space when it subsequently was hard to get pregnant again. I expect just being older contributed as well as my stressful job assignment. I also feel like the emotions and not-fully-processed grief also contributed. In any case, it is easier to deal with the longer process of trying to get pregnant this time around because I do have this absolute blessing of a daughter. I can only imagine what a wreck I would be had we not succeeded with her. My heart goes out to you and I wish you the best.

Thanks ysette9. That is very sweet of you. I hope the pain dulls some day for all of us parents and non-parents. Hugs to everyone that is going through this!
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Tuskalusa on April 23, 2017, 12:07:25 AM
We have an only child, and we are happy to be a family of 3. If you asked my kid if he wanted a sibling, he'd say "no thank you."  He's 10, well adjusted, and has plenty of friends. For us, if was a great choice. Having an only child is a perfectly reasonable option, if that's what's best for your family.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: catan on April 23, 2017, 04:19:19 AM
I have two children and have always wanted more. I grew up in a big family, and my parents both grew up in large families, and differences aside, there's a lot of support for parental care with siblings around.

But, now I am divorced, so my options for having children are limited. Hoping to look into adoption once my younger one is out of toddlerhood. I generally lead a simple life but I still don't feel 'done' with children and I'm not actively looking for someone to have children with (I am 34).


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Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: Cassie on April 23, 2017, 01:03:42 PM
The people I have known that did not want kids are not sorry now that they are older. I feel so sorry for people that want kids but it does not happen.  I did not feel that our family was complete until we had 3 kids.  They are all grown now and I really enjoy talking and visiting with them. I don't expect them to take care of me in my old age.
Title: Re: Having only one child
Post by: MrsCoolCat on May 16, 2017, 12:58:18 PM
Was my last reply really March of 2015 before I was pregnant & with my now 15 week baby? I thought I recently struggled with wanting more kids or not & when but this morning's argument made it very clear, that likewise for selfish reasons, I will not have another kid unless I stay home. Staying at home is hard & I think working FT to a firstborn/baby is even harder. I just don't want to repeat all of this, again. The pregnancy, labor & lack of sleep & constantly being judged that staying at home means I sleep 12 hrs. If that's true then I definitely can't & don't want to do it, again, while juggling work. All the power to the ppl that have multiple kids & to all parents really bc u do sacrifice urself.