What sane person wants children!?

I still can’t figure out why any logical person would want to have kids. I’ve written numerous articles about the cost of having a kid, and the consensus is they are expensive. To try and figure out why most of us want to have kids, I turned to one of my close friends who is a few months away from being a new parent. The conversation went like this…

Me: Have you ever wondered why we want to have kids? I mean it’s pretty weird when you think about it. They cost a lot of money, take up a lot of our time, can be quite frustrating, and they poop themselves. Sounds like a pretty crappy deal, both figuratively and literally.

Friend: I use to think the same thing. They definitely increase expenses, but the joys of having a kid, must outweigh all of the perceived negatives.

Me: That’s true, there must be a benefit to having kids, but I feel like if I had no concept of children, and then read about them, I would never want one.

Friend: Yeah, on paper having a kid probably isn’t the most fun sounding thing. What it really comes down to I guess, is an innate desire to provide for and nurture someone else.

Me: I’m listening.

Friend: Sure having a kid is going to be a lot of work, but being responsible for someone’s well being is kind of cool when you think about it. Being able to help someone that can’t help themselves is a rewarding experience. I think that’s really what it comes down to.

Me: I see. Not to mention they are a tax deduction and once they are like 6 years old you can make them take out the garbage and stuff.

So what is it bloggers? What is it about children that make most of us want to have them? I know they can make me smile and feel warm fuzzies inside, but so can apple pie. There has to be some deeper underlying desire… right?

p.s. If you don’t want to have kids just re-read this whole article and insert the pet of your choice (cat, dog, etc) each time I refer to kids.

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45 thoughts on “What sane person wants children!?”

  1. Just to note – there never really is a time when you’re “ready” for kids. Because they change your life in a way that you never knew possible. And you can’t possibly prepare for them.

    I have two kids – 6 and 3. Yes, it is a challenge some days, and yes I don’t have as much time to myself as I used to.

    But it’s way more rewarding to see experiences through their eyes. And to know that two little people rely on you for safe keeping and nurturing makes you feel like you’ve got a whole lot of worth in this world. Little kids give unlimited amounts of love, so feeling that love every day is awesome. And teaching them new skills is a great experience. Just imagine the little financial samurai you’ll be able to create one day Ninja.

    That being said, even though you’re never really that ready, I think you’re a few light years away from reaching the point where you might even begin thinking about it in all seriousness. Enjoy some time with Girl Ninja, you’re young, and then you can start to see how you might see the world differently if you’re leading your children through it.

  2. I have 3 little ones under 5. When the first one arrived, I was flattened by the rush of love for her. If you have the right kind of marriage, adding a child only deepens your love for each other as you see a completely new side of your spouse as a parent. I thought, “how could I ever love another child as much?” — then came baby #2, totally different in temperament from the first. And yet the love multiplied exponentially. And this happened again with baby number 3. Yes, bearing and rearing children is incredibly hard. But it’s been worth every trade in terms of income for me — I left a six-figure income to stay at home. I’d give up much more. My only regret is not starting earlier and having more. The important thing is to keep your marriage central, work towards the day/night routine your family needs, and finding families who share the values you’re looking for so that you can see firsthand how they’ve overcome obstacles. Not that you need to copy anyone…. but it helps to see that others have similar issues and different ways of approaching common problems.
    But mostly I’d say that the love that arrives with a child is overwhelming. My parents got married at 17 and 18, had 4 kids at a very young age, and lived with some terrible lows of income. And yet we were a happy, devout family and are very close. Financial stability is awesome, but it’s easy to idolize it as the foundation of a happy life.

    • What Melissa said, I couldn’t have said it better.

      Between me and my friends (we all live together as one big family), we have 7 kids. A little (ok, a lot) hectic at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. They give me more joy than anything I have ever done in my life.

  3. I agree with you Ninja for the most part, although I do think I want to have kids someday. My question is, why make a new kid when there are so many kids in this world that already need a good home? I’d like to think I turned out pretty well, but there are some literally insane people in my family; not sure I want to be spreading these genes into future generations. Then, on the other hand, I think I want to make a kid just to see how awesome he would be.

    Luckily, I’m too young to have to worry about that stuff right now. (25 is young, right?)

  4. We have a bird that poops a lot. On the days that the bird does something cute, I admit we think that it might be pretty cool to have a kid…maybe. But when I’m wiping up the bird’s poop…I sometimes have second thoughts.

  5. I think it comes down to our selfish desire to not be inconvenienced. Kids cost a lot of your hard-earned money, they take nurture and care, they get sick, they ruin your carpet/furniture/electronics sometimes. My wife and I are in the same boat that we don’t want kids (right now) for those reasons. And when it comes down to it, it’s selfishness. I’m not trying to be preachy, but a Godly man like you can appreciate where I’m coming from. A good friend (and father) told me once that you won’t get a better sense of who the first person of the Trinity is until you have children of your own.

    We continue to pray for soft hearts and for God to give us the desire to “be fruitful and multiply.” That may come in the form of natural conception, or maybe adoption… who knows! But bottom line is that we have to get some little disciples of our own to raise in the fear and love of the Lord!

    (sermon over)

    • I dunno, if you read some of the people’s responses about why they DO have kids, the reasons sound pretty selfish also! “they love me” “they rely on me for life” “I get to tell them how to live” – sounds like a God complex to me! haha πŸ˜› (no offense meant, of course!)

  6. I cannot imagine my life without kids. Maybe because my kids are all so AWESOME!
    When I was at home with the 3 of you I would ask myself that question a lot, β€œWhat was I thinking?”
    But now you are all adults (at least in age) and I have a computer expert/genius that is available to me whenever I need one. I have a creative/PF’er with a blog that has funny stick figures and makes me laugh almost every day and I have a talented artistic one that has been there in some very sad times supporting our family.
    My dad always said I am not your friend but your parent, however if when you are all grown up you need a friend I will be here.
    Fortunately for DadNinja and I you 3 have turned out to be not just great kids but awesome friends as adults so you were worth the stress, the grey hair and all the money that was spent on you.

    Love you DN.

      • I like this comment thread. πŸ™‚ You’re a douche, you’re having kids so stop trying to pretend like you’re all tough and ACTUALLY considering not having kids. Why do you think that you moved home?! So that GN could be closer to friends and family WHEN THE KIDS COME. πŸ™‚

        • AGREED. What has Germany done to your head?!! πŸ™‚ You KNOW you get baby eyes….and you know that it will be 100 million percent worth any and every penny spent. Drama drama drama πŸ™‚
          ps…. miss you!

          • Don’t worry. I definitely want kids. Wasn’t trying to pretend like I didn’t. Just was commenting on how weird it it is that I want kids even though nothing about them (on paper) would seem like fun.

  7. I think Austin has a good point, it is selfishness, but i don’t see a problem with that. its the same reason i dont have a dog, i dont have time for one/ my life and work environment doesn’t allow for it practically / the financial cost is un justified / it just doesnt fit in to my daily routine. Now those reasons define why i am selfish, i fully admit that but you have to be honest with yourself. if i had a dog/child i would resent them at this moment in my life. i want a dog and i want kids someday, so over time as my selfishness will go away and as i mature i will warm up to these ideas. Until that time i will continue to randomly drive 2 hours to see friends and come home in the morning, go skiing all weekend, Take trips, watch TV all sunday rarely leaving the couch and pay off my debt so one day i can afford a child/mortgage/retirement/etc.

    • I don’t mean to sound contrary, but I think we forget that we were once kids, too! If our parents valued comfort, money and sanity over having children, then we wouldn’t be here with the ability to prolong our selfishness. Can I say it… it’s almost our DUTY to have kids. Not by conventional methods, per se, but to raise children nonetheless.

      I apologize if that sounds argumentative, but I did say “our selfishness.” My wife and I don’t have kids either and we’re battling with it!

  8. I think the same thing as well, there are times when I truly want to save and hoard as much money as I can for myself and BF’s life, but then I remember what it’s like to have little kids around. My mom remarried when I was 9 so I had a little bro and sis that were 9 and 13 years younger than me, respectively. The time I spent taking care of them and guiding them through life is so rewarding and they can return love like no other adult can. I never fully understood the love my parents felt for me until I experienced it first hand. I put them before anyone else and I am sure this same feeling will happen when I have kids of my own someday. I’m pretty sure you and GN won’t feel ready for a child but when it comes, your perspective will change I’m sure!

  9. I decided in my teens (coming up on 30 years ago) that being a Mom to anything other than a “furbaby” was not going to be my thing… I’ve never had a desire to procreate, and when I had fleeting moments of thoughts of having kids, they were in and out of my head within seconds. Luckily, I married someone that’s on the same page as me; we chose cats over kids. We’re the first to admit we’re selfish with our time; we can do what we want to do when we want to do it.

    For me and Hubby, not having kids is the right decision; a decision we’ve never regretted.

  10. I feel you. Ever since reading that article somewhere a few weeks ago about how one child costs like $180,000 before it (IT, haha!) turns 18, now I always do the math according the number of children my friends have. I’m too analytical. I have a Lululemon inspirational card tacked above my desk and it has all sorts of positive mantras and one of them is: “Children are the orgasm of lief. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature goes not let you know how great children are until you have them.”

    A friend of mine (that is a mother) always says, “I hate children, except mine.”

  11. To have kids or not is NOT a rational decision, it’s an emotional one. If everyone did “the math” the species would die out pretty quickly, I’d say. For years DH and I said we didn’t want kids. Now here we are, pregnant with our first (planned, no whoopsies here) and we’re excited about it. People ask me why I changed my mind. I honestly don’t know. One day it just seemed like a good idea. Perhaps the proverbial “biological clock” clicked in…dunno. When I didn’t want them, your arguments made a ton of sense. Now that there’s one on the way, these arguments just fall away somehow. As a usually logical person, this makes no sense to me, but why fight it? I’m looking forward to seeing what this little person’s personality and gifts will be, how we can nurture him, and help him through the tough stuff, just like our parents did for us. Totally smooshy and illogical, but that’s the truth.

  12. Having kids is not a financial decision! I know, you need enough money to be able to have kids. I won’t try to talk you into having kids or out of it either! Having kids requires a lot of thought not just for financial sake, but the emotional, psychological and a lot more is needed to bring kids up right. Anybody can have kids. It is biological, but doing it right requires much more effort.

  13. This is what it comes down to….

    (I walk through the door when Cora, 15 months, hasn’t seen me all day).

    Cora: Dada dada dada dada dada….. (all the way until she gets to me, wraps her little arms around me and say “awwwwwww”).

    I wouldn’t trade wealth or bomb financial stability for that. More thankful love comes from that little girl than anyone/anything I’ve experienced.

  14. I’ve got two nieces and two nephews, ranging in age from 11 months to 13 years. I have fun with each of them in a different way, and relate to each of them as the separate personalities they are. I want to have a kid, but I’m rapidly approaching the end-of-time to have one naturally. Some of it is strictly selfish, as others have stated: the unconditional love is overwhelming, and being the focus of their world is mind-blowing. I don’t have the money to adopt. The first time I held the first nephew in the hospital, I nearly passed out from the sheer awesome feeling of a new life (and keep in mind, this wasn’t even my kid!).

    I want a child to pass on my name. My parents only had two daughters, so the family name died with him (at least in our line).

    I want to do a better job than my parents did in raising us.

    I still don’t know if I’ll be able to do it, financial or emotional, but I want to.

  15. At the risk of putting something out there and getting wicked shot down, lemme say this:

    I recently read an article in a very elite medical journal on psychology, about how people tend, when the value of something they have/do/own/relate to is questioned, to compensate by expressing far more pleasure/enjoyment/desire for the thing. This was applied to study which followed parents for years, asking them to rate various days in their life, and relate the joys they received from their children at that moment. Then later, they divided the cohort into groups and presented group A with a lecture on why having kids sucks. Group B got no lecture. Both groups were then asked to rate in retrospect (in various ways) and discuss how they felt about kids after having been a parent for 5 years. Group A ranked the joy their kids gave them SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER than group B… and BOTH groups ranked parenthood as being far more enjoyable than they did at any point during the study (ie: on a day to day basis).

    Now, I’m not trying to put words in anyone’s mouth and say that they don’t actually like their kids. But I wonder if it is SO taboo to ever say “yeah, i really regret my kids”, especially because it would be pointless since you can’t take them back and it would just hurt their feelings and make you look like a monster, so no one ever says it. And, when asked “why are kids a good idea?” people defend that choice for the same reason that people in seemingly crappy relationships tend to glamourize their sacrifice and minimize their partner’s mistakes… admitting that you might be happier without that person calls into question why you sacrified so much to begin with, and no one wants to believe that they could have made such a huge mistake.

    So in answer to your question: maybe we have kids because everyone tells us we should and that we’ll regret it if we don’t, and we’d rather risk something not living up to our expectations than wondering if we missed out… and since no one ever says ‘i regret my kids’ who doesn’t get labelled a horrible, selfish person, we just keep going.

    Full disclosure: I plan to have children.

    • I do not have children. I was told that without medical intervention I had about a 5% chance of conceiving. I decided that I didn’t want kids enough to do anything *special* to get them. So, no kids, and after a few more years of serious female trouble, I had all my plumbing yanked.

      At the time, I was talking to my therapist about my feelings about not having kids, which I would characterize as Mostly Okay with Mild Wistfulness. I asked her (therapist) if there were people who HAD kids, who regretted it. Her immediate answer was, “More than you would think, very definitely!” I guess that saying that you made a mistake when you procreated is probably about one of the worst things people think they can say, so they only say it in places where they expect privacy and no judgement.

      Now that I am way past my own decision, which biology made (partially) for me, I feel totally happy about my own Childfree state. My husband and I have a good life. We have friends, family, interests. I am also amost certain that I get to do a lot more things that I enjoy than my friends with kids. They sacrifice a lot for their kids, and I am not really a big “giver up of things for other people,” so being Childfree is a good fit for me.

  16. Kids don’t have to be as expensive as people say.

    And kids are so worth it. I have one daughter, and I love her to bits.

    And just think of the benefits later on
    *free housecleaning as “chores”
    *when they move away, a free house to visit in

  17. I’ve never been a big fan of the idea of having kids, but I’ve reached the point in life where being a know-it-all around my wife just isn’t .. um, wise. So, I think I now dig the idea of having someone else in the house who doesn’t have the answers and will ask me for the information. I mean, if the cat could ask me “why?” and “how’s that work?”, I might not want kids.

    Yes, they sound terribly inconvenient, frustrating and expensive. But grown-ups need a hobby.

  18. Having kids is the single most awesome thing I have ever done. My children make my worst days the best. I personally don’t see how people that choose not to have kids come to that conclusion. I couldn’t imagine not having kids simply because having them means I couldn’t do what I wanted to do 100% of the time. Some say having them is a sacrifice but I think not having them is a much bigger one.

    They are expensive though. LOL πŸ˜€

    • What sane parent would prefer housework over spending time with their kids? LOL All I can say about that article is that I feel sorry for the people who feel that way. I guess if you see parenting as a chore and not a beautiful experience filled with some trying times, it would hold true. Sure parenting is tough but so is life. That’s what makes it so awesome. Who wants to do something that is easy all of the time? Yet these same people who are unhappy with kids, seem to be able to ignore the fact that their debt is rising faster than upcoming inflation, and still keep running it up and up and up and up. I think those studies were treated much like economics. (Using other-things-equal assumption) I bet you if they did the study with different constants it would turn out that it wasn’t kids that created so much unhappiness.

      Thanks for the link though, it was definitely an interesting read. πŸ˜€

      • It is possible that the science was skewed and all research requires being questioned. I was actually looking for this article i read a while ago about that yes, parenting can pull a couple further apart, but the oxytocin bursts from the kid’s affection is what makes it biologically worth it.

  19. Aren’t you glad some of us decided to have kids :-). I can’t imagine life without my four daughters.
    Expensive? I think of it as the best investment ever!
    Girl Ninja’s Dad

  20. I think it all depends. I don’t think there is a logical reason for having children – I think for those that don’t, there is something in them that just says no. (I know, I’m one of them, although I do have a child) Is my life better for having a child. No, it is just different. You can have a happy fulfilled life with or without children. so if something in you says says no, ITS OKAY. the world will not end if you don’t. You will have missed out on something, but you’ll miss out on something if you do have children. Your life will just be different.

    For the record, my husband wanted a child, and as a couple we decided to have one. Yes he is lovely, but if it hadn’t happened I don’t think I would have been too fussed. But I do have a single friend who’s urge to have children was so intense that in the end she went the donor sperm route. Her life without a child would have been unhappy. You have to follow your heart.

    And children don’t need to be expensive. A lot of those “kids cost $180,000” studies include stuff like having to buy a bigger house to accomodate the children. But here’s the thing – you end up having a a bigger asset, so in the end it works out even. People without children may go out to dinner every week, and people with kids might have a larger food bill – we are just spending money in different places.

    It is okay to say no if that is what you want.

  21. Hmmm….this sounds like every internal conversation I’ve ever had with myself about whether or not to have kids!

    I’m late to the party, so this may have been said already, but a very interesting article was published a few weeks ago about how as the economic value of children has diminished (to almost nothing), their perceived emotional value has skyrocketed. Something that I find incredibly interesting (and true).

    Once upon a time, children were indeed assets. They provided free labor on farms and in homes, which more than made up for any costs associated with caring for them. And while they were loved, parents did not tend to think of their children as ‘the best thing to ever happen to them.’ But today, children are essentially money pits – incredibly expensive to raise with no inherent economic benefit – but most parents are quick to tell you that they are the most rewarding, emotionally fulfilling thing on the planet – a sentiment you’d be hard pressed to find 100 years ago (or even 50 years ago for that matter).

    It’s certainly food for thought.

  22. If you raise you kid right, you can depend on them when you’re old and feeble. Yeah, we are all saving for retirement, but many of us are falling woefully short. I’m helping my parents out when they needs it and that’s what I’m expecting from my kid.

  23. I have a baby girl due any day now (official day is Thursday) and I have to say, if any time during our pregnancy, you had questioned me like you did your friend… I have been anxious and apprehensive enough that it would have probably tipped me over the edge and I would have gone crazy.

  24. Having children can bring a rewarding feeling, we all know that but for me I’d have to think about the money I have so I can sustain that life. With all the expenses and time spent, if you have all the resources then do so but if you don’t think about it. If you can support a life, then don’t. We would not want another life on the streets right.

  25. It’s funny, I’m typically a very cerebral person, and I know in my mind that there are more inconveniences to having a child than conveniences. Unlike most guys (I think), I’ve dreamt of having children for a very long time, since I was a kid. I’ve just always wanted them. The concept of nurturing and guiding this little life and watching grow and mature and become an adult is just fascinating to me. My boys are 4 and 2 and they’re the best. They’re really smart and funny and adorable and it’s been so much fun to watch them grow and learn. I can’t wait for them to grow up, and I want to freeze time and keep them the same age at the same time. It adds a new, deeper layer to the meaning of life because when I go to work, or do chores, or do anything, I’m doing it not only for me, but for them too. It’s an incredibly empowering source of energy. Of course, sometimes they piss me off and I just want to hide under my bed and escape, but those are fleeting moments.

  26. If you have lots of them before you’re 30 you reduce the chance of getting breast cancer significantly (if you’re a woman). That’s a perk.

  27. I really don’t know. I still haven’t had the urge. I have and love my dogs because they’re warm, fluffy, do super funny things, and treat me like a god…plus, they’ll never cost as much as a kid… πŸ™‚

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