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Old 08-06-2007, 11:27 AM   #21
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Goodsense,

My wife and I have decided against having any kids. There are many reasons for that. Though money would probably not be an issue, we are already very busy people and we don't think we would be able to devote enough time and energy to a child. Plus we are not crazy about kids anyways. During the holidays we take care of my niece and even though we enjoy doing it and she is a great kid, by the end of the 2 weeks, we are ready for her to go back home. Quite frankly I think I am too selfish and impatient to be a good parent: I need my space, I need my quiet time, I don't like to be tied down in any one place, I want to be able to do the things I want to do when I want to do them. I already had major anxiety about the whole marriage thing, but my wife is very cool, we respect each other's needs and it has been great. But a child is different.
Our parents too keep reminding us how great (for them) it would be (for us) to have kids. I don't really care. It's easy to say that when they won't be the ones taking care of the kids on a day to day basis. My parents already have my sister's daughter to take care of a few days per week and more often than not they complain - to me- about how tired they are after taking care of her and how they can't wait for my sister to come pick her up... And they want more grand kids
People also keep asking us how we will feel when we get older and we won't have kids to take care of us. I always answer that it would be pretty sad for us to have kids just so that they can take care of us in our old age. I am selfish, but not that selfish... Plus I know a lot of kids who don't take care of their parents when they get older, so this is no sure thing either.
Anyways, our decision to not have any kids makes it possible for us to comtemplate ER at a fairly young age. To me it's priceless because it will give me the kind of freedom that I crave for. But everybody's different and if for you the joy of being a parent is what is priceless, then by all means...
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:40 AM   #22
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We just got back from Cedar Point amusement park, me, the wife, and the 11 and 6 year old daughters. 100 times more fun with the kids, seeing their excitement on the rides and the joy on their faces. I love them to death.

BUT, you can keep the first 3 years, I had a real hard time with that phase. You can only do a 3-piece puzzle obsessively so many times before losing your mind. It isn't until about 4 years old, in my mind, that a rational being begins to emerge.

Certainly don't have them if you are only thinking you need someone to take care of you down the road, handle finances, or to satisfy your parents nagging.

Before you have a kid you CANNOT CONCEIVE of how they consume every moment of your time from when they wake up until they go to bed. The first few years are brutal, but eventually it becomes really fun if you are a kid at heart like me.

If you are set in your ways and have to have life go your way, then good luck !

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Old 08-06-2007, 12:39 PM   #23
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Keep the inputs coming. I'm in the same ambivalent situation...was a FULL time step-mother of THREE kids during my 20's...I know what I'd be getting into...just not sure I want to be a mom starting at around 40....10 years ago, I was soooo ready to be a mom....I feel your concern Good posts from the group.
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:16 PM   #24
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#1 - I don't think kids are nearly as expensive as many people (and the media) make it sound like. Mostly it depends on whether you will acquiesce to your kid's (natural) requests to "keep up with the Jones' kid". And in terms of the big kicker expense that scares everyone - a parent doesn't need to pay for a child's university education (my parents didn't and I'm planning to FIRE, so it's not the end of the world).

#2 - no offense intended, but if you're still asking these questions and looking to arrive at some conclusion based on logic, then I don't think you're ready to have kids at this point. They are a huge sacrifice (mostly in terms of lifestyle, time, and energy) and if there is any doubt about whether you want to have kids, I would recommend against it. You'll know if/when you want to have children.
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:35 PM   #25
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I had kids later in life, which I think helped with the ability to FIRE.........

We would have had them earlier, but needed some "help"..............
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Thanks so much!
Old 08-06-2007, 02:22 PM   #26
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Thanks so much!

Thank you all for your wonderful, heart-felt responses. They represent a great spectrum of insights that I couldn't have gotten from family or friends (at least not that degree of honesty). It's comforting to know that financially it's probably not as devastating as I thought. It is more of an issue of love and commitment, then.

I did get to hold a newborn baby for about half an hour last week. She was very sweet, and I felt a bond with her. I am mostly scared of the 2-year old or so stage, where they are (seemingly) destructive and hard to reason with.

I think we'll wait a few years and see how we feel. I have already become much more child-friendly in the last 2-3 years. (In my mid-20s I was sure I didn't want children) If we do have children, ideally one of us could be a stay-at-home parent when that happens. We'll try to save in the meantime, so that the money can go to either ER fund or extended parental leave.

Thanks again, everyone.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:56 PM   #27
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Mine is actually pretty easy to reason with. I read an article that said that kids of this age actually understand most of what you tell them and most of the "terrible" behavior comes from feeling like they arent being understood and frustration at their inability to communicate.

It also seems that a series of distractions works fine with the 2+ year olds, at least it does with this one. If you want him to stop doing something or being some where, just offer a better deal.

If that fails...theres always ice cream.

Cost-wise, get a warehouse club membership to costco or sams club. Formula, diapers, wipes, occasional baby car seats, bottles, toys, etc. WAY cheaper than regular stores.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:01 PM   #28
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I'm glad some non-children people spoke up on the thread, it was a bit lopsided for awhile

One big question is "will kids make me happy?" It's tough to test this because:

1. Very few people with kids would admit that their kids make them unhappy.. it's in the "never ever say area"

2. People tend to remember the good times, and the bad times fade from memory. That's how your river rafting trip became a paradise of cool waves and fun, completely forgetting about the mosquitoes, and the food poisoning. In the same way, parents remember how cute and giggly their kids were, but forget about how miserable they were after 5 sleepless nights in a row.

There was a study done that checked at random times with people (with kids & without) to see if they were happier on average than other people. The study is referenced below:

The truth about happiness may surprise you - CNN.com.

"When you follow people throughout their days, as they're going about their normal activities, people are about as happy interacting with their children, on average, as when they're doing housework. They're much less happy than when they're exercising, sleeping, grocery shopping, hanging out with friends," Gilbert said. "Now, that doesn't mean they don't occasionally create these transcendent moments of joy that we remember as filling our days with happiness."

In my opinion, if you have kids, you can't contemplate giving them up.. but if you don't have kids, you likely won't miss them (unless you're one of those people who really really wants kids)

Anecdotally, I've had a couple of friends recently say that my wife and I should wait as long as possible before having kids. They say "oh, I love XYZ, but if you can wait longer, don't rush into things..."

Personally, my wife and I are leaning towards not having kids. We're happy with having free time right now, and holding relatives babies gets us enough "baby face time". I enjoy playing with kids at family gatherings, but at the end of a holiday, I'm ready for our quiet house again.

If somehow my wife or I get a sudden urge to have kids, I'm sure we'll be happy with that choice as well.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:27 PM   #29
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Sorry to double post, but I found another article on the subject which supports the previous article:

Bundles Of . . . Misery - washingtonpost.com

I liked the title of the article: "Bundles Of...Misery"
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:33 PM   #30
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I wanted to write that GoodSense's "cons" don't always apply. We have two kids now age 11 and 15. We had them in our late 30's.
They do not deprive us of free time and mobility.
They are not expensive and not a drain on finances.
They will not delay our ER.
While we don't, you could still live like beach bums, you could do home schooling and travel in an RV if you wanted to.
We do travel around the world with the kids. The oldest is now able to travel with school groups overseas without us.

I'm not sure your "pros" apply either though. There is the joy of having kids, but they are not really "mini-me's". They are real people with their own lives that you get to participate in.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:40 PM   #31
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I'm glad some non-children people spoke up on the thread, it was a bit lopsided for awhile

In my opinion, if you have kids, you can't contemplate giving them up.. but if you don't have kids, you likely won't miss them (unless you're one of those people who really really wants kids)
Agree completely. Had I not had kids, I'm sure I'd have nice memories of many years of 'adult' type vacations like scuba diving, and I'd be enjoying my motorcycle instead of my bicycle. Just a different focus.

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I enjoy playing with kids at family gatherings, but at the end of a holiday, I'm ready for our quiet house again.
As a 'quiet' person myself, this is one of the biggest challenges I have with kids. Mine are older, 6 and 11, but being girls, there is *constant* sound coming out of their mouths - it might be talking, sound effects, laughing, whatever, it is non-stop. They'll occasionally go to grandmas for a few days, and it is absolutely liberating to hear myself think for hours on end. Always a bit of an adjustment when they come back home.

But overall I'll take it, they are very enjoyable.

I think the positive/negative experiences takes larger swings as you go through life:

single - life pretty much stable for the most part. Not great, not crappy, just stable.
married - highs get a little higher, lows get a little lower
kids - highs get much higher, lows get much lower (i.e. 2.5 year old stage!)

- John
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:45 PM   #32
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Mine is actually pretty easy to reason with. I read an article that said that kids of this age actually understand most of what you tell them and most of the "terrible" behavior comes from feeling like they arent being understood and frustration at their inability to communicate.
With my son, we had lots of communication issues. So for my daughter we did some really basic sign language [i.e. more, milk, please, etc.]. It was waaayyyy easier until she learned to talk.

We were also told, and quickly afterward found out, that to get our kids to do something, we should give them two positive choices.

For example, if we want our son to go to the b-room, we simply tell him that he can either go to the bathroom in the upstairs b-room or the downstairs. Either way, he's going to go, he just gets to choose where.

Same deal with meals/snacks. He can either have choice A or B, which we've pre-selected. It's wierd b/c he used to throw tantrums when he didn't get something for dinner [like a bowl of cherrios], but simply saying "Cherrios aren't a choice. You can either have pasta or chicken," works great.

- Alec

ps - the whole choose the b-room thing worked great until he walked out the front door and peed in the yard. At 5 he's already gaming the system.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:19 PM   #33
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That's the most challenging part of the 2 to 3 year old stage, the psychology of it all. You don't use reason and logic; you use diversion and subversive tactics to get the behavior you are looking for. Those w/o kids think of the diapers and the 'physical' part of having kids as hard; I think the hardest is the mental aspect, at least initially.

When my older one was 2.5ish, she cried for a 30 minute car ride home from daycare, because she wanted a cookie sitting in a package next to her, but absolutely refused to say 'please'.

Irrational behavior, that sums up the 2-3 year old experience. Good riddance!

- John
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:42 PM   #34
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No kids, no plans to have my own. However, we're going to adopt when / if that urge comes. I understand that will come with its own challenges and rewards. Growing up, my family provided foster care and my sister is adopted... so I at least have an idea of what we'd be getting into.

fortunately, my wife and I were on the same wavelength with regards to family planning. I think that'd be the biggest issue, two spouses not on the same page.
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:15 PM   #35
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I don't know if this issue has been discussed. If so, I apologize.
Lately DH and I are having some debates about whether we should have kids or not. I would just like to hear your experiences and thoughts. We both turn 30 this year, and have been married for just over 7 years.
We have both been ambivalent about whether we should children.
Some people say you just know it when it's time to have children. Is that true? I know I may sound like a very selfish person, but I'm only seriously confused. Any thoughts and insights are appreciated. Also, let me know if I missed anything.
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It's comforting to know that financially it's probably not as devastating as I thought. It is more of an issue of love and commitment, then.
I am mostly scared of the 2-year old or so stage, where they are (seemingly) destructive and hard to reason with.
I think we'll wait a few years and see how we feel. I have already become much more child-friendly in the last 2-3 years. (In my mid-20s I was sure I didn't want children) If we do have children, ideally one of us could be a stay-at-home parent when that happens. We'll try to save in the meantime, so that the money can go to either ER fund or extended parental leave.
You're absolutely right, this is a decision that is probably best made on an emotional basis. The money will take care of itself. Surprisingly millions of children seem to have been raised all over the world on just pennies a day.

It's true that you'll know when it's time to have kids. Your feelings are much more accurate than your parents, who should probably go out and buy their own grandchildren if they want them so badly. If you decide that you're going to have kids, you'll do fine. If you decide that you're not going to have kids, you'll still enjoy spoiling someone's kid as a part-time auntie/uncle.

Having said that, for a long time I felt that I'd been snookered by parenthood. It totally turned our life priorities upside down and ruined my military career. Our kid didn't sleep well, and still doesn't, so for over seven years we were consistently awakened at more two-hour intervals than my sleep-deprived mind can believe. Parenting is a life sentence without parole for good behavior.

But I wouldn't give it up for the world. Sure, I've learned a lot and been enriched by the discipline of saving $$ to raise a kid, but the emotional payback is priceless.

You'll get through the terrible twos. In fact our daughter is a high school sophomore now and I'm sure things will get even better when she's dating & driving. And she's already told us that she has a nursing home in mind for us!

Hey moderators, I notice that the "Best of the Boards" forum doesn't have a child-raising post. This is one of the better (and noticeably more polite) threads on the subject, so I hereby nominate it for closing & moving to that forum...
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:48 PM   #36
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From my experience, there was a BIG difference between holding someone else's baby or taking someone else's kid out for ice cream, and having my own kid.

There is a chemical reaction that happens in your brain when you first realize you are going to be a parent that changes your mentality, rearranges your priorities, and makes you mature differently.

When you have a child, you are an instant millionaire.
i very much agree with you - but if being around them doesn't spark anything, then that's not a good sign...! of course there are those who never liked or were interested in other people's kids, and totally are into their own...but it's at least one way to see how you feel around kids.
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Kids or Cash
Old 08-06-2007, 06:11 PM   #37
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Kids or Cash

Interesting thread since I've spent the past day in post vacation blues (no everyday is a vacation comments needed). As Jack Welch said, find a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life.

What depressed me most was not going back to work, it was recognizing that our family vacations (Orlando-Universal-great time) will become fewer and fewer as the kids mature (3 girls, 13-17-20). Next year, two will be away at college (service academies if my luck holds). I count the girls as my greatest blessings.

Bottm line is I would trade my retirement funds for any of them in a second and I'll work extra years to help them have opportunites to develop. It's a carry over from fatherhood in the delivery room - recognizing that your life is not the most important in the world and you'd throw yourself in front of the truck to save her - without a thought or regret. Don't get me started about boys.

The most amazing thing is seeing your kids exceed your expectations. I believe I may leave the world a better place based on these three good people. Yeah, it won't be my concern, but Live, Love, Learn and Leave a Legacy (Covey).

RE in 6 years if luck holds and the girls (and wife) are ready....
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:01 PM   #38
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My girlfriend and I are resolved... no kids. We have zero interest. Our dogs are our kids

Seriously, an awful lot of the times that someone is telling you how great kids are and how you absoluetly must start having them, you get this feeling that they have an awful lot invested in getting you to join their ranks. Like they know that they can't change their minds and not have kids, but they can't stand to see someone else who's happy and free to do what they want, when they want.

I'd much rather decide where to cruise to this year than which brand of diapers might hold the most poop. And keep the $200,000+ that it's estimated to cost to raise a child to age 18, and then still have to worry about sending them to college when you should be planning your final exit from the rat race while you're still young.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:12 PM   #39
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Child Care - in the SF/Bay area it ran around $800-1000month for full time (5 days a week)...where i live now it's about $500/month for the same - big difference!

if you have grandparents or like some on the board are FIRED then you can subtract years off that cost - but also decide if you want them to go to preschool - you could do 1, 2 or 3 years of that.

I'm fortunate to have had a lot of grandparent support so kids did not go straight to child care post maternity leave...

or if you think one parent would "stay at home" which some don't even consider until it happens...

health insurance - see if your employer(s) cover families - luckily mine does, but if we relied on daddy's employer, we'd be paying at least $300 month
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:36 PM   #40
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My girlfriend and I are resolved... no kids. We have zero interest. Our dogs are our kids
Oh, I remember those days. Imagine being married a few years, your wife hits 35 and says "I've changed my mind; we need to have a kid now. Right now!"

Hormones evolved for a couple of reasons: to change your mind, and to make you happy once you've changed your mind. Powerful drugs. Which is why parents seem like Body Snatchers to non-parents.
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