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Old 03-28-2014, 07:07 PM   #21
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Thanks to all for replies thus far!!

A few comments:

- I don't care if people with kids want to comment and didn't mean to qualify the original post that way. It helps to read both sides, so thanks imodernu for your inputs! I welcome the thoughts of others WITH children regarding how they came to that conclusion, particularly if they struggled with the decision.

- DW and both know we have to make the decision for ourselves, but I like reading others' thoughts, as does she... gives us more discussion points! We know there's no light switch that's going to come on and that we'll have to make the call someday very soon!

- "Selfish" - my wife and I have actually used this word, but not in the way that we think being child-free is selfish. Rather, we're not sure we're willing to sacrifice things we enjoy about life right now in order to raise children. I guess that might be the same thing, but I don't see how anyone can sit there and judge another for making that decision. To me, it'd be far worse to have children simply to satisfy those around you. If someone's going to judge you enough to call you "selfish" to your face because you don't have kids, that's not someone I care to associate with. Maybe - IF we choose not have children - someone will call us that, and then I will find out who our friends are.

- Interesting that imoldernu brought up the dog test. Our 1-year-old pup (rescued less than a month ago) is sitting on my lap as I type! Big adjustment for both of us, but while she's frustratingly difficult to train and very skittish, particularly with me, she's opening up little by little and we really love having her around and taking her on adventures. That this is a micro-micro-version of the commitment required to raise a child isn't lost on us, either, but we are really having fun with the pup and intend on getting a second as soon as this one is 100% bonded and comfortable with us and 100% housebroken.

Again, thanks for the thoughts and feedback. I figured there is a higher percentage of child-free folks on an Early Retirement forum than in the general population since being DINK or SINK is a pretty "easy" way to reduce living expenses!!
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:56 PM   #22
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I have always enjoyed being with children and my entire career was in the field of pediatric nursing. Even when I rose through the ranks of middle management to senior management it has always been within a hospital solely dedicated to pediatric care. I like kids a lot better than I like adults.

That said.....I never wanted my own children. I just couldn't see myself enjoying that lifestyle. I had friends that told me I was selfish.....which I always thought was odd. Selfish to me is wanting a child of your own when there are so many already born that need families.

At this point in my life I am very happy I am childless and know I made the right decision for myself.
Substitute pediatric medicine for pediatric nursing and that's me to a T.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:24 PM   #23
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Raising our daughter to be the wonderful, loving, caring person that she is has been the only real contribution I have made to society, everything else pales in comparison. She's an elementary school teacher that really loves her students and her job. I can't wait for the wonderful, loving, caring grandkids she will soon deliver, if that no account husband of hers ever gets off the snide that is just kidding, he's a great guy...
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:39 PM   #24
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We're mid thirties and childfree. I got the lady-snip at age 27.

I think it comes down to if you want to have children and if have an interest in being a parent. As much as us childfree folks like to say it helps us reach FIRE faster, I've never met a parent-by-choice who regretted their kids. For most parents, the emotional rewards are substantial. Our siblings are great parents and derive a lot of happiness from their relationships with their children. We're happy that they are happy!

In our case, we don't particularly like kids, we don't have any interest in parenting, and we don't want the responsibilities of being a parent. Neither of us want to make the sacrifices it takes, and we really value our independence, flexibility, and grown up leisure time. Perhaps that is selfish, but it's honest. And having kids isn't the only way to make the world a better place.

There are many paths to happiness. In our case it was pretty easy cause we look at the parents we know and see how their lives would make us miserable. I think for lots of people both paths could lead to happiness, in different ways.

Imagine your lives in both paths. Pick one. Leap. In this particular case, you can't have both.

We did worry about what would happen if we change our mind. Adoption is our escape hatch, but we haven't changed our mind.

Good luck. Perhaps the most important thing is that you both agree with whatever choice you make.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:32 PM   #25
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It sounds like you are hearing from people that have no kids or those who raised some and all turned out like the sons on Ozzie and Harriet (the show, not the real family). It's nice to hear that all went well along the way to raising a kid to be educated, self sufficient and loving.

But, keep in mind you can end up with some challenging situations if things don't go according to plan. As a for instance, we had our oldest daughter pass away at a young age and that tragedy about mentally ruined DW and me (and our youngest daughter). It's very tough to bury your children.

I have BIL with a son and his wife that adopted a baby and the child turned out to have MS. Not a pretty picture.

Around our community, I have see multiple well educated and solid families have sons ans daughters that got into drugs at a very young age (early teens). I hope you understand what kind of issues and misery that behavior brings to a family.

Not that things like this will happen, but life is a crap shoot and no telling when things can go drastically wrong.

There are risks in having children so be prepared.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:22 AM   #26
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I think you have to really, really want kids, because it isn't for sissies! And it doesn't end at adulthood - for as long as you live you will feel and share not only their joys, but also their pains.

From a happiness standpoint, though, I just don't see a difference. You can have a wonderful life either way. One choice is different from the other, but different is not inherently good or bad. It's just different.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:23 AM   #27
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We are child-free, but not for lack of trying. We cherish the kids of family and friends that are in our lives. There was a time when not having kids of our own was a wound, but time has healed that. We're at peace with this, and have talked about how not having kids is definitely what allowed us to take our lives in it's current direction. We have a lot of freedom. So, we're happy with how it worked out, after all. Love being an Aunt Love retiring at 48, too!
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:38 AM   #28
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Never wanted, never had, never saw the point.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:25 AM   #29
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So, for those forum members who are child-free, was there anything that drove you to that conclusion? Or just a "I don't really want kids?" Or were you in the group that thinks "if I don't KNOW that I want kids, I shouldn't have them?"
We're in our 50s now, so I guess it's pretty much a done deal. We never had much of a discussion about it. We were attracted to each other because of shared interests and priorities. The matter of children came up a couple of times in passing, with no real soul-searching needed by either of us. I don't think we have actually even spoken about it again, since we were married. It just never came up - as never something either of us ever second-guessed.

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Wife and I kinda fall in that last group right now. We wonder if we can be the best parents we can be if we aren't just SURE that we want kids.
Now... you listen to the child-free person giving you advice about parenting... Seriously, you really should. Everyone has their own biases, and parents are very much biased about their parenting and about parenting in general. If you want to know about parenting - all about parenting - you need to listen to both parents and folks who are old enough to have significant first-hand experience observing parenting, who are able to view parenting from an outsider's perspective.

Here's what I think: There is very little correlation between the quality of a child's upbringing and the confidence the parent has in their parenting skill, as that's typically considered. The best parents - the parents with the objectively-best parenting skills - have produced some of the most well-adjusted children and some of the least well-adjusted children. The worst parents have also produced some of the most well-adjusted children and some of the least well-adjusted children. That's not to say parents have no impact on their children (but it sure seems that way sometimes).

I do know that we're riding a fine line between affording a comfortable retirement and not. In other threads I've mentioned that I've had to make several iffy assumptions to make the numbers work out. I really wonder how my siblings will make out, given that they started out in the same situation as I, haven't varied that much in terms of the path along they way - except for having children. That didn't factor into our decision to be child-free, but it is still something I wonder about.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:08 AM   #30
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Plus, if you have kids really late, they have to put up with their friends, and friends' parents, mistaking you for their grandparents. This can be highly embarrassing for teenagers.

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Old 03-29-2014, 06:43 AM   #31
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But, keep in mind you can end up with some challenging situations if things don't go according to plan. As a for instance, we had our oldest daughter pass away at a young age and that tragedy about mentally ruined DW and me (and our youngest daughter). It's very tough to bury your children.
We're both the youngest -- by far -- of our families and witnessed some of this with our families. I think that was a factor for us.

That and we never felt the call.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:38 AM   #32
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We were child free for 10 years. It was a wonderful time. Lived on both coasts and in Colorado. Loved doing all the young adult things. We didn't think we would ever have children. Just didn't happen. Then, suddenly, Bam! we had two 13 months apart. Raising children was also a wonderful time.

On good parenting and resulting good offspring: It is amazing to me how absolutely different in every measure two kids raised side-by-side can be. That said, love them both.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:55 AM   #33
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Never felt the "call", was sure in my 20's I didn't want kids, finally in our 30's decided what the heck and had two sons, now 24 and 27. I was a fulltime working mother throughout most of their childhood.

Parenting has been the most wonderful challenge of my life. It has taught me to be more accepting of how other people lead their lives, and how to love without strings attached. Wouldn't have traded it for anything.

I still wake up in the middle of the night worrying about them--they're both married and there is one grandchild.

Just wanted to make the point that you don't have to be 100% sure that you want kids in order for it to work out wonderfully (most of the time ).
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:26 AM   #34
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Plus, if you have kids really late, they have to put up with their friends, and friends' parents, mistaking you for their grandparents. This can be highly embarrassing for teenagers.

Amethyst

One friend of mine had his first child at 43, another at almost 40 (none are school age yet) and I remind them of that often. Although I pound my friend more and let his spouse off the hook. Such as "Why does your mom live with your grandpa. Where is your dad at?" A couple serious thoughts though on the subject that I have learned through them (my child is already in college). Be cognizant of the fact that over the years you have accumulated habits and routines that you may or may not be aware of. All of these will be destroyed by having a child. It really took my friends by surprise. Yes, they love their kids, but they do miss the routines and spontaneity that they used to both have.
Also, though I still remain close to them phone wise. The interactions have decreased considerably. Your friends who either do not have kids or have them already out the door, may not want to be as involved socially with you, as there will become a natural divergence in tastes/interests. IE- Going to the zoo or see Santa Clause as opposed to a concert or dinner. Late 30s parents may not be as inclined to socialize in a group of 20 something's having children. Not a deal breaker either way, just throwing out some things to ponder. Oh and yes they are way more tired now as older parents, too!


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Old 03-29-2014, 10:39 AM   #35
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I never wanted kids. I was afraid I'd get one like me. As my Mom often put it "The Lord made them cute so you wouldn't drown them".

Seriously, I'd look around at friends with kids and although to a person they enjoyed their children, it just didn't appeal to me. DW felt the same way, of course we talked about that before the marriage.

But we do enjoy her nephew's kids and more recently her niece just had a baby boy.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:40 AM   #36
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So, for those forum members who are child-free, was there anything that drove you to that conclusion? Or just a "I don't really want kids?" Or were you in the group that thinks "if I don't KNOW that I want kids, I shouldn't have them?
Why is the question always phrased as why one chose not to have children? In this day of both spouses working, 50% divorce rate, high unemployment, shouldn't the question be, why did you choose to have children?
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:40 AM   #37
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Both DH and I are 58. No kids. He was the oldest of 7 and I was the youngest of 3. I never was around kids much except for babysitting. A couple of times I babysat for babies that I couldn't get to stop crying so I never was very good with them.

I wasn't sure at first if I wanted them (too busy having fun, working etc. when I was younger). He never wanted them being around them all his life growing up.

I worried that I would regret it when it got too late to have them. Never happened. I am sooooooooooo glad we didn't have kids. We were able to retire fairly young (DH is late 40s me at 53) when our companies were bought out.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:22 AM   #38
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Our kids were born when we were in our late 30's with last one at ages 39. We had already established ourselves in our routines, jobs, friends, and family, so the kids really didn't have much of an impact. They didn't cost much since we already were settled in on where we lived. That is, we didn't move just because we had kids.

We had no problem socializing with younger parents and friends with kids the same age. Indeed, I think we had more time for volunteering at school and for example coaching lots of youth sports which was a real blast.

We had no problem socializing with child-free people and also older folks whose kids had already grown.

We turned out alright and I think are financially pretty much in the same place as without kids. Part of the reason is that we invested plenty before the kids came along and were nearly FI at that time. That money just kept growing/compounding just as the kids kept growing.

And I think the kids have turned out alright, too.

Things our kids did not get: cars, private school, new clothes. Things our kids did get: Scouts, music, art, sports, charitable work in thrift shops, travel with and without us. Once the kids are about 12, they pretty much have their own lives and can pretty much function with only mild contact with parents anyways. One can meet all requests for money with the response "Get a job." It works.

Anyways, I just don't believe in all the drama about child-free vs others. You are your own person. Do what you want.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:24 AM   #39
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Plus, if you have kids really late, they have to put up with their friends, and friends' parents, mistaking you for their grandparents. This can be highly embarrassing for teenagers.

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Ha! My daughter was mistaken for my trophy wife once. She did not like that at all.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:29 PM   #40
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I grew up in a time when it was just expected that I'd have children. Then in the 70's feminism happened and birth control was accessible and dependable. We got married at 21 and although we knew we didn't want kids right away, it was assumed that of course we'd have kids.

So I took a few years and just tried to think about the option of not having kids. What if we didn't, what if we just went on with just the 2 of us?

Then my sister had her first baby. DH was looking at leaving his job for 2 years to go to graduate school so being child free worked well. Then my sister had her 2nd baby and I started feeling twinges of biology and the instinct to reproduce and nurture. DH was still in graduate school for another year and by the time he finished we were already thinking about houses and a family.

Although my head wanted to consider not going with the expected path, my heart and my gut wanted children. We originally wanted 4 kids (I wanted all boys) but after 2 sons I just felt done.

For us it's been fantastic, the most fun we've had, but I know it's not for everyone.
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