If given the choice I would choose to have my daughter again I would. But even so I can definitely empathize with many of the people in this article.
My wife and i have always been very open communicators. After having a kid when people would ask us if we are enjoying parenthood we've always answered honest.
"It's the most work we have ever done in our life" (and I build startups!)... "We got no sleep last night, she woke up at 2 AM and wouldn't go back to bed."
And it is amazing to me the backlash we got. People who plan to have children were telling us "all I ever here is the bad stuff!" and essentially saying we should lie and say everything is perfect.
The fact is, having a child is the biggest life commitment you will ever make and if you and your significant other are not prepared, you're in for a bad time.
But at the same time I think this whole "you're not allowed to say anything bad about parenthood" is unhealthy.
This article talks about people who are willing to speak their truth about parenthood and I think overall that is a good thing.
Edit: If more people talked honestly about he burden of parenthood we'd maybe have less unwanted kids. We as a species are well past the point where we have to have 10 kids just to ensure the bloodline continues. Be honest with people about how difficult being a parent is. Some people like my wife and I will choose to do it anyway knowing exactly what we are getting into and other's won't. And that's OK.
Anyone who had kids because they thought kids would make them happy is in for a bad time, but that's not what this is about. This is about narcissism and people not being able to learn from what is going on around them. Clearly even after kids the people in the headline of this story didn't understand life or how to live with others. Just the tale of their parenting lets you know that not only did they not have a good relationship ( claim of 90% of work by one parent, and spending most days carting the child around to "activities" ), but then the burden of this unfulfilled and damaged life is placed on the child, if you could do it again you wouldn't have a child, therefore that child will see it as their fault they have ruined your life. You can't hide those emotions for long and they end up with bitterness and resentment. The truth is even without kids the realtionship was not in good shape, and these people would have had an empty and shallow partnership. That is how human relationships work, when hard times come they don't break your relationships they revel them for what they are.
Motherhood or parenting or children aren't the problem, the basic breakdown of people being able to live and relate with other people is.
The outrage at saying you regret having children seems to me to be evidence that there's a nerve there to hit. It's a bit like accusing 10 supposedly straight people of being secretly gay, and one of them losses their mind screaming denials. 'Methinks he doth protest too much.'
But we've built a society in the west based around worshipping our children. Politicians can do anything if it's "for the children", no matter how draconian or insane. It's rude to ever comment on how someone else chooses to raise their children. It's considered horrible to not do everything you can to make your children happier, better, etc. Better go buy a house with a yard because your kid might want a yard, because everyone knows that kids need yards.
The really interesting question isn't whether it's okay to regret having children- it's what's going to change when society unshackles itself from this strange obsession.
Its obvious that having children must be a positive biological function that prior generations somehow wanted to do, or we wouldn't be here. Any species that doesn't breed goes extinct. So I believe these factors are the root cause of why children suddenly seem like such a "problem":
1. Lack of support network -- many people living as just a couple or alone (and the strain on couple is so high that likely they will be alone soon).
2. Social emphasis on individualism rather than self-sacrifice or community focus.
3. Breakdown of community and trust -- so watching and keeping kids safe is full time job. Must be driven to and from everything, no playing by themselves after school.
4. Increased education -- older parents with more debt and pressure, working in more demanding and/or rewarding jobs.
5. Children need more -- expense of having child keeps increasing. The cost of all goods rising relative to wages, but also the cost of school, daycare, extra-curriculars, etc. Basically having a child is a huge cost, the medical bill just to have the child can be $20K in some hospitals. In most of the world that would mean no one could have a child in a hospital.
Both my wife and I never wanted to have kids. In fact I tend to dislike most kids, especially babies. We accidentally got pregnant, but then lost the baby a few months in. After that my wife wanted to try again. I went along because I love her and a small part of me did want to have kids. He is now 7 months old and I love him to death. But holy fuck, what a pain in the ass this is. And he is a good baby! But he needs 100% attention (not just supervision, but engagement) or else he freaks out. I can’t imagine what a “bad” baby would be like. I totally feel what the article is saying about feeling trapped. I feel like I do not exist anymore, but that everything I do is for him. There are risks I can’t take now. Ideas I can’t pursue. Hobbies I won’t have time again for years. Haven’t had sex in months. I see all these dudes, who after having kids, love kids. I thought that might happen to me, but no, the thought of having another kid makes my skin crawl. I love my son more than I thought was possible, but my wife asked if I wanted to have another one and without hesitation said “no fucking way”. Time to get snipped.
Most things in life that are worth it are hard. I find that Occam's razor is deeply misleading - when it comes about the important life decisions, the exact opposite applies: the easy path is one of superficiality, short-term gratification, that you will come to regret later.
Yes, raising children is difficult (especially the first one, since in radically changes your life, you're no longer independent). It's also rewarding, but it _is_ difficult. And that's for the best case, when you get a normal child - I don't know if I can even grasp the difficulties of raising a problematic child (e.g. diabetic).
You should absolutely not do it on a whim; but if you do it, I'd say "go all in and enjoy it". Don't regret your previous life, fully embrace the new one. It has its perks, too - and they are not few. And (at least I hope so), it only gets better as times goes by.
Kids are hard work, expensive, a huge responsibility (it's your job to make sure they don't end up entitled little assholes) and you have to give up a 3rd of your youth. I never wanted kids.
Accidentally got my girlfriend pregnant in my early 20's got married and had another child, on purpose, 5 years after the first.
I wouldn't change anything and even with all the sacrifice and hard work the rewards run deep and i couldn't imagine the person i would be had i not ended up a father.
My oldest is heading to college in next fall and i am already feeling sad about how her daily absence is going to leave me feeling a bit empty.
It's not for everyone and i can only speak for myself but i never knew i wanted them or how much more fulfilling my life would be until i had them.
This reminds me of item?id=15800082 which in my opinion is relevant to the subject. Today's parents spend too much time with kids, too many helicopter parents and all that stuff, so it's the parents who overreact, overdo and exhaust themselves.
Comment from throwaway2016a:
> "We got no sleep last night, she woke up at 2 AM and wouldn't go back to bed."
> The fact is, having a child is the biggest life commitment you will ever make and if you and your significant other are not prepared, you're in for a bad time.
My grandpa had 10 siblings and from his stories I can tell that if he as a kid woke up at 2 AM and woke his parents (who worked their asses off from dawn till dusk to support the family) up for no good reason - he'd be the one to have a bad time and he learned that at a very young age. He did grow up to be a stand up guy who never complains about anything and the lack of all the rights, freedoms and attention that today's kids get didn't seem to get in the way of that.
I don't get it. Parenthood is the easiest it's ever been. Diapers show up at your door. You can monitor the baby with a camera. Some of us work from home, etc. Yes in the early years they entirely depend on you 24/7. Be happy if your children are healthy.
Parenthood can be soul-crushing when your child has a chronic illness. Our son is a type 1 diabetic which means one of us is always near him (aside from when he's in school, and my wife is in constant communication with the staff, we watch his blood sugar remotely using NightScout.) I can't imagine what it's like for parents who have children with more severe illnesses (cancer, paralysis, etc.) Just for some perspective for those who aren't familiar with Type 1 Diabetes, our son's body no longer produces any insulin. If his blood sugar goes too low without intervention he can pass out and die. If his blood sugar is too high he can go into DKA and he can slip into a coma. This goes on 24/7 and will for the rest of his life (unless they find a cure.)
He was diagnosed four and half years ago and he just turned six. My wife and I have been out without him less than a handful of times because he's not old enough to self-manage his condition and our parents are (rightfully) scared of caring for him. No sleepovers, no leaving him with a neighbor/family/etc. More often than not one of us is up several times per night to check his sugar.) When he's low in the middle of the night we have to wake him up, force him to eat something (glucose tabs, chocolate, etc.) He'll go back to sleep and we'll wait 30-60 minutes to make sure his sugar returns to safe levels before going back to sleep.
We have no regrets. We tell ourselves that we're happy he doesn't have something much worse. If I were to have a supposed-adult tell me that they regret having (healthy) children because it's hard, I would have the urge to tell them to go do something anatomically impossible.
When we enthusiastically adopted the "Nuclear Family" (along with Levittown suburbia) after WWII, we knew at the time it was new, but new was Good(tm) and Sciency! Soon, we seem to have forgotten that it was a recent decision, one we can change.
But it was never a successful design. Women found staying at home stifling; teens found suburbia stifling. The lack of a deep social structure deprived parents and children alike of a massive support structure.
Other social organizations sprang up to fill the void, but clubs are no match for generations of closeness, and frequent moves made even that ineffectual. The only segment of society that clearly benefited was and is Corporations. Having a worker class that can be shuffled around like game pieces allows easier optimization of cost center locations.
Of the few regrets I have in my life, not getting a vasectomy in my 20s is probably the biggest. All the financial mistakes I've made (the jobs I didn't get/take, the investments I should have made, etc) are nothing compared to the regret I feel about becoming a father. I love my kid but the only reason I have one is because my wife wanted one and I want her. I absolutely get why people would want kids (watching a child progress is beyond interesting and the reactions are often priceless) but the loss of self and freedom isn't worth it to me. I told myself I'd never have kids but I lost a lot of backbone when I got married because I love her more than I could ever love anything or anyone.
The advice I give anyone who asks me and is on the fence is this: "Unless both people actively _want_ kids, don't do it. Wait until you're both in violent agreement or it's a bad decision."
I'd never walk out on either my kid or my wife but were I a weaker person, I might have and my wife can see it in my face. It's a hard place to be.
It is very difficult for those who have already had children to consider, if in retrospect, it was the right decision. Once you have children it is no longer a cool, abstract decision. The subject in question (the child) has been made real and it is difficult to reflect on the decision to have children without considering the living, breathing person in front of you and how that person would not have existed had you chosen otherwise.
I suspect the main reason it's difficult is because of the individualistic nature of western nations. In a society where people live with multiple generations of family raising children is probably much, much easier.
Add to this the fact that everyone wants to have the best schools, houses and things in general, and the income that's necessary to get and maintain said things and you see that having modern children is a trap.
I think this is a result of the ever increasing age at which people have children. One of the first things I said after having a son at 30 was: "Man I could have handled the sleepless nights much better at 23." In fact I often went out on Friday night, take a shower and proceeded to work 10 hrs in the super market, this would kill me now (at 35). Moreover, the longer you wait, the more accustomed you are to freedom and a lot of money. Not having children at 35 you can work for a small house and travel a lot (where I work now you can easily get away with 2 months of vacation a year, part of it unpaid) or perhaps do a lot of gaming of you wish... then you have children and that all ends, or it doesn't and it becomes hard work.
I have friends without kids and with the adventurous life style and I tell myself: It'll come again, take it easy, raise kids, enjoy the ride. Still sometimes I feel myself hoping they reach the age they can ride a Mountain Bike asap and I can get back to adventurous trips... But it will come, there are a lot of things to enjoy now, watching children explore the world, it's absolutely great, but don't compare yourself to people without children, or if you do make the comparison holistically... do not just look at their Facebook lives. There are many childless couples that would swap with these regretting mothers and fathers in a heartbeat.
All that said, I think it is good taboos as in this article are being lifted, perhaps kids are not for everyone and it is not all fun and roses even though society almost expects you to say and act like it is. Strangely it is also not very appreciated if you go on about your deep love for your children either... these are strange times perhaps.
I don't have biological children - I was never in a position where I would have considered it a good idea to have them (for various reasons, internal and external), and I've always seen it as about the biggest responsibility that you can have. However, about 9 years ago I met my current girlfriend, who had 4 kids from her 16-year marriage, and I'm now considered by them to be their step-parent.
I remember I found it absolutely exhausting when I first started seeing her - it took a couple of years for that to not be the case - and they are -not- difficult children; quite the opposite, they are all really wonderful, and we generally get on very, VERY well. But it's an immense amount of work, and every time my girlfriend compares herself to where she would have been had she not had children and committed her time to be (what I consider to be) and excellent parent, I have to remind her that she's been a full time + (and then some) parent for about 12 years. Returning to the workplace for her has been difficult as she now works a full time job as well as being a mum - and one who cooks just about every night of the week, and has generally impossibly high standards for herself as a parent; despite her/our eldest now currently studying at Cambridge University.
I can totally understand why some would regret having children; it's presented as being a utopian existence that you get immense satisfaction from in many quarters, and anyone who dares question whether it's the right move for them (or indeed their prospective children) is given short shrift. It's not for everyone, but everyone is expected to have children. I have been given long-winded lectures in the past for not having my own, and I'm sure anyone who dared to question the experience with said inquisitors would have a very hard time!
I'm not sure why this is so surprising. Having children just because everyone else has children is not a good plan. If that's not what you want to do in life, why wouldn't you regret it? It eats out enormous chunks of your life for something you apparently don't want to do. Some people genuinely want to do it, some people genuinely don't...
Also: It is pretty irresponsible to have a child even though you know you don't want to take care of it.
What's up with all this "Having children is bad, you will regret it. get a dog" mentality lately?
I'd be interested to see how the age of the children correlates with regret. That is, do parents regret having children when the child is 2? How about 12? How about 22? I don't have a hypothesis on how that would play out, but it is important to remember that people are (ever increasingly) programmed for short term reward and child rearing is the ultimate long term investment.
As a father of three young kids I can tell you it's a lot of work, it's not always fun, it's not always rewarding and it's not always what you want it to be.
But I can also tell you I never felt love like the love I feel for my children. I never felt as proud before I saw my children do things that astonish me. I never felt as close to my wife before I had children.
The feels man. For me it makes it all worth it. I absolutely get that it's not for everyone, but for the people that are undecided: there are a lot of happy parents out there and I am one of them.
I would love to see a comparison between similarly aged mothers in countries with more equal gender benefits for child rearing (Scandinavia? France?) and those where mothers are still the de facto responsible for the day to day labor.
Part of this might be caused by the need for a two parent income to survive. It means that the default parent has two jobs, whatever their ambition might be.
I married my wife 10 years ago. When we got married she was ready to have "at least 3 kids". Now she is not even sure she wants 1.
I know it sounds selfish and absurd but we enjoy our life so much: all of our time we spend with each other, we travel 4-5 times a year to different countries, on the weekend we go for hikes in some national parks close to us. I could go on, but the theme is that we enjoy a lot our company and both me and her we are terrified of changing this.
And if that was not the selfish part here it comes: I am actually afraid for both me and her when we are old that no one will come to visit or we won't have friends in this late stage in our life, we have moved to different countries 3 times.
Those that have more or less the same lifestyle, how and what do you deal with this? I am quite interested in learning how others cope with the selsifh feeling that you should have someone to be with you.
This article is a bit of a let down. They repeat the same thing over and over again. That there are mothers who regret having children, and how they are criticized by some other people as soon as they voice those regrets.
What the article doesn't address is exactly why they regret having children, and what could be done to alleviate their problems. Or how mothers who regret having children differ from those who don't. Is it a personality trait, or does it have to do with the environment? Probably mostly the latter, but in what way exactly?
The topic is interesting, the article not so much.
It takes a specific type of person to enjoy parenthood. I, however, am not one of them. I love my children but being a parent fucking sucks. It has its moments of joy. But the day-in-day-out sucks. If I could do it over again I wouldn't.
Most people will research a car purchase more than they will parenthood before getting pregnant. I was one of them. You have that urge and you just go with it never questioning the reality and magnitude of the commitment you're getting into.
I didn't want a second child and my wife did. When she said she was pregnant I was not happy. I resented her for much of the first years of my second child's life because I never wanted another screaming baby in my house.
My wife used to talk about wanting a big family but on the second pregnancy she realized that was an idealization - not reality. She thought she would enjoy staying home with our son when he was a baby. The reality was she ended up job hunting after less than a year.
We're both happy I got a vasectomy after our second.
Appreciate your parents.
I am late for the discussion, but maybe I could shine something on this whole discussion.
Having a kid is the most hard/stressing/demanding thing if you are doing the best and the right thing.
Kids don't choose when or what disease they get. Have you a meeting in the morning? That's sucks you are on ER at 5:00 am since 2:00 full of vomit.
Want to move to Nepal and be a monk for one year? Your kid will not wait.
A lot of people outsource or do different decisions, but EACH decision has a price. You pay now or in the future with interest.
Yesterday was my kid first day after vacations. He was throwing a fit. But yesterday was different was not a common fit. So I asked what the problem was? Are the schools? Teachers? Friends? No. he said:
I want to be with you daddy.
That got me, real hard. I started to cry, and he hugged me. I want to be with him all the time. But that is not life about. He is growing. Soon will be a teen and later married and have kids. And I will be left missing him. But still, this is marvelous.
Having kids hurts and it is not for everyone. But I will do everything again 1000x times.
One possible resolution of The Fermi Paradox and The Great Filter are: We figure out reliable and cheap contraception and raising kids is too difficult and/or expensive, so everyone basically stops doing it.
...in the meantime, you'd get collapse of social systems as the weight of a society composed nearly entirely of the elderly brings growth to a halt as the few young try to take care of the huge number of elderly people.
Luckily, in the West, we still have immigration so we don't have much to worry about. But when the poorest countries start becoming wealthy and get access to cheap/reliable contraception, there will be no one left to immigrate into their countries.
We might get lucky and have the machines take care of us as we age. But thus ends the human race.
EDIT: My solution is for society to stop treating child-rearing as a second-rate job and for us to fully support both fathers and mothers as equal caretakers, giving both full support in the form of leave and childcare, etc. And universal healthcare, too.
Without massive immigration, childbirth is way too low in the West (and now, increasingly, in the Far East) to maintain a stable population. I'm a huge fan of immigration, but not every country in the world can rely on that at the same time.
> Thomas Gilovich—a Cornell University psychologist famed for research that indicates people are far more likely to regret things they haven’t done than things they have—examined people with high IQs: not one regretted having children; several reported regretting not having a family. That assumption has been challenged, however, by the “childless by choice” movement and research debunking the myth that babies have a bonding effect on marriage or that children bring happiness: a 2010 American Sociological Association study found that parents were more likely to be depressed than their child-free counterparts, and that people without kids were happier than any other group.
Not one high-IQ person studied reported regretting having children, and yet the objection made here is that another study showed "that people without kids were happier than any other group"? There seems to be some conflation of ideas here. Lack of regret and happiness are by no means the same thing. You can have no regrets about doing something while simultaneously admitting you would probably have been personally "happier" having not done it. I would say most sacrifices are like this. For example, you wouldn't fight for a cause you believe in (say, protesting against a corrupt regime) and put yourself in great personal danger in order to maximize your happiness - that would be a terrible strategy. You're much more likely to have a happier life by keeping your head down, staying quiet and not rocking the boat. You would only fight for a cause because you believe it's greater than yourself, and more important than your personal happiness. The belief the pervades this article - both implicitly and explicitly - is that your happiness is the highest value in life. If you believe this - and I don't - perhaps not having children is the most logical choice. It does seem to be the case from the data that childless people are happier. What can be made of this? Maybe this: having children is not about making you happy.
In my job, I meet a lot of elderly people many of whom have significant medical illnesses. I wish it could be otherwise, but almost all the people that have 'aged well' have children.
Many of the arguments against having kids are from the perspective of a 20 - 40 year old. More than half our lives are going to be spent being older than this, and it is easy to optimize for things that will simply be irrelevant after a while.
Good for them. I really dislike a lot of the cultural dogmas that exist (at least in the first world) about stuff like this. We have too many people on this planet already, and no you don't need to breed unless you and your partner are some sort genetic miracle. I think nurture is more important than nature, and if you really want to parent you're better off giving an underprivileged child an opportunity through adoption than breeding.
We also, as a society, put a lot of conscious and subconscious pressure on women in particular to have and to want children.
Girls are exposed from a young age to overt and covert suggestions that their value is in their reproductive appeal and reproductive potential. Women who don't have children are constantly questioned about it; treated as "less than"; and perceived as having something wrong with them. Women who don't want children are perceived as subversive. (We put some of these same pressures on men, but it's perceived as "normal" for men not to want children.)
And then the burden of childbearing and childrearing falls more heavily on women than on men.
So it's unsurprising that a lot of women have children and then regret it. What's infuriating is that the same pressures and stupid norms that push women into having children for the wrong reasons are the same ones that prevent them from speaking up about it and warning others once they realize they have.
In general, I think that readers/posters/commenters here at HNews are above (? not sure if it's the right word) the average population in terms of reading, thinking, planning ahead (and are even able to discuss planning strategies like "should I go waterfall or RUP or Agile or XP or...").
And it's easy to notice that this subject arises many points-of-view without any effort.
Extrapolate that to the whole population, where some pregnancies happen without planning, without even noticing, without previous discussion between the couple, or even without too much thinking ahead for single-alone parents.
Yes, given that each child is different, it's no surprise that hardly anyone is prepared to be a parent, and that parenthood can last even after you have grandchildren, becaus yes, even when your child marries and get their own children, you'll might end up helping here and there.
I really appreciate that people outspeak about how hard is to be a parent, because the easier way is to do like those who are inside the cold pool.
Having kids (a boy and a girl, 9- and 8-years old respectively, both adopted) changed my life in a profound way. I made me much more materialistic (as in providing for my family), more interested in day-to-day life than the myriad artistic and intellectual pursuits of my younger self.
Today I cannot imagine my life without my kids, but I also know that once they start their own adult lives and their own journeys, my life will stop revolving around them, and we will get back the freedom that we sometimes miss so dearly today. As much as I enjoy my kids, a part of me can't wait for this chapter to be over.
When people tell me they are having their first kid I send them this song.
"You Ruined Everything" by Jonathan Coulton
My favorite title in life is being a dad. I loved changing the dirty diapers for my wife. I love joking with them about how they puked on head when I was carrying piggy back down the stairs. I loved seeing them succeed. I have 2 "bios" and 3 "adopts" and I loved all of them deeply.
Sure there are hard crappy things. I hated how my first was super colicky and cried 8 hours a day. I hated when they were feeling down or hurt. I hated when my middle son was diagnosed and then 4 years later died of cancer, but I wouldn't want to trade any of the bad things because I would have missed the highs and the norms.
Damn. I’m 30; my fiancee is 32. We are going through this HARD right now.
I’ve asked tons of folks why they’ve decided to have kids and what their experience with them has been like. Nearly everyone has said that it was extremely hard upfront EXCEPT for a friend of my fiancee’s who had family nearby to take care of her child while her and her husband worked. But my gut feeling is that those that legitimately regret having kids won’t say it in fear of feeling like they are a monster.
My Mom is guilting me pretty hard into having kids. My fiancee’s sisters are both pregnant as are many of her friends. It also doesn’t help that most of the people in our age in our neighborhoods also have kids.
Our lifestyle is mostly: lots of going out, lots of fun, lots of “us” time mixed with time for ourselves when i travel for work. Whenever the “do you want kids” question comes up, the answer is never an immediate, resounding YES on both sides, which means that it’s a no. The thought of never being able to do what I’m doing now seems like it would destroy me. But “everyone” says that their feelings towards their kids replaces that, so maybe it won’t be so bad?
But not having them is feeling harder and harder by the day, not because I want them more and more but because I feel like I need to have them for some reason and she’s running up against her “soft limit” (35).
Odd that this post was directly above this one in my feed: "The desire to have a child never goes away": item?id=16133646
Ugh, wouldn't want to hear that from my mother.
It might be worth exploring the reason why the "taboo" on this subject has recently been breached. Could it be that how we define life and our expectations of it have shifted? In a world where the goal in life is personal enjoyment, of which ease is a precondition, childbearing is more commonly regrettable.
Perhaps there never was a taboo, just a different conception of what a human life should aim for.
American child rearing is unbalanced.
Read this: Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
It's not just that one partner wants kids while the other doesn't. Don't forget the influence of would-be grandparents who ask, "so when are you going to give me grandchildren?" Of course grandkids are fun to play with and occasionally take care of but (usually) aren't a full-time responsibility.
The saddest part of all of this to me it's just how many marriages and lives have been destroyed or severely hurt by the inability to have children, while others can so easily produce them, and either take it for granted or regret it.
I don't think there's anything to solve here, per se, but there does seem to be a massive disconnect between our biology and psychology in many of these cases, but the people most deprived are the kids in these situations.
Maybe the thing to solve is the readjustment of our expectations of genetic continuity, rather than cultural, moral and personal continuity, so that adoption and fostering are seen as a valid alternative. I know a lot of parents do see this as an option, but sadly, it does seem to be treated as a consolation prize rather than being a decision that benefits society and the parties involved.
I think countries with cheap labor are lucky. We're in Malaysia, and while maid here is more expensive than in Indonesia, we still can afford a fulltime maid (from Indonesia). We're middle income family, both working.
Of course, there are some horror stories about maid mistreating/abusing the baby, but that's minority.
I work from home, working on my startup, still zero revenue for almost 2 years (giving me stress, _my_ savings almost gone). But it's like blessing in disguise, as I can monitor the maid and give more attention to the kids.
Having baby is very stressful and time consuming (even with maid), I even told all my newly-wed friends, "If you can, don't have kids yet." But I told them it's the best thing I've ever had.
Well, what now? What are these mothers going to do about it?
> Declining fertility rates and older, more educated first-time mothers have also contributed to heightened expectations. The fertility rate in Canada has dropped from 2.1—the replacement level needed for the population to renew itself without immigration—in 1971 to 1.6 in 2016.”
It's interesting to contrast this concern (is concern the right word?) in Canada with articles about the same thing in parts of Africa . The only difference being what side of the replacement level the population is on.
I was a single parent for six years and regret not a minute of it. But my own mother’s advice to me many years ago was, “Don’t have kids. They mess up your life and I regret it.” Although I wouldn’t have existed otherwise I am sorry for her that society 50 years ago dictated that she had to have kids.
I loved this quote in the article:
> One commenter called Dutton “an utterly miserable, cold-hearted and selfish woman.”
It’s the commenter who was selfish, presuming some obligation on the part of Ms Dutton.
There is a huge interest from the government that people pursue the white-picked-fence ideal: three kids, big house, etc. This moves the economy, at expense of happiness.
But, still, there is a choice - nobody needs to have children if they didn't really want.
This article seemed more like the documentation of a cultural phenomenon (mothers able to publicly admit regret) than a sociological study. But I still want to know why mothers regret having children. The comments seemed to be filled with uncharitable explanations, but are there any publications (other than the isreali one) that summarises the reasons for regret?
This is clearly a ruse by Big Childbirth who want to talk other people out of having children so that their offspring has less competition.
Any parents here see a benefit in raising children on their productivity in a weird way?
Some very talented tech people I follow had kids early and it worked out well for them!
Seems to me like a wider trend of people, for some reason, starting to believe that life should be easy when in the past people believed that life explicitly shouldn't be easy. Guess which group was happier.
Regret is unhelpful and indicates a lack of acceptance of the past and present. As such, it is personally irresponsible and shouldn't be celebrated.
Stepping back, norm breaking seems to have gotten even more newsworthy lately. However, publicizing a broken norm is not always an obvious good. Propagation of the news of a norm being broken encourages more breaking of this norm. And often we have little understanding of the work this norm is doing.
Is it damaging for a child to entertain the idea that their parents might regret their existence? Probably. Is it damaging for all involved to have a big conversation about motherhood regret and its being ok? Also, probably. Not every thought deserves to be aired.
One factor here is that people spend much more time with their kids than they used to. There was an article recently, I think on the NYTimes, and my comment would be much better if I could find the link with the data, but here goes. I am reconstructing this from memory, and unfortunately, I have to admit, I may not remember this accurately...
I read that the amount of time married men spend, on average, with their children in 2017 exceeds the time that married women spent with their children in 1960 (hand waiving, I really wish I could find that link). So, now that men have stepped up, women are able to spend more time on leisure and work, right? Nope! Women almost doubled their time with children in that time period. I think it was 54 minutes per day for a woman in 1960, and something much lower for men. Now, 56 minutes per day for married men, and 106 per day for married women.
The tragic thing here is, I don't think it's even all that good for the kids, past a point. I grew up in the 70s and 80s, in SF west of twin peaks, and yeah, even here in SF, we would leave the house, find our pack of neighborhood kids, and not come back until someone yelled "dinner", at which point the kids would all start to go home. My parents and grandparents had similar experiences.
That is gone. At least in SF. There is a little bit out outdoor play, but it's a whisker of what it used to be. A tiny fraction.
And like I said, the sad thing is, I don't think all this supervision is good for kids, not to this extent. I see parents, more often women but plenty often men, standing outside a skate park, bored, browsing their phones, then getting the kids into the car and driving them off to their next scheduled thing. Hell, a supervised skate park visit is the most unstructured thing they'll do that day, more often it's a dance class, then a cello class, then baseball practice, them swimming lessons.
Oh, this is even more ironic - if the data is correct, women spent less time on child care back in 1960 when they spent less time at work! So the increase in child care is coming out of a diminished amount of leisure time, not more.
Yeah, of course this makes people unhappy. And like I said, the real tragedy is, I seriously doubt it makes the kids any happier. It's not that they don't want time with their parents, they do, they often love that time. But they don't need constant supervision - if they knew better (many kids today don't even know what that play outside freedom feels like), they'd realize they're happier without constant supervision as well.
Not sure why this all happened. I don't quite buy the theory that we all became irrationally afraid. I think something else happened here, something that brought about the collapse of a critical mass of kids. I'd let my kids play outside, but there's no pack there anyway (of course, in SF, the population of kids under 18 has collapsed in my lifetime, maybe there are greener pastures - but I've read this has happened all over the place, not just in cites that have experienced a huge drop in the population of children - also, my neighborhood is one of the few in SF that still does have a lot of kids, they just don't play outside anymore)
 This will be the last time I say this - sorry, I don't have the link, this is as best I can remember.
Kids are awesome. So much fun.
Raising a child is hard work, when they are a tween or teen it is even harder. My wife and I found a better system called Love and Logic that made it a bit easier. It would have been nice if we learned it earlier.
Our son is in college now and helps us out, while I help him with homework and edit his essays so he gets better grades.
Since 2003 I've been on disability and been mostly a stay at home dad while my wife works. I taught my son how to fix computers and build them. He fixed his friends computers and then learned how to fix cars, ECT.
I would go through it again if I had to.
Not everyone is cut out to be parents and children can vary, as you never know what you are going to get.
I don't have kids but it seems to me that the way the U.S. is structured for middle and upper middle class families exacerbates the issue. Suburbs are not walkable communities. Kids don't seem to play in the streets in their neighborhood like I used to do when growing up. It's taboo to let a 10 year take the bus by himself or to be alone. Activities are much more structured and that means a lot less flexibility.
Society has lost its way if arguably one of our most fundamental, carnal functions is too burdensome to carry out. Whether the burden is monetary (day care, cost of goods) or social (sports, parties), there's got to be a reckoning coming. There's no way we can sustain this way of life.
Huh, interesting contrast to item?id=16133646
> She never wanted children (“I was very independent,” she says)—her husband did.
Premarital counseling would have caught that.
> “It would have been a deal-breaker.”
IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!! Now you made a new person that you don't want! Shame on you and your husband!
Kids, money goals, debt, work goals, travel goals, where to live; these are all HUGE things that need to be discussed, while in the presence of a trained counselor, before saying "I do."
But you're regretting the wrong thing. You're projecting onto the child. You are actually upset about the desertion, the divorce, the ridiculous super-paced lifestyle you chose over the actual simplicity of life you could have chosen. Not the sharpest tools in the shed, these upcoming generations. Too many of you are manipulated by a faux culture that doesn't really care about you but it does care about the money it can make off you. And to that end, it indoctrinates you with the idea that you are missing out on life if you don't follow the same workaholic path to assumed value to society. That is "the script" and you just don't see it. Most of you will never be remembered by that society you think you will just die if you are not a part of its moving and shaking.
But you WILL be remembered by your children...if you don't get duped into not having them.
Article is filled with lots of narcissists just complaining that their lives suck. My wife grew up with narcissistic parents like that and until now she has mental trauma that will haunt her for life. These mothers should be shamed and deserve it. They are not complaining about kids, they are simply saying that they are incapable as human beings of living with another human being. Life is not about self pleasure, it is about making sure that you try to make as many people that you encounter in your life as happy as possible. These so called "mothers" would be miserable pieces of with or without kids. That is just a narcissistic nature and there is nothing else to it. Doing 90% of work, and always taking kid to places! That is literally the words a pure narcissist would have.