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Children or No Children, That is the Question.

Challenging The Norm

children with a cape

If you’re over the age of 30 or have been married for more than 5 minutes, I’m sure you’ve been asked about children. When are you having them?  Why don’t you have any now?  Don’t you want a family?  Are you trying?

Back off Aunt Karen, it creeps me the hell out that you’re asking me if I’m having wild unprotected sex with my wife.  Seriously… It’s weird…

This incredibly intimate topic is poked and prodded at with such a blatant disregard for boundaries that I want to throat punch every person who asks.

My wife and I have been married for 7 years and we don’t have any kids (GASP).  Can you believe it?  Ok, I’ll give you a minute to pick you jaw up off the floor…

That’s right, we haven’t had children yet and our decision to detour from cultural norms has baffled friends and family members… It’s also led to some interesting conversations.

We Aren’t Ready For Children

Having a kid isn’t exactly like bringing a puppy home.  I can’t leave the little turd machine home alone while my wife and I go to the grocery store.  There is a certain amount of planning and preparation that should occur prior to bringing a child into the world.

My wife and I aren’t ready for a kid.  We’ve been trying to rationally discuss IF we want to add children to our family, or if we are ok with our fur-babies and freedom.

We both love the freedom we have in our lives.  Coming and going as we please, not being tied down to childcare or child related activities.  It’s not appealing to us and I don’t feel bad about that.

We just aren’t ready yet but, that explanation falls upon deaf ears to my overly fertile friends.  “If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never have a baby.”

Well if that isn’t the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.  How in the hell can you “never be ready” to have children?

Listen, you can’t just walk down to your local humane society and snag a puppy.  You have to fill out an application.  They ask you questions.  They wanna know if your yard is nice, if you have any other pets, and if you’ve thought out this whole dog thing?

Why is it acceptable to just crank out a kid but, I have to fill out a fucking application to get a dog?!  Where are we?? (Looks around)

We simply do not feel ready to change our lives and have a child.  Some call it selfish, I call it being a rational adult…

mouse trapMy Wife is Scared

I had an OB (baby stuff) rotation in nursing school and I had to hold a ladies leg while she was giving birth.  The shit that happened down there was insane.  Literally, insane…

I felt like I had a front row seat to a live airing of The Alien.  Having a baby is a marvelous thing, I’m not debating that, but it’s not beautiful…

After, I felt sick, confused, and full of questions.  Questions like, how is there that much fluid in a human body, how did that come out of there, and the noises… my god the noises. (Shudder)

My wife is also a RN.  She also understands exactly what happens during labor.  That shit is terrifying.  She is scared to death of THAT happening to HER.

I don’t blame her, actually I totally understand her fear because I had a hemorrhoid once and I thought I was going to die.  Literally, I made a lot of promises to Jesus.

Anyway, my wife is afraid of being pregnant and giving birth.  I think it’s a totally logical fear (remember I had a hemorrhoid once, so I know).

To further compound her fears, her mom had multiple miscarriages.  What if she has the same issues?  Will she be able to mentally handle that?  Will I?

She’s also afraid of needles.  I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed an epidural, but the needle is about a mile long.

She’s afraid of complications with her and the baby.  What if something goes wrong?  What if she gets sick, or the baby is sick?  Can she handle that, can I?

man standing at nightI’m Scared

I’m absolutely terrified of having children.  I love my wife so much, and the fear of something happening to her because of a child is debilitating for me.  I can’t fathom ever loving anything as much as I love her…

I’m afraid I won’t be a good father.  I’m embarrassed to even admit that… You see, my dad’s an asshole.  We’ve never got along and he pretty much made my life a living hell.

What if that shit is in me and I just don’t know it yet?  What if I lack emotional stability like my dad?  He ruined my life for years and I can’t fathom doing that to someone…

I don’t believe I have many, or any of his tendencies, but he is my father and mental illness walks the genetic line.

Finally, I’m afraid I just don’t like kids.  Everyone says “it’s different when it’s yours”.

Yea, I’m sure it is… because it HAS to be.  It’s not like you can just put it back, and no one is going to admit they don’t like being around their own kid.  So, that argument is invalid.

Kids seem expensive

twitter photo

I couldn’t imagine having a child when we were paying off our debt.  Would it have been possible?  Sure, it just would have added a few years to the process.

Now that we are debt-free, I think we can afford children.  We just don’t know if we want to afford children.  I listen to my friends talk about $1,200/month daycare bills and I want to sit and rock in the corner.

The financial responsibility of a child doesn’t stop at daycare.  Everything is expensive, from youth sports to college.

The cost of raising a child is estimated to be $233, 610.  Holy. Shit.  That’s not even including college.  Vanguard has a nifty calculator to help project the future cost of college and in 2036, college is projected to cost over $215,000.

The total financial impact of a healthy child could be right around $448,610.  If a kid costs that much does that reduce the possibility of achieving F.I?

I see a lot of F.I folks with kids and I’m curious how they did it? I’d love to know as it might ease my fears that my financial life would be getting put down like an old horse.

couple walking on the beachYou’re Sooo Selfish

Probably the most upsetting thing I’ve been called is selfish.  Selfish for not having children because we just don’t want to.  Selfish because we are challenging cultural norms…

If you happen to be in the same childless boat as us, it’s ok.  We aren’t alone.  Our beautiful millennial generation is procreating at the lowest rate in American history.

In 2016, the CDC estimated only 62 births for every 1,000 women.  Some say that it’s related to the economy, or the soul crushing student loan debt that haunts our generation…  Or maybe we are all just deliberate with this decision?

If our generation is truly procreating at such a low rate, does that mean our entire generation is also the most selfish generation in American history?  Shhhh, if you listen, you can hear the baby boomers screaming yes.

Calm down gramps, we are all out here just trying to live our best lives in a world that is light years different than the world you knew in your 20s-30s…

We aren’t selfish, we are insightful.

Final Thoughts

Will we have kids?  I dunno… maybe?  We talk about it a lot, but we can’t nail down a definitive yes or no.  There are so many things that scare us, so many things that cause us to question what the “right” thing to do is.

Is there even a “right” thing to do?  Shouldn’t a couple’s focus be on living their absolute best lives together?  If that means bringing children into the world, great.  If not, that should be ok too.

Maybe we are selfish, maybe we’re not ready to sacrifice our freedom.  Back off Aunt Karen.

10 Comments

  1. We know kids are in our future. It’s a common bond that brought us together. I know kids are expensive to raise and require a lot of responsibility, but having them and raising them have always been in our planned future.

    I think in the coming year or so (hoping there aren’t complications) we’d like to welcome our first. But it’s a big decision. One that shouldn’t be taken likely.

    I think your hesitation is right. Having children shouldn’t be a decision rooted in indifference. For the reasons you list, you shouldn’t jump into having kids. You’ve got the right attitude of telling people to butt out. Only you two will know if and when you’re ready.

  2. THANK YOU. It’s so helpful when more people voice their questions of societal norm for the rest of us also secretly questioning. My husband and I are in the same boat – we assumed we’d want kids at some point, but so far we haven’t found that point. Each time we approach another milestone we ask “should we?” but we’re left with no compelling reasons to. It’s like my friends that have had kids drank something in the water and they happily went and had kids. We’ve tried to ask them “what made you want them?” and we haven’t received any clear answer. Most of the time they just complain to us about all the changes and so then further communicate to us that we should spend more time questioning this choice.

    To add to your list of fears, I struggle with hypothetically dealing with other people’s kids and those parents. Think about how teachers are treated these days – their authority has been stripped. The parents run them over like brats. I fear my child making friends with families like that and deviating from our values. My fear is that we as parents would have no authority because apparently the belief these days is that parenting means the kids should make the rules.

    It’s really great to hear from a male perspective. I’d be curious to know if you ever feel pressure that your innate value is somehow incomplete because you have not fathered another human being. Obviously it’s been revealed that women often receive this condemnation.

    My husband and I are the first of our siblings to be married on both sides of the family, and therefore are targeted quite often about the child question. My siblings apparently had some sort of game of “nose-goes” without me because my mom firmly believes I’m her only hope. We haven’t openly talked about this with them, we mainly phrase it like “if we have kids…”. It’s just annoying that people feel they can assume for your life so we don’t like affirming anything they can criticize.

    I think older generations struggle to understand simply because of the inherent tendency for older generations to not understand. Plus if you think about generational change over history, this is probably the largest variance in generational change ever due thanks to the Internet et al. So apart from their lack of understanding our “entitlement”, or “self improvement”, or job-hopping, or non-traditional housing, or student loans, or whatever, we also bring (or don’t bring) the baby-making question to the table. I also think this anger towards us comes from a place of jealousy; that they couldn’t have what we have. Kinda ironic since that’s what parents claim they want for their kids: what they never had. So when we start our own businesses, when we refuse to work at places we don’t believe in, when we want to get out of debt and STAY out of debt, when we do or don’t go to college, and when we may or may not have children they get upset because it reminds them (they believed) they didn’t have those choices. We are the generation of having choices. And like Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. It’s incredibly important, wise, and right that we spend a lot of time questioning our choice, and no amount of societal pressure should compromise that.

  3. Can I have this on recording to play on replay when people ask us the same? Like seriously I don’t need to have children just because.

  4. Shelly In northern Canada

    October 6, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    We chose to not have kids. Zero regrets. Have nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews. And many kids who call us aunt and uncle. We have wiped noses and disciplined bad behaviour all while not having one.

    I too never wanted to live through a remake of Aliens. Been a coach at 2 births, not pretty. And my mom had Mutiple Sclerosis. No kid should have to grow up like I did without a mom and play time opportunities, I cooked and cleaned.

    Biological clock has never ticked and now I am 52. Husband is retired at 53 and I am working for 2 more years. Then more fun for us both.

    • debtandcupcakes

      October 6, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      I appreciate your honesty! Happiness, in my opinion doesn’t revolve around reproducing. Good for you!!

  5. Ha – love it. I’m in a male-dominated industry and getting married soon. The unending question is: When are you having kids?!
    Before, it was an easy answe: Why would you ask an unmarried woman when she was planning on having kids?!
    Now, it’s a little more difficult. And of course, they think about it, and ask what I will DO when I have kids? As a field worker, I’d likely be put into an office as an admin (& paid MUCH less) until I could be in hazardous environments again. So, thank you for the post. Feeling more sane and less alone after reading it!

  6. I relate to almost everything you said here. I’m 32 and have been with my partner for 13 years and we don’t have children. I always thought I’d end up having kids but the older I get the less desire I have to have them. I like the life we have now and am not willing to give that up. That’s the opposite of selfish in my opinion.

    I haven’t completely sworn off having kids but we’ve definitely made it known it’s unlikely and that’s quieted the questions from our families quote a bit, but it still happens. I wish people were more understanding.

  7. We have 2 kids now, but for awhile I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids, and then one day…BAM. I was ready. So I think the “if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never have kids” argument is b.s. I think it’s awesome that you guys know yourselves well enough to know what you want and be confident in it. Bringing a child into the world isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and I think a lot of people think it’s something that just happens. Being conscious of how it will change your life it incredibly important.

    • debtandcupcakes

      October 9, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      It’s nice to hear that at some point you feel “ready”. I also agree, having a child isn’t something to take lightly… Thanks for stopping by today!!

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