So my girl Kristina over DINKS Finance caused up quite a buzz on her post yesterday.
She posed the question of whether it was smart, or selfish, to NOT have kids? ;) It was a pretty interesting breakdown of Pros and Cons to say the least, so of course I had to tweet & facebook it around. It’s quite a loaded question.
Then I got this awesome comment in response and knew I had to blog about it (awesome in that it totally made me think differently for a hot second, not that I particularly agree with it or anything):
“back in the day when kids were put to work on the farm, they were assets — in the sense of producers of wealth. Today they are, for the most part, consumers of wealth. Yet a very large number of people still want to have them, and some even pay fantastic sums for fertility treatment to become parents.”
So many ways to look at it!
If you don’t know what “Dinks” are (don’t worry, only the financially nerdy do), it stands for “Dual Income, No Kids.” And while technically the wifey and I fall under that category – as I’m sure many of you do too – it seems to be more about the lifestyle really, than just the fact that two income-producers don’t have kids. Dinks basically CHOOSE this lifestyle for one reason or another. And let me tell you, these reasons sure stir up some emotions!
Instead of copying Kristina though and listing my own Pros and Cons towards baby making, I figured I’d stay totally positive and share the Pros to both sides only ;) Which I know is kinda the same thing, but then I don’t have to label children a “con.” No me gusta that. But fair warning, the “DIK” side will be more love featured as the Mrs. and I have already started practicing for the big game! Woop woop! (and I totally just made DIKS up btw. At least I think I did)
Okay, here goes….
Pros to Being a DINK (dual income, no kids)
Money, money, money!!!!! And lots of it too…unless you go all buck wild and splurge away for the rest of your lives. But generally speaking you’ll have plenty of money to do whatever you it is the two of you please in life. You don’t have to worry about extra hospital bills, mouths to feed, kids to clothe, college costs, toys, allowances, etc etc. It’s just you and your lover, lover! Oh, and you also get unlimited “me” time. Which unfortunately we can’t buy any extra of. (Believe me, I’d do it if I could)
Pros to Being a DIK (dual income, kids!)
Umm, can we say Everything?! Unconditional love, respect (except for their teenage years, hah!), company, passing on values, passing on your name, and mainly just being a part of something BIGGER than yourself. Something that will change your lives forever :) It’s what makes a family a “family,” right? (Or do you hate me right now?)
And not to get all religious up in here, but doesn’t it also seem like there’s a huge reason us humans are blessed with such a wonderful ability? We obviously need it for our race to survive, but it kinda feels like it’s also our duty too. At least to me. I mean our parents did it for us, right?
I have also yet to hear that these little rugrats AREN’T the most important part of parents’ lives, despite the responsibility. Maybe I hang out with only happy and financially-stable parents, but that’s really saying something. To willingly let go of EVERYTHING, including money and all your free time, in order to make sure your kids are safe? That’s crazy. I seriously can’t even fathom it yet. And it kills me too that those who WANT them sometimes are physically unable to create them while abortions are being performed all over the place :( But that’s a totally different subject…
So obviously I’m PRO kids :) But that’s just me! I honestly truly feel that you have to go with what feels right for YOU. Even if that means calling me an asshole and shooting down every last pro I just threw up there. The “right answer” here is the one in your heart – whatever that may be.
So what do you think? Have any other pros or cons to add? Is it selfish to not have kids? Speak your mind, good people!
Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!
DINK here, already enough kids who need homes out there. It’s silly for me to make more of them, might as well concentrate on making my life as good as possible. :)
I, personally, think it’s up to each person if they want to have kids or not. I don’t consider it selfish either way.
However, I had my little girl back in January and, I know it’s cliche to say, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It truly does make you feel COMPLETE. Sure, they cost money, but your mindframe does change towards becoming the “provider”.
I also feel that having a child can drive you both personally and professionaly. While we’ve been paying off our student loan debt for the past 7 years, we feel even more driven to get rid of the beast. And, on a personal note, I’ve made a promise to be a healthy role model for my daughter and have since ran a few 5ks and am planning on competing in a triathalon by the end of the year. Kids can definitely change you for the better.
My wife and I are hoping on having kids someday, but every time we go to a restaurant, grocery store, shopping mall, movie theater, or any place else where someone’s brats are rolling around on the floor red faced and screaming at the top of their lungs because they didn’t get the candy/cereal/toy/whatever they wanted right that minute, I have second thoughts. Kids themselves are audible birth control.
I’m currently a SINK (Single, no kids) and I currently LOVE IT.
However there is that hope for an eventual time period of DINK-dom.
And then I would love to jump straight into DIK-dom. Cause my nieces – AWESOME. So my own little rugrats will be even more AWESOME :)
So this is a debate that’s been going on since the beginning of time and will, I’m sure, continue until the end of time.
Honestly? Go with what you feel in your heart. It sounds corny but to me this question is too often decided by outside forces & peer pressure: friends, family members, society etc. You’ve got your mother nagging you about wanting to be a grandmother, you’ve got people in the workplace looking to make small talk and bugging you about it, you’ve got TV shows blaring at you telling you “it’s time to have kids at this age” etc. Cut out the noise and don’t let anyone besides you and your significant other make the decision.
It also helps to know what your goals are in life overall and where you are in terms of reaching them. If you’ve got certain projects that you like spending a lot of time with or a business to run or something else that takes up significant chunks of your time (and removing that from your life would cause you to be unhappy) then maybe it’s not the right time. If you don’t have those things going on and you’re secure with your job and where you want to be, and it’s something you want to do, then go for it.
It’s not right or wrong to have kids or not have kids IMO. What bugs me about the process is that too many people make the decision not based on their own needs, desires & interests but because they want to please other people or “do what’s right for society” or for some other nebulous reason that doesn’t take their own opinion into account. That’s what I vehemently disagree with. Make the decision for yourselves and you’ll be comfortable with whatever you choose.
I think this is definitely one of those to-each-their-own kind of deal. I’m a DIK (yeah, thanks for that one there) and I’m not really sure if the financial question is so cut and dry with kids.
They’re kind of a wildcard financially. Yeah they’re expensive, but life can split off in so many different ways. I saw a family were the abundance of kids actually got them through a financially tough time because they all lived at home and were all of working age so it was like a five income household when they all worked together which is a great way to break the system and beat the house. I’ve seen it work the in the exact opposite way though too when those financial troubles hit early and they were all too young to help out.
I know my parents have turned out to be a retirement asset for my grandparents in helping them with taking care of unexpected expenses, but I know it could have worked out the exact opposite way as well.
I think it comes down to how good you are with your money in the first place, if you’re good with it your kids can actually still turn out to be assets, if you aren’t and you spend on them like you spend on yourself they’ll just speed your inevitable breakdown up.
I have to laugh, because I’ve been having some serious “baby fever” lately. I know it doesn’t happen to all women, but every once in a while it’s like a weird biological imperative starts whispering over my shoulder.
I see no point in providing merely for one’s own generation; it definitely seems selfish. That being said, there are more ways to leave a legacy than through direct offspring. As was brought up earlier, there are many children who need homes, and if you have one to provide, it is something to reflect upon. Also, not everyone should have children. I’ve encountered many people from my mother’s generation who have said (in the 50s), “My parents had me because it was the thing to do, but I never felt like they wanted kids.” Donate clothes to a children’s shelter, support agencies that support children, work on cleaning up the rivers so future generations have non-mutant fish, but don’t have kids if you have no business having them.
An almost more difficult scenario is when one person wants to be a DIK while the other prefers DINK, which is where I find myself. My husband was “oops” and his sister was “uh-oh” so I don’t think children have ever been really viewed as a blessing in his family. I’ve wanted to have my own basketball team since I can remember (You’re going down Lakers!) so it definitely becomes an interesting discussion with solid reasoning on both sides. No decisions yet. It probably sounds a little like your friend’s blog looks on paper. Good luck with the practice sessions. I’m sure we all look forward to seeing how a future baby (b. money) changes j. money’s life. :)
Too many people having too many kids. I’m talking about the ones who have them because they can. Because they’re goaded or guilted into it. Because, essentially, they are weak. They use their reproductive organs irresponsibly, IMO.
We tried to have children the usual way, but after only a few fertility treatments, and even a near-success, we decided that path was not for us. Five years ago we adopted our sons, ages 8 and 10 at the time. Very traumatic, with situations I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But the time and patience and work and love are all worth it to us. Sure, I miss “me” time. I miss money! (Though we’re getting soooo much better with that, especially now that the adoptions are paid for.) And I sometimes grieve for the babies I never had. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I truly respect those who make the conscious decision not to have kids. It isn’t for everyone and I don’t think that makes you selfish or weak in any way. I think it means you’re mature enough to know that about yourself and not be influenced by your in-laws or the Joneses.
We take our parenting job seriously. It is priority one. We owe it to our kids AND society. They act like brats sometimes, sure. But we hold them accountable and let them make many mistakes now, while the stakes are still relatively low. It is heartbreaking sometimes, to refrain from rescuing them. But we believe it’s the most loving thing, in most cases. They show signs of maturity and responsible decision-making that assure us we’re on the right track. Yes, they get under our skin. Yes, we’ve had to apologize for stupid parenting. That makes us human, I think – not necessarily bad parents.
We are sickened when we see parents who consistently yell at their kids, let them have everything, and the kids feel entitled to having everything. Surprisingly (or not, I suppose), our boys are proud sometimes that they can mow the lawn, paint a room, cook, clean, and do their own laundry. None of their friends can do any of that. I guess this strikes a special nerve with me because of the pains and red tape we went through to form our family. Some take fertility for granted and then it’s like the cute puppy that grows into an aggressive dog that no one wants to take care of anymore.
Bottom line, this is the biggest decision you will ever make. Make it responsibly, one way or the other, because it’s not just your life you’re messing with.
This is an historically recent discussion, enabled by the Pill. Prior to that, if you practiced for kids, you got kids. So, in the bigger picture, we are in uncharted territory.
There is “survival bias” in this argument. The class of people who value themselves more than children die in the first generation (DEAD DINKS). The group of people who value children and raise their own basketball team proliferate and flourish in subsequent generations as those values are imparted to their offspring. This effect is already observable with respect to the abortion debate in the USA. The DINKs (and abortion advocates) if successful, ironically, extinguish themselves.
I wonder how much money has to do with the decision to have kids or not to have them. Kids are a lot more expensive in the US than in Europe. Yet, most European countries battle a low birthrate despite generous social programs for prospective and current parents. We don’t have these programs here in the US, but Americans still choose to become parents. This makes me think that there must be something else that drives people to take on the responsibilities of parenting. Maybe religion plays an important role in the parenting decision. – Why did I have kids? Very simple. I have kids for my own selfish reasons. I love being a father. My kids serve to fulfill my need to parent.
Wow, what an amazing post!! In fact, I think many of your posts are amazing. I sometimes question my own blogging ability when I compare my writing to yours.
I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. You do have to do what feels right in your own heart but the decision can be a challenging one to make. There really are too positive sides. I plan on being a DIK but being a DINK is an interesting option. I have just always thought of myself as having kids and not having them has never crossed my mind. I believe that there are things in life that are priceless and worth the investment like a family, travelling, and spending time with those you love. No matter what they cost, not doing them aren’t options.
My hubby and I have decided if we do end up wanting kids, which is unlikely, we would adopt. As another commenter said, there are already too many kids in the world who need homes. Making another one is not only selfish, but irresponsible. Especially with the rate at which the world population is growing. Adoption seems like the only selfless option. You get to mold your kid and ‘contribute’ to the future without hurting the future by producing more kids in our already unsustainably large world population.
This is a great posts only because I have experience with it. I’m only 24 ( turning 25) later this year and I’ve already heard so much backlash towards me because I’ve chosen to remain kid free in my prime younging years. I’m from a small town which means to alot of people from my small town that the cool thing to do is get married young and start your family. Or maybe not even get married but pop out three babies by the time your 20 seems perfectly acceptable. My friends all got married by the time they were 20 and couldn’t even enjoy their 21st birthdays because they were pregnant but two ended up pretty successful ( ones an ICU nurse and another one is a Air Force recruiter.) But all the rest of my friends that got married and pregnant or just pregnant currently live off welfare in our small town, work dead end jobs or have an overly dramatic facebook life.
I on the other hand, moved away to Las Vegas, have become a DINK by randomness ( not something I was looking for per say because I didn’t know it existed ;) and am pretty content with my lifestyle and the lifestyle I see for myself in the future ( next ten years) because I do not see kids and baby making into the picture. I see getting myself out of my debt, saving up oodles of money, traveling, getting a masters degree, buying a convertible, getting a pomerianian and living in a sweet townhouse in Minnesota. But no where in my life do I really think, hmmm, kids are here and here. It’s just not something I’m focused on and strive for.
I would like to add though that if I do have kids, I would strongly like to adopt for my own personal reasons. I was adopted by my father and although I can’t stand the man sometimes, I still look up to him for taking on a kid that wasn’t his at all. I also work with disadvantaged kids that have druggies for parents, foster parents or parents locked up in jail. These kids really have crappy lives but I think because they come to my program things in their life aren’t as shitty as they could be because they know here their wanted and acknowledged. I would like to adopt a kid that I work with and give them a better life.
I’m right on the brink right now of moving from the DINK category, over to the SIK (single income kids) category. We’re expecting our first child (to be born next Wednesday) and I can’t wait to be a father.
In my opinion not wanting to have kids or wanting to have kids doesn’t make you selfish or unselfish. I’m sure there are plenty of people of both groups that are extremely selfish, and plenty who are unselfish. I think the character of the person, their belief system and how they were raised will help to determine whether they’re selfish or not.
On the other hand, I do think that being a parent will inherently cause you to be less selfish – because you HAVE to. I know for me as a DINK I’m able to be quite self indulgent much of the time, doing what I want with my time, my money and my energies. Once we have our son I know I’ll be spending a lot more time on the needs and wants of another person – my child. Because the children are so dependent upon you, you almost have to be less selfish. So even more selfish people will have to be less selfish.
If someone doesn’t want to have kids, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, it’s just a personal decision that they’ve made – and I can’t judge anyone for that. I do think, however, that are a lot of rewards that go along with being a parent including the character it builds, the patience it teaches, and the unconditional love that you’ll receive from your child.
Why don’t we just say that if you want kids, have them and if you don’t, don’t and leave it at that? It boggles my minds that my choice not to have children would ever be considered “selfish.” Far more selfish, in my opinion, to have a child that wasn’t 100% wanted.
I am a parent and I adore it, but the decision isn’t for everyone nor should it be. In my opinion, the choice TO have children is far more selfish than the choice NOT TO have children. I think it’s refreshing when someone realizes their own limitations and/or their own TRUE desires. People want children solely for reasons that involve them–they want someone to love, they want to kids around to build a family, they want to leave a legacy, they want miniature versions of themselves, they want someone to take care of them in their old age when their mortality is most apparent–it really is one of the most narcissistic things a person can do. Who is having a child being generous and/or selfless toward? Certainly not our already overpopulated earth. The unconceived unborn child would clearly not be devastated if it never existed.
The TRULY selfless thing to do is to adopt. Otherwise, yeah…I’m not impressed with the so-called generosity of people breeding mini-mes. Also, your purportedly unbiased opinion doesn’t seem very unbiased.
I’m with Stella: Have them if you want them, don’t if you don’t. It’s one of the most personal decisions there is, I think.
However, be prepared for a whole lot of judgment if you decide NOT to have children. You’ll likely be accused of being selfish, cold, lazy or immature. Better start preparing your coldly correct responses to rude questions/statements now.
And for those who have a kid so someone will take care of them in their old age: Think again. Not only is it a crapshoot as to whether your kid will be financially able to do that, there’s also the possibility that your child will be born with or develop a disability that requires YOU to care for HIM until YOU die, and to have made arrangements for financial/physical care to continue once you’re gone.
A child is not a backup plan.
I feel that the older we get, the more we think about having kids or not having kids. Sometimes I feel that if I would have just done it when I was 24 or 25 I would have been happy. Now that I am almost 30 (in October) there are just too many variables in the equasion. I should also mention that my boyfriend Nick (of 10 years) and I are not married, as you may remember from a previous guest post. Maybe I am old school but I would like to be married before having children. I know that marriage is no guarantee that a relationship will work since my parents got divorced 1 month before their 25th wedding anniversary. That’s just how I feel.
Peter, I want to say congratulations to you and your wife on your child. J.Money I want to wish you all the best with your baby making plan! As a woman, I have to say that in the whole process, men have it easy. You guys get to have fun in the “trying to get pregnant” stage. Everyone likes that part! It’s what follows that is unpleasent.
I note that all the adults, including the jerks, were once someone’s precious child. Some of these adults can’t stand their parents. Many of these adults only do the annual turkey thing because they feel they have to. Few seem to share the same values as their parents and most seem to disagree on some key issues. I know parents who are stand up citizens yet their kids have gotten into trouble—in fact, the likelihood of someone ending up in jail is way higher than the likelihood of them curing cancer.
The key point for me is the I get to choose my wife, my friends, etc. whereas a kid would be like bringing in a stranger to the house. I have absolutely no way of knowing what would result, but I’d have to accept what I get. Most likely, the person would be less intelligent and more extroverted than his or her parents. That wouldn’t be fun for anyone ;-P
So the question is really … would I want to associate with a random human?
My answer is no.
I’ve gotta admit, I just can’t relate to people that are perfectly capable of having kids in all respects that choose not to. Going through the various factors like a) it’s a natural instinct, b) someone did it for you, etc, it just strikes me as rather juvenile and selfish to think you’ve gotta have all this “free time and me time” for 80 years. I didn’t have younger siblings, cousins, etc. when I grew up so I really knew nothing about kids but I just naturally knew I’d want them some day. And my wife’s a champ with kids (a teacher). I guess to each his own, and I get that some people have either mental, physical, emotional or financial reasons may feel justified in going through life without them, but I can’t relate to those who can reasonably be a parent.
I am a DIK (or would it be DIWK?). I am also an introvert. It is quite hard being an introverted DIK. Instead of coming home and hiding alone in my quiet cave after being in the big bad world all day, I come home to Sponge Bob on full blast and kids who need sippy cups filled every five minutes (which I have done three times since starting to read this post by the way). I am often jealous of my DINK sister and friends for their plethora of time, money, and freedom.
But I have to say, being a DIK has made me a better person. I have to work harder for what I want, and be more efficient. My time is more sacred, so I have to make the most of it. If I didn’t have kids, I would probably just be sitting around watching a lot of TV and getting nothing done – because that is my personality. And I wouldn’t trade my crazy thirsty kids for anything. (But this is just me, I too fall into the “to each his own” category – and remain jealous of DINKS’ quiet homes).
I’m not sure about kids, but I have warmed up to the idea the older I get- but I think it’s also because I’m in a stable relationship when I can see my partner being someone I want as the father of our child. If I weren’t in such a position I’d be even less sure than I am now. Children is such an awesome responsibility – it doesn’t make sense to pressure someone who don’t want to have kids.
Oh dear. Hornet’s nest with this one, J.!
I’m 32 and thus far, my biological clock has just been telling me that I want a dog! Puppies are the equivalent to babies for me–I go all gaga around puppies the way most girls do around babies. :)
I get angry when I see that people have labeled those that choose not to have kids as ‘selfish.’ It can be argued both ways–what about women who get pregnant thinking it will keep their guy around? Also, I know many a young, single mom who brought children into the world so that they would be guaranteed unconditional love. They lean on their child for every emotional need, and the grandparents often bear a great share of the financial and care burden of this decision. Those are both incredibly selfish reasons to have a child, and is NOT fair to the kid (or grandparents) at all. At least those that are ‘selfish’ enough to not have children because they want all their time or money to themselves are not bringing someone else into the world that will probably get caught in the some cycle of neediness!
As long as someone is prepared and isn’t having kids for some unfulfilled codependency issue, though, I don’t care. Have them or don’t, both are valid choices in my book!
It isn’t a financial decision, or an ‘I want more me-time’ decision–just plain don’t have the urge to have them. I don’t know why, but babies are not cute to me, and I only start to enjoy kids when they are old enough to take care of their own potty-time needs and can speak and tell me what they want and say silly things. Yeah–kids are very cool, but I don’t want my own. I also don’t want the kid to have my messed-up genes–mental disorders and cancer run in my family, not to mention my myriad own flaws that would surely give them major issues. I guess you could say that I love my non-children enough not to put them through that suffering.
Off-topic, but the imbalance between DINKS and DIKS (gotta rethink that one, yeah? :) ) just makes me want to live in some sort of modern-day commune where everyone shares the responsibility of raising children–I’d be a great aunt. That way, everyone gets some freedom/time/money (benefit of DINKs) and love/company/respect/sharing of values (benefit of DIKs) around. It does, indeed, take a village.
I don’t know you personally, granted, but I have a feeling that you’ll make a great and very fun dad, J. Money! Good luck!
Re-reading your post, I think it is unfair to bring religion into it. I don’t think you mean to imply that I’m a worse Christian than you because I am not doing my ‘duty’ of procreation, but that is what it feels like. Here is my argument: If I felt that the human race couldn’t survive without my reproductive skills, I definitely *would* consider it my ‘duty.’ However, this is not so. If everyone felt it was their duties, the world would be overrun in a few generations! The fact is is that our earthly resources cannot sustain an exponentially growing population–I am pretty certain that my God wouldn’t want us to destroy His creation by overpopulating it. In light of that, maybe some people’s duties are to NOT have kids, and to help future generations flourish, so that our race doesn’t perish due to the overpopulation crises of famine, poverty, disease, and resource wars? God gave us brains so that we could figure stuff like this out, and trusts us to control ourselves if we were destroying both ourselves and His work (global warming, anyone?). Also, I always learned in Sunday School, long ago, that God created me to be exactly who I am, and I have zero urge to reproduce. So duty decreed upon me by God? That really doesn’t work for me.
And yes, my parents did it for me, and I do feel guilty that my parents are not going to get grandchildren (my only sibling is bipolar and lives her life going in and out of mental institutions and it just isn’t feasible or responsible for her to have kids), but it isn’t like I’m not giving back to them/the world in other ways. I HAPPILY use my ‘selfish extra time and money from not having kids’ on flying out to see my parents, donating time and money to charities, paying taxes to educate everyone else’s children, donating my time to mentor kids, financially and emotionally supporting my parents (they have major health and financial issues), and spending as much time as I can with my parents, instead of having children. Please don’t diminish these contributions to my family/society. I think those pursuits are just as valid and rewarding to me as having children is to other people, and people like me help make it possible (in my opinion) for everyone else to have healthy, happy, educated kids–isn’t that what everyone wants? Anyway, my parents didn’t have me in order to have grandchildren, I hope–they had me because they wanted me and I really hope I am enough for them just the way I am. Guilt is no reason to have children, anyway.
This is all just my opinion and please take it with a grain of salt. Who knows? Maybe I will change my mind one day! I definitely understand the desire to have kids–it’s kind of like how I want to have a puppy (in no way am i seriously considering the responsibility to be the same, but the desire and urge to take care of something more than myself, and to give the best of myself definitely is the same to me): I want to take care of it and love it, teach it, be responsible for it, give it the best care possible, make sure it does well and is healthy, get puppy kisses, and even though I know it will frustrate me at times, it will all be worth it in the end and will add immense joy to my life. I get it, I really do, so I would never condemn anyone else with that desire that is in a position to have and take care of a kid. By the same token, I don’t think it is anyone else’s right to condemn me or call me names for my choice, either.
Sorry so long, I have had a rough week with little sleep and my babble-censor is shut off; you caught me at a bad moment. I hope I sound fair and reasonable and my point of view is understandable nonetheless.
A lot of people have been writing here about how they are getting negative comments and pressure from people when they announce that they don’t want to have kids, and how that’s so prevalent. I have to say – i was surprised when we learned we were expecting how so many people were actually so negative about having children – saying things about how our lives were over, asking why we would want to have children and lose all our freedom, saying things about how our kids will only grow up to hate us, etc etc etc.
So honestly – i think the pressure goes both ways. I think there are those people who think having kids is great – and will pressure you to have children (we didn’t really have any of those) and there are others who think having children stinks – and will pressure you to not have children. To be honest – most of our families and friends have been supportive about the decision we’ve made either way.. It has just been some acquaintances who have been negative about it – but they’ve got their own family issues/problems to sort through.
I’m currently 34 and my wife is 29. We waited a bit longer to have kids than some – and my younger brother ended up having a son before me – but for us it was the right time now – and we just ignored all the naysayers -and negative nellys.
It is absolutely not selfish to recognize that you are not parent material for whatever reason and act accordingly.
I just had to post a comment after reading Darwin’s Money’s comment.
Really? REALLY? As a 37 year old woman who has never felt like my calling included motherhood, I am offended that you would judge other people who decide to live their lives differently than you do. I don’t judge people who have children, I just say, “it’s not for me”.
Calling that decision selfish and assuming it’s because that person want’s more ‘me’ time is very shallow. I do not have any ‘mental, physical, emotional or financial reasons’ for not having children. I simply do not want to – I don’t look at children and go googly eyed. I equate it to not wanting to be a pet owner. Either you like cats/dogs or you don’t. I don’t owe it to *anyone* to reproduce. It’s a personal decision. Your comment on what would make me feel justified in not having children puzzles me. Why should I have to justify NOT doing something.. ? I would sooner question people who don’t have the money or maturity to have children – but do anyway. However, I don’t. I like to treat people the way I would like to be treated. Thus, I don’t judge you for having children, just because I don’t personally understand the draw. Perhaps exercising tolerance is something you should consider passing on to your child, once you figure it out yourself.
@Peter: I totally understand everything you just said! Almost all of our friends are DINKs and completely opposed to having kids. One of my friends has even said that she doesn’t hang out with people after they have kids because they just don’t want to do the same things and it’s never the same again. In some cases I think my friends have been burned by being around kids who have “optional discipline.” But even my husband’s family isn’t keen on children. My husband’s more of an if it happens it happens sort of person, and even though I very much want children, it’s hard to think of having a child with such little support. Occasionally, if I think about it too much, I start to feel like I’m being bullied out of my choices, and I get really upset. What disturbs me the most is this diametrically opposed attitude to having kids. While I agree that people who want to have kids (for the right reasons) should, and people who don’t shouldn’t have to, I don’t think the choice is anyone’s business, nor do I think either party should be treated differently for their decision.
I think if you want kids and accept the responsibilities that go with them, then great, have a passel of them if you so desire. However I too have seen far too many women (and girls) who had kids because they wanted someone to love them or felt obligated to. Working next to a Catholic bookstore I see all too many stair-step children (3, 4, or 5 kids climbing out of a van obviously only about a year apart in age) and tired parents. It angers me that in this day and age so many still think it has to be this way when we have the tools to plan how many kids you want and how far apart.
And people looking for another creature to love them unconditionally need puppies not children. A dog thinks you’re the greatest thing ever and is always happy to see you plus you can leave them in an enclosure all day, they don’t need clothes, and if worse comes to worst you can hand them over to someone else if you can’t take care of them anymore. Kids who’s parents lost interest in them or were unable to properly care for them do not turn into the most well adjusted adults.
So I say, start with a pet, if you can’t handle their messes and inconveniences, a kid is not for you. Think of them as starter children, this is especially great for singles like myself who enjoy the companionship but also their freedom.
I think there’s also a facet that some people don’t look at. It’s not as easy for some people to ignore their “lizard brain” – for example…I have an appointment to go in and get a temporary but long-term birth control treatment next week.
I have three kids – the youngest is 9 months old – there is no. reason. for me to have more children…but deep down, past all the reasons, there is the feeling I’m doing something horribly wrong by not having another one.
Can I explain it logically? Nope. Am I proud of turning from a normal(ish) self-respecting woman who is logically done having children into a snivelling baby-machine wanting to create life? No.
Plus, puppies don’t say I love you with that LOOK in their eyes. They don’t learn to walk and come to you, they don’t learn 2+2 because of YOU. Parenting is a dirty-good God-complex time for the ego, the same way housewives (not including me) think teenage vampires are dirty hot.
But it doesn’t stop the tears, no matter how sure I am it’s the right decision.
WOW guys, what did we stirr up?! Haha…. you like how I included “we” in there, even though I knew very well we’d get some spiciness going on up in here? ;)
I have to say, after reading all of these opinions and ways of thinking I have a TOTALLY more open mind right now. Not that I thought it was super closed anyways (although I was obviously biased when I wrote this post), but man you get such a HUGE variety of beliefs on the web like this. It’s incredible! I mean, if you think about it most of us are usually surrounded by others w/ similar ideas and goals – but here on the blog some of you are literally around the world chiming in. Of all ages too!
And I wouldn’t have ever thought that you can actually SAVE money by being more disciplined and “on track” even when you have kids – great points! I bet I’d be a helluva lot better with managing my time too :)
So yeah – I really appreciate all of you taking the time drop by and share with us. I know we’re not all gonna “get along” and agree with everything, but collectively we can really learn a lot from each other :) And I’ll admit I should have left out the mini-religious “duty” part – that was kinda jacked up.
As many of you have said in different ways, the choice to procreate or not is totally YOURS. And we should all be respectful of it. Have a most beautiful weekend everybody!
whatever a person’s choice is who cares, dude seriously, people should live their own lives and not judge others on how they live, I don’t want kids because I don’t want to take care of them, never wanted them, I don’t have pets either because I don’t want to take care of them, its my choice, it doesn’t make me bad, or cold, or anything, its just a choice, I can’t live my life for someone else and you know what, dude, I’m perfectly happy, I’m 27 and live life how I want to live it, the only thing at this point that I want is to major in art history in college, lol. I have a good life and I think I’m smart for recognizing that I don’t want to take care of kids and pets and choose to not have them. I love my life, I think its great that those who want to have pets and kids have them and those who don’t don’t have them, lol.
Who really cares? Just live life your way because you only have one life and you might as well live it as you wish to live it. =)
to people who say its selfish to not have kids, okay what are they basing that judgement on, the bible? the koran? -people who say that its selfish to not have kids are seriously judgmental, I don’t know where it was written that people had to have kids. This isn’t the 1950s anymore.
If you read history, people in medieval times used to give up their own kids to convents for the nuns to raise them because they didn’t want them, isn’t it better to recognize that you don’t want kids and to not have them and be a responsible adult.
Do not judge unless you too want to judge, and no I’m not religious at all. But I don’t judge people who want kids, if they want to have a child to love, care for, teach, etc. hey that’s great, but please don’t force opinions or choices on me either.
That’s all I’m saying. Why can’t people just live their own lives I thought that is what feminism and living in a free country is all about, choosing your own happiness and not living like the church wants you to live, not living like politicians want you to live, but living how you want to live because you’re an independent, smart, human being capable of critical thought.
Kids will greatly cut into your ability to live a materialistic life.
Wow, lots of passionate (defensive) replies, must have struck a chord. For anyone that was deeply offended by my OPINION (note, is a blog seeking opinions and J Money asked for mine so I gave it), I don’t think it’s appropriate to stereotype or paint people with a broad brush for making a particular decision, and everyone’s life circumstances are different. But it is tough to deny that many oft-cited reasons for not having children are purely out of selfish interests. We have friends that aren’t having kids and that’s their call. But they plainly cite they like to party, travel, have freedom and it’s not for them. We love them and don’t judge them other than noting that sure, we loved partying and traveling too, but we chose to have kids and live a different life. Read around and you’ll see everything from women that don’t want their bodies altered (yes, it is a sacrifice unfortunately, no matter how much one works out afterward), kids are a drain financially (this comment above – “Today they are, for the most part, consumers of wealth.”) and other various reasons that can logically be interpreted as self-absorbed views. Religion has nothing to do with it (at least in my case).
I simply said “I can’t relate”. Perhaps you can’t relate to people who do have kids. That’s not offensive to me. We’re just different.
Yeah, kids will cut into your ability to live a materialistic life, but some people DON’T want to live that life.
I’m not sure I understand why others pressure people not to have kids because they’re a drain on your finances. For some people, parenthood is a dream, just like making a million is a dream for others.
Whatever way you choose, it’ll be because it’s a conscious decision.
I feel like personally I have been on both sides of the argument. I had my son when I was a young age (on purpose!)…I was widowed at an early age due to a car accident and remarried many years later when others were just beginning to marry for the 1st time. My new husband was on the fence on wanting children so we chose not to. Now my son has been grown and gone for 8 years and friends and family members my age still have children in elementary school.
We are the ‘childless’ couple but we are very happy in our decisions. We love the fact that we can just take off at the drop of a hat (I have been self-employed for 8 years and now hubby for the past 6 months). Had we had children we would not have this opportunity so early in life. And I listen to others I know complain about the cost of things these days and how children are never satisfied. Yes, that IS a family issue but lets face it, unless you put these children under a heavy rock somewhere you are NOT going to prevent them from being subjected to ‘consumerism’…
Raising kids is hard but I still believe it ultimately is up to the individual as anything else in life. I will never begrudge anyone that has kids, nor anyone who chooses not to.
What’s funny is we used to always heard “Oh you’re going to want them someday”. Well now We’re both 40 and we still have no urge. Everyday I come into work and sit around listening to parents complain about how they have no time, money, etc because of their kids. We go to Europe nearly every year, go to Vegas a couple times per year, have season football tickets and tailgate for 6+ hours, have disposable cash, can just take off at any time without worrying about taking the kids, have plenty time at night to do what we like, etc None of these things would be possible or at least easy if we would have kids.
I kind of laugh to myself every time I hear my co-workers talk about going on a family vacation. I don’t consider it to be a real vacation if young kids are involved.
The older I get the more I realize that we made the right decision.
I’m a conservative investor, I’m not sure I’d take the risk of “unconditional love” being the main reason I have kids. I don’t have unconditional love for both my parents, just one. My husband has unconditional love for his parents, but his brother, raised in the same exact household, hates his parents. Sometimes you end up with a kid who is just a jerk. Sure, when they are 3 they love you unconditionally, but so does a dog. This desire for unconditional love is what is causing so many bratty kids, parents don’t want to be parents, who discipline and do what’s best for their kids even if it means the kid is unhappy. They want to be LOVED so they let their kids have anything they want. That is selfishness, having a kid so YOU can be unconditionally loved. It’s also selfishness to think that you just NEED to pass on your genes and your values to people. And seriously, I don’t believe a lot of the people who say that parenthood is the BESTEST THING IN THE WORLD and EVERYONE should do it. Because if you are honest and say “it’s really hard, sometimes I wish I had more time for myself” people think you don’t love your child, which isn’t necessarily true. When you’re a parent you HAVE to say it’s the best thing ever, or everyone thinks you are a bad parent.
I’m with LindyMint. Having a child has made me more focused on the things I need or want to get done, and at least now they get done. When I was fancy-free and my time was entirely at my own disposal, I just slumped on the couch and read Harry Potter. Again :-)
“Dinks basically CHOOSE this lifestyle for one reason or another”
I disagree with this. Hubby and I are DINKs now but we desperately want kids. Just because the stars have not aligned in our favor yet doesn’t mean we chose this path. We dont’ live big because of our DINK-hood either as we’re saving up for the family but somehow this still gets us a bit of harassment from the neighbors that have kids. Their outside perspective theory is that we don’t have cc debt or big loans because we are DINKs but actually that is because we save and spend cautiously and frugally and we would continue to do so even if we had kids.
Obviously, selfishness has nothing to do with being a DINK or a DIK. If you are a DINK and are doing something that is more than just attending to your own happiness (say volunteering, donating to charity, etc) then you are not selfish. If you’re DIK who is caring for and raising the next generation then you’re not selfish. If you you are a DINK or a DIK that cares only about him or herself then you are selfish. That’s what the word means.
One side note though: materialistic DINKs are inherently the worst for the environment (most resources used per person on luxury items).
Some of us were just never in the right place at the right time. I got married young, but we were in grad school (and broke) most of that time. And then we got divorced. And then I was single for some years. I have huge respect for single parents, but it’s not something that I felt I could do. And now I’m almost 40. Sometimes I feel sad that I won’t get to see a son or daughter discover the world and themselves. And sometimes I feel relieved.
I do have some strong opinions of my own on the topic:
– The only really good reason to have kids is selfish. You have them because you _want_ to have them. You don’t do it because you feel you “should” or because “that’s just what you do.”
– Accordingly, the only good reason to not have kids is selfish. You don’t do it because you don’t want to, not because your friends don’t want to hang out with people with kids or because anyone (including me) says you shouldn’t. I have friends who have told me that people who have kids “ruin their lives.” I disagree.
– Population increase is a real issue. Less people = less pressure on the environment and climate and a better living standard for the people of the planet.
– Contributing to the next generation is hugely important. Children or no children, I have no objection to paying taxes that support schools and other things that support children. I actually wish that there was more support for parents and their children in our culture.
I admire parents. I truly do. But for the most part, I’m happy with not having kids.
I have chosen to not have my own children based on the fact that I was a horrible baby sitter as a teen ager. I just wanted to kill every kid that screamed. So I felt it was better to get a job digging ditches than baby sitting and I chose to not have children of my own to keep me out of jail.
On the other hand, I married a wonderful guy who at the time did not have custody of his children, but very quickly into our marriage, they ended up with us. Their real mother wanted nothing to do with them the rest of their lives. I received two children ages 2 and 3. I raised these kids without killing them, but it wasn’t easy, they went to their rooms often and I went on many walks and bike rides. They are now young adults and are making it in this world. But I will tell you, the last three years without kids in the house, WOW. How much fun is this, money in the bank, you can out to eat, your bills are paid for, I am now living the life I wanted after waiting 16 years to get here. I still can’t stand the sound of screaming kids and will leave restaurants and grocery stores because of that noise. Squealing kids are just as bad, my doctor said I have very sensitive ears, could be!
I think it depends what you mean by selfish, if people didn’t have a stake in their own lives, they wouldn’t want to go to college, become middle class and rise out of poverty, get better jobs, etc. Clearly there’s a tiny bit of selfishness or self-interest in all those goals.But I don’t think that type of selfishness is bad.
In my opinion it is just as selfish to have children as to not have them. Its like choosing a career path for one’s life….some choose to be doctors and some choose to be engineers. Some choose to have children and some do not. There is no cosmic mandate that says having children is required….so if you choose to and I choose not to, then we are both exercising our right to choice. Any choice if it really follows one’s desired path is equally as selfish because we CHOOSE to do it thinking it will be to our best interest. Isn’t this the definition of selfish?
I just commented on Kristina’s blog – re: DINKS – Smart or Selfish. The smart thing is you and your partner taking the time to discuss and then decide about whether or not you want children. Having kids or not having kids is neither selfish or unselfish. It’s just your personal decision.
I’m 54, my husband is 51 – we’re DINKS with no guilt.
KUDOS on a thoughtful and balanced piece! Speaking as one who never heard a ‘tick’ out of her biological clock, I have for many years described myself as cheerfully childless. Of all my many flaws, this is perhaps the one choice I would never even have suspected of being ‘selfish’. What, it seems to me, could be worse than knowingly and deliberately bringing an UNwanted life into this world just because (as I’ve heard more than one unhappy mother put it) ‘everybody else is’? Parenthood is a choice that demands your heart, your soul, your life, FOR life. That’s not a choice for the faint of heart.
I’m a DINK, and so far that has been a good choice. My boyfriend and I are not in a good place financially, but that hasn’t been the main reasoning. I, too was a horrible babysitter, and I have never been the type to dissolve into funny faces and cooing noises at the sight of a baby. My boyfriend is multi-racial, and his mother was only with his father because it made his intolerant grandmother mad. So, neither of us considers ourselves capable enough.
If somehow, we want a child in the future, we’ve decided to adopt. All the best parts of us are not genetic, we can certainly pass along our ideals and ways of viewing the world without the likelihood of also passing along the genetic worst of ourselves as well.
I’m a few months late on this post, but I thought I’d comment anyway. :)
My husband and I are both currently DINKs. But we desperately want to be SIKs (single income w/kids). We’ve racked up quite a bit of debt over the last two years (he was unemployed for a year and I was just unemployed for the last six months) and now that we are both working, our goal is to pay off all our debt, put money in the bank and start trying for a baby. We both were raised with stay-at-home moms and want to be able to do that for our kids. He came from a big family (he has 3 brothers… his mom is devout Catholic and doesn’t believe in birth control) and my parents always wanted a big family, but struggled to conceive me, miscarried another, and then didn’t have my younger sister until my mom was 34 and my dad was 36, so they stopped after that. We both came from parents who truly wanted a family and I think that plays a large role.
As I was unemployed for the last six months, I truly enjoyed staying at home with my dogs (our current babies) and making our house a home. I loved cooking dinner every night for my husband and babysitting for our friend who has an infant. We BOTH loved babysitting and truly can’t wait to have a child.
Now that I’m back working, I’ve had extreme guilt leaving my dogs home alone all day. I can’t cook dinner because I don’t get home until 5:30 or 6, then I have to feed my dogs, and I want to put on comfy clothes and unwind. I don’t see the point in having a baby when someone else is going to raise the child for you while you work all day. That is not the kind of mother I want to be. I want to be with my baby ALL the time, I don’t want to miss out on those precious moments that may only happen once (first step, first words, etc). I miss being at home to do those “wifely” duties that I really enjoy. That is MY favorite job, being a wife and a mommy to two big dogs and hopefully a baby one day. I don’t enjoy my career anymore.
That being said, we have good friends who absolutely don’t want children and we don’t begrudge them of it. The wife is clearly uncomfortable around children, especially misbehaved ones (she was an “oops” to her parents who didn’t want children) and her husband was adopted… I think he would be open to having kids if she really wanted them, but she has no desire. I don’t consider it selfish or selfless. To each their own, honestly.
Thanks for sharing with us :) Was cool coming back to this post and reading some of the past few comments. It’s def. a personal choice for everyone, and one that we should all respect!
It’s not “childless,” it’s “child-free.” I am very happily Child Free By Choice.
Have you seen this: http://lauracarroll.com/2011/06/the-real-deal-on-dinks-money/
Our household is DINK, and I’m strongly leaning on the childfree end of life. I can promise you we’re certainly not rolling in extra money and spending it on fun things. Our money goes towards savings for a new roof, trying to fix cars that break down, etc like everyone else with or without kids. And *occasionally* we take $100 or so and go camping for a weekend – no big fancy vacations in this household.
Because we’re DINK neither one of us feels the need to go get a better-paying job to support a family. We do what we love and the money isn’t important as long as bills get paid and we live within our means. Do we make loads of money every year? Not at all! We probably barely break ‘middle class’ if we do at all. But we’re content with what we have and are fortunate to not have to be constantly looking for better opportunities for the sake of paying for a kid.
After being in a Single Income With Kids situation for 19 years, I can say it is absolutely the most fulfilling situation for my husband and me. We have been blessed in many ways and had more than our share of turmoil and issues, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I have friends without kids and their days are all the same, years run into decades without
highlights for them. One told me she didn’t want to go home and would prefer to stay with us because of her longing for a child.
We have, of course, had to sacrifice things over the years. But, we have also been able to travel abroad many times as well as all over the states. We have a lovely home, and a stable marriage. My kids haven’t been in trouble and have a nice circle of friends as well as hopeful aspirations.
I do know everyone needs to figure out what is right for them, and not sit in judgement of anyone else with a different opinion.
Thanks for sharing – I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on this :) We actually just started trying for kids personally now, so really really hoping we’re healthy enough to allow it to happen! Fingers crossed!
I think having kids is a huge blessing. I’ve been around large families and it’s just a different feeling than being around couples with no kids. Without kids the house just feels empty. My wife and I are planning on having kids also! Lots of kids!
I definitely don’t judge people for not having kids, if that’s what they want for their lives. I just personally think having kids makes life so much fuller.
I’m the same way really, though I know plenty of couples that are perfectly happy w/ just the two of them. Whatever you want out of life! :)