Do you regret having kids?

This is a serious question. This is not meant to demean those that have children or make outlandish claims like “not having kids is ethical” (most hilarious thing I’ve read on the boards in quite some time).

I know that kids are inevitably wonderful and there is not much that can replace the feeling of having them. If you had to do it all over again, would you do it the same way? What would you change, if anything?

Once again, I must preface this by saying that I am not against having children. They are the light of many aimless lives. This goes without saying. I’m just curious if anyone wouldn’t have them if they were given a second chance.

Give reasons for either option. I’ll start with me.

I’ve never had kids (and please don’t say that I can’t speak on the issue, because I’ve still been able to do quite a bit of observing). I’m not sure if I want kids. I have no idea when I’ll be financially capable, but obviously money is nowhere near the only factor. Many people have told me that they think they’d be happier if they did without…I’m just curious what you people think.

Missed 5 minute edit: I just realized that the question addresses the issue of NOT having kids on a 2nd go (assuming you have them already). Therefore, I actually CAN’T give an opinion, so disregard mine. I’d still like to hear thoughts, though.

Children are delightful, but few people will speak the honest truth that childcare is drudgery and it’s an amazing expense in time and money. If our kids hadn’t been perfect in any way, I could see having some second thoughts. The catch to that statement is that you won’t find many people who don’t find their children perfect in every way… it’s sort of built into the package.

No doubt about any of that.

Perhaps it’s selfish of me, but I just want to live life as “free and clear” of as many difficulties as possible. While children are great, I’m sure that there are so many instances when you find yourself pulling out your hair.

I don’t think it’s for me.

My mother says if she had her life over, she’d skip kids and just keep pet dogs. Thanks, Mum!

I’m only two and a half years into parenthood so I probably can’t give you a well-rounded answer… but so far, I love it. Even though it often sucks, it’s also awesome.

There are some mornings where I want to sleep and I’m unable to because the little one has decided to kick me in the head after sneaking out of her room and into the bed. There are other days when I’m driving home (or somewhere) and she’s crying and all that. Yes, it’s expensive and yes it takes a lot out of you on occasion.

On balance though, I think it’s great and I don’t regret having children. Perhaps it’s chemicals or endorphins or whatever, but when my daughter looks at me or is happy or what have you, it can elicit such great feelings in me. I genuinely enjoy raising her and spending time with her. I have quite a lot of fun swimming with her, going to the park with her, and interacting with her.

So there are some rough times, but I’d say there are a lot more pleasant times. That said, we are expecting number two in Feb, so I suspect that I will be a lot more tired…

I also think that there are stages where feelings differ. Obviously the first year is rough - it’s filled with worry, sleepless nights, and stress. It’s not easy, but I don’t think I ever regretted it. Perhaps I was just too tired too… ;-p

I get that and I think that it’s important that while being a parent, you still carve out some time for yourself (and/or your significant other). My wife and I do, and while sometimes it’s hard to do so, we still make up for it.

And I think that’s totally fine.

I have a 4 year old daughter who still doesn’t reliably sleep through the night.

Wouldn’t swap her for anything! No regrets here.

In a detached, abstract sense I imagine that it would be nice to NOT have kids on a 2nd attempt at life. The major problems arise when I consider that the child I would not have is my specific, wonderful 3yo son. So no, I don’t regret it, and yes, I would do the same thing again.

A “pause” button or the option to remove the batteries for a few hours once in a while would be nice, though. Even a “volume” dial would help, I suppose…

I like your explanation. Obviously, if you were able to remove all emotional attachment to your son as he is known, it would probably be a lot easier to make a decision in favor of not having children. There are a ton of variables for this, like upbringing, etc., but I think it would make the decision much different.

Am I alone on this issue? I expected to not get many “regrets” necessarily but…hmm… I suppose there is no real way to dance around the idea of “regretting” that you had kids. It’s pretty awful no matter how you tackle the question.

I just dislike it when I get openly criticized for not wanting to have children. I know that having children serves many purposes (the most primal of which is procreation), but I just can’t see it for me.

Sometimes it’s really hard. My kids are 12 and 15, so we’re past the taking care of every physical need stage, but the emotional needs are still there and the worries about their health and well being are still there. But, they’re delightful people that the vast majority of the time I simply enjoy being with. I’ve raised people I want to be friends with and who give back to me so much in terms of love, personal satisfaction and fun.

Hard, expensive, endless. Meaningful, fun, exciting. Time, energy and money well spent! I can’t imagine my world without these people sharing my trip through life.

ETA: regarding people criticizing you for not having children: some people just weren’t raised right.

I was thinking we discused this last year but can’t find the thread.

People can be so rude, can’t they? It is absolutely none of their business why you don’t have children. If they ask about it, I’d give them Ann Landers’ line: “Why would you ask such a personal question?”.

If you’re feeling mean you could say “Well I was afraid they’d turn out like yours”.

What a baiting comment. :rolleyes:

I have two children from two different baby-mamas, with a third on the way with baby-mama #2.

Being a parent is a very challenging role to take on, whether they are your children biologically or otherwise. You learn a lot about yourself as you attempt to raise children to become productive, well adjusted, emotionally healthy, self sufficient members of society.

I have no regrets and would do it again.

People criticize us for not having children. I love the line of “You’ll change your mind once you have them” - I should take on a 20 year responsibility in the hopes I’ll change my mind.

On the other hand I know people criticize parents for having too many children, and we won’t even get started on the amount of parenting advice parents get for free.

I think people should just butt out! The amount of buttinskis in the world is crazy.

No baiting intended. I simply meant that many people would be ‘lost’ without their children. Improper wording, perhaps.

Pretty much! Around here, I swear some people consider you morally bankrupt if you decide against having children. It’s appalling.

I like this - I gotta try and remember it. Though at 36, people have stopped asking us.

The funny thing is, I’m 34, and they’ve stopped asking me - and started asking my SO, who didn’t get many questions in his twenties. It’s like thirties is the appropriate time for having children for men, whereas I am just too old.

It’s hard to imagine not having kids at this point.

They make me laugh. They make me think. They keep me occupied. They keep me young.

And when I’m old and grey I’ll have family to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with. Can’t imagine how empty and pointless life would be without them, frankly.

There you go OP - anecdotal proof from two of us that eventually you will grow out of it. They obviously won’t, but eventually you’ll be too old for them to pester!

Having children are a lot like being married in respect to the question you asked. Do you give up a lot having children? Of course…it’s a job that is 24/7/365 for the rest of your life. Even when your children are grown I’m fairly certain you don’t stop caring/worrying about them. But the same is true for being married. You give up a lot getting married. Is what you gain from having someone constantly in your life worth giving up that 'do whatever I want whenever I want" aspect that you had when single? For that matter is having a car or a house worth giving up the freedom that you might enjoy if you worked less and had less money?

The point is that everything we do in ‘adult’ life gives us the potential to regret or fondly recall life as it was. However often times that’s just an illusion. Sure I remember when I was single and was dating multiple women at the same time, it was great. But for every night I spent with someone, I spent 2 or 3 alone. That lonliness adds up. Same thing with having kids. Sure we had a lot of extra time and money before. But having children makes me a better person. I’m more careful of the example I set for them. I try and eat better, exercise more. Act better towards others, and be considerate of them. So for me, the plus colum has a lot more in it than the minus.