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If I Had to Do it Again, I Wouldn't Have Kids

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Sometimes I wish I didn't have my daughter. Not because I don't love her, but because I love her so much.

mother and daughter
Momlogic's Momstrosity: A new study, from people who study these kind of things, says that  "parents often report statistically significantly lower levels of happiness, life satisfaction, marital satisfaction, and mental well-being compared with non-parents." I'm sorry but I have to agree.

OK before you throw me to the "Mommy Blogger" wolves, hear me out. 

When it comes to raising children, I believe the reason for all the discontent is this: Dual income families Simply. Don't. Work.

Most working parents -- myself included -- barely get to see their kids in the morning before they're rushing off to their jobs. I don't know anyone who has sit down breakfast with their family before starting their day. Leaving my 3-year-old every morning kills me -- when she's following me out the door asking me to have a tea party. It's like everyday "Cat's in the Cradle" is my morning theme music. "Thanks for the ball Mom, come on let's play, Can you teach me to throw," I said. "Not today I got a lot to do" She said. "That's OK." Yeah, I changed the lyrics a bit.

By the time we get home and make dinner (again because of our schedules it's rare that we all eat together), and do bath and story time, there's little time for anything else. So, most  parents try to rack up some quality time on the weekend -- AFTER they've got all the cleaning, laundry and errands done in preparation for the new week.

Speaking for myself, this relentless schedule often makes my family, each in our own way, stressed, tired, guilt-ridden, resentful or simply put: unhappy. For me personally, it makes me sad that due to my present circumstances (both my husband and I must work to make ends meet) I am not able to meet my child's needs or my own.

But how would I know any of this before I had kids? I couldn't. So don't tell me I should've thought of all of this before I got myself preggo.

Case in point: When I was pregnant, friends explained to me about childcare. It sounded good to me. My husband and I would still be able to work on our careers and our baby would be taken care of by others during the day. In theory, it sounded fine. Because to me, my unborn daughter was a stranger and I had no problem with putting a stranger in day care. But the moment I met my daughter that all changed. As my love for my daughter continues to grow  my heart aches every day for all the things I wish she and I could be doing together. And sometimes the pain is just too great.

Now when friends who are debating whether to have kids ask me if I am content with my decision, I tell them this:

1) If both you and your partner must have dual full time careers: Don't have kids.

2) If neither of you want to be the stay-at-home dad or the stay-at-home mom:  Don't have kids.

Life simply runs smoother with the traditional family -- even if mom's the one with the briefcase and dad's in the apron. 

It's just my opinion of course - what's yours?

To discuss this topic visit the momlogic community.

 


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40 comments so far | Post a comment now
DOPINK April 8, 2009, 9:47 AM

I WORK FULL TIME MAKE AND MAKE EVERY MINUTE I HAVE AVAILABLE FOR MY KIDS. I AM GLAD I AM WORKING, CAUSE WE CAN DO THINGS MORE, LIKE GREAT FAMILY VACATIONS AND BY WORKING I AM PROVIDING MONEY FOR THEIR COLLEGE EDUCATION, BANK ACCOUNTS AND MY FUTURE. I DON’T THINK MY CHILDREN SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ME WHEN THEY GET OLDER, I NEED TO PROVIDE FOR MYSELF. SO I DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME FOR MYSELF, BUT IF THEY ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR PLANNED PLAY DATES, SLEEPOVERS AND GREAT FAMILY FUN, THATS ALL I NEED.

Grams April 8, 2009, 1:57 PM

I know it is difficult to leave a young child but times do call for two salaries with the cost of living these days. ( in most places) I chose to work for many reasons but still found plenty of time to coach my kids teams, do homework and all the rest. I missed a lot but also gained a lot. I knew my daughter wanted to stay home with her children and I respect her for that. So I helped by buying a second home and renting it to them for the cost of property tax. I know that not everyone can afford to do this, but with family help, one can achieve their dreams.

Shelly April 8, 2009, 3:20 PM

You confuse me cathy.

cathy April 8, 2009, 3:46 PM

jen, i don’t wear expensive….old navy IF it’s on sale (and i go once a year….if that). we don’t drive expesive cars, or have a big house. 2bedrooms/2 baths. and just because i work doesn’t mean i am selfish…..sometimes i enjoy being able to have that time at work, and sometimes (most days) i just wish i was at home with my boys.

Karen S April 8, 2009, 6:41 PM

Can we stop attacking people for sharing their emotions? I’m definitely of the stay-at-home school, although I know there are plenty of situations where that doesn’t work (such as my divorced mother). Everyone who says “just make it work” — pick up a newspaper, if your town even still publishes one. Times are tough. If one person has a low-paying job with benefits but that doesn’t cover expenses, the other person needs to work. My husband is staying home with our daughter, but we don’t have a car or house, we have a low rent, and we haven’t bought furniture besides a changing table since I got a couch from Goodwill for $25 10 years ago. We’re barely making it, and if my hours get cut, we’re screwed. If we moved to find a better job, we’d almost certainly pay more rent and would not have any guarantee of actually finding work. Every parenting situation is a compromise, and each family needs to find the solution that works least poorly for them.

Anonymous April 8, 2009, 6:52 PM

I don’t agree with the comment that you must be wealthy in order for this to happen. My husband makes a modest living, and I only work 10 hours a week at night to pull in some extra cash at a local bar (hardly a salary) and I am a stay at home Mom. We watch our spending, live within our means, and we are fine. We discussed before we had children that I would be a stay at home Mom, and have never strayed from that. It is possible, even if you don’t have tons of money.

gaby April 8, 2009, 7:55 PM

I am a mother of a two mommth old and a two year old…yes its crazy but managable. I have breakfast with my son and i feed my daughter before taking her to the sitters. Its doable just have patience and do it because you want to and not because you have to. The little things like the laundry can wait.

Julie April 8, 2009, 7:58 PM

I live in a neighborhood where most moms stay at home. Let me tell you, they are talking on the phone, meeting for lunch and putting their kids in “preschool” from 2-5 days a week. They take their kids to gymnastics, ….
and let someone else “teach” their kids while they chat on the cell phone. They even admit to using a TV as a babysitter. Then, one husband left his wife for a younger female, and the stay at home mom (all with college degrees but out of the work force too long)-can’t make it. ——Not for me. I’ll protect myself by working part-time, let grandma watch the kids one day and daycare for only two days. I do not plan on divorce, but illness—lay-offs….can happen.

Mary April 8, 2009, 9:35 PM

Yow, I wish the ladies leaving comments would stop chewing on each other. I happen to agree with the original author that it’s generally too expensive to raise children on just one salary, and that it’s often killingly painful to leave your kids when you have to go to work. As a woman having the luxury of staying home with our son, I feel a lot of sympathy with her. I believe that if you want standard, American-Dream type stuff for your children, and certainly the statistics bear this out, that it’s very difficult to afford it on one person’s salary. I know one family that did it, by living in a modest home, getting their clothes and furniture from Goodwill, and so on, but if their father’s job had not been a steady one, with good health insurance, they would have been screwed. As it was, they had to have their son join the Army to pay for college, and now they have no retirement savings…. The sad truth is, to live in a neighborhood with decent public schools can be very costly, and houses cost a lot more than they used to in general. Most families that are looking to try to have one parent at home are not getting tripped up on luxuries, like restaurant meals or fancy clothes — they are getting tripped up by big mortgage payments and health care costs. The bigger question here is: Why is our society so inhospitable to families with children? Why aren’t there more part-time jobs avialable? Why is health insurance so amazingly expensive? Why is college suddenly so unaffordable? A working car, health insurance, a modest home in a safe neighborhood — these are not luxuries. It’s time for us mothers to stop critiquing each other and turn to face some of these inequalities and unsuitable systems our country uses in dealing with families!

Terri April 8, 2009, 10:57 PM

If you want to stay home, do it. I was a single mom with 2 kids, 1 and 2 1/2. I worked from home selling stuff I bought at thrift stores on ebay. A lot of work…yes. But I was there for my kids. Now 1 is in kindergarten, and the other will be next year. NOW I will go to work while they are BOTH in school. WE had so much fun with nothing. Quit making excuses, do without, get rid of the nice house and nice car. If I did it alone you could do it with a husband to pay the bills for you. Your kids will remember that YOU were there for them, not the stuff.

Cheryl April 9, 2009, 9:22 AM

I am so tired of full time moms telling working moms that “if you REALLY wanted to, you could stay home”. Honestly, sometimes it is just not feasible, especially in this economy. I live in a high cost of living area, in a 1 bedroom condo with my 2 children, one of them has special needs. In order to keep her with quality health insurance, I have to work. In order to pay the mortgage and condo fees, my husband has to work. In order to keep her in a program that is stimulating and helpful, we have to stay here. I don’t have a car or a cell phone. We both take lunch to work daily. Sometimes the 2 incomes can actually be stretched to the limit as it is.

Alicia April 9, 2009, 12:59 PM

I am a lucky mom of an amazing little 18 month old girl and had major issues coming back to work (full time) after 4 months of maternity leave. Coming back full time was not an easy decision, but in the past 14 months we’ve not only made it work— but I believe I have proven to myself, my husband, my daughter and my company that I can do it all— and do a pretty good job of it too.
I have a great relationship with my daughter and, while it may be difficult not to be with her every waking hour, it makes the time that I do have with her that much more special. She really values our time together and so do I.
I think it’s really healthy that she can hug me in the morning, wave goodbye and have a fun-filled day of reading, dancing, playing, etc. When I get home in the evening she is more than thrilled to see me and our time together is so never taken for granted. I believe she’ll also learn, at some point, that women are strong and can be great mothers and great at their occupation too. Women shouldn’t have to choose one or the other and I find it sad that this author is now giving this type of nonsense advice to her friends.
It’s fine if that’s how you personally feel, but don’t make other potential working mothers feel like they can’t do both and be a great success at each. Because I am proof that it can be done.


Stacy April 9, 2009, 3:10 PM

This entire thread, to me, is a sad statement of the tired SAHM vs WM battle. Really, why can’t everyone just respect how everyone decides to live their life (working outside vs inside the home) - whether they make the decision or the decision is made for them? The grass is always greener, so they say. I know SAHM’s who love staying home but are envious of working mothers who seem to “have it all” (higher family income, possible extra “glamour” in their lives) and working mothers who feel the same kind of envy for SAHM’s - they “have it all” (time with their children, no hassles of having to work outside the home). Who has it better?? What is the “best” way to live? Why can’t everyone understand that people choose different lifestyles for different reasons and respect when they voice feelings of inadequacy/fear/sadness and even happiness for their situation instead of bashing??? It takes a strong woman to succeed in either situation…it also takes a strong woman to have an open mind and not condemn or beat on someone who a different situation. BTW, I have lived both sides and have felt an array of different emotions from each one!!

mom3 April 10, 2009, 9:15 AM

I was just thinking about this very same topic the other night. I was thinking to myself that If I had to do it over again, I would probably Not have kids. Just like she said, not because I don’t love mine, but because I love them so much and if anything were to happen to them, I would not want to live, and I don’t know how I would survive, heart and soul if anything were to happen. It takes a LOT of sacrifice and heartbreak to be a parent, and when you have to work like me, it’s so heartbreaking to not be able to stay home with your kids, to raise them, to be with them after school and not have to rely on anyone else taking care of them. I think a lot of SAHM that can afford to not work, are incredibly lucky and won’t agree with me or the author of this article, but the mothers that HAVE to work are the one’s that may know what I mean. The only way I would ever considering having more children is if I didn’t have to work, or at least find a job where I was my own boss. There is such a thing as loving your kids so much you just want the best for them. I love my kids with all my being but, everyday, I am ridden with sadness and guilt that I am not able to be there for them as often as I want.

aerialla April 10, 2009, 3:47 PM

My darling husband has worked 2 full time jobs so that I could stay home with our children (Ages 10 and 7). Now with both of them in school he works both to pay the bills and I know work a part time 20 hour a week job. I only work when there are in school. Has it been rough yes, have there been times when we have both wondered what life would have been like without them, yes. I have been on both sides, a stay at home and working mom. Neither one is an easy choice and neither is better than the other. When I stayed at home I would have given anything to work outside the home and now that I work I want to be home. Every mother goes through the balancing and juggling act of mother and woman. There is no right answer and I think as long as the children are not lost along the way and know that they are loved then it is the best you can do.

Tiffany April 10, 2009, 5:30 PM

I live in Southern California, in an area where the median home price is $500,000 as another commenter said. We eat ONLY organic foods. My husband makes $40,000 a year and I make $7,500 working from home. I work ten hours per week and I STILL stay home with my son. I never shop, we do not eat out, we live very, very simply. But, I am at home. The author could make it work. She doesn’t want to. So, yeah, she probably shouldn’t have had kids.

Deborah August 31, 2009, 12:36 PM

I agree completely. The saddest part of all this is that most of these couples don’t NEED two incomes. They just NEED stuff, and two incomes is the only way to get all the crap they don’t really need.

Lisa August 31, 2009, 12:42 PM

I feel sorry for the author. If she feels like she is missing out on so much and wants to stay home so badly, she should try to find a way to make it work. But I do have to say … telling someone she shouldn’t have a kid if both she and her husband have to work is just plain silly. My husband and I both work. I eat breakfast with my son; the three of us eat dinner together. It’s not impossible. I can’t imagine not having my son because I work. He is the joy and the light of my life.

Anonymous December 14, 2009, 8:41 PM

Are you kidding me? I know poeple with 2-6 kids in their family, have full time jobs, and spend plenty of time with their kids. Hell my own mother who is a single parent and went to australia for two weeks by herself. Be a stay at home parent? Pleeez, that’s B.S. people just need a backbone and some alligator skin. toughen up and get creative with your family life. stop this cookie cutter sh!t.

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