Have you ever wondered: Do some parents regret having kids? Many parents secret do, but they certainly can’t publicly voice their regrets!
Having kids is tough. The cost of having many children is not just the money but the stress, guilt, and neglect they might face. Having one child is tough. Having many children may result in plenty of parents regret having kids.
You see couples divorce after kids all the time. It’s peculiar since it’s better for a child to have two parents rather than one. Even though a child is something you will love more than anything else in the world, parents still can’t take being together anymore because children cause tremendous strain on a couple’s relationship. How sad.
Here is one father’s honest view on being a dad. He answered anonymously to a question on Quora whether any parents regret having kids.
How One Father Regretted Having A Child
Although I’ve always loved being around kids and they seemed to take to me. But I knew I never wanted to have any of my own. Fortunately, my wife felt similarly… until she neared 40, and then went kind of crazy with this newfound unquenchable desire for motherhood.
We had trouble getting pregnant at that age, and rounds of IVF ensued; following several, one was successful, after huge time, financial, and emotional costs. Our son came along, and was healthy and quite adorable. Major success story from the outside, right?
I was immediately plunged into a seemingly endless spiral of resentment and depression (the real kind, clinical, requiring seeing a psychiatrist and going on medication). I knew at a profound level that I Did Not Want This. It completely destroyed spontaneity and flexibility; everything needed planning, and our son like all very small children needed to be watched pretty much 24/7.
Life On Hold
All our friendships were put on hold, since getting out of the house even for planned things was difficult. Work and other obligations were missed whenever he got the sniffles. As he grew, things got better, somewhat. There were all manner of pointless activities that he didn’t care much about (karate, swimming, 20 other things), constant trips to school, play date planning, things that, as far as I can tell, nearly every parent dislikes, and only few are vocally honest about.
The therapist told me that this was much more common than I’d guess, but there was a huge taboo about saying you simply hated being a parent. So, I googled “I hate being a parent” and, lo and behold it was all over the place. People overcome by tedium and regret.
I’m A Good Dad
Here’s the interesting thing: by any reasonable standards, I’m a good parent. People are always pointing this out, how attentive and affectionate I am as a father. I want to do a good job, and I want my son to have a good life. My love for him is real.
I just wish that someone else would be actually enjoying the process of raising him, since on an objective and subjective level, my own life is just markedly less enjoyable since he came along. That’s simple honesty.
The best analogy would be that, instead of being yourself, you’re enacting a script, day in and day out, this pretending to be enthusiastic about something you hate. It would wear you down. You’d long to break free of it and be yourself again.
My wife knows all this, and is constantly upset by it. There’s no sense of, “you sacrificed your own happiness so I could achieve my dream of being a mother.” Instead, it’s more like “there’s something wrong with you for reacting this way”, and that alone has put a serious strain on the relationship.
At the worst times, I’ve thought of walking out, but I could never do that to my son. Too many marriages in my extended family have fizzled, leaving the kids lost. But, to be honest, there are times when I just stand there and want to bang my head against the door frame, I just loathe being a parent so much.
He’s almost 10 now, and I console myself that there are 8 years more of this, then college. I think I can make it until then without losing it, especially since, although he’s a very difficult child, he is gradually getting easier and not requiring such constant monitoring.
I’m a parent who regrets having kids.
I wrote this for two reasons:
First, for others who may be thinking “I think I won’t like being a parent, but everyone thinks I should have kids, and maybe I’ll love it!” Yes, just possibly; but, if you don’t, you will be massively miserable.
Second, for those who have a knee-jerk reaction of, “How can you say you don’t love your OWN CHILD!” I’m not saying that. I’m saying that his coming along marked a pronounced negative turn in my own happiness, despite the fact that I do love him and am trying my best not to let that unhappiness interfere with his upbringing.
What’s odd about this predicament is that no one, least of all other parents, has much sympathy for you, even if you are clinically depressed to the point of dysfunction. One is supposed to view having a child as some sort of multifaceted bejeweled gift from The Cosmos.
How can anyone be so ungrateful to The Cosmos for a gift of such magnificence? And that, in the nutshell, is a big part of the problem of living with regretting having kids. There are worse problems, of course, but this particular one is mine.
Make Sure You Have Your Life In Order First
Given this is a personal finance site, I recommend everyone have a net worth equal to at least 2-3X their annual gross income BEFORE having children. Children create an immense strain on a relationship. Intimacy goes down. Your energy gets drained. You lose a lot of free time. Everything revolves around your kids and no longer you and your partner.
If you at least have your finances in order, you will be less stressed raising a child. Money is a consistent top 3 stressor in any relationship. With money worries out of the way, you can focus on how to better share responsibilities in order to minimize resentment.
I love my baby boy more than anything in this world. It took several years to finally conceive him and I don’t regret having him. But I do miss my freedom. I’m trying my best to be a good father.
We used to travel around the world for weeks and not have a care in the world. Now we are stuck in San Francisco until he’s three years old at the minimum before we get on a plane. There’s no point traveling if he can’t remember where he goes to later on.
About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. He also became Series 7 and Series 63 registered. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $200,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.
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