This “science” is wrong: Why having kids is one of the best things you’ll do
Selfishness and love cannot coexist. There is room only for one.
A week from today, we’ll be celebrating Tiny Love’s very first birthday. As we prepare to celebrate her life, I cannot help but lament over the selfishness of pieces like this one from indy100 (published by The Independent).
The article begins:
“This may spell bad news for new parents, but research has shown that having a kid is not paticularly beneficial to you.
If you’ve noticed that your friends are starting to raise little families of their own, and you fancy a slice of parental bliss, you may want to hear what the experts have to say about parenthood first.
Scientific studies have shown that having a child can severely effect numerous things in your life ranging from money to sleep and even sex.”
And includes a video outlining the many impositions children bring with them:
It gets worse:
Sleep is also something that parents can kiss goodbye to. In the first two years of a baby’s life a parent will lose six months of sleep, amounting to only 2.5 hours of sleep a night on average.
There is also a huge financial deficiency that is associated with children.
NBC News have reported that in America, having a kid can cost as much as $13,000 a year, which by the time they reach 17, will mean parents have forked out a total of $233,000.
Furthermore, mother’s make roughly 3 percent less money than those that don’t have children.
Finally there is the threat of overpopulation. Scientists predict that the world’s population will exceed 10.5 billion by 2050.
If your entire life is to revolve around yourself then I suppose there is some validity to these arguments. Throwing “science” in front of shallow validation-seeking lists doesn’t give them an experiential pass though.
Every single reason given in opposition to having children assumes happiness can only be achieved if you remain untethered and put more stock in career goals and possessions than you do in love and family. And what a miserable life that would be.
Selfishness and love cannot coexist. There is room only for one.
Do you sleep less when you have a baby? Duh.
Can the lack of sleep put strain on your marriage? If you allow it, sure.
Does post-child intimacy suffer? Only if you choose not to invest in your marriage.
But kids are SO expensive! They are if you buy them tons of junk they don’t need.
Life, they say, can come at you fast. I got married, became a step-mom, and a momma within the course of a year and a half. Going from the single, globe-trotting life to wife, step-mom, and new mom was and remains a transition.
I may not be able to hop on a plane to visit friends because I have nothing better to do for the weekend, and sure, we have less money to spend on steak dinners and the really good wine. I don’t have time to read as much (though in what I consider the best parenting hack yet, I recently decided to read aloud to Baby K whatever I would read for fun or work or what have you), nor can I traipse off to get a pedicure without a substantial amount of planning.
None of these “inconveniences” are the least bit burdensome. I can’t say what our marriage would be like if we didn’t have children, but our girls enable us to be a team, to work together, and to learn things about one another that I’m certain we would not have opportunity to were we without kiddos.
Children require the best in you. They enable you to see the brightest parts of this cold world through new, excited, untainted eyes. They insist on patience when you have none, on creativity when you feel empty, and on time when you’re exhausted and spent. In every way, our girls push us both to be better people. We strive to rise to the challenge knowing they deserve nothing but the absolute best we have to offer. They humble us, amaze us, teach us, and have an unfailing ability to make life a better place.
I pity the life that revolves around money, open schedules, and career ladders, none of which create a lasting impact or leaves our little chunk of space better than we found it. The best life centers itself around relationships and the love fostered in each of those. Those relationships do not have to be with children we bear or parent in some capacity, but being able to pour into the lives of others is fulfilling in a way no amount of money or job title can ever satisfy.
Happiness is watching your daughter grow from a tiny newborn to the happiest little toddler:
In teaching her there are better things to snack on than wipes:
Deep conversations over breakfast:
In watching her run around the house, shoe-in-mouth, like her puppy:
Learning how to share:
Waking with the wildest hair:
Discovering all kinds of exciting things like dishwashers, windows, favorite books, and the great outdoors:
Snuggle time with old, fluffy dogs:
And favorite foods (black beans, they’re delicious):
In snuggling while you watch Sesame Street together through her first cold:
Contrary to what the Indy100 article suggests, happiness is sacrifice; in watching your children grow and love and discover, in connecting with your spouse and working as a team, in spending less time worrying about where to have brunch and more time learning how to love with reckless abandon.
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Barbara Bush put it very well in a commencement address. She said something like “When you are on your deathbed you are not going to be regretting that one more deal you could have made; you’re going to be regretting that you didn’t spend more time with your family.” Family is everything.
My wife and I have 5 adopted kids. In addition to all the costs mentioned by “science” we had to shell out some $50+K in adoption expenses(not deductible back then). Worth. Every. Penny.
The most tragic people I have ever met are old people who never had kids and now have no family to speak of. You visit as a friend, but it is just not the same. I’m sure that there are many young people who have totally persuaded themselves that they are going to love the childless life. Many or most are going to regret it, but that regret is only going to come when it is too late to do anything about it. Really, really sad.
I was the youngest child in a large extended family- and called the “golden child” or “Sparkle Plenty” by my parents’ friends. Spoiled, you betcha! The moment I had my first child, I realized that there was a love in me that was greater than anything I’d known before and that there was someone in the world for whom I would lay down my life without ANY hesitation. I feel that way still about all three of my children and it has enriched my life beyond measure.
Sure, there has been anger and tears and disappointment for no parent and no child is perfect, but the love I experience for my children IS perfect. My heart is full and I am grateful for the good fortune I have to be a parent.
If every baby had a Mom like you, Kimberlee, this would be much better world.
Kids allow us to close one of the circles of life. At some point each of us comes to the realization that we had an earthly beginning and we will have an earthly end. In many ways we want to extend that finite period in some way. Building something that will endure seems like a good idea (though even buildings have finite lives); writing books, creating art and the like aim similarly to this end.
So too with children. Those who leave the Earth childless aren’t able to close this circle of life. For those of us who can, it’s quite fulfilling.
It’s better to give than to receive. I remember reading that somewhere.
I’ve known a few DINK couples, open and proud of it. They’re some of the worst people I’ve known in my life.
We have 5.
“The worst decision …” is an obvious piece of Cultural Marxist propaganda intended to persuade Americans not to breed, to help pave the way for the continued genocidal importation of third-world dysfunctionals.
Eloquently expressed, Kimberlee.
Way back, 100 years ago or so I used to work for the county, doing minimal housekeeping and cooking to help keep the elderly in their homes and out of institutions. I met many women in the twilight of their lives, from all walks of life and all save one told me they wished they had spent more time with their families. That really impressed the nineteen year old me – to hear the same words from so many different women. I figured they knew something I didn’t.
Not everyone can have children, but all of us can have close treasured relationships with another person, one that validates us and allows us to know that we matter, that we have value. I think the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey demonstrated the intrinsic value of each human being by the actions of the legions of Good Samaritans, both volunteer and official, who rescued victims of the storm again and again. Color, age, gender, educational level and financial standing really didn’t matter. People matter. Thank you Kimberlee, and thank you sweet Baby K, for reminding us again of that.
I fully support Progressives choosing to not reproduce.
i totally agree.
if these people do not have the innate imperative to not have kids then something is wrong in their DNA.
I also wish that these people do not go into the ‘education business pre k – grad school’.
they also have little use for G-D, the Creator.
That seems to be their best skill though.
Beautifully written. I’m a stepmother to four and three more of our own.
“I pity the life that revolves around money, open schedules, and career ladders, none of which create a lasting impact or leaves our little chunk of space better than we found it”
Re: Sesame Street….it shortens their attention spans! ????
Oh, and I forgot, the pictures are adorable, and show one happy, content baby!
To each their own fitness function?
re: fitness function
Different fitness function is the only viable means to reconcile the divergence of the Christian and Pro-Choice (a.k.a. “secular”) religions, the Christian and twilight (e.g. selective and conflation of logical domains) faith, respectively.
It’s true that for those capable of entertaining the thought, that having children is a bad idea.
It’s great having kids, we have two, we end up living for them.
Some of the objections to having kids are bizarre. They ruin your sex life? What is the purpose of sex after all? Why do we come with those bits of plumbing?
But the leftists have a point. Not one that I cared about for myself, but a point for “society”. As a father I focus on my family. Mine. I put them first.
Whereas if I didn’t have a family, I might put “society” first, or whatever SJW cause struck me. As it is I reject those, because they would not promote the sort of world I want my children to experience. And I care more about my children than, for example, other people’s children.
So the leftists have a point. To leave me open to their particular sort of causes, they would do better I don’t have a cause of my own.
Kemberlee, I can totally relate to you! As a former management consultant, I once swore I would never have kids. But then I watched female colleagues have kids and relegate them to nannies. They gave their kids money but not time. Needless to say, the kids were entitled little messes.
So when I had my daughter, now 26, I stayed home to raise her. I got bored reading “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Pat the Bunny,” so I read the Wall Street Journal to her instead. I used to read the Economist when I was waiting to get her from preschool. She is now a computer engineer in Silicon Valley, the rare female conservative there (sshhh, don’t tell anyone!). And her brother, 21, is studying to be one.
I sleep very well at night knowing I raised responsible, compassionate patriots, no small feat in Southern California.
Time goes so fast – enjoy her Kimberlee – ours is now 25 and doing well. Like yesterday I remember taking her out at sunrise to get my (paper copy) WSJ with her perched on my arm – and she pointed out to me the cirrus clouds being touched by the rising sun…’pink’….
Having children was the best thing I ever did. They give meaning to my life. I am so proud of the men they have become.
Science is a subset of Creation: it deals with the measurable parts. Within those measurable parts, there is no defensible logic to having children.
I pity those folks who think that Science is everything.
There is so much, much more to that world than that which can be measured. What are the objective criteria for measuring Love? The best that Science can do there is comparative (do you love this more than that) but there is not and never will be an absolute, objective measure. By what measure could you assess the love of a parent for the child, and love of the child for that parent?
We live in a child-sacrifice culture. Significant mileposts are:
* The sexual revolution
* No-fault divorce
* Same-sex marriage
The common element in all of these things is adults pursuing their own desires at the expense of children.
I never knew how much I could love another person until my first child was born.
Then I *thought* I knew.
But then my second child was born, and I discovered, to my surprise, that I actually had MORE room for love.
Children change you. They magnify all your hopes, your worries and your dreams. They teach you patience and humility, and kindness, if you let them.
“Therefore, by not having a kid you could be saving the planet.”
Yes, save the planet for the cockroaches. More post-modern, self-loathing nonsense. /eyeroll
No one claimed having kids was easy, but then nothing worthwhile is.
What a lovely piece; thank you for this! (And I’m sure that having a reason to post all of those beautiful pictures had NO part in your motivation to write! 😉 )
I will say, I do not regret at all my decision to say goodbye to the courtroom and hello to parenting my daughter full time. Parenting is hard; homeschooling AND parenting is even harder. Nothing is more rewarding. I highly recommend it, when the time comes.