1. K. Schnepfe

    No, I don’t have kids and I rarely regret it. They somehow never happened. What surprised me is how hard society still judges you for being childless/childfree, whatever the correct term is. I work, I pay my taxes, I support myself all the way, and yet, over and over us single, childless, older people, even more so older women (I’ll be 60 soon) get told that we are a burden on society. How?!

    I don’t get it, and I find it baffling. And frankly quite annoying, if I put it mildly.

    What I most of all wanted to say: Thank you for # 4. I need to hear this time and again.

    • That is so frustrating to me. I can’t ever claim to understand how that would feel in the long term, but I can tell you that people implied some really nasty things about me when I would admit that I didn’t know if I wanted to have kids. And a lot of the people who we were honest with about not knowing later asked us repeatedly if our baby was an accident. GAH!

      Why people feel that they get to weigh in on any woman’s decision frustrates me A LOT! I’m sorry that you keep having to deal with that. Our society needs all kinds of people doing all kinds of things. No judgment just gratitude that we’re all in this together!

  2. Marie

    Thank you so much for #8. What a sigh of relief. I am so tired of people saying “kids aren’t that expensive” and justifying that statement by claiming that hand-me-downs and avoiding extracurricular activities can somehow offset the cost of childcare, reducing working hours, passing on promotions and additional training, health insurance, etc. Many employers cover the employee’s health insurance but once you switch it to family coverage, the premiums can quickly skyrocket. Also, when a parent says they haven’t spent much of anything on their child because they breastfed and used cloth diapers but then choose to live in a four bedroom house in a nice school district. I’m pretty sure a good chunk of the mortgage, taxes, home maintenance, etc. can be attributed to the cost of having children. When some of us weigh all of these expenses to determine if we can have a child (or additional children), it’s infuriating when these realities are dismissed. Thank you for always being honest and sharing the real truth.

    • As someone who pumped and supplemented with formula before we made the switch to full (soy!) formula, I can assure everyone that there is no cheap way to feed a baby, and that is a hill I am willing to die on. Of course, we can all do a better job of spending less on things they don’t really need. But let’s be serious. Kids cost money. Full stop.

    • Honestly, you sit on that fence as long as you’d like. I had a long conversation with someone on social media, and that’s why I actually ended up including that bit. I had never really shared that undecided part before because in a lot of ways, people acted like it was worse than saying we didn’t want kids. People in both camps would be like, WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW? Look, fam. It’s a literal life. Give us a sec!

  3. I am 5 weeks into parenthood and already some of these things ring true! I got my first 2 hours to myself this weekend and make no apology for enjoying them.

    I can’t work out how my attitude to money has changed and is changing. On the one hand, I am happy to spend on the things he needs (plus o adorable outfits), on the other, being financially stable is even more important.

    • CONGRATULATIONS, Sarah! Yay! Soak up all the baby snuggles for me, OK? And you are totally right. My mom treated me to a pedicure about a month after I gave birth. I was so nervous to leave him, and I was so worried. Every Mom who I sort of knew or randomly met at the salon was like, “YES! Take five minutes for yourself!” We have to keep saying that to each other, I think.

      I think you’re spot on with the money attitude. There are days when I want to buy him ALL the things or give him ALL the money for college. And then there are other days when I just keep squirreling everything away. These kids of ours!

  4. Hannah

    I agree with all 9 of your lessons, and have experienced them myself. If I were to add a #10 lesson it’s that children force you to understand the value of now. Children are only little for a short time, and even compared to six months ago, Kenny and Shirley have changed a ton. I love that I get to be around for a lot of those daily moments that probably won’t be so frequent a few years down the road.

    • Oh, Hannah. I knew I would cry today. This is so beautiful and so true. You are so wise and your family is so lucky.

      Even on the bad days (or even just the hard moments), I try to remind myself that he’ll only be this little today.

      Brb going to hug my baby now!

  5. I went back to work in October 2016 and I’m still grappling with everything you outlined in this post-so thank you! I now have NO time for nonsense-none-because time spent on nonsense is time that I would rather spend with my son. I also think it’s healthy for my son to see me working hard-and am always trying to figure out what the appropriate balance is. I’m sure I’ll figure it by the time he isn’t interested in spending his time with me anymore. 😂

    • Isn’t that the constant struggle? Whenever I feel like I’m going to really go full throttle for FI, I realize that the numbers would coincide with…full-time school for him. LOL I guess that means a bit more balance in my life is OK!

  6. I stood at work listening to two millennials talk about not having kids.

    “I’m not going to have children.”

    “No, me neither. How could you bring someone into the world the way it is now?”

    I hear what they’re saying, but I counter that having children just might make this world a better place.

    Twenty-some years ago, I swore I would never have kids. But something in me changed after meeting my husband. I’ll admit I’m still not a ‘baby-person’, but I love having conversations with my grown son. I’ve been amazed by every step and progression of his life. He’s worth it!

  7. “But it’s our routine, and it’s part of the life we’ve designed for ourselves as a family.“

    I remind myself of that regularly. That we are lucky enough to get to CHOOSE the life we have rather than being forced one way or the other due to money and other life circumstances.

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