DINKS: Smart or Selfish?

by Kristina Tahnyak on June 23, 2010 · 143 comments

how to pamper your baby... by nicephore.
I am 29 years old and I am a DINK.  I am in a dual income no kids relationship.  I enjoy working and I enjoy spending my money on clothes, trips, and (more recently) my car.  However, as I get closer to becoming 30 years old (in October) I am starting to ask myself…Do I want Kids?

I don’t think that I do, because children seem like kind of a hassle. Kids are loud and needy, and they take up a lot of time.   Now if I want to go out to a movie or for drinks after work I can.  If I don’t feel like cooking dinner I can have a bowl of cereal.  If I want to take a nap after work and eat later on at night I can.  However, when you have children, you need to have dinner on the table every night.  You need to have a daily routine.

I haven’t spent a lot of time with anyone under the age of 20 years old. I babysat for a bit when I was in my teens, but other than that I don’t have any contact with children. None of my friends have kids. I also don’t have any living things in my apartment. Not a plant, not a dog, I don’t even have a goldfish. I have never really taken care of anyone or anything except myself.  Maybe I am selfish, but maybe I am smart.

This past weekend I was shopping in the mall and I was in a woman’s clothing store.  As a mother tried on her clothes she left her child to run around like a caged animal who had just been released. When I looked over to see what the crazy kid was doing, I realized that he was licking the mirror.  Yes, you read it right! The little kid was putting his saliva all over the public mirror.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the proceeded to make “finger paint drawings” with his own spit. How gross is that? No, I don’t think I want kids.  Or do I?

I do know that I don’t want to regret my decision not to have kids later on when I am 40 years old. I don’t want to wake up one day in 10 or 15 years and wish I had children. I am at a crossroads, when I am at a personal crossroads in my life I make lists.  It helps me to regroup and in a way it calms me down. So here it is… My Pro and Con List for Having Children:


  1. You will never be alone
  2. You can share your wealth with another person
  3. ???
  4. ???
  5. ???


  1. You are responsible for the kid “until death do you part”
  2. Kids are Noisy
  3. Kids are Dirty (I hate germs)
  4. Kids are Expensive
  5. ???

That’s all I could come up with, and you can see, the Cons outweigh the Pros. Can you help me fill in the blanks?

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{ 143 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leslie June 23, 2010 at 8:45 am

I am a bit disturbed by your pro list.

If you consider yourself to be an intelligent person, don’t you want to contribute to society by passing on your intelligent, diligent, financially responsible genes in the form of a productive and successful member of society? I definitely consider that a pro.

Another one I would add to the list is that having a child is a form of immortality (regardless if that child is a productive member of society or not). Your mannerisms, vocabulary, and genes will still be walking this Earth after you die.

2 Uncle June 23, 2010 at 9:07 am

I am an Uncle and a DINK. I adore my nieces, but can always leave and go home.

PRO: Being a grandparent (potentially)
CON: Blowing money on Chinese plastic (aka TOYS)
PRO: Not making the “mistakes” I thought my parents made
CON: Realizing I will (would have, in my case) make different mistakes despite my efforts
PRO: Watching the cute “Mini Me” grow up
CON: Watching the cute “Mini Me” grow up

Anyway, good luck with that, and the best birth control mechanism is going to any fast food joint with a “playland” . . . . on a Saturday . . . with ear plugs


3 Kristina June 23, 2010 at 10:58 am

Hi Uncle,

Yes I agree with you. Although I am a vegetarian I still need a Mc Donald’s fix every now and then. I order my #1 Big Mac combo with no meat and a diet coke. That in itself is a headache so I don’t need the added stress of children running around like little crazy people. On Saturdays I satisfy my Big Mac cravings via drive thru!

4 Jane June 23, 2010 at 11:21 am

For years I’ve heard/read that not reproducing was selfish, but I’ve never encountered a reason why that should be true. Those who do not reproduce pay to support others for services their families will never consume, e.g. public schools, health and welfare services for pregnant women and children, etc. Those who do not reproduce place fewer demands on scarce environmental resources and create less pollution/environmental degradation for future generations. Those who do not reproduce contribute to problems of crowding in public spaces. If anything, those who do not reproduce seem to be subsidizing the reproductive choices of others. This seems to be the very heart of generosity.

Perhaps a better question might be: Why are those who reproduce so selfish?

5 RichE June 23, 2010 at 11:26 am

I too am a DINK and I too have thought about whether or not I (and my wife) want kids. We’ve also been called selfish for not having kids but I have no problem ignoring those comments (after all I’m selfish). We’re a bit older than you, 40 now, so time is seriously running out but that’s ok. The biggest issue that you mention is whether you will have regrets. That works both ways. Make the decision for now not for some imagined future – you may regret it but you may regret it even if you decide to have children.

Oh and I can certainly vouch for the fact that you will have much more money if you don’t have kids.

Good luck.

6 thisisbeth June 23, 2010 at 11:29 am

I’m not a parent, but every parent I know always says that hearing their child say “I love you” is the best part of being a parent.

7 Stephanie June 23, 2010 at 11:33 am

I am a DINK, 24 and a woman so I know I will be facing the “children crossroads” in the future. I happen to adore kids and could not imagine having a life without one, but I do understand why people choose not to have kids. They are expensive, and they take a lot of work. However, I can’t wait to have kids because I see from others how rewarding being a parent can be. Is it selfish to not want kids? I don’t think so. One thing I do know that the worst thing that can happen is to have a child that is not wanted. So if you’re not interested in having children, do not do so to please your parents or society, because an unwanted child will grow up to have some serious emotional issues.

I look forward to when I am financially stable enough to have a child!

8 J. Money June 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Every parent I know says they’d do anything for their kids – they mean the world to them! I believe that they feel that way, but not having kids myself it seems pretty intense (a “good” intense though). The wifey and I decided recently to shed our DINK status, so when the big day comes I’ll let you know! I think the Pros will always outweigh the Cons in the end. At the very least it keeps your bloodline going ;)

9 Elizabeth June 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Interesting discussion. I am a married stay at home mom with one income and one three year old daughter. My husband and I both knew we wanted to have children, and we know we would like to have at least one more child. Before I had my daughter I had a wonderful life, career, marriage, and was completely happy and content, but now that I have a child that happiness is magnified ten fold. Life took over a completely new meaning and purpose. Yes, children can be expensive, dirty, noisy, snotty, and time consuming, but they are also loving, hysterical, energetic, non-judgmental, and intuitive. Also, this may sound strange, but your own child will not seem dirty or disgusting to you. Other children gross me out, but my own doesn’t at all. However, even though I know I want kids, I do admire people who chose not to. I think to not have children you must be extremely self reliant and independent. The freedom of not having children does seem very appealing at times. To not have children you also have to be okay with the fact that you may always be someone else’s second choice.

Here is my Pro and Con list which may give you more to think about.

1. Unconditional Love
2. Sense of purpose and fulfillment
3. Family (This is a big one for me. I knew all of my siblings and friends would start their families, and their families will become the most important thing in their lives. Sharing holidays together, tragedies, vacations, weekends, everyday moments that ultimately make up your life, etc. I didn’t want to have to tag alone with someone else’s family for every major moment in my life. Hopefully you’ll have close friends in your life to spend those special moments together, but ultimately if something happened and they had to choose their family or a best friend, they’ll probably choose their family. I have awesome friends, but when push comes to shove, my family will always be more important.)
4. A greater joy than you’ve ever known.
5. Contribution to society
4. Fun! Kids are fun! The ability to play like a child again is a gift I never thought about until after my daughter was here.
5. Creating my own family which hopefully will become it’s own network of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins.

1. Responsibility. It’s a little scary to know that I am completely responsible for my child’s actions and well being for at the very least, 18 years.
2. Lack of time for yourself
3. Lack of time for all of your relationships
3. “Mom” guilt. Believe me, this is a killer.
4. ALWAYS putting someone else ahead of yourself. While 99% of the time I am completely happy to do so, sometimes I do want to do what I want to do, instead of what I know is best for my child.

One thing I definitely believe, while you should be financially responsible, money should not be a factor into whether or not you have a child. Yes, kids CAN cost a lot of money, but they don’t have to. My husband and I have more than enough, but with only one income we are on a budget, and spending a ton of money on kids isn’t really necessary. Our society is so caught up in having the best and biggest of everything but really, material things aren’t important.

So basically all of this to say, having kids is wonderful and amazing, but not having kids can be something really wonderful too.

10 Jason June 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm

A few thoughts and I will just brain dump them all out in no specific order.

I thought there was a big difference between being a DINK (Dual Income NO Kids) and being DINKY (Dual Income No Kids YET)? I feel like being a DINK is a lifestyle choice that couples choose. While being DINKY is just a stage between getting together and getting knocked up. I know this may sound harsh but my wife and I have selected to have a life without children. We discussed this early and often in our fledgling relationship. Twelve years into our relationship we are glad it’s a point we were open and honest about from the start.

Having kids is kind of like joining a cult. No I am serious, look at it. Most people tell you “how wonderful it is”, “There is no greater joy”, “Love…BLAH” and “It’s different when it’s yours” but really listen to them for longer and see how much resentment people have towards their children for one reason or another. They want you to believe the story they spin for you so you too can join the cult and once you’re in, there is nothing you can do.

Many of the things listed here and often listed by others in response to questions similar to this generally regard the first year or two of childhood and forget about the other 16+ years. The ones where your kids hate you, wish you were dead, are on drugs, and are serious trouble in some other way.

Kristina my advice is you likely already have answered your own question. When the list of cons is that much longer than a list of positives you already know which way you are leaning. There is a reason you don’t have living things in your place and that’s OK. Hell to me that great to not have kids just because you’re XX age or all your friends have kids shows an independent thinker who is willing to do what is right for them. Not what everyone else says is right. I wish more people felt like this.

There is no reason you have to have children to pass along the things you know, the knowledge you gain and the wealth you accumulate. You can teach other (even children if you can stand them), expand the minds of those you touch and donate wealth to causes you find worthy. It isn’t like there is any shortage of people and causes which are looking for help.

But that’s just my two cents.

11 Caity June 23, 2010 at 5:35 pm

All investments are expensive!! Speaking as a recent ex-kid (aka, young adult), I’m working on a small biz launches with my mom and my sister — and my full-scholarship degree in finance isn’t working out too badly, either ;)

12 csdx June 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I really don’t get how it’s selfish to not want kids. If anything can I see people who want kids as selfish. Think about it, many people are willing to go through expensive fertility treatments or surrogacy just to have kids with their DNA. Last I knew there wasn’t a shortage of children up for adoption.

Now to be fair there’s a perfectly reasonable biological explanation why people want to have progeny, but those who don’t have that drive aren’t suddenly bad people for it. We as a species also like to eat fat and sugar, people who don’t like these foods aren’t terrible and selfish for it.

Simply put, if you don’t want babies, don’t have them. If you change your mind at 40 then you change your mind. You can get knocked up then, science is good like that (or even adopt). Are you worried that you’ll want a luxury car in 10 years, so you better buy one now? If you do decide you actually want a bundle of joy/poop then as long as your willing to support them (financially and emotionally) go for it. But don’t have one just to “keep up with the Jones”.

Also I wouldn’t count on “unconditional love” as a pro. I know quite a few people estranged from their parents.

13 Alex June 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Elizabeth really hit the nail on the head there. Your pro list (as compared to Elizabeth’s) shows you don’t fully understand what having kids means….

I used to not really want kids, but ever since I had my son, going home to him is the highlight of my life. Yes, I haven’t been to a movie in a theater since Avatar, but its not something I miss. Having a son, I have a family now, a person who loves me, depends on me.

The main thing is having kids gives your life a purpose. As a DINK, you’re kind of going from experience to experience, traveling the world, eating at different restaurants, blah blah blah, but there’s no real purpose and after a while such experiences become rote. At the same time as your friends drop off and raise families of their own, you’re left kind of isolated. True happiness comes from other people, and friends are nice, but they won’t always be there for you the way family is.

14 Red June 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Here’s the thing about kids – there is no guarantee. There’s no guarantee your child will love you. There’s no guarantee he/she will inherit your good qualities. I think it is ultimately selfish to have a child if one of the main reasons is so you leave part of yourself on the earth when you die. Do we really think so highly of ourselves that we believe life on earth will come to a halt if we’re not here?

I don’t understand why people treat parenthood like martyrdom. It’s not even close to being the same thing. Anyone can have a kid. That’s not to say that everyone SHOULD have kids, just that it is possible for anyone to have babies/adopt/foster/whatever. So what’s the big deal?

Instead of spending 20+ years of your life raising a “mini me” to grow up and do something great, why not do something great yourself? Devote 20+ years to an organization you believe in! Make a difference that doesn’t involve populating the planet.

I have more of a problem with people who believe HAVING babies is the key to happiness. If you want to raise children, that’s great. I don’t see the appeal, but I understand how others would. But adopt a child who’s already here and is going to grow up in a different world because of you. Don’t fall into this trap of, “Oh my gosh, I want to have a baby that looks like me and talks like me and behaves like me!” To me, that’s the ultimate selfish act. Populating the planet unnecessarily when we already have thousands of kids here who need homes.

Anyway… No, it’s not selfish. I cannot think of a single reason that giving birth is a good idea.

15 Meredith June 23, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I think that the fact that you are making a pro’s versus con’s list shows that you are not at a point of your life that having kids is highly likely to be the right answer for you.

Having kids is really a leap of faith!

The question that you might ask your self is “do I want to be a Mom and am I willing to do what it takes to be a Mom that I am proud to be, no matter what”.

Parent/child relationships and the circumstances around them are so wildly varied that you would be much better served by focusing on the person that you want to be and then test that with all the possible downsides or cons of it to see if you would still want it if those negatives happened.

For instance, what if your child had severe autism? Would you be willing to do what it takes to be a “good” Mom (whatever your definition of a “good” MOM is) in that case? What if you lost your job and couldn’t find another one for 2 years? Would you be willing to do what it takes to be a “good” Mom in that case? What if if you had the most wonderful kid until your kid turned 15 and then your kid started doing drugs, stealing and hating you? Would you be willing to do what it takes to be a “good” Mom in that case? The point is, that there are just so many things that can shift your circumstances of “Mom”. Are you willing to be the Mom in every case to the best of your ability? Don’t expect that you would know now how to handle all the possible bad stuff, just ask yourself the question – are you willing to do your best to handle it? And then, if it were to happen, could it still be worth it? How do you want to place your bet?

If you answer yes to the questions above, then having kids is a good bet for you. If you answer no then it is a bad bet for you.

I’ve experienced both. When I was 32 and got pregnant by accident I asked myself all of those questions and more and found myself ready to take on all the worst case possibilities because I was ready to be a Mom. It was a leap of faith! 5 years later I had a 4 year old daughter who I adored and was thinking of having another kid. I asked myself the same questions and my answers were so very different. For a second kid I found myself not willing to step up and not willing to take the risks that the worst case scenarios could happen with the second child. I wasn’t willing to risk my current family happiness for the possibility of joys from a second child.

Today, my daughter is 9. So far so good. I have been more than willing to do what it takes to be a “good” Mom to her and it has been worth it. It has been a roller coster – but worth it for sure for me. More risks ahead though!

So, are you willing to do what it takes to be a good Mom no matter what? If so, have kids! If not, wait a bit and then ask yourself the questions again, and again, and again until you get to the point that you know you are ready or you decide that you are not and you aren’t going to ask the question anymore.

You have time to figure it out. Don’t worry about all the other stuff about if it is selfish or not etc. That is all about other people. Your decision should be all about what works for you. You are the one that has to live with the results of your choice, not them, so don’t get caught up in that stuff.

Good luck!!!

16 Sarah June 24, 2010 at 10:18 am

Why does there have to be a “right” choice? I think that there are plenty of people who could be equally happy with kids or without. You might get a little twinge in your ovaries when your friend’s adorable 3-year-old sits in your lap. You might really resent standing in the cold at your kid’s soccer game instead of sipping wine at a bar. You will alternately hate and love the path you choose.

The problem – and I see it in the comments here – is that people ascribe all sort of external expectations to what should be a personal decision. In reality, it’s not selfish to not pass on your “superior” genes. It’s not selfish to want a baby with your own genetics instead of adopting. Having a child that you hope will accomplish great things doesn’t mean you can’t also accomplish great things. You can still “Devote 20+ years to an organization you believe in!” when you’ve had a baby.

At any rate, I can practically feel your distaste for children & parenting. The beauty is that you don’t neeed to decide today (birth problems usually get bad after 35, so you have a few years). Ultimately, your decision will probably be based on emotions and not on rational pro/con lists.

17 katie t June 24, 2010 at 10:56 am

I second what others have said, that putting thought into it and deciding what’s right for YOU already puts you in a really good place to make a decision. I also agree that there’s no right, and that there will be occasional melancholy and regrets no matter what you choose. I’m 32 at the moment and don’t see kids in my future, but it continues to be a tough decision. Nearly all the media and stories and anecdotes and friends and family tell the same story: grow up, get married (in the approved heterosexual fashion), have kids, and live happily ever after.

It’s just such a narrow story, it can’t possibly apply to everyone! For me, the pros of being child-free include
-More resources for me and my partner: vacation, spontaneity, cash, quality time with each other, sleepy weekends, not staying up all night wondering where the kids are; all the tangible and intangible stuff.
-More resources for my nieces and nephews — this is a huge one! They’re my family, and I love being part of them growing up, and it’s great to be able to give my siblings a break now and then. Plus, I get to be the cool aunt who never grows up.
-The more people who consciously choose to be child-free, the more acceptable it will become. I’m certainly not a trailblazer, but if my choice and my willingness to talk about it leads to someone else realizing parenthood might not be the best fit, then everyone comes out ahead.
-Population! There are so many people already!
-I feel like I have a pretty good idea of just how much sacrifice and selflessness is required in parenting, and I just don’t think it’s a good fit for me. I don’t think I’m the right kind of person to be able to do all that’s needed, all of the time, without becoming resentful of my kids or my situation. And I really don’t want that.
-I would want to stay home and be a parent full-time for a while, but I know myself, and I’d feel really pinned down by the routine and the lack of adult contact. My partner would be a great full-time dad, but he’s not interested in giving up work either. So we’d be entering into parenthood with that stressful compromise already acknowledged and on the table.

I know ALL parents say it’s different when they’re yours, and I totally see that. I see how my friends’ and relatives’ lives have changed with kids, and they’re SO happy, and I’m SO happy for them! I love kids, and it’s sad to think that I’ll never have any of my own. There are definite pros to having kids, and I can see those, too!
-All those totally sweet moments when they love you back, and it’s just because you’re YOU.
-All the Firsts that you get to be part of
-Watching a whole new person grow from a teensy new baby into an adult, and knowing you were part of getting them there.
-Seeing all your family reflected in them.
-Learning more about your own parents, and about yourself.
-It’s an adventure and a challenge every day.
-It really is different when they’re yours.

There are plenty of other pros and cons, but these are the big ones for me. The question I asked myself was: Would I rather regret not having children, or regret having them? For me and my partner, being child-free is the right choice, but more than anything, it’s a choice! Everyone should be lucky enough to have the time, resources, and opportunity to think about whether they want kids, just like we think about all our other big life decisions.

Good luck!

18 Mark June 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

Another thing to consider–having kids is the absolute worst thing an individual can do to the environment. Exponential population growth is by far the greatest threat to our planet, Gulf oil spill notwithstanding.

In many ways, it’s BEING a parent that’s selfish, but in a wider scope than the reverse. It’s amazing how many parents I know that rationalize being completely wasteful and walking around with a frighteningly overblown sense of entitlement by simply uttering the phrase, “Well, I have kids so…”

I recycle everything I can, and I often go without something I want because I don’t want to contribute to the waste involved (sometimes even just the packaging makes me not buy things).

I’ll go thirsty instead of drinking from a disposable water bottle, I’ll cook even when I’m tired and cranky because I won’t buy prepackaged food that’s more plastic container than product. And I’m not doing it because I’m worried about the kind of life my kids will have, since I don’t have kids. Yet somehow all these parents who claim to be sacrificing so much for their children’s futures aren’t willing to quit their bottled water addictions in order to make sure their kids aren’t becoming poisoned with BPA and will be able to find a clean patch of earth to have a picnic on in 20 years. Not to mention the fact that someone else’s child is drinking deadly, polluted sludge because the bottled water company is sucking up all the drinkable water in the region. They’ll buy “instant lunches” that produce a cubic foot of plastic waste a week rather than put a homemade sandwich in a reusable lunch box, and they’ll just let someone else worry about where all that trash goes.

But as long as their kids are happy right now, who cares about the rest of the planet, right? It seems to me that that’s a lot more selfish than saying I’m not going to have kids so I can take better vacations.

19 Jake June 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Is it just me or do some of these cons seem pretty dumb? It seems pretty apparent that people are stretching for reasons (any reasons) to counter the very good ones that exist in the pro column (see Elizabeth’s post)

The environment? umm… so no one should ever have any kids, even if they raise them in a green-conscious household? Or are you arguing that only people living in third world countries which don’t have as much industrialization should have kids? Should we start killing off people in the industrialized world so we can have your permission to raise a family?

Noise? really, you wouldn’t have kids, because you don’t like noise? Ok Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Tourino, we’ll get off your porch.

They are dirty? umm…. ok, after you’re finished washing your hands 30 times and can come out, we can discuss this reason.

Once you have a family, children who love you unconditionally, who smile, laugh and giggle , who fill your life with purpose, none of these reasons really matter.

Sure having kids isn’t for everyone. A lot of people aren’t mature enough or are too shallow and materialistic for kids. That’s fine, but those people shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that they are geniuses because they chose a life of shallowness and materialism over one filled with love and purpose. Instead they should think about the long term. Are they really going to be happy when they are DINKs at 50 with a lifetime of disposable experiences and things, but no one who really loves them.

20 katie t June 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I disagree with the assumption that people with kids are automatically selfish, or that people without kids are automatically selfish. Surely there are both selfish and selfless people in both camps. It also seems a bit rash to assume that people without kids lack love in their lives, or are necessarily materialistic.

You seem to be excluding the possibility that people with kids could be shallow and materialistic, and also excluding the possibility that people without kids might have emotionally nourishing extended circles of family and friends that fill their lives with love and purpose.

It seems like a bit of a distraction to discuss which choice is more selfish, when selfishness is a subjective trait, and when either choice could be argued with either selfish or selfless pros and cons. And besides, the question “is having kids right for me” should, frankly, be totally selfish. It should be all about what’s right for your own self, and with any luck, what’s right for your partner’s self. Whichever reasons land in your own pro and con lists are the ones that are right for you.

21 Peter June 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Interesting discussion here. Here’s my 2 cents:

I don’t think it’s inherently selfish to not want to have kids, it might just be a recognition on someone’s part that they aren’t parent material, and that having children isn’t right for them. If someone doesn’t want children – I wouldn’t want them to be a parent anyway, we have way too many people in this world who are unfit parents, and who don’t love their children.

Along the same lines, I don’t think everyone who has kids is by definition unselfish either. I think some people have children for purely selfish reasons – to make themselves happy, to create a little person in their image, or even to get a tax deduction (ok, maybe not as much the last one). Some even just have children by accident and then don’t end up loving their children.

In the end I think having kids, when done for the right reasons, can be a wonderfully good thing. It teaches you about sacrifice, caring, patience and about doing the right thing even when things are tough. It causes you to put another’s needs above your own, it will show you just what true sacrificial love is all about. My understanding is that there is nothing quite like holding your own child in your arms for the first time – there’s something so wonderful about bringing a new life into this world.

Up until recently my wife and I were a dual income no kids couple, but by this time next week we’ll have a bouncing baby boy coming home with us. I know it is going to change our lives big time, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mourning a bit of the loss of my former – more selfish lifestyle. I was happy living as a DINK couple. I know that now I’ll have to make all my decisions thinking about the impact on my entire family, not just my wife and I. I won’t be spending as much time on my former leisure activities. Our income will take a hit. But even with all the negatives, I know that I’ll be happy as a dad as well, and that the positives of fatherhood will far outweigh the negatives for me.

22 schismarch June 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm

There’s no real reason to abrogate the lifestyle you enjoy now for a child you haven’t planned for or are uncertain about. When you’re forty, and you want to be a parent, adopt. You’ll be a better parent for having made that choice purposefully instead of procreating with uncertainty.

23 schismarch June 24, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I should have said, “if” you want to be a parent at forty. You might find yourself there happy with the choices you’ve made. And sacrificing your current happiness for a hypothetical child seems silly to me, when you could chose to be a parent for an already existent child–I’m wildly pro-adoption, I suppose.

24 Kristina June 24, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I don’t buy the whole leaving a legacy/passing on your intelligence/sharing your wealth excuse to have children. I agree that if you want them, then have them. The situation for me is that I’m not sure I do want them. Hopefully, every parent wants the best for their child but hoping is not enough! What if your kid turns out to be a total psycho or a serial killer? This poses the question of nature vs. nurture.

My parents (who are divorced) both feel that I get my best qualities from each of them. According to my Dad, I get my intelligence and charm from him, and my manners and shopping habits from my Mother. I guess this is true because my Mother is a “turn the other cheek” kind of lady. While my Dad is strictly believes in “an eye for an eye” philosophy.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you DINKS who choose not to have kids come from a home with divorced parents?

25 Anther Jason June 24, 2010 at 8:38 pm

It all depends on the perspective you take. As others have said the single action of having or not having kids is not the selfish or unselfish decision. You would first have to work out what are we here for (try answering that one!!) and then you can decide if the decision made is selfish or not.

I disagree with Jane’s notion that not having kids is selfless because the DINK’s are subsidising those that have kids, create less strain on the environment etc. Similarily Mark states that families are a big drain on the environment…but how big is that drain…really….and how many kids are you talking, 1, 2 , 7. My wife and I recycle, save water, use reusable bottles, air dry clothes, limit use of vehicles (I ride to work) etc etc….do I not fit the stereotype or is the stereotype wrong.

That above statements assume that the DINK is not making use of all the things that those with kids could make use of or that those with kids do use it all…..it is not necessarily true that a DINK family (2 ppl) has less of an environmental / financial footprint than say a family of 4. If the lifestyle of the DINK is to spend their money on clothes, travel, cars, eating out, parties etc etc then that DINK could well be creating a much larger footprint than a SIK family that uses hand-me-downs, travels only once every 2 years, keeps the same car for 10 years etc. I find that a lot of my DINK or single friends have a much larger footprint than my 3 person family because they do more activities that require more money and more environmental resources than we do. We tend to stay home more, eat in more, travel less etc etc. Additionally does an obese DINK create more of a problem than a fit / skinny DINK?

So to reiterate, I think either choice is personal and neither makes you selfish or selfless. It is the totality of your choices that defines you.

I must admit that when I see a family with 5 or more kids with only limited incomes using a majority of public support (welfare etc.) I do feel that that is a bit selfish. There are also plenty of examples if NINK (no income, no kids) surfing at the local beaches that also, to me, live a very selfish life…again…it’s the totality of your choices….

I am just a new parent, newly added to the cult (Jason) and It is truly an amazing thing to watch my daughter grow. Through all the bad days, snot, dirt and I am sure days she hates me and wants me dead she will love me. Everyone’s experiences vary (I think someone said it is a leap of faith) but I couldn’t love my parents or siblings more than I do now (or have done for the last 33 years)….

either way…make the decision that is right for you right now and when it stop’s being the right decision change it!.

26 katie t June 25, 2010 at 5:14 am

I’m a DINK, and my parents are still married.

27 Jane June 25, 2010 at 10:46 am

Anther Jason,

It does NOT all depend on the perspective you take. There are such things as objective facts. Yes, I understand that it is POSSIBLE for a family with children to place fewer demands on natural and social resources than would a child-free family, but that is not generally true. Mathematically it can’t be. It would be trying to argue that a family of four will on average each consume only half as much over their lifetimes as would each person in a family of two. Surely you don’t really believe that.

Moreover, the real costs of families with children are more likely to be external costs borne by others, from tax-supported social programs the child-free will never use to labor compensation packages that depress wages for the child-free to provide benefits to those with children.

Oddly enough, I also recycle, try to save water and energy, etc. Does your family have a larger environmental and financial footprint than mine? I don’t know, but if you pick families at random, on average 3 or more > 2, so the larger the family on average, the larger is the environmental and financial footprint. What I think you’re seeing is a temporary reduction in your own personal lifestyle which is a result of having a very young child. But the fair basis of comparison is not just with you personally in this one instant in time, but over the course of the lifetimes of your entire family collectively vs. a childless family collectively. Right now your bouncing baby boy consumes little, but think about his consumer demands in 16 or 18 years. Although for some people it’s more and for others it’s less, the USDA estimates that he will cost you about $300,000 on average BEFORE he goes to college. And those college years can run that number waaaaay up. That’s a pretty sizeable footprint to me.

And if you can’t see that now, in 100 years I can pretty much guarantee that a family with children will have a larger footprint than will a child-free family. At that point the childless family’s footprint is pretty much guaranteed to be zero, after all.

But if you want to really see the selfishness of those with children in action, just read the comments on this thread. Almost every reason given for reproducing is for the benefits/rewards — real or imagined — that will accrue to the PARENTS: someone who will love them, experiences that will build their character, increases in their sense of happiness, a way to end their social isolation, experiences for them involving their child’s development, having group fun with their mini-mes, giving their life a new meaning or purpose, etc. This “It’s all about ME! ME! ME!” is the very heart of what it means to be selfish. How many of the pro-natalists wanted children to make the world a better place or to improve the lives of anyone other than themselves? One: Elizabeth, who wanted to have a child in order to contribute to society.

After the child is born, the reasoning seems to get even more selfish. As one commenter said, “Every parent I know says they’d do anything for their kids — they mean the world to them!” To benefit their own children, they would sacrifice the interests of everyone else. In keeping their “bloodline going” they devalued the rest of the world relative to their own offspring. How else can we make sense of “Other children gross me out, but my own doesn’t at all”? What happened to the dream that we would be judged on the basis of our character, rather than our lineage?

I know my bluntness is harsh and hard to take in, but we need to stop pretending things that aren’t true and acknowledge selfishness as a motive even when we like the results. The child may be wonderful, but that has nothing to do with the selfishness of the parents, however obscured it may be by social and self delusions to the contrary.

Also, thank you, katie t, for your insightful and touching comments. And Jake, it is possible for someone to love you even if you don’t procreate them. There are even other purposes in life.

28 Money Smarts June 25, 2010 at 11:12 am

News flash…. all people are selfish. Period.

People who don’t have kids can be selfish. People who do have kids can be selfish. It is a part of human nature for everyone to be selfish – to pretend otherwise is to fool yourself.

We all make choices about what we’re going to value in our lives, and what we’re going to place first. Some people make the environment, and being a good steward of their resources first. Others put their children first, and work towards making well adjusted children that will contribute to society. Still others put themselves first – and value putting their career and ambitions first. Everyone – no matter their situation – will at times make decisions that solely benefit themselves.

29 Another Jason June 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm


You are correct…as time goes on our footprint will increase and on the average a family will have a larger footprint than a DINK. And because effectively DINKs extinguish themselves in one generation there is no continued footprint.

I guess my difficulty is with labeling anyone that has kids as selfish, for that to be a bad thing and for the justification to be environmental / financial footprint.

There are definitely personal gratification reasons for having a child. It is a miracle of nature (or science, I guess) and watching my daughter develop has been truly amazing…but not just for me and my wife but for my daughter too. She will be brought up in a loving household and my wife and I will spend much of our time (maybe selflessly) guiding our children hopefully into adults that contribute to our society. If our children come up with the cure to cancer does that make us less selfish? or they develop sustainable fusion and clean energy for everyone, does that make a difference? Perhaps their final footprint will be negative. :) Perhaps they will go on to create a company and make millions and be philanthropic….maybe the $300,000 plus is worth it then….or they could become drug addicts and alcoholics and live off welfare and DINK taxes.

Also almost everything you have is supplied by someone who had children. That $300,000 they spent on getting those kids to college has gone to supply you with engineers that design the car that you drive or the house you live in or the recycling plant that you send your recycling too. So while you and your partner may be major contributors to society your contribution is limited to your lifetime…like our footprint, our contribution to society has the potential to continue increasing whether negative or positive.

I also note that while many of the pro-kids posts have a selfish trend many of the DINK posts have the same selfish trend, more time for me, more money for me, more vacations for me, less noise / dirt / smells for me, the right choice for me etc…still a lot of me, me, me there too.

One of the other arguments is that there are already so many kids out there that need adoption why add any…that’s selfish…just adopt…..it’s a good point. I also wholeheartedly agree with the idea of adoption, we are planning on adopting some time in the near future. However, doesn’t that also cut the other way….there are a lot of kids out there that need a family, is choosing to be a DINK and not adopting being selfish? Please don’t take this as me saying I think it is selfish…just food for thought. Also, adopting isn’t an entirely selfless act either…if you didn’t get something out of it you wouldn’t do it….

Finally “Every parent I know says they’d do anything for their kids — they mean the world to them!” is true and you see that as a bad thing. But I would have thought that “Everyone I know says they’d do anything for their brother / sister / mother / father / wife / husband / partner — they mean the world to them!”. Is that wrong too? Is putting your own family first the wrong thing to do? whether you’re a family of 2 or 7? I applaud you if you live a totally selfless life where you do not put anyone you love or care about above anyone else…but I don’t think that is the case. You sacrifice the needs of others for the ones you love or for yourself every single day, DINKs included.

If I am coming across as strongly in the kids camp then it is probably because I just had a little girl but I truly think both decisions can be rewarding, selfish/unselfish, smart and right/wrong. The trick is not to judge others solely on this single decision.

The original question was whether choosing to be a DINK was Smart or Selfish. Attempting to prove that having kids is selfish does not make choosing to be a DINK smart.

30 Jason June 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Just to answer the question, I come from a family where my parents were happily married until the day my father passed away from cancer when I was in college.

31 Leslie June 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

@Jane: “How many of the pro-natalists wanted children to make the world a better place or to improve the lives of anyone other than themselves? One: Elizabeth, who wanted to have a child in order to contribute to society.” Once I realized that you had not read all the comments, I stopped reading the rest of yours.

32 Bobby McGee June 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Because having kids is creating life. Suck it God, we can do it too!

What? You thought I’d *not* go anonymous with that post? I’d have put in my email so you’d know who I was, but the whole gravatar thing has me stymied and I don’t want to create a whole new email just to post that after having a child I felt like GOD and it was amazing and a rush unlike any I’ve ever known.

Oh, and I would NOT do anything for my kids. If I had a gun and my family, I’d shoot one of the kids. I can make more of those, I can’t make another husband.

33 Jane June 27, 2010 at 1:49 am

Another Jason,

Selfishness is simply the motive of doing something in order to please/benefit ourselves. As others have already noted, people are capable of acting selfishly one minute and selflessly the next. We can even have both selfish and selfless motives for a single act. One person can do something for a selfish reason and later do exactly the same thing for a selfless reason. Two people can even have totally different reasons for doing the same thing. People and their reasons for doing things are complicated that way. So it goes.

> I guess my difficulty is with labeling anyone that has kids as selfish, for that to be a bad thing and for the justification to be environmental / financial footprint.

Good point. Is every person who has children selfish? Of course not. Not only is it unfair to define people by a single act, but this very discussion thread is predicated on the real possiblity that one can both have children and NOT act selfishly.

Note that I never contended that to act in a selfish manner is always a bad thing. I’m not sure that being selfish is bad in and of itself at all, although “selfishness” often does have a nasty connotation. Heck, even if we all agreed that being selfish is bad, actions which have morally neutral or even horrible origins can lead to wonderful consequences. Serendipity!

A small example: If you spend time with your daughter for no other reason that you like it, that’s selfish because you’re acting based on how it makes YOU feel. So what’s wrong with that? I say, go for it! Enjoy yourself. Even enjoy the coos and smiles you bring to her!

> The original question was whether choosing to be a DINK was Smart or Selfish. Attempting to prove that having kids is selfish does not make choosing to be a DINK smart.

True. It’s a conversational ploy to proffer a binary choice to encourage lively discussion, even when everyone knows there are more options possible. Here, the “selfish” pole reflects a frequently expressed opinion that DINKs are being selfish by not having children. That’s the only part I wanted to discuss. In my awkward and inarticulate way, I tried to turn that idea on its head, in order to question its assumptions.

In holding that HAVING children can itself be selfish, I used two tactics. (1) I noted that people’s decision to have children frequently imposes external costs on others, the environmental / financial footprint stuff. (2) I observed that many reasons people give for having children are to benefit/please themselves in some way, the “me! me! me!” stuff.

Your very clear examples and observations that DINKs’ refusal to have children limits their potential to improve the world and that they are frequently “me! me! me!” in their reasons for remaining childless were right on target. They are the other half of the exploration I was trying to make.

> If I am coming across as strongly in the kids camp then it is probably because I just had a little girl but I truly think both decisions can be rewarding, selfish/unselfish, smart and right/wrong. The trick is not to judge others solely on this single decision.

Bravo! Exactly. Remember, my concern was that I have often encountered the idea that being childless is de facto selfish. If that myth/prejudice can be put to rest, I’m a happy camper.

Another Jason, I enjoyed and learned from your contributions here. Thanks for taking the time to write. Good fortune to you and your family.

P.S. Bobby McGee, you might want to think about getting some therapy. Just saying.

34 Sam June 27, 2010 at 6:01 am

I am a parent, and I have kids. I earn a fairly decent income, but I admit that I can be selfish too. If I’m totally self-less, I wouldn’t go to bed when I’m dead tired and just take care of the kids, but I do take a few hours of “me” time every chance I could. So katie t is right. Being a parent isn’t easy, but being single is no piece of cake either. I have to agree with Peter that being a parent teaches one sacrifice, patience and love..but I’m sure there’s a lot of things that DINKs learn too.

35 Financial Bondage June 27, 2010 at 7:09 pm

If your parents did not like kids you would not be writing on this blog right now. :)

something to ponder. :)

36 Drew Garrod June 28, 2010 at 9:22 am

The first and biggest thing to consider is your relationship with your partner. Kids and parenting create a big strain on the relationship and often parenting ideals will create a lasting change to your relationship (more lasting most likely than cheating).

Remember that when you go into this that everything becomes about the kid(s). And if you think you are a little selfish now that being selfish once you have kids will drive your other half furious if they are sacrificing everything.

I am a father and love my son and soon will have a daughter that I will cherish. They will consume my life, my patience, my health, and my wealth, but I have wanted a family more than anything.

The most important thing is Happiness. If you aren’t going to be happy having kids and not willing to work to make sure they find true happiness then its only smart to wait. As well you could always adopt at anytime and make a world of difference. The love you feel from caring for another doesn’t have to stem from your bloodline.

37 J June 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I feel exactly the same way. I like my freedom. Just because I am woman does not mean I have to want children. You are not selfish, it is called a choice. It is 2010, women today have the choice to live their life the way they want to (single, DINK, married with children). I applaud you for being true to your self.

38 Another Jason June 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm


I also have learned from yours and others contributions. I have come away from this with a different view of what it means to be a DINK and why someone may choose that path in life (hopefully that makes you somewhat a happy camper! :) ).

Some of the comments are still a little disturbing but that’s how these things work. :)

good luck.

39 Kris June 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm

When I was 26, I sat down and really thought about the idea of having children. Was I just afraid? of childbirth? of passing on my parents bad habits? of children in general? I filled up an entire journal. (Lists are nice, but I think this needs more detailed thinking.) When I was a kid, my parents trotted me out at parties and asked “How many kids are you going to have?” and I’d say “None” and all of the party-goers would laugh their heads off. So, on some level, I think I just knew that kids weren’t in my future from the very start. I met and married a great man at 33 who didn’t see himself as a father, so it was a good match. I’m now nearly 40 and I had a few slight glimmers of sadness for the choice I made, but I’m happy with my DINK life and people have stopped asking when the kids will arrive because they know better now. So, give it some serious thought, pick a partner that can live with whatever you’ve chosen, and never think that it’s selfish to know who you are.

40 kitty June 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Kristina, think not about now but about future. Imagine yourself at 50, 60, 70 and alone. Now you may have a husband, but we don’t know if you’ll outlive him or the other way around or even if you’ll stay together forever. Would you be OK with that? Nobody to even arrange for the nurse if you need one, nobody to make sure your last wishes are followed.

I’ve always wanted kids but I was a bit too choosy with guys when I was young. The time passed, fewer guys were interested. I thought about having a child alone, but have always thought – I am sure I’ll meet the right guy soon. Then when still in my 30s, I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure. No more kids. I was still entertaining the idea of adoption for a while, but was too much of a chicken to do it alone.

Now, my mother is sick. My father is helping, he is doing a lot, but he is 80 and there is a limit of how much he can do. I am the one who takes my mother to her doctor’s appointments, who talks to doctors, whose name is on the proxy. As I help my father take care of my sick mother I can’t help but wondering who’d do it for me.

Now, in the US kids normally don’t take care of their parents. But at least it’s somebody young who can maybe call you or help arrange for care when you are old. Even if not, it’s at least someone you could call to.

41 Kristina June 29, 2010 at 3:13 pm

J, yes it is true. I am glad that in 2010 women have the choice regarding children. Women before us were not so lucky.

Kitty, thank you for sharing your story. I only have one surviving grandparent left and she recently moved into a seniors residence. She was there for my grandfather when he was ill, but unfortunately he is no longer with her. Your story has inspired me. I will dedicate an upcoming post next week to you! Thank you for your story and I wish all the best to you and your parents.

42 KC June 30, 2010 at 10:33 am

Well I’m a 37 year old DINK. My husband and I just celebrated out 10th anniversary and have a wonderful marriage. We both had wonderful parents (who are still together after 40 and 42 years). My husband makes a great living, I no longer have to work (for income). We have a great, large home, we’re fully insured, and we save nearly 40% of our income. Frankly we’d make great parents.

So why do we keep bringing up the topic and then quickly dismissing it…especially at our age? I really can’t answer that. But I do know that neither of us has felt any urges to have children. My husband was joking with one of his friends that we like having money and a clean house…there’s definitely some truth in that. I like pursuing my own interests and having the independence to do so. Having a child would certainly hinder that – no more morning tennis with friends, lunches out, last minute trips to shop, etc. My husband and I both love to travel – so would we be cursed by multiple trips to Disneyworld each year?

It’s clearly about independence since we’ve covered all the other problems that keep people from having kids. So perhaps I am selfish, but I have to say, I’m probably happier than most people I know. I think my husband feels that way as well.

43 Amanda June 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Kids aren’t usually dirty or noisy if you train them well (except when they are really small). Kids don’t have to be expensive if you are smart about how you raise them. But, you are responsible for them until death do you part……….

44 Sarah June 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I’m 29, and I dont want children-ever…I don’t even date men with children because if they are a good father their kids are #1 on their priority list (which is how it should be). I even spent a full summer carring for a cousin when she was a baby-10 hours a day. Sure, she smiled up at me, and cooed and stuff, but the whole experience made me decide children were not worth it. Yes they love you unconditionally (in most places) but you do have to take care of them and feed them and bascially put your own needs on hold. This does not make me selfish, it means that I am very self aware and realize that having a child is the worst thing I could do. Besides, I like my life, I’ve traveled extesivly and have been able to live and work in Iraq, I couldnt do that if I had children. I am working on a psych degree, I want to be able to work with rape and incest surviors. I also dance, so I’m always getting ready for some performance or another. Having a child means I would have to put all that on hold, and I am just not willing to make that trade off. There is nothing wrong with having children, just be sure that is what you want to do. As well, there is nothing wrong with not wanting children, trust me your life will be just as happy and fufilled regardless of what others may say.

45 Tim June 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Having kids is not “immortality”. That is insane. And humanity doesn’t need your genes, so please don’t do us any favors. That’s how Genghis Khan’s mind worked. “I gotta spread the magic!”

No, you don’t.

You also shouldn’t have children so they’ll love you, give you companionship or make your life interesting. That’s why you get a dog or an emotional hooker. Having kids is all cons. The only pro is that you absolutely had to.

If being a parent isn’t the most important thing in the world to you than you shouldn’t have kids. Too many people do and things are bad because of it.

46 prufock June 30, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Anyone who calls the decision not to have children “selfish” is under some misguided notion of what “selfish” really means. People don’t have children to benefit society, or to benefit the children. They have children because they WANT them, because they think it will make their life more fulfilled. Having children is just as selfish as not having them.

Whenever someone suggests that not having kids is selfish, respond by asking if they’ve ever invited a homeless person into their home, fed, them, sheltered them, and loved them. If not, they’re just as selfish as you.

As far as not wanting to hit your forties and realize you wanted kids, wouldn’t it be worse to have them, and hit your forties realizing you didn’t want them? And if you really want a child at 40, go for it.

47 imelda June 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Thanks to Elizabeth, #9, for offering what I think is the most realistic list of reasons for/against having kids. Some of the things others (including Kristina; sorry!) have listed are just silly. You will ABSOLUTELY be alone after having kids. Guess what? They grow up. You CANNOT count on getting unconditional love from them. Guess what? Kids are their own people, and they may or may not like you. You CANNOT count on your children sharing your values and living life the way you think they should. Guess what? They’re still their own people.

As prufrock says above, it’s nonsense to suggest that people choose to have kids to benefit society. People choose to have kids because 1) society tells them to and 2) their egos tell them to. That’s a gross generalization, of course, and like I said Elizabeth mentions many other good reasons– valuing family, the joy of parental love, etc. But don’t try to tell me that at heart, parents are more selfless than the parentless. Something is only selfish if it hurts someone else–that’s the connotation– and who are you hurting if you’re DINK?

Finally, I have GOT to respond to Leslie’s ridiculous comment, #1. If you want to “contribute to society”, then write a book. Work for a nonprofit. Volunteer teaching people financial literacy skills. Those are all far more likely to have a real impact on society, and a 100% positive one at that, than counting on a kid to inherit your “intelligent, diligent, financially responsible genes.” Blech. And second of all, if having kids to ensure your own immortality isn’t the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard, then I don’t know what is.

48 sp June 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Not all people are wired to be good parents, and I’m certainly one of them! I have no “maternal instinct” whatsoever. The sound of children screeching and bawling is worse to me than fingernails dragged down a chalkboard.

Unconditional love is great, but it’s not always a given with a child. I was lucky to find a great guy to marry and I adopted animals. I found that I’m not very tolerant of immature animals, either, so I found a dog and a horse that were already fairly mature and were both in need of rescue, and they don’t have high-pitched voices that repulse me.

I agree with Jason’s analogy of a parenthood cult. There may be some “crabs in a bucket” mentality at work there, and also it may be partly a validation issue. Mothers in particular can often feel invalidated when others make a different choice than they did. I am not so arrogant as to assume that having a dog or a horse in the family is a great situation for everyone (esp. those with allergies!), and I am too respectful of others to suggest that anyone do what I have done.

Yes, I am aware that I pay for the services that children enjoy. I gladly pay my taxes and support school levies. After all, I was young once and enjoyed those benefits, and I expect to carry my weight as a citizen of this society so long as I am around.

49 Jonathan June 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I’m the very happy father of a 1 year old boy, and when anyone asks me what it’s like, I tell them, “5% of the time he’s wonderful, magical, and a complete joy, 95% of the time he’s a total jerk!” Obviously on a completely objective, numerical basis, having kids is a bad idea. Even if I did a pure pro/con list, there is no way that I could make the math add up to a majority in the pro column…but at the end of the day, choosing to have kids or to not have kids, is probably the most important decision that any of us will ever make…and one that shouldn’t be quantitatively decided; it’s a matter of what the quality and value of the pros and cons mean to each of us individually. To me, the math of 5% is indeed greater than 95%.

Of course, there were many times during my wife’s difficult pregnancy, or even now (especially during diaper changing time) when I think about the days when we didn’t have a son…and the freedom it entailed. But I would easily give up a lifetime of being able to go out when I want, travel on a whim, enjoy the freedoms of being a DINK or a SINK for a “boring” day playing in the park and reading him a book.

Take stock of where you life has been, where it is now…and where you see yourself years and decades down the line, and if you want kids to be there or not…it’s a difficult question, but the answer is incredibly simple. If you’ve really thought it out, and you’ve accepted your decision; I don’t think there’s anything anyone can say either way…

50 Nikki June 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Your cons outnumber your pros. You’d have to decide if the cons actually outweigh the pros or not!

51 DW June 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I really enjoy hearing and reading more about the thoughts of DINK’s. I am a mother of two grown children in my 40’s. I deeply love them both and would give my life for them and I have a very good relationship with each one. They are both very successful and happy adults.
HOwever, I am starting to believe I am a DINK and always have been. I just gave into the the pressure of society that when you get married you have kids. I didn’t realize this until a few years ago.
I do not belive I am any different because of having children, they are not the meaning of life, I do not feel like I contributed to society by having them or I was made complete by having them or the only reason I am happy is because of children or any of the other PRO’s listed.
I do believe you can live a very productive, inpirational and unselfish life by not having kids. I realise this now and would suggest to anyone who may have thoughts of not wanting children to go with your gut instint and not fall into society’s thoughts that children are mandatory and are the only way to feel loved. The worst reason I can think of your having children is because you don’t want to be alone in old age. That is nonsense. You could still find yourself alone in the future even if you have children, there is no guarantee they will care for you. In fact, by raising children you spend less time nurturing other relationships that could have turned out to be more meaningful.

52 jesse.anne.o June 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I can’t imagine having kids – I thought I wanted them for a while and at the first false alarm I immediately thought about how to get out of it. (And my mother had me when I she was 17 so – yeah, I get that I wouldn’t be here if she weren’t a teen mother but sometimes I wonder how her life would have turned out if she hadn’t had me because she sure missed out on a lot that didn’t revolve around us kids!) I do love my *friends’* kids though and like spending time with them.

This is the saddest statement I can imagine:
“Are they really going to be happy when they are DINKs at 50 with a lifetime of disposable experiences and things, but no one who really loves them.”

Really. If that’s why you’re having kids – to make sure you have someone who “really” loves you, you might want to think about that. I’m assuming the people who love me now will continue loving me because I’m a good person. And not an insecure freak who doesn’t trust other human beings to have genuine emotions.

Also, I wonder how many people who want to “contribute to society” are helping *other* kids in tutoring or mentoring programs or supporting non-profits that support and nurture the kids who are already here? Just a thought.

53 Lise June 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I’ve always taken the view that it’s better to regret not having children, than to regret having them…

54 LeahGG June 30, 2010 at 6:21 pm

To all those who say there are plenty of children out there for adoption… sure, there are… if you are interested in adopting a baby with severe mental and physical handicaps or if you’re interested in providing foster care to problem kids.

Otherwise, be prepared to shell out at least $20K and put in a year of your time just to get started.

There are very few healthy babies available for adoption in the United States. China is tightening restrictions on their adoption policies (there is a culture of “dumping” healthy baby girls in China because parents are only allowed one child and girls are a liability while boys are an asset) There are babies available from other countries, but it’s no picnic…

Let’s face it, those of us who dream about becoming parents dream about holding a squirming baby in our arms, watching him or her turn over for the first time, sit up, crawl, take their first steps, learn to talk, blow kisses, discover the moon, learn to color in the lines, learn that red and blue make purple, go to school with a brand-new backpack and a new pencil case filled with newly-sharpened pencils and a mind ready to absorb every new experience.

We want to watch our daughters play with the doll we got for our sixth birthday or our son play with the truck his dad used to play with.

We want to watch our daughters spin around so they can see in the mirror how their skirt flies up.

There is much selfishness in wanting to be a parent. Love is an inherently selfish thing, while also being the most unselfish thing in the world.

55 Tom K July 1, 2010 at 4:25 am

Lise is absolutely right. If you regret not having kids, it hurts you, but no one else. If you regret having kids, well… on the bright side, you’re likely contributing to the future income of a therapist or, worst case scenario, prison guard. Have ’em if you want ’em. If not, stay clear.

That said, on to the “pros” of having kids. I cannot even begin to describe the joy I feel whenever I hear my 1 year old say “Papa!” Are we tired? Sure. But there is so much joy and wonder watching this little person grow and explore. It truly is a miracle.

I also feel like my son inspires me to be a better man. I’ve cleaned up my language (not just profanity, but being careful to say as many positive things and as few negative things as possible). It’s important to me to be as good an example to him as I can be.

I’m more confident & capable. Parenting really throws you into the deep end, but you’ll discover reserves you never knew you had.

I appreciate the little things more. Watching him watch simple, beautiful things (pretty leaves falling, or whatnot) reminds me to SEE the beauty around me.

As to whether to have ’em, I can only say you’ll know in your heart when you’re ready. I’m sorry I can’t be more precise than that, but I feel like it’s absolutely true.

56 Kate July 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

Listen to your gut instincts and make your decision based on what you want out of your life—not what our culture or family,etc., is pressuring you to do or not do.
I entered my married life (25 years ago this month!) stating that I didn’t think I was prepared to ever be a parent—-my mom was an alcoholic/distant parent and I had all the feelings you have towards children (loud, messy,etc) so I spent the next six years quietly gathering information about myself and parenting.
One day I woke up and it hit me: I wanted to take a leap of faith and become a parent.
And here’s what I’ve found:
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had with the most rewards.
I’m happy I don’t fall for “peer pressure” because the second you become a parent the world wants to tell you how to parent,etc.
It turns out that like adults SOME children are loud & messy (fill in the negatives) and others fill the world with fantastic art, music, writing, out-of-the-box creativity that blows your mind. That said, in my experience the “out of control” children are a product of “non-parenting” types who think you just pop out a child and then ignore them so the parent can get on with more interesting things to do…..Actual parenting is a SKILL that you develop because every day as a parent you are teaching, teaching, teaching, your children how to be good citizens with good manners, interpersonal skills,etc.,etc. My basic motto of parenting is to be Firm, Fair and Fun and to raise children who behave in such a way that other adults welcome having them around.
For someone who swore she’d never have children I count myself lucky every day to know these people that I brought to this party called Life.

57 Lise July 1, 2010 at 10:52 am

Kate makes a good point when she writes: “the second you become a parent the world wants to tell you how to parent.”

The issue isn’t just that there’s a cultural/religious expectation to have children. The issue is broader, and is faced by all women – the perception of your body as communal property.

As someone who is childless by choice, I know I get comments on my desire to not have children, but I also know that women who are childless NOT by choice get hounded about their decision to have children, women with one child get asked when they’re going to have more (and everybody has an opinion on how they should be raised), and women with too many children (think Octomom) are derided, too. How does this make sense unless we feel that we hold a communal stake in a woman’s reproduction?

58 Joleen July 1, 2010 at 11:03 am

I guess I’m a DINK but not out of any choice of my own. I’m certainly not smart and definitely not selfish, but simply wasn’t able to have kids although I dearly wanted them. I always wanted to be a mom and encourage a new life to grow up to be someone strong and free and able to be who they were meant to be but that hasn’t happened. Now I have to think about other kinds of connections and families and what gives my life meaning. I see all sorts of parents who are atrocious with their children and the unfairness of it slams me in the face. Having a child to raise to become themselves is a gift that not everyone receives.

59 Dannie July 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I’ve always told people who are “thinking about” kids not to. If you aren’t sure you want them, then you probably don’t. I wish more people who didn’t want kids wouldn’t have them.
That said, my children are true joys. No, not perfect kids who are always well-behaved, but a joy to me. Sometimes I look at them and I can feel my heart growing, like the Grinch at the end of the story. They have forced me to grow in ways I never dreamed would happen, as I try to encourage them to grow in their own skills and talents. I like to tell people that they’ve taught me patience, but there is so much more. I’m an introvert, and encouraging my naturally extroverted child, rather than stifling her natural instincts, has taught me a lot. I’m sedentary (even as a child), and my extremely physically active children have forced me to participate in activities I would never have tried, otherwise (white-water rafting).
But don’t all relationships where we truly open our hearts to another do that? Or what’s the point? Children aren’t the only way to have those kind of life-altering, life-enriching experiences. If I hadn’t first had a relationship like that with friends, with family, and especially with my husband, I never would have had that kind of relationship with my children.
One more short point: there are hundreds of ways to be meaningful in the life of a child besides parenting one.

60 Lisa July 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Just a note. I was a DINK for 27 years, childless, but not by choice. Divorced, remarried a man that is ten years younger than me. He is BY FAR more mature than ex-husband, more settled in his head about who he is, what he wants. He and I have set goals and have made more progress toward them than I could have ever believed–my ex and I set them and never met them and ignored them. I know that part of the man that my husband is and that my ex-husband wasn’t is the fact that my current (and final) husband had children and raised them to nearly grown before I met him.

61 Barbara July 1, 2010 at 7:01 pm

If you are not sure about having kids then don’t. The ONLY reason to have children is because you can’t imagine your life without them. I decided at 14 that I did not need or want children (I’m 51 now) and have never once regretted that decision. My husband and I are extremely close, we have friends and animals to nurture and consider ourselves very blessed with our life. Many people have called me selfish and unaware of my real needs, but this is not the case. If you know yourself thoroughly and truly believe that you do not want children then please do not have them anyway….they will know they are unwanted. Not everyone wants children or is cut out to be a parent, there is nothing wrong with the choice not to. Please be true to yourself first and foremost, you will never regret that.

62 Pat Chiappa July 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

DINKS – Smart or Selfish? I think neither… and both.

It’s smart to think and talk about whether or not having kids is something you and your partner want. Whatever decision you come up with is neither selfish or unselfish – it’s just a personal decision.

I’m 54, my husband is 51 – we’re DINK’s and no guilt.

63 Mama July 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

It’s really sad when 1 mother’s poor choice influences the choices of others. I would not allow my child (& I have 2 little ones) to run around a store without my supervision. My concern is more about someone taking him/her (or that he would get sick from licking the mirror), but I would never do that nonetheless. Either stay home, find a babysitter, or don’t try on the clothing & just return it if it doesn’t fit.

That being said, I imagine it’s worse to regret having the children rather than not having them – I have to agree with other posters. However, IMO, my kids are a blessing.

I never thought of myself as a selfish person, but having kids made me realize how much I was & still am. I learn so much from them! My son is 3 & daughter is 6 months. Being pregnant & nursing means that your body is not your own for a while. But you know that feeling you get from doing community service? It’s like that times 5000. It was a pleasure to sacrifice because the results are worth whatever I had to endure to get there. Anything wonderful in life is worth working for. “No pain no gain”.

My 3 yr old is a whirlwind of energy & really tires me out, but everyday he teaches me new ways to look at the world. He reminds me how to play, have fun, & approach life with arms wide open. He amusingly challenges me to answer his questions about life – what I may think is common sense but needs to be explained to a kid. I learn more about science & sociology by trying to find answers to his questions. He makes me a better person.

I didn’t have them to love me, or with the intention to teach me, but that’s what they do. I love them simply because they’re mine. They love me simply because I’m theirs. They help me learn humility, selflessness, childlike joy, & unconditional love.

Don’t get me wrong. He throws temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. He has to be taught not to pick his nose. & yeah, I have more laundry & chores. But my parents had to teach me how to behave too. I’m not better than them because I’m older. I’m just older.

Just my 2 cents to help your fill the blanks :)

64 Bren July 3, 2010 at 2:08 am

I agree that you shouldn’t have children if you’re not 100% sure you want them.

One could argue that by having children you’re being selfish — you’re bringing even more life into an already overpopulated planet, making it harder for others (and their children) to lead good lives in the future.

65 Griffin July 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a DINK. My GF and I are DINKs and don’t see a problem with it. I’m a college student running a business, and she is changing careers, so it makes sense for us not to have children.

It’s not really selfish to put the priority on yourself if you don’t have kids, to me it’s more selfish to expect that someone will reproduce just because that’s what everyone else is doing. It’s smart to focus on improving your own life before you drag other people (ie kids) into it. Ultimately I’ll be adopting (kids are great), but I don’t regret waiting at all.

Despite the common belief, there really are plenty of healthy children who need adoptive homes. I’ve done research over years, met with adoption agencies, asked social workers directly, talked the situation over with foster-adopt agents and everything else under the sun. They are ready and waiting for you to adopt.

The caveats (assuming you want to adopt):
1) You may not be the same race as the needy children in your area. To me this is no big deal.
2) While they are all children, most are not infants. Infants are usually adopted through independent agencies, which costs more in legal fees, medical, etc. That’s because when you adopt from the state, those costs are greatly subsidized by the government. Most children who are permanently removed from parental care (ie foster-adopt kids) are in the 2-10 range.
3) The kids listed on “waiting children” websites ALL have problems — they are on the website because they are hard to adopt. This seems obvious to me, but I hear about that constantly. They aren’t representative of adoptable children at all.
4) Pre-natal care and labor cost $10k-$15k in the US, so if you aren’t comfortable with spending that same amount on legal/medical for an adopted child, you should re-evaluate your priorities. I’m sooo tired of seeing people who are open to spending $15k per round of IVF, but who balk at adoption as “too expensive.” In some areas, public adoption is VERY low-cost and subsidized by the state.
5) In some areas, you have to have been married for at least X years, but you can adopt as a single person if you aren’t married.

66 TigerLily July 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Having children is one of those things you must do, in order to know for sure if it was the right or wrong thing to do. I have two adult kids for whom I would die or even kill, but in hindsight, I believe I would have had a better life without them. The con’s outweight the pros looking back. If I had to do it over again, I’d get a kitten or puppy. Talk about unconditional love!

67 Darcy August 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm

You know what, we have two children and they are the absolute joys of my life. Everyone should think about having kids.

68 RHONYC August 5, 2010 at 11:41 am

@ DW

could we be twins?

i am 38 this year. my only child, my darling daughter graduates high school june 2012.

i feel like you took the words out of my mouth. totally.

all hail to dink-y couples everywhere! lol :-)

69 Investor Junkie October 8, 2010 at 9:35 am

As someone who has 3 children I can speak about this. The negatives:
– Not getting a good night sleep (in my case for about 3 years)
– Stressed at times from dealing with them
– Children not listening and having to yell at them.
– The additional stress on your marriage in not agreeing with partner
– Much less quality time with your partner

The Pros:
– Saying “hi Daddy”
– The accomplishments they make during their lifetime.

70 Fintan Wade December 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm

It is a pity that couples won’t have kids! With 50 000 000 abortions a year and maybe more , society is dying! Ther will be not enough young people to take care of older people in the futur. And what will they do? The will kill them as they do with the unborn ! We live in a cruel world!God gave sexual pleasure to encourage couples to have children not to steel it for lust!

71 sipote January 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

thanks…your post just inspired me to log off after this comment and go rough house with my little girls in the living room…

72 JayJ January 10, 2011 at 1:20 am

Life without kids = boring….sure you will have more money and less stress, but your life will be a shell compared to those who make families. What will you do with all of your free time and money as you age…go on cruises, donate to charity, play bridge, gather around the Christmas tree at the senior center. You won’t be able to party like rockstars your whole life!

73 Nikki February 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I love this post as it rings so true for me. My fiancee and I are DINKS and, hopefully, will remain so. There is something so refreshing about being able to do what we want, when we want. When we talk about our future together it’s trips, conventions, home renovations, more trips, hobbies, more trips- so much to do and see and so little time for something that will require our time, money, and energy in the future.

If I want to spend the whole day at a museum/book store/ botanical garden/historic district, I don’t need a babysitter or need to carry a diaper bag with me. No kids menus, sticky fingers, or car seats. No PTA meetings, play dates, or stroller purchases. No shopping trips for clothes that won’t fit in 2 months.

I don’t find children to be entertaining or endearing. I don’t enjoy their company and I don’t necessarily like playing with them. I’m just not maternal. My eyes don’t water up and my voice doesn’t raise in pitch when I see one. I’ve been ridiculed and talked down to for not wanting to have kids by people who can barely afford the progeny they have.

I laugh it off and go about my day—my glorious sunny, kid free, day.

74 Mark February 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I read through quite a bit of the responses on your post (not all of them) and what alarmed me was all the negativity associated with not having kids. Having children is just as selfish as not having children. Both decisions are a choice and wat, like buying a car or eating a cheeseburger. No one forces anyone to have or not have a child, yet there’s such a noble connection with having a child. As if you’re giving up your life for this other person blah blah blah, then why not volunteer at a homeless shelter, give up your time to travel.. to Africa an teach, why not that? Because people WANT kids, the way someone would want a sports car or big screen t.v. No one has kids to save the world, (it may be an after thought, but most people wonder what it’s going to look like before the human saving attributes thier offspring may provide) they have them because they want them. As for a less fulfilling life without kids…well that makes no sence. You see, you might like spinach. You may think spinach is the greatest thing to eat, and your eating escapades would be so dull and boring without a slap of spinach on your plate. You can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want spinach..to you it tastes so delicious! Well not everyone likes spinach. I don’t like spinach…I don’t think it tastes good, and I don’t want to eat spinach because I don’t like it. People are different and not everyone likes kids, or spinach, so having a kid-less life doesn’t make my life better or worse than your kid-ful life because we want and like different things. Go on have your kids, send them to school, watch them grow up to be awesome innovators or homeless drug addicts, either way I’m going to continue to pay my taxes and go on vacation.

75 Mo March 22, 2011 at 9:57 am

You don’t HAVE a kid. You don’t OWN them. They are not ALL loud, dirty and “caged animals set free.” The life you create with a child or children is a family. You give your whole self to this new person who made you into a family. You consciously act every day as a good example to them, guide them, and give them limits so they are a pleasure to be around in public. You learn from them to see the details or the big picture that your own focus has missed. If that blessing is something you are willing to dedicate yourself to and be responsible for, then it is the right thing for you.

76 RGH May 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Some thoughts re the 2 boys we had: • my wife & I decided early on to tell our boys (4 years apart), “If you behave well when we go to a store or restaurant or public place, then you get to go next time too.” Then we stuck to our guns on that, & the next time we went to a store, one of us stayed home with the offender & the other one took the other boy to the store. There were tears, but we stayed firm. This happened only once or twice that I remember. • The boys are now 27 & 23, & they’re great young men that we’re proud of. • We had so many happy times of laughing & camping & cooking & reading-aloud & bedtime prayers & birthdays & sports & the magic of presents. • Both boys adore their mother still, & they each call me from time to time for advice on a variety of things. • Recently I had breakfast with one of my boys, & we were connecting on so many levels that I came away feeling like I’d just been with a best friend. • We were very intentional on being parents, & we’re extremely proud of these two great young men.

77 t lo June 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

read “50 reasons not to have kids” by joe sindoni. title sounds pessimistic but its written by parent, gives true cons with pros also. great read, and funny!

78 Sarah June 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm

I recently heard my sister law utter these exact words, “I think people who can have kids and choose not to have kids are very selfish. Plus they’re going to be lonely when they get older.” It really made me angry because she knows my fiance and I do not want to have children. I have also gone out of my way to spoil her son (my nephew) and I would do anything for him. I have never looked down upon her because she had told me she wanted kids so that she’d have someone to love her. I often wonder what these people who say that are thinking, what about your spouse???

The world is extremely overpopulated and adding more children would only be selfish of me. If there were only 100,000 people in the world then I would gladly have children and would be contributing to society. It’s not like I don’t like children or it would be too much of a responsibility. But having children these days is not contributing to society, it’s taking away from society. I would rather adopt the children who have no parents because it’s the right thing to do.

79 Financial Independence June 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Hi there,

Kids definitely will take up a lot of your time and it is a life changing experience.

However, I would not count on “never be alone””, just like yourself they will get on with their life, move elsewhere and you would rarely see them.
You can share your wealth with another person with no kids.

You more likely to achieve it, with no kids. I ran our family budget last four years and presented the figures.
You can have a look yourself the kids are not only time but money drain and it does not stop. In nowadays you even expected to help with down payment on their first house….

80 momof3 July 19, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I’m a mother of 3 beautiful children and a loving husband.

Don’t have kids.
When you have kids,
1. you can’t eat, sleep, or go to the restroom whenever you want.
2. you can’t have the career that you want
3. huge expense… not only to raise kids.. but also for having reduced income
4. you always eat the left overs
5. can’t dine at fine restaurants
6. can’t take a nap whenever you want
7. you will always be tired
8. you will not have time for friends
9. you have to cook 3 meals a day, plus provide snacks
10. you have triple the laundry
11. you have to do triple the dishes
12. you are basically a housemaid, cook, doctor, teacher, psychologist, driver, shopper
13. you will have more arguments with your husband
14. you are more likely to get divorced when you have kids
15. you are more likely to end up in poverty
16. you will have less quality of life
17. your health will decline

NO mother will ever say they regret having children… ’cause once you have children, they are more than your own life. Your life ceases to exist because your kids needs to be a priority. If you want to raise children who will not end up in jail, you must devote a lot of your time and effort in raising children. You can’t party, go out every night, and spend money elsewhere. I would rather spend money in hiring a tutor for my kids than to spend that money dining out at a fancy restaurant. And money is limited. I don’t have millions of dollars to be able to do both. Even if you do, it’s still a lot of responsibility and work. All for what? You can have just as meaningful relationships with nieces and nephews, or kids from volunteering work.

Children are huge cost to taxpayers.

We are overpopulating the earth. Earth has limited source of resources and human population is exponentially increasing, depleting our natural resources. We have wars, and kill each other whenever we are fighting for these resources.

81 Alex Gonzo July 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I won’t be having children because I would like to have more money in my pockets to afford a nice lifestyle, and because I’m gay. I’m one of six siblings, so the whole kid thing has lost its appeal to me years ago. Besides, you can always babysit other people’s kids and host foreign exchange students, etc.; even though they’re not your own, you’ll get a very small taste of what it’s like. (And after you get that taste, you can travel to Timbuktu, resources permitting, if you’d like.)

82 Alison August 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm

You are absolutely right…we do not need anymore selfish, spoiled, bratty, annoying, egotistical people in the world…wait, am I describing kids or DINKS?? Maybe you SHOULD leave the reproducing to people who can actually think about someone other than themselves for two whole seconds.

83 Marie C. August 12, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I’m over 60, and have always known I did not want kids. I can’t even understand why anyone does. First of all, nothing screws up a woman’s body like having kids. A friend of mine actually had to have surgery to repair the damage of having 2 babies. Boobs & ass both go flat & flabby. Then you’re stuck with something that is completely dependent and self-centered (until h/she moves out, if ever), noisy, smelly, messy. Then s/he gets to the teen years, and it gets worse: combative, hateful, possibly on drugs or in and out of trouble with the law; or, if a she, gets knocked up, and you’re stuck with raising your grandkids. All the while, these “parents” are expecting other people to pay for schooling (especially if there are special needs), possibly even food and clothes, because they couldn’t afford to have kids in the first place. Not to mention, we have higher standards for breeding animals than we have for parenting kids. The lower classes seem to have only one thing they know how to do: breed more welfare cases. You can call me selfish all day long, but I can support myself, and I’m not expecting taxpayers to foot the bill for my progeny.

84 Hilary August 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I loved this post. When my husband and I discussed children before we got married, something that drew us to one another is that the list of things that we wanted to do with our lives did not involve children. It’s not that I hate children or I don’t enjoy being around children, I have just never seen a child in my future. I don’t see how having a child could fill a void that I don’t and won’t have in my life.

That being said, I was adopted. If I change my mind, I feel like I would be the ideal candidate to adopt a child. I see no difference between “biological” and “adopted” children or parents; perhaps it takes someone who has been adopted to see that.

Also, not all children who are up for adoption have problems. I was not adopted as a baby. There was nothing wrong with me, behaviorally or otherwise. Please don’t stereotype children who are up for adoption. They’re just children without parents.

85 Sam August 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I dont think having kids or not having kids makes you selfish, i also dont feel that i will be missing out on anything by choosing not to have kids, i am acctually disgusted by people who assume that a dink is not whole or a marriage is not complete without children, i in no means feel that having kids is a burden and not having kids is selfish i just know that everyone has their own lives and their own joys and happiness, I am just as happy as everyone of my friends who has kids, and to the person who wrote that choosing to not have kids will slowly see a drop off of their friends is just crazy, people will be your friends regardless. in the end a life without kids can be just as fulfilling as a life with kids, a little peice of you will always be left once you pass in the roles and relationships you have with people so you will not be imortalized in just the children you have but in the life you live. so what i am finally getting to is. everyone needs to chose their own life and with out with out children try to make the best of your life and live each day. you will be happy with what ever choice you choose.

86 E.R. September 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I am 35, and my husband is 33. We have been together for almost 9 years, and when I first met him, I told him right off the bat that I do not ever want children. Thankfully, the feeling was mutual!

I noticed people here have listen “being alone” as a con to not having children. During the early 90s- 2005, my parents owned and ran a small residential facility that housed elderly residents, and I can assure you that a good portion of the elderly residents who had children were left at the facility during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their children were too busy celebrating with their own facilities and considered Mom/Dad to be an inconvenience at their festivities. My own parents cooked them Thanksgiving meals, gave them birthday presents and Christmas/Hannukah gifts- their own children did not. The visits from their children were short and often seemed like it was something they were doing because it was expected of them. The residents who did not have children were not “alone”. Many had friends or other relatives who came by to visit often and genuinely enjoyed their company. It was rare that these residents were at the facility during their birthdays or holidays and were often picked up. These residents chose not to make their lives fulfilling by having children, but instead chose to reach out and nurture their relationships with other human beings, charitable organizations, and animals. Many had spent their lives exploring, traveling, and giving back to the world, and were very satisfied with what they had done with their lives.

There are no guarantees in life that having children will guarantee you won’t be alone and that someone will love and take care of you in your old age.

I did notice the following things about those who have children:
Financially struggling, no money for activities or vacations
Less educated, less cultured, less worldly
Forced to remain at jobs they dislike and can’t take risks in job-hunting or advancing their careers
Look way older than childfree people the same age, especially the women- worn out, wrinkles, untidy, flabby, overweight
No spontaneity and no free time to nurture their friendships, which is why they often have to make friends with other kids’ parents and have “play dates”
At least 60% of what comes out of their mouth is about something relating to their kid(s). For those without kids, the subject matter gets tiresome!
Constant 24/7 stress from work, then at home
Practically non-existent sex life with their partner

Many of these parents will try to make you feel like you’re missing out on something. Sometimes it seems as if they just want someone to join them in their unhappiness.

As for having someone who “loves” you, my husband and I are completely fulfilled with our menagerie of animals- 3 cats, 1 chinchilla, and 1 bird. And when it’s their time, we will do our part and adopt/rescue more animals. People often tell us we missing out from the love that comes from having a child, but I disagree, because the love we have for our family, friends, and animals are a lot and more than we ever need!

87 E.R. September 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Correction to post above: (I typed too fast)

I noticed people here have LISTED “being alone” as a con to not having children. During the early 90s- 2005, my parents owned and ran a small residential facility that housed elderly residents, and I can assure you that a good portion of the elderly residents who had children were left at the facility during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their children were too busy celebrating with their own FAMILIES and considered Mom/Dad to be an inconvenience at their festivities.

88 Totosh January 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Very interesting discussion. I’m almost 37, DINK, female, happily married to a man with the same views on children. I don’t question my choice and don’t overanalyze – just go with my gut. I came to this blog to see if there are many people like myself – I’m kinda getting annoyed with my friends and family who see parenting as the ultimate goal in life and judge me for being different. I just want to hear a different opinion for a change. And I’m writing in this blog to most sincerely thank DW #51 for what she wrote.

89 Trudy February 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

@Alex.. You hit the nail on the head. Before I had kids (and a husband) I had a LOT more money, way more freedom and more choices than necessary. But I had no purpose. Unless you are spending your energy and time to make the world a better place on either the local or global scale you are really going to miss out. There is no amount of money and never is it the right time to have children.. But when they come the time is right. If your truly adverse to the idea than it definitely not for you.. If you’re a teeter than be careful. There is nothing that compares to family. NOTHING. Blood is thicker than water. And the blood you make is the thickest.

90 Tricia February 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I see it this way, I believe that having children is your choice. I do not think it is selfish on either end to have or not to have children. I have three children my oldest just turned 18 and my other two are almost 3 and almost 2. We all have different views on children. While the debate goes on over having or not having kids, mine is why are you having more when you are almost done? Yes my oldest was 15 when I had my second child. I debated long and hard over having more a that time. I was with a wonderful man at the time that did not have any children and he wanted at least 2. After a couple years with him I decided to have more with him. That was my decision. To Christina I say this IF and only IF your biological clock IS ticking then have kids. From the way you sound your clock IS NOT ticking so dont have kids. I know plenty of women whose clock never ticked for them and they are perfectly happy being a DINK!! I think a womans biological clock is a womans way to know if they are meant to have kids. When it ticks you will know for sure you want kids. If it never does you may never have any regrets anyway enjoy life to the fullest no matter if you have kids or not!

91 LAL February 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Don’t have kids unless you really want them. I was 30 with my first and now pregnant with my 2nd. I can’t imagine life differently. I wouldn’t change a thing. But boy does it suck as well. It’s a lot of sacrifice, and a HUGE change from being DINK. You’re life as a DINK or single is very selfish compared to what you do as a parent.

I know people who miss it, and they say they shouldn’t have done it. But then they admit that it’s a decision they should have more carefully considered. I don’t think kids are for everyone, nor is it a bad idea not to have any.

1. less selfish
2. laughter children bring into your life
3. seeing the world their new eyes
4. bonding with them
5. Marriage changes gets deeper

1. no time alone
2. no sleep
3. honestly pregnancy SUCKS. I have terrible carpal tunnel this time, while no morning sickness, it is not great to always be tired.
4. Marriage can suck more, realize you hate your spouse

92 Ana March 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

Just came across this blog, so forgive me if you’ve already made your decision. There is definitely a “childfree” movement out there. I’m currently a DINK, but I’ve got a lot of friends who are starting to have kids and trying to recruit me.

This is one of the blogs I’ve been reading for a while in trying to decide whether or not to have kids. I figure I’ve got plenty of people pressuring me to have kids, so I like to read the other side of the argument. Oh, and everyone is selfish, childfree and parents alike.


93 Uncle of 13 April 8, 2012 at 1:27 am

Great posts….never heard of a “DINK” before coming across this page – and I can honestly say I will wear that badge proudly :) Anyway, the women in our family just LOVE firing out babies. My wife’s two sisters have 9 kids (and one of those kids now has two of her own at only 20 years old). My wife is incredibly great with our nieces and nephews and we even had 4 of them come live with us for a full year while their parents “worked out some issues.” I have no problem playing the “cool uncle” role and blowing some money and time on the kids when they come stay at our place on one of their many extended visits. But what REALLY REALLY annoys me is when my wife’s two sisters (and now our niece as well) belittle her for not having kids yet (she’s only 27 and just finishing up her Masters program). She is the first person in her family to graduate college and have a real career, but it’s almost like they put her down for it. They have no appreciation for how great she is with THEIR kids. I get the impression that they think the whole world should just automatically love their kids as much as they do, everything is great and adorable and perfect and etc etc etc. I don’t know how to tell them that it’s not so spectacular that Junior can count to 10 at 3 years old…I’m pretty sure that’s normal, lol. We’ve gotten into the “it’s selfish” argument many many times, but it’s hopeless. I just don’t know how much more I can take. It’s almost like there is a cabin fever-like disease called “stay-at-home-mom-itis” that completely warps their sense of reality and inflates their sense of importance. I understand that moms like to hang out with other moms and talk about mom stuff, but it’s almost like they have no clue that you can contribute to society and have a fulfilling life WITHOUT having kids. Our last “discussion” started with a straight-faced statement about how “moms should get paid more than a CEO”…and ended when I left the room. I told her I would start on all the reasons why that was wrong as soon as she was done patting herself on the back ;) So, I think my experiences have made a very clear impression on me. Kids are awesome, but lots of moms suck…treating their kids as an extension of themselves, as fashion accessories, as bait to find new friends, as leverage for exchanging favors, as excuses for a variety of things, etc. Going back to the “selfish” argument….I would actually really like to adopt. There are so many kids in this world that need great parents…passing up on them so that you can have one with a face that matches yours seems awfully selfish in my book.

94 janet August 29, 2012 at 5:48 am

First of all let me just say that some of these comments are just plain ridiculous. My husband and I are DINKS & we are very happy together. We have LOTS people who love us. It is completely absurd to think that just because someone hasn’t gotten knocked up that they are alone & will be hated & shunned by everyone forever. And if you consider every adult on earth wht had a child selfish, walk into your nearest Catholic church & tell that to the priest who gave up his life to serve god. Somehow I don’t think he will agree with you. Someone up in the conversation also said that breeding is our purpose here on earth. Any animal can pop out a baby.Look it up if u need to. Humans were given higher intelligence for a reason. You can’t just say the hell with everything mankind has accomplished because our only purpose here is to breed. That is crap. It doesn’t take any kind of talent to pop out a child.

95 Kristina August 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm

@Janet – You said it. Thanks for reading.

96 Reveller September 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I agree with Janet.

What you read below is not bitterness from my childhood, I had a good childhood.

And I disagree with every single person in the whole world that believes when you have a child it is “unconditional love”. How can you say your relationship will be perfect? What if they are gay? What if they have a birth defect that is for life like autism because you waited to 35 have a kid? A lot of people can’t wait for their parents to pass away, because they weren’t treated well when they were children. There are a lot of narcissists and other selfish people out there having kids, making more narcissists. Basically everyone thinks they can have children and have a dream life too. The huge house, two cars, both keep working, go on vacations every year and put their kids in day care. These people have already created a child who thinks they were never worth anything, another selfish narcissist. These are the people flying on planes to a tropical destination with there new born. They couldn’t even wait 2-3 years to take a vacation before their child was older.

Another reason a lot of people have children is because they are insecure, they don’t want to die with no legacy left behind. Someone to always be there for them. Mean while its selfish to think your kids will always be there for you, everyone grows up and lives their own life. If people do have children they are too busy to even look after their own aging parents. Its the hard truth about life. That is why in the end people are bitter when they are old, because they thought it was going to be different, they didn’t live the life they wanted to, as it wasn’t what they thought it would be like. I would rather not have children and look after my parents, that is unconditional love. The love seems to flow in only one direction for most people, when they need something.

97 V September 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Jane at the top of this thread said it perfect that people who have children are the selfish ones. Those who say “you are selfish for not wanting children” only say that out of fear, envy or retaliation as if their beliefs were under attack.

I remember years ago reading a reply about people should try to only have two kids or less. Someone replied that saying “how dare you say that!! I can have as many kids as I want!!”. Wake-up. The world population is 7 Billion. Each person requires 10s of 1000s of barrels of oil over their life time. 7 Billion x 10,000s of barrels, you can’t even imagine how quickly its going to run out. Now if everyone had 3 kids in each generation there wouldn’t be a resource left on this earth. You’d be bringing children selfishly into a hell hole. Those who do not have kids are miraculously not a slave to their genetics. People who yearn to have kids are just following their animal instinct not their brains.

I read somewhere that high 83% or higher of women in America want kids or are thinking about whether or not to have kids. Compared to men around 60%.

Cons to having kids
1) No money to do what you want
2) No time to do what you want
3) Potentially being trapped in a relationship if things fall apart (or someone using kids as leverage you financially or emotionally)
4) Depression from hormone imbalance after birth
5) Depression and other mental health risks later in life from stress
6) No guarantee your kids will be there for you even after their teens. Not mention after their 30s, 40s
7) Unhealthy child, such as autism (on the rise)
8) Grandchildren can be like having another wave of kids to support
9) Parents should be the best teacher or guide a person has in life, but I have yet to see parents give a damn by the time a kid reaches 10 to actually teach them something useful. They think the education system can deal with that…. wrong!!

1) Creating a general purpose in life for those whom are clueless about what to do with their lives
2) Potentially learning that you are a selfish person from your kids
3) The experiences you receive from being a parent, such as going camping, teaching your child, and seeing them surprise you with their creativity.

Of course there is no right or wrong, since if 100% of the population was for having kids then the world would already be hell. If 100% of the world said I’m not having kids starting this year then there would be no human race. The correct answer depends on who you are. If I had to make a wild guess more than 70% of the people who had kids did so for the wrong reasons. If you are a person that says any of the following then don’t have kids PLEASE don’t:

1) I’m going to be lonely
2) My kid is going to be an even better 2.0 version of me
3) Everyone else is doing it (and ya so is 100s of millions in 3rd countries where millions of kids die young)
4) My kid is going to be famous or rich
5) I’m a big narcissist look at me and how wonderful my kids are. Now play that piano, ballet, violin to get me more attention

98 JK September 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm

My husband and I are DINKS. We’re quite happy with childless by choice. We both working and go on vacation twice a year every year. We’re doing good with our financial. We have no debt. We have a house, we have a car. The main reason that we decide not to have a kid not because of money but it was our lifestyle. I like my house to be clean and stay clean. I cant stand when things moved, We don’t like noise (which is impossible, kids are naturally noisy – it’s not their falut). We want to be able to go out whenever we want, we dont have to beg for baby sitter. I dont want to be worry for someone for the rest of my life. I know if I have one I’ll be worry about him or her no matter how old they are.

We want to be able to grown old without worry about kid, we’re not worry so much about to have someone take care of us when we’re old. If we do have kids, it’s no guaruntee that kids will take care of us – they have thier life too and they maybe live so far away from us, who know. We dont think that we will regret or lonely for Christmas because we will be spending our time in some country.

99 JK September 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

By the way, My parents is still together after 35 years of marriage and my parents in-law is just celebrated their 43rd anniversary. We were so blessed that they’re understand and always support our decision.

100 CK October 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Reading all of these comments- well, not all of them, but many of the thoughtful ones- definitely outlines some of the pros and cons of having children. It’s the most difficult decision I have ever contemplated throughout my entire life. I can imagine being happy with either choice while simultaneously imagine being unhappy with either choice (I’m using “un/happy” as a generic placeholder for many different adjectives/emotions).

Kristina- now that you’ve passed 30 and have had time to ponder, what did you and your husband end up deciding? DINK or not?

101 Bunnie November 9, 2012 at 11:41 am

I was a DINK in my first marriage, single for 5 years, then remarried 5 years ago and now have two children.

The biggest Pro to having children? You realize the stuff you prized as a DINK or a single person means absolutely nothing because your stuff will never love you back. Stuff, no matter how nice, depreciates and eventually wears out and has to be replaced.

Yes, children can be loud, they can be expensive and your time is no longer your own but your time isn’t your own when you’re single or a DINK, either. Your DINK and single toys can be expensive. And sometimes a too-quiet apartment sends you to Starbucks just so you can be around others.

102 Ryan January 1, 2013 at 5:29 pm

As dink myself I can tell you that, without a doubt, the reason couples choose not to have kids is 98% out of selfishness, and 2% out of reasons out of that couple’s control (i.e. genetics etc).

It is flat-out embarrassing to me, hearing my fellow dinks try and sugar coat their obvious narcissism with weak excuses about their choice to not have kids. There’s simply no way to refute the fact that raising children is a big responsibility, and for that reason, those couples out there willing to take on such a task should be rewarded for their efforts. Having kids is the ultimate selfless act, and when I hear fellow dinks try and spin that the other way, it makes me sick to my stomach. Parents are willing to give up your own freedoms and financial gains on some organic, snotty nosed, little human being that may or may not ever return the love. It’s the gamble of a life time. How is that not selfless??

So to those parents out there, I salute you. I wish I were stronger and less selfish at times when it comes to having kids, but I know at some point I will end up growing out of this peter-pan complex.

103 Kim March 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I know a lot of people have already commented with their opinion, but I am going to comment anyway. I hate kids- they annoy me to hell and gross me out. So, having kids isn’t really an option for me. Also, you can be a good parent, but your kids can still end up terrible. The first commenter said a pro is being able to share your great genes with your kids. I find this a sort of creepy way to look at things, and definitely selfish. One big reason I would not have kids even if I liked them is because there are so many diseases and disorders in my family- diabetes, heart disease, scoliosis, depression, cancer, etc. It would be selfish of me to risk my kid being sick. I

104 Bonnie June 5, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Is a couple who wants a $300,000 condo in the city more or less selfish than a couple who wants a $300,000 house in the suburbs? No. Each dwelling has different pros and cons and fits different lifestyles, but in the end, it’s about what each couple wants, right?

It’s not different with children. People who do not want kids and people who do want them are equally selfish in my opinion. Yes, they want different things out of life, but they both want what they want.

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Kids are a major commitment. Personally, I believe that it is a smart decision not to have kids if you aren’t 100% on-board with having kids…for the reason previously mentioned. The truth is once you have the kid, everything becomes about the kid. Your life changes…for the better…or the worse.

Like you, I definitely do not want children. I have never had any interest in having kids and probably never will. I don’t want them nearly bad enough to devote the remainder of my life to that task. It’s just not in my future. Kids are not what is best for me, and therefore I do not have them. For me, it’s a smart decision.

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132 John Cooper November 1, 2015 at 12:11 pm

I’m a little late to this party but i’m in a similar situation, Turning 28 tomorrow and this question is frequently discussed between me and my wife whom I’ve been married to for 5 years. I go from absolutely not to absolutely yes about every other week. Its a really intense question.

Love your site by the way. First time here but i’ll be back.

133 Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC December 20, 2015 at 11:04 pm

This is obviously a discussion that will be ongoing for a while, so I will add to the thread from the other end of the tunnel. I’m a single Boomer – no kids. I’m the oldest of 5 (the youngest of which were left in my care more than was really fair to me, in retrospect). My middle brother didn’t live beyond 30, but the other three have children and honored ’til death do us part, as did my parents.

From the age of 11 until I left for college, I made my pocket money babysitting neighborhood children. I enjoyed it and was good at it. I always assumed my future would include at least one child (and possibly/probably only one; given my background, being an only child looked like heaven to me!)

NOW, with that information as context, I want to bring up a situation few consider seriously when we are young, and all prospective parents need to, IMHO – so try to read with an open mind.

For me, kids or no kids was never a question I could ask seriously without a Dad contender in the picture. I jokingly say that I dated probably half of New York City during the 20 years I lived there, but almost all of them were career focused – not thinking about marriage OR children.

The ones who did want a family had already HAD one (and lost their families through divorce – most of them not particularly friendly divorces). Their comments about their children’s mothers were NOT particularly loving, so I was pretty sure that I did NOT want to have a child with any of those men. Their kids all loved me, primarily because I refused to play into their Dad’s ill-will, and supported them emotionally as best I could from my position as “just the girlfriend”. The Moms mostly resented me and my place in their children’s lives, limited though it was.

While I realize that Manhattan is not exactly where you find the “typical” American male, it did offer a hyperbole of career focus that brought up a question few women seriously consider as part of the “do I or not?” question: are you willing to be – and capable of being – a single mom?

For me, the answer was no — whether I continued working outside the home or became a SAHWM, I knew that Mommy wasn’t the only role I envisioned for myself. (The *last* thing I wanted was to resent my offspring.)

Either way, I knew I’d need the emotional and pragmatic support of a loving husband to do the job “right” – meaning the way I wanted my child(ren) to be brought up. And an absentee Dad who barely had time to spend with his family because of the demands of his career was, to me, simply another flavor of “single Mom” I knew I did not want to experience (and would not suffer graciously – bad environment for kids to grow up in).

Ladies – you ARE aware of the divorce statistics, right? Single motherhood is statistically likely – and the majority of divorced Dads do remarry, often a younger woman. How willing and able are you to lovingly co-parent when it would probably mean that your ex-husband’s 2nd wife would have a significant influence on your child(ren)’s lives? SERIOUSLY.

Because it WOULD be selfish to place your kid(s) in a situation where they felt they had to play favorites, carry tales back and forth, or feel they had to mediate a less than amicable situation that would change their experience of family and growing up considerably.

I have many friends and colleagues who never thought they’d be in that situation, and only ONE has a truly amicable relationship with their ex-spouse and his or her new one. It was hardest on the women (who became very good friends, by the way), and both say, “We decided from Day-1 that we had to put our big-girl panties on.”

Should you divorce, how willing and able is your partner to put his own desires aside in service of the emotional and financial well-being of his offspring? Would he resent paying child support — possibly alimony, if the kids were very small when your relationship turned sour? How likely is he to insist upon his “first” family’s welfare if and when his second wife wants to start “their” family?

BOTH potential parents need to ask these questions of yourselves before pregnancy — because parenthood really IS ’til death do you part – and it is only appropriate for you both to behave as adults about it if divorce should happen. It is all too common for the kids to become ping-pong balls, even when an actual custody battle is avoided.

SO, do I regret being childless, now that I am embarking on the last third of my life instead of thinking about a future I could only imagine? Yes – dearly at times (and I really miss the chance to be a grandmother these days) — but I don’t regret my choice, given the alternatives available to me at the time.

Most of my friends and colleagues with now grown children are STILL battling with their exes to some degree – primarily because the men aren’t willing or able to continue a relationship “for the sake of the kids” – having chosen their new families over their first families. In only ONE case did the Dad end up in the position most Moms find themselves in, post divorce, by the way, but that can happen as well. My friends and colleagues are “statistically average” in that respect – so try not to slip into “it won’t happen to us” denial.

It still breaks the hearts of their first family’s children – who are probably only slightly younger or about the age of most of you commenting here – even the ones who were wise enough to enlist the help of a therapist to help them come to grips with their feelings. They have not, for the most part, been able to avoid taking sides – which is also painful for them.

And, for the most part, the lives of the men are *significantly* more comfortable in every respect than the lives of their ex-wives, who shouldered far more than their share of the financial support for the kids they created together. They resent that reality quite a bit, as would most women, as they face having to fashion a satisfying life for themselves through the rest of it.

I hope you don’t think I’m being cynical in these comments — I have tried to report accurately, and in as charge-neutral a fashion as possible. I bring this up as something additional to consider and discuss, for many of you – but well worth your honest and careful consideration BEFORE you leave your status as DINCs behind.

(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to transform a world!”

PS. The link to my website – above – is to a linklist of HAPPY Christmas posts, in honor of the season.

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136 Felipe February 21, 2016 at 11:25 pm

One of your “pros” doesn’t count. You can very end up alone if you have children.

Just ask all the parents abandoned at nursing homes all over the world.

137 Kate Metatrader July 26, 2016 at 5:35 am

Conscious motherhood is a very important thing .Not every woman wants to give up his life for diapers and porridges .

138 Brandon September 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm

#1 of the pro list isn’t guaranteed. There are lots of situations, be it intentional or not, where your kid(s) grow up to dislike, or worse, even hate you as they age…… Just food for thought.

Also, I personally think you are smart for this. As a person in a DINK relationship myself, and one that will likely remain this way for eternity, I have a hard time seeing a redeeming quality of having kids.

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140 CDizzle March 3, 2017 at 5:17 am

The comment about passing on your DNA is the biggest on my pro list… assuming they grow up the way you want them to. There are good caring parents out there who’s kids just rebel and grow up to be less than model citizens so there are no guarantees. There are no guarantees that your kids will actually take care of you when you are older…and one can argue its selfish to expect them to do so. I see older people who have had 4 or more kids and maybe one kid or a niece or is actually around to take care of them. You can however sock money away to hopefully afford to pay for quality care.

I turn 32 soon and I still can’t make up my mind. I love my life with my husband and we certainly don’t feel as if we are missing anything. I just don’t wanna be 40 and have regrets. Although I might be 40 with a 5 year old and still be full of regret lol. Its just a personal decision.

141 Shane April 13, 2017 at 9:49 pm

When you are 80 and alone because your husband died before you (as almost always), you may find that for the next twenty years of your life you wish you had loved ones completely devoted to you instead of the nursing home staff.

Just a thought!

142 Shane April 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm

But totally do what you want! I just didn’t see any comments pointed out that pro of having a kid and thought it could be useful in your decision making.

143 Todd Weitzman November 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

DI2K here, and it’s very tough budgeting time, money, and health. One thing I negotiated was remote work, this frees up about 2 hours daily for health and side hustles. Very recommended if you can pull it off

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