Thought Catalog
July 3, 2014

15 Parents Explain What They Regret About Having Children

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Thank you to the honest parents on AskReddit for sharing, I’ve compiled their most enlightening answers to this question below.

24/7. No weekend off, no sick time, nothing.

The first years of life, children need A LOT of attention. If you are lucky you get a spot in kindergarten, otherwise someone has to watch them 24/7. Even if they are asleep, someone has to be around “if anything happens”. You shouldn’t be drunk too. While this sounds easy, remember, this goes 24/7. No weekend off, no sick time, nothing. One of the two parents HAS to be there. It gets better over the years. First you can have someone babysit so you can get at least an evening out for movies, later a day at the grand parents will give you a full night of “whatever you wanna do”, etc.

Additionally you have to go to work, clean your house, wash your clothes (and even more of them because babies use lots of them), eat, cook, sleep, etc. etc. etc. and most of it is hard to do with a kid around. Folding your clothes? Hey look who has a lot of fun getting them all unfolded again… Cooking? All the sharp knives and hot pans and pots are just PERFECT with a kid running around… Mopping the floor? Hard to do with a kid running around (we have a small appartment)… And the kids have to be cleaned, dressed, fed, etc. too

Sleeping? Well expect to get woken up in the middle of the night. For a year straight. Every night. Maybe multiple times. Sleeping in on the weekends? Who are you kidding? You better not come home drunk at 5 in the morning if your child is getting up at 6 or 7…

I wish I would have done more before I had kids

I’d like to have hiked the Appalachian Trail. As a father, it would be sort of a dick move to leave for such a long time, even if I could afford to do so.

It made me realize I am ordinary, and now so is my kid

Not for myself, but for him a little bit. I realized a few years back that my son is repeating my life. My life has been ordinary and hardly bares repeating by anyone. There’s always hope that he’ll make different choices and have a better life. But that’s the same hope that brought me into the world probably.

As you get older your mind will make up more and more reasons why it makes sense to have a kid. Don’t be fooled, it’s just evolution tricking you into reproducing–no sane, thinking beast would take on the burden of raising a child if the mind didn’t fool us into it.

So, does the world need another one of you? Or are you just being fooled into making a baby because if that’s not how it worked, then none of us would be here–a species would not exist without the drive to reproduce, yet the burden is not one we’d choose willingly.

It ruined my professional life

I became a father when I was 19. The kid ruined my professional life. I am now 25, stuck in a dead end job, live in a small apartment with her mother, who is now my wife.

I had a plan, I was in the army when my girlfriend got pregnant, after that I got a job with a travel agent as a guide, I was going to take a few years off school to travel the world, then I was going to get back to study.

I still love the child, and I have made two more. Figured when I started so early I should just go with it and get finished early.

It made me want more… which has been painful

Only on my darkest days. I had a picture perfect pregnancy with my first child, and have subsequently lost 4 babies as we try to give her a sibling. Sometimes I think losing them would hurt less if I didn’t have her as proof of how wonderful having a child is. Maybe I could give up trying and have life instead of spending it wishing and grieving.

It makes divorce a lot more difficult

I don’t regret having my kids but they sure make it difficult to leave my wife.

If it wasn’t for them I would have left a long time ago…

RIP my sex life

Sex. No sex whatsoever.

It’s bad… and good

A child will completely destroy your life…to replace it with a different, but beautiful one.

I just wish I had done more first

The only thing I regret about having kids is not doing some of the things you would never have thought about…

going on a vacation. Now it costs twice as much, and you can’t do half of the stuff you probably want to do.

going to the bar. It’s not like I quit drinking… I still drink… oh.. I still drink. just not at the bars.

I used to want a motorcycle, now all I can think about is how unsafe they are, and how impractical.

Over all, I don’t regret having kids, it’s been great. But I think I’m definitely primed and ready for a kick-ass mid-life crisis…

I regret being selfish and having my own kids instead of adopting

In some odd sense, I regret that I biologically produced my children. I wish I had adopted them.

So many children in the world need parents, and I was clearly being selfish in trying to pass on my genetics (that wasn’t what I consciously had in mind at the time, but I think that is the instinct/root cause of it) when I could have adopted instead.

I love my children. I’m so happy to be a parent. I went about becoming a parent in the wrong way. It would have been morally superior, in my view, to help those who already exist and are in need than to do what I’ve done.

They gave me health problems

I did, when they were little, it’s just soooo hard. I had prolonged post-partum depression; I don’t know how relevant that is. Now that they are school-age, things are infinitely better and I am glad to be a parent.

The money…

Do you know how much formula costs? We spend about $30/week on it. Jar food is only about $0.70/jar, but he’s a chow hound, so he’ll easily go through one a meal AND oatmeal, so food costs probably close to $80/month beyond formula if we find good sales and stock up. Diapers? A $40 economy size box might last a month unless he’s sick or drinks a lot of liquid. Wipes about $20 per month. We’re lucky he has two grandparents who love to spoil him with clothes, so we’ve been able to limit our clothes purchases.

Now that I’ve said that, think about holding a 15 lb box. Not bad, right? How about holding that box for 10 minutes? Now your arms are a little tired. Now assume you have to hold that box for several times a day, and it now has arms and legs, and wants to squirm and wiggle when you’ve held it too long. Caring for a baby is a work-out, except it doesn’t keep you in shape, and give you the worst back aches & strains.

I say all this, but want to clarify that I NEVER regretted having my son. He’s all these things, plus a lot of unique challenges that have came from his existence, but the joy he brings my wife and I more than makes up for all of it. His smiles, laughs, babbling, and watching him grow have been some of the most rewarding experiences of our lives, and something I will cherish until I die.

I regret not saving more money

Have a job with awesome insurance and great pay? You still can’t afford to have kids. I know that now. Don’t regret having my child, but damn sure regret not saving more before I blew that final load.

My kids grew up to be losers

My kids are grown; our son won’t talk to us (not even to say why), our older daughter has psychotic rages and will call us just to scream, and our younger daughter is an alcoholic in an abusive relationship with a schizophrenic who won’t take his meds.

But do I regret them? No. I’ve had more love from them then any regrets they may have given us, and without having them I wouldn’t have my Gran’daughter.

I love them, but it trapped me in a relationship

Well, I mainly regret having kids because I’m in a relationship with someone I care very little for. I don’t leave because I don’t want my kids to be a burden on society. I don’t want two little maladjusted devils let loose on society, I made the mistake so its my responsibility to deal with it.

I also don’t leave because I know that if I do, then their quality of life will go down greatly. My wench of a mrs comes from a fairly whitetrash / chav / bogan family. Yes, Uncle dad and Aunty mom are in there, the father married the sister of her mother, so she’s got brother/sister-cousins as well. Anyway, I know if I leave the old habits will return and the kids will end up suffering.

So I wait. I deal with the endless screeching from her, the illogical arguments (“I don’t want you to waste money for a root canal! but I’m fine with you going on a holiday by yourself”) the filthy house (throws rubbish on the floors, drives me up the wall.) and the disgusting weight gain. I sit and study, I study my university subjects, I keep going with my language lessons, I plan my escape for when I feel the time is right and it won’t be costly to the children.

Oh and I did discuss with my parents quite a while ago that I wanted to leave her. Did I get support? Oh no, I figuratively got thrown under a bus. They rang her and repeated what I told them while saying they’d support her over any decision that I made. I felt such a betrayal over that. TC mark