SL Letter of the Day: Not Wanting Kids—Your Own, Someone Else's—Doesn't Make Someone an Asshole

Comments

1
Less coffee. More therapy.
2
Don't I know it. The culture is filled with people who bought into the whole media-reinforced suburban dream of a beautiful house full of happy babies on a quiet street, then discovered the chaos, conflict, pressure, and stunted dreams of the reality. Rather than admit that they were taken, they double down, so people who DIDN'T make the choice all their friends, relatives, and cultural icons urged them to make become the "self-centered," "anti-family" enemy. Not that anyone who defies cultural norms necessarily has an easy time of it. But if you're happy surrendering your own life to the needs, dreams, and future of kids that YOU chose to have, I don't see why it's necessary to condemn people who chose differently--unless it makes you feel superior, of course.
3
Amen!

I didn't hear the podcast, so I only have her side of this, but she's absolutely correct. She knows she doesn't want to date or get involved with people who have kids. That doesn't make her evil or an ass, it makes her responsible and wise.
4
But haven't you heard? WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF BABIES!!!
5
Her defensiveness tells me it's likely her social circle consists mostly of people with children.
6
It's always the same with these devil worshipers, isn't it?
7
Meh, kids. I think not wanting them means you're sane.
8
I hate children and am honest about it and very upfront with that little tid bit about myself. The first time a guy I date mentions wanting kids it's a deal breaker for me.

Though I don't hate people who have children I certianly don't want anything to do with their kids. So apparently that makes me a monster in "white middle class suburbia".
9
*THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE*
10
FUCK YEAH!
11
It's sort of like not wanting to date someone with a disabled sibling. Or a sickly parent. Because hey, who the fuck wants to confront the reality that part of life is a shared responsibility for the dependent people around us? I mean, it's totally healthy and well-adjusted to just sort of skirt that shit as long as possible.
12
The only thing more annoying than people who talk about their kids too much is people who talk about not having kids too much.
13
Thank you.
14
Anything dealing with children is a matter of attitude. If you've convinced yourself that kids are the worst thing in the world, you shouldn't have them. If you meet someone you really hit it off with and you find out they have kids, you may want to consider being open-minded about it. And if you had lofty ideals for parenting that have since been shattered by reality, don't take it out on your childless friends.

But come on, let's be honest. If you don't want kids it's because you don't want to have to be responsible for anyone but yourself. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Instead of getting defensive, why not just own it?
15
Kids are great. I enjoy working with them.

But I liken them to coffee: Too much you you get headachey, irritable, unable to sleep, and they turn your floor into a sticky mess. They're best in limited doses.
16
I think children deserve loving and nurturing homes. If somebody knows they can't provide that, they shouldn't be forced. There are ways for adults to provide care for needy children. Try Childhaven.org or Unicef.org because we all have a stake in our children's futures. We should never stop caring.
17
This is a thing that really happens?
When I was single I totally expected having kids could be a deal breaker. Having kids is difficult and I sure as hell didn't want someone who didn't want kids having that big of a role in their lives.
18
#14 So there is only one reason that a person might not want to have kids? That's about as stupid as saying there is only one reason a person would want to have kids. Which is pretty fucking stupid.
19
Another Amen. Also, same rant but instead of "have children" insert "get married".

Childfree and single at 47. Not weird, wise.
20
The world would be a better place with fewer resentful stepparents in it.

My father was married five times and had children with two of his wives. His other three wives hated children, and specifically hated his children. My life and my sisters' lives (hell, even my father's life) would have been significantly better if those fucking bitches had owned up to what they were and sought childless husbands.
21
@19, good for you!!! Single GM here and 40 years old...LOVIN' being single!!!!
22
I like children. I just don't want to be a parent. In this society, that's almost worse than just hating kids, because people assume that I am some kind of molester... because all adults who like being around children are pervs?!
23
@14, lovely troll at the end there.
24
@14

What is gained by cajolling the would-be childless into owing up the reason you gave them? Why should anybody have to explain or defend themselves on the matter?
25
@23 Thanks, Gus. It only took four comments to get flamed for it. That's a personal best for me.
26
You know, it’s not just about having kids. What she said about step-parenting is spot-on.

Step-parenting is so much harder than bio-parenting. I love kids and have three of my own, but I do not feel capable at this stage in my life to step-parent. I would totally not date a guy with kids without seriously thinking it through and hope a guy would do some serious thinking himself about a step-father role for my kids.
27
I also like children, my friends' children. However, I have no desire to have any of my own. And isn't it better to recognize that, and NOT have any, than to try to fool oneself into thinking that you will want children, once you have them?

I know more than one person whose mother let slip the "I wish I'd never had any children" at some point. What a terrible thing to hear.
28
@LW
Maybe people wouldn't refer to others not wanting kids as douchebags etc. If the vehemently child opposed stopped referring to the children and the needs that arise with kids as "baggage" I've had more than one love interest say that to my face.. Yes it's douchey to refer to my child as my baggage, it's your baggage own it.
And for this single parent, don't agree to date me and constantly remind me how I would be perfect, except you aren't sure about my child. Remind me how temporary our relationship is and somewhere in the future I'll have to chose between you and my child.
You'll lose every time and I reserve the right to refer to you as an asshole.
29
Sure I agree, but do you have to sound so damned shrill about it?
30
Can't remember previous episodes, but this week's was not "tearing into someone." Caller was a young gay man who has a kid due to the youthful screw-up of fucking a girl, apparently as a closeting strategy. The worst Dan said was roughly "if you invite a guy over and he runs screaming when he finds out you have a kid, he's not the right guy for you, so fuck him." The last bit clearly meaning "good riddance," not "condemn him in all ways!"
31
I guess I'll have to listen to the podcast for some context.

It certainly seems self-evident that people who don't like kids or don't want to raise kids not only shouldn't have kids, but they shouldn't date people that have (non-adult) kids.

Is this really a controversial idea? I guess I live in some kind of a utopian bubble of sanity or something, because I can't think of a person I know that would disagree.
33
@12: Hell yeah. New parent, and it seems like every childless woman I know between the ages of, say 27 and 45 -- many of whom are pet-obsessed grad students -- now include a monologue about being childless by choice in every conversation I have with them -- awesome!

34
You know what's tiresome? People who loudly proclaim that they hate children. Fine, don't have them, don't date people who have them, but quit thinking you're special. Get over yourselves, already. This society is hostile enough to children without you spewing such bile.
35
Haven't heard the podcast to understand the context.

I personally can't see how choosing to not marry, not be a step-parent, not be a parent, etc., could be anything but a good decision. Maybe I trust people to know themselves and to make their own choices accordingly.

I am sorry to read that the LW is being called names and feels judged. No-one should feel pushed against a wall to defend such personal choices.
36
I was surprised by how much I liked kids. I thought I wouldn't, I thought I'd be a bad daddy, and now here I am, actually quite happy that I have daughter. Who'd have thunk ten, twenty years ago?

And yet I agree entirely with the LW that not wanting kids does not an asshole make.

But in all fairness, I don't think that was the point Dan made in the podcast the LW is reacting against. I think Dan was saying that people who wouldn't date that specific advice seeker because he had a son -- people like this LW -- were probably not the kind of people he should want to have in his life, because they wouldn't fit in it. They would be unhappy like the LW is, and that would make him also unhappy.

Dan was basically saying that incompatible people shouldn't be together. As in sexual compatibility, also kid compatibility. It doesn't mean that your specific sexual orientation, or desire to have / not to have children, makes you a douchebag.
37
I recently started dating a man with 2 kids and yeah it's a lot to adjust to, but the scariest part is knowing their psychotic, vindictive mother will always be a part of their lives
38
Lol, people who think having kids or NOT having them (or how to have them) is a choice. Fund Planned Parenthood!
39
A reliable dating strategy to avoiding people's baggage: get drunk in a bar, make out with someone, go home.
40
@33, I am 44, married/no kids, and I NEVER bring it up. Never. You know who brings it up? Those with kids who ask about my kids and then look all awkward when I explain that I don't have any. They are probably assuming that I had one that died or am infertile....so me saying, "no, that's okay, didn't want kids" is me being nice and letting off the socially awkward hook they placed themselves on.

Oh, and I have a version of this conversation at least once a month....more often at professional conferences and such where I am required to make small talk with a bunch of people who don't know me.
41
Kid haters are entitled to their opinions, of course, but they should remember whose paychecks are going to be funding their social security checks one day.
42
my grandmother objected to my marriage because i was way to old to have children. and i thought she would be upset because i was marrying a man.
43
you never can tell with grandmothers, riz. from the wedding pics, it looked like she was very much enjoying your nuptials.
44
@34 are you fucking serious? This society is hostile to children? If that's so, explain to me why I can't see nudity on broadcast TV at 8:00 in the evening.
45
@ 41 - but why does it have to be that way? Kid haters? Someone who doesn't wanna have kids or parent is a kid hater? Maybe they themselves had a crappy childhood & can't get past it. Maybe they can't afford to have a child. Maybe they doubt their ability to parent.

If the point of the podcast was, to have kids or not is one of those issues upon which there isn't a "meet in the middle" option, then I agree. But try being a childless person & justifying it to someone. Bleah.

46
stepfathering: all of the responsibility & none of the power!
47
I, too, agree with the LW, but also agree she sounds quite shrill and defensive about it. I didn't hear the podcast, so I'm not sure exactly what Dan said, but just from the tone of the letter, it sounds like the LW is bitter about a previous experience and/or the people in her circle who may be pressuring her to either be with somebody who has kids or to have them herself.

The question of kids is a basic form of polite conversation, similar to "What do you do for a living", and, "Are you married?" Unfortunately for many of us this simple question can touch a very sensitive nerve.

I always wanted kids, but can't due to a serious health issue which also makes it difficult for me to care for myself, so even adoption is out. Sometimes when I am asked if I have children, it is difficult to not go into how hard it is to want them but not be able to have them. Instead, I simply say, "I can't due to health issues." I realize that may be awkward for the person asking, but is it the truth.

We just need to be more accepting of our own decisions and limitations while simultaneously not being defensive if somebody asks, or says, something that might touch a nerve within us. The LW sounds a bit too sensitive about the situation and may wish to do some introspection, or see a therapist, about that.
48
@44: The Man(tm) is oppressing your TV choices! I suggest you start a revolution immediately.
49
Why have so many people who haven't listened to the podcast chimed in already? What she was responding to was not what he said. Ankylosaur, @36, has it right; his advice was to not date incompatible people. It's so funny because one of the things the LW said was almost exactly what he said:
Isn't it better that I don't get involved with a man who has kids knowing it would make and everyone else unhappy?

Yes! And Dan completely agrees, which is why he told the caller to be upfront about his kid and write off those who were scared off by it; they're not a good match.
50
@40 Ditto. In-laws and professional situations mean I regularly encounter this as well. I have no dog in this fight, but it was disarming to hear from @34 that being honest about the desire to be childless-by-choice is sufficient to be considered bile-spewing. And it's also insulting to hear it being called a "selfish" decision when there are a million non-selfish reasons why that decision was made.

@41 Since when did not wanting to raise children equate to "kid hater"? Or anti-civic? There are many other ways to contribute to an economic, cultural, and environmentally sustainable future aside from semen and eggs. Future generations may be writing the cheques but there are other ways to participate in caring for that generation aside from individual parenting.
51
@44 is right, our society seems to be completely centered around the kids. Someone plops their kid into my window seat on a plane and I'm stuck in a middle for 4 hours. You can't protest because everyone looks at you like you're a heartless bastard because the kid wants to look out the window.

And don't get me started about the shreiking kids get away with just about every public place. If I make that kind of noise in public, I'd be arrested.
52
@8 - Saying you hate children is like saying that you hate disabled people, or people who speak another language, or straight people or whatever. Saying that you don't like being around ill-mannered children, or that you have no desire having children, or you don't want to spend your time making small talk about the Wiggles is more than reasonable. But don't start with the blanket statement that you "hate children." They might all be small, but it's just dumb to hate a whole group of people who really have wildly different behaviors from one another.

Again - don't have children. I think that's a great choice for a lot of people. Don't date someone with children. Cool with that too. But if you don't want to be treated like a bigot (or in your words "a monster") don't act like one.
53
@34: Word.

Back in the day my wife was at Cap Hill Trader Joe's with the kids, 1 and 4 years old at the time. As she finished checking out, the 4 year old started a Code Red tantrum.

Two options - 1) wait it out or 2) carry the squirming, screaming, kicking, hitting kid out of the building. She's not strong enough to pull off option 2 while also holding a 1 year old, so there she sat, doing her best to sooth and praying it would end quickly.

Then a man approached her, she assumed to offer some help. Instead, he got in her face and hissed "Get your kids under control!", at which point she started crying herself.

What a fucking asshole. Makes my blood boil to think about it.
54
"Kids are cunts!"--Leah (character from the 1996 film Beautiful Thing.

Couldn't say it any better.
55
I always appreciated the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Still think it is an excellent idea.
56
Reminded me of this blog post:

http://www.rantsfrommommyland.com/2011/0…
57
@51 Did you try telling the parent to sit next to their own kid?
58
I agree! I don't want children (but an SO's already raised children are fine with me). I don't like children. I didn't like children when I was a child. It is not my dream to be a doting mother. Amen for TESTY for knowing her limits and being honest about them!
59
Thank you for this! I have felt so "outside" because I never wanted kids. Everyone just assumes that everyone wants kids. I've found it hard to make friends because I don't have kids: everyone my age has them, and so they are usually tied up doing kid-related things. I don't want to do kid things. I want to do adult things.

I wish there was a support group just for people who don't have kids, so we'd have a place to go and find each other - other adults who just want to play with adults! :-)
60
I'm surprised nobody, including Dan, has defended his statement on the podcast. The guy had a kid, and Dan said to tell the guys he dates and be well rid of anyone who isn't okay with that. That doesn't imply that theyre assholes, it just means that the existence of his kid can't be changed, but who he chooses to date can be.
61
Thank you for this! I have felt so "outside" because I never wanted kids. Everyone just assumes that everyone wants kids. I've found it hard to make friends because I don't have kids: everyone my age has them, and so they are usually tied up doing kid-related things. I don't want to do kid things. I want to do adult things.

I wish there was a support group just for people who don't have kids, so we'd have a place to go and find each other - other adults who just want to play with adults! :-)
62
To those who simply don't want kids, more power to you.

To those who hate them, I think it's great that you won't be passing on your genes.
63
Neither side is "right." I love kids, I teach, I have one. My brother and sister-in-law don't have kids and don't want them. Fine with me. They are happy and fulfilled with their lives; my husband and I are happy and fulfilled with ours.

If something happens to my husband and I, our kid goes to my wonderful brother. (He's gay.) My only worry is that we live in ass-backward state of Virginia and I want to make sure my brother actually GETS custody via our will not being contested by the state.

I love my friends with kids, I love my friends without. And I really don't want to extol the wonderful virtues of my kid when I see EITHER type of friend. I want to talk about politics, art, and "Doctor Who."

Yeah, know who you are and how you want to live your life. You are not a selfish dick if you don't want kids and don't want to date people with kids. Your life is as fulfilling as you make it; not more or less than people with kids.

Oh, and people with kids aren't always wrapped up in the kid-world. It goes both ways.

Life isn't a contest to see who can "do it better, be wiser." Be sure you know what you what, be kind, be healthy (if possible), be happy. The rest is petty shit that wastes time and emotional energy. Meh.
64
Thankfully I'm in a stable relationship with someone who wants children maybe even less than I do and has made sure it won't happen permanently. This is something I'm incredibly happy about. I had a rule before him that I would not date anyone who wanted children or who had kids who weren't grown and moved out (and seeing as I'm in my 20s I didn't see myself dating someone that much older than me to start with).

I don't dislike children, I have a nephew and he's incredibly important to me, but I don't want to raise any children. In fact the only child I would ever be willing to raise would be my nephew and I hope that never happens because it would mean something bad happened to my brother and sister-in-law.

This does not make me a bad person, it makes me someone who knows what I want and need out of life.
65
Children come in handy when you're old. They save you taxi and bus fare, and can pay attention at the doctor's office.

Since I don't lan on getting old, i don't need children.
66
@52 - absolutely agree with you, but I also think that people shouldn't say that they "love children", because that's as absurd as saying you "love people". some children are wonderful and some are dicks. just because they're children does not mean they're by-default delightful.
67
Me too. I have never wanted kids and never will, and I made the mistake of allowing myself to be bullied into being a stepmom of a 16 year old boy. His father, who seemed sane when I met him, worshiped this boy, and the kid knew it. No matter what happened, it was my fault.

I'd do laundry, fold the kid's laundry and put it on his bed, since I didn't want to go through his drawers. He'd go in his room and kick the clothes off the bed. His father would yell at me because the kid's clothes were wrinkled. A few rounds of this and I just put the clothes away, and that night the kid screamed at me because I dared go through his drawers. Guess who dad sided with.

Eventually the little charmer dropped out of high school and got himself fired from his first job in a grocery store, and damned if it wasn't all my fault.

I bailed. Never again.
68
I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I agree with this sentiment. Not wanting to date someone with kids is perfectly reasonable. We are all entitled to our deal-breakers, and if you know you don't want kids, it's better for single parents and their kids to not be with one. Not everyone should sign up for it. There's no reason everyone should want to.
69
@66 I used to substitute teach. Working in a school quickly disabuses you of any notion of loving all children. Specific kids sure, not all kids.

@44 Out society being unfocussed around kids and also being hostile to kids are not mutually exclusive. In fact the first is a big contributing factor of the second, in the rush to "protect" kids we make things much worse for them. I was in highschool when Columbine happened, if you were already out of school at that point you have no idea how hostile schools got towards students after that. Metal detectors, police searching lockers with dogs, zero tolerance policies that turned kids into criminals for having OTC medications with them. My schools weren't as bad as some but they were bad enough, it's hard to have a good learning environment when kids feel constantly under suspicion and not trusted.
70
As I parent, I can say that having kids is not for everyone. I love mine but I can't say I love many that aren't mine. It is sooo much better to be honest and upfront about it not wanting the kids from the get-go. The worst thing is dating someone who you know is hoping you'll come around to the idea of having kids. Stick to your guns!
71
I like kids, particularly well-behaved kids. I like my kid. But I am under no illusion about how much effort goes into being a good parent. If someone else doesn't want to take on that project, fine by me. It's also okay with me if you're not into distance running, or amateur magic, or ballroom dancing, or sleeping with men. Or women. It's also hunky dory with me if you are into any of those things. Why are so many people so anxious to make sure other folks make exactly the same choices?
72
As a health professional, with a lot of geriactric experience, I have never met a single senior citizen that felt like not having children was a good idea. Those I've met that didn't have offspring, lament it as the worst decision of their lives.

It's one thang, to boast about not wanting children when you are young. I assure you that no one is boasting about it when they are 65 or older.
73
You haven't experienced Hell until you've been trapped on the Red Eye from Seattle to Orlando!
74
I grew up dirt poor. I have only been able to get two degrees - including a law degree - because I didn't have kids. Instead of working hard to give my kids the things I didn't have, I decided to give those things to myself. I started so far behind that I couldn't have it all. I'm happy with my choice. Not having kids is not selfish - I've done more for the environment by not reproducing than I ever could by recycling.
75
Hi, Dan -

I decided as a teenager I didn't want kids; I'm in my 40s now and never regretted that decision.

I'm good for a couple or three hours of interaction with youngsters (even late teens), but after that I'm ready for them to go. If I was to date a woman with kids, I know that sooner or later (probably sooner), I would come to resent the time and attention they had to devote to those children. And that would be completely unfair on my part. After all, a parent's No. 1 priority has to be their child; that's how my parents were, and it's how my friends with kids are, and I admire that.

I've met any number of single moms over the years who are smart, fun, and sexy; I've gone on the odd date with a couple. But the way I see it, there are plenty of guys out there who do want (or already have) kids that would be interested in a real relationship with them. I'd rather be Mom's goofy friend then Mom's jerk of a boyfriend. Sure, it's harder to find childless women around my age, but that's a price of admission I'm willing to pay.

Sincerely,

A Southern Gentleman
77
@75 So, how YOU doin'?
78
I think it's kind of tacky some of you are saying this LW "acts like a monster" and "needs therapy". Do you know her? Yes, the letter is sounds, er, reads kinda harsh, but that doesn't mean the writer is off-balance. I am not going to believe not one of you have ever had a "nerve touched" and have never written something with similar feeling.

I was married for the first time at age 31 to an older man who was child free. We are happy to remain child free. When I was 19, young and dumb, I dated a man (at the ripe old age of 21, they were teen parents) with an ex wife and a toddler kid. The ex was as horrible as one might expect a jealous ex wife to be. I hated every time we had to take the toddler because it was some major ordeal just to go to dinner. This was back when I actually liked kids, so I didn't really have a problem with the toddler. However, had I married him, it would have been a situation I resented in the end.

After we broke up, I vowed to never date a man with a child again. I wanted to be number one in my partner's life. I didn't want his loyalty to be divided between me, kids and an ex. As I got older, I liked being around kids less and less. Working with the public for the last two decades, and having friends with kids they don't discipline cemented in my mind they are NOT for me.

I've been "bingoed" many times about my childfree choice. I'm not one of those obnoxious persons who goes around blatantly proclaiming this choice, but being a woman it has come up countless times, and I have no desire to lie to be politically correct. I can understand the LW's anger in regard to that - people act like you're some kind of freak that you don't want children, and they shouldn't be concerned and should've just minded their own business in the first place.
79
@57, the parents DID sit next to their kid. I ended up one row in front of the kids, where one of the adults was assigned. For the duration of the four hour flight, I got to listen to the kids. They did not stop making noise once.
80
@30 - agree, he wasn't condemning, never mind "tearing into", just a preemptive DTMFA because they wouldn't have worked together. I think this woman needs new friends if they're calling her names for not wanting kids
81
I have a baby now and I can't unhave him. I know everyone is entitled to their relationship boundaries. Still, it's awfully nice that kid-friendly people exist so I don't feel totally written off as a person.

I would encourage anyone to consider being kid friendly if they can manage it.
82
@72, I think those seniors who lament not having kids are lamenting the romaticized ideas that the kids would be there to take care of them and that they would be perpetuating their genes. Yes they would have perpetuated their genes, but one cannot always depend on their children being there for them when they get old. There are plenty of adult children who have nothing to do with their aging parents.
83
Not wanting kids is okay. But hating them is an indication that someone had a bad childhood and has never gotten over it - and those people always prove to be childish. Interesting.
84
@79, Sorry, I can't help but think you were too nice. Among the two parents and two kids you mention, someone must have had a more appropriate seat than the one you got. No one is obligated to trade a window for a middle, unless the flight attendant is asking, and even then she better sweeten the deal with a drink coupon or something.
85
@52,66,71, yes indeed. Kids aren't a different species, they're just us, not grown up yet (but they will be, very soon). Anyways I hate it (haha) when people use the word "hate" to describe their feelings about a whole group of living creatures that way, it always sounds a little eery (I also occasionally get annoyed when people use the word "love" indiscriminately to refer to a group of people, as in "I LOVE gay people!!")
Obviously most people who don't have children don't "hate" them. They just don't have them for all of the reasons mentioned above, or for the same reason I haven't yet: it just hasn't happened, and at this point, likely never will. I work with kids, I care about all of them and have a special affection for some of the ones I really like. I love my nieces and nephews. I've been pretty career-oriented, but I haven't been adamantly for or against the idea of having kids at any point, but it was something I knew I would only do if I met the right partner and if that partner happened to really want kids. It hasn't happened, so that's that. I have to admit I've thought about doing it for the reasons stated by #72, and because the pressure described by the letter-writer, but of course feeling insecure is the LAST reason one should have for taking on the responsibility of raising a child.
86
@84, the parents insisted that I take the middle - after all they already had posession of my seat with the "people with small children" preboarding. The flight attendant did nothing and the passengers around me gave me a "you are a heartless bastard" look. My reward for taking the middle seat - the woman seated in the aisle seat next to me, who was the same age as my grandmother, stroked my biceps as she talked to me for much of the flight.

Unfortunately, this is not the only time I had someone put their kid in my pre-assigned window seat on a flight.

I really don't have a problem with kids, as long as they're not continually shreiking at the top of their lungs or otherwise being obnoxious. It seems like in the stone age when I was a kid, kids didn't get away with as much and were not as catered to as they are today.
87
It's neither wise or stupid to want children, not want children, get married or not get married. There are happy parents and happy married people, and there are happy childfree single people. There's no such thing as "a" right decision.

The only unwise choice is to do something that won't make you happy because of outside pressure.
88
@14

That's certainly one of the benefits. Don't worry, there's more. Like traveling the world, spontaneous travel, attending cultural events, developing intellectually, lots of extra spending money, sleeping in, being able to *choose* your friends (rather than default ones like other daycare moms), spontaneous sex, better sex, better relationship with spouse (see research by Harvard's Dan Gilbert, PhD for more), eating out, going out on the town, reading books (yeh, like actual grown-up ones), better figure (have you *seen* mom bodies? They don't call 'em "mom jeans" for nothing), uninterrupted meals, peace and quiet when you want it... oh wait, sorry, is this list getting too long for you? Maybe I should stop.

Anyways, have fun in the Romper Room with your tots! Just keep telling yourself: they'll take care of me when I'm older, they'll take care of me when I'm older, they'll take care of me when I'm older.... can't tell you the number of old people I've seen dumped by their kids into "homes" when they're old, but I'm sure *yours* will be different. Totally. If not, what an awesome 18+ years having *none* of what I've just described above. Have fun!
89
@86, sorry the flight attendant was no help with the assholes. That does suck.
90
I don't spread myself around too much so for quite a while the only use for my vasectomy was to make me very, very smug. I still love watching strollers from my motorcycle.

One of the most rude things anyone ever said to me about it was along the lines of "Of course: you don't want the responsibility." Don't most kids get here as a result of irresponsibility? The skank who said it to me is raising two accidents in poverty right now, or so I'd bet if I were a gambling person (I worked with her, trust me).
91
For me one risk of dating someone with children has been that I would find that the kids were more interesting to talk to than the parent.
92
@88 - um... I've always traveled the world with my kids (handing out chocolate to keep my seat neighbors happy :-), with sitters we've managed plenty of culture and restaurant meals; and it didn't take too long before the kids were old enough to get their own breakfast (so I can sleep in), comprehend a locked door (so we can have spontaneous sex), and enjoy going out to meals, plays and concerts with us.

It's true we have less money than otherwise, and it's true there were ten years where we couldn't go out without a sitter, and, oh my god, you are certainly right that I miss uninterrupted meals, and peace and quiet ... But it's not as bad as all that :-)
93
@41--Social security is going to be bankrupt long before most of us retire anyway; it's a moot point.
94
@88 You've described a nightmare life that is nowhere near close to the real picture.

I'm 2 months postpartum and am back to my regular size 2 shape except with bigger boobs. My husband and i have sex still, though it's true we're too tired to do it every day so it's more like once or twice a week. We assume it'll get better as the baby gets older.

It's not all roses. It's tiring and stressful. But it's not like I can't do ANYTHING anymore.
95
It's not an all or none proposition ya know. My boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. We each have children, and for a variety of reasons (his previous experience step-parenting, my lack of desire to co-parent with his crazy ex) we have chosen to conduct our relationship outside of our time with our children. Granted this only works because we each have shared custody, and it's not ideal, but it is doable, and a way for kids not to be a deal breaker.
96
Oh god, I've blocked Confluence. Please don't make me read her inane drivel - two responses is enough.
97
If anyone here finds themselves in a stepmother situation, you might want to have a look at this book, written by an old college friend of mine and one of the smartest people I've ever known:

http://www.amazon.com/Stepmonster-Look-R…
98
@8 Cato,
There's one of my pet peeves! People who say "I hate kids." Do people who say this really not understand that it is no different from saying "I hate black people" or "I hate handicapped people" or "I hate old people?" NEWS FLASH: kids are people! Really! They're smaller and younger than adults, but they are actual people with a full range of personalities.

Now I have no problem with TESTY being open that she doesn't want to date people with kids. People have all kinds of deal-breakers about who they'll date and there's nothing wrong with this one. Being a step-parent is a huge responsibility.

But that's much different from HATING an entire class of human beings.
99
@41 You gotta be kidding, the childless in the US massively subsidize families with children. If a meager portion of my retirement is provided by your kids they can consider it thanks for paying for a portion of their education, safety and feeding for twenty years.
100
& @59 Google the meetup.com site in your area. There are plenty of single childless adults looking for people to hang out with, and there are group activities you can join in any day of the week. A few groups are "dating" oriented, but most are focused on an activity, a special interest, and/or a desire to meet other single friends in your demographic.
101
She wrote the letter so I didn't have to! I've never been a step-parent though, because kids have always been a deal breaker for me. I get what it was Savage was saying in that call, but man, he said it in a pretty shitty way.
102
@93 No, Social Security might be raped and murdered by the time you retire, but its death won't be because "it went bankrupt." Its Trust Fund is holding a good few trillion bucks in surplus, invested in long-term Treasuries. Most of the "conservatives" and others declaring it bankrupt in public are actually salivating over ways to get their hands on that huge nestegg. Otherwise, they're going to have to, *GASP*, pay back the money the gov't borrowed from it, and you know what that means: raising taxes back to what they were under Reagan, especially for the upper-income crowd.

The burden really won't be on our children, it'll probably be on us. Benefits might have to be trimmed for 10 or 15 years worth of retirees, that's all.