Is Having Kids Worth It?

Melinda Miles 2011/03/09 12:00:00
Related Topics: Husband, Marriage
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I'm going to let you in on a secret: I'm a little nervous about having kids.

Studies keep proving that young couples without children are happier than couples chasing after rugrats. And it doesn't help when a woman becomes a media sensation for leaving her kids behind.

"I had to leave my children to find them," Rahna Reiko Rizzut writes in an essay for Salon.com, explaining her decision to give up primary custody of her 3- and 5-year-old sons to write a book about the survivors of Hiroshima.

"In my part-time motherhood, I get concentrated blocks of time when I can be that 1950s mother we idealize who was waiting in an apron with fresh cookies when we got off the school bus and wasn't too
busy for anything we needed until we went to bed," she explains.

I'm actually looking forward to the milk-and-cookies part. But as a happily married woman still in the "honeymoon" phase, I can't help but fear that having kids is going to change things between me and my husband.

What's it going to be like when we can't go out for dinner on a beautiful, spring-like night? Will we be stuck inside watching a TV show we don't even like? Or will we be too tired to watch TV, period?

But here's the good news (thank you, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research). A new study finds that while having more children makes young couples unhappy, kids eventually "pay off" by increasing their parents' happiness later in life.

From age 40 on, parents with one to three children are happier than childless couples, and after age 50, parents are happier than childless couples regardless of how many children they have, the study found.

"Children may be a long-term investment in happiness," study author Mikko Myrskyla said in a statement, according to LiveScience.

Which is why, even though I know that having little kids will probably cause some short-term disruptions in my life (and those few years will probably feel like a few decades), I know it's every bit worth it to have them before I miss my chance. I also know that you pay for that long-term investment in happiness by raising your kids -- not by ditching them to write a book in Japan.

--Melinda Miles is a freelance writer.

Read More: http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/02/28/leavi...

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Top Opinion

  • dman278 2011/03/09 14:19:10
    I'm not going to lie to you. Having kids changes everything. And yes, there are times when it totally sucks and times when the joy seems boundless. But I know four older couples who did not have kids (actually, one couple had two children who later died). Two of these couples do have family (nieces, nephews, etc) with whom they are very close. The other two don't have any family at all. I won't go as far as some who say that it's selfish not to have kids, but, after observing these folks, I think it's worth effort. My kids are 13 and 18 now, and it's cool to watch them in the process of becoming adults. And when I consider the joy they bring to my parents, I do think it's worth it.

    My relationship with my wife changed when we had kids. But it's a change we grew into together. Everything is work, y'know? Whether you have kids or not. You just deal with things as they come. It helps that our extended family lives close.

    That's my take on the matter, right or wrong. I wish you the best, whichever path you choose.

    P.S. I should mention, if you decide to become parents, I think you should have at least two. I have a number of friends who only had one, and they're spoiled brats. My girls have each other, so they're not constantly demanding our attention. Again, this is just my opinion. If you're an only child, I'm sure you turned out fine. ; p lol

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  • amandashea85 2013/01/27 17:59:14
    If you are asking this question, I am betting you have so many other things that make you happy and you don't want to risk losing that. I'm in the same predicament, but I want to share my point of view with you.

    I'm 28 years old so I need to decide very quickly which way I am going to go.. In all my experience, everytime I make a move in fear that I will regret not making that move later on, it always goes wrong.

    Do what feels right to you NOW. The truth is that when you have kids, you won't have the freedom you currently enjoy to do the things that are worth the while to you now.

    My best friend of 20 years has three children and assures me that you don't lose any part of yourself when you have kids but rather that parts of you that you didn't know existed will reveal themselves and you grow as an individual through motherhood.

    With all that being said, I don't think anyone should go halfway into motherhood. If you are going to do it, make sure you are 100%. No doubts.
  • Jana~ una chica loca 2011/04/03 09:52:28
    Jana~ una chica loca
  • Kiki,Pixie,Worm 2011/03/16 01:23:44 (edited)
    I think it might but personally I ♥ lil babies they are so cute! But what you have to do to get them I am just never gonna be ready for. I might adopt but I should beware of any little girls named Esther who says she is 10....
    I mean I love kids and I bet later I will end up having them but right now I am just not sure?
  • aherbert 2011/03/15 04:17:52
    I think it is an individual choice ... I love my children and they are worth it.
  • LQ~phaet 2011/03/14 14:25:09
    I'm saying yes because there's no 'I don't know' or 'undecided' option. I've been a mom since I was 21. It's been my life for nearly half my life and I don't really remember what life was like before children. I love my children BUT, let me tell you, it's hard. Yes, if you do it right, it's very hard. And, it's expensive. There are awesome rewards but if I got zapped back to 1991 and had all the knowledge of my experience, I'm not sure I'd do it again.
  • noon 2011/03/14 12:53:55
    well ye seems mabey stud only asked cupples with out kids familey makes me stronger and willing to work 7/24-365 for mine and would do all over and over.I rember longe time ago when I was with out kids had fun ,no happeness their is a differenttes,forgive badd spelling ,but still happy
  • Sonia 2011/03/14 09:22:05
    it's a great feeling ever!
  • Scud 2011/03/14 05:16:33
    Compare a young family who has kids, a family who has dogs, and a family with neither.

    Watch them over a ten year period then compare the three.

    If a study is "proving" something then it is a bad study.
    A good study should "find" something.
  • atomikmom 2011/03/14 04:26:07
    I am Damn Proud of all my Children and Grand Children.They are a Blessing From GOD.
  • xxxMyHeartIsBrokenxx 2011/03/14 03:01:10
    I do want kids but just not right now in my life. Maybe later when I settle down with someone special.
  • Mog of War 2011/03/14 02:06:19
    Mog of War
    Survival imperative dictates procreation. No getting around that one. Even altruism is built on the survival of others who may breed and share genes in common.
  • CoolStoryBro Bn 0 ;) 2011/03/14 02:03:42
    CoolStoryBro Bn 0 ;)
    That's only because I don't want children!!!
  • sue 2011/03/14 02:00:34
    Having kids absolutely changes things, and knowing that is half the battle. I think that if you choose one thing each of you do for yourselves, and make sure to keep a little time for the two of you, then you can make the other sacrifices that are necessary. If you go through it pointing out the sacrifices and wishing things were like before, you will be miserable. If you go in as a team, knowing it will be hard, and each having a little thing/piece of time you count as your own (it could be exercise time, a break at a coffee shop with a crossword puzzle, whatever), then you will appreciate the things you get instead of the childless life you gave up. Sometime the little toothless smiles or the successfully tied shoelace make up for it all.
  • JP 2011/03/14 01:58:34
    Got to keep the dynasty going
  • fdmcerberus 2011/03/14 01:55:38
    Who else is gonna do the lawn and take care of me when I get old?
  • Cherie Bomb 2011/03/14 01:55:08
    Cherie Bomb
    It's not...I truly don't want to bring none to this world
  • Lena 2011/03/14 01:54:53
    well i dont have kids but isnt that the point of life...to reproduce and have a family to take care of
  • LesWaggoner BN 1 2011/03/14 01:54:34
    LesWaggoner BN 1
  • Jack's Pearl 2011/03/14 01:53:33
    Jack's Pearl
    OMG! YES! I can't imagine life without having my daughter now. And being a parent is very challenging, rewarding and amazing all at once. And it's all worth it more then anything else in my life.
  • zekke 2011/03/13 04:41:38
  • Backlashjack 2011/03/11 02:36:50
    Whatever studies you are ready must have been prepared by idiots. I do not know of a single parent that isnt happier having children than they were before. My kids are the BEST thing to ever come into my life. I wish I could have at least a dozen. I have to settle with 4.
  • kathy Backlas... 2012/04/07 06:18:50
    That's good for you!! I know SO many parents who can't stand being parents and whinge and moan daily. I guess it takes all kinds!!
  • Sarah 2011/03/10 20:07:34
    Kids will change your life but will also make you a better people.
  • Golden Ratio 2011/03/10 16:11:14
    Golden Ratio
    It makes it worth it for the simple fact that "I AM HERE", lol.
    The human condition requires that humans have kids, ha!
    Now just because some people can't manage their kids is no reason for others to think they will be the same. Everyone has goals, and some people's goals are to push the human race forward to better things. And it's not points against someone if they choose not to have kids, everyones lifestyle is different, and mistakes are made along the way for one reason or another.
    Albert Einstein talked of his parents not wanting to have kids in an unstable german economy, then he popped up by mistake. Had Einstein never been born, we might very well be speaking another language in America right now, ha!
  • Timetraveler 2011/03/10 16:05:37
    but there is a price. when their little your their whole world, when they get to be teenagers they still have to live with you, and they resent you for it. because by then, they know everything but how to make a living! but in honesty. children are the reason the world should go on! they are the most precious gift nature designed to give each other.
  • Cathy *In God we trust* 2011/03/10 15:58:02
    Cathy *In God we trust*
    I have 3 grown children and now Grand children. Over the past years I have to
    say I wonder what it would be like if I hadn't had them, but then I think of all the
    great times and memories that they have given to me that I would have missed.
    So yeah, after the terrible childbearing pain subsides and you forget that, it's
    well worth it. :)
  • Mystical♥Gleek 2011/03/10 15:19:16
    I want at least 2.
  • mrdog 2011/03/10 14:51:55
    No doubt about from the production line to the final product.... great...bark
  • OzSin 2011/03/10 14:34:09
    Worth it?

    nah, you don't get much for them on eBay.........
  • aseeratk 2011/03/10 14:25:40
  • Sarah 2011/03/10 14:17:51
    You can't be serious.. "Is having kids WORTH IT?" Are you serious now????
  • Shallek Jerome 2011/03/10 14:17:10
    Shallek Jerome
  • Bay 2011/03/10 14:04:14
    yes. but i'm probably not going to have any biological children: i'll adopt.
  • Whiteslave_From_Wisconsin 2011/03/10 13:41:15
    Having children is the best thing I have ever decided on. Everyday my children prove this to me. There are bad days of course with children but the good outweigh the bad.
  • whipnet 2011/03/10 13:08:24
    Having children is the only reason we are here on this earth.

  • amandas... whipnet 2013/01/27 17:08:08
    Well human beings are devastating this earth.
  • whipnet amandas... 2013/01/29 05:28:39
    I don't see it. Gullible much?
  • lin sugar lips 2011/03/10 12:36:43
    lin sugar lips
    Yes Absolutly Tootly.lol
  • Jaguar 2011/03/10 11:47:06
    I can't have children naturally, and, honestly... I'm glad I can't... I can't stand kids... Never have been able to... Babies have never appealed to me in any way...
    Anyway, having a child just wouldn't fit into my life at any point... There is too much I want to do, and a child just wouldn't fit...
    I could easily be with a man who had children of his own, but other than that... Nope
  • JuJu1 2011/03/10 11:44:12
    I would guess that anyone who answers "no" to this question has not had a child of their own. I am a mother of three. Sure, it changes things. But, our oldest child is 9 and we still do many of the things we did before she was born. We have two other children who are 6 and 4 years and we do many things together. But, my husband and I are still very protective of our time alone together. We have taught our children for a very long time that Mommy and Daddy like to spend time alone together too. Our children respect that and actually get a kick out of it. As for going out to dinner on a beautiful spring night...there are millions of creative alternatives to having to hire a sitter everytime you want to do something like that. My husband and I have had picnics in our back yard with blankets and wine and cheese while the kids played in the house, or better yet, after they went to bed, a romantic dinner at our own table by candlelight. It isn't always easy, but you CAN have it all.
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