Convince me that I should have children.

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
jacob
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by jacob » Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:10 pm

@7wannabe5 - I don't think there's any disagreement here?!

I haven't read the book but what I guess from the gist of the amazon reviews is that
1) family and religion is intertwined.
2) the decreasing need for families leads to a decrease in religion.

And I'll add:
3) The increase in wealth leads to a decrease in the need for families

Above I simply say that there are some (a few) strong(*) religious holdouts to this overall trend.---That strong religious beliefs/tradition will keep people procreating (creating families) even if they/society is wealthy enough to no longer require a [large] family to serve as a social safety net.

This is why families with many children either tend to be poor or quite religiously driven. With exceptions of course. I'm talking generalities.

(*) I would classify religious beliefs as "weak" in this regard if someone is not making procreation decisions based on what their religion dictates/strongly suggests.

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C40
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by C40 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:06 pm

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies.

While I've already heard or read most of the information shared here, many of you have a knack for writing in a way that causes me to think about it more and in a different way. So this definitely helps.

My girlfriend and I broke up the other night. (like 6 hours after starting this thread :| ).. Mostly because of our differing views on children and on spending money. My reason for the thread is still valid and it's good that she drove me to consider the issue more.


(This is a whole other thread, so ignore it in this thread please, but It's on my mind today so I'll mention it: I'm worried about how difficult it will be for me to find women that share my views on money AND children AND who I'm compatible with. I wonder if I'll end up "giving up" on one of the first two at some point... or if I might just be alone - and even "weirder" then.. I did the math today on how much longer I'd have to work to fund incremental "girlfriend" at what's probably a common amount of dates and gifts. 1-1.5 years for me. )
Last edited by C40 on Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bigato
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by bigato » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:34 pm

Hey C40, if you really don't want people to derail the thread, I suggest you split this part to another post. Sure it will be interesting.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:47 pm

Agreed with Bigato, and since you forbid it, my responding to this may fall under the category of me being an asshole as per other recent threads, but if you posted about it, I reserve the right to respond to it!

You're probably hurting and may or may not appreciate this, but if it's any consolation... I kinda got the feeling just from your previous posts here that your GF was not compatible with you. IIRC you were even forced to allot an expense line in your budget for her to accommodate her required level of "consumer courtship". I've never had to do this with my GF. She hasn't changed my spending much at all. The few things I spend money on are things I would've done anyway and things we enjoy together. To her a gift is me writing her a short story and a date is going to the park.

I only say this because I know we're fairly close in age, lifestyle, etc, and I feel like I've had EXACTLY the same thoughts you're having now. Granted, not wanting kids is an extra wrinkle (personally, I'm just ambivalent about it, not adamant one way or the other) but I don't think even that is insurmountable. There are compatible people out there. Don't get bitter, that just makes you less likely to find them.

Maybe look for slightly older women, single mothers, or divorcees? People who've already been down the kid road and gotten it out of their system, or at least no longer need your help to do it? (Not sure if you're as opposed to being "step-dad" as you are to having your own.)

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bigato
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by bigato » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:00 pm

By the way C40, since we are starting to derail the thread already, if you are feeling hurt, go make some use of that equipment you have in the basement. Go lift some!!!

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C40
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by C40 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:03 pm

Yep.. I did see that we had some incompatibilities. (I didn't really understand how big of a spending incompatibility until more recently). We got a long very well outside of / even with those two things so that makes it tougher..

I'll look into splitting the thread / starting a new one.. I think there is already a thread about this though (?)

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by George the original one » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:31 pm

Relationships are more important than money, so a new thread, even if duplicating, is worthwhile to everyone.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by JohnnyH » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:13 pm

Sorry C40... Biological clock is such a huge issue for females ages over 26. I've had a few breakups because I wasn't willing yet (really still not).

Back on topic, mitigating some of the negatives ideas (from FFJ's post):
- All unaccounted free time will disappear.
- your hobby money goes to diapers, formula, etc.
- Extended family expectations increase; try keeping the newborn away from Grandma.

+ Having a large extended family is a huge plus... If I have kids with current gf I will have half a dozen eager relatives I trust watching my kids, on top of 2 sets of grandparents... Should really help alleviate the free time issue.

+ Waiting until ERE should really help with the money issue... Especially when considering the cost of daycare.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by pka222 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:00 pm

I think it has a lot to do with how you set up the experience. In my case if I had had my first child when I was living hand to mouth, with a immature partner, and had not yet had a great deal of life experiences (traveling, working, adventuring) having a child would have been a burden. However, after finding a mature capable partner I love, having traveled the world, jumped off many cliffs, and having a surplus of funds that- while not FIRE yet- would allow me to take a 10 year sabbatical, as well as having access to nearly unlimited very cheap nannies - having a child is awesome- lots of fun, growth, experimenting, reliving my childhood etc.. without the sleep loss many of my colleagues have - or the lack of time with my partner - things have changed- less time working out for example - however I knew it would change- I know it is temporary and I accept these changes as part of the experience -
In brief - set your self up for a fun time- don't reproduce when you don't have you sh*t together
good luck

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by 1taskaday » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:14 pm

In my opinion the best gift my kids have given me or to put it another way,the best reason for having kids is the the gift of "selflessness".

I read MBGI's journey of self-discovery and evolution and I think raising kids can bring about the same personality evolution, if allowed.

It is a sharp shocking journey at the start but then as the parent evolves it becomes rich and nuanced. It makes you question and challenge every idea and belief you ever had.

My 2 are teens now, one male and one female.

I often just stand back and laugh at their energy, lust for life(which I definitely don't have anymore, because they've drained it all out of me),and I say "you go guys!!".

They are the best fun to be around, much cooler than "worry-wart”, anxiety ridden adults. They just grab life by the scruff of the neck and are fearless.

I love this; they are my teachers in so many ways.


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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:50 am

Jacob sez: @7wannabe5 - I don't think there's any disagreement here?!

I haven't read the book but what I guess from the gist of the amazon reviews is that
1) family and religion is intertwined.
2) the decreasing need for families leads to a decrease in religion.

And I'll add:
3) The increase in wealth leads to a decrease in the need for families

Above I simply say that there are some (a few) strong(*) religious holdouts to this overall trend.---That strong religious beliefs/tradition will keep people procreating (creating families) even if they/society is wealthy enough to no longer require a [large] family to serve as a social safety net.

This is why families with many children either tend to be poor or quite religiously driven. With exceptions of course. I'm talking generalities.

(*) I would classify religious beliefs as "weak" in this regard if someone is not making procreation decisions based on what their religion dictates/strongly suggests.
The reason why I read this book a while back is that I was looking for an answer to the question of "Why did the extremely intelligent/nerdy, highly educated, relatively affluent 30-something year old daughter of two liberal Maine atheists become the leader of the local branch of a rapidly growing American Female/Feminist Muslim Convert group/community?" IOW, why does this trend in modern society co-exist with the other modern trend, most strongly exhibited in Western Europe, of young women choosing no-religion and no-marriage? This book answered my question or, really, confirmed my theory, which in over-simplified explanation differs from yours mainly in the way you link or the level at which you put affluence and/or intellectualism into the equation (related factoids being that both John D. Rockefeller and Isaac Newton were known for being more religious than their peers, not less.)

If you start from the premise that "irrational" is not a dirty work and just means something like "not easily quantified" then you can move from something like "financial independence" which is measurable to a concept like "freedom" which is not. People seek social support to move towards concepts such as "home" or "family" and joining a conventional religion is often a highly rational (although perhaps not fully conscious because, obviously, highly personal spiritual matters also come into play) decision in alignment with this desire.

Another example of what I mean is that there are many examples of individuals, like Amy Dacyczyn, author or the "Tightwad Gazette", who develop good practice in frugality/wealth acquisition because they want to afford large families and homes rather than vice-versa. Or there are people like me who practice frugality because they want a lot of free time to lounge about and read (like you) but also because they want to be at home with some human babies or cabbages (like Amy Dacyczyn) but not because they want free time to do stuff like Martial Arts (blech.)

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by RootofGood » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:48 pm

I'll toss out a few random thoughts. Today is my oldest daughter's 9th birthday, which marks the half way point on her journey to adulthood. Bittersweet. The bitter is that half her time living with us (as a child) is gone. Sweet because she's transformed from a pee/poop/eat machine that cried all the time into a rather smart, crafty, cunningly complex little creature that can think and rationalize independently, has her own interests and ideas, and amazes us at times (both good and bad).

We also have a seven year old and a two year old.

I managed to retire recently after reaching FI at 33. Although "stay at home dad" might be more appropriate for the next three to sixteen years since I spend at least a few hours each day engaged in some parenting role and it does prevent me from pursuing other interests (reading, writing, relaxing, drinking beer with friends, etc).

In my experience, kids aren't that expensive, although we have been creative and made compromises to keep costs down. We do plan on spending low to mid five figures on each kid for college, and possibly a full ride if our portfolio grows as projected over the next 9 to 16 years.

Some might say we should spend way more on our kids. I figure we do "enough" to enrich their lives as is (travel, camps, entertainment, activities, love from parents, education, safe environment, etc). But there will be some parents who would criticize us for not enrolling our kids in more activities, or buying a boat or vacation house or large SUV. All things that some people associate with "the best way to raise kids".

From virtually any kid's perspective (if they were to be overly contemplative), they would prefer to exist and be a child of a frugal parent than not exist at all. Don't fall into the trap of binary thinking. There are options beyond (A) don't have kids because they are expensive and (B) have kids and spend tons of money on them because you have to or else they'll end up fcuked up later in life. Lots of the best things in life are free or very inexpensive.

I enjoy my kids a lot but it's a lot of work, too. No way to sugarcoat it! The good news is kids are a great way to keep you busy in early retirement. The bad news is they take up a lot of your time in early retirement. :)

As for wanting kids and its impact on your relationship with a significant other, I'd say you need to reconcile differences early on. If someone adamantly wants kids, and you definitely don't, then there's an issue. I'd say a bigger issue than differences in religion (you can totally phone that one in if you are forced to convert, for example!). If you are ambivalent about kids, and your SO really really wants them, hey go for it. If you are against kids, it would be tough to sign up for an 18+ year sentence of doing something you don't want to do. That's roughly a quarter of the average human lifespan.

I never gave kids much thought until I married Mrs. RootofGood. She wanted six. We had 3, and she's happy now (they are a lot of work!). I'm happy having kids too (probably 90% of the time). Although I bet I would be just about as happy without kids. I don't mean to say want to get rid of my kids, as that's absolutely not true. Rather, if I never experienced the joys and trials of parenting, I wouldn't know what I was missing. In my alternative kid-less life, I'd have a lot more time to party it up and fill my limited time with other valuable and rewarding pursuits.

But standing here today, halfway through my oldest child's period of youth, I would miss each of them (even the snot-nosed 2 year old) very dearly if they suddenly disappeared from my life.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Ego » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:47 am

RootofGood wrote:From virtually any kid's perspective (if they were to be overly contemplative), they would prefer to exist and be a child of a frugal parent than not exist at all.
What about from the perspective of the kid that does not yet exist?
Consider two couples, the A’s and the B’s. The A’s are young, healthy, and rich. If they had children, they could give them the best of everything—schools, clothes, electronic gaming devices. Even so, we would not say that the A’s have a moral obligation to reproduce.

The B’s are just as young and rich. But both have a genetic disease, and, were they to have a child together, that child would suffer terribly. We would say, using Benatar’s logic, that the B’s have an ethical obligation not to procreate.

The case of the A’s and the B’s shows that we regard pleasure and pain differently. Pleasure missed out on by the nonexistent doesn’t count as a harm. Yet suffering avoided counts as a good, even when the recipient is a nonexistent one.

And what holds for the A’s and the B’s is basically true for everyone. Even the best of all possible lives consists of a mixture of pleasure and pain. Had the pleasure been forgone—that is, had the life never been created—no one would have been the worse for it. But the world is worse off because of the suffering brought needlessly into it.
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/b ... ntPage=all

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by jacob » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:36 am

@Ego - This is a pro-thread. We can make another for con. Mixing them together though ...

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by RootofGood » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:24 pm

I guess it depends on the disease or defect or disability that besets the kids of Couple B in your example. I imagine even those born with significant defects (spina bifida, Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, etc) would prefer to exist with their defect than to not exist at all.

For the non-existent kid that never exists, we're just postulating since they would never experience anything anyway (like the nearly infinite potential kids that aren't conceived every year).

In practice, I think it makes more sense for couples with a high likelihood of genetically abnormal offspring to adopt or screen early in a pregnancy. We were faced with some scary genetic news during the gestation of kid #3.

Due to Mrs. RoG being in her mid-30's and hence at a higher risk of genetic abnormalities for the fetus, we opted for a non-invasive ultrasound to test for potential genetic abnormalities. After getting the bad news that there's a 1 in 20 risk of abnormality, we opted for amniocentesis and genetic testing and it ruled out chromosomal abnormalities. We didn't face the actual choice of "we know there's a genetic defect, do we carry to full term?". Tough choice to contemplate. The kid turned out great so far!

Ego wrote:
RootofGood wrote:From virtually any kid's perspective (if they were to be overly contemplative), they would prefer to exist and be a child of a frugal parent than not exist at all.
What about from the perspective of the kid that does not yet exist?
Consider two couples, the A’s and the B’s. The A’s are young, healthy, and rich. If they had children, they could give them the best of everything—schools, clothes, electronic gaming devices. Even so, we would not say that the A’s have a moral obligation to reproduce.

The B’s are just as young and rich. But both have a genetic disease, and, were they to have a child together, that child would suffer terribly. We would say, using Benatar’s logic, that the B’s have an ethical obligation not to procreate.

The case of the A’s and the B’s shows that we regard pleasure and pain differently. Pleasure missed out on by the nonexistent doesn’t count as a harm. Yet suffering avoided counts as a good, even when the recipient is a nonexistent one.

And what holds for the A’s and the B’s is basically true for everyone. Even the best of all possible lives consists of a mixture of pleasure and pain. Had the pleasure been forgone—that is, had the life never been created—no one would have been the worse for it. But the world is worse off because of the suffering brought needlessly into it.
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/b ... ntPage=all

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by ohcanada » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:40 pm

ERE applies to kids too!!!! Look up crunchy moms... Reusable diapers, breast milk, and hand-me-downs are free.

Also homebirth works great and costs a tiny fraction of hospital bills, with far less doctor-forced unnecessary complications like induction, which causes a need for pain medicine, which often leads to unnecessary c-sections.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:17 pm

In the Netherlands a third of the homebirths end at the hospital because of complications. Luckily most mums and children come out ok in the end.

@C40: I'm a girl and I don't want to have kids. I'm betting there's more of us around. Just hang in there. I don't think you would or should want to build a life together with someone who is totally incompatible to you ,even if that means youll have to search for someone more compatible for a little while longer.

ohcanada
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by ohcanada » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:17 pm

@dutchgirl - your statistic is confused. 1/3 of Dutch have homebirths http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352715/ and it has been proven very safe.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by workathome » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:21 pm

Holland is commonly cited in the "Homebirth community" of a shining example of why the practice is superior to the US system.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-22888411

I think it makes for an ERE-strategy in the sense of "do it yourself." Breastfeeding also has great benefits for the woman, and has been shown to reduce the chances of having breast cancer.

Also, I'd recommend taking a gander at the ingredients in formula: they're disgusting! The main ingredients are usually soy and chemical by-products like high fructose corn syrup. It's total junk with huge, off-the-charts marketing budgets behind it. What's real sickening is the healthy community is in on the scam. My wife's first meeting at the women's health clinic after getting pregnant was just to ask her for her personal information, and give her a "welcome" bag full of free formula samples. We then got bombarded with nonstop free bottles, samples, etc. in the mail up to and after our son's birth.

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stand@desk
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by stand@desk » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:40 pm

If I had to make a convincing argument for someone to have children, it would be that the moments before you die, wouldn't it be nice to know you have some of your DNA out in the world that is alive and interacting in the world..

If you have children, you have them to carry on in the world. Your kids can never change the fact that you were the one that created them. That would be a meaningful feeling at death, that you have created a legacy that will interact in the world..I guess it's really continuing not creating a DNA legacy but when it comes down to it, pro-creating is our sole purpose for living.

Entities are born, and die, but the ones that procreate have a piece of them still in the game, the ones that didn't end their participation in the game. Why not stay in the game? The game is all we have as we know it.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:05 am

In the Netherlands 49% of the women who deliver a baby for the first time and try home delivery are ultimately sent in to deliver at the hospital. For women who have had a baby before and are now wanting to deliver at home, this percentage is 17%. Source: http://medischcontact.artsennet.nl/arch ... enhuis.htm (Article from 2009).

Since women here on average give birth something like 2-3 times, I would say my 1/3rd of home deliveries ending in the hospital isn't too far off.

I'm not sure why this discussion started, and let's end it, because this discussion was actually about something else. I just wanted to show I know what I'm talking about and can back it up with sources. :D

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:24 am

Because it's the family name that lives on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDrRQN0tR9w

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by ohcanada » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:38 am

I can't read Dutch, but a 2013 study put the risk at 1 in 1000 of having severe complications during homebirth (on par with issues at hospitals). I think this makes good sense - to seek emergency medical intervention when needed! I am just trying to show the medical intervention is generly unneeded - and more than that, going to a hospital increases the % of unnecessary intervention. Doctors on staff are looking for problems, often that aren't there (especially in the US!) so they can use their "hammer."

Imagine every time you grilled you did it at the fire station with staff full geared up and ready to open the hose every time they thought there was a sign it might spread to the grass. http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3263

It is relevant in a misunderstanding that having children isn't easily integrated into a frugal lifestyle, but children fit very nicely into a natural, environmentally conscious, do-it-yourself mentality. It is what we were "made to do"... Women's entire biological makeup is primarily designed/evolved for giving-birth, and tends to do it very we'll without unnecessary and expensive technology applied to it! Hospital intervention is good for emergencies, but not good when applied to natural processes that are best left alone. (Think walking somewhere with no deadline or schedule vs taking a fighter jet - doctors are ready to throw you in the jet if they think you're walking too slow and might not get there before their shift ends - plus they get a cash bonus if you take the jet!)

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by saving-10-years » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:26 pm

This does really need to be a new thread (costs & risks of pregnancy?). I assume that the difference between the reading of statistics by DutchGirl and OhCanada is that the rate of complications when you are 'low risk' is ... low. The BMJ article is about low risk and points out how these are determined:
In the Netherlands, midwives in primary care provide care to low risk women. These are women with a singleton pregnancy of a fetus in cephalic presentation who do not have any medical or obstetric risk factors that are an indication for secondary care, such as previous caesarean section, and who start labour spontaneously between 37 and 42 weeks.
One problem with pregnancy is that you cannot predict with any degree of certainty that you will have single child, that it won't take up a poor position (e.g. breech), that you won't have pre eclampsia or any of the other complaints that put you into high risk, and that you won't under-run or start early. I know in the UK being an older mother would tend to put you into high risk and also being located a long distance from a hospital 'in case' you needed one. Presumably the Netherlands, being very compact next to the US, Canada or even the UK would be unlikely to present that risk.

@OhCanada, I agree that medical care can be thrust upon mothers as the obvious option when its quite unnecessary and often about the convenience of the carers rather than the parents. However it is very difficult when you are told that you are at risk, or that you 'might' be at higher risk if you refuse help. You can plan for, budget and hope for a home birth but this may not be something that you are able to execute. Part of that whole unpredictable excitement of parenthood. :-)

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