Recent news reports about the rising costs of raising a child and articles on how fabulous your life could be without children have many -- especially childless people -- questioning whether a life as a parent is sustainable. How do you weigh cost versus kids?
We looked around the web and asked a few experts and parents for opinions on the matter. Here's what they had to say on the kids-no kids debate:
Dr. Tiffanie Henry Davis, HLN contributor and psychotherapist, says:
“Kids are actually worth way more than $250K. I really don't think you can put a sufficient price tag on parenting, child-rearing and everything that comes along with these joys. While the money spent on 18 years of diapers, football cleats, field trips and Sweet 16s may be the equivalent of your mortgage or student loans, you just can't really compare the two. No way can you put a price tag on the joy your heart finds at your baby girl's first ballet recital. And no amount of money could take the place of hearing your little one mutter his first attempt at 'mama' or 'dada.'
What's most important is that you know yourself. Not everyone is meant and/or cut out to be a parent. Judgment aside, we each have the right and responsibility to build and nurture our families as we see fit and if, for whatever reason, you feel like you're not ready or willing to make the physical, emotional and even financial sacrifices necessary to appropriately nurture a child, then you shouldn't have one.”
If you’re on the fence about having kids, blogger Holly Johnson, offers this advice:
“The fact that you are even asking questions means that you are probably more mature and prepared than most people. You will find a way to make it work. You may have to make sacrifices. You might have to give a few things up. But, it will be worth it. Don’t take my word for it… ask every parent you know.”
Sasha Brown-Worsham, cafemom.com's The Stir editor who is expecting her third child, agrees:
“Kids are definitely worth it. They are the best investment you can make and will be your legacy when you die. In general, children bring so much to your life that is so rich that you’re not realizing you’re spending that money. I’m realizing it right now, because I’m pregnant, but eventually, it becomes part of the budget and you just deal with it. If you think you could have a happier life without kids, by all means, don’t have them. They are expensive. But if you really want kids, like I did -- there wasn’t any other way for me to be happy in the long run -- you make it work. Although some people might be priced out of having kids: If you wait too long to afford to have kids, you might not be able to have biological ones.”
Carolyn Robertson also thinks you can’t quantify the joy children can bring, but she brings up this point in her blog on babycenter.com:
“Many people believe that to be truly fulfilled in life, it is necessary to experience the joys of parenthood. Children are considered an essential source of happiness, satisfaction and pride,” according to professors Richard Eibach and Steven Mock. “However, the idea that parenthood involves substantial emotional rewards appears to be something of a myth. The costs of raising children motivate parents to idealize parenthood,” they continue. “The perceived joys of parenthood may thus be a rationalization of the high costs of having children.”
Blogger Amy Smith shares this notion in one of her blog posts:
“I know I would love my kids, I just don’t think I would enjoy my life. I’m willing to not know what it’s like to have children in order to have other things in my life.”
Kat Kinsman, CNN.com’ Eatocracy editor, also writes about being at peace sans kids:
Somehow I understood it in my bones, as deeply and simply as know I have hazel eyes and cannot sing: I was never going to carry a child inside my body, and I was completely at peace with that. The need, want and drive are simply not there. Nearly three decades later, that hasn't wavered, though it has hardly gone unassailed by others who have felt compelled to critique or to pry.
So what about you? Do you think kids make for a happier life?