This is a follow-up on a comment I made on Reddit here: “Why did you decide to have children?” The poster is basically saying that everyone he knows with kids regrets their decision and hates their lack of freedom, money, etc. This is probably a disingenuous post made to rile up r/AskParents, but it really is a good question!

So, Really, Why Have Children?

The simple answer is, you don’t have to have children. At the end of the day, it is a decision that every couple should make together. If the goal of a parent is to raise good kids and give them every opportunity in life, then this is not a decision that should be made lightly. So, first, I think there needs to be a serious discussion about why NOT have kids. What does a couple need to be prepared for if they think about wanting kids – because you better believe it isn’t easy.

Why NOT have children?

If you are too involved in yourself to love someone else and give them everything they need – do not have kids. Period. End of story. Kids need love and attention, they need help emotionally to become strong and independent adults. If you can’t give love and attention to someone that is probably going to be fairly annoying for serious periods of time, then please, don’t have children.

If you spend all of your money on yourself and can’t fathom spending money for anyone else – do not have kids. First, greed just isn’t a good characteristic for those who look up to you. Also, kids are just downright expensive. Between food, clothing, shoes, school, activities, toys, shelter and plenty more, kids just cost a ton of money. Now, that’s not to say don’t have kids if you don’t have a lot of money, but there is a point where it may be best to wait until you can afford taking care of extra munchkins running around eating everything.

Don’t have kids if you love sleeping and can’t function (or worse, get violent) when you don’t get great sleep. For the first few years of life, kids simply don’t give a crap about your sleeping habits. Whether their days and nights are backwards, they pee in their bed, they need to nurse or be changed or they are going through tough life stages – babies and kids don’t sleep. In fact, this is probably the hardest part of being a parent – simply just sleepwalking through the day from sheer exhaustion.

I feel like I have painted a very bleak picture of having kids. Sounds pretty awful, huh? Well, I wouldn’t give up being a dad for the world. Seriously, there is something profoundly satisfying from raising my children that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So – let’s talk about why you should have children.

Why You Should Have Children

Love.

Sappy enough for you? But, seriously, there is no other better reason to have children than the love you share. I challenge anyone to tell me what is physically and emotionally better than your child giving you a hug and saying, “I love you daddy!” There simply is nothing better than that. There is an emotional fullness from parenting children that is unmatched from any other relationship or experience.

All you need is love. -John Lennon

Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Finally, like love and many other things in life, you get from parenthood what you put into it. The more blood, sweat and tears you put into fatherhood (or motherhood for our female readers) the better you will feel as a human being every day. All the riches and wealth and prestige in the world cannot fill the heart and soul like the love and laughter of a child.