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Source: (consider it) Thread: regret having children?
mr cheesy
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# 3330

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Do you regret having children?

Is there a contradiction between loving your child and havinh regrets?

Fwiw, I think having children is a process of sacrifice and loss, so having feelings of regret may be entirely understandable. One can be fully engaged and loving of a child whilst at the same time experiencing feelings of loss, I think.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Boogie

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# 13538

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I always thought I wanted to have four children, but soon discovered that two were more than enough!

Now that they are grown up and independent I don't regret it at all. When they were small and hard work? Oh yes, sometimes!

Now I'm back in the thick of it having a new puppy every year - like permanently having a toddler in the house. But I love it [Big Grin]

Even so, I have no real hankering for grandchildren - and my sons and their partners show no signs of 'nesting' at all. All four are enjoying fulfilling careers and social lives.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Nicodemia
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Having tried so hard for our only daughter (and had 4 miscarriages afterwards) I could never regret having her.

Even though she has been through traumatic times, she has given us 2 wonderful grandsons and they in turn have presented us with a bright, intelligent and loving great granddaughter.

When I look at our family line I am just so proud of them all, how could I regret having a child.

Maybe if it is easy come easy go, then children can be regretted, and probably are. But I think that is a tragedy.

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
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Here's the thing. If you're the full-time parent, you are necessarily doing only that. I felt like I lost 5 years of my life - at some point after the youngest had gone to school, I woke up from the permanent fug of exhaustion and was able to reassess life and what I wanted from it. The next ten years was a more manageable but constant round of housework and childcare and ferrying: I was able to restart what I laughingly call my 'career'.

So, no I don't regret having kids, and neither do I resent them. I have a genuinely brilliant relationship with them and they're both decent people I had a major part in forming.

I still need to acknowledge that those 5 years came at a critical time - early 30s - when I could have put all my energies into something else. That didn't happen.

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Get your arse to Mars

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SvitlanaV2
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The examples online include many people who still have young children. These parents often regret the loss of freedom and the financial constraints of parenthood. Then there are those who feel that having children has damaged their relationship with their partner. Other parents are older and have a poor relationship with their adult children, so regret the sacrifices they made for them.

I'm going to make the slightly controversial guess that for various reasons the Ship's demographic is unlikely to include many who are currently dealing with such problems. Moreover, it's a taboo subject, isn't it? One of the biggest around today.

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rolyn
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I might regret it if I see either of them, (now adults), struggling or unhappy in some way. Whether it be over relationships, work or whatever.
Also if anyone wants to go all *dark Green* with -- the world is screwed and full of horrible people- bit, then that again might produce some vague feeling of regret at producing them and exposing them to such. But this is more likely me putting my head on their shoulders and going of into the realms of silly.

On the whole I did, (and still do), my best for them when I was there which, I admit, wasn't all the time for one reason and another.
'Regret' is, in many ways, a multifaceted and misunderstood word and not one that we really want beat ourselves over the head with.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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cattyish

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I have sometimes regretted that I do not have children of my own, but then I consider that I have had opportunities to help my friends and family as they are growing up. I suspect that my regrets should I have had children would have been a mixture of wishful thinking about how much else I might have done without that responsibility and of fear that I had not done all they needed to have an ideal upbringing. It seems pointless to dwell on either of these. Perhaps my energy is better spent in tackling the causes of discontent and lessened potential.

Cattyish, hoping for good things.

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...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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SusanDoris

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Certainly no regrets about having my sons. I should have made a far better choice of father , but whatever of his genetics have become part of them, they themselves made sure that they did not grow up with his abusive behaviour patterns!

Even if one did regret having children, that, like all feelings of regret at anything thought, felt or done in the past, would be a waste of time because the past cannot be changed. We can only hope that our experiences can possibly help someone younger to avoid our mistakes, but then of course, they will make a whole new set of their own.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Og, King of Bashan

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In the last 48 hours, I've been peed on, bit, yelled at, locked out of the house, and awoken at an unreasonable hour for a Saturday. Two is the real deal, folks.

There is a book out there called "All Joy, No Fun." I think no fun is a bit of an exaggeration, but overall it's a solid description. I love this little girl, and she brings a lot of joy, but I certainly wish that I had a little more freedom. It's harder on my wife, because she is less of a homebody than me.

The Mary and Martha story hits home at least once a day. You constantly need to remind yourself not to get lost in the work and remember that you have the privilege of being with this amazing creature for the most important years of its life.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Enoch
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No. No regrets. I can't claim to have been a particularly good father, but I can't really imagine now an adult life without them. And not only are my grandchildren lovely. When they poo or throw up, it's someone else's job now to clear it up.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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mr cheesy
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Maybe I'm just different to everyone else. I've put in 15+ years where I put my family and my child first. That meant giving up any idea of a career (I'm apparently now unemployable), have moved to different parts of the country 5 or 6 times, and frankly have little to show for the last 20 years.

I'd be a liar if this didn't sometimes lead to regret, tinged with a type of jealousy.

On the other hand, I know that I have made hard choices and have always put my family first. I know that there have been few important times in my child's life when a parent was missing. Nobody can say that I, that we, could have made choices that prioritised career or work or housing, or whatnot. But we didn't. I choose to be there.

And when in those times when everything is grey, that's enough.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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My father is descended from 1 of 5 brothers who survived WW2, all of his first cousins died, all of their families. Annihilation. We located one relative and have connected. It wasn't so much as a question as an imperative to have children. I have loved being a parent. The intergenerational effects of family traum have faded with my children. This generational shift has been the hardest thing in the third decade of their lives. The importance of family is there but different. Which has taken some time for me to understand.

So I don't regret having children, rather, the opposite. Would have had more if biological reality made it possible. I am that slightly odd guy who always talks and plays with the children in any gathering. If the adults are talking and the kids are antsy, I will take them to the park or playground. I don't care about mess, poop or anything. I love little people. I love the way they reason and following their instruction. Reading books, repetitive throwing into the air. Whatever. I hope my kids figure out how to organise life and have children. 30 is the new 20 however.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Arethosemyfeet
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I have an 8 month old and no regrets at all. My wife, on the other hand, is finding adjusting tough and identified a lot with some of the parents in the article. The lack of time alone and not on watch is what's affecting her the most.
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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I have an 8 month old and no regrets at all. My wife, on the other hand, is finding adjusting tough and identified a lot with some of the parents in the article. The lack of time alone and not on watch is what's affecting her the most.

You get used to being 'on watch', it becomes the normal state.

[Smile]

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Doc Tor
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It is also bloody knackering.

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Get your arse to Mars

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
The lack of time alone and not on watch is what's affecting her the most.

That is absolutely the toughest part, and when we have engaged in honest conversation with other parents, we have generally agreed that nothing will cause resentment between parents like the sense that you are "on" for an unfair amount of time, or that your spouse is getting an unfair amount of alone time.

In two and a quarter years, I'm still not "used" to being on watch all the time, especially since she still becomes a new person with new strategies for reeking havoc every three weeks. You come up with tricks and tactics to deal with it or make it easier. And you definitely are rewarded as they grow up and start telling you they love you (we will see how long that lasts). But it's still hard, and I'm still tired all the time.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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DonLogan2
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Do you regret having a partner?

To love opens people up to being hurt and more besides, it didn`t stop God

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“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth... "

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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# 15560

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Certain, young children who won't sleep, or get into everything steal your lifeblood like parasites eating your innards, seem like they should be given back. Parents are like God to them. The source of all goodness. Like all love, it requires a reach outside of oneself, and it grows. There's no avoiding fatigue, pain and sorrow with love. But I can think of fewer personal tragedies than lives not lived.
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Og, King of Bashan

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All I'm saying is that the day to day can be really hard, and I think that folks who aren't in the middle of it sometimes forget that, especially when you get general questions like the OP. I went to a round table discussion about life and being a lawyer, and one question we were asked was, "does being a parent make you a better lawyer?" And the responses from senior attorneys and judges were that, yes, it does make you a better lawyer. But that sure isn't reflected when the same guy is giving you your performance report and looking at your billable hours.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Uncle Pete

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I am conflicted about this. I was lousy parent and I do admit this freely. So, if you had asked this question 40 years ago, my answer to the OP would have been a resounding "YES"

But even adults grow up. I delight in the fact that for over 30 years, I have worked in Scouting with other people's children, have accepted the joys and burdens of loving all my nieces and nephews and their children, have been the best uncle I could possibly be. In a few cases, I have been an honorary grandfather, and stand-in for someone missing, or dead. My joy and my pleasure.

I can't change 45 years ago. But I can change now. And I have.

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
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All that said, my kid got out of the bathtub tonight, and only wanted to run around the house naked and dance. So I turned on the Dead and rolled with it. And it was 1000 times more fun than I would have had at a bar.

(MSG 9/16/1990)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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L'organist
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No. My only regret is that we didn't have more.

Yes, there are times when they are infuriating or thoughtless - but then we can all behave in ways that are irritating to others.

Children don't ask to be born: once the decision is made to have them the die is cast.

Of course, it does help that my pair are the most handsome, amusing, bright, engaging young men I know!

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Gee D
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Our regret is that we could not have more. Madame had had trouble carrying, with several miscarriages - one quite late. Dlet was induced a bit early and arrived safely, but he. too, may not have made it the whole way. We were then advised not to try for more but would dearly have loved another 2 or even 3.

Fortunately Madame was able to change things around at the fworks much better all around than a nanny at home or child care byut still demanding on her in particular. Yes, mealtimes can be interesting, toilet training even more so, let alone later development, but we would not be without him.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Huia
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My mother had 4 children and only one grandchild, much to her disappointment. We told her she had quality, not quantity [Biased] . I am quite close to my nephew and he often phones so he can bounce ideas off me.

I chose not to have children. Some people may have seen that as a selfish decision, but I believe that children deserve the best and when I was of child bearing age I didn't believe I could offer that. Being a teacher I was well aware of children who had missed out in many ways and I couldn't bear to be responsible for short-changing a child.

I am happy with my decision.

From my position on the outside I admire the love and dedication of many parents, it's a tough job.

Huia

[ 12. February 2017, 07:01: Message edited by: Huia ]

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Aravis
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Absolutely no regrets.
At the same time, if I hadn't had a child, I don't think I would have regretted being childless. Your life just takes a different direction.
Ironically, if I hadn't had my daughter I would almost certainly have worked in paediatric occupational therapy rather than social services; that was my main interest as I had experience as a primary school teacher and had also worked in a special needs unit. But my daughter was three when I qualified, and only social services had newly qualified OT posts with flexible hours.

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Barnabas62
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I don't do regret over personal choices. Even when I've underestimated the consequences. That being said, my wife and I agree that we both underestimated some of the painful consequences of parenting. We found parenting to be tougher than we expected and some of that toughness is ongoing, even though our sons are now in their 40s.

We made mistakes in bringing up our children, have admitted those to them both and apologised for the pain we caused them. Parenting can be very frustrating and those frustrations can make us angry, take out the frustrations on them and others. I guess the most important lesson we've learned from that is that one of the best gifts we can give our children is to show them that parents are people, have their own 'stuff' to deal with that, sometimes fail to do the best for their children they have always desired to do.

If our children 'get' that, they can learn for themselves an important lesson in bringing up their own children. I learned from my own parents that children do not ask to be born, and your prime responsibility is to do your best for them. But not expect to be perfect at that.

Bringing up children teaches us a lot about our personal limits. Unselfish loving is a great principle to apply, but it can be very tough to apply in practice. The costs can be much higher than we anticipated. But I still think it is the best way to go. The 1 Corinthians 13 principles re patience, kindness, avoiding self-seeking, persevering, being hopeful, still strike me as right, as we close on 50 years experience of the unfinished task of trying to be the best parents we can be.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
I chose not to have children. Some people may have seen that as a selfish decision, but I believe that children deserve the best and when I was of child bearing age I didn't believe I could offer that.

I would say that decision was commendable.

I can recall my mother, (of five), saying how with her generation it was generally regarded as selfish not to have children. Back then I suspect the replenishing the planet with new people was seen by many as a duty, meaning the adult consciously choosing not to do so was equivalent to some sort draft dodger.

Today, with population and Planet Earth pressure at the front of people's minds it is the having of children that could now be viewed as the selfish option. O' how things change.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Ethne Alba
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I don't regret either the choosing to have (many) children...or the resulting lack of a sparkling career for me.

That is from the standpoint of here and now though.

Whilst in the throws of everything, there were many times when i wanted to both immerse myself in the children's lives....and ...gain a degree/ have a career that involved qualifications (!) / go to university...or whatever was the envious thought that year.

This was back in the days when nursery places were reserved for either desperately needy families or the very rich. (...or those residential nurseries, which as far as i recall were for parents in the forces or single parents who worked night shifts...??)

Family life is now very different, no one would turn a hair if i were to raise a child AND go out to work, leaving my child in a day nursery from nine months old until they started school.

And everyone's life is different too. Partner, or lack of. the job that the partner does. elderly parents responsibilities. Proximity to childcare provision &/ or helpful relatives. Ill health. It all makes for interesting times. I found that i couldn't necessarily just go and get a degree....Do i regret that? Hmmmm, well it's never too late!

Maybe....maybe if i did it all over again now....maybe my life would be very different.
But regrets?
Nope.

Says she...gazing round a living round adorned with play-dough, pots of buttons, lines of shoes and assorted quilts. It's half term, some of the grandchildren came to stay for the night.

[ 12. February 2017, 11:38: Message edited by: Ethne Alba ]

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bib
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My son was unsure about having children, but once his partner was pregnant, he anticipated becoming a father and had great hopes and dreams for the future. Sadly they have a little boy who is severely autistic and they grieve every day about what has happened to them as a couple and what has happened to their little boy. My son now says that he wishes they had never had a child. The child doesn't eat, has major melt downs, screams most of the night when put to bed, doesn't relate emotionally to them and generally causes grief. They have none of the joy most parents experience.

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"My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring"

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Nicolemr
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I wonder if part of the regret is linked to being a stay at home parent, and the resultant feeling of having missed out? I wasn't a stay at home mother, I went back to work when my daughter was six months old, and then worked my career for the rest of her childhood. I have no regrets about having her, some over certain parts of our home life, but never over having her, and never over going back to work, either.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Universal, publicly funded childcare. Funded like schools, from taxes. And it should be in the building or right nearby where ever people work. Thus if child needs a parent, work can be interrupted. (Saw this in Norway) The time has come to cease pretending our societies value children and prove it.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Brenda Clough
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My biggest regret is that I did stay home, for about a dozen years, with my children when they were young. Those were years of salary that I won't ever get back, and have impacted both income and my retirement. I would encourage every parent to continue with their career if it is at all possible.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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HCH
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The title of the thread more or less guarantees the kinds of answers. It seems unlikely that anyone will say "oh yes, I wish my children had never been born".

I know a couple, excellent friends of mine, who had two sons. The younger son was killed in a traffic accident when he was about twenty. I am sure they do not regret having a second child, but this has been a vast sorrow for them. Regret is not the only possible negative outcome.

We could have a separate thread to ask people who do not have any children if they have regrets on the subject. Of course, it might be depressing.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I do not actually regret having children, just wish I had been more financially on the ball about it. My son is a fine young man. And my daughter is a fireball, the hope (among those who know her) for the future of the nation. She is now in law school. The consistent response, from people I tell this to, is "Oh my God."

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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I have a child, and yes, it's impacted both my career and my finances. But for me I've always had the reminder in my ear saying, "You know, even if you had been free to go full tilt at your career, it would very likely have sucked anyway." Because given my skills, my gender, and the particular nature of the job market here, my chances of hitting a workplace where I would have been able to prosper and advance would have been ... low. (thank God for the place I'm at now.) And then there's been the sucky economy.

Those who lament lost opportunities might want to consider that they might have lost a decade or two in entry level jobs. Or unemployed.

[ 12. February 2017, 23:29: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
We could have a separate thread to ask people who do not have any children if they have regrets on the subject. Of course, it might be depressing.

I actually thought of starting such a thread (I'm child-free by choice). My posting on such a thread would not be depressing, but responses from those who have wanted children and were unable for one reason or another could be heart-breaking.

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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Pangolin Guerre
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# 18686

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I don't have children, although I've had the opportunity three times. I never felt that I was ready, or circumstances seemed less than optimal. But then is anyone ever truly ready? Now that I have godsons and a niece, I wonder whether I missed out. I think that I would have been a better father than I gave myself credit at that time. I don't torture myself over this. It's just another one of life's "huhs"
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anoesis
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# 14189

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Do you regret having children?

Is there a contradiction between loving your child and having regrets?

If you had posed this question to me a year, or a year and a half ago, I would have said, yes, yes I do. And no, I don't think there is a contradiction, because it isn't personal. It isn't about them, it's about me. Which is bad in itself, because when you are a mother, things aren't allowed to be about you. They are a bit older now, and I have felt the fog starting to clear over the last 6-12 months, which may have something to do with the fact that they are now all at school. So, right now, the answer is 'possibly not'. And in another year it might well be 'of course not'. Still, that's a good long time to be lost in the wilderness, and something people might want to consider before they're pregnant and it's all too late.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Fwiw, I think having children is a process of sacrifice and loss, so having feelings of regret may be entirely understandable. One can be fully engaged and loving of a child whilst at the same time experiencing feelings of loss, I think.

I think you are entirely right. This is pretty much how it played out for me, I think, though I know from talking to others that the experience of having a child was one of net gain, rather than loss. But, if I count the ways, upon becoming a parent I lost: Most of my friends, my sense of 'belonging' in and to my own body, my understanding of myself as a generally competent person, my job(not unrelated to the previous point), the easy companionship I had always enjoyed with my husband, my creativity, the ability to spend any time alone (which turns out to be how I recharge), and above. fucking. all. - my ability to concentrate. What I got in return was a purple screaming larva that expressed its fury with the world in general chiefly by vindictively biting my nipples. And I was supposed to be in love with it.

So yeah, I felt a lot of grief and loss around that, with a handy garnish of guilt for being a.) selfish, and b.) shite at this stuff, when I am[was] generally good at most stuff, especially considering it's supposed to be instinctive. Etc. etc.

What has changed?* I really don't know. Just the passage of time, most probably. I think I was able to move on from some of the stuff I felt I had lost, just because I accepted it was never coming back, that there is no 'back'. There is only forward, where you adapt to your new circumstances in whatever way you can. In that respect, it's a bit like an amputation, I think. After a period of time, a person learns to do everything they need to do, and usually fairly close to everything they did beforehand, even being down a limb, but it's harder, much harder. No-one in full possession of their limbs can really have any comprehension of the all day, every day, forever, reality of that situation - but, that doesn't mean it's all grim, all the time.

Oh - also - in the last year or so, I observed the following points. 1.) The two most centred other mothers I know at present do the absolute minimum of housework required to get by, 2.) My children are happier messy and dirty than otherwise, and 3.) my husband spends so much time in his own head that he barely notices his environment. So now we live in chaos too. While it's not my ideal, I genuinely no longer feel housework as a bloody millstone around my neck. No-one else cares whether I do it or not. So I do it when I feel like it, and, voila! it is no longer a chore. No guilt.

*Nothing much! I am trying to put down some words in a comprehensible order here, while being continuously interrupted by small people coming through to tell me obvious stuff, such as, 'we turned the stereo on, can you hear it?', and 'I'm playing in the family room', 'It's windy today', 'I'm hungry', 'Can I have some toast?', 'When will it be my turn with the X?'

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

I still need to acknowledge that those 5 years came at a critical time - early 30s - when I could have put all my energies into something else. That didn't happen.

I didn't stay home with the kids - Mrs. C does. Nevertheless, with parenthood comes responsibilities, and I have made career choices that I wouldn't have made had I not had children. (With no children, I'd have taken opportunities that involved much more travel, longer hours, a higher profile, and probably more career advancement. I chose to raise my kids instead.)

I don't regret having the kids at all, and I don't regret my choice - given the opportunity to do it again, I'd make the same (or similar) choices. But you can't do everything, and I sometimes have a wistful what-if feeling about the life I would have had I made the other set of choices.

[ 13. February 2017, 02:57: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:

Oh - also - in the last year or so, I observed the following points. 1.) The two most centred other mothers I know at present do the absolute minimum of housework required to get by, 2.) My children are happier messy and dirty than otherwise, and 3.) my husband spends so much time in his own head that he barely notices his environment. So now we live in chaos too.

I'm pretty sure you're not my wife, but you sound a lot like her [Biased] But I agree. In principle, I'd love to have an ordered house ("tidy" isn't really the word, because I tend to organize things in big convenient stacks in a sensible-seeming place, so there will be little piles of books, projects-in-progress and so on all over the place.) The kids, however, like to play massive involved games involving everything they can lay their hands on, which means all the spaces they use spend most of their time looking like a bomb has hit. Plus there's the small entropy monster, who spends his life carrying small objects around the house until he finds a different small object that he prefers. You can tell where he's been by the trail of out-of place objects in surprise cupboards, shelves, and so on.

I'm vaguely hoping that once the youngest gets to be 8 or 9, we'll have a house full of bookworms and relative order will be achievable.

But until then, life's too short to keep things tidy.

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Huia
Shipmate
# 3473

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One of my favourite sayings (which I think may be original) is; "cleanliness may be next to Godliness, but tidiness is next to impossible"

Huia [Big Grin] I can't even blame kids

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Plus there's the small entropy monster, who spends his life carrying small objects around the house until he finds a different small object that he prefers. You can tell where he's been by the trail of out-of place objects in surprise cupboards, shelves, and so on. [/QB]

I love this. A small entropy monster--I have the extra-large economy size one myself, and now I have the right phrase to describe him.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:

Those who lament lost opportunities might want to consider that they might have lost a decade or two in entry level jobs. Or unemployed.

Whilst this is undoubtedly true, I'd suggest that you might want to consider your words more carefully before saying such things to someone struggling with their feelings of regret.

Yes, I am fully aware that a vast array of possible scenarios exist where I'm in a worse personal situation, thanks. Funnily enough that doesn't stop the periodic feelings of regret - if you don't get them, be grateful not smug and self-righteous.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:


What has changed?* I really don't know. Just the passage of time, most probably. I think I was able to move on from some of the stuff I felt I had lost, just because I accepted it was never coming back, that there is no 'back'. There is only forward, where you adapt to your new circumstances in whatever way you can. In that respect, it's a bit like an amputation, I think. After a period of time, a person learns to do everything they need to do, and usually fairly close to everything they did beforehand, even being down a limb, but it's harder, much harder. No-one in full possession of their limbs can really have any comprehension of the all day, every day, forever, reality of that situation - but, that doesn't mean it's all grim, all the time.

Oh - also - in the last year or so, I observed the following points. 1.) The two most centred other mothers I know at present do the absolute minimum of housework required to get by, 2.) My children are happier messy and dirty than otherwise, and 3.) my husband spends so much time in his own head that he barely notices his environment. So now we live in chaos too. While it's not my ideal, I genuinely no longer feel housework as a bloody millstone around my neck. No-one else cares whether I do it or not. So I do it when I feel like it, and, voila! it is no longer a chore. No guilt.

Of course, we're all talking about our own personal experience - but my children are a lot older than yours, and the feelings I'm describing are a lot deeper than those one might get struggling with a toddler.

I don't think there is a magic wand that wipes away the guilt and regret and feelings about being in a situation you can't control.

Not everyone experiences them and not everyone experiences them to the same level. But they are a real, ongoing thing for some.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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I'm a man who gave up career to look after kids who are now 9 and 11.

Anoesis said:

quote:
I am trying to put down some words in a comprehensible order here, while being continuously interrupted by small people coming through to tell me obvious stuff, such as, 'we turned the stereo on, can you hear it?', and 'I'm playing in the family room', 'It's windy today', 'I'm hungry', 'Can I have some toast?', 'When will it be my turn with the X?'
When that stuff got (and now and again gets) me down, I try / ied to think of them instead not wanting to engage - me saying 'gosh isn't it windy' and them staring at a phone and grunting something that means 'you suck'. That way their enthusiastic need to engage plays with me as a positive. On a really good day I can play it up, have fun, and build some currency in the bank-of-mutual-regard which I can spend next time I need to give them a bollocking.

On the whole it's been an ego / pride thing for me. A few years ago 'listen to me, listen to me' from them stirred up in me 'but I'm always f*cking listening to you, why can't I still be _meeeee_'. Now the older one is starting to congratulate herself on having a personality of her own, and starting to flex her opinions, the same monster rises in me. I remember a great Alan Partridge where he counters a stroppy early-teen with something like 'yeh, but you can't drink in the pub and I bet you haven't even got pubic hair'... Now I try to think 'what if she were handicapped in some way' (or whatever the f*cking PC term is) 'and was set to never develop her own personality and express her own opinions'.

I need to be a much larger, better human than I am, and much closer to my external 46 than my internal (often) 16. Relinquishing things is tough - I tell myself loss of career normally comes shortly before loss of life, so I have longer to enjoy the loss. It's harder when my wife (deep in career) and I are not on the same side, which is often. This experience certainly gives the lie to quite a lot of gender-essentialist thought around career and childcare - we often behave as stereotypical assholes despite the gender swap.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:

On the whole it's been an ego / pride thing for me. A few years ago 'listen to me, listen to me' from them stirred up in me 'but I'm always f*cking listening to you, why can't I still be _meeeee_'. Now the older one is starting to congratulate herself on having a personality of her own, and starting to flex her opinions, the same monster rises in me. I remember a great Alan Partridge where he counters a stroppy early-teen with something like 'yeh, but you can't drink in the pub and I bet you haven't even got pubic hair'... Now I try to think 'what if she were handicapped in some way' (or whatever the f*cking PC term is) 'and was set to never develop her own personality and express her own opinions'.

Of course, every child is different, so the following may be of no help at all - but I found that in this situation the child is often looking for your anger so that they can have something angry to respond to - so one needs a range of responses. Most useful most of the time is to stop reacting and look them in the eye and listen very hard to what they're saying. If they're trying out an opinion, I often say/said "hmm. That's an interesting idea, so why do you think that?"

Most of the time they've not really thought about it very hard so asking them to explain the idea wrongfoots them. You could then try some Socratic questioning, which will eventually get them to go away without having to ever tell them your opinion.

Opinions are often aired in our house. Disagreements are frequent, but everyone tends to know why people think the things they do.

quote:
I need to be a much larger, better human than I am, and much closer to my external 46 than my internal (often) 16. Relinquishing things is tough - I tell myself loss of career normally comes shortly before loss of life, so I have longer to enjoy the loss. It's harder when my wife (deep in career) and I are not on the same side, which is often. This experience certainly gives the lie to quite a lot of gender-essentialist thought around career and childcare - we often behave as stereotypical assholes despite the gender swap.
Well, I think it is helpful to be around people who are being uplifting not too negative. In that spirit: your parenting is not likely to kill you and isn't very likely to shorten your life.

For me, getting through those moments is to consciously tell myself that whatever I'm doing (cooking, cleaning - or just keeping occupied to prevent tipping over into damaging depression) is the most important thing I could be doing at this moment. That getting my children to adulthood as relatively well-balanced and responsible human beings is the job, and whether I happen to like it or not, this is the thing I have to do and I have to do it.

Of course, YMMV.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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-Children- vary enormously. Probably a good thing. If there were two of my daughter the entire state would break off and fall into the Atlantic. She mostly has outgrown the tendency to draw huge disasters in her wake, but it still happens.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:

Those who lament lost opportunities might want to consider that they might have lost a decade or two in entry level jobs. Or unemployed.

Whilst this is undoubtedly true, I'd suggest that you might want to consider your words more carefully before saying such things to someone struggling with their feelings of regret.

Yes, I am fully aware that a vast array of possible scenarios exist where I'm in a worse personal situation, thanks. Funnily enough that doesn't stop the periodic feelings of regret - if you don't get them, be grateful not smug and self-righteous.

Tone of voice didn't come through--that was meant to be rueful, and addressed primarily to myself. I spent 15 years at home and/or very very underemployed, and had my share of wondering what if.
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Mudfrog
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# 8116

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Regret having children?

Not for one second!

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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Were you the main caregiver? How would Mrs Mudfrog respond?

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Get your arse to Mars

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