Why have kids?

I’m in a book club. But not just any book club– the best book club. It’s full of independent and successful women. All of us are from different areas and parts of the countries. A bunch of Philly transplants who found each other to cling to. The other awesome thing about my book club, is that we actually read and talk about the books we choose. Sure, there’s lots of yummy food and wine involved, but we actually make an effort to read and have conversations. We’re on our 4th or 5th book at this point, but the book we can’t stop talking about is our first book.

Why-Have-KidsMy husband very much wants kids. And for the first 25 years of my life, I really wanted them too. But as I progressed deeper into adulthood, I started to realize that I kind of liked my life the way it was. I liked happy hours and dinners out. I liked endless date nights with my forever boyfriend. I LOVED traveling. I’m not saying that all of these things go out the window once you have kids. I know plenty of parents who excel at keeping a balanced life, and not letting their children dictate everything they do. At the same time, a lot of these things would have to go in order for us to have kids. We wouldn’t be able to afford all of those fancy craft cocktails and beers, or attempting to try all of the restaurants in Philadelphia. And we can forget about our travel dreams to New Zealand and South Africa. Am I being selfish? Maybe. But I certainly don’t want to have kids and then subject them to a mother who’s unfulfilled and half the woman she once was.

All this to say, my book club read the book, and loved it. We can’t stop talking about it. And articles about some of the topics in the book keep popping up. The conversations about Leaning In and Can Women Have it All, all, in some way or another, revolve around the issue of motherhood, and women leaving, or not leaving, the workforce to have children. Here’s just a few of the articles I’ve seen me in the past few days:

One-child families are rising because of finances.

When having it all means not having children.

Women who opted out of the work force to be stay-at-home-moms are now opting back in. But it’s not easy. Here’s an excerpt:

“When a mother works, something is lost,” the author Caitlin Flanagan once wrote. But when a mother leaves the work force, a great deal is clearly lost, too. Beyond the personal losses — the changes in the dynamic of a marriage or the cumulative financial effects of many years of not working — there is the collective impact to consider.

Very has few of us book club ladies have formed a firm stance on children. My husband, thankfully, has been willing to entertain the idea of us not having kids. We haven’t found the answer for us yet. But I hope people continue to talk about it. I think it’s important to ask yourself WHY do you want kids. I asked my mom and my mother in-law what they thought, and their answer was simple “that’s just what you did in our day.” I want my answer to be clearer than that. I want to know exactly why I choose to have kids, or not. In the meantime, I’m happy to continue babysitting for my friends and family. I do really love kids. I just don’t know if I want my own.

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