So my wife and I have been married for 10 years. We're both in our mid 30's and she can hear the biological clock ticking. We both feel like we want to have kids and we shouldn't wait much longer. But we both have days where we go back and forth and think about maybe not having them at all.

Reading various threads here men seem pretty tepid about the whole having kids business. Some men are sure they don't want them at all. And some say who have them say they're really difficult, and then qualify it with "but they're worth it."

But don't you kind of have to say that? I mean no one wants to say they regret their kids in polite conversation.

So let's have a non-polite conversation. I'm not interested in what you tell your wife or even your friends. How do you honestly feel about having kids? Does the good outweigh the bad or vice versa?

On the one hand, creating offspring is pretty much the most manly thing you can do. So much of our biology, our anatomy, our hormones is set up so we will perpetuate our line. On the other hand, whenever I see a new dad, sweatpants and t-shirt, tired eyes, with a baby strapped to his front, I tip my hat to him, but also feel a little sad......

Also, while lots of people say having kids is really hard, people also told me that marriage, even sans kids, was hard, and I haven't found that to be the case at all. So individual mileage with these things obviously varies. What's been your experience?

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Honestly, it's a hell of a lot of work if you want to do it right, but so is anything else that you want to be successful at. Is it worth the effort? For me - ABSOLUTELY! I love having a daughter with all her special ways. I love having a mini-me son. They bring a lot of joy and smiles and tears and heartache, but that's life. The good outweighs the bad more than you can imagine. Regret having kids - no way - but you do wonder what life would be like if you didn't have them or if had had children at a different stage in life. As for being ready for children, you never really know until it happens.

To me, one of the most important aspects of having children is learning to put aside some selfish tendencies of what you want so you can give more TIME to your children; BUT by the same token don't give everything to the children or they will grow up to be selfish little monsters who expect their every whim to be met every time. You as the father have an enormous impact on how your family will operate. Will it be a happy home filled with joy, laughter, vitality, love, committment, respect? Or will your home be filled with envy, strife, spite, disrespect, boredom. It's your home (castle) so it's up to you to make it the way you and your wife want it to be, not the children. The choice is yours.
I wouldn't say 44 is too late. Look at guys like David Letterman. Doesn't he have like a 4 year old kid? You never know with these things.
Kids can be a pain in the butt. My 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son are constantly going at it, annoying each other and screaming. Scheduling time with our babysitter (and subsequently paying her) just so my wife and I can have some "out" time alone gets old. Having to take them into account whenever we do something is tiresome.

But yes, they're worth all the trouble. They're fascinating little creatures. It's mind-blowing to watch them learning to speak, run, climb, jump. My 4-year-old has conversations with me with all of the accompanying facial expressions, sighs, and "tsks."

As Jeff mentioned, I think the biggest trial is learning to live for something other than yourself. Raising children is one of the most selfless things we can do, which is why (I think) most of us guys struggle with it. Heck, I freely admit that I'm happy stopping at two, but I was also happy stopping at one; why complicate life? Since I've gotten to know both of my kids, I can definitively say that I'm grateful to have had both of them (although I am looking into a vasectomy now; just sayin'...).

I should also add that my first was born when I was 22, my second when I was 24. I'm looking forward to only being in my early forties when the empty nest hits.
Oh, and there's no way to put into words the feeling you get when your kid calls out, "I luff uw, Daddy!" after tucking them in at night. That's what being a Daddy is all about.
HEAR HEAR! Nothing can compare to those three words when spoken from one's child. Can melt even the hardest of hearts.
I have a daughter but I didn't plan to have her, nor did I plan on not having her. Basically after I slipped the ring on and said my vows I left all of that up to chance because I knew I would waffle back and forth if the decision was left up to me. So you could say that my marriage was my decision to have a child. I was freaked out at the idea of having a child for a few reasons 1. Misguided selfishness, I wanted to live life unimpeded. Then I came to the idea that the only experiences that having a child would prevent me from enjoying would be vacuous thrills and time wasters. 2. Nihilism, I'm a sort of nihilistic atheist and I didn't feel as though I could justify bringing another human life into a meaningless, and deceptive existence. I ended up attempting to wash my hands of making the decision by leaving it to chance. 3. Lack of confidence in myself. Would I be a good father? Would I be able to sort life out before my child? Would I be able to provide for the child properly?

Misery loves company. Those asses that are talking about how miserable and difficult having a child is, that follow it up with "But its worth it" or "I wouldn't change anything", just want to keep you from thinking "Wow. Bob really screwed up by having kids" and think that maybe if you have one of your own they won't be the only jerk in the sandbox saying "Put it down" twenty times like they're Rain Man.

Jeffre nailed it on all counts. Listen to him on all of that.
Thanks for all the honest replies gentlemen. Very comforting to know. And James I think you are right about the "misery loves company" crowd. It seems like the people who were always telling me how hard marriage was going to be and how marriage is pointless because you're just going to get divorced like them, were people who had unhappy marriages and basically wanted to believe that if didn't work out for them, it doesn't work for anyone.
I always wanted three daughters. That's what I got. There are "inconveniences" with having children but, from my experience, there are no downfalls. I'm not married anymore so I don't tell my wife anything. The baby stage really sucks. No sleep, being clueless on what to do and how to do it. Kids are expensive. You have to feed, clothe, house, educate, and entertain them. I've never felt that those were bad things, only inconveniences. When look at your children you can see yourself and learn more about yourself than you ever will if you don't have children. When you have to explain or teach something to them you learn so much more about things. Without challenges you will not grow. Children will make you grow. You will grow as a person. With children you will learn more about love than you ever thought possible. If you do it right, your children will remember you fondly after you've gone, and their children will remember you. I tell my daughters stories about their great great grandfather. I tell them family stories handed down for many generations. It connects them to their ancestors. If you don't have children you will never be one of those ancestors. You, your name, and who you were will never be remembered and the chain of ancestry ends with you. One good child can grow up to change the world for the better. One bad father can create...Hitler.
I am hardly an expert having only 6 kids myself, but I will say that the dad you see with sweat pants and tired eyes with a baby strapped to the front is the happiest man alive. The only sad thing is that you are not that man. If you wait until you are "ready" to have kids you will never have any, kids come when they are good and ready, not a moment before or after.

As stated before, yes kids are a pain- you've got to feed them and clothe them, take them to the emergency room, give them medicine, take them to school functions etc etc etc, but when you are sitting on the couch relaxing and your 2 year old son slides up next to you and put's his head on your lap with his favorite blanket in tow, you become King of the universe, ruler of time space and dimension and all evil in the world is destroyed.
@John: "...when you are sitting on the couch relaxing and your 2 year old son slides up next to you and put's his head on your lap with his favorite blanket in tow, you become King of the universe, ruler of time space and dimension and all evil in the world is destroyed."

Exactly. Those are the moments when all of the "inconveniences" of child-rearing become worth it. You can't explain the feeling; it's just...awesome.
Well put. I had the same fears and trepidations prior to my first child, so I fully understand the hesitation to have kids. But the feeling.... well when you experience it then you become "complete", you then understand what life is for, why your own life went through trials and tribulations, why you suffered and grew strong- not for yourself, but for the moment when your child falls asleep on your lap. It cannot be explained, it must be felt.
How do I feel? Proud. Proud of my kids and proud of my self. It's hard to be a real man without raising children. There is no other single source of such fun and frustration, pride and pain, triumph and terror.
Look at it this way, after enduring children, you loose your fear of death! LOL


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