Perhaps having kids saves you from mourning the person you might have been

Laura Hazard Owen
Apr 29, 2016 · 5 min read

Yes, we have kids. Two.

My wife and I (I’m male) discussed The Kid Question for a couple of years. She generally wanted them, I generally didn’t, and with the help of some couple’s therapy and other resources, I decided kids could be good.

We have two now, and I love them dearly, but even early on, when people would ask “Can you even imagine life without your kid?” I thought that was a strange question. Because yes. I have a good imagination, and it was really, really easy to imagine being able to go to a movie when I felt like it again, or go out to dinner, or whatever else. To have options, and more resources.

We’re almost 10 years in, and I have to say that yes, I do regret it. Don’t get me wrong; I love both kids immensely. They bring great joy. I want them to be part of my life forever.

But if I were able to travel back in time and make the decision all over again (and not remember the kids that I have), I wouldn’t have kids. I love my kids but I don’t really like being a parent, and more and more often I feel like the immense sacrifices of parenthood are almost worth it — but only almost. On balance, I wish I’d decided differently, even if it cost me the marriage.

I suspect my wife feels the opposite.

Laura Hazard Owen

Written by

I’m the deputy editor of Nieman Journalism Lab and mom of two.

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