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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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383 Responses

  1. TomSims
    TomSims November 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

    Yes that is very true.

  2. Katniss
    Katniss November 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |

    It’s low on the list but it’s definitely one of the many reasons I’m never planning on having kids. Then again I’m of the basic opinion that it’s never anyone’s business to call into questions someone’s reasons for not having kids, so any reason seems valid to me.

    1. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah November 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

      I think its interesting to hear the reasons, which are all valid, but I never ask to hear them. If someone is going to volunteer the reasons, so be it. I agree that its not okay to ask. There are a thousand reasons why not to have kids and they all make sense to me. And I have two kids…

  3. er
    er November 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

    We were shocked to crunch the numbers and discovered we were spending almost $30K on preschool, aftercare and summer care alone (2 kids). This does not include any other child-related expenses (clothes, food, gear, etc).

  4. Donna L
    Donna L November 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

    The article really, really irked me. If you don’t want kids, don’t have kids. But there’s something of the “rich people complaining” aspect to the article that bothers me. The woman who wrote this article happens to be someone who very much *can* afford children. Nobody says you have to spend $1.7 million to give your child a “comfortable” life, unless “comfortable” means European vacations every year and the most expensive private schools and summer camps.

    And I also have to say: if you’re going to make a decision entirely based on costs and benefits, this article is all about the costs, with nothing whatsoever about the benefits. And I don’t mean having someone to take care of you in your old age.

    1. Kara
      Kara November 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

      Eh, if you are living in the urban northeast (NYC or Boston), not cutting your kids off financially as soon as they turn 18, and also taking into account the wage hit that a mother takes (all of which the author took into account) then that $1.7 million figure starts to look pretty realistic.

      And, as someone pointed out in the comments on that piece, $1.7 million can be a downright bargain if you are looking at the costs associated with a special needs (severely autistic, say) child.

      1. EG
        EG November 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

        Given that Donna is living in NYC and has a son, I think she’s pretty well aware of the financial costs.

    2. sabrina
      sabrina November 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

      I agree with Donna. Furthermore I found her whole attitude to be extremely condescending especially to those of us who spend massive amounts of money to try and even bring children into this world. What people need to understand is that having or not having children is not something that NYT journalists gets to tell us about. It is something which we can and should come to a conclusion about without being shamed for our choices

      1. Beatrice
        Beatrice November 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

        Good thing she didn’t tell you what you should do, but wrote what she considers best for herself.

    3. EG
      EG November 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm |

      I agree completely. Yet another article in a prominent publication by an affluent white woman justifying her decision whether or not to have children as somehow representative of an objectively “rational” choice, and one that the rest of us need to hear about.

      I’m about to go over the yearly coverage cap in my prescription insurance by a couple thousand dollars and very worried about whether or not I’m going to be able to have children, realistically. Not because oh no, 1.7 million imaginary dollars and owning a home and a comfortable retirment, but because how would I afford health coverage for my child when I’m not able to afford my own health expenses. Thinking about that brings tears to my eyes. I don’t give a shit about this woman’s whining that most people don’t even consider her “prudent” decision.

      I mean seriously:

      Saving money and paying down debt is even harder when earnings have diminished and expenses have increased because of the addition of a new stakeholder who is now the most important priority.

      My family is not a company. Children are not stakeholders. If finances are pressuring you or burdening you, that’s one thing; but if you just don’t want to have children, own that. It’s a valid feeling! But being handed a check for 1.7 million dollars wouldn’t make it “right” for someone who doesn’t want children to have them, and the costs of having a kid won’t make it right for someone who does want them not to have them

      1. Beatrice
        Beatrice November 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

        If finances are pressuring you or burdening you, that’s one thing; but if you just don’t want to have children, own that. It’s a valid feeling!

        So thinking of having babies either gives you warm fuzzies or doesn’t, and it’s not something a woman can weigh pros and cons for?

        Yeah, simply not wanting children is a valid feeling. Sort of being somewhere in the middle and then, after considering your options, deciding (due to, for example, financial reasons) that no, children aren’t for you is also a valid feeling.

        1. EG
          EG November 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

          Yes, wanting to have children is just about having warm fuzzies when you think of babies. Very accurate, and not at all demeaning.

          Go ahead, weigh pros and cons. But for major life decisions, I strongly suspect most people come out with the decision they want in their gut, and then look for the justifications that make sense. Seriously, can you imagine an article written by someone who doesn’t really want kids, but is convinced to do so by some kind of, I don’t know, concern about eldercare? That would sound stupid, right? Well, that’s just how stupid the idea that whether or not you have kids is based on affording a comfortable retirement sounds to me.

          When I see article after article written by affluent white women about not having kids is just the most reasonable choice–as though people who want/have children just never thought of it this way before–I’m going to call condescending bullshit. Trust me, affluent white lady writing for the NYT, you haven’t tumbled to a massive secret that other people haven’t realized. We know that having kids is costly. That tells me the issue isn’t about reasonableness of the pros and cons, but about justifying a decision ex post facto.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

          When I see article after article written by affluent white women about not having kids is just the most reasonable choice–as though people who want/have children just never thought of it this way before–I’m going to call condescending bullshit. Trust me, affluent white lady writing for the NYT, you haven’t tumbled to a massive secret that other people haven’t realized. We know that having kids is costly. That tells me the issue isn’t about reasonableness of the pros and cons, but about justifying a decision ex post facto.

          Pray tell, what offends you so much about someone being comfortable with a decision they’ve made?

        3. Donna L
          Donna L November 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

          Pray tell, what offends you so much about someone being comfortable with a decision they’ve made?

          Are you seriously suggesting that you think the author is talking only about her own situation, and that you don’t see how condescending she’s being?

          Even though she actually says that “many” people “don’t usually consider” that children are really expensive and that not having them would save money? What an amazing revelation!

          Even though she says that it’s “rather prudent” to opt out of parenthood for financial reasons?

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

          Are you seriously suggesting that you think the author is talking only about her own situation, and that you don’t see how condescending she’s being?

          Even though she actually says that “many” people “don’t usually consider” that children are really expensive and that not having them would save money? What an amazing revelation!

          Even though she says that it’s “rather prudent” to opt out of parenthood for financial reasons?

          Surely that is sound advice for someone who values financial reward over the spiritual/personal rewards of raising a child. For someone who has the reverse priorities the article should be irrelevant.

        5. EG
          EG November 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm |

          I think I’ve made it clear what offends me about the article, Steve. It’s what has offended me about this whole genre of articles: the implicit assumption (not even implicit here–as Donna points out, the author says that the financial aspect of having children just doesn’t occur to “many” people who have them) that the author is the first person to ever tumble to this massive concern about having kids, that people with kids just never considered this, and that therefore, her personal inclination happens to be the correct one (isn’t that convenient) and she is here to enlighten us poor benighted fools.

          It’s the problem with most first-person NYT articles, which is that some rich white people think their personal conclusions are somehow worth of note in the newspaper of record.

          I’m also annoyed by her bitching about she just doesn’t know with her two-income, writing-for-the-NYT household whether or not she and her partner will be able to have a comfortable retirement, when I’m trying to figure out where to get enough meds to see me through the end of the year. When the financial burden of having children is actually a–perhaps the–major obstacle to you doing it, despite the fact that you’ve wanted children passionately your whole life, yeah, well, I am fucking irritated with and don’t have much time for someone acting like she’s the first person ever to note that kids cost money, so, hey, she’s just not going to have them and buy a house instead.

        6. EG
          EG November 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

          Even though she actually says that “many” people “don’t usually consider” that children are really expensive and that not having them would save money? What an amazing revelation!

          No, Steve, the part and tone of the piece that Donna is referencing here is not sound advice for anybody. It’s condescending bullshit implying that the writer, rich white woman that she is, is the first person ever to have noticed that having children costs a bunch of money–why, I hope this article can reach those blind fools!

          Tell me, in what universe are people considering becoming parents not aware that children take up financial resources?

        7. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

          No, Steve, the part and tone of the piece that Donna is referencing here is not sound advice for anybody. It’s condescending bullshit implying that the writer, rich white woman that she is, is the first person ever to have noticed that having children costs a bunch of money–why, I hope this article can reach those blind fools!

          Tell me, in what universe are people considering becoming parents not aware that children take up financial resources?

          You can choose to read a condescending tone, but it’s your choice. If someone writes an article about how you can save money by cooking at home, I don’t think ‘Oh my god! They don’t know that I’ve already considered that before I go out to dinner?’
          This is just another example of Jill posting an article by a woman who indicates that she is happy with the decision that she’s made, and commenters just line up to say how horrible it is that she’s proud of her decision. I’m sorry, but if you have a problem with someone being proud of their choice then you are saying they should be ashamed of their choice.

        8. Donna L
          Donna L November 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm |

          Plus the condescending b.s. pointed out below by Past My Expiration Date:

          MOST people want to be sure that they can buy and pay for a home, save up for an emergency fund and enjoy a comfortable retirement. They will go to great lengths to meet those goals, and they make life choices accordingly.

          “Most” people can’t afford to save enough money for any of those things, let alone all three of them, even if they don’t have children.

          Not to mention that owning a home was never, ever in my entire life something I aspired to or cared about.

        9. EG
          EG November 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

          You can choose to read a condescending tone, but it’s your choice. If someone writes an article about how you can save money by cooking at home

          Does that writer say that he/she thinks that “many” people just haven’t considered the cost of eating out? Because if so, yes, that writer is being a fucking idiot.

          Whenever some nitwit rambles on about how poor people would do better nutritionally and financially if they would just cook rice and beans at home, I do note that they’re being condescending idiots who aren’t looking at the real world, and acting as though poor people just haven’t thought of cooking at home. Poor people are not too stupid to consider cooking at home and make a choice that best fits their circumstances, and people who want children aren’t so stupid that they never noticed that kids cost money.

          I’m a very good reader, Steve. It’s what I do for a living. I’m not reading shit “into” the piece. If the tone doesn’t bother you, that’s nice for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

      2. bleh
        bleh November 16, 2012 at 11:14 am |

        I do get warm fuzzies around other people’s children. Chose not to have my own because of cons for the planet. Not emotional at all.

        1. Alyson
          Alyson November 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

          Yes, and the notion above that most people make the “to procreate or not to procreate?” decision with their GUT is a little offensive to me. My decision that I don’t want kids is partially environmental, partially financial, and partially because my partner has a chronic illness which is sometimes hereditary. If we somehow become rich, we could adopt, but then there’s the fact that upon analyzing my personality, I think I’d be a terrible mother, and I don’t want to put anyone through that. Ultimately, the factors here are logical ones.

        2. EG
          EG November 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

          But the question is, where do you start from? Do you start from “I deeply, deeply want children and always have, but, given these logical factors, I won’t,” or do you start from “I could go either way and don’t have strong feelings, so, in considering these logical factors, I won’t.” Because that is a gut feeling, and it affects whether or not those logical factors matter.

        3. WL
          WL November 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

          Every decision starts from somewhere, of course. How much people weight give to emotions vs logic varies from person to person and decision to decision.

          And to Alyson, I had a similar problem regarding parenting ability–I really wanted to have kids, but I realized it wouldn’t be fair for them to have a parent like me. Someday I might undergo therapy to change that, but I’m not ready for that now and it’s not a high priority. It’s sad how most people don’t think about their potential children’s potential feelings the way you do. Plenty of people who would be terrible parents end up as…terrible parents, instead of non-parents or better people who end up being good parents.

          As for adoption, that’s much cheaper than having a biological child if you’re not picky about needing a Caucasian, newborn, perfectly healthy-in-every-way baby with no siblings to adopt together. Going through for-profit adoption agencies who want to sell you those “perfect” white infants or kidnapped foreign kids will cost you a TON, I know.

          Going through the state for waiting kids–who aren’t white but as healthy or healthier than your average kid raised by bio parents, who have mild-to-severe impairments/delays/disabilities, who are older than the “innocent little baby angels” or young toddlers, who have siblings they would be heartbroken to be torn from, etc–usually costs you nothing. The state will pay for any attorney fees etc. Often they will subsidize your childcare even after adoption is finalized, such as by cash for food, health care, etc.

          For kids with any type of health issue, it’s likely you’ll get even more financial help.

          As a personal note about sibling groups, when my brother and I endured enough abuse that we considered the risks of the state/foster system, we decided against reporting the abuse. Why? Because more than anything else–foster parents or group homes that might be more abusive than our current situation, being given back and enduring extra violence as retaliation for reporting, etc–we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to live with each other any more. We were afraid they would separate us. So we stayed.

        4. EG
          EG November 19, 2012 at 6:56 am |

          Going through the state for waiting kids–who aren’t white but as healthy or healthier than your average kid raised by bio parents, who have mild-to-severe impairments/delays/disabilities, who are older than the “innocent little baby angels” or young toddlers, who have siblings they would be heartbroken to be torn from, etc–usually costs you nothing.

          Yes, why don’t more people who want to have a baby decide to adopt teenagers? It’s a mystery. Surely, if you want to have a baby, there could be no difference between that experience and taking a fifteen-year-old who may or may not have significant problems of the kind you have no experience with in your family into your home. And there’s no reason on earth that anybody could have a preference for a biologically related kid, or have an interest in wanting to experience pregnancy or childbirth.

          How much people weight give to emotions vs logic varies from person to person and decision to decision.

          Logic only matters if you’re working toward an emotionally satisfying end. Otherwise it’s not an exercise with any point. We’ve had this discussion quite recently.

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 19, 2012 at 7:11 am |

          But, EG, we’re supposed to realize how much more enlightened and environmentally friendly it is to just adopt a child instead of having our own. See also, you selfish cow, you should learn to simply accept your lot in life if you can’t get pregnant the old fashioned way in order to become a parent.

        6. WL
          WL November 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm |

          Yes, why don’t more people who want to have a baby …

          If you want a BABY, and not a person, then go interact with babies. A newborn won’t be a baby any more, faster than some people think. So after a year or few, are these people who “wanted a baby” going to throw out the now-non-baby child? (Sadly, there are some people who are like that…I hope you aren’t though.)

          Surely, if you want to have a baby, there could be no difference between that experience and taking a fifteen-year-old …

          There’s a difference between having a white baby and a Chinese baby, a 1-day-old baby and a 3-day-old baby. There’s a difference between having a newborn white baby and hir identical twin! Every baby is unique, and if you’ve never even met the baby before, what exactly do you love about hir?

          Apparently you don’t know the difference between “and” and “or.” Waiting kids might be young and African-American, they might be white and 15 years old, or any combination of traits that make them not “instant purchases.” If you want a kid who is newborn, AND white, AND perfectly healthy, AND have no developmental delays, etc…well I sure hope you don’t have a biological kid. What will you do with it if, after a few months, s/he turns out to have a developmental delay? Give it to the state?

          …who may or may not have significant problems of the kind you have no experience with in your family into your home.

          Exactly my point. So every parent who has a biological child diagnosed with a problem should have the child taken away, unless their previously-born children already had that problem? Yikes.

          And there’s no reason on earth that anybody could have a preference for a biologically related kid, or have an interest in wanting to experience pregnancy or childbirth.

          VHEMT listed plenty. But sure, some people are too racist, xenophobic, weak to parents’ pressures, etc…and these are prioritized over love and morals. I hope that as our culture changes, people will understand that loving and caring about family members is more important than eugenics and skin color.

          Logic only matters if you’re working toward an emotionally satisfying end. Otherwise it’s not an exercise with any point.

          Emotionally satisfying for who, the genetic elitists? There can be many reasons for engaging in logical thought, and being supremely selfish isn’t the only one.

          We’ve had this discussion quite recently.

          Where?

          See also, you selfish cow, you should learn to simply accept your lot in life if you can’t get pregnant the old fashioned way in order to become a parent.

          No one should do something just because they’re physically able, nor should they be considered at a disadvantage because they’re not physically able.

          The whole emphasis on “pregnant the old fashioned way” hurts not only children, but infertile couples and everyone affected. It’s no different from being able to be “pretty the old fashioned way” or trying to imitate it (have you seen some of the extreme, dangerous, painful, expensive cosmetic surgeries some perfectly healthy young girls subject themselves to?).

          Also, I think RPA got it right that so long as speciesism exists, so will injustice within a species.

      3. zuzu
        zuzu November 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm | *

        Yet another article in a prominent publication by an affluent white woman

        Affluent, I’ll grant you. But how do you know she’s white?

    4. Meaghan
      Meaghan November 16, 2012 at 11:31 am |

      These were my feelings exactly when I read this. Is it me or does 14k or 27k not sound like THAT much for the cost of raising a child? I mean you’d pay more for a car.

  5. Kara
    Kara November 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

    There is a response piece to this article in the NYT’s Motherload blog – “The Benefit, in Dollars, of Raising a Child

    1. robotile
      robotile November 17, 2012 at 7:46 am |

      I’m embarrassed to admit we literally spent $24,000 to $32,000 a year eating out. Now that we have a baby, that number has dropped dramatically. So the added cost of childcare has basically been balanced out by not eating out as much.
      So, yeah, there are economic costs and benefits to both child-ful and child-free living and the author isn’t tallying the former fairly.

      1. WL
        WL November 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

        I think that’s not a benefit from having kids, but a benefit from having different priorities. Kids may or may not shift spending priorities. Having kids is absolutely NOT necessary to have different spending priorities. That article makes it sound like doing things like eating expensive meals is NECESSARY if you don’t have children.

        Ever since I read http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/19990905mag-poverty-singer.html I felt guilty about spending on luxuries, although my family has less of those than most people I know. Maybe I should include that in “the economic costs and benefits of reading or not reading philosophy articles”?

  6. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll November 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    Jesus…if it took 1.7 million to raise a kid mine would have been screwed.

    1. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah November 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm |

      LOL. Yup. My kids are clearly screwed. They sure look like they are suffering right now (as they play happily after eating a nice meal).

    2. Henry
      Henry November 17, 2012 at 12:44 am |

      yeah we’re opting out of all the bullshit. no 5K a year summer camps, no 3K birthday parties, public school in a medium ranked school district where we can almost afford a house. it’s not that hard if you don’t engage in the keeping up with the neighbors mentality.

      1. (BFing)Sarah
        (BFing)Sarah November 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

        And your children, I’m sure, are suffering. They are practically abused! No 3K summer camp?! No BMW on their 16th birthday???!! Hand me down clothes?! How will they possible LIVE?! Won’t someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN!

        Seriously, though, kids are expensive. And expense is a valid reason not to have kids. But what is “necessary” in one income bracket sometimes sounds pretty ridiculous and materialistic to me.

      2. WL
        WL November 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm |

        I don’t think a fair, non-abusive education is about keeping up with neighbors. I think it’s about caring about the lives and wellbeing of children. It’s nothing like a BMW or designer clothes.

        1. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah November 18, 2012 at 1:27 am |

          Wait. You are not implying that public school is abusive education, are you?

        2. WL
          WL November 18, 2012 at 9:52 am |

          The fact that it’s public, no. There are plenty of public schools that are less abusive than plenty of private schools.

          Most formal education systems are abusive, physically and psychologically harmful, and warp kids’ personalities (not for the better). It’s because this culture takes it for granted that relatively few people see it (or even think to look at it).

        3. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah November 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

          No offense…but what about that statement is on topic? The author of the piece being discussed did not say she isn’t having kids b/c she is going to pay 1.7 million dollars for a non-abusive, non-formal education (whatever that might be). She said that she wasn’t having children because they were expensive and to give them “the best” of everything she would have to spend gobs of money. I agree children are expensive and that its a valid reason to not want to have children. However, I don’t really spend gobs of money because we don’t chose to do so and it isn’t hurting my children. Henry said something along those lines, which I agree with, and I responded in a joking manner that I’m sure that his children were suffering. Then you responded something about non-abusive, non-formal education? I’m confused about the relevance.

        4. WL
          WL November 22, 2012 at 2:30 am |

          If we’re only supposed to talk about what she wrote she was factoring in (which did mention school-related expenses) AND gave an explanation for, and not allowed to talk about related things or reply to each other, most of these comments would be boring.

          Most people have NO idea of all the things they’re doing, by action or omission, that are hurting their children. And the adults around them, including spouses/partners. And the non-humans around them. That’s not saying they’re stupid or bad-intentioned, but that the research on this isn’t well-known, and people are stuck in the mindsets passed down from their parents and their entire culture. I’d say most of these people have warm, loving, caring, generous personalities, deeply held moral beliefs, and do a lot for their kids within their abilities–and none of that is negated by, nor does it negate, the truth.

          http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=11375 is relatively short and free (I otherwise would recommend other authors over him). Someone typed up an old speech this guy gave. You might want to skim it and see if your schools are explained by any of his points.

          And yes, children do suffer from abusive schools. No, not getting a BWM isn’t abuse. My point was, there is a difference.

  7. Andie
    Andie November 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

    But think of all the money you’re saving by not going out to museums and parties and concerts and nightclubs and having drinks with friends and such when you’re only having 30% as much fun!

    1. Safiya Outlines
      Safiya Outlines November 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm |

      Damn! I so wanted to be the first to quote the 30% less fun fact. I will never, ever tire of it.

      1. EG
        EG November 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm |

        Me either! I was just telling my best friend that these posts are always worth while because someone always gets to pull that one out again…

      2. (BFing)Sarah
        (BFing)Sarah November 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

        Agreed. Love that.

  8. konkonsn
    konkonsn November 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

    I do like reading articles that affirm my choice not to have children as I am currently in a place where most people assume I will. And maybe articles like this help women who are constantly asked, “Why won’t you have kiiiiiiiiiiids?” because they can point to the facts presented and that there are others with their mindset.

    At the same time, it does reinforce the notion that most young, affluent people would choose not to have children if they just really, really thought about it (like people who have kids just aren’t thinking).

    It’s actually kind of funny because it’s really backwards in my family. I don’t want kids just because I don’t feel like I want kids. My sister wants children and has her and her husband’s financial future all planned out so they can start trying at the optimal time.

  9. Donna L
    Donna L November 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

    A thread on another forum about the same article, with about 125 comments mostly from women with children who are now in their teens or early 20′s, looking back retrospectively:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/1415968-article-opting-out-parenthood-financial-reasons.html

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra November 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

      Just read through it; fascinating thread.

  10. librarygoose
    librarygoose November 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

    Man, good thing kids don’t really cost 1.7 million or my parents would still be saving for one, let alone the six they had.

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra November 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm |

      I’d be more interested to see what kids cost as a percent of income, because how much people spend on kids is going to depend on cost of living in an area and income; 1.7 million dollars lifetime is probably about average for an upper-middle-class family living on the east or west coasts.

      As mentioned above though, once you start talking about health problems in a kid, whether it’s a disability or an illness or injuries, then the cost increases almost exponentially.

      1. librarygoose
        librarygoose November 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

        yeah, I could see someone who makes the same as my parents did while I was a kid spending that much on a kid who had special needs or health problems. They’d be so deep in debt it would be crushing, but I could understand that.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L November 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm |

        1.7 million dollars lifetime

        I don’t think she says that that’s supposed to be a “lifetime” number; I read it as being until the kid is an adult. And I say it’s wildly inflated unless you’re talking about a truly affluent lifestyle — even in the New York City area. (Where my son grew up and went to public schools and we never took a vacation to a place we couldn’t drive to. But I don’t have expensive tastes, and neither did my ex.) Obviously if you introduce health problems that’s a different story.

        1. zuzu
          zuzu November 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm | *

          She sets out in the article that the figure includes costs from birth to age 40, because:

          1) Current figures usually cut off at age 17, thus putting the rather significant cost of college outside of the considerations of the cost of raising a child;

          2) Many, many adult children live at home because they can’t get a job in the current economy, or can’t afford to live on their own when educational debt and cost of housing is taken into account;

          3) Many parents give their children financial assistance well into the children’s 30s.

        2. zuzu
          zuzu November 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm | *

          She’s also quite clear that the $1.7 mil figure is not universal, but applies to children born to parents in her income bracket and location, and goes for more years than most child-cost calculators do.

        3. Alexandra
          Alexandra November 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

          I guess, Donna, that I think that budgeting for major health problems in a kid is a reasonable thing to do… I’m having trouble finding good info on this (not being an epidemiologist… yet) but I would be surprised if the percent of children with some kind of significant health problem were not at or above 20%, if you factor in mental illness alongside chronic health problems like asthma or diabetes, congenital illnesses like cystic fibrosis, and other physical disabilities.

          Are there any epidemiologists reading Feministe? Can you answer this question?

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 16, 2012 at 11:29 am |

          Alexandra, I agree that people should budget for a kid before having it, but honestly that idea gets a lot of pushback around here. The idea that non-normative kids can get very expensive very quickly doesn’t seem to come up enough, as it gets steamrolled by the idea that everyone should get a few of their own and fuck the costs. Yeah, ideally the state pays for all that, but ideally the state pays for all my crazy shit too, and that’s just not happening. At least as a childfree person my (lack of) income only fucks myself up.

  11. Chataya
    Chataya November 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

    I tried to glean some insight from my discussions with women who are personal finance and parenting experts. I hoped they would help me reconcile the knowable and unknowable advantages and disadvantages of having children. Instead I was assured that a cost-benefit analysis was neither necessary nor helpful, and that one day I would feel the urge to procreate, and so I would.

    Fuck them very fucking much.

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra November 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

      That is some condescending shit, isn’t it? And it’s always women who get this lecture (why is it that women only are supposed to have the biological imperative to reproduce).

      1. Chataya
        Chataya November 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm |

        Particularly rage-inducing when it’s coming from your gynecologist, but I think I’ve found a good one this time. He didn’t laugh when I mentioned sterilization.

        1. Alexandra
          Alexandra November 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

          Mf. I’m still trying to find a doctor who will give me, a 22yo, an IUD. Ok, I’m young, I’m nulliparous… but I have a major medical condition that would make pregnancy a really really bad idea!! And because of that medical condition, I can’t use HBC. And yet somehow the risks of one outweigh the other *mind boggles*

        2. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable November 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

          What risks are they claiming? I assume you’d be getting a copper IUD, right? Is it just the extra bleeding you may get?

        3. Alexandra
          Alexandra November 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm |

          Nulliparous women are more likely to have difficulties during insertion of IUDs, and I believe are more likely to have complications after insertion (?).

        4. zuzu
          zuzu November 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm | *

          Alexandra — IUDs need a certain amount of room inside the uterus, which more often than not isn’t there with nulliparous women. Of course, your doctor could measure your uterus to find out if it’s the case with you, but they typically decide not to bother. Try Planned Parenthood.

        5. IrishUp
          IrishUp November 18, 2012 at 10:02 am |

          Zuzu, I’m not sure that is correct of the current generation of IUDs, nor the reason that US MDs rarely recommend or discuss IUDs.
          Dr. Kate Clancy of “Context and Variation” (now on SciAm blogs) had a great series on BC the summer before last. She’s a medical anthropologist who blogs about all kinds of neat things through a feminist lens. She has particular interest in women’s reproductive issues.

          From her post “Summer of the Pill: The latest fashion accessory to hit your uterus: the IUD!”:

          On IUD and room in the uterus:

          “There are notable differences between the parous (has had children) and nulliparous (no kids) uterus. The parous uterus is a little bigger, and the cervix dilates a bit more easily. However, it turns out that for the most part these differences are not great enough to produce any differences in side effects or danger to the woman using it.

          Prager and Darney (2007) found six studies on perforation or expulsion rates for IUDs (some copper, some hormone-releasing, which are made of plastic and are flexible). They did not find enough data to support a link either way for nulliparity and perforation, because the studies they found had anywhere from zero to two nulliparous women in them. That said, the perforation rates for each study ranged from 0-1.3% in one study, and 2.6 out of 1000 in another (Prager and Darney 2007).”

          In the post, it looks like outdated information is the main reason physicians overlook IUDs.

  12. monkeypedia
    monkeypedia November 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

    Also, children are expensive in the US, at least in part because the burden of paying for health care and child care for them falls almost entirely on their parents/guardians in most cases. Articles like this, that treat children quite literally as a “lifestyle choice” (this article even uses that phrase) just assume that this sort of status quo is a given, which makes me crazy. I mean, we almost had universal free/subsidized day care and preschool in this country not too long ago, it was passed by both the house and the senate and then vetoed by Nixon. Making raising healthy well cared for children not just more affordable but standard practice is not such an out there idea, but it requires thinking of children as full-fledged members of society, not just an exotic type of expensive pet some people choose to keep along with their chinese crested and their macaw.

    1. monkeypedia
      monkeypedia November 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

      Oof, I apologize for my use of crazy there. I actually do self-identify as crazy, but not because of child care costs.

    2. Tamara
      Tamara November 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

      Very good points of course. In NZ the cost figure I mentioned is much lower because of universal healthcare, education and so forth.

    3. Past my expiration date
      Past my expiration date November 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

      Yes, the idea that children are an expensive private hobby sends me from serenity to rage in less than 3 seconds.

      1. EG
        EG November 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm |

        It’s the logical outgrowth of the hatred for mothers on welfare–how dare people act like having children is an essential part of a lot of human life rather than a privilege granted only to those few who are (financially) worthy? They must be irresponsible and have not thought through the consequences!

    4. Sarah
      Sarah November 16, 2012 at 1:15 am |

      This is very much true, in contrast, here in Norway, having children is still expensive, but comparatively less so compared to USA because of:

      * Compulsory fully-paid parental leave for both parents.

      * Susidised high-quality low-cost childcare

      * Universal healthcare with zero co-payment for all services connected to pregnancy and childbirth, and low co-payments capped at $300/year or 1% of income (whatever is less) for all other services. Zero co-payments for anyone younger than 18.

  13. Tamara
    Tamara November 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    I found the article puzzling as well. In NZ most people seem to be well aware of the costs of having children. Sums like $300K to the age of 18 are bandied about. I’ve never met anyone who is all shocked at how much its cost them. People here are much more appalled at the cost of home renovations.

    In addition, the piece does come off as rather insulting. Only people who aren’t that fussed about having children could approach it this way. The problem is that it’s not clear who the intended audience is.

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra November 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

      I’m pretty sure the intended audience is herself, or the critics that she hears in her head when she thinks about not having kids.

      The sort of person who criticizes women for not having kids isn’t going to be appeased by a cost-benefit analysis, since they’re always going to bring out stuff like, “Childless women are selfish,” and, “You’ll want a kid once your biological clock starts ticking.”

      1. Meaghan
        Meaghan November 16, 2012 at 11:50 am |

        hahahaha yes. It really sounds like she is trying to convince herself she is right.

        (Not that she doesn’t have good reasons, it’s just the way it’s written)

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 16, 2012 at 11:53 am |

          Haha, stupid childfree women with their selfish guilt complexes! You aren’t convincing anyone with your heavily-researched article!

    2. EG
      EG November 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

      Precisely this.

      Does the writer really think that people are going to read this piece and think “Oooooh. Kids are costly. I never realized,” and change their decisions? Like people who have kids don’t know ahead of time that it’ll take money?

      In addition, the piece does come off as rather insulting. Only people who aren’t that fussed about having children could approach it this way.

      Yes. This is a much more succinct version of what I was trying to get at above.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl November 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm |

        Does the writer really think that people are going to read this piece and think “Oooooh. Kids are costly. I never realized,” and change their decisions? Like people who have kids don’t know ahead of time that it’ll take money?

        Yes, I suspect she does think exactly this. Bonus points if you also feel significantly chastened and full of regret for it never occurring to you to think through the economic cost of your breeding ways after reading her article.

      2. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan November 16, 2012 at 11:33 am |

        Well, about half of US pregnancies are unplanned, right? I think that a fair number of parents obviously really don’t put a lot of thought into what raising kids will be like until they’re only about 9 months out from actually having the thing.

        1. EG
          EG November 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm |

          I disagree. Not planning a pregnancy is not the same as being gobsmacked by the unprecedented news that children cost lots and lots of money. I can’t even imagine how privileged a life you’d have to lead not to know this by the time you’re in your early 20s, the group she claims has many people who don’t think about this.

        2. shfree
          shfree November 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm |

          Speaking as a parent of an unplanned kid, that is a really shitty thing to say. The implication, to me, is that we are all just running through life utterly clueless about anything related to children and/or childrearing until we get knocked up, and frankly we aren’t stupid just because our birth control fucking fails.

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 20, 2012 at 11:59 am |

          Calm down, shfree. 9_9 What’s “shitty” about saying that half of all pregnancies being unplanned indicates that there are a decent chunk of people who didn’t probably budget for the unplanned kid ahead of time? They didn’t think there would be a kid; why would they budget for one?

        4. WL
          WL November 22, 2012 at 1:32 am |

          Sorry, Bagel, but you make too much sense.

          The rare cases of people whose birth control failed, but already did a bunch of math and budgeting just in case, and researched plenty and were ready for a child any time…well they’re obviously the rule and not the exception, right? And anyone who doesn’t fit that description but has an unplanned pregnancy must be “stupid.”

  14. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl November 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    When I see article after article written by affluent white women about not having kids is just the most reasonable choice–as though people who want/have children just never thought of it this way before–I’m going to call condescending bullshit. Trust me, affluent white lady writing for the NYT, you haven’t tumbled to a massive secret that other people haven’t realized. We know that having kids is costly. That tells me the issue isn’t about reasonableness of the pros and cons, but about justifying a decision ex post facto.

    EG for the win, once again.

    What is it with the New York Times and the self-congratulatory condescension from their columnists talking down to everyone else who doesn’t make the same life choices as them anyway? It’s like variations on the same theme of journalist who thinks she is the first person ever to have these original thoughts or to express them so earnestly. That’s not feminism, folks, and doesn’t really make for interesting reading either.

    The more compelling conversations were with other mothers — neighbors, friends and co-workers — to whom I casually mentioned that I was writing an article about considering not having children. Before I could even put it in a financial context, more than a few of them cut me off to say just three words: Good for you.

    And it never occurs to her that maybe, just maybe, the reason she gets this response is because these other women are trying to short circuit the conversation. And that maybe they are doing so because the last thing on earth they wanted was to be put on the spot to rationalize and explain their personal choice to procreate to a person they already know is CFBC and a columnist for the NYT.

    1. Miss S
      Miss S November 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm |

      And it never occurs to her that maybe, just maybe, the reason she gets this response is because these other women are trying to short circuit the conversation. And that maybe they are doing so because the last thing on earth they wanted was to be put on the spot to rationalize and explain their personal choice to procreate to a person they already know is CFBC and a columnist for the NYT.

      Agreed. I know I would do the exact same thing. Another privileged woman seeking validation for her life choices from others? So. Fucking. Tiring. Shut. Up.

  15. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date November 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

    I almost stopped with the first paragraph

    MOST people want to be sure that they can buy and pay for a home, save up for an emergency fund and enjoy a comfortable retirement. They will go to great lengths to meet those goals, and they make life choices accordingly.

    in which it is immediately clear that “most people” means “most people the author knows”.

    And then I did stop altogether with the last paragraph on the first page

    Part of what I imagine makes parenting so hard is the challenge of making financial compromises, and the emotional fallout from those choices. It must be difficult to accept that no matter how you set aside your own interests, you cannot afford the very best of everything for your child.

    because of all of the things I have ever found difficult to accept, this one is absolutely nowhere on the list. Every thought in this paragraph is wrong.

    1. chava
      chava November 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

      It must be difficult to accept that no matter how you set aside your own interests, you cannot afford the very best of everything for your child.

      Fuck you very fucking much, lady. (the author, not PA)

      That is so condescending I don’t even have words. Sure, people want good things for their children. But I don’t cry myself to sleep at night that the Fat One could not have a $900.00 stroller and designer baby clothes. Good healthcare? YES. Good education? YES. The “very best of everything”? Oh, come off it.

    2. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah November 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

      I didn’t even get that far with the article, it was exhausting. Even if I COULD give my kids the very best of absolutely everything, I think I’d pass. I mean, the Hilton sisters are not exactly what I would consider excellent offspring.

      1. EG
        EG November 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm |

        I strongly suspect that my definition of “the best” is completely different from the Hilton parents’ definition of “the best.” I mean…I would put “giving my children a good sense of values and of what’s important” on any list of the best things I want to give them, personally.

  16. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune November 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm |

    I guess the pretty awesome tiny person we’re raising on less than 15K a year (and that’s assuming she takes up half the household’s expenses) must be, like, a hamster, then.

    Fucking rich shits.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan November 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

      Rodents are fucking expensive! I had to get my pet rats spayed at $100 a pop. Furry little bastards. :p

      1. Chataya
        Chataya November 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

        I have to say that, for their lifespan, rats are the most expensive pet I’ve ever owned. Love the little shits, though.

      2. WL
        WL November 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

        What year was this? How large were the rats? I considered myself extremely lucky to find a vet (granted, in a not-so-rich area) who only charged around $300 for a guinea pig (around 800g – 1kg) OVH. It’s a very difficult and invasive surgery to perform, especially on animals that small. Not to mention services like pulse oxymetry, ECG, pre-op bloodwork, anesthesia, etc etc. $300 is nothing compared to a fair price at a decent hospital for humans.

        For the second one, it was more like $450, but that included the uterine biopsy.

        It wasn’t the spay surgeries that cost a lot, though. More the constant fresh foods (organic Belgian endives anyone?), daily medications, stuff like that. Those “little things” add up, even if $20 for a month of meds doesn’t seem nearly as large as a $300 surgery. Or the $300 ultrasounds, except we had several of those, vs only 2 spays on our younger cavies. Same with people thinking spending $800 in one day on our oldest one is a lot (“what, in just ONE DAY?”) but that’s only a drop in the bucket.

        Only people who are very ignorant and/or uncaring, heartless, and morally bankrupt would call these living, feeling beings “cheap starter pets.”

  17. Dominique
    Dominique November 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

    Being alive as an adult is awfully expensive, too. There’s a way to avoid the whole mess, but it’s considered a bit drastic.

    IMO, the real debate is why there are aren’t enough social programs to make life more liveable for everyone, including families with children.

    And of course: if you don’t want kids, you don’t need a financial argument. Not having a maternal instinct is an extremely good reason not to have them, since the feeling of being unloved and unwanted is a recipe for poor development and depression.

    In short, if you are unsure, wait until you know. My mother let others talk her into the whole “it’ll be different when they’re yours” argument, and she still hated the whole process. We heard about it the whole time she was alive. It was not fun.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan November 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

      Being alive as an adult is awfully expensive, too. There’s a way to avoid the whole mess, but it’s considered a bit drastic.

      …By being one of the NYC children who costs $1.7 mil and lives at home until age 40? Bet that saves you a few bucks. ;p

    2. tomek
      tomek November 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm |

      i have curious, you think only the maternal instinct give love to child? so man cannot love child as good as woman?

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl November 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

        Oy, Tomek, work on those reading comprehension skills some more, would you?

        The author of the article in question is a woman, and the commenter was pointing out that her simply not having a maternal drive to have a child is sufficient reason to not do so. Dressing it up with a bunch of rationalizations about how daunting the alleged costs of bearing and raising a child might be is unnecessary.

        It has nothing to do with men or their ability or capacity to parent sufficiently.

        1. tomek
          tomek November 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

          i see. in my country ist is common believe that man cannot care for child as good as woman. i think is true for very small child where ciswoman can give breast milk which improve much intelligence of child. but after child is finished being small, i think man can do good raise child especially boy. woman good at raise girl.

          on subject or article i think that woman and man should be able chose not to have or to have child freely. but i also think important for people to stop havig many so children because overpopulation and poor conditions

        2. Donna L
          Donna L November 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm |

          i think is true for very small child where ciswoman can give breast milk which improve much intelligence of child. but after child is finished being small, i think man can do good raise child especially boy. woman good at raise girl.

          Are we really sure that Tomek isn’t a performance troll?

        3. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

          Are we really sure that Tomek isn’t a performance troll?

          Yeah, I floated the theory a few discussion ago (maybe the Endo one?) that he was actually some teenager in Tulsa couch trolling from his parents’ basement.

          I have curious, Tomek, is there not homework for you to be doing?

      2. Donna L
        Donna L November 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

        Nobody said that. And I suspect that nobody here believes that. It remains the case, however, that becoming a parent tends to affect women economically more than it affects men. (Leaving aside for the moment the fact that not all female parents are mothers and not all male parents are fathers.)

  18. Victoria
    Victoria November 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm |

    I will never understand these articles. If you don’t want to have kids that’s cool, go about your day. Truth be told- I don’t care. If you want to have kids that’s cool, go about your day. Don’t pull out a fucking spread sheet to explain to me in great detail why parenting is or is not right for you. You diminish the magnitude of the choice by putting it in Excel.

    Why are there no articles about making highly skilled child care universally accessible? What about creating universal health care? Paid parental/family leave?

    Why are all articles written in the mainstream media about parenting from affluent white New York City women who have a guilt complex about not wanting children and all the reasons they have used to justify it to their families? It’s like news outlets go around to all their female editorial staff and ask them to write one!

    Why is it that when I bring up my (apparently perverse) desire to have children at a young age (26) that I might as well have confessed to having a desire to punch kittens? And yes, I’m white and come from a middle class educated elite background. I feel the opposite of these women and wish they would please stop acting like the world is out to get them. In their own social circles its completely acceptable to never have kids- expected in many professions! Gah! The world wants you to choose your choice! Stop attacking mine!

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan November 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

      I feel the opposite of these women and wish they would please stop acting like the world is out to get them. In their own social circles its completely acceptable to never have kids

      Uh, wrong.

      1. bleh
        bleh November 16, 2012 at 11:24 am |

        Oh dear goddess no no no. I’m in academe, where one might expect the choice not to reproduce would be encouraged. Not. at. all. The parental force at my institution = strong. Just over the weekend after my colleagues were crowing about their kids to the dean’s partner, she asked if I had children. I replied that no, I am not repro-normative. Awkward silence, followed by some natterings about how I get to spend time w/ the colleagues’ children (btw, true and sometimes very fun). But holy hannah, it is so not ok to be childfree here.

      2. Chataya
        Chataya November 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

        Yeah, all of my rich relatives missed that memo, too.

    2. EG
      EG November 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm |

      Why are all articles written in the mainstream media about parenting from affluent white New York City women who have a guilt complex about not wanting children and all the reasons they have used to justify it to their families? It’s like news outlets go around to all their female editorial staff and ask them to write one!

      For real. It’s as though the paper of record suddenly loses sight of journalism altogether when the subject of having children arises:

      “A…series exploring systemic issues that affect people’s choices? But this is a concern affecting the ladies! Surely a first-person piece by an editor’s sister-in-law will be sufficient!”

      “What about a series of first-person pieces by other people–we could commission one from a single mother on welfare, one from a mother of color partnered with another mother of color, one from a young black woman who has decided not to have children, one from an older Asian woman looking back on her decision not to have kids–”

      “Pshaw! Stuff and nonsense! Whatever could they have to say that can’t be covered by Bob’s brother’s wife?”

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl November 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm |

        “Pshaw! Stuff and nonsense! Whatever could they have to say that can’t be covered by Bob’s brother’s wife?”

        People with differing points of view, who exist outside the confines of the 5 boroughs of New York City?

        Not possible!

        1. Donna L
          Donna L November 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

          how about outside Manhattan (or certain parts of it), never mind the 5 boroughs.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |

          Ah, yes, aren’t they the same ones who think that Brooklyn is the hipster annex of the East Village?

    3. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable November 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm |

      Why are all articles written in the mainstream media about parenting from affluent white New York City women who have a guilt complex about not wanting children and all the reasons they have used to justify it to their families?

      Can you please explain to me why you think Nadia Taha (i.e. the author of this article) is white?

      1. zuzu
        zuzu November 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm | *

        God, thank you. There seems to be the assumption that all NYT writers must be white. I can get on board with affluent just because you don’t get jobs there without being plugged in to the elite or becoming the elite, but there’s no indication of her race or ethnicity at all.

      2. Henry
        Henry November 17, 2012 at 1:11 am |

        Is white shorthand for you don’t know what you are talking about? who cares what race she is, plenty of white women have kids too…and there are non-white members of the cultural/financial elite in NYC…

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 19, 2012 at 11:13 am |

          “White” is shorthand for you-didn’t-follow-the-link. :p

  19. Bridget
    Bridget November 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm |

    Meh. I’d rather have my kid than $1.7 million.

  20. Donna L
    Donna L November 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm |

    How do we know she’s white?

    We don’t. I think her background is Egyptian, but I have no idea how she identifies.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable November 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm |

      Whoops. Way to not scroll to the bottom of the page, PA. Sorry Donna & Jill.

      1. EG
        EG November 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

        Yep, similarly mistaken here, as I was lumping here with all the other NYT essayists. It’s nice it’s branching out there.

  21. igglanova
    igglanova November 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm |

    Has it ever been a good idea to conduct ourselves as though people already know things like ‘having children is expensive and potentially ruinous, financially’? Perhaps members of the ever-discerning Feministe commentariat are too perfect to make bad decisions, but there is no shortage of 1. idiots, 2. the uninformed, 3. the unwary.

    I look forward to accusations of condescension the next time someone publishes an article like ‘vaccines save lives’, ‘the dangers of backyard pools’, or ‘why mixing industrial-strength cleaning fluids is a bad idea’.

    1. EG
      EG November 16, 2012 at 12:46 am |

      Has it ever been a good idea to assume that women are too stupid to consider finances when making reproductive choices? Or is that only true when the women are choosing to have abortions?

      1. Safiya Outlines
        Safiya Outlines November 16, 2012 at 4:00 am |

        EG – didn’t you know? “Trust Women” is only with regards to the choices of using contraception or having an abortion.

        A woman choosing to have a child – DON’T trust that woman, she’s just some airhead breeder who is selfish/stupid/bad for the environment/a bit of a traitor to women

        When was that meeting held that declared that throwing mothers under the bus was Good Feminism?

        1. igglanova
          igglanova November 16, 2012 at 4:07 am |

          A woman choosing to have a child – DON’T trust that woman, she’s just some airhead breeder who is selfish/stupid/bad for the environment/a bit of a traitor to women

          That you are so eager to conjure this bizarre interpretation of my comment says a lot more about you and your own baggage than it does about me.

        2. Beatrice
          Beatrice November 16, 2012 at 4:37 am |

          On the other hand, a woman giving her reasons for not having children totally deserves some shit for that.

          I mean, if you don’t want children, don’t have them. Just shut up about it because no one wants to hear it.

          Nope, that’s not shaming at all.

        3. EG
          EG November 16, 2012 at 10:55 am |

          That you are so eager to conjure this bizarre interpretation of my comment says a lot more about you and your own baggage than it does about me.

          No. What it does is identify a pattern in the essays about choosing to have children that get linked to on Feministe.

          On the other hand, a woman giving her reasons for not having children totally deserves some shit for that.

          I mean, if you don’t want children, don’t have them. Just shut up about it because no one wants to hear it.

          If you can’t give your reasons without being an obnoxious, condescending twit with no awareness of most people’s financial struggles and your relative privilege and who generalizes “the decision that’s best for me” to “the decision that’s more reasonable,” then indeed, shut up. I’m happy to shame for that.

        4. Beatrice
          Beatrice November 16, 2012 at 11:20 am |

          Safiya explicitly stated that she can’t be arsed to care why women don’t want to have children.

          Her attitude seems to be supported here.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 16, 2012 at 11:26 am |

          EG, I should point out that – despite not being the author of that article, or even technically child-free since I have a stepdaughter – I’m feeling pretty fucking resentful right now of the way people are basically raging at all the childfree people on the thread and telling them to stfu. I appreciate that you (mostly) aren’t doing that, which is why I’m talking to you rather than the more out-there ones, but others are really getting my hackles up at this point.

        6. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 16, 2012 at 11:43 am |

          I’m feeling pretty fucking resentful right now of the way people are basically raging at all the childfree people on the thread and telling them to stfu

          Mac I hope that you don’t get the impression from the things I’ve said in the comments that I’m raging at the CF or want them to stfu. I’m only taking issue with the author of this article in particular for her insulting, condescending and elitist pov.

          Fapping around in the NYT about how you’re so much smarter and more enlightened than most other people out there is condescending and elitist (over a million bucks to raise just one kid, seriously?!) Of course I’m going to take issue with that, and it has nothing to do with her being CFBC.

        7. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 16, 2012 at 11:49 am |

          “Trust women”? Oh, I’m sorry, are we trusting Jenny McCartney on vaccines now? She’s a MOM. She must have magically MOM-knowledge. Because the second you get impregnated you suddenly know everything there is to know about children, finances, medicine, law and chemistry. Even if you’re 15 years old, or never had access to a good education, or you weren’t planning to have kids but can’t get the damn thing aborted, or you say stupid-ass wrong stuff on a regular basis — MOMhood trumps all that, does it?

          I should get knocked up asap! It would let me skip a lot of classes, and it would turn me into a financial analyst to boot!

        8. EG
          EG November 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

          Mac, it’s an interesting dissonant experience, because I feel like the essays often linked to here–about parents in bars, about strollers taking up space, etc.–are all about telling mothers to shut up and stop demanding a place in public life.

          It makes me feel like there must be a larger problem here, because neither childfree women nor mothers seem particularly privileged in this society to me, just disenfranchised in different ways that make both groups feel utterly silenced. So it feels like there’s a missing component here–whichever group is privileged here, and cui bono. But it also feels reductionistic to say that it’s really only about male privilege, because that smacks of Marxist “false consciousness” bullshit. So I don’t really know where to go from there.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm |

          Mac, it’s an interesting dissonant experience, because I feel like the essays often linked to here–about parents in bars, about strollers taking up space, etc.–are all about telling mothers to shut up and stop demanding a place in public life.

          I absolutely agree with you there! And I’ve been right there pushing back against this crap; my only comment that was about the article itself was to call the author a rich shit, iirc. (It’s too freakin’ big to scroll at this point.) I… just find it really uncomfortable how quickly the conversation becomes “don’t have kids? shut up!” which leaves me feeling incredibly isolated and weird and silenced, because a) I’m not childless – I have a child, my stepdaughter, and I also have no desire to bear a child, but b) I don’t have a child by the incessant MOM MOM MOM drumbeat of the hardliners either, so… where am I in this debate? Or the hundreds of thousands of step-parents or foster parents or non-DNA-donors who are reading this essay and being derided from every side?

          Forgotten, fucked and frustrated, as far as I can tell.

          Lolagirl, I understand that you and EG aren’t trying to push back at childfree/non-procreating commenters on the site, but from our perspective, it really looks like this:

          Me: I don’t want to have biokids.
          Random IRL Person: Why not?
          Me: Because…I don’t want to?
          Random IRL Person: THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
          Me: *spends years marshaling reasons, since apparently choice isn’t good enough*

          Then of course I wander onto feminist spaces, and it’s like this:

          Me: I don’t want to have biokids… *remembers how it went before* BECAUSE REASONS OKAY?
          Feminist-space-person: Oh, so you think moms are stupid! Your reasons are telling moms they are stupid!
          Me: But…but… I don’t want to, and everyone tells me I can’t just not want to, so…
          Feminist-space-person: THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
          Me: *flailing incoherently*

        10. EG
          EG November 17, 2012 at 11:51 am |

          Mac, it’s interesting how wildly different our RL contexts are. From my point of view, in my entire adult life, which is longer now than it once was, I have been the exception in my peer group for wanting children strongly and knowing it consistently. In college at least one person assumed I was super-drunk because I was saying that I would have kids no matter what, even if I couldn’t find a partner, and hey, who would say that sober? In graduate school, I was literally the only person in my program who felt strongly about having children–everybody else I knew ranged from not caring very much and so they’d see what their partners wanted to actively hating children (not to be confused with actively not wanting them; I’ve had at least a couple close friends in my life who actively hate children), and I was the only person who made a point of having kids in her life. (Of course, life being what it is, I hear through the grapevine that many of the people who didn’t care now have kids, whereas I’m sitting around getting older with exactly the same number of kids I had ten years ago.) Professionally, it is strongly discouraged for untenured women to talk about their plans/desires for children, even in passing, which it makes it hard to suss out what kind of arrangements can be made. The only person I have known with as strong feelings about motherhood as I have is my mother, and the only person my age was my late best friend; now that my best friend has a baby, she feels strongly, like I do, but she did not before. So my RL experience is one of feeling isolated and as if I have to justify my desires as well.

          I think I would have found this article inoffensive if the writer had acknowledged what Tamara said, that these reasons make sense only if you don’t strongly want to have children anyway, and therefore are considering a variety of aspects of the issue: “As somebody who has never felt a particularly strong urge to have children, I decided to think very carefully about what the impact of having children would be, and finances immediately jumped out at me blah blah blah.” Because then all those reasons make sense, and also don’t carry the implicit tone of “nobody else thinks about this.” Instead, the implicit message is “if you don’t feel a strong desire to have kids, this is an issue that can sway you one way or the other.”

      2. igglanova
        igglanova November 16, 2012 at 4:03 am |

        What the fuck? Please point out where anyone was doing that.

        1. EG
          EG November 16, 2012 at 10:53 am |

          Every time you and/or the writer assume that “many” other women just haven’t considered or couldn’t possibly realize the financial effects of having children, that is what you and/or she are saying: that other women couldn’t possibly know the financial circumstances of their own lives well enough to make good reproductive choices.

          The default assumption when we talk about abortion is that women who choose it know their circumstances better than lawmakers or random essayists. Why is that not the default when you and/or this writer talk about having children?

        2. igglanova
          igglanova November 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm |

          The key word is ‘many’. Not all. Not even most. Many. If you already knew about the myriad costs of parenthood in detail, then perhaps you were not the OP’s target audience.

          The default assumption when we talk about abortion is that women who choose it know their circumstances better than lawmakers or random essayists. Why is that not the default when you and/or this writer talk about having children?

          I actually don’t think this is the default assumption when discussing abortion. Nor should it be the default assumption when discussing anything, frankly. Articles that analyze the potential impact of abortion vs. childbirth abound. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

        3. EG
          EG November 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

          In the post above this one about the effects of women on being denied abortions, Jill writes hey, it turns out women getting abortions do know more about their life circumstances than politicians make random rules. I extend the same courtesy to women having children.

          I’m a regular reader of the NYT who is particularly interested in issues surrounding motherhood. If I’m not the target audience, I’m certainly an easily foreseeable one.

    2. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan November 16, 2012 at 11:51 am |

      Thank you, igglanova; not sure where all the hating is coming from. But boy do those imaginary childfree people say some terrible things to REAL MOMS ™! 9_9

      1. Safiya Outlines
        Safiya Outlines November 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

        Bagelsan – “Trust women” is a pro-choice slogan and I thought it was pretty clear clear that I was referring to trusting women to make their own reproductive choices.

        1. igglanova
          igglanova November 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

          I think it is completely inappropriate to use ‘trust women’ as a cudgel in this argument. ‘Trust women’ is about keeping abortion legal and accessible. It is not an admonishment to assume that women everywhere, from the smartest to the dumbest, are always perfectly informed about any issue under the sun. Women – including mothers (!!!) – are pretty much exactly as smart or dumb as any other group of people. This is controversial…why?

          I ‘trust women’ to make decisions about family planning, in the sense that I do not think it is my business to restrict their ability to choose freely. I am under no obligation, however, to think those decisions are always sound, or to refrain from talking about factual information regarding parenthood’s economic toll.

        2. Safiya Outlines
          Safiya Outlines November 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm |

          Igglanova – Again, I am not talking about any issue ever. I am talking about reproductive choices.

          I repeat: reproductive choices.

          I have never heard in feminist bloglandia, heard any discussion about “smart” and “dumb” women when it comes to making decisions about abortion or contraception and I hope I never do, because that would be all kinds of fail.

          So what makes deciding to have a child so deserving of extra judgment?

          Also, again. What myself and others are objecting to in the article, is the condescension aimed at a group of people who are condescended to all the time, particularly on this blog of late. Such condescension does nothing to help improve conditions for anyone raising children, social justice does not get achieved via contempt.

          And guess what? There have been pleeeenty of “Gasp! The cost of children!” articles already. It’s nothing new or enlightening whatsoever.

        3. igglanova
          igglanova November 17, 2012 at 8:19 am |

          Why are you insisting that judgement and contempt were such enormous parts of this article? Do you just feel judged by true statements like ‘having children is expensive’ and ‘many people make decisions without especially rigorous consideration’?

          Also, again. What myself and others are objecting to in the article, is the condescension aimed at a group of people who are condescended to all the time, particularly on this blog of late.

          Oh, I know you’re objecting to perceived conscension. My point was that it is absurd to accuse the author of condescension solely on the grounds that she did not start from the assumption that her audience already knew everything she was about to say.

          And guess what? There have been pleeeenty of “Gasp! The cost of children!” articles already. It’s nothing new or enlightening whatsoever.

          Did you just skim the OP for outrage and end up missing the entire point? Taha was motivated to write this piece in the first place because any information she could find re: the total cost of parenting was so spotty and flawed. Clearly, there is a need for her kind of analysis.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 17, 2012 at 9:36 am |

          I have never heard in feminist bloglandia, heard any discussion about “smart” and “dumb” women when it comes to making decisions about abortion or contraception and I hope I never do, because that would be all kinds of fail.

          I agree. It’s the operating premise of Feminism that any and all women are fully capable of deciding for themselves whether or not to utilize contraception or abortion services. Whenever some Congresscreep tries to make inroads into restricting that access on the assumption that women aren’t intellectually or emotionally capable of making these decisions on their own Feminism jumps right in to fight against it. Not just because it seeks to curtail our right to control our own bodies, but because it’s insulting to women’s capacity to make these decision for themselves.

          So what makes deciding to have a child so deserving of extra judgment?

          Cosigned. So why exactly is it that the decision to not procreate or gestate isn’t given the same level of deference? Women already have every single thing they do and decision they make scrutinized and policed in a way that men just do not in our society. Why is it that when women decide to have a child feminism doesn’t push back against that societal policing and second guessing?

          Do you just feel judged by true statements like ‘having children is expensive’ and ‘many people make decisions without especially rigorous consideration’?

          First of all, the dollar value quoted by Ms. Taha as the supposed cost of raising a child was ridiculously excessive. You do realize that most people are not even going to make $1.5 million over the 18 year span a child would spend under their roof? The use of such a ridiculously large sum of money as justification of how expensive kids are is just patently absurd. Sure, kids cost money, but so does life in general. But the extreme spending of money to the tune of $1.5M to live that life is certainly not necessary (or even within the reach of the average person here in the U.S.)

          As to the issue of how rigorously one does or does not think through the decision to have a child? This is such a subjective and perception based thing as to be practically meaningless. How does one go about even quantifiying whether or not another person has sufficiently thought through the decision to have a child? Because too often, that judgment is used as a cudgel to second guess and condemn the life choices of anyone who is not you, and at worst is used against minorities/poc as a way to take away their reproductive choices and even their children that they already have.

        5. igglanova
          igglanova November 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm |

          First of all, the dollar value quoted by Ms. Taha as the supposed cost of raising a child was ridiculously excessive. You do realize that most people are not even going to make $1.5 million over the 18 year span a child would spend under their roof?

          This section of your comment makes it quite clear that you have only skimmed the content of the OP. One of her main concerns was the fact that children do not stop being a financial burden at 18. Some of the greatest expenses, like college and housing, occur only after this arbitrary cutoff. Also factored into the expense is the predictable (infuriating) loss of potential income due to career setbacks and workplace discrimination after motherhood is attained. I assume you are familiar with the concept of ‘opportunity cost’? One doesn’t actually need to have earned or spent $1.7 million to be $1.7 million poorer than one would have been without children.

          The use of such a ridiculously large sum of money as justification of how expensive kids are is just patently absurd. Sure, kids cost money, but so does life in general. But the extreme spending of money to the tune of $1.5M to live that life is certainly not necessary (or even within the reach of the average person here in the U.S.)

          I would like to take a moment to rehash what Nadia Taha actually said in her OP.

          If we were to have a child and do what most other parents around us do in trying to give a new life the very best start possible, we would probably spend over $1.7 million in today’s dollars. [Emphasis supplied]

          She was not attempting to pass this figure off as representative of every family in America. She very explicitly said that this estimate applied to her own family and her own circumstances.

          If you still think her calculations were wrong, feel free to elucidate that. But please argue against something that was actually said.

        6. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

          This section of your comment makes it quite clear that you have only skimmed the content of the OP.

          No, I read it in detail.

          But I will admit that I dismissed much of that portion of her article, in no small part because I think the doing of those calculations is much more nebulous and uncertain than Ms. Taha seems to think it is. It’s an odd combination of assumptions that all the stars will continue to align, nothing will ever get in her way, and this is the money that she (and her spouse) will most certainly make if she continues on this path (sans kids.) Life is rarely that straight forward or simple. Recessions happen, illness or disability may occur, and jobs are far from guaranteed in our 21st century economy.

          And it’s certainly not the case that I wish her ill, far from it. I just don’t live in a world where I make plans assuming it will all go my way and find that it actually works out accordingly. Eventually, I’ve found it necessary to let go of a lot of my optimism for both my present and for the future, adapt accordingly and keep moving forward as best I can.

        7. igglanova
          igglanova November 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

          Honestly, you could make the exact same criticism of any prediction or estimate. There are always complications we did not foresee. That doesn’t make predictions worthless. And it certainly doesn’t negate the value of planning carefully for the future.

        8. WL
          WL November 22, 2012 at 4:48 am |

          Sometimes things can go wrong, yes. Sometimes you think you’d lose a lot of $ from quitting a high paying job, but instead you’re stuck with a low-paying job. That just makes her reasoning even stronger, no? If I knew that our family’s chances of losing resources were high, that would be a huge influence on whether we added more dependents. If I knew for sure that we’d get more resources, that would be a positive factor when deciding to grow our family in the *future*.

          Accepting unpleasant things that can’t be changed is part of this world. Deciding that you’ll drag kids down with you when the unpleasant things happen is not inevitable.

          Also, there are potential complications that you *can* predict. Good rescues will often list several to potential adopters, so they can think about 1) whether they can handle the animal if/when these come up 2) whether they might handle them better if they made some changes and adopted later 3) what sorts of plans they can put in place as backups. Examples:

          Marriage, new boyfriends/girlfriends or housemates/roommates who dislike the animal

          Divorce, death of co-parent, other loss of caretakers (eg grown child going to college, moving away)

          Job loss or career change

          Moving, quarantine requirements, difficulty finding a place that allows “pets”

          Vet bills, including large ones for illness/injury and lifelong treatments/meds

          Health-related supplies at home, eg air filtration for asthmatic cat

          Behaviorist help, time investment (eg spraying, guarding, anxiety, “aggression”)

          Protection/replacement of furniture, flooring, clothing, etc if chewed, urinated on, etc

          Development of allergies

          Kids/furkids who might not get along and/or divert resources (especially new ones)

          Hired sitters/walkers/boarders with shift change, change at home (eg allergic visitor), or travel

          Hired sitters/walkers/caretakers, longterm, if human suffers injury/illness/disability

          Arrangements for new home, if human suffers death or severe disability

          Disasters–fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, etc

          They stress that this is on top of predictable, routine financial and time costs such as vet physicals, bloodwork, urinalyses, fecal exams, xrays, flea prevention, heartworm prevention, food, litter, cat trees, carriers/crates, rental fees (deposit, rent increase), training, exercise, health insurance, etc. These are the easy costs that you can determine before adopting, but they assume everything will continue as it is now, family will be static, income will be stable, health will be perfect, etc and those are highly unlikely to continue for 20+ years.

          So if these shelters and rescues can do adoption counseling for cats and dogs (and birds etc), why can’t people think of these when planning for other things? Maybe if people actually cared enough to think ahead and share ideas, only a very small % of “these things happen” would be completely unexpected.

        9. WL
          WL November 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

          It’s the operating premise of Feminism that any and all women are fully capable of deciding for themselves whether or not to utilize contraception or abortion services.

          I must be a terrible non-feminist then, because there are plenty of people who aren’t fully capable of giving informed consent to ANYTHING. But even if I’m anti-feminism, at least I accept reality.

          Whenever some Congresscreep tries to make inroads into restricting that access on the assumption that women aren’t intellectually or emotionally capable of making these decisions on their own Feminism jumps right in to fight against it. Not just because it seeks to curtail our right to control our own bodies, but because it’s insulting to women’s capacity to make these decision for themselves.

          “Women” is not one individual. There are plenty of people, female or not, adult or not, who aren’t capable of making decisions as simple of what to eat for lunch or whether to take antibiotics. That’s not insulting, that’s just the truth. Painting all “women” or any other group with an irrelevant brush is what’s factually incorrect and has harmful results in the real world.

          And just because one group is second-guessed and discriminated against a lot, it doesn’t mean that every decision of every member of that group is correct and ought to be defended.

          We don’t have the right to be told we all have the best capacity to make all decisions simply because we don’t have any Y chromosomes. To be told otherwise isn’t insulting.

        10. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm |

          I must be a terrible non-feminist then

          DING, DING, DING!

          You get it, finally! Thank you for at long last being honest with yourself as well as all of the other commenters here at Feministe. Now how about you go back to commenting at the Blaze.com and spare us your anti-feminist, racist, classist blather?

        11. WL
          WL November 26, 2012 at 8:31 am |

          Ok I’ll be a good feminist and declare “all females are superior to males, every female has better decision making capabilities than anyone else in the world, 3 year old girls know best regarding whether they should have sex with 40 year old men, women in the middle of a manic episode should be trusted to decide whether investing all their savings into a new corporation will give them huge profits, autistic females take unnecessary meds shoved at them because they made a rational informed treatment decision” etc etc. Are you serious? That’s the sort of thing people say to PARODY feminism and make it look bad, or justify abusing people (not just females of course).

          And thanks for the tip, but after browsing a bit, I have to say I’m not into those sorts of games.

          I would ask what’s “anti-feminist” or “racist” or “classist” about anything I said, but you probably equate those things with math and facts, just like “hateful” and whatever other irrelevant adjectives you enjoy.

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl November 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

        And it certainly doesn’t negate the value of planning carefully for the future.

        I absolutely agree that there is value in at least attempting to plan carefully for the future.

        But don’t dismiss the reality I pointed out earlier, specifically how poor(er) people have their supposed inability to plan well financially for their kids, or worse yet, or the not foreseeing plans not working out used against them as a reason to lose their kids to the state.

        You can’t afford that child, and you aren’t capable of planning to care properly for that child, or even for future children you might have has been and continues to be used against an entire spectrum of people considered to be undesirable parents by our society. Like it or not, the whole line of logic “kids are expensive” gets trotted out all the time to demonize people who are already dumped on and ignored by our society and then used to take away their kids (or worse yet, find themselves sterilized against their will.)

        Personally, I think the whole tail chasing exercise of an article is pointless, save for the navel gazing aspect of it. The NYT does a whole lot better when it actually tackles these harder issues and takes down the welfare queens and entitlement complex rhetoric that still has such power over the U.S. and it’s public policy aims.

        1. igglanova
          igglanova November 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

          Like it or not, the whole line of logic “kids are expensive” gets trotted out all the time to demonize people who are already dumped on and ignored by our society and then used to take away their kids (or worse yet, find themselves sterilized against their will.)

          Sure it does. But you will not find anything close to that in the OP.

          Facts, selectively applied, can always be used as weapons against the marginalized. That doesn’t mean we should just stop saying true things.

    3. Natalia
      Natalia November 19, 2012 at 4:56 am |

      I think if you accept the fact that we probably shouldn’t call women “idiots” for choosing to get abortions, you have to accept the fact that you don’t get to call them “idiots” for choosing to have children.

      Other people’s reproductive choices don’t usually come down to what someone else personally approves of, whether you’re Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin or not.

      Neither is an individual’s engagement of those choices necessarily linear. A lot of women I know had abortions early in life, then went on to have biological children. In both instances, they were making reproductive decisions. In the first instance, it would be offensive to point to them and go, “But are we sure they’re not just idiots? What makes them think they’re so perfect? ” In the second instance, it would be offensive to point to them and go, “But are we sure they’re not just idiots? What makes them think they’re so perfect?”

      1. igglanova
        igglanova November 19, 2012 at 11:06 am |

        I think if you accept the fact that we probably shouldn’t call women “idiots” for choosing to get abortions, you have to accept the fact that you don’t get to call them “idiots” for choosing to have children.

        Good. I agree. Isn’t it nice how nobody actually did that?

        1. guilgenova
          guilgenova November 19, 2012 at 11:32 am |

          I have nothing meaningful to contribute to this conversation, I just wanted to show love for your name. <3

        2. Natalia
          Natalia November 21, 2012 at 1:56 am |

          Actually, sneering at some of the posters here and implying that “hey, you guys clearly think you’re perfect, but what about the idiots and the uninformed?” is, in fact, doing just that. Particularly because in this feminist space, questioning the intelligence of a woman for getting an abortion is very quickly identified as the sexist claptrap it so clearly is.

      2. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan November 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

        Sometimes really dumbass women get abortions. Just like some really dumbass women participate in all walks of life, including parenthood. That means that some mothers are dumbasses. I even know some. Stating this is controversial why?

        1. Natalia
          Natalia November 21, 2012 at 2:03 am |

          It’s not a question of “some people are dumbasses, therefore some mothers are dumbasses.”

          “Are we sure she’s smart enough to have that abortion?” for example, is not a question we ask on Feministe, and for some very good reasons, including the fact that this plays into institutionalized sexism. But there is a similar line of questioning occurs when it comes to women who choose to have children (egad, but what about the idiots out there?! They need information!) – just going to show that a woman’s reproductive decisions are *always* up for someone else’s review. And if the former is not exactly cool, then so is the latter.

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 22, 2012 at 9:37 am |

          Getting an abortion doesn’t directly affect anyone besides the person getting the abortion; having a child directly affects another human being (a totally helpless and dependent human being.) You really can’t see why some people might have a slightly higher bar for the latter than the former?

  22. WL
    WL November 16, 2012 at 12:05 am |

    Lots of funny stuff. http://vhemt.org/biobreed.htm#reasons table covers it.

    “It’s a spiritual thing for me.”

    “I want someone who will love me and not leave me.”

    “Our economy needs young workers to replace retired workers.” *gag* Engine to the economy WTF

    As for using motherhood as a substitute for (oh noes, very expensive professional) therapy…I don’t know what to say about that one.

    Some people REALLY don’t read articles before bashing. Yes, Nadia Taha isn’t telling anyone else what to do. Yes, she talks about how it’s impossible to calculate everything. No, I don’t see how her writing is “whining.” No, she doesn’t say anywhere that no one before her has tried to calculate the actual financial costs of raising kids. I can’t see in the least that she’s blaming people who make an informed choice to parenthood or acting like she’s better than they are–she’s admitted she may join them (to my disappointment).

    Huh I should have read to the end of the comments before writing all this up. Jill covered a lot of what I was going to say. And she had a good point I didn’t think to mention, that most people don’t even understand the concept of opportunity cost.

    I also was surprised by the assumption that the author is Caucasian. I thought her last name didn’t sound likes Jones or Smith and that’s about it. I’m somewhat slow, dense, naive, and blind, you know, like colorblind until someone shoved my nose into the fact that ethnicity does matter, so I didn’t even think about her age, salary, or race.

    I never got the feeling she was implying that non-whites are too stupid to know that it takes money to raise kids properly. However, it’s very true that a lot of people don’t consider the costs, or don’t factor them in when making the actual decision. It’s just how human brains work–they don’t always connect the dots that extend far into the future. Some people really don’t give a shit if their kids starve to death. Others would, but don’t realize they’re headed on the path to starving kids to death. Not because they can’t do basic addition, but because they don’t think about it beyond the most vague dismissive way (usually along the lines of “Sure, but I’ll handle it when I get there” or “I’m sure it won’t be that bad”).

    Specisists might bash me for comparing human dependents to non-human dependents, but I’m using them for analogy because that’s what I’m more familiar with. There are people who claim their cats, dogs, birds, etc are truly members of the family (so you can’t say they think their human children aren’t even comparable to their pups) who STILL don’t get it. They want to get their third or fifth cat or dog, but before they even get one, they complain that puppy millers/BYBs are cheaper than rescues or shelters. They don’t consider that the $40 – $500 adoption fee isn’t just about the paperwork, and it’s not even about the food, kennel space, utilities, veterinary care, etc the animal received…and that’s not my point anyway, because a BYB would (hopefully, at the very least) also pay for dog food And it’s irrelevant to these people that the adoption fee might go to helping other animals.

    My point is, they don’t think about how much it would add up to go to their own vet and pay for the other things that shelter/rescue animals have done for them that petstore/BYBs don’t. The best places s/n before adopting out, others usually at least give you a voucher. Even the crappy rural pound (which is likely to charge closer to $40 than $500) will probably give you a rabies shot at least. The ones at $100+ will also give things like microchipping, deworming, flea/heartworm treatment for the month, etc, as well as exams, heartworm/FIV/FeLV tests, and whatever else before it goes home. I’d like to see a BYB give you all that. Or find a good private vet who’ll do it for less than the shelter/rescue.

    And then they’re shocked when the vet actually wants money for services, medications, special diets, etc or just when they realize the vet is needed. I talked to one person who was outraged at her neighbor, who noticed that her cat was ill and had the vet look at it, only to kill the poor kitty upon learning treatment would be $200. The cost of a life–over $20 but less than $200. The thing is, the outraged, kind, caring lady also rarely had cash, and turned out to be unable to pay for her own cat’s emergency treatment months later (guess who paid for it, as well as a lot of other things for that cat). Please don’t say the nice lady lives in a different universe just because she didn’t think ahead.

    To people who want to have a family that includes human dependents (preferably without forcing kids into a world you chose for them without their consent?) but are worried about health costs, you might want to 1) find more help–it does take a village! 2) wait and be sure and 3) look into adopting waiting children so you have some backup from the state, as well as being fairly confident you are providing better care, guidance, and education than they would otherwise have.

    That goes even if you’re well off, and already have 1.7mil or 3.4mil USD as well as good health insurance, your own home or few, etc. You might feel lucky to have a “low maintenance” infant, only to realize later you have these exponentially rising costs because your child is “disabled” (is that PC these days?) or otherwise needing more services than usual. Possibly for the rest of their lives.

    Debt is fine–I’ve said many times that I would do almost anything for my family, including living off lentils and ramen, pawning my computer, begging and borrowing, if I need to (I just hope I don’t need to)–but there’s only so far you can go down that hole. Many years ago, I talked to a college student who adopted a dog. She realized this dog was Not Well. She got him the best vet care she could, and he was stabilized, but the condition was chronic and maintaining him cost around 8,000USD per year. She borrowed from friends and family, maxed her cards, everything she could think of. After 3 years of this, she didn’t know what to do. I wonder what happened to her and that dog.

    Also, I can’t understand why these people care enough to toss away $ at wardrobes or hair styling UNLESS they’re distracted by something like children. I don’t think there’s a huge correlation between having children and having a sense of “enough” with material needs at all, but that’s just her opinion against mine.

    As for “…suspect most people come out with the decision they want in their gut, and then look for the justifications that make sense,” completely true for the vast majority of human decisions (take what you want, then justify it to your conscience and to others later!), even if they’re not aware of it. The tail does not wag the dog http://people.virginia.edu/~jdh6n/ I’m one of those crazies who actually will give up things I have strong emotional yearnings for when I realize that it’s not logical to have them.

    However, while most people who insist on kids, no matter what, won’t be swayed by such articles to have zero, those who are deciding between having 2 or 8 of them might lean toward 2. The type that doesn’t mind quantity but also values quality. I don’t think her article is completely useless to anyone trying to make a decision like that.

    It’s also unfair to criticize one person’s concerns on that “there’s someone else (me) worse off.” I’m also “annoyed” by your “bitching” that you just don’t know with your (even if less than ideal) health care resources, how your (probably) developed-nation-residing ass is going to continue affording meds, and on top of that, wanting to make someone dependent on your resources too…when someone else is trying to figure out where to get enough water to see them through the end of the week. Not helpful.

    Amen to wishing everyone had the right to not reproduce. I had heard so many horror stories about hoops people jumped through for reliable, permanent birth control, and sometimes still were denied. My partner was around 26 when he actually went to get a vasectomy. Maybe because it was a nice private practitioner in the Bay Area, CA (we’re not THAT rich, we stayed there a while then moved out of state because we’d otherwise be homeless), but he didn’t give my partner shit about maybe changing his mind in a couple years, just did the procedure and we had a $10 copay. Phew. I wonder if that doc would’ve been as decent if the patient were female, or less than 26 years old. I especially wonder how many other docs would’ve.

    I’m pretty sure that most people would prefer to not be homeless, resourceless and dying if anything bad happened, and enduring a painful retirement. Ok, I’ll say it differently. If given the choice, most people would indeed like to be sure they can have a comfortable and secure place to live, enough wealth to see through them floods and earthquakes and diseases and the like, and maintain quality of life for the rest of their lives. I think she meant around the same thing. While I also don’t mind renting, it does carry the risk of being evicted, having rent raised on you, contracts being changed, being prevented from making modifications, etc.

    And personally, as a caretaker of furkids, the challenge of financial compromises, and other compromises, CAN be heartbreaking. I don’t mean a $900 stroller, because what’s good for the parent’s ego is often not what’s “best of the best” for the kid. I mean things like, moving to a cheaper area where a coke factory spews pollution day and (mostly) night, an old house where mold grew in the walls, wondering what it’s doing to the kids’ respiratory and immune systems. (One eventually developed asthma. He hates the inhaler.) Listening to the vet list estimated costs for various treatment options, and hating myself for not automatically picking the one that’s best for the kid we brought in, because I have to think about the others at home. I can go on if anyone cares. Every thought on that paragraph was right, to ME.

    As for adults being expensive to keep alive too, that fuels a huge problem. The adults who, for whatever reason, don’t bring in more money than they cost, with labels like elderly, retarded, crippled, usually aren’t expected to start earning big in 18 years. And it’s considered a bit drastic by some, but killing them off is routine for others.

    1. WL
      WL November 16, 2012 at 12:19 am |

      I pity all the kids who are sent to public schools, or any traditional-type private schools, or formal education in general. A few years ago, my partner and I were thinking about having kids, and at the time, http://www.centuryschool.org/ was the only option we could find that we would even consider sending a defenseless minor to.

      She admits it’s “not the strict minimum required to raise a child” but I’m not interested in the minimum to keep a body alive for 18 years, but the minimum required to give the best start possible, as she is.

      I loved this comment: “Still, if we’d had kids but couldn’t feed, house, clothe, medicate, and educate them we’d be hateful selfish creatures”

      Also, I also would like to see the accusations of condescension on articles about how you shouldn’t overdose on APAP because someone died from it (maybe with stats about how often it happens), or how caffeine is a real drug and taking a full bottle of no doz will kill you (but one group of college kids is stupid, the rest of the world doesn’t need to be told that, right?) -_-

      1. Natalia
        Natalia November 19, 2012 at 4:32 am |

        I pity all the kids who are sent to public schools, or any traditional-type private schools, or formal education in general. A few years ago, my partner and I were thinking about having kids, and at the time, http://www.centuryschool.org/ was the only option we could find that we would even consider sending a defenseless minor to.

        O hi, Gwyneth Paltrow! Good to know you’ve moved on from the Cup-a-Soup meme. :)

    2. EG
      EG November 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

      To people who want to have a family that includes human dependents (preferably without forcing kids into a world you chose for them without their consent?) but are worried about health costs, you might want to 1) find more help–it does take a village! 2) wait and be sure and 3) look into adopting waiting children so you have some backup from the state, as well as being fairly confident you are providing better care, guidance, and education than they would otherwise have.

      1) Oh, you don’t say? I totes never thought of that! Thanks! Where, precisely, should I be finding this “more help” of which you speak?

      2) I’m 36. How much longer should I wait, would you say? Two years? Four years? Eight years?

      3) Oh, for fuck’s sake. I check this every so often, and there are precisely zero children under the age of 10 up for adoption through the NY foster system. I realize that the distinction between taking a teenager into your home and having a baby may escape some people, but rest assured that it’s a huge one.

      Also, I can’t understand why these people care enough to toss away $ at wardrobes or hair styling UNLESS they’re distracted by something like children.

      I have no idea what on earth you’re talking about here or how it relates to anything having to do with this article.

      As for adults being expensive to keep alive too, that fuels a huge problem. The adults who, for whatever reason, don’t bring in more money than they cost, with labels like elderly, retarded, crippled, usually aren’t expected to start earning big in 18 years. And it’s considered a bit drastic by some, but killing them off is routine for others.

      I just thought I’d pull this quotation out and highlight it. Adults who cost more money than they bring in are a “huge problem,” although killing them off may be considered a bit drastic by some, it’s routine for others.

      OK, I think I’m about ready to dismiss your judgment on every little thing.

      1. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie November 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

        EG: I know you feel discouraged about not getting to have kids, but … I remain hopeful for you, and may I just add anecdata: 36 when I had my first kid, 38 when I miscarried a second pregnancy, 39 when I had the second kid. I know this does not apply to your situatuion. It’s just that there are always exceptions to the “gasp! you’re doomed!” rules about almost everything.

        I think you would make the kind of parent I wish I had known when my kids were babies. May your wishes come about, and soon!

        1. EG
          EG November 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm |

          Thanks, Hattie. I really appreciate the good wishes; it’s been a really rotten week for me regarding these things, so it’s nice to get support and inspiring stories. And thanks for the kind words; I’m lucky to have a had a good feminist mom to model myself on!

        2. gahanon
          gahanon November 19, 2012 at 10:59 am |

          This. Rooting for you, EG.

        3. Storyphile
          Storyphile November 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm |

          More anecdata! First kid at 38, just turning 40 and trying for kid 2!

      2. WL
        WL November 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

        1) Friends and family, neighbors, communities, things like that? If you’re religious, your church, temple, or other group members can also help out. Anyone who can gift you their time, lend you supplies, take care of your family when you’re sick, give a ride when you can’t drive, sit when you’re busy, just lend an ear, start coops and playgroups etc, can be part of the village. A support network should be in place for any parent (and ideally for every person).

        2) Until you’ve sorted out your feelings and know you’re ready. It’s not about a number of years, but amount of resources, knowledge, ability, maturity, and wisdom. Some people aren’t ready to be responsible parents even when they’re 80. Others are before they hit 20.

        3) Exactly where are you checking this every so often? AdoptUSKids?

        I realize that the distinction between taking one dependent into your home and another dependent may escape some people, but rest assured it’s a huge one.

        I have no idea what on earth you’re talking about here or how it relates to anything having to do with this article.

        The rebuttal article; she said she saved money from having kids, because they distracted her from spending money on clothes she doesn’t need etc.

        Adults who cost more money than they bring in are a “huge problem”…

        FUELS a huge problem. Reading comprehension?

        …although killing them off may be considered a bit drastic by some, it’s routine for others.

        Yes, and that’s the huge problem. I’ve long agonized about what to do about the many people who are poisoned, strangled, disconnected from life support, etc in institutions because they stopped being profitable. And the kids who are murdered by their own parents because they’re different… If it’s about “normal” kids, a mom suffocating her kids is huge news, shocking, evil, with major jail time for her. If it’s about autistic kids, or CP kids, or retarded kids, well, that’s understandable, the poor parents were stressed out by having to care for their weirdo children, no wonder they were driven to murder, etc etc, so they can get away with nothing at all or a slap on the wrist.

        Not being neurotypical myself, maybe I’m lucky to have survived to adulthood in this culture.

        OK, I think I’m about ready to dismiss your judgment on every little thing.

        Why? If you dislike one message the messenger says, you should ignore the others? What if I said 2 + 3 = 5, would you refuse to believe it because I’m the one that said it?

  23. Natalia
    Natalia November 16, 2012 at 6:01 am |

    MOST people want to be sure that they can buy and pay for a home, save up for an emergency fund and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

    Most people. Bahaha.

    Yeah, as someone who’s heard everything from “how dare you have a child without having paid off your student debt, you slut” to “you can’t give your child the best in life, you should consider giving him up for adoption” by now, I was pretty amused by this article.

    1. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie November 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm |

      That’s some kick-ass calculation, DonnaL. I couldn’t figure out enough ways to get to $1.5 million!

      I guess what the author might really mean is, rich people shouldn’t have kids.

    2. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie November 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm |

      That’s some kick-ass calculation, DonnaL. I couldn’t figure out enough ways to get to $1.5 million!

      I guess what the author might really mean is, rich people shouldn’t have kids.

    3. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie November 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm |

      Dammit, I hate when I put my comment in the wrong place. Sorry about that.

      What I meant to say is, I’m willing to bet that “most” people worry about food, shelter, clothing, and health care – child-free/childless and parents alike. Retirement? Savings? Ahh, but that’s the reason I HAD kids, mwahhh ha ha! So that they will have to take care of me!

  24. mh
    mh November 16, 2012 at 10:13 am |

    In my own experience, parenthood has taught me some things I don’t think I would otherwise have learned, and I think this article illustrates one of them: you have to live in the moment and without a plan, to some degree. I think there are other ways besides parenthood to learn this (and of course, parents should ideally have some kind of a plan for their finances!)

    I knwo this sounds trite, but I just don’t care so much about money and the stuff it buys. I do have a special-needs child, and it is true that is expensive: that isn’t what bothers me about it. The social part is much more of a struggle.

    I would say this: in retrospect, I am extremely grateful I was able to plan my pregnancy, and I think having babies or not on your own term is what’s important. However, you can’t control everything; it’s just how life is.

  25. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune November 16, 2012 at 11:32 am |

    Fucking hell. As a
    1) Non-white
    2) childfree
    3) (step)parent,

    I really pretty much hate everybody on this thread right now. Bowing out before I descend into frothing, useless rage.

    1. Maggie Gordon
      Maggie Gordon November 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

      Lots of support for this comment, MK. <3

    2. Combray
      Combray November 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

      Yeah, this thread is pretty awful. Parts of the article are obnoxious, but I don’t think it’s bad enough to warrant all of the pushback here. A really special vitriol is often reserved for women who choose not to have children, but some of the commenters here are either negating that entirely or dismissing it as something that warrants discussion.

      Saying “but women have to justify having kids too!” just sounds like “what about the menz” in this context, because no one is saying they don’t. This article just isn’t about that. Critiquing the author’s condescending tone is one thing, but turning another discussion about an article on childfree women into a discussion about parents is pretty annoying.

    3. SophiaBlue
      SophiaBlue November 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

      Word.

    4. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve November 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

      Fucking hell. As a
      1) Non-white
      2) childfree
      3) (step)parent,

      I really pretty much hate everybody on this thread right now. Bowing out before I descend into frothing, useless rage.

      Well, I think that we can all agree that the argument about how expensive it is to raise a child would be better served in an article about subsidies for mothers below the poverty line.

    5. Yvonne
      Yvonne November 17, 2012 at 5:01 am |

      I have to agree with you. I’m really dismayed at the tone that some women are just not allowed to make and write about choices that just might only fit in with their own context or values and might not fit in with everybody else’s. Sometimes when it’s not about you, it just isn’t.

      I also get frustrated with the vitriol accorded some who comment, all often because of some usage of words or language that is familiar to a select few, but just may not be as familiar to all.

      Personally, as a mother of 3 grown children in their early twenties, I found the article very interesting. It resonated with some of the views of my own children. And weird as it may be to some persons on this thread, they, at this stage at least, actually do aspire to having their own houses and being financially independent. They’ve seen my enormous struggle up close and personal. And before anybody here tries to suggest I was ‘bad’ in my parenting in not ‘hiding’ financial insecurity and hardship, believe me I tried that, but kids are unbelievably perceptive.

  26. Catherine
    Catherine November 16, 2012 at 11:49 am |

    As someone who has spent a lot of my adult life hearing all my friends tell me, “oh my god having a kid costs more than a million dollars,” and “all the studies show that parents lie to themselves when they say having kids makes you happy, because really all it does is decrease your happiness,” I was a little confused and annoyed at the revelatory tone of the article. But hey, my friends aren’t everybody’s friends, and if somebody gave this issue thought for the first time after reading the article, then that’s a win, I guess.

    What I can’t stand is this: Lots of child-free women on this blog talk about the unwanted social pressure, the shaming, the general lack of support and respect for their choices. And then, feminist women with children sometimes end up saying the same thing. I was honest-to-goodness afraid to tell my friends when I got pregnant. I wasn’t ready to face the judgement I knew I’d get for it.

    So, my question is this… is there some way we could stop doing this to each other, and actually leave people’s reproductive choices alone? I’m not trying to be snarky or condescending, it’s an honest question.

    1. zuzu
      zuzu November 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm | *

      I was honest-to-goodness afraid to tell my friends when I got pregnant. I wasn’t ready to face the judgement I knew I’d get for it.

      I assume they eventually found out. Were your fears realized?

      1. Catherine
        Catherine November 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

        Yeah, kinda. I mean, they were polite enough to mostly keep it to themselves, but their feelings were pretty obvious. I don’t think they’ll be coming over so much once the baby’s born.

        1. zuzu
          zuzu November 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm | *

          Have you actually talked to them about how they feel? Because if you haven’t, and they’ve “mostly kept it to themselves,” then you may just be projecting onto them.

          Or maybe they aren’t happy that you think so little of them.

        2. Meaghan
          Meaghan November 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

          I can’t reply to your comment zuzu, but assuming this person is “projecting their feelings” you know it might be true, but that also is assuming a lot.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

          I can’t reply to your comment zuzu, but assuming this person is “projecting their feelings” you know it might be true, but that also is assuming a lot.

          a) you are replying to her comment.

          b) she uses the words ‘may and ‘maybe’ enough to make it clear that she very much is talking about what ‘might be true’ and not making assumptions

        4. zuzu
          zuzu November 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm | *

          Meaghan, I see a lot of assumptions on Catherine’s part here:

          1) She was afraid of her friends’ reactions to her pregnancy, so she was reluctant to tell them;

          2) When the news came out, they were “polite enough to mostly keep it to themselves,” which indicates that her fears of a terrible reaction were largely unfounded, though she does not give any examples of the ones who did not in fact keep it to themselves; and yet

          3) Despite the fact that these friends have not in fact (mostly) reacted the way she was afraid they would, she anticipates that she “do[es]n’t think they’ll be coming over so much once the baby’s born.”

          Again, no concrete evidence given, just guessing.

          Hey, for all I know, these friends are vocally anti-child, but from what she’s written here, it doesn’t sound like it. But friends do have a way of picking up signals that they’re not wanted or trusted. And if Catherine has decided, despite evidence to the contrary, that these friends are hostile to her pregnancy and will not be coming around so much once the baby’s born, her friends may sense that Catherine doesn’t have room in her life for them anymore and her fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

          I mean, she could talk to her friends, but it’s just so much easier to assume that they hate her for breeding, right?

        5. Catherine
          Catherine November 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

          To be honest, it feels a little weird to go into a lot of detail, so I’ll just say this:

          I wasn’t concerned that they would react terribly, I was concerned that they would judge me. I said they “mostly” kept their feelings to themselves, not entirely. And yes, we have managed to have a few conversations about it.

          I think I’ll leave it there.

        6. SophiaBlue
          SophiaBlue November 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

          It’s sad but unfortunately not unexpected that someone asking that feminists on both sides of the debate not judge so much immediately gets judged. Zuzu, don’t you think that maybe Catherine knows her life and her friends well enough that she is a better judge than you of what her friends think of her?

        7. rayuela23
          rayuela23 November 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

          Sophia Blue:

          Word.

        8. tomek
          tomek November 16, 2012 at 7:06 pm |

          It’s sad but unfortunately not unexpected that someone asking that feminists on both sides of the debate not judge so much immediately gets judged.

          interesting me that u say on sides both of debate. debate of which? debate of woman should have child or not? i thought feminit agree of child having is personal choice

        9. zuzu
          zuzu November 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm | *

          Zuzu, don’t you think that maybe Catherine knows her life and her friends well enough that she is a better judge than you of what her friends think of her?

          Sure. But she’s the one who thought her friends were going to judge her for being pregnant, and then they didn’t. Which is a fact she left out of her OMG PEOPLE ARE SO TERRIBLE TO MOTHERS OP, perhaps because it would have undercut her “Poor me, my feminist friends are so anti-child” comment.

        10. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie November 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

          Catherine, I had some of the same fears, and they were well-founded, it turned out. I’m so sorry you’re going through is. It’s very hard.

        11. bleh
          bleh November 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm |

          When friends have children it changes how they relate to you. Of course, friends may (do) judge reproductive choices, but surely they also feel the weight of how the decision affects them and their relationships with the soon-to-be-parents. For example, they will either follow the parent’s (child’s) schedules or not see their friends much anymore. They will mostly do kid things because that is what the parents do. They will have to attend events at the new parents’ home – because it is easier for people w/ kids to host than to go out. They will listen to both praise and complaints about parenting and have to choose their responses carefully or be accused of not understanding. It is actually quite difficult to be friends with parents, when you are child-free. Maybe it’s fear…

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune November 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm |

      Hey Catherine,

      While I totally agree with your question, and join you in wondering that, that would require people not being assholes at each other, and that’s apparently impossible.

      1. Henry
        Henry November 17, 2012 at 1:42 am |

        It would require everyone getting a healthy education in minding their own goddamned business. Nothing wrong with articles presenting facts…”like if you decide to have a kid this is what the various things you might buy for him/her cost” the rest we can do without.

  27. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

    Why is it that a woman journalist is immediately assumed to be affluent?

    I know two male journalists who write occasional pieces for the Times, yet everyone who knows them would describe them as ‘struggling’ financially, including friends who work as school teachers and nurses.

    The New York Times may be a well respected (okay, national) newspaper, but they certainly don’t pay a fortune.

    1. zuzu
      zuzu November 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm | *

      Maybe this:

      My husband and I, both in our late 20s, share those kinds of goals with others like us, but it seems obvious that the single decision that can best help us achieve them is one that many newly married, affluent young adults don’t usually consider: Don’t have children.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve November 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

        That’s true about this specific case. However, many of the above comments allude to the fact that most of the Times female contributors are affluent.

      2. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve November 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

        You do point out something valuable with that quote. If the author was being condescending, then she was only being condescending towards newly married, affluent young adults.

        1. Past my expiration date
          Past my expiration date November 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

          Fat Steve, do you think that the author thinks that everybody else usually does consider not having children, and newly-married affluent young adults are an exception?

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

          Fat Steve, do you think that the author thinks that everybody else usually does consider not having children, and newly-married affluent young adults are an exception?

          I couldn’t say. I have no actual evidence upon which to make that statement, though the fact that she did qualify her comment by directing it specifically at newly-married affluent young adults, does strongly suggest that she was only addressing that particular statement at them.

  28. Eleanor
    Eleanor November 17, 2012 at 8:53 am |

    I am a parent of two, a teen and a tween. I read the article – and while I am most likely part of her ‘target audience’ – I also thought it was quite sensible, and not at all condescending.

    She brought up issues I had not really focused on when choosing to have childern, and there have been huge costs to my ignorance. Yes, I did run some budget numbers and take the advice generally avialble and given into consideration. I knew children ‘cost money.’ I recall we more or less worked off the then popular 800k figure – without really grappling with the perfectly clear stipulation that that figure DID NOT account for college costs, and hidden costs weren’t even discussed. And even though I took econ 101, the concept of ‘opportunity cost’ wasn’t a big part of my world view at the time. (What can I say? I was young. The odds didn’t apply to me.) And I am quite fortunate that both of my children were desired and planned.

    Now – my baby lust was very strong, I probably would have done it anyway – but I *did* misjudge the true expense of kids. The ‘cash off the top’ they require is more than the margin between ‘constant financial stress’ and financial security at my income level. I think about it all the time. I don’t begrudge them this, or resent it – but I do own it. It is the daily reality of my life. And will be for decades to come. And in retrospect, I wish I *had* considered more fully this aspect of choosing to be a bio-parent. Forewarned and forearmed and all that.

    I *did* hand wave away the what I now know to be the nearly inevitable career hit. The studies hadn’t been done yet, so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to super-mom my way through. In my case – it turned out I didn’t beat the odds.

    I never even considered the emotional and financial-stress driven toll children would take on my marriage, ultimately causing him to want a divorce. To my furious dismay, because it exacerbated rather than eased the financial strains of raising children.

    I made a number of assumptions about my financial outlook and prospects that turned out to be quite wrong. And NOBODY in my wider circle of friends/family/advisors offered anything better. And they all viewed themselves to be quite sensible people with stable middle class views about, yes, houses and retirements and a vision of the ‘good life’ that reflects exactly what the author of this article is talking about. Children were simply a leap of faith.

    Articles like this suggest a different way of looking at that decision.

    1. WL
      WL November 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

      I just wanted to say, thank you for your post. It doesn’t make someone a “stupid bad person” or anything for not thinking of everything. I also agree it’s not condescending to not assume everyone already knows everything. Personally, I think there’s something wrong with the attitude of “If you don’t think I already know everything, then you’re being insulting and condescending.” There are plenty of people who don’t know what they’re getting into despite trying (and plenty who actually are too “stupid” to try).

  29. KaralynZ
    KaralynZ November 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

    Married, with one child. My husband and I always both wanted children, plural. But economic factors are causing us to constantly reconsider it. We love our child and would love another one, but we can’t afford one right now. Do we want to wait until his student loans are paid off? (Which would put an 8 or more year gap between kids.) Do we want to not have another, (something we would have thought unthinkable 10 years ago.)

    It’s so hard. Even harder when people we try to talk to about it call us “selfish” for possibly not having any more. It’s selfish to want to make sure the child we already have has a safe place to live? That we won’t default on our mortgage? That he has reliable childcare and good healthcare? That he has educational opportunities that will allow him to do well in life? If that’s selfish, fuck yes we are.

    1. tomek
      tomek November 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

      personably i find very funny when mothers is call people without children “selfish” because for many of great advance in techology that benefit most other people was cause by people wihtout children. it is sad to me what woman are hate each other much so they attack each other. u see man with child and man without child they can have good respect for one each other. why it not possible for woman?

      1. EG
        EG November 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

        many of great advance in techology that benefit most other people was cause by people wihtout children.

        Oh, was Mommy too busy changing your dirty diapers to discover cold fusion? So sorry.

        It is absurd, insulting, and stupid to tell people who don’t want to have any or more children that they are “selfish” (by placing their desires/needs above those of people who don’t exist? what even does that mean?), but not because of that, tomek.

        u see man with child and man without child they can have good respect for one each other. why it not possible for woman?

        Do you…understand the basic idea of sexism?

        1. Harald
          Harald November 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

          I rarely comment here, but: can we pleeease have tomek banned?

          Because I believe the answer to

          Do you…understand the basic idea of sexism?

          is unfortunately “no”.

        2. WL
          WL November 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

          Hm, my previous comments are still in moderation, but maybe this will go through.

          I think people generally are selfish when considering whether to have children or not, no matter how they decide. They think about how it will affect MY finances, or MY career, or MY joy, MY purpose of life, MY desire, MY feelings of love… The closest they get to being less selfish is caring about the pressures of people around them, such as parents and spouses.

          What they don’t consider is the kids themselves. It’s all about how CF people are looked down on, or parents are looked down on, never how the children are affected. They certainly don’t exist yet, but IF THEY WILL, that should be taken into account.

          From a narrowly selfish point of view, this makes sense too. What will MY children think of MY decisions, will they be resentful of ME or question MY motives? I don’t know why people don’t think about this more. If it enters their minds at all, they usually assume the kid will be happy and healthy, addicted to life, eternally grateful to the people who inserted Tab A into Slot B, joyful through their full and wonderful lives, spreading goodness and love to the rest of mankind, etc. The reality is, children are not an extension of their parents, money-making machines, or tools for others to use, and there’s no guarantee that they will think and feel what their parents hope; they are individual people.

          The way I see the world, it is logically impossible for a non-existent nothing to WANT anything, so it’s logically impossible to say forcing kids into this universe is in any way good for them. People who pressure others to not have kids are disregarding the interests of the parents. People who pressure others to have kids are disregarding the interests of the non-parents AND of the kids. (This probably doesn’t apply to you, especially if you have religious beliefs that there an infinite amount of lost souls in another realm, desperately hoping for a human body to be conceived and grow so they may enter our world.)

          As for tomek’s comment, isn’t that often used to excuse people who are discriminated against, even though no excuse should be needed? Lots of great scientists were black, lots of great writers were women, etc. I was brainwashed to think this way in elementary school, but as I thought more for myself, this began to infuriate me. Blacks are people no matter how many or few of them are scientists, etc. Even if all useful technology was discovered by parents or non-parents, that has no bearing on whether someone should have children.

        3. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl November 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm |

          What will MY children think of MY decisions, will they be resentful of ME or question MY motives? I don’t know why people don’t think about this more. If it enters their minds at all, they usually assume the kid will be happy and healthy, addicted to life, eternally grateful to the people who inserted Tab A into Slot B, joyful through their full and wonderful lives, spreading goodness and love to the rest of mankind, etc. The reality is, children are not an extension of their parents, money-making machines, or tools for others to use, and there’s no guarantee that they will think and feel what their parents hope; they are individual people.

          Yeah, no, I call straw parent. Upon what are you even basing these baseless set of assumptions, anyway? Because while most parents I know hope that there kids will be easygoing and happy, it is hardly a universal thing taken as a given. And the reality of what it is actually like to have a separate, autonomous person with thoughts and opinions and a personality all their own introduced into your life in the form of a child quickly disabuses you of any simplistic or narcissistic assumptions you may have had prior to that child’s birth pretty damn quickly.

          And then you put on your adult pants, adapt accordingly to live your life with that child, and get on with things.

        4. EG
          EG November 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

          If it enters their minds at all, they usually assume the kid will be happy and healthy, addicted to life, eternally grateful to the people who inserted Tab A into Slot B, joyful through their full and wonderful lives, spreading goodness and love to the rest of mankind, etc.

          Are the prospective parents you know stupid or something? I’m pretty sure that those I have known–particularly those who are aware of, oh, say, a history of depression in their family, for example–understand that children are complex human beings.

  30. IrishUp
    IrishUp November 18, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    The thing that grates my gorganzola is how seldom these conversations acknowledge that the Enuterati are generally constrained from actually HAVING full reproductive choices. Sure, bodily autonomy is a basic human right, but the majority of “potentially pregnant people” DO NOT HAVE THIS. (PPP hereafter to refer to humans who are physically*capable* of conception and gestation).

    In this sense, it’s the ability to plan a child or plan being childfree -and remain so! – that is the relative privilege. When we are discussing “unplanned” pregnancies as being equivalent to “un-thought-through”, we are lumping in a hella large number of pregnancies carried to term via coercion, deliberate denial of access, and yes, violence. And when we demand that X level of financial security be achieved before people can chose children, we are in fact engaged in some egregious classism and Social Darwinism.

    PPP do not plan any differently from other people. However, PPP are constrained to choices amongst lack of alternatives.

  31. EG
    EG November 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

    Here’s something else I find interesting: she factors in a loss of wages based on the idea that if she doesn’t have children, her career will go swimmingly–full-on optimism. OK. But then she dismisses out of hand the financial benefits of having someone invested in eldercare. It’s true that you can’t guarantee that your children will take care of you in your old age, but it’s also true that you can’t guarantee that you will continue in a good career with a good income over the course of several decades regardless of personal and economic ups and downs. Why is it OK to make one assumption and not the other? My grandfather, mother, uncle, father, aunt, and stepfather provided all kinds of free labor to their parents at the end of their lives, from financial and clerical organization to physical care to home maintenance. Why not calculate the potential return on investment there as well?

    1. Andie
      Andie November 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |

      She also doesn’t consider the possibility that not having kids would allow someone more freedom to pursue careers that perhaps don’t pay as much but may be more fulfilling.

      I know if I didn’t have kids, I’d probably be making a lot less money.. why? Because I wouldn’t HAVE to make as much.

  32. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm |

    Personally I find the flawed analysis argument much more convincing than the ‘condescending’ argument. Here is one way that I can see that Ms. Taha’s statistics are a bit off.

    She doesn’t include the expenses that a childless couple (like myself and Mrs. Fat,) incur just on the basis of the fact that we have no children. Now not everyone is like us, but many childless couples are a lot ‘easier’ with spending money due to the fact that there isn’t a child’s education or health or whatever in the back of their mind. So that is probably one way in which the cost analysis is lacking. Plus there are other intangibles, we would probably spend a lot less money on alcohol and other things of that nature if we had a child and we wouldn’t travel as much, etc etc. (By the way, that ’30% more fun’ statistic is ludicrous…we have way more fun than that…)

    So, yeah sure, crunching the numbers doesn’t always paint a 100% accurate picture of what reality turns out like, but Ms. Taha did crunch the numbers and got $1.7 million. A figure which many people here think is outrageous. I think this acquits her of the charge of being condescending. If her number crunching and analysis got her to a figure that all the people who accused her of being condescending find incredibly high, then she would have every right to think that people don’t consider that a child will cost $1.7 million.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl November 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm |

      I think this acquits her of the charge of being condescending. If her number crunching and analysis got her to a figure that all the people who accused her of being condescending find incredibly high, then she would have every right to think that people don’t consider that a child will cost $1.7 million.

      Just for the record, Merriam Webster defines condescening as showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others.

      Steve, the way that Ms. Taha came up with her outlandish figures and calculations for the costs related to having a kid is in and of itself condescending. It’s the, don’t you know how expensive that is! when actually I know how expensive it is, and no it isn’t nearly as expensive as you are claiming it to be with which some of us have taken issue.

      I have also expressed what else in her article I found to be condescending. For example, this:

      But opting out of parenthood isn’t such a fanatical financial move. In fact, it’s rather prudent.

      This:

      I cannot fathom how anyone could enter into this without a number of some sort in mind

      And this:

      It must be difficult to accept that no matter how you set aside your own interests, you cannot afford the very best of everything for your child.

      To provide just a few examples of how she comes off as condescending. It’s the way she implies that she’s actually the one taking a prudent approach to life. Furthermore, she can’t possibly fathom how anyone else would not take the same prudent path to life. Absolutely inconceivable, really! And she thinks it’s so sad that so many parents can’t afford the full platinum treatment when it comes to raising and caring for their child. This last bit is probably the most condescending thing that she says, because it’s so insulting to the majority of parents out there who still do a darn good job of raising their kids without the bestest of absolutely everything imaginable.

      News flash! kids don’t need the best of everything. In fact, they end up becoming insufferable jerks if they are given absolutely the best of everything. And then somebody else will write an article in the NYT about how entitled and bratty those kids are, because their parents go out of their way to spend, spend, spend and the sky is the limit when it comes to every little wish and desire being catered to for little junior.

      1. WL
        WL November 26, 2012 at 8:22 am |

        I missed replying to this one earlier.

        She didn’t say it’s THE ONLY prudent thing to do, and all other options are inferior. I guess my posts aren’t the only thing you read other shit into.

        Also, saying you CAN’T fathom something is admitting it’s so outside your frame of reference that you…don’t understand it. Duh. Also, you’re equating “opting out of parenthood” with “not having a number in mind.” Which makes about as much sense as equating “math” with “hateful” so I guess I see a pattern.

        As for difficult to accept, it sure is for people who want a life with decent standards for their dependents, as I wrote about above.

        Sure, kids don’t NEED clean air, or the best medical treatments, or whatever. But if you can’t fathom why someone would WANT those things for kids, I hope you’re kept away from them.

        As for equating “best” with “most expensive,” again makes as much sense as… I give up on that one.

        Kids end up having the best opportunities for independent thinking, empathy, compassion, self motivation, etc if given the best of everything. Kids end up with a high probability of being insecure, materialistic, expectant of receiving expensive stuff, crazy enough to equate “being bought anything I ask for” with “being loved,” etc if given less-than-the-best parenting combined with tons of physical objects.

        Anyone who thinks “the best of the best for their kids” is equivalent to “parental neglect with designer clothes on top” and/or “feeding their kids nothing but candy and ice cream” has no clue what kids need and, again, shouldn’t be allowed near them.

        It’s obvious you don’t like me because I post reality checks–it’s obvious enough as you’re promoting hostility between us–but maybe as you journey through life, you’ll become receptive to confronting the truth and becoming a more rational, less egotistical person. And then you’ll remember some of the things I said and those statements will be helpful to you. And as you change, you’ll become the type of person who would be a fit caretaker. One can only hope.

    2. igglanova
      igglanova November 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

      She doesn’t include the expenses that a childless couple (like myself and Mrs. Fat,) incur just on the basis of the fact that we have no children. Now not everyone is like us, but many childless couples are a lot ‘easier’ with spending money due to the fact that there isn’t a child’s education or health or whatever in the back of their mind. So that is probably one way in which the cost analysis is lacking. Plus there are other intangibles, we would probably spend a lot less money on alcohol and other things of that nature if we had a child and we wouldn’t travel as much, etc etc.

      I’m not sure this actually weakens her analysis. Her point is not that she and her husband would literally have $1.7 million more in their savings account at the end of the time period under analysis, but that they would have $1.7 million to spend on themselves rather than on a dependent.

  33. Natalia
    Natalia November 20, 2012 at 5:27 am |

    After catching up with *all* of these comments, finally (what? It’s been a slow week), let me just say that:

    If you don’t want kids, don’t have kids. And don’t try to justify your decision with: “But I’m just too enlightened, you see. Too complex, too interesting, too smart/frugal/ethical/sexy/amazing. Unlike you stupid peasants who, according to my calculations (did I mention I’m smart?), must make zillions of dollars to provide their stupid spawn with private educations and Chloe onesies. So they can be less stupid. Maybe.”

    If you want kids, have kids. And don’t try to justify your decision with: “But I’m just too selfless, you see. Too loving, too saintly, too kind/spiritual/profound/charitable/wonderful/and too damn beautiful to not pass my amazing genes on. Unlike you sad, dried up hags with your millions of cats and overpriced vibrators. Enjoy being old and lonely and dying alone in your apartment and being eaten by those cats! Haha!”

    In fact, don’t try to justify your decisions, period. And maybe we’ll eventually get to that point when grown-ass adults won’t be *expected* to receive validation for exercising basic reproductive rights.

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve November 20, 2012 at 9:55 am |

      In fact, don’t try to justify your decisions, period. And maybe we’ll eventually get to that point when grown-ass adults won’t be *expected* to receive validation for exercising basic reproductive rights.

      This pretty much sums up our fundamental difference on this issue. My attitude would be:

      Don’t judge people to harshly for justifying their major life decisions at it seems like it is all too human a response.

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl November 20, 2012 at 11:59 am |

      In fact, don’t try to justify your decisions, period. And maybe we’ll eventually get to that point when grown-ass adults won’t be *expected* to receive validation for exercising basic reproductive rights.

      Amen to this.

      The way that our society pits women against each other to justify everything and everything they do is absurd. We all need to stop feeling like we have to apologize for not doing what everyone or anyone else is doing (or worse yet condemn anyone who doesn’t do it just like you do.) I’m personally sick of the way discourse wrt life choices always seems to devolve into an us v. them fight, whether that be the married v. unmarried or the parent v. nonparent.

      Enough already.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

        This completely ignores the power imbalance here; saying “stop justifying your choice to not have kids!” is like saying “stop justifying your choice to marry someone of the same sex!” When one choice gets way more pushback than another, it deserves some justification. And if parents hate the idea that non-parenting is justifiable then they can just kindly stfu and not read the damn thing.

        1. Natalia
          Natalia November 21, 2012 at 2:10 am |

          You do realize that for everyone who isn’t wealthy, straight, of the “right” religion depending on where they live, of the “right” colour and genetic make-up and so on, reproducing is actually something they are asked to defend on a regular basis, right?

          And that, no matter what kind of picture the NYT or the white-washed media may paint for us, those parents are actually the majority living in the world today…? Simply because most people out there are pretty poor…?

        2. Natalia
          Natalia November 21, 2012 at 2:47 am |

          When it comes to abortion I actually think this is less true, since abortion is basically just maintaining the status quo.

          Jill, how many poor people do you know who were forced to get unwanted abortions as a matter of basic survival? People with abusive employers, for example, or people with abusive relatives? Or, on the flip-side, how many people do you know whose decision to have an abortion was a way *out* of a horrible, abusive situation?

          Also, how many people do you think get them because the ultrasound technician says “it’s a girl!” and the husband and the in-laws are going, “Bitch, if you have a girl, we’re throwing you out of the house”…?

          When we’re talking about maintaining the status quo, we can’t extrapolate that to everyone.

          The shallow abortion debate in the States obscures some very real issues wrt bodily autonomy. Because we have to fight for the mere right to maintain legal access to abortion, we don’t have time to stop and think about how poverty and abuse figure into the equation.

          I’m related to someone who was forced to get an abortion by a totally evil ex. “Get rid of it and I won’t have to beat it out of you.” Of course, he hit her anyway, and then he abandoned her after there was nothing left of her confidence to destroy, and when she was later in an accident and told she would never have children, she went ahead and tied a noose around her neck.

          That was some fucked-up shit to deal with, and it has really put me off the idea that an abortion can’t possibly be a major, life-changing decision for someone.

          To put it in a different context, another relative of mine was saved when she decided, on her own terms, to get an abortion in order to once and for all escape an equally abusive ex (yeah, women in my family tend to fall for assholes). This was also not a decision made in order to maintain the status quo – it was a life-changing event. For the first time in years, she made a decision *for herself*. That changed her entire perspective. I think the fact that she is living a normal life now all goes back to that one time she said, “I’m doing what’s best for ME. I am NOT going to have his child. Fuck that.”

          These decisions are different for everyone. And they have consequences – positive, negative, or both. A few years ago, the one time I had a genuine pregnancy scare and wasn’t at all interested in having a child, the thought that, “Well, if this is true, then I’ll get an abortion” was very comforting and easy to entertain. But that just means I was lucky, you know? I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom, and I wasn’t dealing with poverty and/or some abusive prick who wanted to make those decisions for me.

  34. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune November 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    So here’s a pattern I’ve seen emerge, from all these threads:

    Childfree people get way more pushback for SAYING they don’t want children, than they get pushback for not actually HAVING them.

    Childhaving people get way more pushback for HAVING kids, but practically none for SAYING they want them.

    I think a whole lot of the “NO U” between both groups is that CFBC people are saying “well, nobody gives you shit for wanting kids!!!” but aren’t nearly as sensitive to the shit parents get for actually having them, while the childhaving people are saying “well nobody gives you shit for having kids!!!” while not being sensitive to the fact that CFBC peeps vocalising their preference is what’s actually being punished. It’s the golden rule gone horribly awry.

    Does that make sense? Am I talking out my ass?

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune November 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

      And I say that childhaving people have practically no pushback for saying they want kids from the angle of…like, for example, my friend with MS, who always got sage nods and “yeah, yeah, totes” when she said she wanted kids, but now that she’s making her actual pregnancy plans she’s being suddenly met with BUT UR DISABILITY HDU. Just to clarify.

    2. EG
      EG November 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

      That makes perfect sense to me, Mac, and completely matches my observations as well. So, co-signed, if you’ll allow!

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune November 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm |

        Of course! THank you!

    3. Andie
      Andie November 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

      Yeah I agree with what you’ve written here.

      I don’t want to deny that women who are CFBC get a LOT of flack and pressure and “But BABIIEEEEEES, WHYYYYYYY NOTTTTTTTT?” and are ridiculed as selfish. At the same time, women are encouraged to have babies but if they do it under anything but the most ideal circumstances we also get flack and the “Well, why didn’t you think of that before getting yourself knocked up?”

      (from the personal anecdote file: I’ve been asked to justify my inability to tell the future – that is, my marriage falling apart – and told that I should have thought more about ‘my’ decision to have children and that I shouldn’t bitch about being a single parent)

  35. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl November 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

    That, or they’ve been on welfare so long they forgot that some people’s time is valuable.

    I know WL thought this thread was dead enough that he could spew his hateful and vapid nonsense in form of wall o text unchecked, but I thought I would pull this parting shot out of his last comment just to illustrate how vile and trollish he truly is. I don’t care what rationalization he attempts to use in his own defense (irony, self-spoofing, brazen truth telling?) he is clearly a Troll and deserves to be called out as such.

  36. WL
    WL November 26, 2012 at 8:06 am |

    You’re pretty paranoid and make a lot of false assumptions about me, but ok. At least you got my name right.

    Sorry if I write a lot..?

    I meant it literally, without any negative connotations. There is NOTHING wrong with being on welfare (I’m actually a socialist so in my ideal world, everyone would have access to whatever they needed without any penalty for lack of work). Plus, contrary to a lot of people’s beliefs, people on welfare contribute exactly the same amount to the economy as working people who spend the same amount of money…not that I think “how good it is for the economy” is anywhere near equal to “how good it is for people” or “how moral it is.”

    But ok, you can adjust it to “been at at low income levels for so long that…” Depending on the area (eg country, state/province), I recall that some people get more money on welfare than they would working. So I’ll apologize for that oversight.

    I’m unemployed and not on welfare, and the value of my time is exactly $0.00 + whatever things of value I do–eg cleaning the house could be compared to the amount of money my partner might otherwise spend his time doing or hire someone else to do. His time is valuable at a lot more per hour, thus the opportunity cost of him spending even one extra hour a week cleaning would add up.

    Let’s say you can spend time picking up something free that you saw on CL, as opposed to spending a minute or so ordering it new…which is what someone suggested that affluent ($100k+/year) families do.

    If the opportunity cost of doing so is 25 cents per hour (very low economic productivity), then even if it took you 3 hours to walk there, pick it up, and walk back, it would SAVE you around $1.25 compared to ordering it for $2. It would be smart of you to do so, all else being equal.

    If the opportunity cost of doing so is $500 per hour (higher economic productivity), then taking 3 hours to pick it up for free would COST you around $1,498. It would be amazingly stupid of you to do so, all else being equal.

    In fact, even if it cost $1,200 new, it would still COST you around $300.

    If you think math and truth are hateful and vapid, that just shows what kind of mind you have and I hope you never brainwash kids into thinking the same way.

    It’s sad that I have to spell out this really simple stuff.

    I’m also very sad this thread is dead; I hoped people would see new comments via feed and reply more. It’s an interesting topic with even more interesting comments.

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