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Having children is not a step to take lightly. As a parent, your life will significantly change.
Once you have children, your life is no longer only yours. You must prepare for an extreme amount of responsibility, hardship, worry, and of course, love. Family is beautiful, but it’s not easy.
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15 Pros and Cons of Having Kids
I love my kids. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. My job as a mom is to protect and nurture them. I do this with great pleasure. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a difficult job that often has its share of frustration and, yes, even regret.
Before you embark on the lifelong journey of parenthood, consider all of the pros and cons.
1. Pro: Watching Children Grow is Magical
The only cliche that is bigger than “I love my kids” is saying that watching them grow is a gift or a miracle. However, just because it’s cliche doesn’t make it untrue. Seeing my kids grow up before my eyes has been a blessing that I never imagined.
The first time a baby rolls over or sits up is like a new light suddenly shining. The first spoken word or the first step is an event worth celebrating. I have a video of my youngest reading a book for the first time that I still watch even though she can read circles around me now.
The magic doesn’t stop in early childhood. My oldest is now a teenager. He passed his driver’s permit test last winter, which was possibly more thrilling to me than it was to him. Every step, every moment is an honor to watch and share.
2. Con: Sleep Will Never Be the Same
I don’t sleep anymore. At least, I don’t sleep in the way that I used to. Before I had kids, I could put my head down any time, any place, and be out for the next eight hours. That hasn’t been the case in a while and, if my mother is right, it won’t ever be the case again.
- Before I go to bed, I think about what my kids are doing.
- Are they asleep yet?
- Are they secretly listening to music?
- Should I check on them?
- Would that invade their privacy?
And then come the fears. When they were younger, I spent most of my nights thinking about SIDS. Now that they’re older, I spend my nights wondering about what I am doing wrong and how I might be screwing up.
Of course, this is skipping over those early days when sleep is a fantasy. Between scary dreams, diaper changes, teething, and late-night feedings, a parent is lucky if they can squeeze in a whole hour of sleep at once until their children are past pre-school.
3. Pro: So Many Snuggles
Snuggles cannot be overrated. Babies desire to snuggle with their parents, and parents have a yearning to hold their children close. Science even suggests that snuggling is healthy for both babies and their parents.
Cuddles don’t end once your babies start to grow. They may not need constant hugs, but they will still require snuggles when they’re experiencing emotions of all kinds. Happy, sad, excited, or scared all equal big hugs from children. You will just have to trust me when I tell you it never gets old.
4. Con: So Many Bills
Newsflash: Kids are expensive. It starts with hospital bills when they’re born and then only increases with time.
Diapers, daycare, and dental work are enormous drains on the household budget. That doesn’t include the cost of food, toys, and any extras you might find the time and budget to allow. For instance, if you want to go to a Mommy and Me yoga class, it will cost you.
I thought our expenses would go down when my children started school and we no longer had daycare bills. That was a nice little fantasy for all of five minutes. What I found was that there were new and exciting budget drains when the kids started school.
My money went to clothing, school supplies, a lunch box, a replacement lunch box, fundraisers, after-school activities, and, somehow, a third lunch box because, at some point, they literally grow legs and walk away.
These day-to-day expenses are harrowing enough, but pretty soon, you have to start thinking about college. That’s when expenses get really serious.
5. Pro: You Have a Built-In Buddy
I love hanging out with my kids. They have been the most fun at every age. When they were toddlers, I loved going for walks with them through the park. They would ooh and aah at every bug, bird, and butterfly that came near. It was such a joy to have that time together.
Elementary-age kids develop wonderful personalities. They’re funny, creative, and naturally kind. If you’re having a bad day, a seven-year-old will bring you a flower and give you a hug. Who wouldn’t want that around?
Teenagers are a handful, undoubtedly, but they’re also young adults who can communicate on a level that you sometimes need. Two days ago, I asked my son if he wanted to go with me to buy olive oil. I didn’t think he would, but he said okay, and off we went to a specialty shop that sells only olive oil and vinegar.
I took my time picking out my favorite over-priced oils, and he talked with me, made jokes, and discussed the country of origin of different bottles.
He teased me about my need for specialty olive oil, but he also hugged me and thanked me for inviting him along. Those are truly invaluable moments.
6. Con: Everyday Activities Take Twice as Long
I cannot stress this enough. Children make everything take at least twice as long as it should.
Remember dressing baby dolls when you were young? Actual babies aren’t like that. They don’t lie still, so you can put them in adorable rompers. They fuss and turn and pull and scream before they poop on everything you managed to get on them.
It’s even worse as they grow. Once they have opinions about what they’re wearing, kids turn every clothing change into a negotiation.
Do you have to go somewhere? Build-in extra time…Build in a lot of extra time.
Invariably, once the kids are in the car, they’ll each need to use the toilet again. Then they will get distracted by whatever toy they left lying next to the bathtub, and you once again need to negotiate how to get them back in the car.
Don’t even get me started on meals. My daughter spends, on average, an hour and 45 minutes eating her meals. She’s not a picky eater. She’s just in no hurry. Apply that to everything you do all day long, and you’ll have some idea of what it’s like to navigate life with a child.
7. Pro: You Can See the World Through Someone Else’s Eyes
Remember the first time you saw fireworks? Or the first time you tasted chocolate? You might not, but you can relive some of that when your child experiences it for the first time. You can watch the joy fill their faces when they hear a beautiful song or smell a fragrant rose. Seeing the world through young eyes is breathtaking.
The kindness and acceptance that young people feel for others is a sight to behold. Hatred and suspicion are learned behaviors. Watching young people and seeing them experience new things is something that has astonished me. I’ll give you an example.
A few years ago, my children and I were shopping when they saw a person who had a very masculine appearance wearing a very traditionally feminine dress and heels.
They both looked at the person with some confusion and then asked me why he was wearing a dress. I said that the person was wearing what makes them feel best and that anyone can wear dresses if they want to.
My daughter turned to this person and said, “You look very pretty,” and then both kids went back to discussing sandwiches.
8. Con: You Are in a Constant State of Worry
My daughter is leaving for her first out-of-town trip without me tomorrow. I’m unable to sleep thinking about her being so far away from me for the next five days.
I don’t know that I’ll be able to function knowing that she’s going to be a six-hour car ride away with people who are not her parents. The idea that I will have to go through this more often is almost more than I can take.
The constant worry is not just about kids being away from home. I also worry that I am making terrible mistakes as a parent.
- Am I pushing them too much?
- Not enough?
- Should I encourage my daughter to eat healthy, or will that give her an eating disorder?
- Should I let my son play football even though it has been proven to cause brain injuries?
- Have I been too strict or too lenient?
- What if they start doing drugs or become mimes?
The worry never ever stops.
9. Pro: There are Tax Benefits
It may seem crass, but the truth is, there are some serious tax incentives to having children. The tax laws change each year, but in the United States, parents get credits to the tune of thousands of dollars annually just for reproducing.
In 2021, parents are getting advanced child tax credits based on the age of the children and the parent’s income. Basically, as long as you’re not already wealthy, you can get a payment of up to $250 a month for each child.
That may not sound like a lot, but when you’re paying for braces, dance classes, and yet another lunch box, you will be happy to have it.
First things first, make sure you seek the guidance of a professional financial advisor to get a better idea of how you can tax plan based on what your family has going on.
Secondly, while there are some good tax benefits to having kids, you should not have kids based solely on tax benefits. The math doesn’t work out.
Instead, look at this as more of a way to minimize the cost of having a kid.
10. Con: Alone Time is Gone
You’ll never be alone again, or at least not for a very long time. I had heard this before I had children, but I never really appreciated the truth of it until I had a complete breakdown in the shower.
My baby was crying, my toddler was pounding at the door, and I hadn’t showered in two days. I needed some time away from the kids, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
Infancy is one thing. My daughter would not take a bottle and only nursed. I was tied to her around the clock.
What is more interesting is the idea of having alone time when kids are older. If I need to use the bathroom, I can guarantee you that is the moment both children will desperately need me. If I slip away to take a nap, that will be the time the kids need an arbiter in their latest dispute.
I have found that alone time only happens if I stay up at 5 AM. Trust me when I say no one wants to be around me that early in the morning – not even me.
11. Pro: Raising Children Helps You and Your Partner Become Closer
It has to be said that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, couples simply weren’t meant to be together, and no number of children will fix that. A couple who has children to try to save the marriage is already doomed.
Conversely, if you already have a strong bond with your partner, a child can serve to strengthen that bond even more. That is definitely the case with my husband and me.
We were best friends when we married. We both knew we wanted children, and we both had the same goals and dreams for our future. We don’t always agree when it comes to the minutiae of childcare, but we do always find common ground.
Being a parent alongside my best friend is the greatest journey I could ever have. He makes being a mom easier, and hopefully, I help make being a dad the joy that it should be.
12. Con: Your Career May Suffer
It’s almost a guarantee your career will suffer once you have children. Tragically, this is especially true if you’re a woman. Mothers are still expected to be the primary caregivers, even in today’s woke society.
Middle-aged moms are often passed up for jobs because employers are aware they are the ones most likely to take personal days for childcare-related reasons. Younger women may be overlooked because employers don’t want to deal with maternity leave. It’s sexist, and it sucks, but pretending it doesn’t happen doesn’t make it go away.
My husband and I made the choice for me to find a work-at-home job while the kids were young for a simple reason: He had a career he was passionate about, and I had a job that paid money.
We based our choice not on how much money we were making but on what we found most fulfilling. Luckily, it worked out for both of us. My husband has been repeatedly promoted, and I’ve found passion in the work I’ve been doing for the last 15 years.
My story isn’t the most common one. As women give up careers to take care of children, they stall any chance of promotion or growth.
13. Pro: Children Bring Out the Best in You
I am not just a mom. I am also a finder. I have a knack for finding lost things that is only granted with mom superpowers. When I hear cries of, “Mom, I lost my…
- …cell phone!”
My immediate response is, “Did you check…
- …the back seat of the car?”
- …in the refrigerator?”
- …under your bed?”
Almost every time, that’s where the lost item is found. Sidenote: Each of those scenarios are true, and they were found in those very places, in that order.
I am also great at telling stories. A few nights ago, my daughter couldn’t sleep. I asked her if she counted sheep jumping over a fence, and she said yes, of course.
So then I said we should recount them, but this time let’s make sure we know everything there is to know about each sheep. Their families, their careers, their hopes, and their dreams are all very important.
We need to know why they’re jumping the fence and whether they’re running away or running towards something.
Before I knew it, she was sound asleep. Come to think of it that might mean I’m not that great at telling stories after all.
My point is, as a parent, you will find what really makes you shine. Your kids will bring that out of you.
14. Con: Travel is Much Harder
Traveling with kids can be extremely difficult. Road trips take longer because of the frequent potty breaks and inevitable car sickness. Airline travel could go sideways in the blink of an eye.
Every activity must be kid-friendly unless you’re one of the fortunate few who can travel with a nanny. Any late nights or cocktail parties are not going to happen for a long time.
That said, I love traveling with my kids. I have more fun on vacation now than I ever did before my children came along. I love showing them the world and seeing their eyes fill with joy whenever we go someplace new.
My tip to any parent who worries about traveling with kids is to start traveling as soon as possible. Both of my children were under three months old before we started traveling with them.
By traveling early and often, they have become happy and comfortable in a car, plane, train, or cruise ship. Of course, if you don’t have the means to travel often, you might find it difficult to acclimate your kids in this way.
Simply give them as many different experiences in different environments as you can.
15. Pro: Children Help You Grow
I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 18. I put myself through college. I paid my own bills. I worked part-time and full-time jobs to support myself. I felt like an adult. When I married and bought a house, I felt more like an adult.
What could be more adult than paying a monthly mortgage?
The truth is, I never truly grew up until I had children. When I was responsible for another life that was fully dependent on me, I had to be a grown-up. I could no longer justify staying out all night at clubs or taking off for a last-minute road trip with my girlfriends.
I had a child who needed me. Perhaps even more interesting is that those things were no longer even on my radar. Just as a high school senior no longer wants to play in the sandbox, a mom no longer wants to get wasted at a house party.
Admittedly, there are still some parents who want to relive their younger days. I love a good fingerpainting as much as anyone. However, I now know what it’s like to be truly grown. I love it, and I have my kids to thank for it.
To Summarize the Points Above
|Pros of Having Kids||Cons of Having Kids|
|Watching Children Grow is Magical||Sleeping Will Never Be the Same|
|So Many Snuggles||So Many Bills|
|You Have a Built-in Buddy||Everyday Activities Take Twice as Long|
|You Can See the World Through Someone Else’s Eyes||You Are in a Constant State of Worry|
|There are Tax Benefits||Alone Time is Gone|
|Raising Children Helps You and Your Partner Become Closer||Your Career May Suffer|
|Children Bring Out the Best in You||Travel is Much Harder|
|Children Help You Grow||All that Work and You Could Still End Up with Kids Who Don’t Value You|
Having Kids is a Big Responsibility
Having kids is a big responsibility that understandably, not everyone wants. If you’re on the fence I hope this article helps give you some little nuggets of info you can use to make an informed decision.
Are you ready to have children? What are some of the pros and cons you can think of when it comes to having children? Tell us in the comments!