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The Kid Conundrum

A good friend of mine, F. Slocombe, & I met because of the Urban Dater. We have a lot in common in our views on dating & marriage & babies. Oh babies, the dreaded issue, an issue he & I bonded over. After me begging asking many times he finally had some free time to write for us. I hope it's the first of many guest posts from him. Enjoy! Taylor Cast

I'm nearing 30, I have a budding and semi-successful career, I drive a car that I've bought myself. I'm ambitious, I am constantly on the go, and I always strive to do great things. I'm well-read, and educated – I have a Master's degree. I'm always thoughtful, and most people will tell you that no matter how stressed out I am, I always make the best of the situation and am tons of fun to be around. I always make time for the people in my life that are important to me.  My friends and family are  welcoming, heart-warming, wonderful people. I'm told that I'm a good-looking dude, and my female friends actually set me up with their other friends, because I really, truly am a GREAT catch.

Well, I just got dumped.

I was having breakfast about a month ago with my now ex-lady friend in San Diego, after an amazing night out with her and my aforementioned wonderful friends. The table sitting next to us was a family, with a 6-10 month-old strapped to the end of the table, making a mess out of his apricot flavored Gerbers baby food and doing baby stuff. For the first few minutes. So of course my ex started drooling and doing what I can only describe as “oogly-googly cute baby stuff” that all you women do when you see babies and small dogs… Then the wrath of satan and all that is evil took over. The kid turned purple, his head might have done a 360, and screaming ensued. A little piece of audio hell was delivered to my table, which did not complement my hangover well at all. So I mumbled something about not wanting kids…  Huge mistake. It immediately sent her over the edge, also not complementing my hangover. We rode home in silence, and finally talked about it a few days later. She agreed that it was too early in our relationship to start worrying about it, and wanted to continue dating. Looking back though, the damage had been done. Game over.

My “fatal flaw” as most women see it, is that I am not willing to have children until I am financially secure.  Read that again. I didn't say I DON'T EVER want children.  I said, in so many words, that I don't want the responsibility of having little ones running around until I know that we (my future wife and I) can actually afford it.  What is it about that, that is so difficult for women to understand? I grew up in a household with two loving parents. My dad worked his ass off in three jobs, so that my mom could stay home and raise my brother and I. I don't have many memories of playing baseball with my dad. I learned how to ride a bike with my mom. My wicked slapshot was developed with my mother in-goal.   If I'm going to be a dad, I want to be there for my kids. Plain and simple. But quite honestly, I'm nowhere near being able to do that career-wise. Furthermore, when I find a girl who absolutely rocks my world, I want to spend a few years having “just us time.” I want to see more of the world with her, and do awesome stuff together before we have to give all of that up to soccer games, ballet lessons, and cub/girl scouts. If we decide to do the whole kid thing, and honestly, I can take it or leave it either way. If she doesn't want kids, great. If she's the woman of my dreams and she wants them, I'm sure I'll do whatever it takes to make us  have a happy and fulfilling life together.

So ladies, what do you say we back off on the “right here, right now” attitude? There are guys like me out there who are amazing catches, and we're working on getting to a point where we can give you everything we're capable of, but it takes time, and you need to be a little more understanding about it. This is the 3rd relationship that's ended this way for me in the past 5 years.  You can't always have it your way, right away.  Keep in mind that you're going to want to stay home when you start popping out “mini-me's,” – which is more bacon that I've got to bring home to cover for you not working.  I'm getting all stressed out just typing this, and it's not even a problem that I have to deal with, now that I'm single again.

Let me put things into perspective for you. I live in Orange County, one of the priciest cities in this great nation of ours.  To comfortably make ends meet for a family of 3, living in a 2-3 bedroom condo, you need a combined income of $120,000 or more. That's barely enough to cover the mortgage, have 2 cars, the cost of kids, medical bills, activities, and maybe some change for a small vacation or 2 during the year. No joke, I've done the math. That is a lot of money, and I'm a calculated risk taker. I don't mess around when it comes to stuff like this, and you shouldn't either.

Guys, I've got some advice here for you too. If you're like-minded, do yourself a favor and have the conversation early. Not wanting kids, or even being unsure about the matter is a huge deal-breaker for a lot of 25-30 year old women out there. You don't want to get involved with a girl who doesn't want the same things that you want,  you don't want to waste either of your time, and you most certainly aren't going to change someones mind about it.  I'll take it a step further: you also don't want her making up your mind for you, and having an “accident” (read: “I swear I was on the pill, I have no idea how I got pregnant, but I'm having it”).

All in all, I'm grateful that she was bold enough to recognize that she actually did want to have children, she wasn't sure when we started dating. Good on her for also having the nerve to call things off.   I'm sad that I lost a wonderful girl, who I would absolutely date again. But she wasn't willing to stand by me as I make my next big career step, and wasn't willing to be patient enough to let me build a small financial future for us. I want to be that awesome boyfriend – all I'm asking is that she be there for me right now, but she'd rather gamble by ditching me and going to find someone who has it all, exactly the way she wants it right now. How many of you out there in dating hell are thinking to yourself “good luck with that” right now? I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I was talking with one of my close friends who said, “you're a great guy who is going to do great things, and she just doesn't understand that she can't get in the way of you accomplishing those big things. She needs to be supportive and help you get there, so that you, in-turn, can focus on the things that she wants.”  I also talked to my mom about it. She said, “You're an awesome guy, and I'm sure she realizes that. But the desire for women to want children is so strong; you'll never be more awesome than that.”

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  1. Your words ring very, very true, man. I deal with this conversation every now and again and I fear many of the same things you do and have drawn the same conclusions… Ugh.

  2. LOVE this. You make some excellent points and I think you are the sane one in this situation. I am from the OC am 28 and 5 of my closest girl friends just had babies. So, I get it. I suddenly look at babies and think "I WANT ONE". However, I too want to be financially stable and I also want to be married for several years before I start poppin' out a kid or two. You are definitely doing the responsible thing by wanting to make sure you are in the right place in your life. It sounds like this girl could be in such a hurry that she's losing sight of what's important. She could end up getting married to someone terrible just because they were ready right now.
    I think I have the opposite problem now that I'm in NYC. It's possible men might be running from me because I'm willing to admit that YES I want a kid…..SOMEDAY. It's like they can smell it on me and it freaks them out. This is equally unfair to me because I'm not saying I need one now. It seems to me you have a much better head on your shoulders than most men your age in the OC. You are doing the responsible thing and I bet you will meet a woman on your same path who is far more amazing than the girl you just lost. It's always hard for me to believe this but sometimes it just really isn't meant to be.

  3. Wow I'm sad I dont live in Orange County because ALL of what you said makes sense to me (except for the fact it seems that that "slip" at dinner may have been your ex girls first whiff of your feelings about children).

    After talking with me many men assume I don't want kids when in actually I love the idea of kids and am indifferent to the reality of it. Either way it's not high on my list of to do's right now, since I'm single. I don't see the point in deciding right now if I want kids when in not even headed down the road to marriage.

    Also I'm 30 and agree that there should be at least a couple of years of newlywed time (heck i was married for 3 years and came outta thst childless)…add in the costs of kids (daycare, food, doctors visits, clothes, extra curricular activites, college funds) and I start thinking "hmm that could buy a vacation home in the caribbean"

    The only thing that makes me still consider it is that every mother I know no matter their circunstance or how their child turned out swears that motherhood best thing ever.

    Wow I said alot!

  4. Fantastic post; and so good to hear a positive male opinion on the whole kid conundrum !
    I think its great that you would like to be financially stable before considering having kids with your future wife. It's not easy and nor is it cheap. Like you said – you've done the math (so have I) and its bloody expensive to maintain a lifestyle for a family of 3 anywhere in the world.

    I'm sorry you got dumped. The girl is missing out on what could have been a great future for the two of you. Some women will find it a deal breaker if a man is 'not ready' for marriage / kids (it doesn't matter if his reasoning is as logical as yours i.e. financial security first, marriage & kids after). Some women might just be gold diggers; then there are others who are so influenced by society that they feel that need to find, meet, marry & produce off-spring by a certain age.

    And I also agree with SingleMuch – I think men can see the invisible sign on my head that says I want a stable relationship that could eventually lead to marriage. Maybe that's why I'm single ? what say you ?

  5. Fist off there is nothing wrong with you wanting to wait to have children! I live in NorCal where the cost of living is equally insane and see your story being repeated often. But just as there is nothing wrong with you wanting to wait to have children, there is nothing wrong with the women you have encountered wanting children sooner rather than later. I know men hear this a lot and think it's cliche, but women do actually have biological reasons; as I'm sure you know. I bet if you do the math on the age of the women you are dating, add the number of dating years, then the number of quality married years, the number of children you want…these women will be having children near or into their 40's. Which there is nothing wrong with, many women do, but the reality of the risks to women over 35 are very real. You have just discovered a new priority for a successful relationship…now the trick is finding someone who has children place at the same priority level as you! There are no bad guys (or girls) we're just running on different clocks.

  6. Really just commenting from the rafters. Nothing in your post applies to me since I'm divorced and have already had all the kids I'm gonna have. I'm really surprised by your experiences, though. I believe you, I just didn't know there were so many women thinking about babies. I married young so again, I have no experience in what you describe. I'm guessing though it is probably the reality of the biological clock, that makes some women baby crazy. Technically, 28 year olds shouldn't be thinking of that yet. They are misinformed if they think that any kind of clock is ticking at that age. But like another commenter stated, women do the math — 2 years dating, 1 year engagement, 3 years childfree — that's at least 6 years added to her age at her first date. Add 3 years if more than one child is wanted and yeah, she's into her late 30''s. Women get that pamphlet on "older women having babies" at age 35. Plus, sometimes it takes a while to get pregnant. And let's add the reality that some relationships don't end in marriage and there the years of dating someone who didn't work out. There is a numbers game with women. Also, women worry that their ability to attract a man wanes after a certain age. There's a lot to think about. So, I admire your honesty and think you should continue on your path. You may indeed become financially stable enough and successful enough to get married and have children, give your wife the option of staying at home, save for college and retirement, etc at age 45. You'll still be a catch. Your female counterpart is not the same kind of catch and may not be able to bear a child then. Men and women are just different. You'll be able to date the same bracket of women for years to come. It doesn't work both ways, except in Cougartown. So, I really do applaud your honesty and your instinct to want to be a true provider when the time is right. The women who can't wait, though, have their reasons, real, imagined or taught. Have the conversation up front and realize that it is not completely unreasonable for her to not spend part of her child bearing years with you. These women should maybe date older and come to think of it . . . maybe you should take a trip to Cougartown. There are no babies there!

  7. Wow, interesting topic. Several thoughts going through my mind! Here's the first:

    First you say you "mum­bled some­thing about not want­ing kids." Then you say, "I didn’t say I DON’T EVER want chil­dren." Then you say, "I can take it or leave it either way." So, honestly, it sounds kinda like you're not really into the kid thing but might bend if the woman you love really wants them. And if a woman really wants a kid, shouldn't she be with someone who wants them as much as she does, rather than someone who'll just "go along with it?" A woman who really wants kids and hears you say these things might be wary about whether you actually want kids at all or whether you'd make a good father.

    I COMPLETELY understand the desire to be financially secure before having kids. It's just good sense. But there are many other dynamics to consider here. First, and no one, especially women, likes to say this, but women are biologically on a ticking time clock. I wish we weren't, and it sucks. And it's the most unsexy thing to say to a man and we know you hate it. But the fact remains. The longer we wait, the closer we get to NOT being able to at all, and that's a scary proposition for some.

    My friend was married for 11 years and never had kids because she and her then-husband were always waiting for "the right time." He wanted to start a business, then he wanted to go back to school. There was always something. Well, they wound up divorcing and now she's at an age where it's going to be very difficult for her to have kids at all. People often point to celebs in their 40s who have babies, but what they don't know is that most of them go to fertility clinics, which is expensive and very stressful.

    There is an interesting movie called "Idiocracy," which points out how trailer trash pop out babies like rabbits while educated yuppies wait and plan to the point of non-procreation. And what results is a nation of idiots because only the stupid are procreating. I'm not saying we should be like trailer trash. But perhaps we do sometimes overthink the whole "right time to have kids" thing.

    When you say "right here, right now," what does that mean? Do the women you date want to get married and have kids within a year? Or is dating for 1-2 years, then marriage, then 1-2 years later having babies? Or is that too soon, too? Most of the women I know don't want to jump right into babies within a year, but maybe we don't know the same women.

    Regardless, if you don't want children, or if you don't want them in the near future, that is 100% okay and 100% your prerogative. You shouldn't have to change. There are women who feel the same way and the trick is to find one who does. But a good lot of them won't, and there's nothing wrong with them either. It's just a matter of matching wants. So you're smart to advise to have the talk early. I wouldn't look at it as her not standing by you and your goals. Perhaps she's thinking you're not standing by her and *her* goals. Maybe she's just thinking you both need to be with someone who wants the same thing.

  8. I love this post. As a girl surrounded by girls willing to be baby makers immediately, I tend to weird people out by saying that it might be fun to not have kids and spend all that money on me and my future husband. I know two people that do this and I'm totally jealous of the lifestyle they can give themselves. Yes, kids are great, but I firmly believe that I could be happy either way. You seem like a cool dude and I hope you run into someone that is more receptive your views.

  9. It is important to think things through, as you are doing. If you want kids at 35 then you can date someone your age. But if you think it might take 10 more years to be financially stable, then it might be an idea to start dating 25 year olds, who will be happy to wait for years to have kids.

  10. I have a newsflash for you: Not wanting kids can be a deal break for women at 30-35 and 35-40 and even 40-45 as well. Perhaps you need to date some post-menopausal cougars if you want to take the baby issue off the table. As sure as you want to get laid and have fun, women want to get married (and most want children, or at least the option of having them). Myself, I have no interest. I view babies as you do – completely dependent screaming machines that excrete mustard colored substances from both ends – nothing appealing about that. Besides, I'm realistic that at my age, it's not likely to happen without fertilitiy drugs and $15,000/mo. And why not just face the facts. But, these women are just being wise and smart and not waiting like my generation did… the generation that was told they can have it all. Truth is, they can't and they are just being practical. The accidents you speak of I call the "oops I'm accidentally pregnant plan" which happens all to often (especially with older women). I agree, have the discussion about children early on and be honest. There are plenty of girls who are DTF in NSA situations (god knows why as it does nothing for their self-esteem), so date or non-date one of them.

    1. "There are plenty of girls who are DTF in NSA situations (god knows why as it does nothing for their self-esteem)"

      I gotta call bs on this one Lennie. Please stop with the slut-shaming. You shouldn't be having sex to do ANYTHING for your self-esteem. You should be doing it because you want to, whether it's in a committed relationship, a DTF, NSA, WTF or what have you. Don't assume that a girl that is having sex outside the context of a committed relationship of some kind does not feel good about that, or has low self-esteem. This is such a dangerous attitude, and does nothing to further a healthy dialogue about female sexuality or male/female relations.

  11. I read that and was kind of saddened that, instead of enjoying any memories of doing fun things with your mom, you just seemed to lament over how it wasn't your dad instead. So, boys will never have fond, loving memories of their mothers, except maybe all the stuff they did FOR them (cooking, cleaning, etc.) rather than what they did WITH them (playing ball, riding bikes, going to the movies, etc.)?

    My ex-husband very rarely ever wanted to do anything with the kids while we were married. Most anything fun they did was with me, and my family. Nice to realize my son will grow up, not cherishing memories made with his mom, but only crying over the fact that it wasn't his dad instead.

  12. The biggest problem I have when it comes to dating is the fact that I am not willing to have more babies. I did it early and it was fucking hard. My son is thirteen years old now (living with his father currently). I am 31 and this past year has been the only year of my adult life in which every single decision was not dictated by the fact that I am a mother. I don't want to start over.

    The thing is, having a son has never been as big of an obstacle as you would think. But saying I don't want more children in the past couple of years has been huge. I don't know why I can't find more men who are like you and don't have white picket fence plans in the back of their mind.
    My recent post Im grateful for-

  13. Your feelings and your logic are reasonable, but I'm put off by your "oogly boogly thing all you women do" and "what is it about this that women can't understand" generalizations and the finger-shaking about being patient. It should be pretty clear from the comments here that there's more than one kind of woman in the world. I'm sure you know that, but even when you know and we know (?) that you know, it can still be hurtful to others when you take this kind of rhetorical shortcut.

  14. I know this comment is very late, I stumbled upon this blog while trying to help a friend in regards to relationships. Franklin, I wanted you to know that I am a woman and I understand you. I am an oddball in that I have no desire to have children. I have very valid reasons. 1) I was diagnosed with various health issues, one being uterine defect, which will make it difficult to keep the child in the womb. I have had 4 surgeries in one year and one of my issues is not curable. It can recur. I need an insane amount of money to stay healthy, which requires a very good job (try finding one in this economy) health insurance, whole unprocessed foods, supplements, holistic treatments. All of which have been working. I'm still with my parents and trying to finish college. There is no way I can ever afford a child, not even by adoption. 2) Economic uncertainty. In this era of mass layoffs, one day you have a job, the next day you do not. I cannot even bring a child into this world, knowing that one day I'll be without a job, and having to worry about taking care of myself, husband, and child. 3) Raising a child requires mom to stay home. I cannot do this. I refuse to have my fiance support me on one income. Thank goodness my fiance understands this and hes fine not having children. I'm lucky I found a man who understands this, because most of the decent men who are my friends all want children. I don't understand why everyone, especially women, are devoid of all logic, in regards to this, knowing we live in tough times and its near impossible to raise children now.

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