20 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

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A great many people choose to skip having kids these days, and an often not-talked-about subset are the folks who have kids but end up regretting it. So it’s perhaps no wonder that only through the anonymity of the internet that some parents feel free to actually share how they feel. 

Someone asked parents “Do you regret having kids? If so, why?” and people shared their thoughts and feelings. Read through, upvote the most poignant examples, and be sure to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. Just remember to be civil, people are sharing their feelings.

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Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids : 01.

“Extremely Draining”: 34 Parents Confess If They Regret Having Kids

If I’m honest, I frequently regret it. I love them and would do anything for them, but caring for them is extremely draining for me and I don’t really feel fulfilled by it. We have 3 boys (4,6,8) and are constantly breaking up fights. When I imagine doing this for another 15 years instead of going out and having adventures, I feel very claustrophobic. I hope that will change as they get older and I can share some more grown up things with them.

I guess part of the problem is I got married early and poured everything into grad school until I was 30. By that time we had 2 kids and the kinds of trips and hobbies we can pursue is pretty limited. So maybe if I had taken more time for myself before settling down and doing school I would feel differently?


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

Yes, it is way more stressful than you can imagine before having kids. After having kid #2 a couple years ago, my mental health declined to the point where I needed to be psychiatric hospitalized 4 times this past year. Our society is not set-up to support parents.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I love my kids. However… Now that I’m a parent, I don’t feel like I’m particularly good at it. I feel like I don’t prioritize them enough, or make the right parenting decisions. Add to that: I just find being a parent really hard. Not sure if that is regret, exactly, or more guilt for not being a better dad. 

For better or worse, a side effect of folks sharing these thoughts online is that it might help other, prospective parents reconsider. There are a variety of reasons one might not want kids, but there are also people out there who believe that they do. In general, kids have become a divisive topic. 

While it remains a pretty taboo topic, regretting having kids is perhaps a bit more common than any of us would like to admit. After all, with the cost of living on an upward slope and people feeling more and more pressed for free time, it’s hard to reconcile that with another major expense.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

My mom is a great mom who really wanted me and loves me a lot, but also has a fulfilled life otherwise too, a very interesting career, a good husband, interests and hobbies..

When she was in her early 20ies, her sister and friend hitchhiked through Europe and had many crazy adventures. I know a lot of their stories and just recently we talked about some of it again and they remembered a lot and laughed, when suddenly my moms eyes got a bit teary and she said “once you have kids, you can never feel that way again”, referring to that sense of freedom and adventure.

She traveled and still travels, it’s not like her life stopped, but she said that feeling of complete carefreeness is something she could never have again. And as an adult, although I don’t have kids, I understand. She is always in some way worried about me, she is never completely just living for herself. And without being hurt by it, I can understand that also comes with some profound sense of loss.

I’m gonna be honest. I don’t regret my child but i can admit i was not prepared and i blame myself a lot to the point i had to get on meds to deal with the self hate and shame of not being wealthy and being able to offer her organic food, brand name clothes, a beautiful princess room. Most of all, an emotionally stable mom. I do not regret my child but i regret not being prepared to raise a human. I regret what i didn’t do such as take therapy, start antidepressants sooner, save money and finish my degree sooner, learning about health .

Interestingly, while this taboo might exist to protect the kids themselves, researchers suggest not hiding one’s feelings. As with anything in life, being honest with yourself is an important part of mental health. Avoiding it will just make these feelings simmer and build up into resentment, which isn’t good for anyone. 

Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids : 05.

34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I don’t regret having my boys, but I always caution people to wait long enough to know themselves a little better first. I say the same thing about marriage. I was married with my first kid by my 20th birthday – I am not the same person now that I was then. While some of that is the fact that kids change your experience and perspective by necessity, part of it just time. I will be an empty nester by 40, but I wonder sometimes if my boys would not have benefited from a more emotionally mature environment. In the end, I know MY kids, and I know what awesome little humans they are. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

It’s like you want some space, but then you miss them. But then you want them to magically disappear without being hurt for like a day, but you don’t want them to die, but just want to sleep in, but if they oversleep you worry.

Being a parent includes so many conflicting feelings. It’s not the responsibility people hate, it’s the constant attachment , you can’t look away, you cannot NOT take care of them. Most frustrated parents, just want time off, just like you take from a job. I know I wish I had some.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

Yes. I love them and I’m not gonna leave them in a mall somewhere, but if I’m being honest, yes. I wanted one. Wife wanted three. Through some planning and some…miscalculations…we ended up with three.

There are a few sides to it – how it affects me and then what it means for them.

First, for me, parenting is exhausting and never ending. It’s f*****g expensive. The things I could be doing if I had one or no kids? My goodness, man. Champagne dreams and caviar wishes.

I have lost so much sense of self. Everything revolves around them – activities, doctor appointments, play time, their TV shows, school events, up all night. I’m not a person any more. I’m a nanny and a venture capitalist funding this human growth startup.

For them, I feel bad because I’m just not good at it. Try as I may I feel like I simply can’t meet the 24/7 demand for attention and to always be doing something that they and my wife expect. There’s never a moment when someone isn’t asking for something. And no one around me seems to understand the impossible position I’m in. I make 80% of our income – I need to work. And despite being around for as much as I can, god help me if I can’t make an appointment. I have the wife, her family and my own family acting like I’ve scarred them by missing key milestones. It was an ENT appointment. I think they’ll be ok.

“There are more important things than work.”

Not if you enjoy the multiple cars, vacations, the house, the toys, electronics, subscriptions. There literally isn’t.

The kids have made my life something very different than I wanted it to be.

So, yea, thanks for coming to my TED talk!


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I love my children more than anything. There are times when I wish I could get a one month break from them- and my husband.

I just want to sit in the quiet and eat and not be touched and go for runs and read books… and I’d like to come home to a clean house.

It’s not regret, it’s exhaustion


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

Yes. I thought I did the right thing by waiting until I was 30 & 31 to have them. I always thought I was meant to be a mom and it’s really just not for me. I have no time to myself and everything revolves around them. I feel like they deserve a different mom because I can get frustrated easily with them. I had to drop out of college when I was pregnant with them due to HG. I agreed to be a sahm after my 2nd so I could spend more time with my kids and we could save money due to no daycare costs and it’s really affected my mental health.

I feel like I’ve had to sacrifice a lot (mental health, career, education – tho I finally graduated last week) that I didn’t realize I’d have to sacrifice. I love my kids so much but if I could do it over, I think I’d choose to be child free or even have them at a different time.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

My mom resents me because I don’t turn out to be “ the mini her”. I take after my s****y, absent father while my little sister takes after her. She has expressed her regrets marrying him. Whenever I makes a mistake, big or small, she almost always say that I am exactly like my father. She makes it clear that it is not a compliment.

Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids : 10.

34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I’m a childfree woman (40’s).

A major reason I never had children is because so many of my female friends have confided in me that they regret having them. I also know 2 men who have said the same. The conversation usually starts with “I love my children….but….if I could do it all over again I’d make the same decision as you did.”

They don’t feel they can tell their other friends (who have children) this because it makes them look like bad parents.

Not having any was the best decision I’ve ever made. Don’t let society try to sell you on the idea that life can’t be fulfilling without them.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

Not at all. In fact, after being terrified of what having kids would do to my life (my social life, my free time, etc. ) it was the best decision I made. Granted, I’m well past the first few years that can be difficult, but now I’ve got two great kids that I’ve helped raise into conscientious people who I love to hang out with. …and I still have friends go out all the time. It’s not easy, but the results are life-changing and worth it.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I don’t regret them at all, however I am often sad about the world I brought them into and sometimes I wonder the way things are going, if they would have been better off not being born.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

Honestly, my regret comes and goes. I have a 13yo with severe nonverbal ASD who will require lifelong care. This is the only (living) child that I have. Many times I feel more like a caregiver than a mom, and I feel like I was robbed out of the traditional parent-child relationship. We have never had a conversation with each other.

He’ll never learn to drive or get married. I mourn the life we both could have had if he were neurotypical. I absolutely love him and will turn into a “Mama Bear” at the second I sense injustice. But if I could snap my fingers and get rid of his autism, I would in a second. I don’t plan to have many more children and feel CF (childfree) in a lot of ways. I don’t see the benefits in having kids.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids


All my kids (19 to 25ish) are here for the holidays and my husband/their dad is chopping breakfast potatoes right now next to me and I’m really content.

Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids : 15.

34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I do not regret my child. But I do regret not taking more time to talk it through with significant other and make sure we were both ready before having her. I also regret not owning a home before we had her. Children need a place to play. Apartment buildings are not good for this.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

No. I’d have more if I could. I regret being such a harass to my first two, though. Our third was ten years after our first two and I am a completely different mom. I mean, the big values are still the same but I let small things go. I wish I had been the kind of mom I am for my third to my first two.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

My son is my best friend. Having him is the best decision I ever made. Watching him grow up and become his own person is the best feeling in the world.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids


I was too young. Too immature. Too physically unhealthy. Totally coerced by my mother and aunts to continue the pregnancy or they would disown me (oddly enough, I went no contact with all those bitches 2 decades ago). I don’t like kids. I don’t like their noise making, mess making, snot blowing, crying, whining, smelly feet, soul draining and never f*****g ending neediness, bank account bleeding, mental illness having, tantrum throwing,etc, etc, etc…..

If I could go back in time I’d have A) Never gotten pregnant, B) Had the abortion, C) Paid out of pocket at a young age for permanent sterilization and bounced the f**k out from my family of origin and never looked back.


34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I love my kids (13, 7, 4), but I definitely do. My wife is my favorite person I have ever known, and my relationship with her has greatly suffered because of the kids, especially lately. I feel like our lives would be so much better if we hadn’t had kids. We would’ve had so much more money for other things, we would have traveled a bunch, we would be living in a much better house.

That said, I do everything I can for them, I try to support them the best I can, most days I feel like a failure, but they still keep coming back to me and wanting me to do things with them, so it’s slightly validating. It’s just constantly difficult and so much of it now is just trying to get to the end of the day, and it doesn’t seem to ever get easier.

Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids : 20.

34 Parents Confess Whether They Regret Having Kids

I was free…. No more school, no more debt. Then bam. Now repeating school 3 times and spending even more. Still love them though, but what was I thinking

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