Last Updated on September 10, 2021.
It’s not easy to make a decision about whether or not to have children. On the one hand, there are pros that come with having kids – you get unconditional love, someone to take care of you when you’re old and sick, somebody who will remember your birthday every year. However, there are also cons – sleepless nights out of worry for your child’s safety; dirty diapers; time spent away from friends and family on weekends or holidays. The pros outweigh the cons in many people’s minds though so they decide to go ahead with parenthood anyway. You’ll have to decide for yourself! So we’ve outlined the brutally honest pros and cons of parenting to help you.
What is parenthood?
Parenthood is the state of being a parent, whether it is your biological child, adopted or step-child. It sounds so simple, but there are so many aspects of parenting that can be challenging.
What are the cons of being a parent?
Parenting is hard. Here are all the crappy things about being a parent that you need to be prepared to handle.
Not getting enough sleep
Parents don’t get enough sleep. In fact, it is estimated that one in three new moms will only get an hour or less of sleep at a time. And sleep deprivation lasts a lot longer than you might think. Some estimates say parents don’t get back to a normal sleep pattern for six full years.
Dirty diapers & other unpleasant tasks
There are plenty of unpleasant tasks related to kids. Be prepared to clean up vomit, spit up and poop. And that’s just the beginning…
My 2 year old once stuck her hands in her poopy diaper and wiped it all over her toys (some of which had batteries, so no throwing them in the sink!).
Be prepared for situations so gross that you’re tempted to just burn the house down instead of cleaning it up (just kidding. Don’t do that)
It’s a ton of work
Having kids is a huge responsibility and it takes a lot of time. There are all the doctor appointments, school events, play dates with other parents – not to mention the exponential amount of housework every day!
Spoiler alert: Every kid you add to your broad increases the workload by multiple factors. It’s not just twice the work when you have a second kid. It’s more like 4 times the work. For some reason, when kids get together, they make bigger and bigger messes.
Kids are fearless, and it definitely feels like the fear they should experience is transferred to you. Every time they go down a slide, you’re afraid they might break their leg. Every time your kid goes on an amusement ride at Disney World, you hold your breath hoping that their harness doesn’t fail and send them plummeting to their death (that’s not going to happen, but you’ll think about it).
You cant take it back
Kids are forever. Once you decide to have kids, you can’t send them back. Whatever challenges arise, they’re yours to figure out. The permanency of this decision should not be overlooked.
Kids are expensive
From the food they eat, to their clothes and activities – kids can be expensive. When you add up all of this costs it will make your head spin!
The USDA reports that newborns cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 in their first year of life, and on average $13,000 each year after that. Thats a ton of cash that you won’t have to spend on other things you love. You’re looking at a whopping quarter of a million dollars for the first 18 years (spoiler: most kids continue to cost their parents money after they turn 18).
Strain your marriage or relationship
Parenting is a complicated endeavor. And it can strain your marriage or relationship if you don’t take the proper precautions.
In order for a couple to successfully raise kids, they have got to be on the same page and communicate well with each other, otherwise things will quickly go south! Kids tend to magnify problems between two people that may not have been much of an issue before.
Not getting enough time for yourself and friends
Your life is over. Just kidding, it’s not totally over. But it will change significantly. You’re not going to have time to do all the things you’ve been doing as a child-free adult. You’ll have to get good at prioritizing and keeping yourself organized.
You’ll cry over everything
This was an unexpected side-effect of parenting for me. Movies, songs, and even commercials that you barely noticed before will pull at your heartstrings. It’s inevitable. I can’t watch Pixar movies without a box if tissues.
Worry for your child’s safety
You don’t really worry until you’ve had a child. It’s like your heart is living outside of your body, and you’re constantly playing the ‘what if’ game for every unlikely horrible scenario.
When my babies were in rear-facing car seats, every single time we’d go on a road trip (which was often), I’d go through all the tragic scenarios in my head of how I’d save by babies if something went wrong. Until you have kids, you have no idea how stressful it is to worry about how you’ll get to the back seat, unbuckle a 5 point harness, and get out the car window with a couple of babies if your car careens into a lake.
It sounds crazy, unless you have kids. Ask other parents you know – what crazy scenarios has your brain planned for simply because you’ve birthed kids.
What are the pros of being a parent?
Ok, so now that I’ve scared you to death with my list of cons, here’s why being a parenting is absolutely amazing.
The love will overflow
You haven’t experienced love until you feel the unconditional love that comes with parenting. Some people feel it right away, for others it has to grow. Either way, the growth is exponential. Each day you’ll love your kid more, and you won’t think it’s possible for you to love them more… but then tomorrow arrives.
It will test your relationships
This might sound like a bad thing… but it’s not. Parenting will put your adult relationships to the test. Who’s really there for you? Are your friends in your corner? Is your spouse a great match for you? If so, it’s going to strengthen your bond and improve your relationship.
You’ll never be bored
I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent playing with my kids. And every moment was a new adventure. They’re always doing something interesting and there’s rarely a dull moment in their realm of existence.
You’ll always have someone to play with and share activities with.
You’ll get to teach someone your own hobbies and skills. Of course, it’s good for you to have something that’s your own, but it’s also beneficial to have activities to bond over. And it’s so much fun to teach your kids about something you love.
Your kids will teach you things that no one else can.
Parenting will give you an opportunity to hone really valuable skills like patience, unconditional love, empathy for those less fortunate than them (like the people in developing countries), grit and determination.
This is a double edged sword in some ways – developing these skills means your kids will push you to your limits, possibly every day, and you’ll develop these skills out of necessity. It sounds scary, but you’ll be better for it.
Parenting will make you a better friend, partner, and coworker.
The skills you learn as a parent will actually help you navigate adult relationships. You’ll have a better understanding of people and how to be a supportive friend. You’ll have more patience for your partner, coworkers, etc. because you’ve been there and done that as a parent.
You’ll find new meaning in your life
When you have kids, your whole existence changes. You find a new sense of purpose and gratitude for life. You’ll see the potential in your kids, realize what’s really important, and find an inner strength you never knew existed.
There’s no explanation for this – it just happens as a result of parenting. You’ll see the world in such a different light, and your perspective will change more than you know is possible.
It’s extremely rewarding
Nearly everything about raising kids is hard. So when you hit milestones or achieve goals, it feels great! You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something major when your kid accomplishes their firsts – walking, talking, riding a bike. It’s so rewarding to see them grow and develop into little people with thoughts and feelings of their own.
You’ll beam with pride when your kids show you their artwork, tell you about something interesting they learned in school, or share a funny story with your family.
You’ll experience an insane amount of positivity
From snuggles to giggles, parenting is full of positivity. You’ll experience a level of joy you didn’t know was possible when you’re on the receiving end of hugs, kisses, and giggles from your kids! You might even cry tears of happiness at these moments.
You’re growing your own support system
You’re creating a safety net for yourself by taking on parenthood. You’ll have your kids to come back to, you won’t be alone in life, and they will support you through thick or thin. And even if they don’t always express it with words – their love is never ending!
You get to be a kid
Ok, so you’re not actually getting to do everything kids do, but through your child’s eyes and perspective – you can vicariously experience the things that they enjoy. That is such an awesome feeling!
How to decide if parenting is for you
So you have all the pros and cons of parenting, but how do you actually decide if parenthood is the right path for you? Here are 7 things to consider.
Do you feel strongly one way or another?
If so, you should follow your instincts. Parenting isn’t for everyone, and if you feel strongly that it would not be a good fit, then avoid parenthood. If you’ve always dreamed of having kids, and spent decades coming up with the perfect names, then your path is probably destined to include parenthood.
Do you like being around kids?
It’s true that you’ll feel differently about your own kids than other people’s kids, but if you avoid kids at all costs, you should reflect on why. If you hate being around them, then parenthood might not be the right choice.
Is someone pressuring you to become a parent?
If someone is constantly asking you when you’ll have kids, you might feel pressure to start a family. This isn’t something you should take on because other people think you should. It’s totally ok to go through life and never have kids of your own. If your partner, your parents, your family and your friends are encouraging you to have a baby, it’s time to pause and set boundaries with those people. Then take the time to reflect on your own wants and desires.
Do you and your partner have similar views on parenting?
This is a factor that most people overlook because parenting strategies don’t actually come into play until several years after you make the decision to have a baby. Discipline doesn’t matter when you’re pregnant. House rules aren’t a factory when you have an infant sleeping 16 hours a day. You and your partner need to make sure you have similar ideas on how to raise kids before you take on the role of parent. If you don’t discuss parenting style, you’re in for trouble down the line.
Can you afford a child?
Kids are expensive. Regardless of how all the pros and cons of parenting stack up, being able to support your bundle of joy is critical. How will you fund this quarter million, 18 year commitment? If you’re not sure, then you should create a plan before deciding to have a baby.
Is your life such that you can having a baby and raising a child successfully?
Kids are stressful and require a ton of energy. Are you healthy enough to care for a child? Is your mental health such that you can handle the stress and strain of a baby, toddler and patience-testing kids? Do you live in a safe home where the child will be exposed to healthy relationships? If you answer no to these questions, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have kids. But you should work on these things before having kids.
What are your life goals and priorities?
Perhaps the best indication if parenthood is in your future is by understanding what your life goals and priorities are. Do you want a quiet life with a happy marriage and white picket fences? Do you want to live like a nomad, traveling the world and exploring everything possible? Do you have career aspirations that will require 90 hour work weeks? Consider what’s really important to you and how you want to spend your time over the next few decades of your life. Then reflect on how a baby would fit into that lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
So, you’re considering becoming a parent. That’s an exciting decision to make! But it’s not one that should be made lightly. There are many pros and cons of parenting when deciding if this is the right choice for your family. We hope these 7 questions help give you some insight into what will happen when you become a parent in order to decide if this lifestyle change is going to work for you and your family.
What You Should Do Next…
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Connect with like-minded moms (and dads!) in our free online community. You’ll find a plethora of resources to help you through your parenting challenges. Plus, you’ll find me there! And I’d love to connect.
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