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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, May 19

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daruma / November 10, 2005 4:21 PM

My own: NAY!
others, cute & well-behaved: YAY!
Not everyone should have kids; and kids do not belong everywhere.
That being said, I absolutely love to hold babies.

paul / November 10, 2005 4:26 PM

I never saw that movie.

rlsteinbeck / November 10, 2005 4:27 PM

I'll say yay. Particularly when they're saying the darndest things.

jen / November 10, 2005 4:36 PM

that would be a big nay. having a sister twelve years my junior and parents who exploited the whole parental authority thing, i.e. going out frequently and leaving me to tend to a young'un, really gave me a taste of parenthood. and the conclusion i came to then and still hold onto today is that the whole diaper-changing, stroller-pushing, college fund-saving thing ain't for me.

this is why i have a dog. still lots of responsibility, but no one can report my ass for leaving him home by himself or worse, in a cage.

Carrie / November 10, 2005 4:37 PM

I recently told my boss and co-workers that the only good reason I can think of to have kids is so you can dress them up like clowns or hamburgers until they're 5. It would be Halloween all year for my kiddies. Sadly, I'm not kidding. I guess if that's the only good reason I can think of to have kids then I probably shouldn't be having any of my own.

e_five / November 10, 2005 4:42 PM


Away from me
Sitting still
With Mustard on a French Roll


Scratching their head lice
Sneezing and sniffling
Making mischief

leah / November 10, 2005 4:44 PM

I hate babies, basically.

Eamon / November 10, 2005 4:50 PM

Yay. Having to wait a year to even conceive, thanks to the nightmare that is private healthcare? Nay.

Thurston / November 10, 2005 5:04 PM

I have no problem with well-behaved children, which pretty much all children are capable of being, and often find them amusing to be around. It is the poorly-behaved children, which pretty much all children are capable of also being, that disturb me.

Shylo / November 10, 2005 5:06 PM

Is there an in-between? I havent' decided if i want to blow all of my extra money on something that shits on the rug.

Baltimore / November 10, 2005 5:08 PM

Hummmm we have over 300.000 children waiting for adoption and about half a million in foster care in the U.S This doesn't include the millions of unwanted kids that any inner city teacher deal with like the child that drowned in a dirty bath tub while his mother- who was jailed a year ago for allowing her boyfriend to scald her other child with hot water for wetting himself- while she"listened to c.d's in the other room" as reported by the New York Times.

Now of course this doesn't include the millions of children world wide including babies who's parents died of AIDs and war in Africa,Asia and South America. And yes the world is way over populated with diminishing resources, our nation of course using more of those resources than any other nation. So I am just over joyed when I read about indignant mothers of future C.E.O.s tax appeal lawyers, accountants, Corp executives, home makers, H.R. directors, sales people, stock brokers, etc, etc, etc, as if we need any more of the above, getting booted out of restaurants because people just want to enjoy their meals or movies in quite.

Its a shame that we can't place a moratorium on making babies! I mean because so many women, are programmed to believe that its what they are suppose to do naturally( give birth) and so many men are programmed to think its up to them to continue their mediocre at best and destructive at worse, blood line in the world. And as we can't require people to adopt at least one child before they continue our population explosion, I should at least be able to not have to hear whinny crying noise, as just looking at them especially in places like Lincoln Park and Wicker park with their robo strollers that make me sick!. Further If I can't bring my beautiful 110 pound baby( but well trained) French Mastiff- that I adopted from a rescue -into a restaurant, or bar, then neither should a aggravating yuppie, be able to bring their aggravating brat in. Hay a great holiday tomorrow and don't forget to support our Oppps!

jgs / November 10, 2005 5:22 PM

kids are fine. it's their parents that're the problem.

eep / November 10, 2005 5:29 PM

I agree with Thurston and jgs.

As for my personal want for kids, yeah, maybe someday. Right now I'm having too much fun being selfish. And if my biological clock runs down before I can have one of my own, I'll just adopt.

steven / November 10, 2005 5:40 PM

Excellent question...I think about it all the time.

Kids are cute, no doubt about it. Just met my boss' 3 year old today, cutest little kid you've ever seen. Makes me think, huh, maybe there's something to it, having kids. Always looking up to you, the chance to shape a life, the chance to share that life with a spouse/partner who shares this amazing child with you.

But then I think about the costs, the responsiblility, the unknown...not ready for it. Good thing too, cuz this vasectomy would be a damn pain in the ass, and balls, to reverse.

Children are a blessing. It's just that too many people are having them. People, just because we can, doesn't mean we should. And if you want to, great, just be over over over prepared, if not financially and physically, then at least mentally and psychologically.

joshua / November 10, 2005 5:52 PM

a big yay. kids are the best. admittedly this is naive, but they're so ideallistic: so few places today can you look and see a world of potential in someone's eyes, where they believe that truly anything is achievable.

here's another darndest thing that, yes, is advertising, but not for any company i work for.

leelah / November 10, 2005 6:17 PM

WOW! How many women on here are over thirty? I'm curious because I have seen a number of female friends go baby crazy around that age... I'm the only one of my friends who doesn't want them.

I'm 35. I don't want kids, never have. In fact, that's the reason I'm divorced.

I love kids. I spend my life working for them. I love them even when they are at their most obnoxious... teenagers. I love my friends' kids. I also love being able to leave them behind.

Emerson Dameron / November 10, 2005 6:31 PM

This is the most encouraging thread I've ever read on GB. With so many kids waiting for adoption, what kind of egomaniac brings more into the world? God laughs at your pathetic grasps for immortality. And if you're going to have them, at least teach them some fucking manners. Teach them to *deserve* self-esteem.

meg / November 10, 2005 6:32 PM

I don't "love kids." I also don't really know what that means. But I'd like to be a parent. I know that for my parents (both successful, liberal, talented folks) raising a family was, and continues to be, the best thing they've done with their lives. I don't think that there is ever a moment when one can definitively say that he or she is ready for kids, in any meaningful sense, because becoming a parent is a step into the big, old, scary unknown, and even the most careful financial, career, personal, etc. planning can be pretty futile given all the things the world could throw at you. Being a parent, I imagine, is at the same time the messiest, the biggest, the toughest, and the most saturated thing one can be. It seems like the right idea for me, and I hope I get to be one someday.

christian / November 10, 2005 6:51 PM

I've always thought I'd have just one. But it's not important to me really. I just wanted to be that cool weird dad other parents are afraid of. And kids seem to like me anyway, but so do dogs and cats.

As for kids not my own, I like the well behaved ones. So yay to those.

Nay to the others, and there parents, this is mostly from my experience with moms and dads who let there kids run wild in my nice clean and quiet coffee shop.

K. / November 10, 2005 7:13 PM

Yay to other people's kids, cause I get to play with them and go home.

shechemist / November 10, 2005 7:40 PM


I like kids so much that not only do I work with teenagers once a week, I am gestating right at this very moment. We already even have plans for a second, if not a third if time permits, which is doubtful as I will be 35 when the first is born.

for me having kids is about building a family with my partner/husband/dude.

Charlie / November 10, 2005 7:41 PM

Pathetic. I've never heard such whiny, self-centered, egotistical, narcissistic comments about the greatest gift on the face of the earth.

I can't wait until you're 55 years old and realizing you pissed away your life thinking kids are better off in someone else's home.

Whether it's adoption or your own, children are the only thing good about this world.

Think of all the things you could pass on. Your love of rainy days, reading a good book on the couch, how to ride a bicycle, and most importantly, how to be a good person.

If you can't handle that, then don't tell me I'm raising my kids correctly or incorrectly.

wikky / November 10, 2005 7:42 PM

a friend told me she wants to have kids so she'll have someone to "take care of me when I'm old." there's no guarantee that anyone will be there to take care of you, or that any relationship, through blood or love, will be around forever. not to be a downer. yeah.

Leelah / November 10, 2005 8:51 PM

Charlie, there is nothing irresponsible about choosing to not bring a child into this world. There IS something irresponsible about having kids because someone tells you that you should. It's not the "greatest gift" if you don't want it.

I spend a lot of my time talking with teenagers because they "can't talk to" their parents.

There's no guarantee that just because you love rainy days and reading and riding a bicycle that your child will. A child is not a little you. It's a little human, an individual. Just because you're a good person, doesn't mean your kid will be. And just because your kid is a good person doesn't mean that you are. Trust me on that last one.

I spend 8-10 hours every day surrounded by kids, so don't ever call me pathetic, selfish and whiny for not wanting to have any of my own.

A / November 10, 2005 9:14 PM

The thing about kids is that they are just small people, needy inexperienced little people. I don't like all people and I don't like all kids. I don't make a qualitative difference between adult and children in terms of human relationship. I have been around amazing wonderful kids and some that are not so wonderful but I could say the same thing about adults, teens and senior citizens and for the record I have by far seen more behavior ranging from the slightly annoying to the appalling by adults than I have by kids.

I believe people are entitled to there opinions but having a blanket prejudice about kids is exactly that, a prejudice and like most prejudices they are usually based on a stereotype or a bad experience that filters the way you see things.

I have never considered myself a "kid person" but I could not put into words how much I love my soon to be 4 year old son. I would have never been able to guess what it was like being a parent until I became one. I could throw out all the cliches about how "amazing" it is being a parent and how children are the "greatest gift" in life because based on my experience it seems to be true. It's easy to forget we all used to be kids.

Veronica / November 10, 2005 9:18 PM

I am really very afraid that I don't possess the patience for kids. Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm certain that I'll have some, but then the part of my mind that lives in reality reminds me that I can't just walk out the door when I get tired of them. If I could skip the weird baby part of kids, then it might appeal to me more. Either way, I'm starting to realize that I'll need to have a husband who's willing to be the greater caretaker.

Kevin / November 10, 2005 9:37 PM

"With so many kids waiting for adoption, what kind of egomaniac brings more into the world?"

Umm..because maybe 5% of the adult population is qualified to adopt? But don't worry your pretty little head with facts. Christ..

Anthony (or "A"). I couldn't have said that better. My hats off to you. I could go on and on about my hatred of children's behavior and my subsequent conversion to fatherhood but I won't. I can say it's made me so much more understanding and tolerant which is a good thing. There's nothing like burying your nose in your 3 year old daughter's freshly shampoo'ed hair while she falls asleep in your arms. There are no words or emotions that can describe that - none whatsoever. Yay kids.

Sara / November 10, 2005 10:17 PM

Nayish. Rich people shouldn't have children, they take up too much space on the sidewalk. And in a city of such close quarters, every inch counts.

JT / November 10, 2005 11:24 PM

Kevin, thank you so much for this:

"With so many kids waiting for adoption, what kind of egomaniac brings more into the world?"

"Umm..because maybe 5% of the adult population is qualified to adopt?"

Yep, that's exactly it. I was a long shot to conceive my own kids, but no adoption agency on the planet would have allowed me to adopt and I was blessed enough to get pregnant four times and to have (so far) two amazing kids. I'm on bedrest at 34 weeks pregnant with what will hopefully be my third son (and, due to financial and health concerns, our last child).

I have had several careers, had money and lost it, lived in different cities and types of homes, and have never experienced the kind of joyful adoration of anything as I adore my sons. They delight me and refresh my brain every single day.

I didn't have children to ensure some silly idea of immortality, to take care of me in my dotage, or because anyone told me to. I had children because I always knew I wanted to be a parent. I've never had a more important job or mission than to encourage, teach, and love these small people.

Is it hard? Expensive? Heartbreaking? Frustrating? Exhausting? Hell yes. All of that and more. But worth every single tear, labor pain, uncertainty and tantrum.

I don't begrudge or judge anyone who decides they don't wish to have kids; in fact, I thank them because no child should be raised by someone who really isn't up for the whole ride. Better to be childless and happy about it than a parent by obligation only.

In turn, please don't judge people you don't know who "selfishly" conceive their own kids. Don't assume all kids are poorly behaved, spoiled brats -- even the greatest, most polite children on the planet have crappy days, and so do their parents. But the bottom line is, many of us are working hard to support and raise people with good hearts, strong minds, and peaceful souls.

I wish everyone -- with child or childfree -- gets to feel the kind of joy I do when my husband and I watch our kids play beautifully together.

Shylo / November 10, 2005 11:50 PM

I might be more open to the thought about having children were there fewer incredibly awful childbirth stories in the world -- and in my ears. Because the thought of things ripping and rupturing is very, very frightening.

Children are good. All of us were children (and many of us still are, right?) but my God, they take so much work, dedication and sacrifice. And I bet that most of us are not ready to really hunker down.

And shouldn't our indecision be a good thing? Because why should we be parents before we know we're good and ready?

Lacey / November 11, 2005 12:34 AM

My mom told me 2 things about raising kids: 1. you'll never feel ready and 2. I wish I'd had more. Even though it will be a difficult task, my husband and I hope to have several kids. It would be nice to raise our kids with a strong sense of virtue in hopes that they can make the world a better place to be. I hope that for my life, too, but I especially hope it for our kids.

That being said, I have to say that I'm also a little surprised with how many people on here don't want kids. I'm not saying that's wrong, I'm just surprised.

I also had the privelege of photographing a childbirth a few years back, which was probably the most miracuous thing I've ever witnessed. Even though it was, indeed, painful for the mother, the amazing mechanics of her body somehow helped me to understand that being a parent is such a grand and rewarding test. After all, if we're not tested in life, how are we supposed to become better people?

Leroy / November 11, 2005 6:54 AM

Having kids is great. You can raise them to hate the same things you do.

printdude / November 11, 2005 8:04 AM

Kids, You keep 'em.

Oh sure they can come over and play with my toys, but I want them gone by dark - this ain't no Wonderland!

vit / November 11, 2005 8:10 AM

an answer to a previous question. I'm in my 30's and like kids, quite a bit in fact, and wouldn't mind having one, but don't see that happening anytime soon. It isn't something though that I'm going nuts about or anything, there are plenty of advantages to not having kids, my sister has 3, as it is now I guess I'll just play with hers, I think it is probably more fun to be their eccentric aunt than their mother ;)

and no, I'm not going to have kids in my 40's, there is no way in hell I want to deal with teenagers about the time I'm thinking of retiring, so if I don't get on this breeding thing soon, it just isn't going to happen (which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world) ;)

Total Stroke / November 11, 2005 8:20 AM

With so many kids waiting for adoption, what kind of egomaniac brings more into the world? God laughs at your pathetic grasps for immortality.

This "egomaniac" over here just made his own "grasp at immortality" about two months ago. Highlander ain't got nothing on me. There can be only none!

Seriously, don't even try to give me the business about having my own child instead of adoption. Flog off.

missmolly / November 11, 2005 8:25 AM

i'll just leave it simple.


holden / November 11, 2005 8:28 AM


It is a job and life-changing experience I am looking forward to. (now, where is that wife I'm looking for?)
I think it is great that instantly your life is not 'all about you' anymore. You now have a new most important thing.

waleeta / November 11, 2005 8:29 AM

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! Not yet though. but soon. YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

Staci / November 11, 2005 8:32 AM

I'd much rather adopt than have my own. I just don't think childbirth is a miracle I need to experience. I'm guessing my good friend Erica will have kids in a few years and then she'll let me babysit. I think I'd be fine with that.

Lori / November 11, 2005 8:36 AM

I feel ill.

there is so much hatred in so many of the above posts for children. Did all of you spring forth as twenty/thirty somethings, fully formed and ready to join the workforce/ save the planet/ not litter?

Kids are kids, kids act like kids. Sometimes kids are quiet and introspective and act like little adults, and sometimes they rampage around and hit things with sticks and yell. How did you all act as kids? Were you always perfectly well behaved while riding on the train or eating in a restaurant? Has it ever occured to any of you to offer to help an overwhelmed parent at the grocery store? Or is it easier to just judge them as stupid people who reproduced?

Shylo, I know plenty of good birth stories, including three of my own homebirths.


emily / November 11, 2005 8:40 AM

yay yay yay. i love children and absolutely can't wait to have my own. just not quite yet. but soon. maybe.

Beth / November 11, 2005 8:43 AM

Questions like this constantly make me think about the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement ( Not that I'm saying I follow that, just that it makes one think sometimes.

As for me - I'm heavily leaning towards the nay at this point. As others have said, not sure I have the patience, or the desire, or certainly the selflessness. But I've got a few years yet.

Sarah / November 11, 2005 8:47 AM

I say yay! I secretly wish that more of my friends (smart, generous, and loving people that they are) were interested in having kids. Ah well.

Erica / November 11, 2005 9:01 AM

I'm a friggin Pollyanna when it comes to this topic, but I happen to know a lot of kick-ass moms and dads that are raising their kids in the city and are doing their art/work simultaneously. If they can do it, I can do it. I'm not really one to step down from a challenge, either.

And yes, Staci, you can babysit any day! ;)

p / November 11, 2005 9:02 AM

yayo is a horrible thing and certainly not for kids. that's just sick.

AZ / November 11, 2005 9:16 AM

Eh. I'm 38 and just not interested. I always assumed I would have kids some day, but when I realized I didn't *have* to, it was a tremendous relief because I really wasn't looking forward to it. That's not to say this is an easy position to hold when almost everyone is socialized to believe that women, particularly, are supposed to want to have kids. A few people have taken it upon themselves to try to convince me I'm "wrong" but most, fortunately, are more understanding.

When all my friends started having kids, I couldn't really relate--pretty much the same way I would feel if they'd all decided to become NASCAR drivers. As for the kids themselves, I try to treat them all in a friendly and respectful way, like potential friends. (Unless they're dreadful brats, or they drool on me, in which cases the parents can have them back, instantly.) It's worked out OK. Most of the kids are cool, but not all--same as with adults.

Bittersweet / November 11, 2005 9:40 AM

Having kids? Probably nay. I didn't grow up wanting to have a family and even now that I'm with someone, I don't immediately think of kids. In truth, being a couple of days late makes my head spin. The idea of my whole life changing because of a baby sounds horrifying. Perhaps that sounds incredibly selfish, but it's true. I'm not ready for the responsibility of another human life.

Other people's kids: "yay". I love children. There is something truly amazing about young innocence. Sure, a lot kids are brats or display disturbing behavior, but that's what being a child is about: learning to deal with your innermost human qualities and tendencies, which includes good with the bad.

Roni / November 11, 2005 10:07 AM

JT - You rawk sista!

Lori, I'm also ill that there's so much venom spewed here over kids, loud kids, crazy kids, kids being kids.

I'm not an egomanic despite the fact, which is hard for me to swallow, that my daughter looks and acts like me. I didn't want a lil me, I wanted a child. And yes, adoption is very expensive, lenghty, and heartbreaking.

Shylo - There are adoption stories that are just as gross and painful as birth stories. Giving birth you may stretch and rip. Adopting may just break your heart. There's no easy road to parenthood. Cubbiegirl has documented her own tough and rough road to adopting.

Verdegris / November 11, 2005 10:26 AM

I love little kids. It does my heart good to have them around, to talk with them and play. That said, in public these days I often find myself thinking "Goddamn kids" in exactly the tone in which I think "Goddamn dogs" even though I like dogs, and it's for the same reason: the adults that should be keeping them reasonably in line think they have right-of-way over the entire world.

Chicago yuppie kids run full-tilt around restaurants colliding with everyone and everything and the parents think waitresses carrying six plates in a hurry should just get out of their little darlings' way. Mothers pushing strollers two abreast down the sidewalk expect me to step into the mud or the gutter rather than making room for me for two seconds. In the grocery store mothers use their carriages to block off shelves as they shop, and as ankle rams to cut others off so they can be first through doorways or around corners. If a stranger's kid with snot all over his fingers wants to take things from my coat pockets, or to use my expensive headphones as a wishbone, or to throw dirt clods at me and my girlfriend as we sit in the park (all true examples), I'd damn well better let him, or I'm a child-hating ogre.

Sure, it's the parents' fault. But what does that matter to me when I have to deal with the little entitlement monster they've created?

jen / November 11, 2005 10:40 AM

motherhood is optional.

and having said that, i don't know my answer yet.
i fear a nay, because i know my child will never be as cute as my friends' baby, helena. and that were i to give birth, it would not go as swimmingly as hers seemed to.

so at this point, nay for me, and nay to the brats; yay for helena, and all the well-raised children.

Robert / November 11, 2005 11:03 AM

Parenthood is a great emotional, physical, financial, relational challenge -- perhaps the greatest challenge -- one I relish. Children inspire you and infuriate, they test you and then love you.

The respondents here seem to formulate their opinion of children from other people's children, and they are exactly that, "other people's children." Those you may think are cute, even may love them, or think they are brats, smell bad, would ruin your life and lifestyle. And, being other people's children, they would.

But when it's your son or daughter, it is different. Trust me, it is different. You may have cynicism, and even distaste for children. But until the moment you lay eyes on your newborn, hold them for the first time, hear their breath and stare into their eyes, you don't know. And you never will.

Parenthood is not for everyone, it is clear. But neither is living for only yourself.

Charlie / November 11, 2005 11:15 AM


I already have a cat and I can barely handle her.

C-Note / November 11, 2005 11:20 AM

It's "yea," not "yay." "Yay" is the white stuff.

jgs / November 11, 2005 11:48 AM

okay two things. other people's opinions are just like other people's children. there's nothing you can do about them, and at the end of the day, they really shouldn't upset you that much.

but that said, I just want to add that not having children by choice is not inherently being selfish or unwilling to make sacrifices. that is too too black and white a way of seeing things. some people have children for selfish reasons, some people don't have children for selfless reasons. and there are many shades of grey inbetween.
No one is here to judge other's decisions about reproduction, i hope, but we'd all like to judge their outcome.

epo / November 11, 2005 11:52 AM

Nay, personally, for both selfish and selfless (maybe) reasons.

I enjoy my time. I love doing what I want to do. I adopted a dog whom I adore and spoil immensely but even he cramps my style sometimes, as any responsibility is wont to do. I have seen my friends with children and as happy and satisfied as they are, as much as they would never want it any other way, I see how their lives have become someone else's completely, and it's not for me.

I think human beings have utterly destroyed this beautiful planet. The way we disgustingly trample and exploit the floral and faunal worlds makes me physically ill. We have more than taken our fair share, and this earth would be better off without our chaos and arrogance. I do what I can to minimize my impact, but it's not enough. There's too too many of us already -- I cannot justify bringing more trauma in the form of greedy, short-sighted, self-centered humans. We do not have any more right to exist than any other living thing on this planet, and we have done plenty to extinguish other species. Why not our own?

Pedro / November 11, 2005 11:59 AM

Well, someone is going to have to fund my retirement...

Andy / November 11, 2005 12:06 PM

I have an 8 year old son. I'm very fortunate to have a bright, pleasant, relativelly well behaved son. Most everyone that meets him thinks he's fab. We have a very special relationship.

I do believe that having children is certainly a tremendous privilege and responsibility. It's not for everyone. But I am suprised to see so many saying "nay".

sarah jane / November 11, 2005 12:09 PM

if you'd asked me this question 2 years ago, i would have said 'nay'. i seriously never thought i would be a mother. so i was pretty shocked when i DID get pregnant, and i worried that i was too selfish to be a mom. i'm relieved to say that after a year of parenthood, i can't imagine life without my little cadence joy!

i admit that before becoming a parent myself, i was often annoyed by children in public. now, i understand. babies cry. kids get roudy. they are free of the inhibitions that most of us are required to acquire to become accepted members of society. i think it's really hard to realize this and feel empathy for other parents until you become a parent yourself.

i still respect other people's choice to NOT have kids, but i would encourage them to spend some time with other people's kids. there's so much to learn from little ones, esp. if you spend more time with them than an occasional chat in the grocery line or at your local cafe.

Pete / November 11, 2005 12:19 PM

Yay! Yay! Yay!

But I may be a bit biased.

moi / November 11, 2005 12:19 PM

I congratulate all of the business for taking a stand on ill behaived children AND their parents who should know better.

Would they let their child cause a ruckus in church (well, actually some do) how about an upscale restaurant like Tru? Why should a behavior for a high priced entree be any different than at a bakery?

Good manners and consideraton go a long way.
By not teaching appropriate social behavior early, these kids will be unruly entering school, and the dominoe effect is a prescription to Ritalin.

moi / November 11, 2005 12:27 PM

The question isn't about do you like children-- the question is is it unreasonable to expect socially acceptable behavior by children in public places.

Parents need to take responsibility of the behavior. And if that means, buy that bag of cookies and coffee to go--do just that.

And, I love my well behaived neice and nephews. I slap on the ass never hurt anyone permamently.

Flynn / November 11, 2005 12:27 PM

Wow, I can't believe some of the vitriol of the pro-kid faction here.

I saw a few comments about society that seemed factual, but opinionated. I didn't see much directed at parents who DO choose to have kids. Yes, there are many unwanted children in the world. Yes, reasons are mixed for having them.

But come on realistic. Kids are a LOT of hard work. Don't romaniticize them like a relationship. You can think of your marriage (or whatever) as being about walks in the rain and lovemaking in front of a fireplace, but don't discount the years and years of hard work in between those moments.

I don't want to have kids, and it's mostly for the work reason. I think too many people are dumbstruck by the cuteness and cuddly moments, and they don't consider how much work raising a child really is. I think that's the contributing factor to so many unhappy families in this world.

In addition, I think the regret from NOT considering that causes statements like the ones from parents in the NY Times article. Yes, you have a child. You made that decision. You don't get to foist that problem off on the rest of the world so you can get an espresso. Deal. It was your choice. Where's your "love" for children now? It seems like a defense mechanism to take it out on the other people who made a different choice than you.

As soon as I start reading something here about parents who think that hard work is the reason kids are worth it (not how their hair smells), then I'll believe that things have changed.

For those parents out there (and I know you exist) who understand and cherish the hard work and responsibility that comes along with children: I salute you. You have more willpower and sacrifice than I do. Keep up the good work.

Strawberry / November 11, 2005 12:29 PM

I for one applaud Taste of Heaven for its policies. I expect them to annoy me in the park, in the grocery store, and in strollers two-across the sidewalk (so true!). However, I think having kid-free zones is also an excellent idea for those of us who have chosen not to have children and thoroughly dislike being exposed to them. I once ate at a very fancy restaurant and had kids throwing food at me ("so cute" cooed the parents). I've had kids scream in my ear at the scary parts during a rated-R movie (while begging his father to take him out of the theater...he didn't). If parents aren't smart enough to figure out when and where their children belong, then why not let the bakery regulate. Hell, if it were up to me, children wouldn't be allowed in any public building in Chicago. I might write my alderman about that...

itsgettinghotinhere / November 11, 2005 12:47 PM

Mother Teresa didn't have any kids, that selfish bitch. ;-)

itsgettinghotinhere-flipside / November 11, 2005 12:50 PM

Mother Teresa's mother DID have kids, the selfish bitch. ;-)

Roni / November 11, 2005 12:58 PM

Flynn - I don't think that any of us with kids are saying that they aren't hard work. Let's take our day jobs...I love it, but it's hard work. The benefits come from the end results - the great show, the students I see graduate, the connections I make. We all have a romantic view of our hard work if we like the end result. My hard work as a mom is paid in smiles, hugs, and kisses from my daughter. It's also paid in her independence that I instill in her, but also pisses me off when it's directed at me. The hard work of giving a willful child a bath is the smell of her/his hair.

I think there are more bad feelings from the child-free here than us breeders.

Kevin / November 11, 2005 12:59 PM

"As soon as I start reading something here about parents who think that hard work is the reason kids are worth it (not how their hair smells), then I'll believe that things have changed."

Since you singled out my comment, feel free to visit my blog where I bore the world to death with my expressed love and gratitude for my daughter, thank you. I'm not going to go into a diatribe here and "defend" anything to you. And you want me to convince you of something? In your words, "Deal."

Raising kid/s is hard work. It's the hardest work someone can do. I'm sorry to say this but until you've tasted it yourself, consider yourself virtually clueless on the joy and heartbreak.

karen / November 11, 2005 1:14 PM


nay. nay. nay.

bran / November 11, 2005 1:34 PM


I want kids. A lot. I want the hard work, I want the discovery of watching an individual life emerge. But I'm gay. Getting to adopt is going to be tough for me and my partner on that technicality alone. And then the social opposition my potential family and I will face in this country after becoming gay parents could be overwhelming. The bigotry and hate that could be foisted upon us--and our child--could undermine the very good things we're trying to impart on our child.

I think it's heartbreaking that people who want so desperately to give and support life would be denied the opportunity to do so--either legally or merely socially--for reasons of bigotry. I encourage those of you who can have children--whether you chose to or not, whether via the womb or via adoption--to feel grateful that you have that freedom.

~ ~ ~

Another thought: reproduction isn't just biological--it's cultural. Whether or not you chose to have children, you're participating in a culture that is perpetuating itself. Like it or not, you have an impact on future generations. Please be considerate.

Paula / November 11, 2005 2:15 PM

Nay - it's just not for me. When people point out how great I am with animals and that I SHOULD have kids I just roll my eyes and explain that it's totally different. I waited a long(ish) time to get married because I wanted to make sure that I found someone who felt the same way that I did about remaining childless. That said, I'm a good auntie and I enjoy spoiling my niece. My best friend will likely get pregnant in the near future and I look forward to spoiling her child/ren. I just know that full-time parenting isn't for me.

Y A J / November 11, 2005 2:32 PM

None for me, thanks.

Andrew / November 11, 2005 2:45 PM

I'd love to have a son or daughter, but it's not solely my choice. As a male, I have to rely on someone else's body to produce a child for me, so it's something both of us have to agree on. And right now, it's not the right choice for either of us.

Hopefully soon we'll be in a position to try, if she's up for it. Otherwise, we'll continue to be "aunt and uncle" to our friends' kids, and consider adopting.

(Regarding "yay" vs. "yea" -- it's not a vote, it's an opinion, as in, "yay for kids!" And if you really think yay can only mean cocaine, you've gotten a little too caught up in the fleeting world of slang.)

winediva / November 11, 2005 2:55 PM

Hard to get folks to hire you to teach wine classes if you have a big old bun in the oven. While generations of women have consumed alcohol during pregnancy (and most of us turned out ok) there's still a big stigma against preggers gals drinkin.

I can't remember to water a plant. Probably not a good choice for me, anyway.

e_five / November 11, 2005 2:58 PM

Another good thing about kids is that they are an asset that can be sold to Japanese businessmen for quick cash in a pinch.

Robin / November 11, 2005 3:15 PM

Yay! Just not in Chicago! Back to the west coast where there are restaurants just for kids. A win-win!

pang / November 11, 2005 3:22 PM

yay, but only because I have two, so I can't quite say "nay", can I? It did take me a while to swing from nay to yay, and I'm glad I have 'em now and not ten years ago.

Kevin / November 11, 2005 3:31 PM

Single/Childless people: My apologies for being so gruff. I guess I'm just a tad sensitive being a breeder and all. Don't think for a minute that I don't envy the hell out of you. Some days, having a kid is like having a 3 foot high quivering tumor on two little legs. Some days I'd die to be able to wake up in the morning and not have to feed and dress someone and make sure they don't scale the entertainment center after injusting a quart of bleach. Oh how I pine for those single days! That not to say that being single doesn't come with it's pitfalls either; it's just a whole nother mindset.

Maybe It's age but I do remember a time where there were certain inconveniences I put up with as a single person. A screaming kid, while annoying, was never really enough to make me not enjoy a meal or an afternoon at a coffee shop. Sure, I could get steamed but in the end it didn't matter. I guess it's all in how we percieve that type of situation. Some view it as an affront to their personal space while others brush it off as a part of the bigger picture. I speak for myself when I say I've hovered somewhere in the middle.

Obviously I'd never defend a parent who, despite overwhelming evidence of an out-of-control child, refuses to budge or make minimal effort. I am, even as a parent, one of those tongue-cluckers and eye-rollers. On the other hand, I could never find it within myself to reprimand a parent in public, not knowing their situation. It's such a grey area and hard to make snap judgements based on nothing more than "Hey, they're violating my sense of inner peace and tranquility!".

To those who are in the process of welcoming a little one, I cannot describe how it will change you as you come to know each other and yourself. It's a hell of a ride. The paradox is in despite how much I hate it, sometimes, I wish I had done it a lot sooner.

John Holt / November 11, 2005 4:12 PM

Insert the word "kid" an children with the words "black" (or gay, or women,or jew, or muslim) in the following sentance:

"However, I think having kid-free zones is also an excellent idea for those of us who (have chosen not to have them and) thoroughly dislike being exposed to them." says strawberry.


here's another one: insert "wife" or "girlfriend" or "grandfather" in place of niece or nephew:

"And, I love my well behaived neice and nephews. A slap on the ass never hurt anyone permamently." (says "moi")

really? I think that if a non consenting adult gets slapped he or she might consider it either assault or sexual harrassment. I think there might be a law against those types of behavior, but not if it's an adult doing it to a kid.

Strawberry then went on to say that she'd like to ban children from all public buildings.

does that include schools? That would be fine in my opinion. Free the kids!

Yawnie / November 11, 2005 4:13 PM

Kids forever, city-dwelling parents never.

Kids are why God made the suburbs. Please keep them there. That's called good parenting. Kids are happier, sullen single twenty and thirty-somethings don't glare at you every time your kid spits up on the bus or pitches a fit in the middle of Starbucks, schools are better and the property taxes are lower!

Emerson Dameron / November 11, 2005 4:35 PM

Got to disagree with you, Yawnie. Suburbs are the reason today's kids may be sporting gas masks when they're in their 20s. If you're going to have kids, teach them they're part of the ecosystem. Don't fuck up the world they're going to inherit. I was too harsh earlier; sorry. I didn't have a happy childhood, I think the world is getting overrun with little monsters who know only to love themselves no matter what, and some extreme pro-kid folks remind me of Moonies. Nothing against those who are rearing the next generation of good citizens. You need all the encouragement you can get.

Maureen / November 11, 2005 6:13 PM

At 43 I'm not SORRY I still haven't had kids. I don't believe that having children insures that I will have someone to "take care of me when I'm old"..BS! I'm the kind of woman who never played with dolls (although I did dress up my dog), doesn't feel the need to pick-up every child who walks by(no biological clock ticking either!), has NEVER wanted kids and refuses to apologize for it. Don't feel sorry for me, because I'm very happy and not lonely at all. My fella and I have been together for 20 years and neither one of us want children, so I guess we belong together in our peaceful home.

Maureen / November 11, 2005 6:16 PM

Yawnie, I hope you live in the burbs and if not now, do move there soon because you don't deserve to live in the city. buh-bye! I think your name says it all. LOL

JT / November 11, 2005 10:41 PM

Yikes, why are there so many reasons for people to hate breeders, and breeders who choose to live in the city? We just moved to Evanston so our eldest could go to a good public school. That was as far as we were willing to go, since we still rent and use public transportation. But we were parenting in the city for nearly five years, and found it to be a treasure trove of great opportunities and family-friendly places to go.

I'm a little fed up with all the generalizations. Not every parent is a selfish asshole who allows their child to run amuck through Tru and R-rated movie showings. Some of us have a good grasp for the appropriate time and place. Some of us are good at choosing where and when our kids can accompany us, and when our kids might not do well in public. Some of us manage to discipline our kids without resorting to capital punishment (at least, in public; I can't say my eldest didn't have a spanking once or twice during a particularly rough spot at home).

I'm another parent who has quietly been exasperated by others' choices -- people who keep their kids out too late, shun car seats, or refuse to discipline them when they misbehave. But I don't think it's my place to tell them off.

And for anyone who thinks that parents are shallow for getting google-eyed over snuggles and new-baby-smell, I'm sorry for you. Do you only see the hard times and difficult moments of life as worthwhile? Raising kids *is* hard as hell, but those silly-sounding Hallmark moments are some of the special treats we get back for the sleepless nights and changed priorities. If all we did was complain about how we never get any "me-time" and how we're always strapped for cash, we would be really shitty parents, raising really unhappy people.

JT / November 11, 2005 10:47 PM

P.S. Shylo, not all birth stories have to be terrifying. And not everyone has to deal with "natural" childbirth -- ain't nothing wrong with a little epidural to help a gal through. It certainly makes it much easier to enjoy the magic of the moment.

sarah / November 11, 2005 11:32 PM

it makes me sad to read the comments of those who are so openly hostile towards children and parents. first, they want to ban children. who's next? ban the elderly and disabled because they're too slow or take up too much room with their wheelchairs? ban the homeless because their smell is offensive? ban the poverty-stricken because they're an eyesore?

much can be said about a society by the way it treats those with the least power...the children, the elderly, the poor, the physically and mentally disabled, the terminally and chronically and mentally ill, animals, natural resources.

parenting is EXTREMELY hard work. it's probably harder now than in generations past, when people used to live in extended families and closer-knit communities and helped each other out. now, more often than not, it's just the mom and/or dad. living in today's isolated, self-sufficient society, it may be hard as a parent to admit that you need outside help. i would hope that whether we currently have children or not, whether we plan to EVER have children or not, that we would at least show compassion and a bit of empathy towards parents--even the ones with the rowdy kids--instead of criticizing their parenting skills.

to those who've commented and choose to be childless yet are compassionate towards kids and parents, thank you, and i respect your choice...

to those who think they may want kids down the road but aren't sure they want to give up all that freedom--you'd be surprised at your capacity for self-sacrifice when it involves your own progeny...

to those who are afraid of the physical aspects of pregnancy and childhood--i was terrified, but i learned that the human body has an amazing ability to accept and to adapt...that's what the hormones are for, or we'd be extinct by now...

and to my fellow parents who've commented, keep up the great job raising thoughtful, compassionate beings...and don't forget to rock 'n' roll!

sarah / November 11, 2005 11:38 PM

"physical aspects of pregnancy and childhood"

i meant "childbirth" not "childhood. but i'm sure you all knew that!

lori / November 12, 2005 8:27 AM

well said Sarah!

esp. the part about the rock and roll!

Kelly / November 12, 2005 9:30 AM

I swing between "eh, kids can be cute sometimes," and "why are there so MANY of them?" and I'm 31. I don't suppose I'm going to suddenly develop a great desire to have them at this point. If I do, I'll deal with it then, but really, it seems that some people are simply not wired to be interested in reproduction.

Recently I got to meet my baby nephew for the first time, and while I am excited to see him grow up (and spoil him horribly!) all the maternal longings I was told I would feel when I held him simply didn't materialize. All I could think was, "I hope he doesn't poop on me!"

Elysium / November 12, 2005 10:17 AM

according to the chick at, all of the people who don't want kids are selfish and inconsiderate. I have my own reasons for not having kids. I really get sick of hearing these 20somethings judging and criticizing people for living their lives the way they choose to, not to appease my invisible friend in the sky

Kelly / November 12, 2005 10:43 AM

It's selfish to want kids. It's selfish not to want kids. Well, duh, of course it is - you make the decision to have kids or not based on what you want, so yes, it's selfish!

I'm not using "selfish" in a perjorative way, I'm just trying to point out that it's silly to condemn someone else's choice as selfish, i.e., based on their own needs and desires, because what other criteria should they be using, exactly?

Moon / November 12, 2005 6:49 PM

I thought the question was: Kid, yay or nay?

Not: Is parenting the greatest thing ever?

That said: Get a monkey!

Moon / November 12, 2005 6:54 PM

I can't wait until you're 55 years old and realizing you pissed away your life thinking kids are better off in someone else's home.

Just for all the people who are thinking this might be true, fuhgeddaboutit!!

I'm almost 55, and I'm very happy never to have had children. You won't regret the extra couple hundred thousand dollars, the peace and quiet and the ability to do whatever you want.

Kids could be great, but this attitude that somehow you will be sorry when you are older is bull.

lacey / November 13, 2005 12:45 AM

I can see how my blog entry could be seen as saying anyone who doesn't want kids is selfish, but I really just wanted to defend kids who can be seen as annoying, loud, rude, etc. when they are just being kids. They're little individuals, they deserve to learn how to be a person just like anyone else--by messing up. :)

ecobox / November 13, 2005 8:09 AM

All of this discussion has been interesting to me. I see both sides of the story -- I'm all snarky about screaming children one minute, and the next minute my best friend sends me a picture of his boy and I'm all verklempt. It's a huge tossup.

Mostly, I'm afraid of screwing up. And that fear is what prompts me to say no to children. I know that I'll never know without trying it, but I don't want to saddle another human being with therapy bills the size of Luxembourg's GNP just so I can see if I'd like children. So there you go.

On the separate topic of public places with rules for kids, I'm all for it. Two points to be made in defense of this opinion: first, children require supervision and instruction in public behaviour, and many parents don't (not all, and thank you to those who do); and second, if you don't like a restaurant's policy on children, don't go. There are certain restaurants that I don't frequent, either at certain times or at all, because of my experiences there. The experiences are not restricted to children, either. There are places I don't frequent because the patrons in general are boorish and loud.

As I type this, I have a perfectly good example of my ideal in front of me: in a coffee shop in Milwaukee (I'm visiting for the weekend), a mother and daughter are fixing Mom's coffee -- the daughter asking questions, and the mom directing and teaching, like a parent often does. No screaming, crying or running around, just direction from the parent and another day in this shop.

So in the end, I would hope that people in general would show more tolerance. Clearly, the owner of A Taste Of Heaven (and other restaurants with similar policies) has reached the end of his rope. As a human being, he's entitled to his opinion. As a business owner, he's entitled to rules of conduct for his place of business (which is not, I might add, prohibiting children, just restricting their behaviour). As patrons of said business, we are entitled to choose how we interact with that business -- patronize or not. We vote with our pocketbooks on any number of issues -- don't drink Starbucks, buy Nike shoes, or anything from Wal-Mart, for example. Do it here, if you're so offended. Tell the owners of that business (in a calm manner) that you're offended. Have a conversation that involves multi-syllabic words. Discuss -- that's our right and responsibility in this nation.

Stepping off my soapbox for now.

Brenda / November 13, 2005 10:51 AM

I'm sure this thread will be closed soon, so here's a related post that doesn't exactly answer the question...

My knitting group used to meet in a coffee shop in Ravenswood that has a high tin ceiling like ToH. If more than 4 of us were engaged in conversation, the noise level was discernibly louder. We made a conscious effort to talk softly, but HIGH TIN CEILINGS! Only so much you can do about that.

So, despite the fact that we were filling the place with business on a slow weekday night, the owner admonished us weekly -- after the fact, by email, because she was never actually there when we were -- with requests to "keep it down" and relayed complaints from other customers who were "trying to study." She decided, strangely, that a few customers who came in and sat quietly with a cup of coffee and a laptop for hours on end were more valuable to her than a group of 8-15 people enjoying multiple coffees and conversation for the same few hours on an otherwise slow night.

She made a choice. It wasn't a very smart business decision IMHO, but it was her choice nonetheless. I didn't write the NYT about it, I didn't mount a protest. I just found a better place to meet. One that likes us to fill the place up, and doesn't mind if a few customers looking for a library are inconvenienced by a bunch of chattering knitters.

ToH made a business decision. They knew they'd offend some customers. They knew they'd satisfy others. They made a choice about which ones were more important to them. It's their prerogative. If anyone disagrees with their decision, they should voice their opinion with their wallet, not their words.

Funny thing is... if that's what really happens, there's a chance everyone will get what they want.

Dee / November 13, 2005 1:38 PM

Who thought that "Kids: yay or nay?" could be as polarizing as religion or politics?

It's obviously a highly personal choice (as are religion and politics a lot of the time), which is why I think several people who posted here reacted heatedly to comments on both sides of the issue.

As for me, I spent many of my teenage years babysitting for neighborhood kids and my own younger cousins. I enjoyed their company for the most part, and I hope they enjoyed mine. But I have yet to experience a deep need for my own progeny.

My annoyance with misbehavior in public is less the children and more the parents. It's usually not that difficult to differentiate between kids being kids and kids running roughshod over everyone in the vicinity. Sure, even good kids have bad days, and since I don't have children of my own, I am not about to offer parenting tips or even pretend to comprehend the joys and pains of raising a little person (or more than one). But to get a dirty look from a parent because I don't enjoy the fact that little Janie is screaming and throwing food in my direcetion over the booth wall angers me. No one wants to reward bad behavior with too much attention, but must innocent bystanders grin and bear it whilst picking food out of their hair?

Again, I know that some days are worse than othersófor both grown-ups and those not so grown upóbut sometimes the sense of entitlement that radiates from parents who don't bother to watch their own children in public places angers me.

Jae / November 13, 2005 3:55 PM

Yay or Nay. It's your choice. There's no need for hostility.

If you don't want to be around kids. Please move to retirement community in Florida, while the rest of us enjoy the great diversity around us. Both good and bad.

Moon / November 13, 2005 9:23 PM

jae, for somebody who didn't want any hostility, that was pretty hostile.

It was the equivalent of "If you don't love America, leave it"

Brandy / November 14, 2005 11:46 AM

Thank you, Sarah -
"it's probably harder now than in generations past, when people used to live in extended families and closer-knit communities and helped each other out."

Well said - and what I couldn't put the words together to say. Personally, I'm "nay" on the kids front. I like to said I was born 40 years old. Never related to kids when I was a kid. Don't want to be a mother myself.

And I do begrudge those who do. I think a major root of all of this is exactly what Sarah said - parents are expected to raise their children singlehandedly, be the ONLY influence. Creating a strong Us vs. Them, Self vs. Other on both sides.

It's sad. I bet everyone would be happier if kids had larger circles of "aunts," "uncles," mentors and such.

At this point it's the parent vs. the world in the struggle to raise their kid. Ergo, the polarization.

Brandy / November 14, 2005 11:47 AM

Gah! I meant to say, "I don't begrudge..." Freudian slip.

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