Often, posts on the subreddit r/AmItheA**hole are about petty disagreements and silly fights where the writer wants to know if they were a big a**hole in the conflict. This much more serious one about parenting seems to have touched a nerve for a lot of people who can really relate. The original poster seems to have deleted their account, though their post has stayed up. The title reads, “AITA for admitting I regret having children.”
The OP says he is 42, and he and his wife have a six-year-old and four-year-old twins, one of whom they think has ADHD and ODD and he describes as a “nightmare child.”
He resents how difficult it is, and that they ended up having twins they didn’t budget for. To deal with the conflict in the house and try to work through their feelings, the couple went to a marriage counselor. That’s when this happened:
Our counsellor asked me if I would have children if I had to do it all over again and I said “honestly, no”.
I love my kids and would take a bullet for them, but if I had the chance to go back to 24 when I finished grad school and could do my life over again, I wouldn’t choose fatherhood. It is not the fulfilling experience everyone claims and while I love my children, the sacrifices are not worth it to me. I had a much happier life before having children and have gone from someone who loved life to someone who just…..makes it through the day, working a job he hates to provide for the wife and kids while silently wishing this wasn’t my life.
It wasn’t taken well:
My wife is furious and taking it the wrong way and even told our 6 year old “daddy wishes you were never born” which makes me livid. You don’t tell the kid that.
Yes, I wish I never had kids, but I do love them, would never hurt them or want to upset them. And I didn’t say it to/in front of my kids and I never ever will. I said it in marriage counselling, what should be a safe space to talk about feelings.
The OP says the resulting fight has driven them apart permanently, and he is afraid his wife will use his comments in divorce court to take sole custody. Despite his feelings, he doesn’t want to be separated from his children.
“She is incapable of understanding that you can love your kids but also feel that parenthood was the best choice for you,” he added. “AITA for saying it though?”
Most people think, emphatically, he is not. They think his wife is a big a**hole for telling the kid what he said though. It’s hurtful to the child for no reason and also violates the safe space that a therapy session is supposed to be. As amie71 wrote:
NTA you said it in a counseling session where you are supposed to be able to talk through these things and listen to your partner without judgment. Your wife was majorly in the wrong for taking a comment out of the session and telling a child. If she didn’t understand how you meant it, she should have discussed it further IN the session
And many, many people on the thread said that they themselves regret having children, too, but there is a huge taboo on expressing those feelings, which can be even more alienating. User canithrowitaway9999 wrote on a throwaway account:
I love my two daughters so much, but if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t be a mom. It is still a big taboo to admit that having children isn’t the most amazing thing in the world, but for a lot of us, the lows far outweigh the highs. I’d never ever tell my kids I feel this way, but I think this is something you should be able to be honest about with you partner in marriage counselling, and the fact she told your child this is disgusting.
The OP updated his post before deleting his user name, clarifying he resents having twins, but certainly doesn’t blame his wife for that. He just has to work a lot of overtime to pay for their care and has no time outside work or childcare:
My life is basically work and dealing with my kids. And do you know what ODD is? This child always refuses to do what is asked, gets angry and throws a tantrum when asked to do something he doesn’t want to do, hits and kicks others, deliberately annoys and hurts others, is extremely spiteful, screams and kicks me constantly. ALWAYS. All day. Every day. It’s exhausting and it is hell.
Yeah. I would’t have him again. Most people wouldn’t if they had to raise him.
Just because I wouldn’t do this over again doesn’t mean I’m not committed to being a good dad and being present in their lives. I just would not do it over again if I could redo my adult life….Regarding calling the ADHD/ODD twin a nightmare, go google what that means. It is very difficult to manage and he has even been kicked out of three daycare places because they could not handle him and my parents even refuse to babysit him. We never get a break from home and no one can handle time.
That does sound like enough to break down even the most loving and excited parent. And as commenter buttsmcgillicutty wrote, until you’ve had to live with it, you don’t know what you’re getting into:
No shade for this. I think having kids is wildly different for everyone. When you have easy, lovable, healthy children, no complications during pregnancy, a supportive SO and family, etc etc, having kids is easy and fun.
When you’re a single parent, broke, without support, having a disabled child, etc etc, it’s stupid difficult.
It’s not fair for people with many blessings to judge those with few.
Wise words, buttsmcgillicutty.