So, when are you going to have kids?

by Erika Torres
40 comments
This could be my future... enticing, isn't it?

This could be my future… enticing, isn’t it?

I am no stranger to this question, and judging by social media, neither are a lot of my married friends.

However, unlike a lot of people my age, I don’t really get offended or annoyed by being asked the question at all. In fact, I get pretty excited and start blabbing away to anyone who will listen… my friends, my co-workers, my hair dresser, my friends’ moms….

I’m an open book, people!

And if you were to ask me the question, here is what I would say:

“I don’t know.”

While I may go on for about 20 minutes, the overall answer would be summed up with “I don’t know.”

Because I would tell you that yes, of course we want kids. Eric and I may have never talked about our finances before we got married, but we sure as heck talked about wanting a big family. Because, priorities, right?

But wanting kids, and having them, are completely different beasts. I want to eat a bag of Oreos dipped in peanut butter while watching a marathon of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but will I do it? No, of course not, because I don’t want those Oreos to sit on my thighs.

Eric and I had a timeline we always used to go by. The first non-negotiable in having kids was that Eric needed to land his firefighter job. Which he did. So cross that one off the baby bucket list.

And my other non-negotiable was that I wanted to be 30 before I got pregnant. I turn 30 in two months.

But as that deadline approaches, I start coming up with other things that should be added to the list. Like how I would like to be done with graduate school (Feb. 2015). Or how I really want to travel just a little bit more.

I feel at this point that I am fighting a battle with myself. The battle to start a family vs. the battle to hold onto my youth just a little bit more.

I really, really want to start a family, but I also really, really want to travel and be selfish and sleep in on weekends and go out with friends and not be worried about finding a babysitter (although my whole extended family has already assured me that I would never be without an available babysitter).

I rhetorically asked my friend recently: How can I want something so badly and yet be absolutely terrified of it at the same time?

I feel like a five-year-old stamping my foot and throwing a tantrum: “I don’t want to give up my freedom!”

SO there you have it. See how confused I am?

And the real reason that I’m willing to tell anyone who will listen is because I secretly hope that they will have the answer. Tell me! I want to scream at them. When should I have kids?! 

And nobody will tell you.

People who are older and have had kids are all like “psh, I’m just glad I’m done raising mine!” and people who are my age and just had kids say in an ominous tone: “Well… you’ll never be ready….” and they look at you through pleading eyes that haven’t gotten an ounce of decent sleep in months.

So yeah, I have that to look forward to.

The next time someone asks me “So, when are you going to have kids?”

I’m just gonna say “Not today.”

And that’s the truth.

 

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Jenni Tulip March 27, 2014 - 4:16 am

I don’t think I’ll ever want kids. I have never been interested in having them and don’t desire it at all. I get mushy over puppies instead and so excited for the day we can have a puppy, but not kids. When people ask whether I want children I say no; it’s the truth. But maybe I’ll change my mind one day; maybe I’ll get that ‘thing’ women get and just suddenly want a baby. Maybe I won’t. I think just have children when you really want them-not when you think you should have them
Miss Tulip x
The Thrifty Magpies Nest

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Shannon March 6, 2014 - 5:31 pm

We’re seriously on the same page. I found myself nodding along to everything you were saying. I want to desperately hold on to the last few moments of my youth and am constantly finding reasons as to why I can’t have kids. Maybe it’s a sign I’ll just never be ready? I like your answer though, when I am going to have kids? Not today. 🙂 I’m going to steal that!

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Susan March 6, 2014 - 11:13 am

I could have written this post myself.

But you’ll never think yourself ready – you decide you want to have kids and jump in at some point or another. It’s a big leap of faith. There’s literally nothing that can prepare you for it – except maybe taking care of someone elses kid full-time, and even that is not the same.

My freelance career soared once I had my daughter. My focus to prioritize became laser focused. That doesn’t mean there weren’t huge ups and downs, but it means I suddenly had this renewed vigor and concentration to develop a new life. One that entailed me staying home, still working, having some kind of a life and planning ahead for a life we want her to have including a customized education and lots of travel.

I do feel some people want to know because they want everyone to be in the same boat with them. They want their own lifestyle to be justified by everyone around them. There is tons of routine and mundane tasks involved in child-rearing, especially small children, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have an extraordinary life. It’s just choosing what the trade-offs are and getting out of the mindset that all kids need x, y, z and designing a life that makes sense for your family.

You won’t know when you’re ready. But at some point you’ll realize you won’t ever know and dive head first into the baby pool.

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Catherine March 4, 2014 - 5:41 pm

There’s never a perfect time. There will always be something on your list. like you, I also knew I wanted to have kids and be a mom but I didn’t see when this would ever fit in terms of timing. We just said hell with it one day and see what happens. I stopped taking the pill in August and was pregnant in Sept…so yeah, we didn’t think it would happen that quick haha. I’ve had friends pull the goalie and it take 18 months.

life just has a way of working out. Having a kid has totally changed our priorities and perspective but for the best. My husband still has aspirations of going back to school but it will be a few years. I’ll probably be 33 before I’m pregnant again.

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Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) March 4, 2014 - 11:32 am

For us, someone just had to decide. We knew we couldn’t have kids while living in Grenada and I kind of thought we’d work on it when we got back etc. but then hubs one day blurted out that we should start trying because we’d be back in the States when the baby was born and so I was like yeah sure why not — bam twins. 😉 lol So for us someone just had to decide and the other one just had to jump on the bandwagon. 🙂

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Tonya@Budget and the Beach March 3, 2014 - 10:02 am

You should have your answer be “not ever,” which is what I did because I never wanted them and then you either get the third degree like you’re crazy and you’ll regret the decision, or people look at you and think, “lucky!” No middle of the road there. Hopefully for you you just know when you know.

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Katy March 2, 2014 - 2:37 pm

OMG! I think you are inside my head!!! I turn 31 in less than a month and am like so scared!!! I feel my internal clock ticking (although both my husband & I’s Mom’s had us at 32 and 37 & ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ and what not) but STILL I don’t want to be sleep deprived and barely keeping it together!! Some days NOW I feel like I don’t keep it together! How can I expect to have it together with a babe?!?! *sigh*. I would put it off until 35 if I knew we wouldn’t have any problems getting pregnant, but you really just never know!!!! We went to Europe last year and I’m all ‘I want to go to Europe again!!! Once wasn’t enough!!!’ LOL. How selfish right?!?!?! Geez!!!

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Katy @ Katytrackslife March 1, 2014 - 5:16 pm

You can also embrace kids in the travelling lifestyle – it’s a little more complicated, sure, but as someone who’s travelled a lot, there are always coupled with kids still travelling.

On the other hand, there’s so much unknown with kids. DH and I are in year 6 of trying for a family, so I’m glad we started relatively young (mid-20s, he’s now early 30s and I’ll be 30 this year). We also want out kids to know their grandparents and for us to be youngish parents with energy reserves. And although I’ll be (earliest ) 30 when our eldest is born I often freak out that I’d be (hypothetically) 36 when our third (if we have 3) is born and that gets trickier in lots of ways.

So I’m in the camp of: if you want kids, have a stable relationship and can afford to care for them, why not start trying?

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Army Amy February 28, 2014 - 4:30 pm

I’m intrigued that you wanted to wait until you were 30 to try. I’ve heard plenty of women say they wanted to already have kids by then, so it’s refreshing that you wanted to wait.

My husband and I are both 29 and we are in no hurry. Part of that is because he’s military, and I’d like to time things for when he’s home and our lives aren’t in total upheaval with a move or who knows what else. The other part of it is that I’m just not sure I want kids at all. I know some people “just know,” or feel those maternal pangs. Yeah, I don’t got that. My dad never seemed to enjoy being a parent, and I don’t want to bring kids into the world for them to feel the way that made me feel. So we are waiting.

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Jessica February 28, 2014 - 7:47 am

Well I can give you two different views, I had my son when I was 15 years old and if there was a point of thinking my life was over that would be it BUT I can tell you I can’t imagine life without him. I still (thanks to a great support system) graduated high school a year early, went on to finish college and land an awesome corporate job. All with my son in tow. Now I’ve had this job for three years and will be 24 in November and found out I am expecting my second baby! of course the last few years I’ve been able to go out more and “enjoy” adult life being that my son was older but I don’t think that I will ever rather be in a bar or dancing over spending a night in with my son. Children change your whole perspective! PLUS vacations, bars, all that stuff will still be there when you raise your children. I thought I had all the time in the world to have another child but we had to try for almost 2 years! and I am young healthy etc!. but “it” couldn’t have come at a better time and as the Lord would have it the same week I found out I got a 10k raise and 5k bonus plus 10 additional PTO days!
So I will tell you this (sorry for the long post), children are amazing, no matter what time you have them the Lord will figure everything else out (money, sitter, time,fun). I’ve had the periods of just me and my SO time and we are always missing the kids! lol

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Emily February 28, 2014 - 5:52 am

I definitely had this question a LOT, especially since my husband and I were 23 & 22 when we were married. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted kids!

I had a couple things on my list before getting pregnant but the one non negotiable was getting out of debt. Kids are expensive! The diapers, cribs, swings, clothes, toys, etc…. And that’s just the first year! I had some others like $12k+ in our e-fund, in a house we own, a new car for me. But I really wanted my first kid, when I finally decided to have kids, before I was 30. Well, my daughter was born in January and I’ll turn 30 in March.

We were able to get the e-fund to where I wanted, mainly through the generosity of others we didn’t have to buy those baby essentials like crib, stroller, car seat, pack n play, or even clothes, diapers and wipes! Thanks to a tax return, my bonus, and some surplus savings, I’ll be getting a new car (mainly because all three of us can no,longer fit in mine….). Then we’ll start saving for the house….

My main advice would be make sure you have a support system and the rest will come. I never knew how much my world would change for the better when they placed my daughter in my arms. It was earth shattering — and this is from someone that even during pregnancy thought she’d be ready to go back to work right away and now would become a SAHM if we could afford it. (My husband instead will be a stay at home dad….)

Good luck!

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Erin @ Grad Money Matters February 27, 2014 - 12:52 pm

Wow, “not today” is a fabulous answer!

I just flipped over to your baby bucket list and you guys are killing it! I love your organic goals and we are planning to switch completely to organic/locally grown food right after the C.C. portion of our debt is paid off. I’m cool with starting all-organic eating before the student loans are gone.

We have no idea when we’ll be ready for babies. I LOVE my freedom and chill frugal lifestyle, and I’m just not ready yet. Thankfully, we’re 24 and 27, so we have plenty of time to decide. Although, I’m sure it will fly by.

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Kayla February 27, 2014 - 9:52 am

“Not today.” That is a brilliant answer & I’m going to steal it and use it from now on 🙂

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Katie | LatteLove February 27, 2014 - 8:27 am

I have struggled a lot with this question with many of the same reasons and responses. But ultimately I looked at where I would like to be later in life – what kinds of things I’d like to be doing and decided that I would rather have kids sooner – when I have energy to work and raise them and its a little easier on my body, than to enjoy life for an extended period now.

But if I didn’t have in-laws who traveled and had a fabulous lifestyle now, I wouldn’t have had that modeled for me! It’s good to be reminded that parenthood might be crazy for a few years, but we can still have a fabulous life of traveling, going out and being social 10-15 years from now – fun and freedom is not relegated only to youth!

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newlywedsonabudget February 27, 2014 - 10:13 am

I agree! It really is such a short window when your children are young. There is no way I could imagine ever giving that up.

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Julianne February 27, 2014 - 7:33 am

While it may seem like you are giving up your life for kids, the rewarding part is so great you don’t even realize your “whole life” is gone! I’ll be 30 in September, and am expecting my 2nd in April. Sure, some nights can be challenging when someone has to stay home with the toddler and not go out, but it is also so fun staying in and playing house and with the play kitchen all night! 🙂

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newlywedsonabudget February 27, 2014 - 10:09 am

haha that is one of the main reasons I still really want children! I LOVE my dog–like seriously I have cried more than once thinking of what I will do when we have to put him to sleep (he’s 10)– so I can only imagine how much I’ll love an actual human being! IT’s gotta be like ten-fold right?!

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ND Chic February 26, 2014 - 8:16 pm

When you put it this way that children are the end to your freedom, I can see why you don’t want a baby now. My life with two kids now consists of less going out, different vacations (cheaper), and a lot of money for daycare but it is also more full and satisfying than before kids.

It doesn’t sound like you are at all excited about becoming a mom from this post. Its ok to wait or not have kids if that’s what you choose.

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Summer February 26, 2014 - 4:58 pm

I think you should practice a whole lot right now! 😉 Only you guys can decide when you are ready to try. I think March 2015 would be a great time to begin to get serious! Finish grad school and knock out some traveling in the meantime!

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SavvyFinancialLatina February 26, 2014 - 3:23 pm

The older I get, the scarier it gets. And it was pretty scary to begin with. My desire to have kids in reality is very low. It would be cool to make a human being, but it would not be cool to lose freedom and have someone to take care of. There’s just so much to do!

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One Frugal Girl February 26, 2014 - 3:13 pm

If I could have done it sooner I would have. If I had done it sooner though I think I would’ve had a lot more kids 🙂

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Well Heeled Blog February 26, 2014 - 3:01 pm

I had a post on this a couple of weeks ago (http://www.wellheeledblog.com/2014/02/12/to-kid-or-not-to-kid-how-did-you-figure-it-out/)… except you sound much more reasonable and at peace with the process that I am.

If I have a kid, I want to start trying by 33. So… still more time to defer the decision! 😉

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newlywedsonabudget February 27, 2014 - 10:15 am

I read your post yesterday after I had already published mine! I ate it up, along with all the comments. People definitely have differing opinions so ultimately it comes down to what you really want. I’m definitely not ambivalent in my decision to have children, just the timing I’m having an issue with. I know that I may have to give up some things, but my hope is that the results will be far more rewarding.

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E.M. February 26, 2014 - 11:48 am

I like the answer of “not today.” I’m not even married yet, but my boyfriend and I are very undecided on this. We could go either way. I love having time to myself, so I get wanting to be selfish. I also want to travel. I’ve pretty much given myself a deadline by thirty, too, and if it doesn’t feel right, then that’s okay. At least we have our pets, right?

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Jolene February 26, 2014 - 11:46 am

TOTALLY hear you!! I thought I would ‘feel’ ready by now and thought 35 would be my cut off…but we turn 35 ON our honeymoon in October, and ya know what? I don’t know that I’ll ‘be ready’ then either. So my answer, similar to yours…not today. I just don’t know when yet. This life is so much fun just the way it is right now. And I think that is a-ok. XOXO

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Tanner February 26, 2014 - 10:36 am

Hahaha. I get that a lot with “when are you going to get married” or “when are you going to have kids?”, and I don’t even have a partner. I too give them the “not today”, “not soon”. I stopped saying “not ever” (which was true, since I want to adopt), because then they’d go on and on about the virtues of having kids and a spouse… so “not today” works. They’ve been getting creative and asking me about tomorrow, though. So watch out for that!

I don’t think there’s any one good answer to that question… outside of “you’ll know…”, just like how you knew you would marry Eric. You may not have seen it coming, but BOOM, there it was!

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Emily @ evolvingPF February 26, 2014 - 10:28 am

I have very similar feelings to you. I’m looking forward to having children at the same time as I desire to delay the start of it. I’ve stated that I wanted to be married for 5 years but as that time approaches I get more apprehensive about feeling/being ready.

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Julie February 26, 2014 - 10:27 am

Coming from someone in the “am there, doing that” crowd, I offer the following insight from my experience. I am 31, 25 weeks pregnant with Baby #2. We have a 3 year old. We were married just before my 23rd birthday, so we had plenty of time (though it’s never enough) to travel, sleep in, bum around, etc. Ultimately, we were pretty sure we wanted kids, but really our decision, especially determining timing, was much more logic-based. We knew we wanted our kids to know their grandparents, and Hubs’s father has chronic health issues that aren’t getting any better. We also knew that the concerns we had now (not being able to travel as extensively, “messing up” what was already a pretty darn good life, etc) would still exist in 6 months, a year, whenever we revisited the topic. So we ultimately decided to start trying about 3 months after making the decision (after I had a few months off BC, etc.) But at that last month, I was scared and nervous about it finally being time to jump in.

Our life now is definitely different, no doubt about that. Our priorities have shifted. Daycare money flies out the window. But none of that can come close to dampening the joy and fulfillment being a parent brings. That’s not to say there aren’t rough days, or rough phases, but I have no regrets about choosing the life of a parent and saying goodbye to being DINKs. I also have no regrets about waiting till we were married almost 5 years before adding a kiddo to the brood. We had lots of time, experiences, and memories together and though I would have loved more of that, it has worked out just fine. And we’re looking forward to traveling abroad with the kiddos (after daycare’s done, of course!), and eventually it being back to the two of us once they’ve flown the nest.

Also, to be a realist, remember that you won’t know how your conception journey will look until you give it a go. Fertility decreases with age, so the getting’s good now. It may take a months or years for you guys to get pregnant, especially the longer you wait. You also may be lucky and be pregnant in the first few months of trying, but keep in mind that just because you decide you’re ready to try for a baby doesn’t ensure one will come quickly and easily. Factor that potential delay in when you look at your timeline.

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jadell February 26, 2014 - 8:34 am

NOT TODAY was my standard answer too. We were married for 4 1/2 years when we had our first. I think you will know when the time is right. Hang in there. It’s a really hard, incredibly rewarding time of your life. Enjoy now, so you can enjoy then as well.

🙂

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CeCe @Pink Sunshine February 26, 2014 - 8:23 am

Everybody is doing it!! Just do it!! Totally joking. We used to get this question a lot but we shut them down. We’re not having any! They kept thinking we’d change our minds but we haven’t yet. I never got offended by it either although I know it bothers a lot of people. It’s true you will never be ready but I think it’s also true that there will be a tipping point where the things you are trying to hold onto matter less then the desire to start the family.

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Janelle B. February 26, 2014 - 8:21 am

From the perspective of one who has grown children, I think your reasons and your thinking are completely valid and reasonable. I also believe what you’re seeing are all the downsides and the limits of parenting, and I understand that as well. What’s impossible to quantify or even accurately describe is how your heart changes and how life expands when you are a parent. With my first child I think it was a week before I fell completely, head over heels in love. But when it happened, it transformed my life on just about every level. Yeah, I was sleep deprived and frustrated and longing for unencumbered freedom a lot of the time. Yet what I gained from having children and being a mother was a sense of self that no other avenue I’ve pursued matches. I had kids young – I was 23 when I had my oldest – and knew I would be in my 40s when they would all be grown and (hopefully) self-sufficient. During the years I was immersed in hands-on motherhood I was making plans for my life when my children no longer needed me so much. Parents of young children speak of it as if it is a life sentence; the years pass quickly and life as a mother of grown children is wonderful as well.

So while I have no specific advice for you as to when, just be open to so many wonders beyond what you see with your friends who are parents or the limits to your personal freedom. There are trade-offs and only you and your husband will know when you are ready to take that step.

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newlywedsonabudget February 27, 2014 - 9:47 am

I definitely know I WANT kids, but I just feel like I’m on this ticking bomb where I just need a LITTLE more time for me, but at the same time, I’m worried to wait too long. decisions, decisions…

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Penny February 26, 2014 - 8:14 am

This is SO my life right now. I always said at 29/30 we’d make plans to start a family, but now that I am half way to 29, I’m sort of like WAIT WHAT? Do I want to give up wine right now, and the ability to fit into my pants? And most of all, how will we afford daycare? It’s so hard to take the plunge, but at the same time I don’t want to wait too long and lose my window.

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Akirah February 26, 2014 - 7:50 am

I can definitely resonate with this. I don’t think Dan and I are very close to having kids…we are working through a lot of things these days…but I do wonder about the timing. I think every Mother’s Day, I get a little more anxious about it. I like the idea of being a mother one day, but the thought of not being able to sleep in on Saturdays creeps me out. So I dunno.

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Ris February 26, 2014 - 6:15 am

“I also really, really want to travel and be selfish and sleep in on weekends and go out with friends and not be worried about finding a babysitter” um YEP! This is me exactly. I do NOT want to give up my freedom and I’m in no hurry to grow up. Once I have kids I will be a mother for the rest of my life but I will only be in my 20’s once. I’m in no hurry at all.

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newlywedsonabudget February 27, 2014 - 9:40 am

yup, that is exactly why I had no problem waiting til I was out of my 20’s to start a family. However, I am a tad resentful that we were unable to afford to travel before. And now that we can afford it, my husband’s job won’t allow it until Jan. 2015. What a first-world predicament to be in, huh? 😛

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Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies February 26, 2014 - 3:44 am

I’d always thought I’d know if I wanted kids by the time I turned 32… and I’ve been 31 now for a few months and am no closer to knowing that answer. Which maybe is a sign that the answer is ‘no’?

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newlywedsonabudget February 27, 2014 - 9:37 am

haha could be! There are an overwhelming number of people my age who are going the “no-kid” route, and sometimes it makes me feel like I’m “dumb” or “stupid” for wanting kids so badly. Is that weird? Like I totally wish I didn’t want kids, because then I would get to do all the travel I want to do, and I would have SO much money. But, and that’s a BIG BUT, I still have an overwhelming desire to have a family, and that desire definitely trumps the travel and money card.

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