Gee, I wish I'd thought of that!
Seriously, mama41, don' you think that if we could, in most cases, we would? What about the custodial parents who complain that they don't get enough money from the other parent to support their child. Should they "just make more money", too?
I don't enjoy the work, it's intellectually dishonest, and my bosses are painfully easily impressed. It's like living in a bus station of the mind and it leaves me wondering which nation will lead the world next, because if this is the kind of stuff the schools want, it ain't us. (I make most of my money writing K12 texts.) It pays very well, is steady, and allows me to support my daughter while leaving me considerable time to do my own (nonpaying) work and throw away time writing responses like this.
I never had a reason to make this much money before, and you can bet that as soon as this job is done, I'm done working this much for pay. I have other things to do. However, if my daughter's dad is going to bail on part of his obligation, then there are two people available to pay the price: her, and me. It's not acceptable to me that she pay for his lack of responsibility. That leaves me.
Now in a way, there are some nice side benefits. It never occurred to me that I could bill at this rate before, because I never had a reason to bother. In future that'll make things easier for me. But on the whole, no, of course I don't want to work this much. C'est la vie.
One of the things I did, before I got pregnant, was to think about how much kids actually cost. Not in time, because I pretty much figured it'd eat most of my life for a couple of decades. But in money. It wasn't that easy to find that kind of info, but eventually I found some, probably at the Kiplinger site. The numbers were absolutely staggering, so I figured, Well, this must be for investors' kids who go to yacht lessons when they're three. I had a closer look at the numbers, and sure enough, they're for ordinary kids who live in a house, maybe go to a sleepaway camp, do a sport or two, plan to go to college someday. I thought about it for a while, did some figuring, and said, Yeah, I could swing that.
If after looking at the numbers I'd thought, "No, I don't see my way clear to making that kind of money," know what I'd have done? Bingo. Not had a kid.
We have a lot of messed-up kids and young adults now. A lot of kids who've had multiple major upheavals in their lives and not a whole lot of constancy. Divorce, parents moving away, new parents coming in, moving house, changing school, picking up and going to different states, bouncing from one parent's house to the other, maybe another divorce, and poverty. A lot of them look OK on the outside; a lot of them get by, more or less, as adults, but are not so hot under the skin. Their education's suffered, too. I cannot help but believe that a big part of why we have so many messed-up kids is that we decide that we can endlessly bounce kids around and whittle away at their lives in our quest for romance and fresh starts.
I'm reading my daughter an old favorite of mine, a book called The Moffats, by Eleanor Estes. It's set in the Depression. The home life of these kids seems incredibly stable and protected by today's standards, and yet it's a single-parent family -- actually it's the kind of story that used to be tragic. The mom's a widow, a dressmaker, and they're not far from real poverty, but most other people are poor, too. The kids are always with her, the siblings aren't split up, there's no coming and going, they live in a house with a lilac bush outside. They've always lived on that street, and they know everyone, and everyone knows them. The five-year-old goes to the same kindergarten his 15-year-old sister went to. The neighbors are all housebroken and the women wear hats. I think this is really telling. The kids' lives in a widow-and-orphans Depression story looks good.
If we cannot do anything about the culture of divorce, then at a minimum, as parents, we can buffer the kids by protecting them from more rapid changes, keeping family close, and making sure the kids can live well, with good opportunities and with good room and safety, and in stable setups. If you can't see that as a likely thing, then again, I would say pass on having the kids.