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"Why have kids if you can't afford them?"

(272 Posts)
DianneWhatcock Sat 06-Jun-20 15:30:43

Aibu to never forgive this once being said to me ?

My "best friend" since I was a teenager said it to me five years ago and I have never been able to fully move on from it. Because it's given me the unshakeable impression she looks down on me

At the time I was working pt with 3 under 8 inc a baby. Dh working full time in a fairly decent job (more than min wage) plus he had a second job (1/2 evenings a week plus was studying). We were renting and saving to buy. We used to get a small amount of tax credits but we relied on that to make ends meet. we ended up having our tax credits more or less stopped due to an overpayment that would last about a year. I was worried sick at the time as this genuinely really fucked us financially. I told her about it and how worried I was and her response was basically "well why have kids if you can't afford them?" (I should also add she hasn't got kids and lives rent free with her parents - they have a big house)

Nowadays we haven't claimed a penny for years. We own our house (mortgaged) , dh is a high earner I'm working more and we don't even qualify for the very basic child benefit.

However H is furloughed and I guess it's back on my mind. Cos if he ends up redundant we may face having to claim some form of benefits again even temporarily. But the thought terrifies me - I thought I was past that part of my life where I struggled and counted every penny. And I can't stand the thought of being a person that gets judged again (even though I would NEVER judge others that way I am not that kind of person)

I will never ever forget this comment and how shit it made me feel. she never really apologised and I don't know whether to just end the friendship Cos it has just tainted it for ever i think

I know this is a really rambly post so well done anyone who got this far blush

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makingmammaries Sat 06-Jun-20 15:36:24

Nasty thing to say to anyone. I find myself thinking it about certain particularly feckless parents, but that’s not you, OP. She probably heard it somewhere and decided it would make a good soundbite. Time to forget it. Fingers crossed for you.

borntohula Sat 06-Jun-20 15:37:37

It's such a dumb thing to say, how many SAHPs are just a relationship breakup away from not being able to afford children. It also implies that only reasonably well off people deserve to have kids.

Finerumpus Sat 06-Jun-20 15:40:46

I hate the expression OP. Imagine if only those who had enough saved to ensure their offspring were provided for until adulthood were allowed to procreate. It’s crazy. It assumes that financial hardship is only ever caused by recklessness. Passing on your genes should not be a privilege reserved for the wealthy.

GreyGardens88 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:40:58

I don't understand how you could be saving for a deposit but also claiming tax credits to "make ends meet"

I generally agree with the sentiment of not having kids unless you can afford them and are financially secure

DianneWhatcock Sat 06-Jun-20 15:41:03


Honestly I've never been feckless I've worked since 16 as has dh. we would never ever claim benefits as a choice it was purely Cos despite (at the time) having almost 3 jobs between us we couldn't afford to live without a little help
Our house at the time was modest as well we didn't even claim housing benefit and 2 of the dc shared a room

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Alex50 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:42:01

If you need to claim UC that’s what it’s there for. I personally would only have 2 children as that is as much as I can cope with, well I actually had 1 child and then another 14 years later as the thought of being pregnant with a toddler sounded like torture. Personal preference, I also like an easy life 😊 It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as you are happy, there will be many people claiming from August who have never claimed before.

DianneWhatcock Sat 06-Jun-20 15:44:29


Wasn't sure what you meant then but have read that back. I posted too quickly I meant to say we were wanting to start saving for a deposit (our mortgage is less now than our old rent was!)

MN Needs an edit function !

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ScarfLadysBag Sat 06-Jun-20 15:45:06

It's not a nice thing for a supposed friend to say. But I would probably think it silently if someone had chosen to have three kids in fairly quick succession while not being particularly financially secure 🤷‍♀️ It's not a lifestyle choice I would make, but I would never say that to a friend or volunteer that opinion when not being asked.

WorraLiberty Sat 06-Jun-20 15:47:54



Wasn't sure what you meant then but have read that back. I posted too quickly I meant to say we were wanting to start saving for a deposit (our mortgage is less now than our old rent was!)

MN Needs an edit function !

In that case you've done incredibly well with your tax credits stopped for a year.

The fact you managed to come off of that and buy a house a couple of years later is amazing.

Elsiebear90 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:48:01

I don’t understand how you were simultaneously saving for a house deposit and also relying on tax credits to make ends meet? If you’re making ends meet how do you have money spare to save for a house deposit? I do agree with the overall statement “don’t have kids if you can’t afford it”, no one should be purposely creating children they know they can’t afford to look after as it’s irresponsible, not saying that applies to you in this situation, but I don’t think anyone should create a child with the plan of relying on benefits to support them.

Elsiebear90 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:48:40

Just seen your update so ignore the first half of my post.

Nellydean21 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:49:50

I completely agree with only having children if you can afford them. I dont agree with withholding help to people whose finances have circumstances change.

The difference is I am in Ireland and know many families who are far better off on benefits than they are working. For example a friend and her husband are both unemployed so receive 1800 euro on unemployment benefit a month between then, plus 700 euro a month child benefit plus free health ( no NHS here ) plus free education at third level plus a council house four bedrooms for 100 euro a month. So it makes a complete mockery of people who work.

In Ireland it is very very possible to have children while not affording them. The UK system is brutal in comparison.
Your friend was being rude.

ComDummings Sat 06-Jun-20 15:49:54

It’s a nasty thing to say to someone who is worrying. It’s not helpful or constructive at all, it’s judgmental. She can think what she likes in her head, that’s fine but to say that to a supposed friend and I wouldn’t want to be friends with her either.

Patch23042 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:50:29

Plenty of people think like her OP, which is why the 2-child benefit cap is broadly supported.

It’s spiteful and unhelpful to say it to someone who already has 3+ children though. I’d have been really annoyed in your shoes and it would be playing on my mind even now. You’re right to be aggrieved I think.

heartsonacake Sat 06-Jun-20 15:50:39

It surprises me that she said it, but you’ll find most people would agree with her they’re just not brazen enough to say it.

If you depended on tax credits when you had two children, why add a third when you weren’t able to support it yourself? It is irresponsible.

DianneWhatcock Sat 06-Jun-20 15:51:19

I can't get worked up about people on benefits

I think the ones who get outraged at it - their outrage would be better aimed at a society where it's become normal that a family with the 2 adults working (in my case was equivalent of 2 ft jobs) on more than min wage isn't enough to live on

This sort of judgement is why I fuckin dread if h does lose his job

People don't look down on us quite as much since we've been on £70k plus and no longer live in a council house

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DianneWhatcock Sat 06-Jun-20 15:53:15


Yep we did fucking amazing despite the shit circumstances we started off in. I am very proud of us

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WorraLiberty Sat 06-Jun-20 15:54:02

Why do so many people know your personal financial business?

Waxonwaxoff0 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:55:45

It's crap.

What is "financially secure" anyway? When you are a homeowner? Well not everyone can afford to become a homeowner. When you're earning over a certain amount? Not everyone has the potential to increase their earning capacity. Should those people never have children then?

Nellydean21 Sat 06-Jun-20 15:56:08

The reason people get worked up about people on benefits who continue to have children is because they feel they, it they are tax payers, are paying for it.
Which they are. The welfare state is a fantastic humane aspect of any civilised society but when others perceive people relying on it they understandably think, why should I work so that person can breed more while knowing they cany afford it.

Again most people will never say this.

DianneWhatcock Sat 06-Jun-20 15:56:31


* It’s spiteful and unhelpful to say it to someone who already has 3+ children though. I’d have been really annoyed in your shoes and it would be playing on my mind even now. You’re right to be aggrieved I think.*

That's what I mean if people want to think it that's up to them (although I don't personally agree)

It just felt like she was sticking the boot in when I was already in a low place. (and I was ashamed myself of having to claim anyway as everyone will know who's ever claimed anything - it wasn't fun! So didn't need my "best friend" to kick me while I was down)

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Redleathertrousers Sat 06-Jun-20 15:59:44

It's an awful comment to say out loud to someone, especially a friend. However, there have been times I've thought it silently.

Mintjulia Sat 06-Jun-20 15:59:55

Op, I can see that it upset you but you don’t know what views had been hammered into her by her parents. Maybe that was their view and she was just repeating it. She was young at the time and probably didn’t realise what she was saying.

I was raised in a family of seven on one minimum wage and it was horrible. My “d”f tried to persuade my dm to have baby no.6 so he could “give up work and live on the family allowance”. Thankfully she refused, but having lived on scraps and hand me downs my entire life, at that age, I could easily have said the same thing.

I doubt very much your friend was “looking down in you”. xx

Waxonwaxoff0 Sat 06-Jun-20 16:00:12

I was on benefits after splitting with DS's dad (I still get working tax credits as I don't earn much) I work now and I couldn't care less who claims what benefits. I've been there and it sucks, not an enjoyable lifestyle. I feel sorry for them more than anything.

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