Episode 4

Growing the Nest

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Kids…when, how many, and who changes the diapers? When I was a young working mother, shared responsibilities were not up for discussion. But today, thankfully, many fathers are very hands-on. Tell me how you and your mate figured it all out.

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  1. How to co-exist with this creature we call a husba

    by Judy You meet them, you romance them, you get them to marry you and then after the honeymoon and settling down, what do you do with this creature who seems to take on a whole new persona. You discover that this man who you married and thought that you knew so well is really a creature who comes from a faraway planet in a galaxy where other creatures like him live. They tell us they forgot ... AH HAH, NOT TRUE! What they don't say is that they "Selectively forgot." You open your laptop and see in the history that there are two porn sites such as ":big boobs and small boobs" and fantasy dreams. You confront them with this and they say that it came there from the other computer ... Give me a break. We need to band together ladies and share our stories about these man creatures who have come from another galaxy to play the part of our husbands.

    by Lynn I have FOUR children! I am a surrogate mother and one who donated eggs to responsible people to help build families, so I'm definitely open-minded about a lot of things. That said, everywhere I go, I see people, who should not be parents, HAVING children! Babies aren't for show, they're human beings! They're not for you to have to stay on welfare. They're not for you to have just because they're cute and neat. GUESS WHAT, babies grow up! They get really complicated year after year. They're not toys! Teenage pregnancy and single motherhood (and sometimes even fatherhood) is on the rise. WHY? Common sense says if you can't afford a child, DO NOT MAKE one. And in this day in age with birth control options aplenty, there's no reason to have so many "accidents" going on. So what is it really with people? I'm tired of looking at people wanting handouts from me because they couldn't keep their wits about them. Lastly, if you can't support yourself, you have NO BUSINESS HAVING CHILDREN!
  3. Partner raring to go!

    by Aly I'm 21 years old, and I'm just starting to get the hang of life. My fiance is 23 and all of her friends are having children. Being a gay couple, we can't just make a baby. It takes time and requires many steps. We want to become foster parents first, but I don't know if I'm ready yet. Being as young as I am, I feel like we should get married first and then have kids when we have a bigger apartment. She's just ready to go. I guess what i`m trying to say is when is the right time really? Is the right time ever the right time? Not always, so just don't rush and enjoy life.
  4. My life with two kids (one the 'father')

    by Christine My ex husband was the 'whoops' baby of his family; his mother was an administrator, his father - a blue-collar worker, and his siblings-middle schoolers. His family was too busy to guide him in his life journey. His learning, from toilet training to learning to drive was provided by a paid caregiver. He worked the family business, never went to college & moved from his mother's house to OUR house in another state. Despite his age (over 30), he had no idea of how to be a husband or father as he had no familial role models. We had our child a year after our marriage. He had no idea how to hold down a job, contribute monetarily to family, change a diaper, or love a child. He was concerned for his own needs/desires first -leaving the child rearing to me, a teacher, & our day care provider. He was so inept as a parent, when he lost his 3rd job, I continued with daycare. I did not trust him. Finally, after almost 15 years of trying, I found him an apartment and left him. He never remarried, nor did I.
  5. Regret, abuse, children, and love.

    by Liz I would not have gotten married young. When men start to get older and the children grow up, they are scared to grow with them. I got married when I was young and had two children. I thought that after 20 years of marriage, that it was time to enjoy our life together with the children grown and all he wanted was a new wife, new kids, and new life to live. I am disabled and he abused me badly. I thought I could make it work but it only got worse. Now I am away from him and so much happier, but my children blamed me for leaving. Now they have realized what their father has done, but we lost many years not talking to each other. Don't any one ever stay with someone who abuses you. Get out. There are many ways to do so. I still cry thinking about why and how someone could hurt someone they say they love. It really was not love.
  6. Modern Dads better than the old days.

    by Sharon I also had a husband who wouldn't even bring a diaper to me, let alone try to change one. HA no way. I kept the house clean, cooked, I raise the kids, did the PTA thing and went to college full time and worked a part time job. But my grand daughter who is 22 is married to a wonderful loving husband who works a full time job and when he comes home, he changes diapers, feeds, bathes and plays to give mommy a break. She doesn't go to college, stay at home mom, and they adore each other and their two precious little girls. My grand daughter inherited a disease but she is strong most days. When she's sick, he takes care of her and the babies. I've been married 40 years and most were miserable and self centered by my husband. I'm so proud of this young loving couple.
  7. Rules for raising children...

    by Marty We have been married for 40 yrs. We have 2 sons with wives and 3 grandchildren. We worked separate shifts. The kids had chores, curfews and responsibilty. When they were small they received a swat on the butt when a straight no wasn't working. When older, the punishment fit the crime. My youngest son can clean a bathroom better than his wife. He had lots of practice. We talked straight to them. We had high expectations, but an understanding that sometimes you have to fail. Each boy has extended education, one blue collar, one white. We help with the grandkids, as all the parents work. Children need boundaries and consequenses. To raise a successful adult you must quide them to be independent. That includes respect for yourself, your elders and your peers. We did all of this without one arrest, pregnancy, or domestic event. My chiilden are very good to us and we get along with the wives great.
  8. Child with Autism

    by Maryann Our second son (of 3 children) was born with developmental delays later called Autism. My husband was hands off with him: I took our son to therapy. I did all the exercises. I was responsible for everything for him. We were divorced after 20 years of marriage. People used to think my ex was great for staying so long. But someone can stay physically but be mentally withdrawn. My ex husband is no longer with us and it is hard being alone with my son with autism. He is now 28. If you don't have a strong partner and friend then you need to really think about the what ifs. No one thinks Autism is going to happen to them but it can and does.
  9. Two is good for now.

    by Deanine My husband and I have been together a total of six years. We've been married for three. We have two children, a 4 year old girl and a 16 month old boy. He supported me in the delivery room with both babies and though he works 12 hour days and I stay at home with the kids, if I need anything, no matter how tired he is, he helps. We are undecided whether we want anymore children (I was very sick with my son), but for now my life is just wonderful. He has made all of my dreams come true. We make sure to put Jesus at the center of our lives, try to be good role-models for the kids, and attend Church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Thursday night. We've had many ups and downs and without God we never would have made it. We're not perfect, just doing our best. Again, I'm really blessed.
  10. It's irresponsible to have children when...

    by Franklin I don't have kids, and until I'm financially secure enough to be able to take care of any, I have no intention of it. Of course, it helps that I'm gay, so I have no interest in sleeping with women. But the point is, I will not contribute children to the world when I can't even afford to take care of myself right now. It's irresponsible.
  11. I don't do dishes!

    by Winnie When I first married my hubby...28 years this summer... he simply thought since he was the "man" and that he didn't have to do any household chores.... so it started out that he wouldn't help make the bed, or set the table, or vacuum, etc. Well, as time went on, and I also got a full-time job, he did begin to come around and start to help out in our home much more... However, for some reason, he still after all of these years, will NOT wash a load of dishes.. he feels, that washing dishes is woman's work! So, to play it fair, I don't TAKE OUT THE TRASH.. haha.. It's kind of a stand-off we have.. but we don't fight about it. He does do laundry and a much better job than me, makes the bed when I ask.. puts his shoes away, and so that makes up for the dishes thing. I feel I will choose my battles wisely. Especially since I hate doing the laundry, haha.. and the trash is always waiting! Thanks for listening Judge Judy.
  12. Being with your child is not babysitting

    by Kate Shortly after our daughter was born, I went shopping for groceries, for once, without her along. My husband said that he did not want to babysit. I told him that being with his own child was not babysitting, it was sharing precious moments in her life and he should enjoy the time together. Well, he never understood and I recently walked down the aisle with that child who is now in her mid 20s. Why did I walk with her? Because that man did not get anything about being a father and passed up on the chance of a lifetime, to walk his only child down the aisle. He never responded to her emails, phone calls or second party messages to the chagrin of his sisters. So, on that beautiful day, I walked along a grassy path toward the minister and the groom as they waited for the beautiful bride. If only her father could have understood long ago that spending time with his child was not babysitting, he may have been able to participate in the wedding. His loss.
  13. Wake up hubby! Pregnancy isn't easy!

    by Terri When I was pregnant with our daughter, who is now six, my husband's eyes would cloud over at times when I would talk about the baby, or the usual issues that come with being pregnant. Well, one day when I was about 6 months along, he started to glaze over and I was quite annoyed, as most women would be. I said "Hey you don't understand; I don't get a break, I cannot "put the baby down and walk away or go to the bar like you and take a break". It is a 24/7 time period which is a breaking-in period for us women, and you fathers had better figure this out real quick!
  14. Know when enough is enough.

    by Sandy I was 14 when I met my now husband of 42 years. He had just graduated high school and I was entering the 9th grade. Somehow I knew this was the man I wanted in my life forever. I remember my guidance counselor in high school saying, "Sandy he must be your best friend before he can be your lover" She was right. We married one year after I graduated and I worked a year before we started our little family. We have 2 boys. All grown now, one on east coast one on west coast. We have always from the start of our marriage shared all of the household chores. And I was always the disciplinarian, While dad always made the lighter side of issues. I can honestly say that my husband of 42 years has raised his voice maybe 6 times. I admit it is usually me who raises their voice and my husband looks at me and says "are you done yet?" We both laugh and than talk. Our sons have always seen love and understanding in our home and hopefully it will carry on in their homes. We are blessed!
  15. Being an old-fashion person has nothing to do with

    by Kim I have one boy from my previous marriage. I think, 2 kids are enough for me since I will be a working mother. In today's society, women don't just stay at home and take care of the house and the children like in the old days anymore. As for when to have kids, I would have waited until I was 25 years old to have my first child. I am 26 and my son is 5. It has been difficult being a single mother, raising a child on my own. I don't plan on having a 2nd child until I find a good and loving husband. Being an old-fashioned person has nothing to do with changing diapers and sharing responsibilities, in my opinion. I don't understand why some fathers don't even change their child's diapers. It's not just one of the responsibilities of being a parent, it's loving your child by taking her of his/her needs, and helping out your partner.
  16. Shared Parenting

    by Lety C I couldn't ask for a better father for my children (well, maybe I could, but that would just be greedy). He has definitely impressed me with his hands-on and devoted love he has for our little maniacs. Neither of us were perfect before kids came into our lives. However, unlike their father, I have a pretty calm temper, never into drugs, and never geen in trouble with the law. You know how amazing it is to see a dog or cat deliver babies for the first time? They know exactly what to do as far as giving birth, cleaning them feeding them, and keeping them safe without any direction. That "instinct" just kicks in. I saw that happen with my children's father. The rebellion he once had is gone. He changes diapers, talks with them, reads to them, feeds them, plays with them, and constantly checks on them when working. Unfortunately, this isn't common thing in households. A lot has to do with women picking mates with unrealistic expectations. BTW I love you, Judge Judy
  17. Sharing resposibilities

    by Wendy When my son was born, my husband helped out with diaper changing and raising him. He was in the delivery room, although he complained that he had to work at midnight after our son was born. He did get a little impatient as they had to induce me; he said can you push now? There was no family leave act in 1978 for fathers. However when his son was born he was very happy and handed out cigars. About cooking for our son; I worked and when getting ready Mon-Friday hubby would make my son's lunch and feed him breakfast as long as it's cereal; I once asked him to start Sunday brunch. When I got downstairs he put half a stick of butter in a large frypan for bacon; I said that's it outta my kitchen. The dog wouldn't even eat the bacon. He would take my son to daycare which was a help too.
  18. The Wife of a House Husband

    by Elizabeth Hi. My parents were Hungarian holocaust survivors. I grew up in the 60s in Montreal and was a surprise menopause baby for a mother whose other children were in school full time. My father worked, my mother didn't, but she helped him in his job as owner of a factory in the 'shmata' business. Mom wasn't happy with her role and always told me that being a girl didn't mean I needed to be dependent on a man. So I grew up, studied science, left that and went on to work in non-profit management. I had a few relationships but never wanted to marry. At 35 I had a great job and ended up pregnant. I decided to be a single mom. My son was born anoxic and has Aspergers, a LD and a PD, but is so sweet, caring and loving. I decided that both our lives would be better with a loving male role model. I met my husband online when my son was 4. He was great with my son and earned less money than me. When he was unable to work I rejoiced - my dream of a "wife" that was nuturing and loving came true.
  19. Mr/working mom

    by Malahni When my husband and I had our first child, we both worked. I would take care of the baby at night and on the weekends starting Friday nights he would take care of him completely. He would feed, clothe, bath, change his diaper and wake up with him. I am very fortunate to have a husband who went up to bat for me and relieved that stress from me. And on top of that, he also would clean the kitchen and the living room. All good things come to an end though. After our two other sons were born, I was on my own, and for good reason. He went to school full time and worked full time, so we could better our lives, and I would have the opportunity to stay home with our children. And today I have the privilege of being home with my wonderful boys.
  20. We call them "a good egg"

    by Anonyomous In my family my mother is "old school" from a farming Iowa community. Her belief is the men work and the women take care of the home. Well, my sister-in-law (married to my brother) and I have a completely opposite view. We both are career women who "bring home the bacon" and share child raising and house work 50/50 with our husbands. We have both been married for over 15 years now (17 for me and 20 for them) and we joke about how we found ourselves some "good eggs". Every time either my husband or my brother do something fabulous we say, "he's a good egg" and we all laugh. So, ladies, be sure to find yourself one!
  21. Stay-at-home Mom

    by Sherry I had my two boys in 1984 and 1987. My first was born when I was 28. We only thought about it for a year or so, then we decided that who knew when the right time was? I remember wishing in a way that it just "happened" like in my mom's day. I was lucky enough to get to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband worked a full time job, plus did work on the side so that we could make it. We really needed 2 incomes, but we both wanted me to be home with the children, so he made the sacrifice and worked extra. I guess we were both a little old-fashioned compared to lots of families. I tried to take care of everything around the home, and to do with the children, so that he didn't have to worry about any of that. I made all the meals and his lunches for work. I know he appreciated all that I did. I enjoyed taking care of my family. I am immensely enjoying being a grandma now. I worked almost full time for a few years after the kids were grown. I have no regrets.
  22. 7 kids and 7 brothers

    by Mari I grew up the only girl in the middle of 7 brothers. I remember as a teenager my best friend held a needle and thread over my wrist....to determine how many children I would have. It went around for a girl, then back and forth for a boy, finally stopping at 7. Who knew it would come true? I have raised 7 law abiding citizens, and like you, I had to work. I taught my children manners, respect, and the rewards of hard work. I am 59, and my youngest will be a Junior in High School this year. What I see nowadays troubles me a lot. Bratty, spoiled, mouthy, disrespectful and demanding kids everywhere I look. Children are a product of their environment...I blame the parents. What is wrong with these people? Unfortunately society will reap what it sows, a new generation of selfish greedy monsters. I love all my kids, and have often said that I would have gladly had 7 more. Someone told me once that if I lived in England, the Queen would have given me an award. I get my rewards daily.
  23. To surround and be surrounded by love.......

    by Aysha I come from a very large family of 9 siblings, 8 girls and 1 boy. Boy being last and a set of twins after myself. I am the third eldest in my family. Growing up in my household was just as much laughter, fun and games as it was hard work, loud, arguments and fights. But, I believe having been surrounded by a million biological siblings enriched my life and added to me being a more confident, outspoken, respectful, respectable, fun loving, sympathetic and a compassionate person. The age difference between my eldest sister and my brother are about 15/16 years. I feel we siblings are lucky to be so close, so we have each other to lean on and as friends and confidants. Between us we are one universal age of happiness and I wouldn't change a thing. Although it is not realistic for me to have 100 children, I would like to hope for the same security of being surrounded by loving, trusted siblings for my children. Currently pregnant with 3rd child and hope to have 4 children in total.
  24. Lucky Mom

    by Vanessa When we first found out we were expecting, I though oh boy, are we in for it. I was scared and nervous (which I'm sure most moms-to-be are). Thankfully, most of my worries have been put to rest by my loving boyfriend. He is a truly, hands-on Dad and helps me with everything. He loves changing diapers, which he does every morning when he wakes up so that I can sleep in a little longer, feeds, bathes, and dresses our son. He also washes bottles every evening on top of cooking dinner, taking out the trash, and letting me be a stay-at-home mom. I feel truly blessed because I know that when I was born, my Dad rarely, if ever, changed diapers. He wasn't even allowed in the birthing room to support my Mom, who gave him three daughters!! My how times have changed - and for the better. Starting a family definitely changes your life completely, but it can be a wonderful experience if you have the right person with whom to share it with!
  25. My Pushka

    by Lesley YES!! You need to have sock money or security money. (My mother called it her Pushka.) I made the mistake of not following my mother's advice. After a quarter of a century with my husband, I discovered that he had spent our entire savings, taken our son's college money, and left me without a dime. I wish I had opened up another account and put my own little savings in there. Luckily, I started through work a tax shelter, and when we divorced I had a little money in there so that when I retired this year, that money was safe and sound. In hindsight, I learned a lot and can only tell young women to make sure they always have something for themselves. At 25, love may look like it will bloom forever. At 55, suddenly, he may think your garden has faded and if you want to keep it growing in full bloom, you need to protect yourself. I think women are too trusting and tend not to think of themselves enough. Thank goodness I had the brains to set up the for account.
  26. Virgin Grandfather

    by Brian I used to think that the difficulty in bringing up young babies was overplayed, not anymore folks. Being new to the game, my daughter-in-law and my stepson asked me to look after their gorgeous two young daughters (4 months and 1year 9 months old while they went out on a 3 hour shopping trip with my wife). Being a calm, very patient, non panic, new grandfather, I obliged of course. That was my first mistake, everything started calmly, the older child watching cartoons on computer, the younger baby having been fed earlier looking up at the ceiling. I thought great, I could now go to my own computer and watch football. Wrong, after a very short time, the older baby realized that mummy was not around. Grandfather that's me, who she was earlier happily hugging and playing, was not important anymore. The mummy mummy mummy cry was getting louder by the minute. Her sobbing awoke the younger baby crying. Panic, I put the younger baby in the pram and picked up the other. Film:The longest day
  27. Making allowances

    by Nicky I am a mother of four children all growing now, they are good well balanced young people who know how and who to respect. When they were first born and I was a stay at home Mum I would always cover the night shift. My husband had to get up to work and being exhausted was not going to enable him to do his job well and bring home the bacon as such. I knew that when the baby napped during the day so could I. Therefore I feel men do their bit but it may not be always exactly half of what we do, just a different half. Obviously things alter when the mother works as well, but I did not work till they were at school. No money = no kids, so when we could live off his money, we then had our children.
  28. So many do it wrong

    by Mike The reality is that most families today require a two person income to have a comfortable way of life. It's not like 20-30-40 years ago where the mother stayed at home and the father provided. That said, the best time to start a family is when a couple is graduated from college, married, financially stable and have their careers established. Many employers today offer paid paternal leave, fantastic health coverage and in some cases, child care. It's unbelievable to me to see some of the no/low income families on Judge Judy that have 4 kids and live off my tax money. Things happen, but to repeat mistakes is just dumb. I really don't know how they get by and properly provide. I'm a college educated, 38 year old man that barely gets by on a low six-figure income. I'll soon be married and have kids, once my fiance has established her career. It only makes sense to me...and I think Judge Judy would agree with my point of view. Another reason I love her show...
  29. Talk about BEFORE you get married

    by Dee One of the things my husband and I talked about BEFORE we were married were kids. We agreed we wanted two children and we were going to space them three years apart. We also agreed to wait three years before having our first child. Well that was 31 yrs. ago. Oh, yeah, after having our second child, my husband decided to "clip his wings" rather than me, he felt it was HIS responsiblity as our final solution to birth control.
  30. The Survivor

    by Tammy I'm in my 30s, a mum of six children and step mum to another three,  so nine kids. I'm very happily married. My oldest child is nearly 18 and youngest is one. We struggle financially on a weekly basis, but we budget to live a half happy life. The hardest thing as a parent is keeping everyone happy at the same time, but I wouldnt change a thingl Life's great.
  31. It's 50/50 pretty much.

    by Katherine We chose to have kids after waiting a long time to do so. First we wanted to make sure we had as little debt as possible (that meant, mortgage only) and had an adequate emergency fund equal to six months of living expenses. My husband changes diapers, helped feed, and handles all the heavy lifting, pushing the stroller, and even carried the diaper bag--which he didn't care if it was pink! We decided all of this before tying the knot, which I think was the most crucial. I wasn't going to marry a partner who wouldn't agree to be a full and participating parent. We thought we'd have at least two children, but the responsibility and expense of having one made two seem like it would be a very difficult stretch--so even though it was very hard, we decided to stop at one. The most important thing we do as parents is to keep our marriage fresh, alive, and continue to date--even if that means leaving our child at home with a sitter. A loving and whole marriage is our best gift to her.
  32. Hands-On Dad

    by Rita I was blessed with two beautiful daughters and a wonderful hands on father. However, I had my first daughter when I was 33 (we were late bloomers) by C-section and I remember bringing her home from the hospital. My husband placed her in the crib came out to me and said "now what do we do?". Because children don't come with a set of instructions we learned by trial and error. Our first daughter was so easy we decided to have another child 24 months later. After our second daughter was born, who was colic for 10 months,she tested our parental capabilities and I remember saying to my husband when he would come home from work and ask how my day was "I've done my job, the girls are still alive." TOGETHER we raised two great kids who are now 23 and 25. I was fortunate to be a stay at home Mom till my oldest was 14. I was also fortunate to have a good man who became and still is a great Dad to "his" girls.
  33. Career vs Family

    by Jackie This topic is something I'm struggling with. I have gone to school 11 years post high school, and finally have my tenure-track job. I have a hard time balancing nurturing my relationship with my husband, my teaching, my research, and cleaning the house. My university has wonderful family life policies... but I'm scared that they are too good to be true. But I also hear that biological clock ticking. Neither my husband or I are excited to have a baby (all the crying, spit up), but like the idea of children (teaching them things, watching them succeed). Maybe after I get tenure in a few years...
  34. The little I know, I will share.

    by Robin Dear Judge Judy, I am sure there is very little anyone could tell you about child rearing as you have been through it yourself and now have the benefit of a beatiful family with numerous grandchildren (as you mention often on your show). The main thing I would say is common sense MUST prevail. Don't have children if you can't afford them. They are indeed a costly endeavor, but there is none more worhthwhile. Secondly, once that child has been born, love them. Love them and guide them when things are good and when they are not so good. You, as their parent, are their world, so your love and attention MUST be consistent. Thirdly, teach them to give and make the world better using the special gifts that God gave them so they can lead a fulfilled life. To that end, make sure they are educated to think for themselves and find the answers they need. That's all I know. It seems to be working so far.....my kids are teenagers and are actually still commuincating with me!
  35. Two parents = single mom!

    by Daniele He worked and I was a stay at home mom. I did EVERYTHING. When he came home from work, he did nothing to give me a break. Being a mother is a great gift, but it is tiring. Asking him to help out always turned into a fight, so I stopped asking. Now she's a toddler; he can go days without seeing her. He rather be with his friends. We broke up. Now I have nothing, no money or support. I thought things would be different when I went back to work. But it didn't change. I worked full time and still was the main caregiver for my child. If I choose to have more children, I will make sure that the man I choose will be my partner and not another child that I have to take care of. I can only learn from my mistakes and make my life better for my daughter. She is my strength. I will never again rely on a man to support me, in the end it left me with nothing. I haven't missed an episode of your show since 2007, and I knew better from watching your show. Judge Judy you inspire me to be a better woman.
  36. When one is secure in all areas...

    by Carissa Responsible, cognitively mature married couples should procreate when they are finically secure, emotional stable and physically able (unless you have the means to have someone else do the physical work). I work with the general public and I see many families fall apart due to one or more of the above factors. I didn't get married until I was 30. By this time I had my master's degree, was a homeowner and knew my personality flaws therefore knew what kind of personality my partner needed to have for us to 'live happily ever after'-or so. My husband works nights so he is 100% hands on with the caring and rearing during the day. Our son is 14 mos. old and I had begun 'time out' due to his strong will. After the 2nd 'time out', all I have to do now is point to the chair and he redirects himself. We live a modest lifestyle and look forward to sharing our lives with 1 or 2 more children as our resources permits.
  37. It's life, not money

    by Steve We have 2 kids in primary school and gave up high paying jobs to move to Turkey. This gives us time to spend with the kids while they grow up. The day is not filled with TV and computer games, but learning and playing. They are now bi-lingual and we are planning to move to Geneva next. This will give them 4 languages and 3 different cultures by the age of 10. It was a big move to leave high paying jobs, but the extra time afforded, and helping the kids grow instead of seeing them a short time each day after creche or care makes it all worthwhile. The discipline of homework, monitored TV and play time has given us smart, healthy and sociable kids.
  38. Best father, best grandfather

    by Roberta We got married as teenagers and our kids were born shortly after I graduated high school. We worked together and he changed diapers, fed kids, helped with cleaning, cooking and was the bread-winner. He coached our daughter's soccer team and chaperoned school camping trips. He was the best father ever. NOW he is the best grandfather to our four grandkids. We babysit three of them twice a week and he, once again, changes poopy diapers, feeds the baby rice cereal, helps the two-year-old use tools and learn about bugs. Next he will teach the four-year-old to ride without her training wheels. My theory is that once a good man, always a good man. And I found one!!
  39. Getting Advice

    by Sharon My kids are now grown and one has a two year old. I found when they were growing up that the best help in the world came from my parents first, but very important in the process was getting to know other parents in my age group. We shared our experiences, our problem solving techniques, even what to do to make money stretch (kids are expensive!) This always proved to be so helpful since our issues were so similar. Some of those parents are still friends of mine, and our kids are friends and hopefully my daughter will find lifetime support and friendship with the parents of her son's playmates.
  40. Raising Kids

    by Lesley-Anne I must admit I am 50 now. Having a child was something I just expected to happen in my life, and I had two boys. We never had any rules about who was responsible for this or that. If it needed doing, it got done. I think one of the problems in today's society is kids having kids. The lack of good parenting makes life difficult for young adults to know how to work together as a team. I was brought up around children, so I guess for me I found the basics a piece of cake. I think it would be really helpful for part of the school curriculum to be about how to make good parents: learning about rules and boundaries and how to solve basic problems with children such as crying constantly, settling them at bed time, discipline and healthy eating. I mean how else can they learn if we dont teach them? It's a sad society we live in sometimes. Some parents just do not care.
  41. Twins

    by Linda My husband and I had planned to have two children when we first discussed a family. I'm a twin. My twin and I were the middle children and both girls. When I was pregnant with my first, I thought how nice it would be to have twins as a first child. I thought it would eliminate sibling rivalry. Well, my first was twins; a boy and a girl. Although I had started college, I had not yet finished and reenrolled when they were in kindergarten. I became an elementary teacher because I couldn't imagine aging without being with children. My twins are now 38. I'm still teaching, have 5 grandchildren, and have been happily married for 40 years. Neither of my children has twins, but they have both divorced and remarried; through it all, each of them has remained the main caregiver of their own children.
  42. No help whatsoever!

    by Juliza Judge Judy, I'm glad you are discussing this topic. I have two children, my son is now 23 and my daughter is 16. I married twice and had one child from each marriage. Neither of my ex-husbands even showed up at the delivery room. Once at home, I did EVERYTHING! Besides the fact that this is the way I was raised, the dads just assumed that it was my responsibility to do it all. I don't even recall either of them at one of my kids' doctors visit. I look back now and think WOW.....I see how much fathers contribute to raising their children today (my brothers for example); I'm almost jealous. Nevertheless, I re-married for the third time and did not learn my lesson the first two times around, although not able to have children....I am now raising my current husband's children with selective help from him. GREAT! I can only hope that an upcoming topic will be on blended families...I need all the help I can get with a diabetic step child. Thanks.
  43. Yes, they are all ours AND we know what causes it!

    by Mary We have been married 27 years and have 12 children. Nine of them  are the old-fashioned way and three are by adoption. They are between 5 and 24 years old. We actually have 5 with special needs. We never started out planning on a large family, but decided to leave it in God's hands. My husband and I have learned a lot over the years. We have always been blessed with a strong marriage and faith in God. Having a large family with adopted children is a very hard road to go down, but the rewards have been great. My older kids are more sensitive to special needs children. Even though it has made their life harder, they have no regrets with us adopting. What I don't understand is why we get criticized for doing what is best for our children and for having a large family. Then we adopt special needs children, too. You would think we would be encouraged, not crucified. So my lesson down this road we have taken, is trust God with your whole heart and hold on for one heck of a roller coaster ride.
  44. Not a by-the-book mom

    by Christine I have never been a by-the-book mom, and I have broken every tradition there is. I was 17 when I had my first son. Two years later, I had my oldest daughter, and two years after that, I had my last child which was my daughter. I have always been open with my children on everything from sex, drugs, alcohol and who they hang out with. I have an open door policy at my home: if they have done something wrong they can come tell me and then give me about ten minutes to think about it and then we sit down and discuss the situation and go from there. I have gotten my son and oldest daughter through high school so I know I have done a good job. Now it is getting my youngest through high school. There is no parenting book out there that is going to help you raise your children; it comes with time and trial and error. I never listened to anyone on how to raise my children because what may have been good for them was not particularly good for my children.
  45. Military Family

    by Valerie I'm 45, my husband of 21 years is 46. We are both college graduates. Our oldest will be a sophmore in college, our middle child is a rising junior in high school and our youngest blessing will start kindergarten. I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom while supporting my Air Force husband thru 14 moves around the world. He has always been hands on, helping with everything but breast-feeding. We survived year-long deployments and separations. Looking forward to being grandparents someday while trying to stay fit and young to raise our five year old. We are life partners thru thick and thin. And, parenting is the hardest and best job in the world if done correctly!
  46. Our two blessings

    by Cynthia My husband and I got married when I was in my early thirties, and he in his early forties. When we decided to start our family, I had trouble conceiving. My husband was so loving, he knew we would have the beautiful family we were dreaming of. After lots of prayer, we decided to fost adopt. Right at our one-year mark, we were matched with a beautiful two month old girl and her 15 month old brother. We finalized our adoption in April this year. We are overjoyed with our choice to adopt and create our family. My husband is a very hands-on dad. He works hard so I can stay home and makes time for all of us.
  47. Mr. Mom's on the job experience

    by Sharlene My husband was out of work (construction worker) when our 2nd child was born. He was helpful with the 1st, but I was going back to work, so he would have to do everything for both a newborn & a 2 1/2 yr old. He quickly learned everything he had to do from not gagging at a dirty diaper to going to the park was good for a nap from both kids. I started calling him Mr mom after the movie. It bruised his ego a little that I was making the majority of our money but he changed his mind when his best friend told him that he was envious of the time he had with his kids. His unemployment lasted longer then we expected. So 10 months later when she took her 1st step, he called me at work excitedly to tell me. I called him a bad word or two for making me feel like a lousy mother because I worked and I was missing it. The baby is now 19 and in college, the toddler 21 and in the Army and they are extremely close to their Daddy because of the two years that he spent all day with them being Mr Mom.
  48. We want to spoil 1 child

    by Gemma My husband and I only have one child; a son. We like it that way, too. While we were dating we decided that it would be great to only have one child so he/she could have everything. You may be thinking, "Why would this woman willingly raise a spoilt brat?!" My husband and I grew up in big families where resources were limited, stress was abundant, and money was unavailable. While we are going to give our child everything, we're also going to give him a lot of love, traditional values, a Christian upbringing and encourage hard work in school. My husband is more of the traditional type in that he doesn't love to change diapers - he'll run the other way, in fact. As a stay at home mum, however, I do not mind. We are very traditional and I am not the type to ram the modern women's rights b.s. in his face. I respect him as the head of the household and he makes the money and decisions. Fine by me! :)
  49. Stop @ 3

    by Julie I was married at 21 to my college sweetie. He went on to Dental school while I worked full time for four years before having our first child. We learned to live with our means and in poverty. By the time he graduated, we had a son and he decided to start his own business. I figure what the heck we are already broke so we will struggle a little longer. We split most of the duties in half and we worked long hours. I would sometimes be shopping for groceries at 10pm. We bought a house had our 3rd child and things have been good since. I stopped working full-time when I was 32 and have been married going on 30 years and now work doing fun jobs if I enjoy. I tell my kids to work hard while they are young so they can slow down if they want as they get older. Hopefully that was good advice.
  50. Parents as Examples

    by Pam I am 49. My husband and I have been married 30 years. We have two girls, ages 27 and 22. We knew we only wanted 2 children; children are expensive. I have been teaching school for 16 years. I teach Early Childhood Special Education. I did not go to college until I started having children, though. It was very difficult going to college after my girls were born instead of going before I had children. Our oldest has gone to college and is a reporter for a newspaper. The youngest is in college to become a middle school teacher. I have heard my oldest say to people that her mother went to college while she was in elementary school, that college was often talked about while she was growing up, and that she knew it was expected that she would go to college. She did not even consider not going to college. Parents need to always remember that children watch us and learn from what we do and say.
  51. Too Many Babies!

    by Leah As a society, we feel that the next step after marriage is to have children. But why? Some do this to "cement" their relationship, whether they are married or not. The result, as my husband and I have seen time and time again, is often that people aren't ready for a child, didn't know or understand the responsibility of having a child, and end up dealing with it, instead of celebrating and loving it. Making a life-changing decision just because it is almost a social norm seems ridiculous, yet it happens every day. My husband and I have decided not to have children. We focus on how we can help the current inhabitants of our earth, through volunteer opportunities such as homeless and animal shelters. We also spend large amounts of time with the children in our families. We do not need to have our own children to like children, love them, or want to be around them. It would be nice, and quite frankly, refreshing, if others adopted the same mindframe.
  52. ONE and DONE!

    by Elaine How many kids to have? I never wanted to depend on anyone to help me financially...so I was one and done. Married in 88-son born in 90-became a nurse in 93. I do not believe in having 2, 3 or more, and then asking for assistance. Some say they can't fathom having a stranger take care of their children. I couldn't fathom the thought of my son seeing me as anything but a hard working, self-sufficient woman. Now, my son is 22, and has his Associates degree. He has his own apartment, pays all his own bills, buys his own groceries, and works for a web design company, while furthering his education. He lives paycheck to paycheck, yet doesn't ask us for much help...unless his 12 y.o. car breaks down. Occasionally I buy him groceries or give him $100, because he's working very hard. My point is: Work hard. Nobody is entitled to a free or discount ride. Give your child everything they need, and only some of what they want, and they will grow up to be happy, self-sufficient adults.
  53. Mother of 5 longs for the old days...

    by Carole When I had my children, there was no father in the delivery room and no father to change diapers, make formulas, remember that? boiling bottles, no getting up in the middle of the night and no PAMPERS.... washing diapers in machine or in my case, by hand. Those were the days and sometimes I long for them. Call me crazy, but life seemed simple and fulfilling. Now I have a daughter who has a Masters in Social work, a son who is very into Political Science a Violinist and my youngest a lawyer, and she did it all by herself. I also have a duaghter who is different but I still love her and I am proud of her. They were my responsibility and I was there responsibility. They were trusting, caring, patient and I grew up at that time. I never knew life until I had my children. There was even a time when there was no tv only, music, games and inventing games. That was the life I wish I still had even though it was hard, demanding and challenging. I passed the test and came through with flying colors.
  54. Give 100%

    by Jim One of the best pieces of marital and family advice I ever got was to always give 100%. Not your own personal 100%, but flat out 100%. Don't expect a marriage or parenthood to be 50/50, it's not. There are plenty of times you will do more than your spouse, but if your goal is to do 100%, anything less is a blessed relief and anything more is a blessed bonus. To often, husbands, wives, and children look at their roles in the family as doing "their share" and no more. This is not how families work. Everyone pulls together until 100% is reached. Sometimes you will do more, sometimes less, but if you always have 100% as your goal, everyone wins. Being a family is not about keeping a tally or a score sheet, it is about loving each other, caring for each other and bearing one another's burdens. There are times I get home from a tough day at work and the house is a mess and my wife is frazzled and my girls are crazy...and I am blessed to give them 100% because I am their husband and father.
  55. Shared responsibility?

    by Wilma I always wanted a large family but stopped after having 2 children. My husband was not what you'd call a 'new man' - he would change nappies, but if the baby had had a poo he would hide his nose in his jumper while he cleaned and changed them! Luckily for him, he worked full time so didn't have to do this often. I did most of the work with the children as that was part of my role as a mother and homemaker. I do think it's important though for men now to be able to take care of all the child's needs too as women nowadays often have to go out to work to help support the family.
  56. Mother at an Atypical Age Twice in Lifetime

    by Jacqueline I married at age 17, emigrated from England, and gave birth to my daughter nine months and three days after my wedding. The young marriage lasted less than three years, ending with my then-husband returning to his family in England. Left alone at the age of twenty in the US to care and provide for my two year old daughter, I worked hard to keep a meager roof over our heads. Flat broke in spite of hard work, I looked for a solution to secure a better future for me and my daughter. My status as the first generation immigrant underscored the importance of establishing a solid foundation for future generations. Twelve grueling years later, I had graduated as valedictorian from a good university, from UCLA school of medicine, and a specialty residency program. I have dedicated the years since to providing specialty medical services to needy populations. I remarried at age forty, and am now expecting our first child at age 49. I finally able to grow my family 31 years after the first child!
  57. My one and only

    by Lopez I had my boy at the age of 29. My marriage lasted only 5 years. At the time, I really wanted another child but the thought of going through pregnancy and maternity with my ex-spouse was scary enough that I did not pursue my wants. I went through horrific and painful post pregnancy. Now that I'm a single mom, I find it easier to manage just one child. I struggled making ends meet right after my son and I moved out, I can't imagine having to feed 3 mouths. I'm much more stable financially now and I feel liberated. I have money saved up for my son's college fund and have savings for rainy days. Back then, I did get jealous when I saw my friends having two or three children, I don't anymore. My son has my 100% attention and affection now and we are happy. I treasure our difficult times together that it's brought us much closer and priceless experience
  58. Trying to start a family...

    by Romey My husband and I are both working people and trying to start a family. We have been married for three years, and I've had one miscarriage. We both want children, at least one, ideally three. We are very traditional, and we agree and have talked about issues such as gender roles and discipline. Whether we have biological children or adopt, we definitely want to be parents! I am a teacher and know a little more than the average parent about child development. I would love to be able to raise a child where reading and authentic experiences are valued more than television and video games. I would not ban those things from the home but they would absolutely be limited, and I would not use them for a surrogate babysitter. From what I've seen in my 10+ years as a teacher is that parents love their children in general but do not have the tools necessarily to show them a better way to do things. Sadly, many times they do what is easier. You only get one shot at childhood...please make it special!
  59. Kids....a wonderful gift!!!

    by Joanne I had my children a little later in life than my peers. I was 26 when my first child was born....a beautiful baby girl. 17 months later...a second child, this time an awesome baby boy. I was a stay at home Mom, so I changed all the diapers. :-) However, if I needed a hand...my husband, their father, was always willing to help. Sounds like a fairy tale - well, we had our times too - but overall, life was good. Today, both children are happily married and have given us 3 healthy grandchildren...two girls and one boy. Last week we had Grammy/Granddaughter week. What a blast we had - filling each day with a "girlie" event & then nightly sleep overs. Our grandson?? - he had the opportunity to go to church camp with his friends. Love, love, love being a Mother and Grandmother!! By the way, I am a fan of Judge Judy!!! When I'm not spending time with my family - I'm watching tivo episodes of Judge Judy. Of course, I don't always agree - but, 99.9% of the time I'm with you!
  60. Kids are Expensive!!!

    by Carol I married young age 20 but I remember my husband who was 3 years older saying I wasn't ready to be a mom yet so we waited and our first child, a daughter was born when I was 26 and I had 2 sons by my 30th birthday. We had both steady jobs and a house before we had our children. This was 30 years ago now and they are all in some level of post seconday education which costs a lot of money these days. I guess my words of wisdom are wait until you are mature and strong in your marriage, and I do recommend marriage before the children come along. It's a life-long committment and shouldn't be done on a whim and one night of un-protected sex which produces an unwanted child. Young adults these days of ALL the information they need to know to avoid this (more than I had in my formative years). My mother died shortly after I was born, and my father wouldn't discuss such matters and school didn't provide much insight either. Remember if you do split, love your kids more than you hate him!
  61. Don't have kids too young!

    by Ashley In my early 20s, I was amazed by the number of my high school friends who were having children. I think at that point in your life, you haven't had enough time to experience everything that you should. I'm 27 now and getting married next summer, and I would still like to wait a few more years to have kids. My soon-to-be fiance and I want to experience married life together for a while before we have to devote the majority of our time and energy to little ones. I'm excited to eventually be a mother, but right now, I can wait. Kids should come after you've had time to do things that you want and after you're MARRIED and financially stable. Don't rush it!
  62. Don't wait too late!

    by Ronda I was a "young" age of 35 when I decided to have my child. I had achived my education, had a steady career, and had gained the much needed experience in a marriage of 13 years. My only regret is now wishing I had started just a few years younger, because my son is now a only child and I feel I should have had another. God has truly blessed me!
  63. No Magic Number. . .

    by Aaron Thank you Judge Judy for starting this forum! I would like to thank you for being the wonderful family-oriented judge that you are. At a young age, I was taught that first comes love, then comes marriage, THEN comes the baby in the baby carriage. This 'shacking up' before marriage is awful. It only leads to problems. I also got married at a young age. We met in a business class in college. My wife was 21 and I was 24. We maintained our separate residences, and decided not to have sex before marriage. I wish other people could understand how wonderful this commitment is! (It's hard to have a baby out of wedlock if you're not having sex!) We were married in 2004 and now have two girls and one boy, ages 5, 3, and 8 months. We have planned our children carefully, and realize that there is no magic number. We may have one more child in the future, but for now, we want to make sure they are spaced well so that each child gets all the love and attention they deserve.
  64. Growing and caring for your family

    by Karri First, I think you can have as many kids as you are capable of supporting FINANCIALLY and EMOTIONALLY. Everyone has their own number, and there's no judgement about it- so long as you don't become an "octomom". As for support, I was amazed at how much my husband was involved in caring for our newborns. He wasn't afraid of "breaking" them and was so nurturing and loving towards them- he still is even though they are several years older. If a father isn't that involved in a baby's daily life, they miss out, and so does the baby. Every father has his own reason as to why he doesn't want to be involved, and to what degree, but I do think it's a shame when that happens.
  65. From working mom to military wife

    by Rachel My husband and I were very young when we had our first child, but we both maintained jobs and dual responsibility when it came to our daughter. We were married a couple years later and he enlisted into the army. Thus began my life as a stay at home mother and housewife because I wanted to make sure there was always a parent at home. We had 3 more children and the responsibilities lie heavily on my shoulders. He does what he can and is a very wonderful and caring father but with his job as a corrections officer in the military he is home very little hours of the day. To add multiple deployments on top of that, he tries and that is all I can ask. Most of his down time is spent playing and helping with homework. He does give me time to myself when his schedule permits. With the children out of diapers and off the bottle and starting school, things are getting easier and I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully I can go back to work next year, at least part time.
  66. We chose NOT to have children

    by Meisha My husband and I went back and forth for years over whether or not to have children: the pros and cons, how would it affect our lifestyle now, our retirement later, our health? We had to answer all of those questions and be honest with ourselves . Together, we make an above-average income. We are "good people, with good values." We're fun, humorous, loving, caring, hopeful, smart, interesting. We could be good parents, technically. Logistically, however, there are many problems. My husband travels 45-weeks out of the year for his job. I work 50+ hours a week. I have health issues (diabetes and back problems, both are progressive, painful diseases). Statistically, my lifespan will be shorter than average. More often than not, I am in pain. We felt had to choose what would be most fair for a child as well as our own quality of life. We feel that we shouldn't bring a child into the world without us both being totally present in mind and body and we can't answer 'yes' with 100% certainty.
  67. Kids of Divorce

    by Barbara I married in 1972 and divorced in 1986. I had 2 small boys that were deeply affected by the divorce. I wondered then why don't they offer parenting classes in high school that show the plus and minus of all aspects of marriage with children and proper childrearing aspects. My oldest son now 38 is going to divorce and has 4 precious children that are experiencing many of the same emotions that he went through when I divorced. Before many couples marry, they must go through counseling, so I wonder why we as a nation don't enact parenting classes that will expose young people to the ins and outs of child rearing and what decisions as a parent affect their child(ren). Just a thought Thanks Barb
  68. Two and done!

    by Tony Dear Judge Judy, My wife and I didn't start out with a plan, necessarily. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma three months after we were married. After successfully dealing with that, we weren't sure if we'd be able to have children at all. When we found out that my wife was pregnant, we were elated. At that point, I had just started my own company and was in a position to stay home for my son's first year and a half. We then decided that we would be able to handle one more, but that would be it. We just thought that after that, we were lucky to have two healthy kids and we'd be able to handle a family of four. Now that our boys are 9 and 6 years old, we wouldn't change a thing. Our observation is that you don't have to start out with a plan, but you need to develop one so things don't get out of control.
  69. Back to the Basics!

    by Pamela I never had my own kids. I agreed to watch my niece, and 5 of her cousins while their parents worked. I learned a lot from the kids very quickly. First - Don't have them if you haven't got a firm foundation to raise them on. Be grown up emotionally yourself and possess a strong sense of morality. After all, your kids will one day become part of society. Make sure it's the productive part. You have to love them enough to spend time teaching them what is right. Don't have them if you don't want them with all your heart. You can't hide that from them. Love and kindness is essential to good mental and physical health. Don't expand the nest if you can't afford to. It will only stress you out and your kids will feel it. Lastly, don't be afraid to tell them no. Stand up to your kids in a kindly way from the start and let them know you are in control. Having a schedule helps. Your kids CRAVE structure believe it or not, but don't jam pack it. Laugh a lot. Just common sense
  70. Tips for Having a Great Family

    by Devin Before you have children, make sure that you have the right husband. And make sure that you are employed before you have children. They need a comfortable home. And make sure you have food in the fridge. Make sure your husband is not a Sex Offender. And those are some tips to have a great Family!
  71. Sitting on the stoop

    by Ella We lived in a two bedroom home and every time my mom was pregnant, my father would sit on the stoop. Marge the neighbor, would say "looks like Annie's pregnant again". They created four children in our two bedroom home I didn't hear a thing.
  72. 8 is enough!

    by Ozzie Well Judy, when I tell you my story you will be ferklempt. I have been married to the same man for 26 years. We have 8 children. We have raised them together and have shared the majority of discipline also. The older 2 have college degrees and are now in grad school. Our 3rd will be going away to college next month. My simple philosophy is this : Children rise to the standard they are given. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Always follow through regardless if it's for a reward or a punishment. And most of all do not try to be their friend, that part comes later in life.
  73. Dad has learned to help...

    by Erica I have had three kids. With the first two, their father didn't wake up in the middle of the night and wasn't really that hands on until I guess he was sure they wouldn't break. My second child and only daughter passed away three years ago. I had only my oldest son left. Recently we have had another little boy and this time around, dad couldn't be more helpful. He prefers to stay home and plays with the baby right after work which he never did before. He changes diapers and even gets up in the middle of the night. Again, all things that were, in his mind, 'my' job. Though losing a child is the most heartbreaking thing any parent would ever have to go through, it certainly was for me, it made him realize that he didn't want to miss a minute of our children's lives to go hang out or just leave. He is more helpful than I ever thought he could be. I want to try again for a girl but even if it's another boy, I'm done. For me, three is plenty, and I don't want kids after I'm 30.
  74. The blessed event, then we came home!

    by Krystle Hey Judge! Love ya bunches by the way! My husband and I started our family very young. We were 25 when we married and 3 months later our son was born! He stayed in the hospital with me and the baby and helped with feedings and diaper changes. We came home three days later and that is when my parenting skills kicked in and his stayed at the hospital. I did all the midnight feedings, changes, burping, etc. UNTIL I hit him with the pillow and dared him not to help out. We all lived happily ever after!!!! Take care! Thank for listening to my story :)
  75. Teacher's Decision

    by Linda I teach middle school, and see around 150 students each day. One child was enough for me. I couldn't bear the thought of all the sibling fussing all the time when I got home from school. Our son was a joy and we never questioned our decision on having an "only".
  76. How many? I'll tell you.

    by Mary I feel parents should only have as many children as they can afford when their mother can stay at home to raise them.

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