To Kid or Not to Kid… that is the question
Posted December 8, 2010on:
My husband and I have been dancing around the decision of having children for about a year. There was never a question of “whether” we would have children, but a question of “when.” First, he wanted to settle into our new house, I wanted to finish my MBA, and most recently we would like to finish remodeling our basement.
Well, we settled into the house last December, I finished my MBA in August, and the basement will be ready by year’s end. So, time to start popping them out? Screech! Not so fast. Are we ready for this???
In an effort to figure out whether we are ready to move on with the baby plan or not, I made it a point to speak to parents all around me and listen for the main warnings. This is what I heard:
- Your life will completely change
- Make sure you take a trip before you have kids
- Enjoy having a social life while you can
- Say goodbye to selfish desires. From that moment it is all about the kids
- Day care costs as much as a month’s rent or a mortgage
- Be ready for strain in your marriage
- You’ll get your life back when they turn 18, so have them soon so you’ll still be young enough to enjoy your new freedom
- No more going out with friends on a moment’s notice
- If you just want to experience motherhood, have only one kid: it’s easier than 2
- Girls are a pain. Boys are easier.
- Enjoy not having any ties for as long as you can!
The more I asked for parents’ opinions, the more I didn’t want to hear them anymore. One parent couldn’t even stay on a positive note after I asked them for “good things” about children. They kept going back to the top of the list and complaining once more.
Who would want to have children at all after hearing all of this?!
Discouraged and tired of hearing how terrible having kids is for your personal freedoms and your way of life, I turned to my mother. Her eyes filled up with tears as she explained that the relationship you have with your children is like no other you have with anyone else, and how your children belong to you and you care about them so deeply because they are YOURS. The relationship is simply immensely satisfying.
Corny? Yes. Insightful? Like you wouldn’t believe.
I stopped thinking of kids as annoying babies and goo-goo toddlers, and started thinking of them as a family culture. It is really like creating your own mini ecosystem of inside jokes and customs that are only understood and accepted within your own clan.
I started observing big families versus small families in that context, and I couldn’t get enough of the fact that you can create a better place for your children right within your own home. You can have the family you always wanted.
Now, I have romanticized this topic a bit, and I am sure that all parents do this at some point or another before deciding to multiply. I have a theory of why we do this. It’s a bit complicated so bear with me here. Here’s an analogy:
When you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend whom you like, but you’re not in love with, you usually don’t go and break up with that person right away. You stay because there is potential, and you think it’s fair to give it a chance. Now, imagine that God (or someone who has all the answers in the universe) came and told you that if you broke up with that person right now, someone better will come along and you will fall absolutely head over heels in love forever. Would you break up? If you trust that messenger (dude, it IS God), then heck yeah, you would! The problem in real life is that no such messenger ever knocks on our door. Nobody will be able to tell you that if you do something really hard right now that you will be immensely happy forever.
That’s how I feel having children is, because you don’t just love your children like you love your parents, your husband or your sister; you fall in love with them (I feel like I ripped that quote off a movie). Many others can tell you what their experience is, but who knows what their initial motives to having children were? Who knows what kind of partner they have? Who knows what they are going through? The point is that we must be our own messenger and tell ourselves that it will be wonderful, in order for us to break up with our current lifestyle (which we like very much) and embark on a new amazing journey (which we will love).
People do say you fall in love. And who can say no to love? Isn’t that all you need? (I know I ripped off the Beatles on that one).
And so, I have started collecting happy thoughts from happy parents:
- Yes, your life changes, but for the better
- My daughter is just so cool, I just want to go home straight from work to spend time with her
- I thought I wanted more time to go out with friends, but now when I go out I can’t stop wishing I were home with my little man
- The relationship you have with your children is like no other
- I love having our own little world
- Have them soon so that you are still young when they are adults and you can share a grown-up relationship
- You don’t want them to be “mini mes,” you hope they become a better version of you
And with that, I’ll close by saying that I have learned a lot through this “research” process, and I am very thankful to be in a loving relationship with a wonderful man whose likeness (inside and out) my children would be lucky to inherit. We’ll be on this journey together, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.
I hope this helps at least one person in their thought process through this tricky tricky subject. Good luck to all!