It’s not always apparent

IMG_0218I would never ever presume that having children is for everyone.  There are people in this world, and yes, many of them are women, who don’t want children.  They just don’t.  Not wanting children is not some kind of psychological condition, it’s not some kind of brain damage, it’s not some kind of flaw in the genetics of the female who has no desire for kids.  Children are just a lovely kind of awful that isn’t for everyone.

I know this.  I knew this when my husband and I decided to start a family.  I had my heart and my eyes open and we leaped into parenthood thinking that we were fully aware.  It was just the natural progression.  We had our degrees, our jobs, our home, each other.  We did the typical trial run with a dog and 2 cats.  We were ready.  It was time.

And now?  After 8 years of being parents?

We haven’t truly slept in 8 years.  But that’s OK.  I’m still wiping poo from booties that are getting way too big for that.  That’s all right.  Cartoons and dumb kid shows have taken over every TV in the house.  No big deal.  Lego’s underfoot.  Crumbs appear 2 seconds after the floor is swept and mopped.  Phantom spills.  Muddy shoes.  Strange crusty spots (boogers?).  Mysterious tags and itchy things in clothes that require 5 outfit changes.  Only going to the theatre to see Disney movies.  Pizza and burgers all the time.  Fighting.  Crying.  Negotiating.  It’s all worth it.

Less of me.  More of them.  That is what being a parent means.  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  There is no escape.  No reprieve.  They are mine and I am theirs.  I will never forsake them.

Being a parent isn’t cute.  It isn’t all fluffy bows and adorable outfits.  It isn’t unconditional love and endless cuddles. Most of the time, they don’t even like you that much.  Most of the time they are trying to get their agenda passed the boss.  Most of the time, kids are incredibly self-centered and self-absorbed.  They want what they want when they want it.

Being a parent is about teaching them what you are still learning for yourself –be good, be kind, think of others, wait your turn, ask politely, share.  Being a parent is about helping our kids unlearn and tame that part of us as humans that stomps it’s feet and flails it’s arms because it didn’t get what it wanted.  I’ve seen some parents still working on this for themselves.  I’m still working on it.

Parents are forming the good humans of the future.  I can not think of a more important job.  It’s not a job for everyone, but for those that choose to be parents, there is no greater purpose than that.


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32 Responses to It’s not always apparent

  1. montaymd says:

    Your words give me hope.
    Thanks. A lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. montaymd says:

    This is a beautiful post. Of course, from you, it’s expected to be.
    I’m weird, I know, but somehow the line about parenting not being about unconditional love and endless cuddles actually cracked me up.
    I just have this image of a never ending cuddle and how that would actually play out in reality.
    Pause for a second and imagine trying to cuddle with your youngest for the whole day. I have this image in my head of a woman chasing around a hyperactive kid on a sugar rush, trying to get them to cuddle.
    Hilarious doesn’t even cut it.
    But yes, parenting is a full time job. Many times I can’t help thinking about my parents and how they practically stopped living once they had us and started living for us. I wonder if they ever wonder if it’s been worth it.
    I look at the depth of the sacrifices they’ve made for us- without second thought or hesitation, and it scares the living jitters out of me.
    Am I up to this?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lana says:

    I chose not to have children and it was one of the best decisions I ever made 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your wisdom. Parenting is so demanding and so much seems unappreciated. Yet, yes, it is so incredible. I’m on the other side of parenting, bracing for my daughter’s high school graduation and wondering how I’ll do as an empty nester. I miss her already …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. marymtf says:

    Sorry. I know my earlier comment comes across as negative. Didn’t mean it to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. marymtf says:

    Youre right, having children isn’t for everyone. I’ve always said that parenting should be a priveledge and not a right.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dawnkinster says:

    I chose not to have children and it was the right decision for me. Oddly this is the second blog I’ve read lately about this issue. It’s not something I’ve ever questioned, I think child rearing is best left to people that truly want to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dewy says:

    Yes it’s bloody awful I’m still at it after 20 years of being a parent it doesn’t get any better . They grow up and think they know it all and with freedom of speech they criticise your actions 😩

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kenneth T. says:

    Potty training is the worst (at the moment). My granddaughter just loves to take her “soiled” diapers off and fling them at us.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My husband and I tried for over two years to have a baby,and it never happened, then after 911 we decided we didn’t want to bring kids into this crazy world. Now with everything with my health we say at the time we were trying to have a baby , god new what he was doing, at the time we didn’t understand it, but now its as clear as day to us. The good thing is I get to spoil my family and friends kids and then send them on there way 😀💖😀

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Kenneth T. says:

    I am one such person… sort of.
    I never wanted my own children but I am quite willing AND able to raise my spouses child(ren).
    When my adult daughter died a few months back, I took a look in the mirror and decided now I wanted (needed) more. ***Having my own child is still out of the question, but… I raise my granddaughter not as a granddaughter, but I raise her as if she is my own.
    I expect nothing less from myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Deb says:

    Constant learning curve, even for grandparents, but so worth it when you see those moments when they “get it” or they make a great choice, or they make your heart melt with their sincerity and love.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. This is GOLD!. Thank you so much.
    I am one who has chosen NOT to be a parent. At the time when I made the decision, it was strictly out of fear and anxiety toward the pain of childbirth. But on some level I knew that if I were a parent, “mothering” would clearly be a case of the blind leading the blind.

    I LOVE this line: “Being a parent is about teaching them what you are still learning for yourself.”

    I’ve always maintained that there is no better learning tool than teaching someone. But I sure am glad that I did NOT test that theory on a child.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I never want to make someone feel like they have missed out on something by choosing a life without child rearing or childbearing (yikes!). There are many paths to the same truths. By teaching my children, I am beginning one of those good humans, too. Some days…..

      Liked by 2 people

  14. lizziecarver says:

    Best job, ever.

    Liked by 1 person

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