To Parent or Not To Parent. That is the Question
Can you believe that not everybody likes my blog? I think it's funny and I usually get a good chuckle when I write a post. It's always a shock when someone doesn't seem to like my blown-out-of-proportion, dramatic, passionate, and sarcastic virtual musings. I try not to take it personally, but my blog is very personal so it puts me between a rock and a hard place if someone thinks what I wrote sucks. Or, maybe they don't think it sucks, but they disagree with my point of view. (What a shame.)
Here's an example, recently someone in my life read my last post and was very confused about why I would write a whole post outlining how awful it is to be a parent and then end with a statement about how I love my children more than anything else in the whole wide world. I should mention that this person is a DINK. No, I didn't call them a bad name. This person really is a DINK- Dual Income. No Kids. Not all DINKS want to be DINKS but some do. I think it's great that nowadays people aren't (as) pressured to reproduce as in ye olden days. Having kids isn't for everyone, right? I feel lucky to have made that decision for myself. I had no idea, however, when I made that decision, if having kids was really right for me. I'll look back and think about the choice. If I had it to do over again, would I?
Let's start at the beginning. When I announced my first pregnancy, a friend confided in me that she was worried how pregnancy would impact me with respect to my body image issues. In my early twenties I struggled to control so many things out of my control and fell into the habit of finding control through managing what I ate, or really what I didn't eat. While Andy was instrumental in helping me make peace with lack of control and the need for food, my poor body image was still there when we conceived Caroline.
What was the weight gain going to do to me? Well, I let go. I ate whatever I wanted and I got huge. I gained 65 pounds and I was large and in charge. My hair was long and thick. My face was round. My eyes sparkled. I laughed from deep within. It was a magical laugh, like I had a secret. I did. I had a secret with the child inside me but I didn't really know then what the secret was. But she knew. I laughed because I couldn't help it. Life was good and peaceful and I was on the edge of something so powerful. I laughed because my body understood joy before my mind did. Did I feel fat? Never. I felt like a goddess. A big boobed goddess.
That goddess came out during the labor and delivery of both girls. Wowie Wow Wow. Just Wow. Having kids is the ultimate trip. You go somewhere you've never been before and after it's over, you can't figure out how to get back there. After having the girls, someone could have asked me to find a cure for cancer and I would have been sure I could do it.
I could spend all day recalling the lessons and feelings of those early days but due to your attention span, I'll summarize. I am so much more patient and less hot headed than I used to be. It's because I'm tired. And it's a good thing because I think a lot more now before I speak and hurt people's feelings less. I'm wiser.
I've made friends with people I would not have been friends with if I didn't have kids. You somehow bump into people when you have kids and all you need to do is look in their (frantic, tired and in love) eyes and know what they are thinking, without saying a word.
I respect my parents, especially my mom, so much more. She is the real goddess. It lets you go back in time and see how your parents were when you were too little to remember. The same goes for in-laws. I get to see them as the parents I never knew.
I get to be a kid all over again. I get to make farting noises and play dress up and dance.
Parenting jives with my sleep schedule. I'm no longer embarrassed that I go to bed at 9pm.
I'm egocentric and now I'm the center of my kids' universe (at least for now). I make everything better. I'm awesome. They think I'm pretty and that I sing wonderfully.
When I am blue, they pick me up. They have a great perspective on the world that always gives me a reality check.
They force me not to focus only on my job.
They have made me more understanding of others who are not just like me. That's right, kids are not our carbon copies. They are their own people and we love them for that.
They challenge me in every way possible. I like a good challenge.
They have soft skin and beautiful bodies. Looking at them is like looking at art. I love art.
They've made me reconsider faith. You gotta have faith.
They make me bolder, braver, and more confident. You have no choice when someone needs you that much.
When I look at them, or hear their voices, my heart literally jumps into my throat. I innately know the reason I am alive.
They help me fall asleep at night. Snuggling with them is like holding a warm, little pillow in your arms. A pillow that breathes her sweet breath on your neck as her soft little hand falls onto your chest like it was always meant to be there.
All holidays are way better with kids. Their reaction to opening a present is much more entertaining than watching my Dad open a card with money in it.
I love watching a human being grow. I like helping them grow. I like taking care of them, protecting them, and learning from them. Wondering what's next for them, and who they are going to be when they grow up is like reading your favorite novel and it never ends. I'm always sad when a good book ends and I miss those characters. In my house, I wake up every day to those characters. They sneak in my bed before the sun rises and say things like, "I love you so much mommy. I am so happy when I get to be next to your warm body."
So, there you have it. Parenting is hard and shitty at times. Kids cost a lot of money and they break things. It's true. I'm not going to sugar coat it and I never will. Parenting is not for everyone. But it is for me. Would I do it all over again? If only I could be so lucky.