From One Mother to a Future One
There are not that many reasons to have children today. People used to have lots of kids because they had farms and businesses and they needed help. They used children as free child labor. Today, it’s unnecessary to have children. Kids are wants, not needs. They are luxuries and not necessities.
There are plenty of reasons not to have them. Being a mother is hard work, it’s a thankless job with no pay, little rest, and no real tangible rewards. We may birth children, but once they are born, we have no control over what they will grow up to become. There are many things I wish other women would have shared with me prior to having children. I want to give my realist take on the things women don’t share that could be valuable in our child bearing decision-making processes.
Raising children isn’t all good, nor is it all bad. It just is, and there are no awards for doing it.
Children Are Expensive
Kids are expensive. They are a lifetime investment and an endless money pit for nearly 23 years, even more for those children you don’t raise to fly the coup on time. And let’s not talk about when your angels don’t fly off into adulthood on time. When you have children, every dime you earn, save, and spend will be done with your children in mind. Clothing, food, housing, education, extra-curricular activities, vacations, and more. Life is so much easier and cheaper when it’s just you. You can eat when you want, where you want, and how you want. When you have children, everything revolves around them, and they come first. You may want that new purse, but they need a new winter coat. Let’s not talk about long lists of ridiculous school supplies,
Children Have Their Own Wills
If you have a controlling spirit, don’t have children. It will be a longtime before you get them under your little spell, and even then, when you think you have them under your control — you don’t. Kids will do what they want, when they want, and how they want. They’ll make you laugh and surely make you cry. You will eventually learn how little control you really have if you have little people. Enjoy!
Because Your Past May Come Back To Haunt You
When I used to act in ways unpleasing to my parents, I remember they would say to me one day I would have kids, and that they would show me myself. In a lot of ways that was true. My kids did the same things I did, I just reacted differently to them. If you were a terrible kid and you know it, consider this when you have children. We may be brand new, saved, and sanctified now, but our children can come back to show us what we used to be. If you didn’t like who you were back, then and you aren’t built like your parents, abort having kids. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Kids Won’t Help You Keep Your Man
The oldest scam in the book that doesn’t work. There are millions of kids born because their sperm and egg donors thought a baby would make things better. Dumbest idea in the world! Kids won’t improve your relationship, because kids take the focus from your relationship and your problems, redirecting the focus to them. Children are needy little beings, and it usually falls on the mother to provide for those needs physically and emotionally. Consider dad being secretly angry because the baby needs to be in the bed so it means when his penis gets hard he can’t get laid. Maybe every time you get ready to be intimate, your kid is knocking on or busting into your bedroom door. Mom is tired because she’s running around caring for kids and a house while trying to stroke her husband’s fragile ego, make a macaroni pie for the church function and get her boss off her ass by completing his project a day early.
Dad/hubby tires of not having his emotional and sexual needs met and checks out — of everything. He’s a walking zombie, going to work, coming home, depositing his pay check and watching television. Your man is gone. The baby is your consolation prize, and it’s all yours — literally. Don’t have a kid to save a relationship, ever. It never happens the way the fictional television shows depicts it.
You’ll Lose Yourself
We throw ourselves into childbearing and child rearing, and before you know it, you’ve forgotten who you were before the kiddos came along. The kids eventually grow up and leave home (hopefully), and now you and your spouse or significant other are trying to figure out not only who you are now, but if you still like each other. Having kids is a huge sacrifice and you’ll sacrifice everything, including portions of your marriage or committed relationship. In the process, some of us women gain weight, eat poorly because we must accommodate the needs of the kids, or develop anxiety or other disorders from all the multi-tasking and sacrificing that comes from raising little people. We’ll lose old friends and gain new superficial ones from the parental relationships cultivated with the children’s little friends.
We don’t go where we want to go, we don’t do what we want to do and in the process of modeling “good parental” behaviors, we forego adult good times and social gatherings which could nurture and sustain us through our parenting journeys. You’ll look back at old photos, with old friends, remembering the good times and wonder where that person and the time went. You’ll eventually remember you left that fly young lady at the hospital in the birthing room.
You Must Be Selfless
As women, we can be some selfish little things. With children, there is hardly anytime for that. You must share everything. You’ll share your time, your space, sometimes your bed, your food (we can’t eat anything without kids asking for some of it), your mind which will be spent thinking for two or more people most days, your money, your spouse or significant other, and even your extended relationships. If you love your life as is, know it won’t stay the same once you have kids.
If you don’t enjoy sharing, you probably shouldn’t become a parent. And if you think you’ll begin the journey and eventually regret it, do us all a favor and just don’t have any kids! You’ll just be creating another broken, neglected person for us to navigate in the world. Consider this a selfless act as well.
You Can’t Get Out Of It
Children are easy and (fun) to make, but once you have them, you may decide you’ve made a mistake. Women won’t easily admit they regret having children. We have fairy tales and the Hallmark channel to thank for the flowery, fake images of a family in which we have in our heads. Raising children and having a family isn’t easy. Having children is easy, raising them and staying sane, not so much. One you have a kid, you can’t send them back to where they came from. If you don’t enjoy parenting or your kid, there is no do over. You’re stuck. Also take into consideration there is no guarantee you’ll have a perfect kid. If you and your spouse/significant other have done no genetic testing, you don’t know if your bundle of joy will be free of mental or physical impairments which could require you to change your entire life to meet additional medical needs.
Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before moving on to the implementation phase of having children. Once you’re in it, you can’t get out of it. Parenting is a lifetime commitment. If you’re not sold on the idea of your 35-year-old kid possibly coming to you for financial help or wisdom, don’t have them.
Your Friendships Will Change
Some single, childless friends will begin withdrawing from you the moment you announce your engagement because they understand the commitment that comes with getting married. For many couples, the next logical steps are children. If your sister circle is tight, the birth of the child may break it up. There is no right or wrong in this natural occurrence, it’s just something many women don’t think about. Your commitments impacts others. Getting married and having children means you will not give all that’s needed to maintain healthy relationships with old friends. Some will stick around, others will bail because they aren’t interested in marriage or children, and they don’t want to hear about our new life.
What’s exciting for you may not be for your friends, and that’s okay. Having children will mean your friendships will change. You may outgrow your friends, and you may even mourn it. If you love and cherish your friendships, consider them when having children. You may even want to have discussions with your friends to ask what your friendships will look like post children. It’s the courteous thing to do.
Your Man Will Change
They’ll put a ring on it, they’ll ask you to marry them, and they’ll even ask you for those little bambinos, but when the shit hits those diapers, many men find helping to raise children is too much for them. They didn’t sign up for all that trouble. Some men want the family, but they don’t want to do all that it takes to raise one. You should know this upfront. Most of the responsibility of making a successful, caring adult will fall on the mother. Dad may be a good provider, but he may not be cut out to nurture and grow young people. This isn’t always the case, but I have spoken with enough moms who have had the same experiences.
You may get upset because your man is not engaged, or perhaps he feels out of his league so he allows you to do all the parenting which you may resent. He’s suddenly not the man you used to know. You‘ll be disappointed, hurt, and stuck. Well, nothing shows you the true character of a man or a woman like life’s challenges. Be prepared for the change, and plan how you’ll respond to it. The older the relationship gets, the harder it is to keep your shit together.
Some couples check out, some spouses cheat, some argue, and others will pretend nothing is wrong. Having kids makes things harder in relationships. You must find ways to nurture all the loved ones in your life, which is a chore. If you’re not up for the sacrifices, consider not having kids. Preparing for the change in men and navigating it is all on you.
You May Not Have Help
It takes a village to raise a child. Being isolated and away from support systems makes it difficult to raise children. It also puts a strain on your relationship. Parents need breaks and getaways to survive the parenting years, and when you lack strong support systems, these things are impossible. Our children become precious cargo, and we can’t entrust them to just anyone. If you’re planning on become a parenting, you need to let folks know in advance, especially if you will rely on their help. I’m the most unreliable grandparent ever.
I asked my sons not to have children before I turned 50. My “special” child disregarded my wishes, having four kids with no wife, and no real resources to care for them. He’s tried to make his problems mines, and I’m not having it. I raised my kids, my mom forced me to raise my siblings and I was the babysitter for her friends. She just allowed her friends to use me for little or nothing. I resented it. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids and I want to be a grandma, but I don’t want to be saddled being a mother from cradle to the grave. For many of us, being a grandmother is being a mother, period.
Don’t recruit and sign me up for a job without offering it to me first. I’m sure I speak for many current and future grand parents. When I turn 50 in two more years, I’ll reconsider my position.
Your decision to have kids will impact the relationships of your parents if your parents volunteer to help you. It’s important to ensure you don’t wear out your welcome. Many young couples mercilessly use their parents as sitters and caretakers putting strains on their parents’ marriages. I know a lot of men who left their significant others because they decide without consulting with them to become full-time caretakers. To them this meant no vacations, little time for sex, no time for privacy or intimacy, and no peace.
It’s not fair to the mature women you love, and your parents who may have already raised their kids. If you plan to have children, have conversations with loved ones before getting pregnant so you can create your support safety net. People need to time to plan their lives around yours. Assuming your parents will help you is rude and inconsiderate. Don’t be that child!
There are many reasons to consider not having children. I’m not in any way attempting to discourage anyone from starting a family, I’m just discussing some reasons not to women never consider. It’s a huge decision. Don’t take it lightly, and don’t allow others to talk you into it. It’s cute until you’re in it.
If you liked this essay, you may enjoy these others: