Hi, I'm about to be the mother of a living being. I think about it a lot. So it's showing in the blog, but kids are part of our story now, so it's fitting right?
(Wait! Single people/those without kids! This post actually to any and every relationship, not just the parent/child one. Give it a chance and let me know what you think!)
I think there are some different viewpoints people have about having kids.
First, some people look forward to having kids for so much of their life. Maybe they tried and couldn't get pregnant for years, or they've miscarried, or maybe they've just always dreamed of being parents. When it finally happens--there's a child in their arms--you see this switch turn on and it's beautiful in so many ways. It's as though the parents say:
1. You are my life. I live for you and I love life this way.
Second, there are some people who think having kids is getting in the way of their life. To be honest, I see this the most with single people or just people without kids who have friends with kids. It's like it's socially expected to talk about how much the person with kids has lost ever since they had kids. I know it's also true about some parents. They can't continue the careers they loved, or find themselves only watching kids TV and listening to terrible kids music. Sometimes, parents have had to deal with a lot more than they anticipated when they got pregnant. Down's Syndrome or autism or other health issues and bills, bills, bills. My heart breaks for them to have lost the joy they once had in parenting. Sometimes you can see it peoples eyes when they think about their life before and after kids. As though they're saying:
2. You ruined my life. I live for you and I wish life wasn't this way.
(OR You ruined my buddy's life and now he can't do anything fun. If I ever have kids, my life will be ruined, too.)
To be honest, I'm not sure either one is really healthy at all. Obviously the second, the kids will notice the disappointment and it will likely affect them as they grow, but also, to be placed in the center of someone's life, attention, and hope might be a little too much for a little munchkin to take on!
I had a conversation with J one time where I... er... basically... told him I was going to focus my attention on him... completely. (Saying it now, I shake my head in shame. But I think it came out eloquently the first time.) I didn't think I had much to offer the world, but I knew HE did and I would help him with whatever he needed so at least one of us could offer something.
I thought I was being so romantic. I was showing him I saw and appreciated his faithfulness, his ability, right? Then he got MAD at me. Like steaming mad. He did not want to be the center of my world. Luckily, he was an adult who could communicate it with me.
His response went something like this:
"I want to live my life and I want you to live yours. That way, if I screw mine up, it doesn't screw yours up, too! I'm going to make mistakes and I'm going to let you down! Don't put that kind of pressure on me!" If my husband couldn't handle the pressure in his twenties, infants and toddlers definitely don't need it.
We all need each other, but we all need all of us. Not just one person.
I'm not a parent yet, but here's the perspective I hope to take with all my kiddos:
3. You are a part of my life. I live my life. And I love living my life with you in it.
And the next time I mess this up, remember. "I'm going to make mistakes and let you down." I'm not trying to be perfect, but I am trying to keep showing up and keep moving forward.