Friday, April 20, 2012

Choose to be a parent, or don't have kids

Recently I've been reminded of the thought of "choosing" to be a parent in a few ways. First, my lovely college friends came to visit and they're all sans-kids. Second, there's been discussion in online forums I'm in regarding the obligatory kids. Finally, there's a post going around about the people who should have fish instead of kids.

With the college friends the thoughts/discussion wasn't directly related to parenting, but there was discussion at points about who is pregnant or trying. My thought on the topic is it is best not to ask a married couple. If someone doesn't volunteer to tell me they're trying or pregnant, it is for a reason. Either they're not close to me or they aren't interested in being parents.

I say "interested in being parents" because I believe there's a huge difference between having kids and being parents. 

So we've hit our 30s and my kid-less friends may have the biological clock alarm going off in their mind/body/spirit. Heck they may even be ovulating triple time. Who knows. Anyway, if a person doesn't want to be a parent, that is fine! They don't need to have kids. But they need to check where they are - what are their fears in becoming a parent? What are their fears of not ever being called "mommy." Look at what you'll enjoy and regret and see if you are okay to make that next step. Unfortunately for women, you can't always just do it later.

The other topic came from the idea that there is familial (and societal) pressure to have kids. We don't have pressure to become parents, we have pressure to have kids. Whether it is to carry on the family name or to give the (grand)parents a reason to come visit, many married couples (and single women definitely as well) get the pressure to procreate. BUT that pressure doesn't come with a warning that having kids means being a parent and gosh-darn-it things change. Who has these obligatory kids? Many couples. College. Check. Married. Check. Kids... um... check?

choose to be a parent
Think before you have kids.
Finally, there's a post going around social media about the mom who tells the other moms to have a dog, no wait, a fish instead.

Yes, parenting changes you. No, we don't all want to do things the same way. Yes, there may be different ways. No, there aren't guarantees that any one "method" will work. BUT, the fact remains, I think many of the people who have kids but aren't interested in being parents do find their kids to be an inconvenience. 

I mean, heck. I willingly CHOSE to be a parent, and yes I can't do all the things I did before, BUT, there's a difference between being inconvenienced and morphing with the changes that have happened in your life.

If you find yourself with pressure to have kids, ask yourself. Do you want kids or do you want to be a parent? If your parents or in-laws are asking why you aren't pregnant yet, tell them the truth: You're not ready to be a parent, You're trying but things aren't working or you just don't plan to be a parent. It is no longer about you when you become a parent and really, some of us aren't ready for that transition.

There are plenty of reasons to want to be a parent. Kids can be a lot of joy! But, really... don't have kids to just have them raised by someone else because you're told that some relative needs you to have kids. If you think you want kids and you want to be a parent... be willing to let go of some of your "old" life. Becoming a parent changes you... and it is okay to have that change.


Magnolia_Mom said...

WOW! I love this perspective.

Amanda McMahon said...

Thanks :)