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And — here are some of our latest threadjacks of interest – working mom questions asked by the commenters!
- If you’re a working parent of an infant with low sleep needs, how do you function at work when you’re in the throes of baby’s sleep regression?
- Should I cut my childcare down to 12 hours a month if I work from home?
- Will my baby have speech delays if we raise her bilingual?
- Has anyone given birth in a teaching hospital?
- My child eats everything, and my friends’ kids do not – how should I handle? In general, what is the best way to handle when your child has some skill/ability and your friend’s child doesn’t have that skill/ability?
- ADHD moms, give me your tips to help with things like behavior in the classroom, attention to detail, etc?
- I think I suffer from mom rage…
- My husband and kids are gone this weekend – how should I enjoy my free time?
- I’m struggling to be compassionate with a SAHM friend who complains she doesn’t have enough hours of childcare.
- If you exclusively formula fed, what tips do you have for in the hospital and coming home?
- Could I take my 4-yo and 8-yo on a 7-8 day trip to Paris, Lyon, and Madrid?
I’ve been married for a couple of years and my husband and I are in our late 20s. We are not sure yet if we want kids or not. I was reading through yesterday’s post and honestly I got kind of nervous. It seems like being pregnant and having a kid is so hard and so much work. I used to babysit and I’ve been around friend’s kids, but I never really enjoyed being around them. It always felt like kind of a chore. I guess it’s different when it’s your own kids. Is it worth it? Does anyone ever regret the choice to have kids?
Admittedly, I’m fairly early into the process (my first is 22 months), and I certainly can’t speak for everyone (I’ve been lucky), but my husband and I have frequently said that parenting and pregnancy have been easier than expected in many ways. Not that it’s always easy by any stretch, of course, but the little guy is really awesome, and was and is really much more pleasant to deal with than popular opinion led us to expect. We were married for 11 years before having him, and have often said that we don’t know why we waited so long.
I don’t know that that answers any questions *for you* of course, but I just want to show that there are positive perspectives out there. I’ll add that I’m someone who was adamantly opposed to having kids in her teens and waffled back and forth in her 20’s about it (I was 32 when I got pregnant).
This is true for me too. I had no interest in having kids throughout my 20s though eventually came to a place where I was ready and wanted kids with no reservations. I was never a “baby person”.
My husband and I were married for 10 years before our son was born. But now he has fit so seamlessly into our lives. We don’t have many of the things that can make having kids easier, e.g. no family within a 10 hour drive, not enough $$ for a nanny. But we do a have healthy kiddo who has so far (6 months) been easy going, a good sleeper and a great eater…which all make it easier.
It’s such an immensely personal decision. Here are my thoughts in random order
1) Parenting is hard work. You have a sense of of how hard, but you don’t really get it until you are doing it. It’s also really amazing and rewarding in parts too. The depth of love I feel for my child is beyond anything I thought it would be. Think about your own family and your marriage and you can see how complicated/messy/nuanced/fantastic it can be. Having a child is just another angle to that.
2) It’s perfectly fine to love your own child (and maybe be fond of a few others), but not be like every child you encounter. You don’t have to like all people in the world, kids included.
3) Things don’t always turn out the way you see them in your head. I always thought I wanted 2 kids. Once we had the first one, I realized that I was ultimately fine just having one. I get pangs sometimes as I watch my friends having more, but our choice is the right one for me and for my family. There’s not just one path to a fulfilling life. Our lives would be different if we never had kids or if we had enough kids to field a sports team. But there would still be fulfillment and happiness and hard work in some way. Other things that fulfill me are my husband, a career I love, my dearest friends, my family, my goofy dogs, good books, etc. My child is just another (admittedly big) piece of that.
hoola hoopa says
+1 to all.
I’ve never been a kid person. I intentionally never babysat and do not like holding babies that are not my own – but I think my own kids are 100% awesome. I always knew I wanted children, but I was still nervous when pg with my first that I may not like them in the end. So far, that was a needless worry.
It IS hard work, but so is just about everything that’s worth doing. It’s hardest in the year or so after your first child because you’re in an awkward transition into “parent”. If I’m being honest, I think my life probably looks sad and stressful to my DINK friends, but I’m truly happy. The second mortgage payment of childcare, the rescheduling scramble when a child is sick, the sacrificed workouts and exotic vacations, and loads of sleepless nights are so, so worth having these amazing little people in my life who call me “mom.” They bring me so much joy.
That’s my life and my feelings. I don’t think that everyone needs to have kids or would be happier with kids. It’s totally up to them. It’s most definitely a trade off, but one that I was happy to make.
I don’t have kids yet (husband and I are just starting TTC) but I think this is something you have to want. It’s not easy, from what I can tell, and a major lifestyle change.
I think it’s a perfectly reasonable choice not to have kids. There are many other ways to be fulfilled in your life and to help shape the next generation (as cheesy as that sounds).
Husband and I knew someday we wanted kids as early as a few years into our dating lives together. But it wasn’t until recently that it became “Ok, this is definitely something we’re doing, now”. It’s not a decision that you necessarily come to quickly.
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments! I think I just got a bit overwhelmed reading yesterday’s thread. It is helpful to hear about other people’s good and bad experiences!
Bear in mind that no one comments just to say that life is wonderful and things are going great. This comment board has become, in many ways, a place for people to air their problems and seek advice. It’s an interesting and useful thing, but it doesn’t necessarily give a particularly representative view of the world.
Absolutely agreed with Lyssa. This weekend was WONDERFUL with both my boys – they were healthy, well-behaved, and fun. Best weekend that we’ve had in months and I loved every minute of it. It’s those times that make it all worth it.
hoola hoopa says
I agree. People ask for advice when they are having trouble, and reading comments/forums really gives off the idea that various situations are worse and more likely than they are. This has been true with TTC, pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
I was ambivalent about having children, but my husband has always been sure he wanted them. He always said I would enjoy having children, and he was right.
I am not a baby person, but having a baby has been great. Now, I actually think my issue with babies is that I have trouble with people I don’t know well, but of course I know my baby. I only have one child so far, and he is 14 months, so I have not experienced all facets of parenting yet, but so far it has been fantastic. There are good days and bad, but overall I am happier than I was before children.
I was you in my 20’s — never a Kid Person, wasn’t that into babies in general, but loved my husband and he wanted kids. I was probably 65% Yes to Kids and 35% Completely Ambivalent. We now have two kids and a third on the way. It’s hard, exhausting, but also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. They make me crazy and a better person at the same time. I will also say it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition: having kids is never all bad or all good, but the experience ebbs and flows just like your days do at work or in a marriage.
new mom says
My husband and I waited until we were in our 30s to have our first child. I was an only child and never very in to babies, and I was undecided about having kids when I was in my 20s. Now our baby girl is 5 months old and it has been wonderful. The experience so far makes me wish we hadn’t waited so long. The transition back to working full-time has been really hard. I love my job but I can’t put in the hours that I used to and the evenings can be exhausting.
If you haven’t read it already, a popular piece of writing on this topic is Dear Sugar’s column from a few years ago called “The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us.” A bit more philosophical than each person’s own individual child-having experience, although I think both are useful tools for thinking about this issue.
I am the one who started yesterday’s thread – sorry to have scared you! I am only 6 months into being a parent, and while I am finding it tough, I definitely don’t regret it. I would liken it to working really long hours at a job you love and are passionate about. Even if the work is tough and somewhat relentless in the moment, overall it is very rewarding. There really is nothing quite like seeing your baby learn a new skill, greet you with a huge smile, snuggle into your shoulder, or have a cute moment with daddy.
Oh, that’s okay! Since I don’t have much exposure to kids I think it just seemed a bit overwhelming. I really appreciate reading about all the different experiences and advice. It is good to have a realistic view of life with kids – which is both good and bad!
I’m sure people do regret having kids, but I think (hope) most people who decide in favor find them “worth it.” I’m not a baby person, but I did always want kids, as did my husband. Not in the desperate way that some people do, but our preference was definitely more for than against. We were together for 8 years, married about 4, and both closing in on 30 when we decided to go for it. My first is only a year and a half, so I have no long term perspective, but in the last 6 months or so he’s gotten so much more fun! The first year was rough in terms of physical and mental exhaustion, but now I’m finding parenthood really enjoyable and rewarding, and not nearly as difficult of a lifestyle change as I’d imagined. Maybe because it turns out I’m not the type of mom I thought I’d be – I always used to picture myself as a SAHM, but now know I really *need* work for personal fulfillment/sanity break. Is my life more stressful than it was pre-baby? On balance, absolutely, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. I’ve heard that in general you have higher highs and lower lows with kids than without, and I find that to be true.
All that said, this the most “you do you” decision ever. I can see the appeal of a permanent DINK lifestyle, and think of plenty of things I would enjoy devoting time and energy to if I didn’t have my son. There’s definitely an opportunity cost to kids, but all other things being equal, I think both choices are totally legitimate and afford the opportunity to live a full, happy life.
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(former) preg 3L says
Ooooh thank you!
I am looking for a good to-do list app. I know Cozi was recently recommended for family calenders, but I am looking for something a little different. Since coming back to work, I can’t seem to remember all the everyday “stuff” I need to get done. I am looking for an app that I can make a daily to do list (of all the things I do every day) and check off each daily task each day. For example, everyday I need to do my PT exercises, wash pump parts, take my vitamins, etc. Thanks!
Meg Murry says
iPhone or Android? If you need the same list every day, and you don’t need to look back a few days, Google Keep allows you to make lists with checkboxes, and then clear the checkboxes to start over fresh, and put a widget on your homescreen with the lists. I also just use alarms to remind me of things like take my vitamins (it goes off at a certain time and I either take the vitamin or snooze it until I can get to my vitamin bottle).
Other things that have worked for me include adding my vitamins to MyFitnessPal as a custom food, since I usually take them with meals. Another suggestion is to use apps meant to track habits since they usually have daily checkboxes – I haven’t downloaded one on my newest phone and I think the one I used to use is dead now, but there are some halfway decent ones out there.
Thank you–very helpful. I am on an iPhone
So, this isn’t exactly what you are asking but I find it easiest to do things at the same time every day. That way I’m not thinking about it and just doing it. For example, I take vitamins before I brush my teeth. I put baby’s used bottles and pump parts in the dishwasher right after I put baby down for the night. Etc etc. I tried to-do lists but routines seem to help me more! Just a thought, and good luck! There is so much to remember.
hoola hoopa says
I’m a huge failure at to-do lists in my personal life. Routine is what works for me.
And weekly pill boxes. I feel like a 90 year old, but seriously a game changer for reasons I can’t fully understand.
Meg Murry says
I keep trying and failing at weekly pill boxes (mainly because I forget to refill them or because they are huge). I would pay good money for vitamins that came packaged like BCP though, with one per day in a blister pack that is clearly labeled. Or pretty much any of my daily meds.
(former) preg 3L says
LOVE my pill box. So crucial. I keep it right next to my face lotion in my bathroom, so I take my pills (vitamins, etc.) every day after my shower. (If I don’t shower, I forget to take my pills though.)
Not sure if you’ll see this but I have an app called home routine and it does repeating checklists: morning, evening, weekly and they reset each day/week. Way too organized for me to actually use but I liked the idea!
hoola hoopa says
Regarding today’s pick: I loved in tops like this when nursing, but I didn’t find them the best for double pumping. Possible, but not most convenient. Perfect for weekends, though. Very easy access.
(former) preg 3L says
Yes. I’ve been shocked how Nursing-friendly is so NOT the same as Pumping-friendly.