Recently, my good friend, Lynn and her husband have been asking themselves this question. By all accounts they have been supportive, involved parents. But when they held that sweet little cherub eighteen years ago, they had no clue what they were signing up for!
No one does. Or if they might, they decide to go CHILD-FREE, which is the new term for people who choose not to have children because they either:
1. Worry they will be terrible parents, because of their own childhood traumas.
2. Believe that children will require more time, money, effort and energy than they are willing to give.
3. Don’t want to add to the poplulation for other personal, economic or philosophical reasons.
I think such conscious choices are commendable. Perhaps MORE prospective parents should consider the commitment it takes before jumping into parenthood with both feet.
The fact of the matter is most people will have a child or two before it’s over. And I, along with Lynn and everyone else sometimes wonder “WHY?”
So I came up with a list of reasons why people have children.
1. They don’t know how IT works. Although there is some nostalgic charm to this reason, I don’t think it’s true. Most people know HOW it works, but don’t take enough care to keep it from happening, OR they DO, and the UNIVERSE LAUGHS.
I have a brother and a child who are “birth control babies.” I’m so glad they made it through! Just as we often have no idea what we are signing up for, we also can’t imagine who we might be missing, until we get to meet them.
2. They believe they will be good parents. Oiy! Each of us can name at least ONE thing our parents did that messed us up, and most of them weren’t even TRYING! How do you judge if someone is a good parent? Is it what they do or say? If THAT’S the litmus test, I have failed more times that I can count.
Is it based on how their child “turns out?” Tell that to a mother whose child is in jail, on drugs, or unable to function as an adult.
Let’s face it: no matter how much we try not to, we will damage our children in some way. Because we over-protect, or nag, or project our unmet childhood ambitions onto them, or don’t follow through, or are too strict, or let them rule the roost, or are inconsistent or unaffectionate.
Feel free to add your own to the list.
The problem is: SOMEBODY PEED IN THE GENE POOL!
No one gets out of here alive, and every one has at least ONE GOOD REASON to be crazy, so let it go, do your best and relax.
You might as well splash and play while you’re here.