I really don’t think I can answer the question “Why did I have children,” so I am going to change my topic. (This is a skill I perfected as an undergrad, writing countless papers on topics that I made up as I went along.) The new question is “Why am I glad I had Children?”
First of all, I want to make clear that I AM glad I had children. Other people might wish they could go back and change their minds, but I don’t. I have had plenty of moments (or hours or days) of feeling unprepared, out numbered and overwhelmed, but at the end of my emotions I know I am supposed to be a mother. (Having traveled so far down the motherhood path, why would a sane person say anything different, not that I am claiming sanity in any form.)
I currently have three teenagers at my house. They are not typical in some ways, but they still eat all the good food, run the water tank down, and make deep impressions in the couch from hours of screen time. They want my attention when I’m in the bathroom, working, on the phone, in bed and doing five other things. Their “care and maintenance” schedule keeps me as busy as if I had a full-time PAYING job. They complain, yell and call me names. So, here are the reasons why I am more than glad that they are mine.
1. Having children has made me the person I am today. I have had many people see me with the kids, and say something like “God must have known what a strong person you were to give you such a challenge.”
First of all, DON’T SAY STUFF LIKE THAT! It makes me want to puke.
I know such things are said with good intentions of encouraging a beleaguered soul, but doesn’t that also mean that IT’S ALL GOD’S FAULT? I’m not big on the blame game; I’m more likely to think that we all get challenges in life, for our own growth and benefit.
I didn’t get children with special needs because I was all prepared for the journey. Having children has changed me into the person I need to be. Because of my fatigue, frustration, hopelessness and inadequacy, I have become strong, smart, resourceful, resilient, thoughtful and patient.
Motherhood is the best self-improvement course you never knew you signed up for!
2. If I didn’t have kids, what would I do? Have you ever talked with a newly retired person? They can’t believe how they ever fit 40 hours of working for someone else into their busy schedules!
As we approach the light at the end of the tunnel, my husband and I dream up crazy new hobbies and activities to fill the yawning years that stretch before us after the “kids are gone.” Not that I really believe they are really going away any time soon, because at least one will always be a “kid,” needing more care and guidance than typical grown children.
Our lives will surely be different in five years, but what if we had been “child-free” for the last 20?
WE WOULD HAVE BEEN CRAZY DOG PEOPLE.
I know myself and Ryan well enough to see that we need something to care for, and if we had not had children, we would have been the people who are always calling after getting an invite to a social event and asking if we can bring the dogs. We would be the people who refuse to go to beaches, parks, museums and restaurants, unless they can bring the dogs.
We would be “those people” who bring their dogs everywhere in the car, so it is full of dander and slobber. We would be offended by people with kids who got all uppity when OUR dog knocked THEIR toddler into the coffee table.
I WOULD HAVE BEEN TOO FAT OR TOO SKINNY.
I love to bake cookies, and if I hadn’t had three children to help eat them, I would have had to eat them myself, because EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW TERRIBLE IT IS TO WASTE FOOD.
Or, I would have had WAY too much time to work out and count calories and become a third degree black bandana Tae Kwan Choo instructor, and would be scary skinny and buff and no fun to be around at all.
I WOULD HAVE HAD A REALLY IMPORTANT JOB.
When I graduated from college, my plan was to go to law school. But then we found out how IT happens, and I went to a community college and got my paralegal certificate. By the time I was ready to look for a job, I had two babies, so I took the job in front of me: motherhood.
But if I had not become a mother, I would have gone to law school and done very well (because I am very smart.) Then someone who could tell how smart and motivated I was would have offered me a job working a zillion hours a week. I would have taken the job, figuring I needed to prove my worth and pay my dues.
With my worth proven, and my dues paid, I would rise through the ranks of corporate America, working more hours and earning more money every year. By this time, I would be near the peak of my career, having experience, connections, and a really chic wardrobe.
I would have a huge house that I rarely set foot in, perfectly decorated and maintained. I would have plenty of money in my checking, savings and retirement accounts. I would be SUCCESSFUL.
I WOULD BE ON A MISSION TO SAVE THE WORLD.
If I didn’t have to save my family from being buried under mountains of laundry, or make sure everyone takes their vitamins and brushes their teeth, and force frustrated kids to “do” their homework so they can learn something, I would have to find a cause.
The way I see it, my kids have probably saved my life. If not for them, I would be traveling to 4th world countries to minister to sick orphans in refugee camps. I would catch the latest jungle virus and get kidnapped and held for ransom by people with CRAZY EYES and big guns and die of dysentery before my cell phone got reception.
3. Mother’s Day
We recently had Mother’s Day. I don’t get any gifts from my husband, because he says I am not his mother. I’m not sure why HIS MOTHER also gets nothing from her son.
My children all gave me tokens in honor of the day.
Amsden took me to dinner. He had done a bunch of yard work and saved the money he earned to take me out. He had been pining for chicken tenders and fries for weeks, and this was a great reason to get to go. So we went. And he even paid the tip.
Grace wanted to go see the new Captain America movie, so she paid for my ticket and snacks, and we enjoyed two hours of stylized violence and silliness together.
Simon missed the day completely, but left a note on the kitchen table the Tuesday after, stating he was going on an errand and would be back soon. When he returned on his bike, he had two plastic bags in his hand.
One had a straw sun hat with a blue bow.
The other had a necklace with a metal feather, a blue crystal and a shiny orb on it. The clasp on the necklace wasn’t working, so we decided to return it and use the money for an ice cream date.
THANK GOD I GET TO BE A MOM!