Monday, June 11, 2012

If You Want Your Old Life, Don't Have Children

If you have children, you know that your life is forever changed once you become a parent. I remember when R was about three months old and we were at the beach. Suddenly, when I realized that we couldn’t just leave the baby and run into the ocean, I understood that my life would never be the same again- it would never just be the carefree husband and I. We were Mummy and Daddy now.
What I don’t get is people who are unwilling to accept this change. People who expect their lives to go back to ‘normal’ after their pregnancies.
Babies are not something you acquire because they’re cute and can then ignore when you realize how much work they actually are. Babies don’t care about who you were before you became their mother or father, they just want your love and commitment. They want you to be a responsible adult and meet their needs while keeping them safe.
If you insist on sleeping x hours a night in a row, don’t have children. Because they don’t work that way- they don’t come with a switch and generally have no regard for what your sleep needs are. If you like living in a house in which nothing should be touched or dirtied, don’t have children. Children want to explore and feel their surroundings- they have no concept of value, sentimentality, cleanliness, etc.
It’s as if you and your partner (or you alone, if you’re a single parent) get a new roommate, whom you’ve never met before. You don’t know what he/she likes and vice versa. You also don’t speak the same language and have to learn to communicate with each other. Oh, and the new person is totally dependent on you for food, clothing, affection, safety, love, and all the other life-sustaining necessities.
Little people require a lot of hard work. However, we should never forget that we are creating a new human being for this crazy planet of ours. If you are not willing to give this child your all, every last ounce of patience, energy, love, etc, then don’t have children. Because that’s what children need- responsible parents who give all they’ve got.
(Just to clarify, this does not mean you have to lose yourself. It just means that you don’t come first anymore…)

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