Thursday, December 4, 2008

Having children changes everything

This is how it really is. I can only speak from my experiences such as they are, but having a baby changes your life and your lifestyle - no "ifs, ands, or buts" about it. I can remember saying that having a baby wouldn't change my life. I can remember several older women saying, "just wait!". How right they were.

It isn't just about having a baby. Almost any woman can have a baby. It's the responsibility that goes with it. For the most part, having a baby is a wonderful thing. It is a being to love and put our whole hearts and souls into.

There are the little changes:
*Like not getting enough sleep.
*Like having to cancel a shopping trip or lunch because the baby is sick.
*There will be times when you crave visiting with an adult that doesn't want to talk about babies at all.
*There will be the times when you are all dressed to go out and the baby poops all over or throws up on you and makes you late for church or ..
*There will be days the dishes don't get done until midnight or not at all.
*There will be days that the baby will soil every single piece of his (or her) and your clothing. (Washing items in the sink and hanging them up to dry works well, especially if you turn a fan on them.)
*There will be snowy cold days when you don't feel like taking the effort the bundle up the baby so you can go to the grocery store or the library.
*There will be the times the toddler colors the beige couch with green felt tip or stuffs a toy down the toilet.
*There will be broken knick-knacks, scraped knees, and headlice epidemics.
*There will be days that the children bicker at each other all day.

These are little things that are soon forgotten or laughed about later.

And, there will be days that are pure joy.

Then are are some of the bigger things to consider. How will either you or your spouse react if:
*You have a really fun and/or expensive trip planned and one of the kids gets sick?
*One or all of the children get car sick even just going to the grocery store?
*The baby sitter doesn't show up and you (or your spouse) miss an important meeting?
*You (or your spouse) miss several days of work because the kids are sick - one after the other? Don't forget, you and your spouse will probably catch whatever it is, too. (Not all employers are sympathetic!)
*You decide to be a stay at home mom (or dad) and now have only one income?
*The salary earning spouse (or both of you) travels quite a bit and/or works really long hours?

Other things to consider:
*Can you afford even occasional child care?
*If you both work, do you want someone else - probably a stranger - raising your children?
*Can you afford two cars?
*Can you afford a bigger place to live?
*Can you afford a safe place to live?

The real biggy: If you are a two religion (or one and none) family, what will the children be raised as? Oh, believe me, that is extremely important to have ironed out way ahead of time - preferably in writing, signed, and witnessed!

Then there are the profound things that happen all because of children. (Some might call it fate...)

The first reality of how having a baby changed what we would do with our life was when I was about 4 months pregnant with our first child. My husband decided he wanted to quit his job and go to grad school. BUT, he had a full time job that came with insurance that paid 100% of everything including having the new baby. There would be no insurance if he quit. Also, it was 1977; pregnant women did not get hired for jobs. We already had two students loans, a house, and a car we were paying off. What would we have lived on? (I'm glad we had insurance; I had to have a C-section. By the next year, there was no reason to go to grad school. There weren't any jobs available in his profession.)

For the love of your children:

Just a few years ago, I found out that when I was 14 my mom turned down an excellent job offer. At the time the offer was made it was for a job that was usually only given to men. Why didn't she take the job? Mom said because she didn't want to raise us by herself in Washington DC. (By not going to Washington DC, my mom met and married a very nice man who was essentially our dad for the next 39-1/2 years.)

When I had just barely turned 17, I was "sent" from Michigan back to Idaho to live with my grandparents. My mom wasn't ready for me to leave home. I wasn't particularly ready to leave home. It was a safety issue; the neighborhood that I had to walk through to get to and from school had rapidly deteriorated. (There weren't any school buses and the city bus took a route through an even worse section of the city.)

By the next year, my mom and step-dad moved because my younger brothers would have had to walk to a dangerous neighborhood to go to school.

Even though it meant an hour commute (one way) over a mountain pass for my husband, we moved to put our son in a better school.

I have more examples, but think about what sacrifices or choices your parents made in raising you and/or your siblings. Of course, having children changed their lives and lifestyles.

Is having children worth the effort? Of course.

1 comment:

Amber said...

I love this. Thank you for writing something that sums up what I imagine it to be like. :)