Home » Am I Going to Regret Having Children? Seriously, Like A LOT?

Am I Going to Regret Having Children? Seriously, Like A LOT?

I get a lot of Tweets.   More specifically, I get a lot of Tweets from parents.  Most of the Tweets are light-hearted and funny – small bits of entertaining parenting fluff.

BUT every few days some parenting-related story gets all hyped and sensationalized in the news and it gets our collective parental knickers in a big wad and the story/commentary gets tweeted, and tweeted, and retweeted. . .

Typically, I just ignore that stuff.  I just don’t care.

But this morning, after my bladder so rudely awoke me at the ungodly hour of 4AM, I found myself unable to get back to sleep, scrolling through my Tweeter feed.  It was then that I stumbled upon a Tweet stating something to the effect of “Mom regrets having kids. . .NOT exactly Mother of the Year!”

In my moments of sleepless weakness, I bit.

Eventually, I found the original story here.

Go ahead, read it.  

You’re not going to read it are you?  It looks a little lengthy doesn’t it?  

Sigh.  

Here’s the quick and dirty:  Mom gets married to her high school sweetheart who really wants children.  Even though she really doesn’t want children, she agrees to have two kids.  Mom has two children and raises said kids exactly like any other “good mom” would be expected to do.  Mom describes what sounds like a wonderful marriage (going on 37 years now), stable finances, a decent home, vacations, holidays, parties. . .everything one might imagine makes a pretty great life.  EXCEPT she regrets it.  She regretted having children from the moment the first was born.  She states, “I resented the time my children consumed.  Like parasites, they took from me and didn’t give back.”

OF COURSE this article is meant to be controversial.  It’s meant to generate website hits.  It’s the same kind of sensationalized crap I cannot STAND.

I put down my phone and proceeded to do three loads of laundry, unload the dishwasher, and clean the bathroom. . .BUT the ENTIRE time. . .

I couldn’t get the stupid article out of my head.

WAS I LIKE HER?  WOULD I END UP LIKE HER?

Will I Someday Wish This Never Happened?

Will I Someday Wish This Never Happened?

Let’s face it, the similarities are striking.  I never really wanted children.  However, I too married a man who REALLY wanted children.  It was a sticking point.  So I agreed.  And like Regretful Mommy in the article, once I committed to having children, I wanted to do my absolute best – g0 all in.  I do not take the job of motherhood half-heartedly either.  Like her, I decided to become a stay at home mom.  Also like her, I decided one child wasn’t enough.  There should be at least two. . .maybe even three or four.

And her description of bringing her son home, chilled me.  She says, “I recall asking myself, ‘Is he really mine?’  He could, quite literally, have been anyone’s baby.”  Yep.  I felt that too.  For longer than I care to admit.

I WAS REALLY BEGINNING TO WISH I HADN’T SEEN THIS ARTICLE.  AM I GOING TO WAKE UP AT 60 MISERABLE AND FULL OF REGRET?!  THIS IS TERRIBLE!!  WHAT HAVE I DONE?!  

I HAD to know.

So, desperate was I for answers, I actually wasted the paper to PRINT OUT this sensationalized content and re-read it twice, searching desperately for signs I WAS NOT like her. . .That I would not regret my life with kids. . .

And there on page two, I was able to start making distinctions. . .

Regretful Mommy knows “her life would have been much happier and more fulfilled without children.”  Now, I don’t have the benefit of her extra 30 years of parenting experience, but I can say whole-heartedly and without question that my life is like a BILLION times better SINCE I had Mac.

And, while it’s true, like Regretful Mommy, I do sometimes dread his dependence and the time he consumes (and I’m definitely dreading that with Sprout the Second), I DO NOT believe for one moment that children give nothing meaningful back in return.

In fact, I love my son so much, I’m practically dying for the day when he gives me his first, simple handmade card.  My heart melts when he races furiously towards me and latches tightly to my leg, giving me a big hug.  I adore when out of the blue he just grabs my face and plants a huge sloppy kiss on my cheek.  This?  This IS meaningful.  In fact, at some moment, I cannot definitively pinpoint, I decided these little things are so meaningful, nothing else matters.

Children DO give back. . .with nearly unconditional love, and sweet moments, and not-so-sweet moments that will make hilarious memories.  They teach you things about yourself you would have never otherwise learned.  They allow you to appreciate simple pleasures you might have forgotten as an adult:  bubbles, grilled cheese, stopping to literally smell the flowers, swings, and coloring books.  They allow you to be amazed by what a wonderful person and parent your significant other truly is.

Regretful Mommy says that what she valued most in her life was “time on my own, to reflect, read and enjoy my own company and peace of mind.”  There was a time, I thought that too.  But as I mentioned, nearly NOTHING else matters now that I have Mac.  I no longer care about solitude.  The only reading I do involves Brown Bears and Cats in Hats.  Peace of mind will likely NEVER return thanks to the all-consuming worry that accompanies parenthood.  But unlike Regretful Mommy, I DO NOT CARE.    

Despite all my pre-parenting ambivalence, despite all my concerns about actually becoming a parent, even if there are days when like Regretful Mommy, I feel “oppressed by my constant responsibility for them,”    I am positive, I will NEVER regret my life with them.

Whew!  Glad we cleared that up, I have MORE laundry to do and a house to clean before my much adored oppressive little parasite gets awake.  🙂

PS Just as an aside, I think it’s completely okay for Regretful Mommy to have her own unique thoughts and opinions regarding parenthood.  I’m just thankful I don’t share all of them.  

$7 in Goldfish Crackers for the ducks?  Worth every penny.

$7 in Goldfish Crackers for the ducks? Worth every penny.

 

 

 

 

12 Responses to “Am I Going to Regret Having Children? Seriously, Like A LOT?”

  1. Robin says:

    I appreciate that you didn’t jump all over Regretful Mommy. I sometimes worry about whether or not I’ll regret having kids in the end. I’m always compelled to start by saying how much I love them, but I was talked into having them. Whenever I start feeling like I’m carrying more of the parenting load… then I start to feel resentful and regretful. Parenting is tough, and even tougher when you aren’t really sure that you wanted to parent in the first place.

    I think one of the keys to not regretting having them, is to make sure that you take enough time for yourself along the way. Otherwise, your regrets never have the time and space to dissipate.

    I’m also working hard to ensure they are raised with the knowledge that they will have to take care of me in my old age. That should help!
    Robin recently posted…Barney ConfessionMy Profile

    • admin says:

      You were talked into kids too?! How many of us ARE there?! Maybe this is way more common than I thought?!

      I agree that you MUST make time for yourself. I suspect it’s also a good example to set for your children. They can see their parents take care of themselves, have outside interests, hobbies, friends and so forth. I’m still not very good at making time for myself but !’ll keep practicing. 🙂

      I love the crack about preparing children to take care of you in old age. My Stepfather used to remind my brothers about looking after him when he was old and do you know what they would tell him? Not to worry, they’d just chain him by the toilet and bring him his meals. WICKED! (But I’m cracking up at the memory.)

  2. I read it too. Made me sad for her and for her kids. I get being exactly like you, but I don’t get truly regretting having them, especially 30 years later when you can look back and aren’t in the thick of things.
    Anita @ Losing Austin recently posted…Stop the StigmaMy Profile

    • admin says:

      I did feel a little bad for her children too. She says she does loves them and it appears she certainly took care of them – which is unfortunately a lot more than many children get.

      I wonder what else she says “out loud”? I’m very curious if she would crack me up with her slightly askew thoughts and opinions. I wonder if I can be her pen pal?

      She even mentioned not wanting grandkids. . .aren’t they supposed to be the best thing in like the entire UNIVERSE?! LOL.

  3. Dani Ryan says:

    Funny, I had the opposite problem. I wanted kids really badly, and then felt incredibly guilty that I was unable to hack the endless months of sleep deprivation. The trouble for me was that I didn’t anticipate I’d be completely alone with everything. I figured my in-laws would participate in some way, especially with my parents living on the other side of the world, and I didn’t realize a wife and child at home would light such a fire under my husband’s ass to grow things business-wise. Of course this last part was kind of stupid of me as I rarely got home before 9 when I was working, but still.

    Anyway, I feel like it took me a longer time than most to figure out where I fit into the whole motherhood thing, but now that I’ve found it, I really, really love MOST of it. HA!

    A lot of people say it doesn’t get easier, it just gets different, but I totally disagree. Each phase has been exciting and rewarding and new for me, even the bad phases (I drink a lot), and I find the excitement makes it easier for me. I think of all the things my daughter and I have yet to experience together, and it just makes it…better.

    But that first year really threw me and I sometimes worried I’d never get the hang of it. In retrospect, I probably should’ve been medicated. Or drunk 24/7. Either, or.

    I just realized I have no idea where the hell I’m going with this comment, and I haven’t even been drinking!

    Oh, and for the record? I’ve been following your blog for so long now, and I have always thought you’re the most natural mother ever. You just seem to take things in stride and have your crap together like few people I know, and I’ve often found myself really admiring you. I never would’ve guessed you were talked into parenthood! 🙂

    xo
    Dani Ryan recently posted…10 things I absolutely, positively cannot live withoutMy Profile

    • admin says:

      STOP! You’re making me BLUSH! I was totally suckered into making babies! For years, I had zero maternal instincts. Although, friends and colleagues kept going on and on about how they thought I’d be a great mother. I guess they saw something I definitely couldn’t. Of course, the jury is still out on how great I’m doing. . .It’s minute by minute around here!

      I’m so glad you are enjoying being a Mom more and more. It’s a nice feeling once you finally get the hang of things a little bit. (Including how to effectively parent via wine -ha!)

      XOXO to you too! We might just make it! (well, through next week at least).

  4. Shay says:

    NO regrets, EVER! I struggled to have kids, and I think that puts a whole new spin on things. Please don’t take this as my trying to sound like a martyr (b/c we all know that I’m just a trashy skank–haha), but even, like Anita says, in the thick of things–wailing temper tantrums, messy diaper duty, etc.–I thank God SO MUCH that He gave me my kdis. (Sorry to get all religious on you–I try to override all of that with my trashy, but sometimes it peeks through. 🙂 ) Even though for years I didn’t even think I wanted to have kids, when that desire happened (after multiple miscarriages), I prayed every waking moment of every day to have them. We had trouble having them, and so when I had my first son (via adoption), I knew how blessed I was. And then my second came and man–how could it get any better than this? Of course I have my shitty, frustrated days, but I had them before I had kids, too. My boys just make every day that much sweeter. 🙂
    Shay recently posted…Pink or BlueMy Profile

    • admin says:

      Thank you! I love you you can be serious and still crack me up! We are not expert baby-makers ourselves. . .it hasn’t been easy. BUT we are madly in love with Mac and can’t wait to welcome his little bro or sister. I still have my heart set on adopting at least one if not two more children so I was excited to hear you have been through the process. I’ll bet if I have any questions when the time comes, you’ll give me solid and hilarious advice! XO & a great weekend to you!

      • Shay says:

        Yes! I would love to give you advice. Even though I play snarky on my blog, I am actually very nice (and I realize it’s bad when you have to specify that, but hey, that’s just me. Haha). Any questions you have ever, let me know! It’s one of my favorite topics. 🙂
        Shay recently posted…Hitting the GymMy Profile

  5. Yeah, I’m with you – on sharing some of these concerns. Every time I go straight through from cleaning up breakfast to making lunch to cleaning up lunch to making dinner I remember those “blissful” days when I only had to worry about what to feed myself. I even enjoyed the days when I made dinner for two. This whole making 3 dinners every night because no one will eat the same thing as anyone else is total crap and totally exhausting. (I don’t really make 3 every night, but sometimes it happens when I’m desperate to get one of the twins to eat *something* so she isn’t up screaming in the middle of the night for milk because she’s hungry.)

    But I also remember the time I cried myself to sleep because I wanted someone to love me.

    And I have some wistful thinking about my younger, single days, and I have TONS of wistful thinking when my single and/or childless friend post gorgeous pictures from the amazing vacations they are taking that don’t include car seats and people in character costumes.

    But I’m pretty sure I’ll never look back on this (after all the tumult is OVER) and regret it all and wish I had more time to myself.

    • admin says:

      I think, all things considered, we are probably two of the luckiest girls in the world! 🙂 Have a great weekend. XOXO