It’s been brought to my attention by some rather anguished comments in some of Mamamia’s recent posts about parenthood here, here and here, that we’re frightening the horses. Let me put that another way: those of us with children are scaring the bejesus out of those who don’t yet have them but thought they might like to one day but now are not so sure.
This is not intentional. It’s kind of like a form of bonding parents do, joking about the less glamorous, more difficult, totally undignified aspects of having kids and the welcome chaos they bring into your life. I’m often torn about this. I’m painfully aware that not everyone has kids. I’m also aware that there is a huge spectrum of feelings about that fact – some are thrilled, others devastated and many are somewhere in between.
I’ve learned that it’s hard to please everyone when you write about having children. If you speak about the hard stuff, you’re seen as ungrateful. If you speak about the lovely stuff, you’re smug. And I’m also mindful that talking about the fabulous stuff can be difficult for parents who are struggling.
Do you see why I so often end up with splinters in my arse?
The reason we can so readily talk up the craziness is because it’s understood that even when it’s nuts or difficult or infuriating, the love is immense and the benefits of kids are beyond anything you could imagine.
This is a post for all those who think they might like to have kids someday or who might be on the fence. It’s time to share the best things about being a parent.
I’ll go first.
1. I love that I’m not the centre of the universe. After 25 years of that, I was ready to look more than 2cm in front of my face and care more about someone else’s wellbeing than my own.
2. I love that my heart skips a beat when I think about seeing my children after being apart from them, sometimes even if it’s been a few hours. My eyes can literally be hungry to see their faces and drink them in.
3. They’re bloody hilarious. When they can speak and even when they can’t, nobody tells you how FUNNY your children will be, how much they’ll make you laugh.
4. I learn so much from their view of the world – it is like seeing things from a fresh, small, authentic perspective. Whether it’s death or politics, relationships or fashion….children are able to cut through the crap and tell it like it is. Without even trying.
5. The physicality of it. The cuddles, the way their hair smells, their sweet breath, the way they sing and dance so unselfconsciously…..having children is a full-on sensory experience 24/7.
6. The love. It’s impossible to describe. The biggness of it. The way it gets into every one of your cells. And just when you think you can’t ever love anyone quite as much? You have another baby and it doubles.