Every generation of women — and probably men too — has doubts about parenthood. As a mother of three (empty nest now), I can say that I knew as a young girl that I wanted to be a mom someday. Can’t fully explain that.
Some notes on the whole look-back:
- Pretty sure that most parents never regret having children, except maybe Jeffrey Dahmer’s. While on the outside looking in, parenting might seem like an endless sacrifice of time, resources and self to irrational, demanding little brats, the rewards and benefits are indescribable. The fulfillment is complete and satisfying even if they turn out not to be able to balance their own checkbook.
- The tender moments, proud moments and the moments of surprise and hilarity come at you like rapid fire of a nerf gun. Nothing is more important than what your kid is doing 24/7. You forget about yourself a LOT. You take every accomplishment and hurt personally. Your ability to empathize scales up to gargantuan. Your give-a-shit level is off the charts.
- The friends your children make have parents that become your friends for life. Together you revel in the progress of their generation, their wins and losses. That is one hella tight community that you build. It really does take a village.
- Probably the biggest part of parenting for me is I realized very early on that children do what you do, not what you tell them to do. Attention to my own behavior, my integrity, my hygiene, my words, my tone, my body language, everything was scrutinized more closely. I became a better human because little eyes and ears were always sifting through my shit. I wanted them to be productive, caring, sharp little contributors to the human race, so I had to become that too. I believe I am a better person now.
- For those who choose not to have children, I have huge respect for you. The world can be a dark and crazy place. And we have more people and children on this planet that need care and attention than we can reasonably care for. Adding to that number is not a great service to humanity or to the planet . . . unless your child is the one who grows up and solves some of those very problems.
There is no right or wrong with this. Relax.