IGNORE the grammar and spelling errors. I’m not the best writer but I’m writing this under multiple interruptions thanks to kids….
I don’t know why I feel compelled to write this and share it with the world but here it goes.
Being a parent is tough. You lose your spouse, you inherit a second you (or multiple yous) (and who likes competing with themselves), your body changes (if you’re a woman … or a man), but most importantly … your freedom is gone.
However, I recently saw a graph like this:
And that 1% makes it all worth it. (Image from this blog post and I recommend you read it).
Recently I was asked if I regret having kids … and it took me a while to say “No”. I started to ask myself why I hesitated and did not answer with a flat out “of course not”. I felt guilty, as if I disowned my daughters on the spot.
You have to understand, I’m from Guatemala, and people love kids over there. I’m the oldest of five and have a loving mother who would have had more kids if her body allowed it. She was pregnant 8 times for god’s sake! My aunt also had 6 kids and my uncle has 7 (or is it 8?). My grandma lost count of how many grandsons and granddaughters she has (or maybe she didn’t but it goes with the story). Last I heard it’s over 30. My grandfather, he’s 80+ and I have an uncle that’s like 12.
So the thought of me not answering with a solid “no” — — I felt guilty … and I feel guilty writing this, so I’ll keep writing and hopefully the guilt will go away.
My wife and I did not really think it through when we decided to have kids. We had just come back from a yearlong trip around the world and we were in our early thirties. Sure, why not — next chapter in life. I mean, I always grew up with the notion of wanting kids, but that’s about it. And I had been told that the older you are the less energy you’ll have with kids. Back then I wanted two kids, so if we’re going to have them, might as well have them earlier rather than later.
And that’s what we did. We did not have a substantial net worth (we had spent a good chunk of it in our trip around the world), we did not have a house, and I did not have a stable job (I was an entrepreneur). But none of this stopped us. Among our circle of friends, we were one of the few brave enough for the new adventure: parenthood.
Prior to having kids we were a very social and active couple. We would go to dinners, parties, tequila tastings, and weekend long trips … almost every weekend. It helped that I was running a social networking club so we always had events to choose from and that I met many amazing friends through it.
[PAUSE … a few days due to not having time to write about nothing due to kids]
Nothing summarizes the feeling I have better than Michael McIntyre in this comedy skit:
Because of kids we’ve missed on week long sailing trips to Greece and Belize, a few weddings of close friends (kids were too young or too sick to travel), dinners with friends, day long events, and the list goes on. Your life revolves around your kids sleeping and feeding schedule. NOW … I know what some of you are saying. We’re being weak — life shouldn’t revolve around the kid (I used to say that before I had kids: “When I have kids I’m just going to put them in a backpack and carry them around”). Technically we can do that, but the consequences are not worth it:
sleepless nights and hangry kids
My kids, unfortunately, sleep best in their crib/bed. It wasn’t like this before. We would take our oldest daughter anywhere. When she was 9mo we traveled to Huatulco Mexico for a beautiful wedding. The day before the wedding we went on a boat for 80 people and had a day party, our 9mo was sleeping like a baby during the dancing (I have a video to prove it!) … However, this doesn’t happen any more. We try doing this now … yea, we might enjoy the day long party, but that evening we won’t sleep (nor the day after) and we’ll be zombies for a whole week trying to catch with sleep, work, and being a parent.
Our moms help. However, they live at least 1hr away or more. They don’t live next door and we can’t share kid duties. It would be so nice to be able to, at random times, ask someone to take the kid for 30 minutes while you want to focus on writing a blog post for example (so far I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been interrupted due to kids). But let’s go beyond a blog post … something as simple as wanting to catch up on personal email, pay the bills, organize a dinner with friends, be romantic, or just being able to use the bathroom without any interruptions.
Things you never think of when you don’t have kids.
Look — I’m venting. Don’t hate me. I LOVE my kids — I just wish I had my freedom back. And I know, this is a first world problem. I should feel lucky to have kids. And I do. As I stated earlier, that 1% makes it all worth it!
Is giving up your freedom for kids worth it? After venting, I can say yes! Ask me tomorrow and see if the answer changes.
This quote from Lost in Translation explains it well (thanks to this blog post again):
Bob: Your life, as you know it… is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk, and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.
So true ….