I couldn’t agree more.
I had my children in my mid-twenties in an effort to ‘cheat’ — I wanted travel, romance, family, and I wanted meaningful work but I knew that financially, none of that was coming before 35. I took a punt at the it and, so far, it has worked out. My children are now 5 and 7 and life as we knew it before them is slowly coming back to us. Everything is becoming possible again and at 32, I still feel young enough to embrace that.
I have a new career; I learnt to code and transitioned into tech, from teaching English Literature. My children are excellent little people who are amazing company for me and my husband. They challenge us constantly, they surprise us in all kinds of ways. But they need so very much to sustain them in term of emotional energy that we still live off the scraps. In so many ways.
To friends now who are just considering starting their journey, I feel the same way as you. I used to think that everyone really should have kids, that they’d be missing something beautiful and wonderful and transformative if they didn’t. As a parent, I don’t believe that any more.
I tell all of my friends, the ones who want my genuine opinion: don’t do it unless you’re sure. Parenting has taxed me in ways I never knew possible. It’s a whole new world and I don’t think I mean that in a good way. I know people who went into this hoping to be changed by it — I think that’s the great lie. We adapt but I don’t think we really change. We can say we are glad we made our choices but ultimately, we never know what life would have been like if we had made the other choice.
I don’t think there’s a lot of honest discourse on this either. That’s why it’s such a relief to read your response.