Author Topic: About the parental thing...  (Read 11930 times)

MrsCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 424
  • Age: 2015
About the parental thing...
« on: July 02, 2016, 06:45:49 AM »
Do you feel like in your quest to be a great parent you sacrificed more than you wanted to as an individual or not? I can't help but feel a lot of ppl or parents make it seem like their one & only priority is to be a mom or a parent and bc of it they lose their identity. They're always Jacob's mom and not Jane. I'm not sure if I make sense but how did u balance ur roles?

Also, I have a friend that is OCD & obsessed with having it all that I def foresee her taking on more than she can handle which has def shown itself from time past, so I am not stupid enough to declare that I want it all. But that being said I know no one is truly ever really prepared for parenthood. Any thoughts or advice? Let's just say I'm gonna be judged (well, everyone does really at some point in life) when I'm at the gym or getting lipo instead of being with my child 24-7. Yea, not gonna let myself (or my marriage) go to be a perfect mom, which sometimes I really wonder...
« Last Edit: July 02, 2016, 06:49:30 AM by MrsCoolCat »

Jaguar Paw

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Texas!!
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2016, 06:56:30 AM »
I have officially been a father for 18 days today at 3:45 p.m. Central time so I may be very unqualified to answer this question due to my extreme inexperience. Anyways, we have found that it is very important to still have "you" time. My wife watches the baby and I go run for an hour, then I return the favor for her. It is important to still focus on yourself and your relationship in order to be a better parent.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4677
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2016, 08:40:47 AM »
"More than you wanted to" are your key words.

If you aren't willing to sacrifice several hours a day to child care (at first), don't have children.

I WAS willing to, I do, no regrets. My biggest sacrifices are career-related (I work part time) and not getting to do time-consuming things like take an all-day hike with my husband--can't afford that much child care.

I still read a hundred books a year, go to the gym three times a week, and love my job. (My kids are preschoolers; those things were less true when they were babies.) You can have children plus anything you want; you just can't have children plus EVERYTHING you want.

sonjak

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2016, 10:20:11 AM »
I have seen one of my sisters put almost every bit of herself into her children.  Money, time, focus, food, etc... She is trying to reclaim herself now but (from the outside) it looks like every step forward is followed by a step backwards.  They like that she is that way and push back against her efforts to change the dynamics now.  Her youngest is 8 years old and my sister still won't go for an overnight with me away from them.

SimplyMarvie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 217
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2016, 10:58:28 AM »
I don't. But when I let that show, I feel judged as hell, so I often keep quiet about it. (Then again, with close friends I'm jokingly referred to as "the one who is being the Worst Mama in the World, so you don't have to!")

I travel on my own, for fun. I take long business trips, which I do because I have a job and have worked full-time throughout my kids childhoods. I have hobbies and go to the gym and read and write books and leave the kids alone so I can do yoga, and kick them outside and make them play in the neighborhood so I can get some peace and quiet. What I have not yet managed is getting out for a weekend with just my husband, but since the littlest is finally four, we just need to find someone we're comfortable leaving them with.

And you know what? They're fine. They're old enough now that I think the mythology that if I am a perfect parent they will be perfect kids has TOTALLY worn off. My eldest has acne and a bad attitude even though I nursed him for over two years. Each one of them is their own person, with their own personality and I think it's easier for other people to see that now. But I also see peers who kind of missed the memo that their 10 year old is no longer a baby and doesn't need to be walked to the bathroom anymore... they're missing out on giving their kids autonomy, and taking some of their own back. Maybe because they're worried about being judged? I don't know. But I think it's an important and ignored transition parents need to make -- as your kids get more freedom, you get more of your own freedom back. And if you've given up your selfhood to be a parent, that's going to be a bumpy ride.

MrsCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 424
  • Age: 2015
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2016, 12:44:51 PM »
Thanks everyone. I'm starting to think I'm gonna really simplify my goals & set them as raise a hopefully mentally & physically healthy child to 18 while being an active parent & not divorced. I know it seems kinda like who wants to be divorced, no one, yet despite how "normal" it's become nowadays I seriously think the kids lose the most. Not saying ppl should stay in bad relationships tho.

Anyways, I've been on the worries of omg what if my kids are evil, bullies, terrorists, etc. u name it. Now it's like well, how about just loving them but maybe not necessarily more than urself. Yes, I always hear you'd die for ur kids, but I've also heard some weird sh!t like dude u can have another kid; u can't have the same spouse. Save ur spouse if u had to choose. Yea, these theoreticals are insane & stupid, but anyways will just have to take it one step at a time & hopefully not lose myself fully in the process.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2016, 12:46:29 PM by MrsCoolCat »

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2016, 01:49:54 PM »
I think most people feel that you also need to take care of yourself also if you want to keep your sanity when raising kids.  However, it's so easy to fall into to the perfect parent trap.  First you try to make sure they eat well and survive the first few months.  Then you have to make sure they have just enough stimulating activities but still give them ample down time to be independent.  Then comes how to educate them, do you send them to private school, homeschool, supplement with after school activities.  Beyond that come the socialization aspects, what neighborhood should you live in, what kind of friends do you want them to be exposed to.  Where should you travel with them so they can be more wordly.  Now you have to start thinking about ensuring they have the skills to be able to support themselves financially and also be passionate about what their work.  And on, and on....

My wife and I don't exactly see eye to eye on the degree of how child-centred our family should be.  I'm constantly trying to get my wife and I to do adult activities without the kids.  However, she is not comfortable leaving them with non-family sitters.  We live on the opposite coast of our immediate family so basically we don't do anything together as a couple anymore.  We have definitely drifted apart and I have gotten used to doing things on my own.  I now understand how some married people are basically just roommates because they didn't put in effort in the relationship.  For now things are civil but who knows.

Maybe I should start a thread if it's better to separate while the kids are young or when they are launched and independent.  I personally don't think it's healthy for the kids to be around parents that don't want to be together as they will think that it's normal and model their relationships accordingly.


tthree

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 406
  • Location: Canada
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2016, 03:21:34 PM »
I don't attempt to be a great parent by today's standards; however, I do think I am a great parent by my standards.  DH jokes I am usually out of the running for mom of the year by noon on January 1st:)  I don't feel the need to constantly engage my children.  They get a lot of free play time, and I get a lot of shit done.  They are able to entertain themselves for hours with getting bored, which I feel is a lost art.

I still go to the gym....rather I work at the gym as a second "fun" job.  DH is constantly at his job so I either schlep the kids with, or go while everyone is still in bed.  From time to time I ditch the whole family to volunteer as a sport official.  These other passions help keep me sane, and define me as more than T's mom:)

DH and I don't get a lot of time alone, but we didn't have this before kids, as his work hours were even stupider in the past. 

MrsCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 424
  • Age: 2015
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2016, 03:33:40 PM »
I now understand how some married people are basically just roommates because they didn't put in effort in the relationship.  For now things are civil but who knows.

Maybe I should start a thread if it's better to separate while the kids are young or when they are launched and independent.  I personally don't think it's healthy for the kids to be around parents that don't want to be together as they will think that it's normal and model their relationships accordingly.

Ok, that just made me sad. Sad more than worried. I'm pretty OCD but I know how to let go. I know it won't be easy, but gotta at least be hopeful. I had a friend that dropped off her kids at her mother's every weekend. My other friend who doesn't have kids judged & thought it was odd, but hey, imo that gives the parents freedom & the kids enjoy visiting. So I guess we should just strive for what works for us & results in the most amt of happiness bc that's important.

Psychstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 873
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2016, 03:46:56 PM »
I now understand how some married people are basically just roommates because they didn't put in effort in the relationship.  For now things are civil but who knows.

Maybe I should start a thread if it's better to separate while the kids are young or when they are launched and independent.  I personally don't think it's healthy for the kids to be around parents that don't want to be together as they will think that it's normal and model their relationships accordingly.

Ok, that just made me sad. Sad more than worried. I'm pretty OCD but I know how to let go. I know it won't be easy, but gotta at least be hopeful. I had a friend that dropped off her kids at her mother's every weekend. My other friend who doesn't have kids judged & thought it was odd, but hey, imo that gives the parents freedom & the kids enjoy visiting. So I guess we should just strive for what works for us & results in the most amt of happiness bc that's important.
I think that one of the important keys to being a parent is not giving one single solitary fuck about whether or not someone judges you, because as a parent you will be judged no matter which choices you make. There are crazies on both sides of every debate that will think you are terrible parents who don't care about your kids well being because you chose to do X when everyone knows Y is the better thing to do for your kids. Examples:

Bottle vs breastfeeding
Daycare vs stay at home parent vs nanny
Co sleeping vs cry it out
PreK vs No
Public school vs private vs home school
Steady Allowance vs chores for money
Have kid work during HS vs school your job

There are thousands of choices you make about how to parent, and you will be judgesd for making almost all of them by someone who thinks you chose wrong. Best to learn not to care.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Chrissy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 990
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Chicago
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2016, 04:00:26 PM »
A parent who has sacrificed MORE than they wanted to has done no great service to their child.  Teaching a child that they are the center of the universe, and that love equals extreme sacrifice sets them up for terrible adult behavior.  My daughter is coming up on 5mo old, so who knows what will happen in the future, but I was/am very determined NOT to sacrifice my identity.  It's helpful that I'm in an industry filled with women who forego children, so they mostly feel sorry for what I'm "having to endure," and have no judgements.

I'm balancing my roles with the help of my husband, my parents, and my sister's family.  For me, Mommy means something akin to Team Leader... with a disproportionate measure of Cow just at the moment.

My husband and I pursue happiness, not success, and will teach our children the same.  So, while I want the best for my daughter, that doesn't mean I want ALL THE THINGS.  Some days, I race through my checklist of activities to help her develop, and some days... "I figure if my kids are alive at the end of the day, I've done my job," Roseanne Barr.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3758
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2016, 11:33:42 AM »
I don't have children, but that gives me some perspective on the current culture around parenting. It is insane. It's not possible to be perfect, or to have it all. Something WILL give, no matter what. I think it's better to actively choose what to let go, rather than have that decision made for you, possibly in such a way that it will cause serious problems or harm.

Actual example from real life - mother was so obsessed with having it all, including a spotless house, that she wouldn't let the kids inside over the summer, because they'd make a mess. Except that one kid got sick, became dehydrated, and a neighbor ended up calling police because they were concerned for the kid. Sick kid spent a few days in the hospital, child protective services got called, and resulting investigation ended up with mother barred from primary care of the 3 kids. Husband left her because she refused to get help (I'm guessing there's some mental issues going as well), and he now has 100% custody of the kids. He had to change jobs to do this, he used to do a ton of travelling. Mother only has supervised visitation, and the two older kids don't actually want to see her, and the youngest barely knows her. All because she had to have a spotless house.

teen persuasion

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1062
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2016, 02:06:25 PM »
I didn't focus on kids vs spouse, I focused on my family's happiness and well-being.  That family includes all of us, including me!  So we always tried to balance things on a large scale.

You can't have it all; what's the line - you can have anything you want, but not everything.  When my kids were little, I wanted to be home with them, so working took a back seat for while.  Now I'm in a field I never expected, ironically because I'm a mom of 5 (I believe).  Life evolves, I've changed along the way, but I don't feel that I or my DH have sacrificed ourselves for the kids.

Other people's judgment shouldn't influence how I parent; we aren't following the latest and greatest new parenting trend of the week, either.  We're just working on raising good kids(becoming good adults) who can think for themselves but also think about the needs and feelings of others.

11ducks

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 566
  • Location: Duckville, Australia
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2016, 06:13:06 PM »
I now understand how some married people are basically just roommates because they didn't put in effort in the relationship.  For now things are civil but who knows.

Maybe I should start a thread if it's better to separate while the kids are young or when they are launched and independent.  I personally don't think it's healthy for the kids to be around parents that don't want to be together as they will think that it's normal and model their relationships accordingly.

Ok, that just made me sad. Sad more than worried. I'm pretty OCD but I know how to let go. I know it won't be easy, but gotta at least be hopeful. I had a friend that dropped off her kids at her mother's every weekend. My other friend who doesn't have kids judged & thought it was odd, but hey, imo that gives the parents freedom & the kids enjoy visiting. So I guess we should just strive for what works for us & results in the most amt of happiness bc that's important.
I think that one of the important keys to being a parent is not giving one single solitary fuck about whether or not someone judges you, because as a parent you will be judged no matter which choices you make. There are crazies on both sides of every debate that will think you are terrible parents who don't care about your kids well being because you chose to do X when everyone knows Y is the better thing to do for your kids. Examples:

Bottle vs breastfeeding
Daycare vs stay at home parent vs nanny
Co sleeping vs cry it out
PreK vs No
Public school vs private vs home school
Steady Allowance vs chores for money
Have kid work during HS vs school your job

There are thousands of choices you make about how to parent, and you will be judgesd for making almost all of them by someone who thinks you chose wrong. Best to learn not to care.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

+1000. Be confident that you are the best person to decide what is best for you and your family. People can be judgemental jerks, you've got to learn to block it out.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14319
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2016, 06:25:03 PM »
The sacrifice thing is a bit overdone in our culture I think.

Our kid is a part of our family . . . and he has changed the family dynamic, but we were around before he was.  We had interests before him, hobbies, habits, etc.  Initially I felt a lot of pressure that there were expectations for me to give up all individuality to accommodate our son, and that was very depressing and made me resentful of him.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that if you cease to be yourself and just become an angry/depressed child care robot it's going to be much worse for your kid in the long run . . . AND make you miserable.  Now that there's a little me time, a little family time, and a little couple time with my wife things are much more bearable (veering into enjoyable?).  YMMV.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4030
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2016, 07:11:08 AM »
The thing is, its easy to say you will (or should) balance all these things. 

But little kids (I mean, say age 2 and under) have constant emergency level (to them) needs ALL THE TIME.  So it is insanely difficult to identify what are the actual critical needs- and what aren't.  And for some kids, or if you have more than one kid, the critical needs can take up about 18 hours a day, leaving you 6 hours to sleep.  But not 6 hours straight, because lolololforever. 

So yes.  You should for sure prioritize yourself and your relationship with your spouse.  But if that was easy to do, everyone would already be doing it! 

And then someday you come out the other side of it, and your kids are self sufficient at least most of the time.  And for some people and some kids that happens quickly, and for others it takes longer. 

Some people have reliable and affordable to them childcare from the get go.  These people tend to not lose themselves as much in my experience.  The parents I know with helpful grandparents in town have loads of time to do things by themselves or with a spouse.  Those that do not either have to be wealthy enough to pay $$$$$$ for babysitters, or they have to pick between time with spouse or time alone.

It is a lot more nuanced than "I'm not going to lose myself!  I'm going to prioritize my husband and myself!". 

acroy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1702
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Dallas TX
    • SWAMI
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2016, 08:06:33 AM »
It’s really about making the most of your state in life. Prioritize, Focus on the big stuff.
Do you have a priority list in life? Many folks don’t. They are going through life with confused or no priorities, so of course they stress out. They don’t know how to direct their time, don’t know what is important when conflicts arise, act erratically. Order does not arise from disorder….

Here’s mine
-God
-Family
-Country
-Work
-Everything else

Yours may vary from mine. But figure it out and tackle it. It actually makes life a LOT easier and more satisfying, truly happy, knowing you have a plan and are sticking to it. MMM's recent 'Happiness' post reached for this, but (imho) missed the big picture.

For instance I love listening to music and mountain biking. But those are lower priority in life, and will negatively affect family/work if I indulge too much. So I indulge when I can, planning ahead. It’s the crème on top, it’s not the filling.

If (when) work asks me to work weekends, take multi-week trips abroad, etc it is easy to refuse because it will negatively affect family. Priority! Balance!

Country is rated #3, which may seem high. Most of the time this does not affect daily activities, as I am not in military, politics, etc. However I do prioritize educating myself and being active in local politics, etc. I take time off work to do so when needed.

Family: SO is most important, kids less so. SO and I are 100% on the same page, which helps a lot.
I feel bad for mxt0133, sounds like he and SO are not on the same page.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2016, 08:58:33 AM »
I think it makes sense to center a lot of your focus on your child and parenthood. After all, there is a huge evolutionary benefit to doing so (the success of your offspring, and your genes). In the wild, mediocre parenting could mean very few surviving babies. You don’t want the bear mama wandering off for “self care” and forgetting her cubs for a few days. She has to prioritize the cubs as much as possible to ensure their survival. So it isn't so weird when parents really make their children a primary focus in their lives.

For humans, we need to balance but that balance is different for everyone. I am a sahm so I basically dedicate my life to my daughter and my family. But I also make time every day to exercise, read, and do things for me. Sometimes she has to entertain herself a little bit so I can do something I want to do. I think this is a great balance, but some moms really need more “me” stuff in their lives to feel happy and fulfilled. As long as the child isn’t suffering because of it (ex: rarely seeing or spending time with the parent, being sidelined frequently, going without resources so mom can buy nice bags and plastic surgery, etc) no harm done. I think parents who are particularly needy/high maintenance and require a lot of me time and activities probably have a harder time than those parents who are happy doing smaller self care behaviors for themselves. I actually know one or two couples who specifically chose not to have children because they fully recognized that their personal needs were just not compatible with prioritizing other people.

Personally our family is my number one priority in life, but I include me in that family. It is extremely hard to prioritize your romantic partnership in the first year of a baby's life, but I really do try to make time to do that. To me, my kids will benefit most from a healthy/loving/stable marriage more than any extra time I spend with them at the expense of their dad and our relationship. As weird as it sounds, I always always make time for sex at least twice a week even if I don't really feel like it on a particular day. I really feel like that has been key for our relationship. I suspect a lot of heterosexual marriages go downhill because exhausted partners just stop being intimate.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 09:17:04 AM by little_brown_dog »

DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2016, 09:39:03 AM »
My daughter is 9 and I have learned that the full time mom thing was causing me a lot of stress.  I do take breaks, I do let other people watch her, but my balance has come in spending time with kids' groups where I get something out of it, too.  We found a UU church that has a great kids' group and ALL of the parents participate.  We did a canoeing trip this past weekend, and it was a blast for everyone.

I don't sign her up for things I know will wear me down... like soccer, for example, where its practice and games that fill the entire weekend.  Kids need to learn they aren't the center of the universe anyway... I think the millenial generation should teach us current parents a thing or two.  I give her chores that have no reward, they are just her responsibility, and her behavior has to be excellent (no back talk or negotiating) in order to go to the next fun thing.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7022
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2016, 01:33:16 PM »
I think most people feel that you also need to take care of yourself also if you want to keep your sanity when raising kids.  However, it's so easy to fall into to the perfect parent trap.  First you try to make sure they eat well and survive the first few months.  Then you have to make sure they have just enough stimulating activities but still give them ample down time to be independent.  Then comes how to educate them, do you send them to private school, homeschool, supplement with after school activities.  Beyond that come the socialization aspects, what neighborhood should you live in, what kind of friends do you want them to be exposed to.  Where should you travel with them so they can be more wordly.  Now you have to start thinking about ensuring they have the skills to be able to support themselves financially and also be passionate about what their work.  And on, and on....

My wife and I don't exactly see eye to eye on the degree of how child-centred our family should be.  I'm constantly trying to get my wife and I to do adult activities without the kids.  However, she is not comfortable leaving them with non-family sitters.  We live on the opposite coast of our immediate family so basically we don't do anything together as a couple anymore.  We have definitely drifted apart and I have gotten used to doing things on my own.  I now understand how some married people are basically just roommates because they didn't put in effort in the relationship.  For now things are civil but who knows.

Maybe I should start a thread if it's better to separate while the kids are young or when they are launched and independent.  I personally don't think it's healthy for the kids to be around parents that don't want to be together as they will think that it's normal and model their relationships accordingly.
This is tough, and a lot of it comes from exhaustion.  I don't know your details.  But I do know mine.  My kids are 6.5 years apart.  We *just* got to the point where we had an option for date night (the YMCA has them once/ month) when we had kid #2.   NOW kid #2 is old enough for that, but of course it's just cheaper to hire a sitter than to pay for 2 kids at the Y's date nights.

We went through 3-4 sitters who would eventually go to college outside of town.  This year we have a sitter who is an actual adult (mid-30s), going to college and working in a child care.  She's great!  But man we have blown more money on sitters this year than the last 6 years combined.

Those years in between though...it's tough.  We probably went 3 years with each kid (age 0-3) with almost no dates.  Maybe 2 per year, if you count company holiday parties.  We were definitely more like roommates.  Add to that the fact that kid #2 goes to sleep AFTER me - we get no adult time.

Also we have no family in town.

So, what we used to do is the occasional lunch date (we both work).  When we had only 1 kid, we swapped babysitting with a friend.  Like I said, we have been having a LOT more dates this year, and it has really helped our marriage.  (It was never bad, just neglected.)  Our 20th anniversary is coming up (we had our kids at year 10 and year 16).

So I guess...hang in there, it may just get better on its own.  And if it doesn't, then have a heart to heart with your wife.  I honestly love dating my husband, but I really sort of HATE having to be the one to find the sitter. It's a pain.  I feel like in many ways, I've taken on the burden of the schedule (planning vacations, getting the sitter, etc.)  That is one thing that we've worked on changing over the last year - he does every other vacation, and I've asked him to take on some of the babysitter scheduling.

Ask her what she wants in a sitter (age, experience, references from friends, etc.), then go out and find it for her.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1684
  • Location: SE PA
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2016, 02:12:05 PM »
My kids are now 5 & 7.5, and I feel like I have just been able to get some me time in during the last 6-12 months.  I didn't mind dedicating so much of my time to them in their early years, and I didn't miss my non-parent identity.  It just kind of slipped away unnoticed when I started a family.  And it slipped away slowly.  After having our first, I didn't really slow down much.  You can pretty much take a small infant anywhere- I kept up game nights with friends, going out with DH, etc.  At some point she started to show signs of needing a little more routine, like not being able to sleep just anywhere, which led to more time at home.   I feel all the transitions were normal.  They are getting older and more independent, which is nice, but I don't regret at all putting things like hobbies on the back burner temporarily to focus on my kids as infants/toddlers/preschoolers.  I showed them how to use the washing machine the other day.  More and more like regular people every day, these kids!  They are also getting to an age where I feel like I can involve them more in things that I enjoy, so we can do the stuff that I like to do as a family.  It's all good!  And of course I look back and miss their baby days still.  Oh, nostalgia...

CindyBS

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2016, 03:20:21 PM »
My kids are 13 and 10 and I do feel like I put too much of myself into being a parent.  However, 2 major things that were beyond my control happened.

1) Right when I was about to go back into the workforce part time after being home for several years, the great recession of 2008 happened.  All part time jobs in my field evaporated and due to some family issues, I was not willing to go back full time even if I could find a job.

2) My oldest DS is disabled. 

Because of these factors, I never really got back into my career after staying home.  My son is pretty independent (has High Functioning Autism/Aspergers and learning disabilities) - however,  I still am needed after school at least once per week so working full time would be difficult.

I ultimately chose to work part time for the schools and be on a school schedule.  While I like my job and it works for our family - there is a part of me that felt like I lost myself b/c at age 41 - I am really no where professionally.  I make less per hour than I did in 2002 and I honestly have no real "career".    DH makes a good income and we are about 7 years away from FIRE, so at this point I do not want to devote resources to getting retrained in a new field or go back to school. 

I wouldn't consider myself the "perfect" parent, but when your child is disabled, losing yourself can happen even faster.   I am very fortunate that my son will be able to live independently as an adult and things like traveling in ER is possible. Some parents (usually moms) lose themselves in their kids' needs and then the kid never grows out of it.


mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2016, 03:41:45 PM »
This is tough, and a lot of it comes from exhaustion.  I don't know your details.  But I do know mine.  My kids are 6.5 years apart.  We *just* got to the point where we had an option for date night (the YMCA has them once/ month) when we had kid #2.   NOW kid #2 is old enough for that, but of course it's just cheaper to hire a sitter than to pay for 2 kids at the Y's date nights.

We went through 3-4 sitters who would eventually go to college outside of town.  This year we have a sitter who is an actual adult (mid-30s), going to college and working in a child care.  She's great!  But man we have blown more money on sitters this year than the last 6 years combined.

Those years in between though...it's tough.  We probably went 3 years with each kid (age 0-3) with almost no dates.  Maybe 2 per year, if you count company holiday parties.  We were definitely more like roommates.  Add to that the fact that kid #2 goes to sleep AFTER me - we get no adult time.

Also we have no family in town.

So, what we used to do is the occasional lunch date (we both work).  When we had only 1 kid, we swapped babysitting with a friend.  Like I said, we have been having a LOT more dates this year, and it has really helped our marriage.  (It was never bad, just neglected.)  Our 20th anniversary is coming up (we had our kids at year 10 and year 16).

So I guess...hang in there, it may just get better on its own.  And if it doesn't, then have a heart to heart with your wife.  I honestly love dating my husband, but I really sort of HATE having to be the one to find the sitter. It's a pain.  I feel like in many ways, I've taken on the burden of the schedule (planning vacations, getting the sitter, etc.)  That is one thing that we've worked on changing over the last year - he does every other vacation, and I've asked him to take on some of the babysitter scheduling.

Ask her what she wants in a sitter (age, experience, references from friends, etc.), then go out and find it for her.

Thank you for the thoughtful response, I appreciate it.  Your experience resonates with what we are currently going through.  Our youngest just turned one and we might be able to leave the kids with a neighbor or friend for a few hours.  So logistically I think we could go out on lunch dates for walks in the park.  However, our relationship has regressed to a point that we are both just ready to pounce at each other's throats at a moments notice.  There is just so much animosity and resentment that driving for more than 10 minutes will almost guarantee some kind of argument. 

So we need to do some healing and get to point where we can just talk to each other in a civil manner.   I'm trying to just listen at this point and be empathetic.  It's sooo hard when she's being snippy or demeaning, don't get me wrong I'm guilty too.  But I figure one of us has to back down and let the tension ease a bit. 

madamwitty

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 280
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SoCal
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2016, 06:03:10 PM »
The thing is, its easy to say you will (or should) balance all these things. 

But little kids (I mean, say age 2 and under) have constant emergency level (to them) needs ALL THE TIME.  So it is insanely difficult to identify what are the actual critical needs- and what aren't.  And for some kids, or if you have more than one kid, the critical needs can take up about 18 hours a day, leaving you 6 hours to sleep.  But not 6 hours straight, because lolololforever. 

So yes.  You should for sure prioritize yourself and your relationship with your spouse.  But if that was easy to do, everyone would already be doing it! 

And then someday you come out the other side of it, and your kids are self sufficient at least most of the time.  And for some people and some kids that happens quickly, and for others it takes longer. 

Some people have reliable and affordable to them childcare from the get go.  These people tend to not lose themselves as much in my experience.  The parents I know with helpful grandparents in town have loads of time to do things by themselves or with a spouse.  Those that do not either have to be wealthy enough to pay $$$$$$ for babysitters, or they have to pick between time with spouse or time alone.

It is a lot more nuanced than "I'm not going to lose myself!  I'm going to prioritize my husband and myself!".

Thank you, MayDay, for acknowledging that maintaining an identity for yourself can be hard even if you know you should, and even if you are trying really hard. I've been going through some depression lately for this very reason - three kids ages 7, 4, 1. People tell me it gets easier to carve out time for yourself. I believe them, but it's still hard in the meantime.

Lanthiriel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 802
  • Location: Portlandia
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2016, 08:41:03 PM »
I have no desire to have kids, largely because of all of the things that are being brought up here: the judging, no personal time, marital decay. I realize that all of these can be mitigated, but I think you have to REALLY want to raise a kid. I spent a lot of time thinking that it was something I had to do eventually, but I was lucky to happen across several childfree women in their 40s and 50s in my mid to late 20s who really helped me frame the decision as a choice. I would never discourage someone who really wanted kids from having them, but I absolutely would tell fence sitters to do some research on being childfree.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4030
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2016, 04:38:53 AM »
This is tough, and a lot of it comes from exhaustion.  I don't know your details.  But I do know mine.  My kids are 6.5 years apart.  We *just* got to the point where we had an option for date night (the YMCA has them once/ month) when we had kid #2.   NOW kid #2 is old enough for that, but of course it's just cheaper to hire a sitter than to pay for 2 kids at the Y's date nights.

We went through 3-4 sitters who would eventually go to college outside of town.  This year we have a sitter who is an actual adult (mid-30s), going to college and working in a child care.  She's great!  But man we have blown more money on sitters this year than the last 6 years combined.

Those years in between though...it's tough.  We probably went 3 years with each kid (age 0-3) with almost no dates.  Maybe 2 per year, if you count company holiday parties.  We were definitely more like roommates.  Add to that the fact that kid #2 goes to sleep AFTER me - we get no adult time.

Also we have no family in town.

So, what we used to do is the occasional lunch date (we both work).  When we had only 1 kid, we swapped babysitting with a friend.  Like I said, we have been having a LOT more dates this year, and it has really helped our marriage.  (It was never bad, just neglected.)  Our 20th anniversary is coming up (we had our kids at year 10 and year 16).

So I guess...hang in there, it may just get better on its own.  And if it doesn't, then have a heart to heart with your wife.  I honestly love dating my husband, but I really sort of HATE having to be the one to find the sitter. It's a pain.  I feel like in many ways, I've taken on the burden of the schedule (planning vacations, getting the sitter, etc.)  That is one thing that we've worked on changing over the last year - he does every other vacation, and I've asked him to take on some of the babysitter scheduling.

Ask her what she wants in a sitter (age, experience, references from friends, etc.), then go out and find it for her.

Thank you for the thoughtful response, I appreciate it.  Your experience resonates with what we are currently going through.  Our youngest just turned one and we might be able to leave the kids with a neighbor or friend for a few hours.  So logistically I think we could go out on lunch dates for walks in the park.  However, our relationship has regressed to a point that we are both just ready to pounce at each other's throats at a moments notice.  There is just so much animosity and resentment that driving for more than 10 minutes will almost guarantee some kind of argument. 

So we need to do some healing and get to point where we can just talk to each other in a civil manner.   I'm trying to just listen at this point and be empathetic.  It's sooo hard when she's being snippy or demeaning, don't get me wrong I'm guilty too.  But I figure one of us has to back down and let the tension ease a bit.

I have so been there.

You are coming out of it.

Don't get pregnant again! Although it would have required divine conception for us at that point, lol.

A friend who is a marriage counselor says hands down the hardest year of a marriage is the year kid #2 is born. You just survive it. Then once you are through it, you work on the marriage.


ArcadeStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2016, 04:46:04 AM »

[/quote]

Thank you for the thoughtful response, I appreciate it.  Your experience resonates with what we are currently going through.  Our youngest just turned one and we might be able to leave the kids with a neighbor or friend for a few hours.  So logistically I think we could go out on lunch dates for walks in the park.  However, our relationship has regressed to a point that we are both just ready to pounce at each other's throats at a moments notice.  There is just so much animosity and resentment that driving for more than 10 minutes will almost guarantee some kind of argument. 

So we need to do some healing and get to point where we can just talk to each other in a civil manner.   I'm trying to just listen at this point and be empathetic.  It's sooo hard when she's being snippy or demeaning, don't get me wrong I'm guilty too.  But I figure one of us has to back down and let the tension ease a bit.
[/quote]

Wow...this totally describes my wife and I, especially the part about driving. Glad I am not the only one dealing with this. I really don't see any immediate solutions though and I am just bracing myself for a few more rough years until the kids are old enough to stop being so needy (my 3 yr old son is REALLY active). Maybe then we we'll stop arguing like it's a competition of who does more and will be less stressed. The worst part is, I feel like we'd be so much better off if we just had some family nearby as a backstop so we could go away for a weekend once in a while, or even just to have a whole Saturday off. Sure, we have occasional date nights when our gym has special childcare on Saturday nights, but by then we are usually so exhausted we aren't in the mood to do anything or have nothing to talk about.

My biggest fear is that before we know it, we'll wake up middle aged, our best years behind us, and will no longer have a shot at being happy as a couple, if we even still have a shot now.


DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2016, 06:07:24 AM »
I have no desire to have kids, largely because of all of the things that are being brought up here: the judging, no personal time, marital decay. I realize that all of these can be mitigated, but I think you have to REALLY want to raise a kid. I spent a lot of time thinking that it was something I had to do eventually, but I was lucky to happen across several childfree women in their 40s and 50s in my mid to late 20s who really helped me frame the decision as a choice. I would never discourage someone who really wanted kids from having them, but I absolutely would tell fence sitters to do some research on being childfree.

What kids do is help you finish growing up :)  Looking back, before I had my daughter, I was still kind of a selfish kid... now I know what was needed to really grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5868
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Northeast
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2016, 07:28:10 AM »
I have no desire to have kids, largely because of all of the things that are being brought up here: the judging, no personal time, marital decay. I realize that all of these can be mitigated, but I think you have to REALLY want to raise a kid. I spent a lot of time thinking that it was something I had to do eventually, but I was lucky to happen across several childfree women in their 40s and 50s in my mid to late 20s who really helped me frame the decision as a choice. I would never discourage someone who really wanted kids from having them, but I absolutely would tell fence sitters to do some research on being childfree.

What kids do is help you finish growing up :)  Looking back, before I had my daughter, I was still kind of a selfish kid... now I know what was needed to really grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I would like to think that I have been able to finish growing up on my own, but I guess if I never have kids, I'll never know? I'm probably ok with that.

Schaefer Light

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1238
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2016, 07:36:22 AM »
I have no desire to have kids, largely because of all of the things that are being brought up here: the judging, no personal time, marital decay. I realize that all of these can be mitigated, but I think you have to REALLY want to raise a kid. I spent a lot of time thinking that it was something I had to do eventually, but I was lucky to happen across several childfree women in their 40s and 50s in my mid to late 20s who really helped me frame the decision as a choice. I would never discourage someone who really wanted kids from having them, but I absolutely would tell fence sitters to do some research on being childfree.

What kids do is help you finish growing up :)  Looking back, before I had my daughter, I was still kind of a selfish kid... now I know what was needed to really grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I'm growing older but not up.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2016, 08:04:28 AM »

A friend who is a marriage counselor says hands down the hardest year of a marriage is the year kid #2 is born. You just survive it. Then once you are through it, you work on the marriage.

I can totally see this being true - we are in our first year with #1 and it is tough, but definitely manageable. The lack of sleep or freedom to do anything but take care of the baby puts everyone on edge. You just want a break and nerves get a little fried. When #2 rolls around, I can see it turning into hell on earth for a little bit, especially those first few months.

I have found that surviving new parenthood as an intact couple isn't so much about fostering and promoting the marriage, it is about mitigating the damage and preventing unnecessary harm and resentment. So sure, you may not have time for dates or events or long walks on the beach, but everyone can make time to kiss their partner goodbye in the morning, say I love you each night, offer to wash the dishes, ask how their day was (and really listen for a minute), say "hey, I'll take the baby while you take a bath", or find 20 minutes a week for a quickie or two. These really small things done every day can really help prevent resentment or help you keep perspective when your partner is pissing you off. The trouble is, when we are tired and burnt out we all tend to devolve into really selfish asshats and often refuse to even do these small things.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1684
  • Location: SE PA
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2016, 08:18:50 AM »
I just wanted to add that while our focus shifted to our kids right after starting a family, I don't think my marriage suffered at all.  DH and I rarely had a date night when they were little.  Maybe 2-3x a year.  IMO date nights are overrated, you can have quality time with your partner when the kids are in bed.  Sometimes now when we have a date night, I just want to order takeout and watch a movie at home, anyway! 

You can be kind and loving to each other when you are getting ready for the day, when you are running errands with your family, or when your family sits down for dinner daily.  We've never been away without the kids, and I don't feel like our relationship needs it.  It would be fun, sure, but the health of our marriage is built day to day with respect and admiration.  It is not degraded every day we are living life and needing to be rebuilt with weekends away or on date nights without the kids.  Instead of feeling like it is a competition on who does more and who is most stressed, shift your focus to what your partner is doing to help.

I definitely think raising children has made me a better person.  I've grown a lot since their arrival, and I continue to do so.

I know people w/o kids get kind of annoyed when people with kids get exuberant about the joys of parenting.  But we aren't doing it to be annoying or to pooh-pooh any other way.  We just truly do love the positives it brings into our lives.

DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2016, 08:47:02 AM »

I definitely think raising children has made me a better person.  I've grown a lot since their arrival, and I continue to do so.

I know people w/o kids get kind of annoyed when people with kids get exuberant about the joys of parenting.  But we aren't doing it to be annoying or to pooh-pooh any other way.  We just truly do love the positives it brings into our lives.

This was my point.  I also know people who go on and on about how awesome their lives are w/o kids, and many of them would not make good parents anyway, so life sorts itself out.

rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5868
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Northeast
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2016, 08:59:41 AM »

I definitely think raising children has made me a better person.  I've grown a lot since their arrival, and I continue to do so.

I know people w/o kids get kind of annoyed when people with kids get exuberant about the joys of parenting.  But we aren't doing it to be annoying or to pooh-pooh any other way.  We just truly do love the positives it brings into our lives.

This was my point.  I also know people who go on and on about how awesome their lives are w/o kids, and many of them would not make good parents anyway, so life sorts itself out.

I love kids and think it's weird (and kind of rude) when people say they don't like children. You don't have to have them, but I don't think you should dislike them any more than you dislike old people/teenagers etc. It's just a phase of life. I may or may not want to have them myself (undecided), but I'm not saying they aren't wonderful. I am saying that I think I am a grown up at this point in my life with or without them.

DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2016, 09:10:00 AM »
I thought I was grown up, too ;)  Sorry, just sayin.

My brother is one who specifically dislikes kids.  I'm not sure why, but he's always been very open about that.  He went to a pumpkin patch with his wife before Halloween and was actually shocked and horrified that there were kids everywhere, lol.  Had to share, it was amusing to me.

CindyBS

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2016, 09:32:16 AM »
I like to compare my having kids experience to a roller coaster.  Yea, some the lows of life are lower with kids (added responsibility, stress, etc)  but the highs of life are higher too.   I personally have had some of my most difficult times in life related to my kids.  However, I have had the most rewarding times of my life related to my kids too. 


I think if someone doesn't want kids, they shouldn't.  I think they are missing out - but it is their life.  However, what irritates me are the people who don't like kids are just super annoyed that they have to share public space with them.  Even worse is if they think their dog should have similar rights.  My kids and their generation will be the ones paying the taxes, running society and the like when today's adults are old.  With no kids of their own to do this, the irritated childless will be depending on the very same people they look at with disdain. . . .

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14319
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2016, 09:35:58 AM »

I definitely think raising children has made me a better person.  I've grown a lot since their arrival, and I continue to do so.

I know people w/o kids get kind of annoyed when people with kids get exuberant about the joys of parenting.  But we aren't doing it to be annoying or to pooh-pooh any other way.  We just truly do love the positives it brings into our lives.

This was my point.  I also know people who go on and on about how awesome their lives are w/o kids, and many of them would not make good parents anyway, so life sorts itself out.

It's also very important for us as parents to convince ourselves that we made the right decision . . . because we're stuck with kids forever.  Let's be careful that we don't let that need overwhelm the truth about kids.  It's far from sunshine and rainbows all the time, and there are quite serious problems and issues that arise from raising children for most couples.

rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5868
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Northeast
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2016, 10:40:33 AM »
I thought I was grown up, too ;)  Sorry, just sayin.

My brother is one who specifically dislikes kids.  I'm not sure why, but he's always been very open about that.  He went to a pumpkin patch with his wife before Halloween and was actually shocked and horrified that there were kids everywhere, lol.  Had to share, it was amusing to me.

Lol ok, sure. I guess I might never know what I could have been.

I thought I sensed a bit of angst related to someone that didn't like kids there. I do think that is a weird attitude. I have nieces and nephews and love love love spending time/energy/money on them. I like to think I'm a really good aunt who will be a positive influence on them. But I'm also a very low key/low energy type of introvert. I'm not sure that I would be able to be as good of a parent 24/7 as I am an aunt, and it seems like it would be more selfish of me to subject kids to that than less. YMMV though, maybe certain types of people do need kids to bring out their better qualities.

pachnik

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1832
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2016, 10:58:17 AM »
I thought I was grown up, too ;)  Sorry, just sayin.

My brother is one who specifically dislikes kids.  I'm not sure why, but he's always been very open about that.  He went to a pumpkin patch with his wife before Halloween and was actually shocked and horrified that there were kids everywhere, lol.  Had to share, it was amusing to me.

Lol ok, sure. I guess I might never know what I could have been.

I thought I sensed a bit of angst related to someone that didn't like kids there. I do think that is a weird attitude. I have nieces and nephews and love love love spending time/energy/money on them. I like to think I'm a really good aunt who will be a positive influence on them. But I'm also a very low key/low energy type of introvert. I'm not sure that I would be able to be as good of a parent 24/7 as I am an aunt, and it seems like it would be more selfish of me to subject kids to that than less. YMMV though, maybe certain types of people do need kids to bring out their better qualities.

I have a niece and a nephew and fortunately live very close to them.    I don't have any kids but love those 2 dearly and enjoy spending time with them.  They are teens now so we spend time together in different ways than when they were little kids. 

In my early years I struggled with addiction and very poor relationship skills (and this is putting it nicely).  Fortunately, I knew that I was not a good candidate for parenthood.   It simply would have been the creation of yet another dysfunctional family.  I wasn't able to take care of myself much less some kids.  I think it worked out as it should have. 

CNM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 500
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2016, 11:06:00 AM »
In my experience (parent to a 4 year old), I was overwhelmed with what I thought it took to be a good parent.  There are lots of "recommendations" given to new parents about things to do for their babies. I can't even begin to list all of the suggestions there are just so many.  Thankfully, I quickly realized a few things:  (1) I don't have the time or desire to do everything and (2) you don't need to do everything there is to have a happy and healthy child.  It's like, parenting can take up every single minute of every single day if you want it to, but it doesn't need to. 

So, what does that mean for our family (2 full time working parents)?  It means that our child goes to day care, and spends time with his grandparents (both sets of GPs live locally), he spends time with only one parent (to give the other a break),  he spends time with his cousin (we return the favor and watch my nephew too), he watches TV occasionally (to give both parents a break at the same time!), he goes on play dates with other kids (this is also reciprocated), and he also spends time entertaining himself IN ADDITION to the things we do together as a family. 

I'll also say that, again in my personal experience, being a parent is much more fun than I had thought it was going to be.  I guess that I heard a lot about how time consuming and tiring it was going to be.  And it is, at times, but (again speaking from my own personal experience) it is not as terrible as I had been led to believe!

Also, it seems to be getting easier and easier as our son gets older.  Sure, he's a more complex human being but a lot of the day-to-day tasks he can do himself now- i.e. he is potty trained, he can dress himself, he can entertain himself coloring or playing with books and stickers for periods of time, he can feed himself, he sleeps at night, he can communicate his wants and needs clearly, and so on.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 11:08:06 AM by CNM »

CNM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 500
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2016, 11:20:04 AM »
I read through more of the thread.

In order to retain one's sanity and personal relationships, there MUST be some time away from the child/children. 

For those of you with an SO who does not trust babysitters, this is an obstacle that simply must be overcome.  I suggest that, at first, the babysitter acts as a "helper" when the parents are home.  Just having someone else to look after the kid to give the parents 30 minutes to have adult time will help things a lot.  Then, the helper can eventually grow into a full babysitter once he or she has gained the trust of the SO.

Where to find babysitters?  Here are places we have found babysitters:
- teenaged children of co-workers or friends
- professional nanny services
- recommendations from other parents we know IRL
- recommendations from online parent groups
- teachers at my son's daycare provider, who will babysit or recommend other people with childcare experience
- kid swap as I mentioned above with other parents we know




Lanthiriel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 802
  • Location: Portlandia
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2016, 11:43:57 AM »
I thought I was grown up, too ;)  Sorry, just sayin.

I think I accidentally derailed this thread, but this mentality drives me absolutely insane. Pretty much any time someone claims they are "more" or "better" because of a life choice, I cannot help but think less of them. It's like telling someone that they don't know what suffering is because they've never dewormed orphans in Africa. Or that you'll never have a real grasp of money because you've never been the CFO of a Fortune 500 company. I think that evaluating your personality and what you want out of life and making the decision that raising children isn't the right choice for you is pretty grown up. Especially when you're able to do it without passing judgment or making blanket decisions about people who make the opposite choice.

Sorry, just sayin.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1684
  • Location: SE PA
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #42 on: July 06, 2016, 12:04:17 PM »
I thought I was grown up, too ;)  Sorry, just sayin.

I think I accidentally derailed this thread, but this mentality drives me absolutely insane. Pretty much any time someone claims they are "more" or "better" because of a life choice, I cannot help but think less of them. It's like telling someone that they don't know what suffering is because they've never dewormed orphans in Africa. Or that you'll never have a real grasp of money because you've never been the CFO of a Fortune 500 company. I think that evaluating your personality and what you want out of life and making the decision that raising children isn't the right choice for you is pretty grown up. Especially when you're able to do it without passing judgment or making blanket decisions about people who make the opposite choice.

Sorry, just sayin.

I definitely think raising children has made me a better person.  I've grown a lot since their arrival, and I continue to do so.

I know people w/o kids get kind of annoyed when people with kids get exuberant about the joys of parenting.  But we aren't doing it to be annoying or to pooh-pooh any other way.  We just truly do love the positives it brings into our lives.

This was my point.  I also know people who go on and on about how awesome their lives are w/o kids, and many of them would not make good parents anyway, so life sorts itself out.

I don't think DeltaBond is saying if people all had kids they'd grow up and be better for it, she's just saying that is what it did for her. 

maybe certain types of people do need kids to bring out their better qualities.
And rockstache, I don't think DeltaBond is saying that she needed kids to grow up, it just happened to be the catalyst for her. 

On the same token, merely having a kid did not cause me to grow as a person, but learning to raise them has.  It could have been learning to deal with a cranky coworker that made me grow as a person, it just happens that we aren't talking about cranky coworkers right now.


rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5868
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Northeast
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #43 on: July 06, 2016, 01:08:28 PM »
I thought I was grown up, too ;)  Sorry, just sayin.

I think I accidentally derailed this thread, but this mentality drives me absolutely insane. Pretty much any time someone claims they are "more" or "better" because of a life choice, I cannot help but think less of them. It's like telling someone that they don't know what suffering is because they've never dewormed orphans in Africa. Or that you'll never have a real grasp of money because you've never been the CFO of a Fortune 500 company. I think that evaluating your personality and what you want out of life and making the decision that raising children isn't the right choice for you is pretty grown up. Especially when you're able to do it without passing judgment or making blanket decisions about people who make the opposite choice.

Sorry, just sayin.

I definitely think raising children has made me a better person.  I've grown a lot since their arrival, and I continue to do so.

I know people w/o kids get kind of annoyed when people with kids get exuberant about the joys of parenting.  But we aren't doing it to be annoying or to pooh-pooh any other way.  We just truly do love the positives it brings into our lives.

This was my point.  I also know people who go on and on about how awesome their lives are w/o kids, and many of them would not make good parents anyway, so life sorts itself out.

I don't think DeltaBond is saying if people all had kids they'd grow up and be better for it, she's just saying that is what it did for her. 

maybe certain types of people do need kids to bring out their better qualities.
And rockstache, I don't think DeltaBond is saying that she needed kids to grow up, it just happened to be the catalyst for her. 

On the same token, merely having a kid did not cause me to grow as a person, but learning to raise them has.  It could have been learning to deal with a cranky coworker that made me grow as a person, it just happens that we aren't talking about cranky coworkers right now.
 

Re Bolded: Maybe, but that is sure what it came across as. I took it about the same way Lanthriel did (condescending) but didn't really want to argue with an internet stranger, hence my comment of I guess I'll never know. I suppose Delta can explain what s/he meant if that wasn't the right interpretation.

Getting back to the original topic, I think that by simply having intentions to hang on to your sense of self the OP has already done more than many pre-parents do for themselves and their relationship.

Helvegen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
  • Location: PNW
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2016, 01:14:44 PM »
I can't see my entire identity wrapped up in being a parent. It is a part of who I am, but definitely not all.

IMO, having a child is time consuming, frustrating, expensive, and exhausting. My daughter is nothing like me personality or interest wise, so it makes us hard to understand each other sometimes. Parenting occasionally has its random good or interesting moments. I dunno if it is enough to say whether or not a person should have them. I don't think being a parent has made me a better or worse person. If you want them, go for it. If you don't, who cares. If you are on the fence, get a puppy. Puppies are cute, but an absolute PITA. You have to train them, housebreak them, they chew up all of your crap, whine all hours, lots of small vet expenses in the first year, boarding costs. Believe it or not, doggy day care is a thing for some dogs that need it. Then take that experience and imagine it lasting about 3+ years with something you can't just give away when you get tired of it.

SimplyMarvie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 217
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #45 on: July 06, 2016, 02:41:11 PM »
I have no desire to have kids, largely because of all of the things that are being brought up here: the judging, no personal time, marital decay. I realize that all of these can be mitigated, but I think you have to REALLY want to raise a kid. I spent a lot of time thinking that it was something I had to do eventually, but I was lucky to happen across several childfree women in their 40s and 50s in my mid to late 20s who really helped me frame the decision as a choice. I would never discourage someone who really wanted kids from having them, but I absolutely would tell fence sitters to do some research on being childfree.

I have three kids. I love kids. I love babies. But I also really love my childfree friends who are smart enough and in touch with their inner selves and desires enough to know that they don't want kids and go about their lives in a happy kid-free world. Good on ya! I believe that there has been more misery caused by people who really didn't want to have children having them because they thought it was required of them, or it would make them adults, or that was what you did than from any other cause. We have the technology to not have kids now, so if you don't want to... don't!


Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5898
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2016, 03:23:07 PM »
My 3 kids are long adults since I am 62 and had them young. It is a lot when they are little. When my youngest started kindergarten I started college so that was a very busy time.  He also had bad asthma so missed a lot of school and was sick alot from age 1. I was lucky that my Mom was retired and willing to help as much as needed.  I could not have done it without her. My sister never wanted kids and that was the right choice for her. YOu are a parent forever and do suffer when your kids even as adults make bad choices, etc.  However, I can also assure you that you will love no one in the world in the same manner and level as you do your child. Pick the person you love the most and multiple it by 1 million for your kid (for those of you that aren't parents). It is difficult to explain.  Studies have shown that it is more painful to lose your child then your spouse, etc.  It is a big commitment and rewarding but you should only do it if you really want to.

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3147
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #47 on: July 06, 2016, 04:01:21 PM »
I've been a parent for 9 years. As with all things in life, there are seasons in parenting. Some seasons require so much from you that it consumes your entire life. The newborn stage, the toddler stage and other stages where one (or more) child requires extra input. However, for most of us, those seasons are balanced by other seasons where we can devote a little more energy to ourselves again. The trick is to recognize each season and to understand that it's temporary.

This quote from Elizabeth Stone is also very true, “Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” From the outside, a person who is happy (or sad) because their child is happy (or sad) probably looks very much like someone who has "lost themselves", however it's just part of being a parent. It's as if the moment your child is born, your emotional sensitivity sensor for this new person gets dialed up to 10.

It's also important to remember that people who planned to have children did so, because they wanted to be around their own children a lot. I've been asked why I don't seek out more time for myself (away from my kids). My answer is always that I wanted to have kids, so now that I have them (and they've developed into interesting human beings) I want to be around them. That was the entire point of the exercise!

ArcadeStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #48 on: July 06, 2016, 08:26:32 PM »

My 3 kids are long adults since I am 62 and had them young. It is a lot when they are little. When my youngest started kindergarten I started college so that was a very busy time.  He also had bad asthma so missed a lot of school and was sick alot from age 1. I was lucky that my Mom was retired and willing to help as much as needed.  I could not have done it without her. My sister never wanted kids and that was the right choice for her. YOu are a parent forever and do suffer when your kids even as adults make bad choices, etc.  However, I can also assure you that you will love no one in the world in the same manner and level as you do your child. Pick the person you love the most and multiple it by 1 million for your kid (for those of you that aren't parents). It is difficult to explain.  Studies have shown that it is more painful to lose your child then your spouse, etc.  It is a big commitment and rewarding but you should only do it if you really want to.

Spot on. As exhausting as he can be, there is nothing in this world I love even remotely as much as my boy. Just being around him and seeing him smile and chatter away fill me with a joy I can't even describe or felt before he came along. I guess that's how i know it is right for me. Might not be perfect and sure ain't easy, but it's definitely right.

Mrs.Granola

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: About the parental thing...
« Reply #49 on: July 06, 2016, 08:42:23 PM »
You can have it all, just not all at once. If there is one thing I've learned from having 2 children it's that there is a time for everything and nothing stays the same for long. Being a mother consumed my identity until my youngest was about 4, those days don't last.