Saturday, August 3, 2013

Time article: Having It All Without Children

I happened across a Time article this afternoon as I read news headlines. I find this article fascinating and wanted to give my input. First of all, I don't think all woman are meant to be mother's. I don't look at a woman who has chosen not to have kids and think "oh how sad." Not all woman (or men for that matter) should be parents. My opinion on this topic, interestingly enough, is I don't think any one person can have it all. It would be nearly impossible for any one person to "have it all."  People who have kids lead a completely different life than those without children. Those without children will never fully understand what they are missing (no matter how many nieces and nephews one has, doesn't compare to having your own). Just because I have kids, doesn't mean I "have it all." I'll never know (at least not for MANY years) what it's like to travel the world and do anything on a whim. Even then, we may be too broke after raising three children and paying for school, to go all around the world. And I'm okay with that. Those without the children will never know what it's like to hold a baby against your bare skin, to spend hours just watching these perfect little beings simply breathing, to be okay with the HOURS that equate to days and weeks of lost sleep because of cold, teething, wet beds, or scares.
I believe having it all means living the life you want to live, not whether or not one has children.
Let me tell everyone a little secret: I never wanted kids. It wasn't until Matt (my husband) and I started seriously dating that we spoke about it and I considered it. Max was not planned. I didn't even overly enjoy being pregnant with him. Although I'm not quite sure how one could be overly enthused when you have all day and night "morning" sickness for 20 weeks, migraines, and then a sudden 60 lbs. weight gain in the last 8 weeks of pregnancy. It wasn't until I was at the hospital, things suddenly going wrong, quickly having a C-section, and hearing him cry for the first time. It was at that moment, holding my surprisingly big baby boy, that I knew I was meant to do this. I wanted more kids, as many kids as I could handle (turns out my body can only handle 3). I never went through the new mommy struggle of life changing and missing out on spending time with friends. I've never thought twice about it and never looked back.
When I say Max made me the person I am today, I'm not joking. Before I had kids, I had never cooked a meal. I made my first box of macaroni and cheese when Max was almost a year old. I had never flipped a pancake before I had Harrison. I never knew I could actually make oatmeal from the can of oats (true stuff. Scary huh???) instead of a packet. I had never spent hours reading and researching the healthiest foods for kids, activities, health news, the safest baby gear, the pacifier that won't screw up teeth, the best educational toys, the best clothes and shoes. No, I had spent my time in bars, shopping (okay, that hasn't changed about me), throwing my free time into friends, my boyfriend, partying, reading books for fun, going to movies, and sleeping. I NEVER thought, not in a million years, that almost six years after finding out I was pregnant,  I'd own my own business. A daycare at that (I would have laughed, nervously, in your face). I never thought that I'd devout my time to homemade play dough recipes, cooking, baking, laundry, and doing everything I possibly could for my kids. I never thought much past myself.
Every so often, Matt and I will throw out the line "if we didn't have kids..." but it doesn't get much past that. I cannot envision a life that doesn't involve my children. Thinking of a life without them would be....well, sad. Boring. Selfish.
I imagine this is how it is for a woman who chooses not to have children. She cannot envision a life with children and is perfectly happy this way. I do not fault anyone for not wanting to have kids (I say this because I know people who do) because I was once one of those people. I do fault people for questioning other's decisions on this subject. This is a personal decision, not one people should have opinions on. So, do I have it all? I certainly don't have it all, but I've got all I want and need and more. That's all I can really ask for.