Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture

Is Having Children All That It’s Cracked Up to Be?

devil child

I’m currently reading Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores The Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Feministing founder and four-time author Jessica Valenti.

I had been eyeing Why Have Kids? after reading a 2012 Daily Beast review, and am happy to finally sink my teeth into the book.

Nearly finished, I’ve been enjoying the book immensely. Though many of Valenti’s points are rehashed over and over, she lends a thought-provoking read.ย  Whether or not you agree with her observations (she’s had a lot of controversial ones over the years), you can’t help but respect that she’s one of the few who has publicly asked, “Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Now, wait a minute! Is having kids all that it’s cracked up to be?”

As a person who is terrified of having children due to: 1.) anxiety issues 2.) fears of giving up my freedom and 3.) being an only child of divorced parents, Valenti is able to articulate my thoughts and then some about my concerns of becoming a parent. She cites numerous studies showing that individual’s overall happiness goes down after having kids, though she’s quick to point out that it’s not the kids themselves that make people unhappy- it’s due to what modern parenting has become. Gone are the days where people birthed children for extra hands on the farm and instead, as Valenti points out, people are having kids to complete them, to have someone unconditionally love them, and in the fear of making sure this precious product of ours is the most perfect it can be, we stress over every single detail to the point where we neglect ourselves.

I’ve seen this type of parenting firsthand. Mothers who buy their children state of the art strollers, enlist the help of personal chefs to cook organic baby food and who breastfeed or sleep with their babies well past their toddler years (Valenti goes into great lengths about Attachment Parenting). These are the same mothers I’ve seen have public nervous breakdowns over small details because they are insanely stressed out. Stressed because every single aspect of their child-rearing has to be perfect and when it’s not, everything falls apart. One mom in particular fell to the ground, screaming and crying, when her two year-old daughter tripped on the sidewalk. The two year-old was absolutely fine, but the mother wasn’t. This is the same mother who would grab her child and shield it away from you if you coughed. On the reverse side, I’ve seen parents, much like my high school friend Steve, whose parenting I highly respect, who have a hands-on, but relaxed approach to parenting. His 2 1/2 year-old daughter has grown up running around their urban farm, picking up chickens, helping Dad with the garden, running around naked, falling down and getting back up with no fear whatsoever. I will say this: my friend’s 2 1/2 year-old is way more social and thoughtful than the previously mentioned child.

As a childless person it is not my place to judge which style of parenting is better, but all I know is that the children and parents in setups where the children don’t consume every single second of the day AND every ounce of mental space and energy seem much more relaxed, and therefore happy.

Valenti has received criticism for her book, as have the individuals she cites who have also questioned modern day parenting. She speculates that mothers who may have an adverse reaction to what she and others are saying is due to insecurity. Though I did not have an adverse reaction to her words, it did make me think about my own insecurities, my fears of being an anxious mother. Who wouldn’t want their children to be the most absolutely perfect creation on this planet? Who wouldn’t want to feed their kids homemade organic baby food? Who wouldn’t fall apart if they saw your precious cargo fall on the sidewalk? Who doesn’t want to strictly breastfeed? Baby wear? Buy expensive strollers and toys that we know won’t kill their babies?

I highly recommend this read for mothers and non-mothers alike. What I took away from the book is that Valenti is not trying to scare non-mothers out of having children or shun attached mothers, but rather to have us rethink modern day parenting. If we don’t, we’re going to gravely stress out ourselves, our marriages and most importantly, our children.

So, people with kids, tell me: Is having kids worth it?

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22 Comments

  • Reply Sara June 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    one word: YES.

    i got pregnant unexpectedly. it wasn’t planned, there were no “hallmark worthy” moments when i revealed this to my significant other. we both pretty much avoided the topic for the first five months of my pregnancy. i didn’t know what kind of mother i was going to be; if i was going to feel that “maternal instinct” at all. i can honestly say that i did not feel a connection to my baby until i was holding her in my arms. does that make me a bad mother? i don’t know. but what i do know is that this little girl has made me probably the best person i have ever been. i’m more task-oriented, more compassionate, more relaxed (believe it or not) and less selfish. it’s hard NOT to get sucked into modern parenting, but i had a damn good example in my mother to know when to ease up and not stress about the little things.

    …and when the doctor told us that there was a lump in our child’s abdomen, and that further tests needed to be done, it only solidified how much this little girl has changed me. i’m ashamed that i cried tears of sorrow when i first found out that i was pregnant, because i tear up just thinking about my baby not getting better.

    is it worth it? you bet.

    • Reply George September 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      So… it’s worth it because you had a baby who turned out to have health issues that made you cry?

      I very much hope your baby is ok, but you’re not convincing me I should have one…

  • Reply Hollyann June 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I believe it’s worth having a child, IF you want a child.

    Before I got pregnant, I was a bit scared of other people’s kids (my mother was a scary mother), and I didn’t think I’d ever really want to be a mom (because I worried I’d turn out like her). The pregnancy wasn’t planned, the reaction I had when I saw the flicker on the ultrasound screen that was my baby, wasn’t planned, the protective instincts that kicked in, weren’t planned. After learning about the pregnancy and deciding to be a mom, I read tons of books and blog posts and took classes on babies and child rearing/ parenting, but I basically almost forgot to take care of myself. So, when I went into labor, I wasn’t really prepared for it. Somehow, I’d convinced myself that it would be a magical experience. I guess it was in some ways: an excruciating miracle that took the girl I was and turned her into a real live Mommy.

    Having a kiddo isn’t easy. None of it’s easy at first. It gets better, but just about the time you get used to one phase, they’re out of it and on to something new. I actually kind of like that part, I am NEVER BORED with the kiddo. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As far as being like my mother goes, it turns out, knowing what I DON’T want to be like, is better in some ways than knowing exactly how I want to be. There are these invisible lines that I know I can’t cross if I want to be better than the woman who raised me. It gives me the freedom to explore better ways of being a parent.

    I worry about my son. I worry about what the world is like for him, I worry about the future, I worry about him getting sick or hurt, I worry about all kinds of things. I think it’s healthy to be a little worried. It’s when you let the worry paralyze you or your child, that it becomes a problem.

    The great thing about my kiddo, is that somehow, he’s been instilled with incredible self-confidence. When he falls down, he’s always quick to reassure me that he’s fine… unless he’s not, then he’s quick to come get some hugs. He likes to tell me that he’s being careful, even when it looks like he’s not. I’ve started telling him, “You can do [that dangerous-looking, but not life-threatening, thing]. However, if you hurt yourself, I’ll help you, but I won’t feel sorry for you.” Then he has the choice. Sometimes, he reconsiders and doesn’t do it, sometimes, he adjusts the way he’s doing whatever it is, and sometimes, he just plows right ahead and takes his consequences. He’s braver than me and I don’t want to curb that, and besides, the joy he takes in his accomplishments is inspiring.

    Anyway, the best parts are (in no particular order): hugs, kisses, holding hands, sharing, snuggling, imaginative conversations, remembering your inner child – so you can identify with your very real own child, pillow forts, reading kid’s books, watching kid’s movies, getting to be the guide to the world for someone (I remember the first time kiddo had chocolate!), and there are many many more.

    So far (Kiddo is 4), the worst parts are: poop, pee, drool, boogers, barf, tantrums (although Kiddo is pretty good about being calm), not being able to tell what’s wrong, not being able to fix everything that’s wrong even if you know what the problem is, and saying goodbye to your kiddo when they go off to school or you have to go to work, etc.

    <3!

  • Reply Lauren June 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I’ve been really conflicted on this lately….

    I’ve found myself wondering if I want to have kids because that’s what I’m “supposed to do”, or if I want to have kids because it’s what I truly feel like I want to do with my life…..

    I know I will always want a career, and freedom…. I believe my parents did a pretty good job at that… I was the kid at concerts when I was a few months old, they didn’t let it hold them back.

    Then there’s my inlaws who seem to have lost any self identity other than being parents…

    I know what KIND of parent I would want to be… but now I’m trying to figure out if I want to be a parent at all….

  • Reply Jenz June 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I freaking HATED being a parent.

    But they eventually grow up and move the hell out of your house. At least mine did. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    If I hadn’t been a parent, I wouldn’t have this awesome person in my life. Maybe I would have had something else equally awesome. Or better. Or a whole lot worse. You won’t ever know what would have happened.

    This isn’t about that bullshit false choice of career vs kids. But you do only have 24 hours in a day, and you gotta sleep for some of those. If you’re lucky, you can make some conscious choices about what you want rather than just let things happen around and to you.

    I should clarify that my daughter and I have a fabulous relationship. But she still says she’s never going to have kids herself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Reply Stabby August 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you for being honest. I feel a lot of people won’t dare admit that they hated parenting, or even contemplate the idea that there *is* the possibility that their lives could have been equally (but differently) awesome had they not had kids.

      I get the idea behind it. I love my cat dearly and can’t imagine not having her with me for the last 14 years. But that’s because I’ve had her with me for the last 14 years. No one can tell me that had I chosen not to adopt her, my life would be sad and empty, and no one can say the same with kids. Hell, a lot of people have no idea what their OWN lives would be like had they chosen not to have kids, but they feel perfectly free to tell others that without kids they are ‘missing out’ somehow. You may love your husband or wife more than anything on Earth right now, but if you absolutely cannot say that had you not met one another, your life would be emptier, shallower, less fulfilling, less worthy. You just do not know who you may end up with or what you may wind up doing or where you may end up going if [x] were not present in your life. Be it kids, spouses, careers, parents, or anything else imaginable. This ‘you’ll regret it’ game is both ignorant and daft. Everyone is different and there are billions of potential paths through life. No one can dictate yours but yourself.

      I wish people would just realise that your life may be awesome with kids, but that does NOT mean it couldn’t have been equally as awesome without them, and that no one has the right to tell anyone they know how every alternate potential future of their lives is going to be. If someone doesn’t want kids, respect their decision and leave it at that.

  • Reply April (formerly OBG) June 19, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Ugh. I feel goaded into responding to this.

    I was never sure if I wanted kids, for similar reasons that you mentioned. Of course, life happens, and babies happen, and the decision is no longer yours to make (well, it still is, I suppose, but for some of us, it isn’t). Let me honestly say, it’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is awesome, but it’s a never ending, thankless job that requires every ounce of everything you have inside of you every day. Did I mention it never ends? Yeah, there’s rewarding moments and yeah, I would never trade her for anything, but still, there are days when I just want to be ME again. For people like us, becoming a parent isn’t something that we go into so easily. You either need to dive right in and go for it, or… don’t.

    Now let’s address the other issue, attachment parenting. Attachment parenting has gotten a bad rap. That woman you described is a helicopter parent, not a true attached parent. That dad you described sounds more like all the attached parents I know. I’m an attached parent, but it wasn’t a conscious decision I made. I listened to my instincts when it comes to parenting, do what feels the most natural, and hey, low and behold, there’s a name for that sort of thing. Unfortunately, it seems as if those who read the books and make the decision to become an AP parent, they’re the ones who give AP a bad name (kind of like bottled blondes).

    My daughter helps with everything, plays outside, runs around naked (you follow my instagram, you’ve seen the pics), falls ALL THE TIME with little intervention from me, attends beer festivals with us, she goes to DAYCARE (gasp) and eats non-organic food. She’s almost two, and we still breastfeed, we cloth diaper, we cosleep from time to time, I still “wear” her from time to time, and I feed her healthy, natural food. My daughter is highly independent, adventurous, intelligent, and social.

    I wish we knew each other IRL. My daughter and I could give you a new perspective on attachment parenting (which I maintain isn’t something that I label myself as or strive to be, it’s just worked out that that happens to be my natural parenting style). On the other hand, after hanging out with my daughter, you would most likely decide that you do in fact want kids. She’s just that cool (many of our coupled, childless friends have confessed to this). So, maybe you wouldn’t want to hang with my girl. That’s cool too.

  • Reply Mei June 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I’ve been working through this conundrum myself lately. My hormones seem to want kids, and sometimes I really really want to. Then, suddenly, I’m absolutely terrified of every part of the idea. It’s such a huge change, and what happens if I don’t like it? I’d be trapped. I mean it took me almost 10 years of living with my guy before I would even marry him.
    Plus, the hubby seems to be permanently stuck in the terrified mode. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I hate myself for wanting to have one because I don’t know if I want it for the right reasons. But then I hate myself for not wanting a kid, thinking that it is selfish of me to not want to complicate life any more….. UGGGGGGGGG!

  • Reply Leigh Ann June 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    This is such a loaded subject. Current parents will say that yes, it is worth it, even though when you’re around us, all we do is tell our horror stories. They drive you mad at times (one of mine is currently going back and forth between hitting my “1” key and pinching my cheeks) and make you question your sanity. No one can make me more mad than my children. But then they hug me tight and tell me randomly that they love me. They do silly dances not to make you laugh, but because they are just so ridiculous. And in the long run, it’s worth it when you have a person that you hopefully enjoy being around as an adult. That’s the goal at least.

  • Reply Vince July 1, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    We hadn’t heard of the Attachment Parenting when we first had kids. Our first was born in Hawaii and the culture there has no room for that sort of thing. It was in shock when we came back to the mainland to see the insane strollers, shopping cart protectors and what have you.

    We have found parenting to be a joy and we raise our kids with two simple things in mind.

    1). They are living in our world and they must learn to thrive in it.

    2). We desire them to be a joy to us and a joy to other people.

    Where I see young parents failing (and loosing a shit ton of sleep) is, from the very beginning, they alter their child’s universe in attempt to “give them the best”. It starts innocently enough with plug protectors, cabinet locks and various child proofings. Next thing you know you’re a total basket case parent and you have a child with no sense of boundaries and an f’ed up sense of what the world really is…which makes them so insecure and unable to cope with basic life situations (parent and child).

    I can’t tell you how many times attachment parents I know have had to bail on their entire day because their kid “had a rough night last night”.

  • Reply s July 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    yes

  • Reply Justin July 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    When I worked at a preschool I saw parents whose stress over being “perfect” was negatively impacting their kid. It’s hard to communicate that the best thing they could do for their child at was to chill out ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yeah I’m also worried about giving up a lot of my freedoms when I have a kid, but in the end for me it’s all about having someone there when you’re older and seeing them raise a family of their own. They gotta keep my old ass company!

  • Reply Mary C August 30, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Yes and No.

    The only thing you have to know is YOUR limits. Because take the most irritated, irate, frustrated moment of your life. And amplify it 500 times. They know you. Hell, they’re part of you. That little darling will test your sanity, temper until you snap. They will also make it all better.

    I’m not a cliche gal. It’s tough. It tests and changes your relationship with your other half. You may need counseling to make it through to age 3. My mom always told me a healthy amount of fear and questioning is a sign of wisdom. It’s when you allow those fears and questions to control your ability to make a decision that you’re on a dangerous path.

    So, I say….do it or don’t do it. Close your eyes. Shut off the world. And picture your life 35 years from now. Edge of retirement/retired. Who sits with you? If nobody’s there and you’re okay with that..
    If you’re surrounded by family, friends, kids, grandkids, then..

    Sometimes you have to do something you didn’t think you’d want to to get where you want to go.

    Cliche and advice…out.

  • Reply Justin Goldberg September 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    It’s all about THREE CRITICAL considerations folks:

    1. The money
    2. The Timing (of having a child, and if more than one, the time in between births
    3. and it’s all about your spouse!!!!

    I have THREE beautiful children – would defend them to the death, love them to pieces.

    BUT… it’s easily been the most misjudged decision of my life or my wife’s life by about 10,000%.

    My wife is a great mother and a great person. But everyone changes under the stress of parenthood, and people make different choices under pressure than they would normally. Having children means less time for work, for sex, for sleep, for ANYTHING! They are all consuming — unless you have the money to hire help. Forget about the kindness of family. No family is kind enough to help alleviate enough pressure. How much will this cost? In LA where I live, it’s now down to about 15,000 in cash per year, and this represents an all time low. When our kids were little, it was more like 50K between the different levels of help, cleaning, activities, classes. And this is not even school!

    There’s no way you can determine what your partner will act like when they have kids. IT WILL CHANGE THEM. YOU WILL NOT RECOGNIZE YOUR SPOUSE’s personality.

    And maybe I’m just cynical, maybe you have the right person for the journey. But if you’re wrong, you can NEVER change it. Sure you can part ways, but you can never escape being a parent and all that it encompasses.

    My wife desperately wanted to have three kids. I always knew in my bones she was easily frazzled and that this would be possibly a challenge she was not really up to, despite an unusual desperation to make it happen.

    When our second daughter arrived only 18months later from the first, it soon became clear that the first child demonstrated real resentment of a new baby taking over as the center of attention. They are friendly now but fight like crazy, the first always deeply driven to anger by the existence of the second.

    The third, our boy, at least was 5 years later. Parents always think they can manage children with good parenting skills. NONSENSE. Children are people, they come out as they are: Happy, Mad, Gay, Straight, Musical, Talented, Geniuses or Slow. You can shift your fate about 2-10%, but you get what you get. And there are just some people that will not get along.

    I don’t think it ever occurred to my wife that our children might not all get along well or that even her little babies would grow a few years later into real people that might have personalities that wouldn’t naturally flow together in harmony. We all love each other and function pretty well on the whole, but it is now crystal clear that the best laid plans can be tossed into the garbage by fate and whatever is hiding in your dna.

    Sometimes are kids have both of our worst characteristics that we each have and hate about ourselves, only it’s combined with both. Sometimes they exhibit the best sides of our personalities and it’s great. But my point is you cannot manage this, you cannot expect it will all work out. You can’t expect that people you work with or your boss or your family or ANYONE will care that you have the responsibilities related to family. You can’t expect how your spouse will deal with the stress of less money, less time, less sleep, fewer friends, handling their work or career with a 30% chunk of their focus gone forever.

    Nothing you will ever do in your life even comes CLOSE to the commitment and relentlessly challenging equations posed to modern parents. I always laugh when pet people try to explain that they are just like parents practically, it’s such a big responsibility having a dog, dogs or cats. Plz! I can have an entire zoo in my living room and it would be easier than managing 3 children in 2013!

    I used to joke with my wife that I refused to have children with her unless she could pass an acid test and prove that she was able to gracefully handle the rigors of unfamiliar challenges. She thought I was crazy and has always been afraid of psychedelic drugs so she refused…

    I love her and love our family but…

    Big mistake !

    • Reply Diana November 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      As the mother of 3, ages 27, 25 and 21, I LOVED this so much! Just wanted you to know I can relate 100%. Diana

  • Reply Jonas September 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    In today’s American society, it seems like people want the blessing of kids without the complications of kids. But that doesn’t happen. Blessings are complicated – more money means more complicated taxes, more skills and education bring more complicated work, nicer cars have more complicated systems, etc. Kids are perhaps the greatest blessing of them all, and they are maybe the biggest complications. If you live your life with your kids focused on all the complications they bring, it will steal the joy of parenting right out of you.
    The thing that will allow you to enjoy your kids and get through the complications is having a greater goal in life that your kids fit into, rather than life goals that kids will derail. If your goal is to get as high as possible in your career, have a clean house and sparkling car interior, then having kids will only complicate and derail that. If, however, your goal is to raise up a better future for your city, grow a family business, or have a long-reaching impact into your community, then kids fit into those goals (and are actually vital to them). Not surprisingly, if your life goals are you-sized (your career, your wealth, your stuff, your lifetime) kids don’t fit very well and may derail your dreams. If your life goals are bigger than you (community, city, legacy, religious), kids fit and, while they will add complications, they will also add even greater benefits.

  • Reply Jill September 2, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Yes.
    I hadn’t really thought about whether or not it was worth it until I had one of my own. The most surprising thing that makes it worth it to me is experiencing the world again. Showing your kids everything for the first time is the closest thing I can get to that new wonderment feeling. It makes my heart swell, with happiness and sometimes sadness, to witness their experiences.

  • Reply Maggie September 2, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Yes. It is hard sometimes, and you give up some things, but not everything. You don’t have to give up who you are, you just have to figure out how to make it work. The mistake so many parents are making is changing their own lives so drastically to make everything perfect for their kid(s). I have 5 kids, my baby girl born one week ago today. They are wonderful. Not perfect, but wonderful.. to me. They fight, they cry, they whine, they bicker, they get sick, they get hurt, they snuggle, they laugh, they sing, they dance, they play, they help, they say “sorry”, and they say “it’s okay” when I have to say sorry.

    I homeschool my kids, so I spend nearly every hour of every day with them, and this was my choice. I love it, because I still take time for me. I don’t have a career, but I gave that up marrying into the Army any way. Maybe one day I will have a career. But, my body can only make babies for so many years, I’m pretty sure I can work in graphic design or whatever I go back to well into my old age, should I so choose.

    Right now, I’m mom. And.. I take time to spend time out with my friends, and yes I take my kids to soccer and ballet, and you know what? I make sure I go to ballet classes too. We all need balance and the kids don’t get to have all the time for their schedules, my time and schedule are as important. So yes, I’m very happy with the way things are, and I’m happy to have my own little “team”. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Reply Madam S September 3, 2013 at 8:01 am

    YES!
    Maybe I’m lucky, because i never doubted it. Maybe it’s because I have gotten so much love and happiness from my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc. I know my parents made plenty of mistakes, but I’m still thankful for their loving care.

    We have two sons, now 14 & 17, and I love being with them. I’m not so much a baby-person, but I remember many priceless moments from that time. Work and daycare was pretty tough when they were small, but having that on/off time was good for us. They were free of our bugging and we were happy to see them afterwards. Later, I found that youth sports were much more interesting than watching pros on TV!

    I think we sometimes do non-parents a disservice. We gripe about the challenges, but the non-parents don’t hear enough about the priceless moments. Don’t we do the same (share complaints more than joys) about work, partners and family, too? Like other endeavors, you get out what you put in. And being neurotic isn’t required! I always say, people raised kids in caves and humans still survived and prospered, so don’t overthink it. This is the #1 problem these days, overthinking and expecting perfection.

    Someone told me having children was the most hopeful of acts, showing optimism for the future. I also remember the commercial (for Peace Corps?) about “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” I’ve become a better person, learned management skills, and enjoyed uncountable priceless, happy times, too.

    On one hand, if you must calculate cost/benefit, then maybe parenthood isn’t for you: get a dog or a mutual fund. It isn’t all about you. On the other hand, raising children also involves paying back your parents’ investment, and “paying forward” to the next generation which will be your co-workers, service providers, and be responsible for your world in the near future.

    It’s impossible to actually calculate, but I truly believe the good times outweigh the bad, and it’s not even close. I think that’s proven by the fact that we keep doing it. Don’t believe it’s just ignorance or lack of birth control. 7 billion people can’t be wrong!

  • Reply Sarah September 7, 2013 at 11:26 am

    1) It’s beyond ironic to read a large paragraph filled with judgment of parents (a subject you know nothing about) followed by a paragraph in which the author says it’s not her place to judge parents.

    2) Again with the judgment – you have absolutely no idea what is going on beyond the brief seconds you observe from afar. The 2 yr old that tripped…what if her parents are awaiting the results of a an MRI for a possible brain tumor (my cousin was diagnosed w/ one as a child) that causes symptoms like unsteadiness? What if her seeing her 2 yr old trip reaffirmed some of her greatest fears? Interesting you judge a fancy stroller…do you not own anything you’d consider fancy? A purse, perhaps? An expensive hair cut and color? But apparently that is ok…

    3) Absolutely – having a child is all it’s cracked up to be. It’s also extremely difficult and requires sacrifices you never imagined being willing to endure in your childless days. Everything changes & you miss parts of your old life…but you would never be willing to give your child away to have what you used to have. There is an in-grained evolutionary/biological urge to reproduce…though some may feel it to a stronger degree than others, certainly, and some may not feel it at all. That being said, after getting a glimpse of your personal thoughts on the subject, I would suggest that minimally now would not be the time for you *individually* to consider having children. It may not ever be a good idea for you. And that’s ok. Much better to accept your unwillingness or inability to put the child ahead of your own wants/needs than to have a child b/c you think you should with the child suffering the consequences.

  • Reply Sara September 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Yet another article that uses the term “attachment parenting” in a lazy and inaccurate way. (Perhaps the author of the book mentioned does too; I haven’t read it.) Attachment parenting, as one previous commenter mentioned, is not helicopter parenting. It is not being worried about every little thing that happens to your kids or buying a lot of expensive stuff/organic baby food. It’s been around for centuries and is still the (unnamed, un-trumpeted) norm in many other cultures. Attachment parenting is an extension of the belief that parenting is natural, you can follow your instincts, and that it should be a fairly pleasant experience for everyone concerned. We’ve raised our daughter this way and it has helped me answer the question posed above in the affirmative: yes, have kids if you’re interested in having them. It’s a lot of fun and a new adventure, and the best parts of your life don’t have to change at all.

  • Reply Courtney September 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Absolutely. Luckily, I have always known I wanted kids. The inability to bear children was one of my greatest fears. I have two boys under 2 now and am ready to try for another. However, having kids changes everything. Time, sleep, energy, patience, dynamics of the household, EVERYTHING. You have to be willing and ready to accept the changes, no matter how unknown they are. As Sarah above said, judging one’s parenting is never appropriate unless you know the story. That falling child you witnessed may have hemophilia, who knows?

    Anyway, despite the changes and sacrifice, the kids are absolutely worth it. They push you to the edge, but somehow fill your heart greater than you ever knew possible. You’ll cry, get fat, have a messy house, fight with your spouse, give up drinking, date night and vacations. But somehow, SOMEHOW, these little beings bring out the best in you and overwhelm you with such unconditional love, that its worth it. I guess that biology though. If we didn’t love our kids, our species probably wouldn’t do so well.

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