8/14/2005

Why did you have kids?

I stumbled across Adrianne's Stay at home non-mom blog the other day. Interesting blog. I don't agree with most of what she says, and even drafted an angry response to some of her stuff to be posted here. But I decided to let the post sit for a day, re-read it today, and now want to talk about something different. She has two posts that are particularly controversial, I guess you would say, and I was originally going to talk about her post "Stay at home mom=slave" . (No, that's not meant in a cute, 'I need to vent about my life' way. She actually thinks we are slaves. Yeah, I know, whatever.) The post I wanted to focus on was the one titled Why I will never have children. She lists her reasons for not having children, and ends her post with this: "After reading this the majority of people will scream that I am selfish, because our society has taught us that not sacrificing and having children is in fact selfish. Well I think it is more selfish to have children if you cannot take care of them properly, to fulfill your own needs, to live vicariously through them and so on. So before anyone calls me selfish perhaps they should examine why they had children themselves. Of course it was for selfish reasons as well. At least I am honest about being selfish and don’t try to give anyone a line like “I wanted to bring life into this world.”" Instead of drafting my own reponse, I thought I'd throw the question out to all you fellow slaves. Why did you have kids? What were your reasons? Did you do it because you felt it was your divine duty, a fulfillment of your divine heritage? Did you do it because holding your newborn nephew made you think it would be fun? Did you do it because you felt you had no choice? I'm interested. Tell me why you started your families, and don't leave anything out. It can be for as many selfish or silly reasons as you want, because really, at the end of the day, I don't think it matters why we chose to have a family, but rather what we do with the choice once that kid shows up. That's just me, though. And what do I know? I'm just a stupid slave.

43 Comments:

Anonymous JKS said...

I was never baby hungry and I never thought other people's kids were just so adorable.
I had children because:
1. I knew I would love my children
2. I knew it was a wonderful challenge for my husband and I to do together
3. I knew that all the work would be worth it

I just barely read that post--first time I'd seen her blog. I didn't see a place to comment.
My comments would have been:
1. Raising children doesn't make you a bad wife or mean you don't get to hang out with your husband. It is a great "project" to do together as a couple.
2. Some of us think raising children is fun and interesting. A couple years are heavy on the diapers, but you also get years heavy on hugs. Watching the world through children's eyes means you get to do so many things, appreciate so many things as you share the world with your children.
3. We aren't all self-sacrificing martyrs. Some parents have other priorities too. I'm an individual. I'm a wife. I still love to read, talk on the phone with my best friend, I still love Jane Austen, I still love history, I'm still good at math, I still have fun with my husband. Being a good mother takes work, of course, but so do so many things if you want to be a success at it.
I could go on but I've got to log off.

8/14/2005 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous tracy m said...

Oh holy cow... where to tackle that one? Not only do I not consider myself a slave, I feel priviledged to have a husband who was with me when I wanted to stay home with our kids; He thought it was a good idea, even though when I quit work, we gave up the larger income.

Why I had kids (and am still having kids)...I have pondered that before, and never have come up with a pat, sound-bite answer. I never went crazy over other peoples babies, (while I did always like the way they smelled!) and I never really even had much patience with others' kids (I do now!) when I was Career-Chick. But I always knew that I would have babies; it was woven into the fundamental fabric of who I am. It wasn't even an option not to, and I dont mean that in an "I'm-so-repressed" kind of way. What I mean is, my children were already waiting for me, and I already loved them before they came to me. After the birth of our second son, my husband and I looked at each other and said "Well? Is this it?" and we both immediately felt that no, it was not. There was another child waiting and it was the most distinct and powerful impression I have ever felt.

Is there some degree of selfishness to having kids? Maybe, while you are pregnant with your first one... but reality hits quick and hard. Being a mother and raising kids is the hardest job EVER, but it also the best job ever. I love my kids and share with them all that I have. It would have been easier and my carpet would have been cleaner if I had not had children, but I simply cannot imagine that. And who needs clean carpet anyway; that freaks me out!

8/15/2005 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kitten Wife said...

I had children because being a mom is what I wanted to do with my life--I could think of no other arena where I would make a more excellent contribution to the well-being of humanity. I felt that I could and would do a good job at mothering and therefore I should. I enjoy many aspects of being a mother and find it rewarding in the ways I value most. That said, I do still find being a stay-at-home mom challenging or unpleasant at times.

8/15/2005 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous tracy m said...

"The couple that was once madly in love, and had many different things to discuss may now fall apart, as the housewife, realizes her day is in the home. She is not called upon to build a better future for society. Instead her domain is the clean for her husband just as his maid would, as unfortunate as this sounds what is the difference between a stay at home wife, and a nanny/maid? Clealry the nanny or maid get paid holidays required each year by law, as well they get a paycheck maid out to them, to which they can spend at their own descreation. I know if I ever care for my own children, or for the house my husband and I share I will charge him what a nanny would charge him, and I would expect to get breaks, holidays, vacation pay, and retirement savings program."

Im sorry. The more I read the madder I get. What in the world is more worth while and contributes more to society than bringing up decent, responsible, intelligent human beings?? "IF" she cares for her children she will charge her husband? How, exactly, is that a partnership? I am stymied, and can only write it off to Polical Correctness, the idea that feminism is fair, and her youth. Eeewww.

8/15/2005 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Kelleesplace said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/15/2005 02:33:00 AM  
Blogger Kelleesplace said...

I began by reading why I had kids, but I was so taken back by the Stay At Home Mom=Slave that I had to comment. Somewhere deep in the memories of your childhood lies resentment. And a great misunderstanding of the influence. You were raised in a childcare center with other children who grew to believe that Money was the most important thing in life and that money dictated how important you were and how much you knew and at the end of the day the Mother with the most money was the happiest. This must be so, other wise why would your Mom leave you there everyday.
Now this is coming from a child’s point of view. As adults we know that there are a zillion reasons why women work outside the home. But a child only sees the money issue. How do I know this? Because I was raised by a career mother in the 60’s no less when working mothers were not the norm
In the article Mom=Slave it is sad that you have somehow come to believe that women live their lives through their husbands if they don’t make money. There we have it again. If we don’t make money we are less of a person. we are a slave.
During the Civil War the surface issue was that the war was about slaves. But the issue was never about money. The lack of money did not make most of them slaves; the lack of freedom made them slaves. So the issue here should be that you feel you would have no freedom if you chose to be a stay at home mom. The other question should be. What on earth are you doing with a guy who demands dinner be on time, the house be spotless, and he allows you only enough money to put gas in the mower when you mow the lawn?
If you were raised by a career Mom and you are a career women yourself then it has to have been since at least the 70’s since you had a notion of what a stay at home Mom is. Girl you are in for a treat because the homes we have are no longer the Leave it to Beaver homes of TV past.
I choose to be a stay at home Mom. Maybe because I wanted a better life for my children then what day care can offer?
I expect my husband to work hard so that he can provide for the monetary needs of our family. He has never decided how much money I need. I decide that. Do I stay in a budget, yes. The same as if I worked for the all mighty dollar. I have never felt that I was dependent on him. He gives all he has freely and I give all I have in return because we love each other. A good Mother would never cater to all the demands of a child and just because I am a stay at home mom does not mean that I hover over my children 24/7 and never let them find their way in this world. You are right the self-esteem of all humans depends greatly on the amount we feel we can give to society, service is the key to being happy and feeling that every little thing we do does not have to be weighed against money. And I think it is very important that we never stop learning. Education is something we can never get enough of. But you feel that the greatest contribution to society is what is done outside the home. Because that’s where the great husband goes to get happiness and you are stuck at home with the hum drum role of cleaning house and raising kids. The almighty job of repetition. Another clue that you could have never been a stay at home mom or you would know that not one moment is the same as the next. The greatest contribution that can be given to this society is a better generation to lead us into the future. These children can not do this if all they are taught is that the almighty dollar is the most important thing in the world. Stay at home mothers do not get the respect deserved because the career women write bogs saying that staying home makes us 2nd hand citizens. What do most career mothers do with a week’s vacation? They go home and spring clean the house because it hasn’t been done since the last vacation.
Good thing I am confident that I have made the best choice. I chose to stay at home and raise my 7 children. Once in a while I sleep in, but most days I’m up early just like the career women. I drive to the park to watch the ducks float down the stream, and teach my children how to ride a bike or throw a ball or look for garbage so that they learn to take better care of their health and their earth. We go shopping for food so that they learn that what they eat cost money so we shouldn’t waste it. They learn about sweeping floors and weeding gardens and chasing dogs and cats. They play with friends while I work on a quilt that will someday be a family heirloom. They learn to cook so that they can be independent and care for themselves. I call on my friends who are sick or just want to chat. I slip out after dark with my girlfriend and spray speed limits on the road with paint so that cars will slow down and it will be a safer place for children. I take my neighbor chicken soup because it would make her day. And teach my children that service to others isn’t about what someone will pay me in return. I run through the sprinklers with my P.J.s on and my children laughing because time passes so quickly for them and I don’t want to waste it behind a desk wondering who is laughing with my child or if they are laughing.
If you think being a stay at home Mom is naming yourself the chief cook and bottle washer then sister look again. You are the chief everything. I’m not the best Mom in the world but I am their Mom. And when its all said and done it won’t be about money. Because I don’t need money to show me who I am. It is said that no man at the end of his life wishes he had spent more time at the office. I haven’t regretted one day of choosing to be….. The Keeper of a Nation.
Our future depends on how well rounded this generation being raised is. If the future Mothers, Fathers, Doctors, CEO’s truck drivers and Airline Pilots of this nation are raised on childcare and pizza. Then we will have finally watched the ushering in of a total Chaos
Staying home and raising my children and making my home a happy one kicking up my feet to read a good book, going where I want, when I want, and with whom I want. Means I’m free, free to choose what I do with my life and what I do with my children’s lives. I share this life with my husband because we are a family. And Families are Forever.

8/15/2005 02:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

That site is interesting and eye opening. She is the kind of feminist voice that makes people look at normal feminists as a bunch of crazies. Yuck.

Anyway, Heather, your question "Why did you have kids?" is so thought provoking and kind of hard to answer. I guess motherhood is something that was woven into my life's goals as a child. I wasn't taught that girls can only become moms when they grow up, but I grew up in a good and flawed family and I wanted to have my own someday. I saw my mom struggle and do her best as a mom and I just loved her and wanted to be like her. She is so intelligent, funny, well educated, a great decorator, pursued graduate courses in my growing-up years, and eventually began teaching high-risk teenagers when I was in high school. I think wanting to have kids comes from having a good childhood and good parents, especially a good mom, as role models.

When we first got married and were in a BYU married student ward, we caught the baby bug, but were unable to join in that baby frenzy and went through about 3 1/2 years of infertility, culminating in treatments that finally brought success. A couple of years into trying to concieve our daughter, I think I lost sight of WHY I wanted to have kids and just began to focus on whether or not we would ever get pregnant and panicking a bit at the thought that it might not ever happen. We are of the lucky ones who did finally concieve. Our daugher is 10 months and the experience of motherhood so far has been far more challenging, stimulating, wonderful and difficult than I could have imagined. Diaper changing is certainly a part of my day, but watching our child learn and think and experience things; and knowing you are really in charge of how this little person evolves, is far more gratifying and overwhelming than any job I've had so far.

Maybe having kids is part selfish and part sacrifice. I like to look at it as a symbiotic relationship. My daughter and I both benefit from each other and my marriage is strengthened as we share the complex job of parenting.

That's a long and wandering answer!

8/15/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I couldn't access that post you alluded to, so I'm out of context here.

I had my first two kids because I was a complete moron. I chose to marry a man with children and paid a lot, in money and physical health, to get my baby girl, Princess Buttgold. Would I do it again? I don't know. Honestly. More for their sake than mine, I might not.

I love my kids, but my life would be easier if there were no people in it.

I can't say, like you, JKS, that it's been worth it. Sometimes it seems that way, more often I am frustrated and full of regrets and pain. Life is hard. I get very tired.

This woman doesn't know that because she's never tried, I'm not going to be mad at her because I don't know what she said.

But I wouldn't go for a blanket condemnation either way. Did I mention that life is hard?

8/15/2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger lchan said...

I'm not going to bother to read the non-mom blog. She's welcome to her opinion - it's her life and there's no rule that says every woman has to be a mother.

We had kids because we wanted them. It's that simple. I knew it would be hard and I hoped it would be great, and it has been both. The first few years really flip your life inside out and upside down, but it's all worth it because of that crazy mama love.

And now that my girls are older, they are so EASY. I have a lot of time to pursue my own thing.

I can't think of anything more worthwhile or fulfilling than taking care of and bringing up another human being. No trip, no freedom, no amount of money would be worth giving up a day with my girls.

8/15/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ana said...

I never conceived of life without kids. I never conceived, either. Becoming a parent was very intentional for me. (Adoptions almost never happen by accident!) The reasons I had are complex and not all the best ones. I felt like becoming a mother was an important part of being a woman. I felt like I had some kind of mother-energy inside me with no place to go. I needed a child to give my love to.

Now that I've been doing this for almost 6 years, there are better reasons to be a mom. Watching and helping a child grow and accomplish things is the most fulfilling experience I can imagine. Every step brings amazing joy.

I couldn't have comprehended this before I became a mom. I wouldn't expect our friend the non-mom to really get it, either. But I think parenthood is arranged by God, to give us a little taste of his joy -- his work and his glory.

Not that it's all peaches and cream, whether you're staying at home or not. (I've done both.) But I am really sad for any woman who chooses to miss out on that.

8/15/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I wanted to post my comment directly on Adrienne's post, but she's turned the comments off. So, I'll post what I was going to say to her here.

There is a lot of truth to the feminist views Adrienne champions, because, throughout history, women have been (and are) treated horribly by men. I think this is why many young women are so enthralled with the kind of feminism Adrienne writes about in her post, because, in many ways, feminism empowers women and who wants to become a slave if you can help it?

But to completely reject your ability to bear children just because you are afraid of becoming a "slave" is tragic, because then, in my opinion, you're giving in to your fears, and allowing other people to unduly influence your life choices.

Your life is YOURS, not a scenario out of a textbook or case study, and you can construct relationships with your husband and your family where you can experience the joys of having children, while retaining your independence and freedom.

You don't have to be afraid of becoming a slave, because you have the ability to protect yourself from enslavement (and, from reading your posts, I don't think you've married someone who would enslave you anyway, even if you wanted him to).

Is having a family worth the sacrifice? Many women say yes, some say no (or if they don't say it, you can imply it from their actions).

You seem to already have chosen to live the rest of your life without children, and to share your love with your husband and your cute dogs. This is a choice you can make, mostly thanks to the pioneering efforts of women who came before you.

But, I'd be interested to hear from you in another five or ten years, when you have had more time to reflect on your views, and to appreciate the beauty of life, love, and sacrifice for those you love.

I'm not saying that you should change your mind about having children, but I am saying that you shouldn't choose a child-free life just because you are afraid of becoming a slave and losing your identity. You have the power to change the course of history as you see it, and to set an example for other women who struggle with these issues.

And, by the way, after reading your post on abortion, check out www.feministsforlife.org - I think you'd find it interesting.

8/15/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

annegb,
Your post broke my heart! Those of us with little ones who still have their future in front of them....(a future we imagine to be wonderful) don't have your pain.
God knew perfectly well that none of us would be perfect when we gave birth to our children. Yet he sends us children anyway. Sometimes I think it is "the test." What other experience can help us understand our Heavenly Father's love for us, or his pain when he sees us suffer.
I think that at the end of our parenting life, we are much, much wiser and much closer to who our Heavenly Father wanted us to be.
And as for your children, their chance for eternal life isn't based on what their parents did or didn't do.

8/15/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Kristen J said...

I've read "stay-at-home-non-mom's" posts in the past and thought about commenting. Sometimes you can sometimes you can't.

I have come to the conclusion that some people should never have children due to certain struggles, trials, or personality traits they may face. I have a sister who has one daughter and this little girl has really suffered because of my sister. I have a bro-in-law who chose to never have children and it was the smartest thing he ever did.

That said, I chose to have children because I made a covenant to do so. I'm like most of you, I wasn't baby crazy before I had kids but I'm baby crazy about my own. Are they easy to raise? No, they are some of the most strong-willed, pigheaded people I'v ever met and every once in a while I think that's pretty cool.

I now have a parent that is gravely ill and suffers quite a bit from disease. The people that love, support, and rally around him are his adult children. What a blessing to both my parents during this difficult time in their lives.

One final note: I do appreciate the women who went before me who fought for wonderful things that I take for granted.

What I don't appreciate is feminists who say I am not a contributing member to society unless I have an out of home career. THAT point of view is oppressive to women. I

8/15/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Kristen J said...

Oh yeah, reading those posts at the other blog are actually kind of funny. They had such an unrealistic view of what being a stay-at-home- mom is all about that I had to laugh!

8/15/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

I had kids for what I would now consider the 'wrong' reasons...my biological clock was ticking so loud I couldn't think straight, everybody else was having them, and I thought it would save my marriage.
Now, five years later, I'm divorced, and often struggle to meet the needs, financial, time and otherwise, of my twins. I have a master's degree and am a certified attorney but don't practice or work in my field because the latter doesn't pay enough and the former takes too much time.
And I wouldn't change a thing (okay, a raise would be appreciated ;)). I take time for myself, I take joy where I can and I am thankful everyday for all the blessings, albeit mixed, I have in my life.
The non-mom blog link "could not be found", so I'm taking what was written here as representative, to say 1) if you're so insecure about the effect of having children on your relationship with your husband, don't. I'd recommend against a dog, cat, relationships with friends and family as well, and 2) why are you so defensive? If you don't want kids, don't have any. Please.

8/15/2005 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

You know, let me clarify. I was only 18 when I got pregnant the first time and had no clue where babies came from. That's the moron part. The second time, I knew a little more and really wanted another child. But I was still a moron. Nothing like you guys. Low life is a good term.

After my first husband and that child died, I was in so much pain. One day, during our struggle to have our baby girl, I heard something terrible on the radio, I can't remember and I thought a prayer, "God, I cannot bring another child into this awful world."

And God said, (no lie), "Arlene, this spirit is going to come whether you give birth to it or not. Your worst is better than someone else's best. Do you want to trust that your child will be well taken care of by somebody else?" And that made up my mind.

Now, as I struggle with the anguish and guilt and regret of my two deceased boys, I beat myself up a lot. God says, "you were the best mother you knew how to be at the time. Give it up already." Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

I was directly responsible for the deaths of my children and indirectly responsible, by my bad parenting, for my stepchildren's bad choices.

Now Buttgold, she's a gem. Really, even though I complain, it's that Jewish mother thing, I don't want you to know how much I absolutely worship this child. What would my life be without her?

When we know better, we do better. Maybe that woman (I still haven't read her post) will know better someday. Maybe she had a really awful childhood. But God loves her, too.

And God bless those of you who know as young as you are, that your children are a gift. I learned that lesson late. Learn from my mistakes.

PS I spoil my grandchildren rotten.

8/15/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I heart annegb!!

8/15/2005 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

I fixed the link for the main page of the Non-mom blog. Sorry, there was a typo in the html. Still getting used to this whole computer language thing!

Thanks for all the comments. I agree that this blog makes you think, "Wow, if this is what feminism is all about, count me out." I also agree that saying things like this about the choices women have made, degrading them in that way and then telling them that she is just looking out for her female counterparts can be just as oppressive. And frankly, that bugs.

8/15/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I originally had a child because it was the next step in my life, what I was taught to do. I didn't think much about it. I didn't consider that there was an alternative. I loved the child and felt good about being a mother.I had a second child because I knew I would love the child and felt good about being a mother--and because it was the obvious next step. Didn't consider that I had a choice to make. I did love being a mother. Me and the kids. That felt really good. Honestly, I had trouble with being a mother only and decided to be a good mother I had to address that nagging in my soul. I couldn't put certain things about my life on hold. That is a difficult call. But ultimately you have to listen to those nagging feelings in the recesses of life. I still believe that. I tried to always consider my children in the decisions I made, but there were no obvious next steps any more. I had the third child because I thought I should. And I trusted still I would be a good mother. And I knew I would love my child. Because of how I felt about those first wonderful two. That was a momentous decision. My third child was profoundly handicapped. There was never another easy decision about what to do next. I was right about loving her. Never one day of question about that. But that question which seemed so easy at the beginning: Am I a good mother? Life tends to cast its questions at so many easy answers.

8/15/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

When I was a young, college student of the world, I never wanted or anticipated having children.

It is hard to remember the hows and whys.

Now, I can't imagine what I would be, with out their influence and my quest to do better by them.

Children are a blessing and a challenge and some people, just can't rise up to the occassion, and perhaps... it is thankfully so.

8/15/2005 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

That girl is only 22 years old and she thinks she knows everything. Give her time. Life will straighten her out.

Look how well she cares for her dogs. She might make a good mom someday.

8/16/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Great comments!

I had kids because I got baby hungry, I was commanded to have them, and then after I had one, I felt like there were more up there, specifically a boy. When my second was a girl, I knew I had to have another one to get that boy.

I often wonder if I would have had my little Sweetpea if the boy had come second. I can't imagine likfe without them.

8/16/2005 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Nate Oman said...

I had a kid because I heard that they made nice tax-planning vehicles.

Personally, I thought that stay at home non-mom's blog was vintage college student. Filled with passionate convictions and radical "new" ideas, none of which really hang together especially well.

Sigh! Being young, silly, and pretentious is so much more fun than being old, silly, and pretentious.

8/17/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Not having kids yet myself, I was fascinated to read this. I never considered a life without children. Never being a grandparent and no one to take care of you when you're old sounds really depressing. As we're currently trying I continually ask myself the question - why am I doing this?
The answers are as follows: I feel the time is right for it, It's the next natural step in the life's learning, yes, it's divine, I've worked for a long time and am bored with being a career woman, I've been the sole supporter of my family and hated that too, I'm not getting any younger, have LOVED the time I've had for 3 years of marriage with my husband enjoying just the 2 of us, I don't have the baby bug, don't really like others kids, but look forward to what I view to be a wonderful opportunity and sorry I couldn't leave this life and tell my HF "oh...I didn't want kids"

8/17/2005 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

Wow- is all I can say. I had no idea my post would be taken so seriously, to be honest with you I had no idea anyone ever viewed my blog. In anycase, seeing how I judged stay at home moms, I suppose it's only fair you all placed judgement on me. My way of thinking is all about balancing the sexes. I am sorry if I see things a certain way but I do, but you have to understand I am much younger and have lots of years to work out my opinions, that's the beauty of being young and stupid.

8/18/2005 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

JKS, drop me a line, gardnera@netutah.com.

Or anybody else.

Although, I warn you: I answer e-mails. Compulsively. I sort of wear people out.

Poco, you know, all the reasons you gave for not wanting kids made me long for the single life. Hot tubs, color TVs, books, good food, nobody to bother me, my idea of heaven.

8/18/2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

JKS, drop me a line, gardnera@netutah.com.

Or anybody else.

Although, I warn you: I answer e-mails. Compulsively. I sort of wear people out.

Poco, you know, all the reasons you gave for not wanting kids made me long for the single life. Hot tubs, color TVs, books, good food, nobody to bother me, my idea of heaven.

8/18/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Poco-

You were linked at FMH, which means that probably lots of people are viewing your blog. FMH gets a ton of traffic, and people tend to check back on sidebar links on their favorite blogs. fMhLisa is very good about posting sidebar links to interesting stuff, so, like I said, you probably had a lot of people check it out. You might want to consider enabling the comment feature on your posts, and then debates like this can take place on your blog, and you can answer people's judgements and opinions of what you write on your own turf. It's awfully hard to defend yourself on a Mommy blog.

8/18/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Nate Oman said...

Poco: I am 30. When I was 20, I was convinced that when I was 30, I would be much wiser and smarter than I then was. As it actually happens, however, I am not.

8/18/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

Okay I put the comments section on my website, I hope nobody uses any vulgar language though!

8/18/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I checked out this blog because I am 25, have been married four years, and my husband and I are struggling with the desire to have kids. I can't help at looking at people with mulitple small children and thinking why oh why would ANYONE do that voluntarily?? (I also have a VERY low tolerance for pain and am terrified of pregnancy and child birth!!)

However, I also know my life right now is totally unfulfilling, and I have been thinking alot about having kids lately specifcally because I know HF is prompting me to move that direction. I LOVE kids, I always have (though not really babies...I like kids that will play with me;).

My husband is a student (I had to drop out for financial reasons) and is just know approaching graduation. We have never had means to pay all of our bills, and we have never had any sort of health care - thus it hasn't really been possible.

Lately however (particularly at a fam members wedding in the ward we grew up in) we have felt an intense amount of peer pressure to have kids. People ask us point blank why we don't have children yet. Grandparents and parents lecture us about needing to start a family (as if we have written it off forever). It has made us NOT want to have kids, because we dont ever want to bring children into this world simply because of what others thought of us.

Anyway, I am really glad I read this post as it has helped me really think through this important decision, and I have always wondered what made others take that very scary leap into motherhood.

8/19/2005 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Keryn said...

Definitely don't let peer pressure convince you to have kids. It drives me nuts to see well-meaning people butt in on what is a decision between you, your husband, and the Lord.

I really admire you for giving it a lot of thought, and not writing it off just because it frightens you. Good luck in your decision-making!

8/19/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Sara R said...

I had been married for about a month when I started to get baby hungry. But it took a couple of years to get pregnant, and during that time I thought a lot about why I wanted to be a mother. I was choosing a career at the time too, since the children weren't coming like I hoped. I really wanted a job where I felt I would be of importance and service to the world, and I felt I could be of best service to the world as a mother. I had started to teach in the public schools, and enjoyed the service I could do there, but teachers can't fix everything for an individual child like a mother can.

Also, motherhood (and home schooling), seemed like a "dream job" most suited to my personality. I'm the type of person that enjoys and is good at doing many different things. I changed my major lots of times because it was so hard to choose just one thing. As a mother you have to be good at many different things. For a career you usually have to choose just one thing to do. I also like that as a mother, you don't really have a boss, unless you married the wrong kind of man! Mothers have tremendous freedom to structure their home as they think is right.

8/20/2005 01:02:00 AM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I find it interesting that some of you feel your job as a mother is beneficial to society and that view influenced your decision to become a mother.
I don't think me being a mother affects society at all. I think being a mother benefits me and it benefits my children. Very little selflessness involved.

8/20/2005 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Sara R said...

I definitely think good mothers contribute to society. If, because I don't do my job correctly, my children turn out to be hoodlums, someone has to pick up the slack. The people who pick up the slack nowadays are teachers, social workers, foster parents, the courts and prisons, and so on. Those people do wonderful, necessary work, but they ultimately cannot fix everything that a bad parent might mess up.

(Disclaimer: Not all hoodlums have bad parents. Sometimes parents do the best they can and kids still choose wrong. There are no guarantees on how kids turn out, but I still need to do the best I can now.)

I don't mean to say that I went into motherhood for altruistic reasons. I'm the type of person who thinks too much about what I do and why, and I knew it would drive me crazy to do some job that I didn't think was important for the world. So it is a selfish kind of altruism. And I had other selfish reasons, like not being able to think of another career that suited my personality.

Of course, I'm not changing the whole world. I'll just be adding a few more (hopefully) well-adjusted young people to it. And they will make their own contributions to the world. But I have a huge impact on the lives of those few people. As a teacher, I would influence more children but less directly and with less power. For example, I remember as a substitute teacher being shocked when 3/4 of the fifth-grade class I was teaching said that they had TVs in their bedrooms. Since I was not their mother, I didn't have any power to change that except through persuasion. As a mother, I am not something to everyone in the world, but I am (nearly) everything to a few new little people.

8/21/2005 12:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Caroline H said...

I've been interested in this entire discussion, but particularly in the comments of emily and Anonymous. My husband and I recently celebrated our ninth anniversary, and although we continue to hope, we have not so far been able to have children. There's no doubt that having children would drastically change our lives (as all of you who have them know far better than I do!), and, when we see some of the struggles and heartbreak that family members and friends have experienced in raising children, we both experience moments of sheer terror. Yet we continue to try.

I've often asked myself why it is that I want children. Like some of youI've never been baby-hungry. I've never looked at another woman's baby and been overcome with anything much. I hated babysitting, and my poor younger brothers and sisters did not enjoy being left in my reluctant "care." I've come to enjoy children, particularly my nephews, more as I've gotten older, but I generally prefer teenagers to little kids.

Maybe it comes to this: I want to have children because I've found relationships with others to be by far the most meaningful part of my life. There are many activities and pursuits I enjoy, but my relationships have brought me, by far, the most joy of my life. I was very afraid to get married because of my own parents' terrible marriage, but that trembling act of faith has brought me such happiness, more than I ever could have imagined. I have come to love my brothers and sisters more than I ever would have thought I could growing up. Similarly, I believe that having children--however scary and hard I have no doubt it would be--would also bring me joy that I can't currently imagine.

Also, and even more important, it simply feels right. I feel that we should be open to whomever God wants to send us, even if we never do manage to have kids. Continuing to try is, for me, an act of faith in God's will--which, over time, I have come to realize will make me far happier than my own will.

8/21/2005 01:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Caroline,
I appreciate your comments and completely know how you feel when you state the moments of terror. We were at a family reunion recently and my sister in law has a 2 year old that is so incredibly clingy to her - won't even go to Daddy and it freaked me out. I found myself thinking, I'm going to hate being a Mother if I have a kid like that. This post has really got me thinking about why I want to move in that direction - I can't really come up with any other reasons than what I've stated previously. I'm hoping it's normal and that everyone isn't lying when they say "it's different when they're your own"

8/24/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Emily-

Yes, it's true that it's different when they are your own. It'a almost magical, really, how patient you can be with your own child, and how tolerant of things you thought were disgusting, like changing a diaper. Motherhood is still the hardest thing you will ever do, and yeah, you should be terrified, but really, it's like nothing else you've ever experienced, both for better or for worse.

And despite our whining and carping about kids on this blog, none of us would change it for the world. I highly recommend motherhood. Just be ready to find out what you're really made of, and to be pleasantly surprised at how strong you really are.

8/24/2005 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

Very well said, Heather.

8/25/2005 09:22:00 PM  
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10/07/2005 07:34:00 AM  
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10/08/2005 12:26:00 PM  
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10/09/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

This is a topic that really pushes peoples' buttons. SAHM's feel like they're being judged and Moms who work outside the home feel like they're being judged too.
At the risk of sounding cliche, why can't we all just get along? It's hard enough to get through life without all these random people judging us without knowing us. I work in public education, and both of my children are and have been in daycare. For our family, this is best for us.
I responded to stay-at-home-non-mom... mostly just to say I felt sorry for her and her limited view of life.

11/02/2005 10:58:00 PM  

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