Recently a woman from the Seattle Times wrote an article
explaining why she’s not going to have children. Much of her article is the same old drivel that the “feminists” spout about being free to choose career over children. The points she makes are so off the mark that I don’t really feel they deserve the time and effort to fully refute them. So instead I’m going through reasons I have heard for having children. Although the list could go on to eleventy-billion, I’ll stop long before that. If I miss one you’d like to add, post a comment.
1. Zero sleep for approximately 18 years (feels like eleventy-billion)… At first, you’re so enchanted with the new life you helped create and scared senseless by the threat of lethal acronyms that you check on your child every five minutes to make sure they’re still living. Then as they age, so too do the dangers increase… At this point my oldest is only nearing 5, but I’ve heard on good authority that the sleepless nights only continue. However, all those images of your little angel snuggled up tight in their (ok, ok, let’s be honest, your) bed chase away the voices in your head crying out for sleep.
2. Bodily fluids that are not your own… As a new parent, who hasn’t been surprised by that darling angel suddenly spouting like a fountain from one orifice or another? Although it may be the eleventy-billionth time of changing clothes, bed sheets, blankets, diapers, spit-up towels, curtains, carpets, mattresses, etc. that fountain of body fluids cared enough to share them with you. Then they cooed and all was forgiven.
3. Becoming a short-order cook… In the beginning of parenthood, you focus on ensuring that every bite that goes into your child’s mouth is wholesome and worthy of passing through their digestive system. Sometime around 18 months or so (at least for me), baby learns what a sophisticated palate they have. Favorite foods from yesterday are now on the whine list. As you reach for another glass of Muscato, and begin searching high and low for the same food that “Doc McStuffin’s” ate “last day”, you’re counting your blessings that baby is healthy enough to eat, drink, and whine about the service.
4. Refereeing what should be an Olympic sport: sibling rivalry… You couldn’t just leave baby by themselves; you had to provide them with a sibling (or two or six…). Now baby #1 and baby #2 have decided that neither gets enough attention from their parents, the other looks at them funny, or the other is clearly wrong about some random factoid, etc. It starts all too often with a subtle whine but can quickly escalate to flying limbs and other objects and ear-piercing shrieks. Yet, all that disharmony fades into nothingness when your babies comfort one another and help one another get into their next mischief.
5. Embarrassing turns of phrase… When baby started talking you were so proud. Then one day, in the middle of Shop-O-Rama your little one mispronounces something (my favorite is ‘bench’ coming out ‘b*tch’). At first blush you simply shush baby and continue on as if nothing happened. However, baby has other ideas. Since you obviously couldn’t hear the first pronouncement, another must be made in escalating volumes until the whole store can hear. In the meantime, you quietly, and frantically, tell baby the correct way to pronounce the word(s). Even as you burn with embarrassment, you can’t help but remember the way you felt when baby
first mispronounced “I love you”.
6. Awkward discussions… If your children are as precocious as mine, you’ve no doubt already had many discussions with them that you thought could wait until they were in college. Sometimes the questions are cute, although the answers leave you scrambling for a way to describe something complex or mature to a 3-year old. Other times, the incessant “why’s” lead you to pull out the standard, “Because God made it that way.” Over time, you are saved answering baby #2’s (3, 5, 7, or more) questions by your worldly-wise oldest child answering. Those moments leave you struggling with mirth and also wondering how the conversation took that turn.
7. Some assembly required… Perhaps it all started with the first big item your purchased for baby, maybe a crib, stroller, bouncy seat, etc. You looked at the packaging and saw “Some assembly required” and thought, “No problem. I’m great at putting things together.” Upon your return home, you gleefully get the package out and begin pulling pieces from the box. Eleven hours later you’re exhausted, but with some duct tape and baling wire, you managed to build your baby’s dream product. The rush of satisfaction you feel when baby giggles and seems extraordinarily pleased with your workmanship.
8. Teeny tiny clothes… Before baby’s arrival you were showered with gifts of tiny clothes for your bundle of joy. If you’re like me you also got a tremendous amount of hand-me-downs. After pouring over all the baby books you also received, you rush to wash all of baby’s things prior to the big day. You lovingly pack the cutest outfit for the momentous journey home from birthing center hospital. Within a month, every teeny tiny adorable clothing item has some odiferous stain on it somewhere. After wrapping baby in a mostly clean bath towel, you frantically load the washing machine and dryer with baby’s things. Just as the final load hits the spin cycle, baby leaves another odiferous stain on the towel. Opening the dryer you see that the teeny tiny baby clothes you put in there have now becme teeny tiny baby-doll clothes with stains on them. Yet you smile as your sniff the top of baby’s freshly bathed head and know it was all worth it.
9. Boundless energy… It’s 3 am and your bundle of joy prances into your room announcing that “nap time” is over. You incoherently mumble something about the sun sleeping meaning people should still be sleeping and raise the covers for baby to climb in bed. Let the wiggling commence as baby shifts, turns, and talks about trying to get comfortable. At 4 am, 5 am, 6 am, and, well, all day, your baby dances, prances, leaps, sprawls, rolls, and pounces while you prop your eyelids up with toothpicks. Finally nap time arrives, and you anticipate a respite, but get so caught up in admiring and reflecting baby’s skills you promptly sit down to blog or update your status.
10. Mind-numbingly repetitive songs and books… Well-rounded children need to appreciate music and literature, so you dutifully find some innocuous children’s songs and books. After hearing the first one, baby promptly asks for the same one again, and again, and again, ad infitum. You gently encourage baby to listen to a new one, but baby protests loudly and you relent. Sometime in the middle of the night, you begin reciting (or singing) in your sleep then your spouse rouses you none-to-gently. However, you’re immensely thankful that you chose a bible song/story so at least they’re getting the Truth straight from your mouth.
11. Dirty hands and faces and sloppy kisses… As a non-parent you always looked a children with dirty hands and faces and professed that when/if you had children you would never let them be dirty in public. When you became a parent, you packed baby wipes, several changes of clothes for you and baby, and scrupulously wiped and changed at the first sign of filth. As your child(ren) aged, you packed fewer changes of clothing and used any readily available item for wiping snotty noses, filthy hands, and ice cream faces. Then you reached a point of careless acceptance that the fountain that is your child(ren) simply cannot be stopped. You find yourself licking your fingers then wiping a smudge off baby’s cheek. As you wipe, you not-so-fondly remember your own parent doing the same to you. From your perspective now you understand and are filled with gratitude for the care you were given and are now passing on to a new generation.
There are countless more tidbits of life as a parent to relate and enjoy. Although our road is often littered with toy cars, hair bows, and crumbs none of us regrets answering God’s call to parent His creations. When we’re old and grey, hopefully we shall see our children adroitly managing the road God chose for them. It is our responsibility and joy to graciously receive the gifts He has given us and ensure they return to Him.