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Wednesday, June 25. 2014
To have some kids (soon), but to never let them control my life. Losing Yourself to Your Kid. It's the job for kids to adjust to the adults' world, not vice versa.
That's my theory, anyway.
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And then when you have the kid, you realize that you WANT to change how you live your life and spend your time. I could in no way anticipate how much having a baby (or a couple of babies) would completely change how I viewed myself, my life and my priorities.
I am a completely different person than I was at 27 (pre-baby), and that is a good thing. Viewing yourself and your life as number one is not a good place to be for an extended period of time. Being responsible for the well-being of someone else is probably the most important experience in my life. Nothing will ever eclipse being someone's mother. Period.
I appreciated your reply, perhaps because one gains a different perspective of life where some things once valued no longer matter, some overlooked before take priority. That said, letting go of children, making them assume responsibility early on, is the greatest gift you can bestow, especially when you're sandwiched with responsibilities for older family. But then again, the younger ones can help with the older ones. It can work out very well for all.
". . . but to never let them control my life. . ."
Good luck with that.
My advice is to realize your life will be put on hold for at least 18 years, quite possibly 21 years, and, given our messed up economy and increasing "failure to launch," likely longer than that.
At which point you will also likely realize your parents are going senile or losing their health, and you will be caring for them as well.
My wife and I have worked like dogs our whole lives, and between raising our children and caring for our parents, we are poorer now than when we first got married.
Not complaining. That's just the way life is. A crappy government that tanked our economy and our futures hasn't helped though.
You are a self-obsessed basement dweller. How far back in your family tree do we have to travel to find a human?
Yeah, that was my plan too.
And then I discovered that there was no greater sense of satisfaction - of purpose - than turning my abilities and desires towards the raising of, and living with, my kids.
Maybe it's a natural defense mechanism that kicks in when kids start arriving - a biologically-driven moral imperative that your kids cannot simply be one slightly significant part of your otherwise self-oriented existence.
The good news is that the unavoidable subsidence of SELF in your priorities doesn't seem to feel like a loss, but rather a huge gain.
The pain of the newly empty nest far surpasses any pain that might have occurred back when we had to start sharing our nest. The sense of there being a purpose to life beyond simple existence is so rewarding that the ending of that role can leave a difficult vacuum to fill.
Having kids - and becoming a true parent - is probably the most self-rewarding, mind-expanding thing we can do. I'd recommend it heartily.
bobby b "The pain of the newly empty nest far surpasses any pain that might have occurred back when we had to start sharing our nest. The sense of there being a purpose to life beyond simple existence is so rewarding that the ending of that role can leave a difficult vacuum to fill."
Very true. Best summation of that time I've read.
I liked this article. I wonder if part of the issue is having FEWER kids.
If you have only one kid, you have to give yourself to them...they need someone around.
If you have four kids, they have peers, and you have time for yourself.
A bit counter-intuitive... more kids means more time for yourself.
Most of the people I know who think kids should fit into the adults' lives, not vice versa, are men. Young men who haven't spent much time caring for younger sibs or babysitting. Or old men who have forgotten how much life changed (at least for their wives) with offspring. If you are rich enough to afford help and at least occasional babysitting, the parents can occasionally go out or have some time for hobbies and each other after kids. But many people can't, so simply work like those devoted hawks, mother and father wearing themself out feeding ever more demanding brood. Birds are lucky, the babies leave sooner.
Also, if one or more of your kids get seriously ill, or are born with any kind of disability, forget about normal life, perhaps forever. Nowadays, parents have lifelong responsibility for disabled or mentally ill kids (tho modern medicine cures more of the physically ill ones. But no more homes or institutions for the kinds of kids routinely given up by families in the 50s and 60s. Better for the kids. But it can destroy at least one parent's career and turns an entire family into caretakers. By the grace of God, people mostly rise above our natural selfishness and self centeredness, give up youthful dreams, and do what is necessary to cherish and feed beloved kids, no matter healthy or different. But life cannot, will not go on exactly as parents might have preferred. Children shouldn't be little tyrants or be like the Last Emperor. But sometimes special needs require sacrifice by parents.
Regardless, I adore my kids, have had more fun with them than any other times in my life, pity people without kids, feel blessed to be part of loving and educating such brilliant, interesting and altruistic people as my own puppies have been (who me, biased?!). Parenthood is like that old recruiting slogan for the Army, it's not just a job, it's an adventure.
Funny naive thinking! I would have said the same thing 20 years ago.
Kids are born savages. For your sake and theirs, you need to spend quality time with them, educating and civilizing them. Read to them, talk to them and teach them impulse control. It is actually enjoyable seeing them reflect back what you teach them and watching them developing on their own..
Cultures that delegate those function solely to the government end up with a higher percent of wafted savages living in their neighborhoods and making everyone's life miserable.
Parenthood is a learning process and your beliefs and opinions will change as you learn. You can give so much to your child by your efforts and fail them by not understanding this. When your baby is born the clock starts ticking. A child is like an empty vessel that you can fill with skills, manners, math, science the arts, etc. or you can allow them to be filled by what the TV feeds them and what their friends tell them. If you wait until they are 13 then you have lost the race. One thing that you will learn is a child has free will, desires and traits good and bad. You are not in control. You will think you are in control when they are very young but if by the time they reach puberty you have not succeeded in molding them for success then you will have set them up for failure. Having said all this it still all depends on things beyond your control. You can do everything right and the child can become a failure as an adult and you can do everything wrong and the child will succeed as an adult. But for the most part it is up to you to guide and teach your child.