The Burden of Having Kids

I have spoken with people who don’t want children for any number of reasons and honestly, I get it. Truly I do. And I know some people just don’t like kids (which is ok too. There are a few kids I don’t really like either). This isn’t meant to convince someone either way, simply to give perspective–for whatever that is worth.

Here are a couple of the excuses I’ve heard the most:

  1. I like my sleep

Well there is no denying that (especially) at the newborn-infant-toddler-oh wait older children too phase you run the risk of being forced into learning12968021_10108378555569291_5714966862886763304_o to function on a negative sleep tank. Exhaustion becomes the norm. When kids are healthy, they wake you up because they have a wet diaper, or they had an accident, or a bad dream, or they just wanted to be super creepy and watch you as you sleep. Then when kids are sick you wake up to care for them or just find that your brain won’t turn off enough to get to sleep because you heard a sigh that might mean they need you, when in fact, they are perfectly fine.

2016-07-27-11-58-06Seriously I do get it. There are certainly days when all I want to do is stay in bed and imagine that magically my 8-month-old will have a dry diaper, a bottle, and some cereal with fruit. That my 4-year-old will get up, get dressed, brush her teeth and hair, and eat more than a crumb for breakfast. That my 5-year-old will be back to her independent self and just handle the way she thinks she can (though she really can’t).

 

Y’all I LOVE sleep. But there is something that happens in the sleep haze when your baby laughs and jumps up and down just to see you walk through the door in the morning. There is something that loosens all the anxious muscles in your neck from trying to sleep when your other kids come in first thing and just give you a hug because they genuinely missed you in the 10(ish) hours they were in their rooms for the night (notice I did not actually label it as sleep because, well, that would be fiction). What happens in the chaos that is my morning with three kids includes these sweet reminders that I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when they are off on their own adventures with their own families.

  1. I want to travel.
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we love traveling together and can’t wait to plan the next trip!

Again, I’m not going to deny that my dream vacation involves my children outside of dropping them off at my parent’s for a couple weeks while my husband and I venture wherever the heck we are going—alone.

I’m also not going to deny that traveling with kids is rough. All of a sudden we are paying for five plane tickets, which is nowhere near affordable, which means we drive really really long distances. With three kids. Closed in a car. Together. For really long distances. Seriously, it takes easily five times as long between bathroom breaks (especially if attempting in the throughs of potty training), having to actually stop for food (because snacking on some nuts will not satisfy the refined tastes of the child who wants nothing besides mac n’ cheese), and other numerous stops simply because having a child restrained in a car seat for extended amounts of time is the equivalent of shaking up a bottle of soda and expecting it not blow up as soon as you open the cap.

our first roadtrip with 3. This was almost 15 hours in (driving straight through)

our first road trip with 3 (baby not quite 7 months). This was almost 15 hours in (driving straight through).

2016-03-16-14-35-32But there is something amazing about taking a trip with kids. They see things differently; they appreciate some 1184952_10103989978767381_80540736_nmany of the details that we miss. They literally stop and smell every wildflower that they pass and collect every rock in their path (as their treasures). Seeing my children see the world gives me a reason to want to travel more. I want them to experience more, to see more, to try more. I want them to develop a wanderlust, not so

they will never feel settled but to realize they are only a very tiny piece of God’s creation and yet He created it all for them. I want them to recognize that even in the hurt that we cause to each other, that we were not made for this world but God has already overcome it and will one day restore to us a new heaven and new earth.

 

 

  1. I like to work/I like my job/ect.
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what work looks like now (well, this was almost 8 months ago but basic idea)

You know what? I do too. And while I am blessed to stay home with my children right now, that’s not the job I’m referring to. I’m referring to what people without children call “real jobs.” I enjoyed working in an office and having a conversation that never once involved me knowing every single detail about an episode of Curious George or the newest Elena of Avalor. I loved getting dressed up and feeling put together in a way that did not involve spit up as an accessory. I enjoyed learning new processes to do my job well and effectively and there are certainly a lot of times that I miss it.

But you know the craziest thing? You don’t HAVE to stay home. You can be a working mom. I know that we seem to be living in this world where it has to be one or the other, but I know plenty of moms who are amazing as both moms and as whatever professional title they hold.  I know that it’s hard on them (and I’m honestly in awe of them) and that it takes a lot of logistics, but the point is that it is possible. I also recognize that there are many women who don’t have the choice. They have to work simply to provide for their families. But that doesn’t make them any less amazing moms or unwise for choosing that they also wanted a family as well (if anything even more amazing in my book. Major kuddos mommas–you rock!).

  1. I’m selfish.

Welcome to the party. We all are. Every single one of us. Down to my very core, I am selfish. I want what is best and easiest for me. But in the same

proof that I take me time. Without kids. Just the girls. FOR 2 WHOLE DAYS <3

proof that I take (and value) me time. Without kids. Just the girls. FOR 2 WHOLE DAYS <3

way that I choose to put my husband before myself or think of what a friend may want over my own desires, it is the same with kids.

But here is one caveat, if you actually have kids and end up loving them like crazy, it changes something in you. It’s no longer a big deal to not think of yourself first, in fact it becomes a big deal if you do. Kids change your heart in such a way that you understand why momma bear’s porridge was cold or why we learn to love our mom dress code comprised of convenience and comfort. It changes your heart to recognize that there are people out there so much more important than yourself—and you don’t resent them for it. You appreciate the simplicity of going grocery shopping alone or being able to actually drink

blurry but a capture of my heart

blurry but a capture of my heart

a hot cup of coffee. Not with resentment, but with true appreciation for simpler things rather than the insatiable desire for more and more and more.

 

No, not everyone should have kids. No, not everyone who already has kids should have had them. But don’t demean the importance and beauty that having kids adds to your life. Don’t write off having kids because it might change you. They will inevitably change you but almost assuredly for the better. They aren’t a burden. They are a blessing and a wonder and a surprise. And if I’m burdened by anything, it’s having more to love and be loved by. They have this way of simplifying life into the basics of right and wrong, no matter the political agenda, or color of a person’s skin, or any disability someone may have. They see good where adults have been blinded to it and likewise see hate through unfiltered lenses where we have become blind to it (though many don’t understand or recognize it for what it is).

If you are searching for understanding God’s heart, a child is one of the clearest points that I have ever experienced. The love that I have for my children. The protection I feel for my children. The hurt that I feel with they are hurt. God gave a us a gift though children and I am blessed to be momma to all three of mine.

 

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