Posted by: pendrops | July 3, 2007

until i have kids

reading_mom.jpg

*Dedicated to moms, especially mine

After an hour entrenched in research at a local bookstore, I noticed the woman seated next to me. Equally entrenched in her reading, her eyes moved intently, drinking in the pages as well as the last sips of her iced coffee. She smiled, squinted, and laughed in reaction to the characters and stories she had found.

In addition to holding open her book, she also held a bottle to her baby’s mouth and fed him. When he had finished, she gently pulled him from his stroller, held him close, and burped him, one hand keeping her book open as she read.

I watched from my table, close enough to reach out and hold her book open for her, and got tears in my eyes. You see, since getting married, I’ve received the following wisdom words about parenthood:

After kids, you have no life.

Your life is not your own.

You’ll never be the same.

Forget about quiet meals, a peaceful home, great sex, meaningful conversations with anyone…it’s over.

Cram everything in that you can now because you’ll never ever get to do anything you want to do ever again.

Then, in the wake of these Dooms Day-esque prophecies, this woman sits next to me. This mom, reading contentedly, in public, enjoying the gurgles and googles of her baby and relishing a good book. And I wondered:

Could it be that sometimes parents, especially 21st century parents, pressure themselves to be too much and do too much for their children, and, as a result, martyr themselves, surrendering a life they were never asked to give up?

I don’t know. I won’t understand until I have kids, so I’ve been told. But I do know the victimized, weary glaze in the eyes of so many parents around me. And, as I watch them, I can’t help contemplating what kind of parent I want to be. I can’t help asking these questions.

Whether or not my untested observation stands, I hope you’ll find me at a bookstore someday, rocking my baby and holding open the pages of some good book.

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Responses

  1. Your life does change, but only for the better…believe me, I know!!
    Your mom

  2. Yes, life does change and definitely for the better! Every family situation is different, some things change for some but stay the same for others, and vice versa. I used to have uninterrupted sleep, phone conversations, lunch dates, I used to be able to start a project and finish it the same day (ha, ha!), many things have changed…but I’ve traded those little “luxeries” for a sweet baby girl that I wouldn’t trade for the world, serenity in my life since I quit “working” to stay home with her, non stop entertainment, a new found joy in going to the zoo, the park or any other “childhood” destination and I am experiencing a love that I never knew my heart could feel. And you know, there are some things I’ve given up doing not because I had to but because what I once thought I needed in my life, I no longer do. It’s just not important to me anymore.

    Things will change but the best thing you can do for yourself and your marriage is to communicate what matters most and work together to allow each other, and your marriage, to retain those things, no matter what. But like anything in life, you just never know till you are in those shoes. You’ll be a great mom Krista!

  3. Krista, being a mother was the best days of my life. I wish I could go back to those days again. Yes, they were hurried and somethings didn’t get done. But, my mother-in-law, God bless her soul, taught me that the chores would all ways be there but the children wouldn’t and now I know how true those words were. I am so glad to have found your web site. I am going to let my daughter know of you web site because she likes to write also.

  4. Great post Pendrops!

    In marriage, they say if your world revolves around your spouse, you’ll just end up annoying them to death. There HAS to be level of individuality maintained.

    I don’t have kids, but I would think the same applies. When a parent gives up everything that defined them for full-time 24/7 child rearing, the kid gains nothing. The kid, like your spouse, needs you to have a life outside of them.

    Personally, I don’t think we give kids enough credit. I believe they can take care of themselves a lot earlier than we think, but we load ourselves up with the responsibility of attending their every move – while simutaneously tying our goals and dreams to the stake for sacrifical burning. (heck, we even provide the gasoline and offer to light the match sometimes)

    One day the kids will be long gone. Don’t get caught like Stevie Nicks did and be afraid of changing cause you built your life around your kids. One day they’ll be older…and you’ll be older too.

  5. You all have added sweet, honest and thought-provoking dimensions to this post. Thanks so much for your insightful pendroppings!

  6. Wow – it is so weird. Here I have been having the same thoughts – okay, more like panic attacks – regarding parenthood. As Tim and I contemplate becoming parents in the near future, I have been getting cold feet, wondering – “Do I know what I’m getting myself into?” and “What do I know about being a parent anyway??” I’ve heard the exact same “words of wisdom” you have heard and I have to conclude that somehow it’s gotta be worth it! I really don’t want to miss out on this! I watch other people’s kids and I get so annoyed with their cries and snotty noses. But as my mom says, “It’s different when they’re your own.” I sure hope so. I think I’d like to take the risk of being a parent and strive to maintain a life of my own at the same time. I think you have to. I think it’s necessary that your child sees this. I like the mom you described at the local bookstore. That’s how I picture myself in the future. I’m sure you’ll be like this, too.

  7. Book recommendation:

    “Parenting the way God Parents – Refusing to Recycle Your Parents’ Mistakes” by Katherine Koonce

    This is the best book I have ever read on the subject.

  8. Wow Krista, you generated a bunch with this post. If you’re worried about losing yourself in your kids… well, isn’t that what nannies are for? 😉


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