My friends post on Facebook about their kids and the accomplishments they are making. I cheer right along with them! I know how proud my friends are, and I’m happy for them when their kid wins a big game, or an award, or even if it’s not something big, but just that they are having fun and being a kid.
I also have several friends who have decided to have children later in life. Some have even decided to take on this amazing journey as single parents! I’m in total awe! Raising kids with a partner is difficult enough. But by yourself … well, I can’t even imagine. My friends who have chosen to do this alone are so brave, strong, and inspiring!
Children definitely bring much joy to their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and on and on. But having kids is also a lot of work, a bunch of frustration and a ton of worry! We’re lucky that the good outweighs the “not as good”, or our species would have died out long ago!
When I was a kid, I had my baby dolls and would pretend to play Mommy. I would dress them up, pretend to feed them, change diapers (that were thankfully not like the real thing!!), and do all the things I thought a Mommy would do.
As a teenager, I babysat for a family. First for their little girl, and then after their second child was 5 months old, for both kids. I loved it!
As a young adult in college, I still got to be around kids. My major was Special Education/Elementary Education. I did my student teaching and loved working with the kids, watching them learn. It was challenging, but also rewarding!
So, with all these positive points about kids, you may ask if I have kids? Yes! Only, mine have 4 legs and fur.
Sometimes I do feel that I missed out. That I let something that could have been a wonderful part of my life slip past me. But I’m not as brave and strong as some of my friends, and I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.
And part of me is selfish. I like being able to sleep later on the weekends. I get to do things that I want to do. If I want to have a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner, I totally can do that! Not the best thing for me, but at least social services won’t be knocking on my door saying I’m neglecting myself!
And, let’s not get into the expense of having kids! Seriously, it’s crazy!! If I had kids, I definitely would not be able to take as many vacations (or plan them for what I want to do and not what is necessarily “kid friendly”), or get that new cool electronic thing-a-ma-bob that I don’t need, but really want! Retirement savings would have had to be split with college savings accounts.
I do have a lot of friends who have chosen to remain childless. Single friends and couples. So, nowadays, not having kids isn’t as big a deal. And we have each other to hang out with and do “adult” things (or not so “adult” things) Now that I think about it, most of these friends have kids that are like mine. With 4 legs and fur!
One thing that I do find a bit annoying is when someone with at least one child gets away with using that as an excuse to not work as hard or as much overtime hours as I’m required to do. Don’t get me wrong, not all parents do this! As a matter of fact, there is one co-worker I have that is usually the last of us to leave the office. And another who does have to leave on time on certain days, but then logs in after the kids are asleep and may stay online remotely until the wee hours to complete work that’s needed to get done. But there are many who act like they have the right to leave on time, and that my wanting to have a good work/life balance isn’t as important. This type of attitude towards those who have chosen to not have HUMAN children needs to change!
Could I still have a kid? Yeah, sure I could. If my friends are doing it now, I totally could! Would I be brave enough to do it by myself. Absolutely … not! So, for now at least, I’ll live vicariously through the posts on Facebook. But first, I have to go walk my eldest “child” before she poops on the rug.