Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Down the Parenting Rabbit Hole

This was me before kids. I was having fun—minus the husband and children and "adult life" I had heard about. I knew I wanted to get there someday; I had a vision for my life and it included all of those things. No kids meant a lot more free time, money, and focus on personal projects. I chose that life at the time. I knew I would choose another kind of life later.

After I had Jack, I was still having fun. Yes, I was dealing with postpartum depression and an unexpected pregnancy when he was three months old. But I was experiencing a new way of living and appreciating the things I had. My professional responsibilities changed, as did my household habits. I envied my friends who were traveling the world and attending post-graduate courses. But I was living the life I had chosen.

After the miscarriage of my second pregnancy, I was not having fun. I couldn't deal with the guilt of not having this unplanned baby, even if I had no control over the outcome. I not-so-secretly raged over my friends having babies while I was stuck mourning; the fact that I already had a baby did not make my miscarriage any easier. I had to literally stop my life while I adjusted to this heartbreak. That was how I chose to conduct my life at the time.

After having Lucy, I was back to having fun. Having two kids was more difficult than having just one, but I knew that I could handle it. Since having two kids, I have been more productive in achieving my life goals and making myself a better person, removed from the children. I am not employed outside the home; writing "Homemaker" on official documents is still odd to me. The fact that I lack a job does not make me feel any less valuable to society. I push myself to my limits every day, not only because of the children, but because I want to. I chose it. I choose it.

My hope is that even if I had stayed childless, I would have been a good version of myself by the time I was 26. I am a pretty good version now, if I do say so myself. Choosing to become a parent, especially a stay-at-home parent, can be considered a controversial move in a world where zero population is an accepted philosophy. I did not choose it to be controversial, though those that know me would say that I tend to do things like that. I chose it because I knew what I wanted for my life.

If I have ever said anything thoughtless or rude to you non-parents out there, I apologize. I try to be sensitive and understanding without stepping on egg shells around you. Having people talk to you like they're going through a mine field is the worst. To those parents out there who have been upset by any parent-on-parent abuse I have caused, I offer my deepest regrets. Each parenting situation is different and practically unknowable to the people outside the immediate family.

This particular thought process was brought to you by the article 10 Things Not to Say to Your Childfree Friends. The article itself is a good reminder to not be a thoughtless jerk to people, but the comments below it sent me into a tailspin. Parents claiming that the article was worthless, non-parents claiming that "breeders" are worthless, and people desirous of becoming parents feeling scorned populated that section. Each comment reminded me that I want to be the best Holly I can be, whether that means the best parent or the best friend or the best wife. And each hurt feeling or angry thought expressed reminded me that every person can be full of good attributes and worthy of respect.

Parent or not, I know a lot of dang good people. I even prefer some non-parents to their parent counterparts. And ultimately, I choose to like the people I like regardless of their birthing status. I hope they like me, too.

1 comment:

  1. i know what you mean about how two kids make you want to achieve your goals. i definitely have less time, but i feel more motivated (and definitely more inspired) for some reason.