Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Reason in the Rhyme: having kids when I'm selfish, scared, and cynical

Spoiler alert:  I am not pregnant.


Having kids has never been a question for me. Of course I am going to have kids. When I was little, I thought it was just what happened when you grew up and got married. As I grew up, I guess somewhere in the back of my mind (where I stored the information gleaned from The Talk) I knew that I didn't HAVE to have kids, but I always knew that I would. I loved babysitting; I never completely grew out of my love for "playing pretend;" I enjoyed conversations with children. Kids never intimidated me, even the ones "you couldn't do anything with."

As I grew even older, I began to think about what it would be like to raise a mini-me. What would she look like? Would she love to read? (Of course she would love to read.) Would she be allergic to peanuts? Would she be a worrywart like me?

When I fell in love with Gabe, my future wonderings grew concrete in a breathtaking, exhilarating, frighteningly real way. His was the other half of my kids' DNA. Brown eyes are dominant, so my kids would now probably have brown eyes. Gabe is much more patient than I am, more steady. Maybe my kids would have his patience and surefootedness, rather than my peanut allergy and inclination to stress about literally everything. Maybe one kid would be like me, another like him. Maybe they'd all be perfect mixtures. Maybe some would be completely out of left field and we'd have to learn them together.

I've never doubted that I want kids.

But then...

Then we started premarital counseling, and had to put our goals into categories:  short term (3-5 years), medium term (5-10 years), long term (10+ years).

Clearly, at age 22 and wanting four children, the logical category for kids was Short Term. But a spark of panic leapt into my stomach and bloomed into something hot and scratchy.

Three to five years? Gabe won't even be finished with school for three and a half years. What, he graduates and gets a job and then BAM--babies? No time as married adults with regular jobs? No years as DINKS to travel and eat at fancy restaurants and go to movies at full price?

Was I terrible for thinking that way? I really did want kids. I love kids. I want my own kids. I want to read to them, and fix their favorite foods, and take them to historical places, and play pretend with them, and hear their thoughts about the world.

But I already worry about my body. I'm already a bit of a hypochondriac. Can you imagine how worked up and freaked out I'd be if I were pregnant? Still worrying about myself all the time, except ALSO worrying about the little person inside of me, and how my own health would affect him or her.

And, if I'm absolutely throwing good taste to the wind, I might as well say that the idea of being pregnant freaks me out. My stomach is going to swell. There is going to be an ANIMAL (I know, a person, I'm there with you, but it is, in fact, a creature) forming out of tissue and soul in my stomach. Growing. It'll be like I swallowed a person, except that it keeps growing.

And don't even get me started on how scared I am of actually giving birth and nursing not sleeping for months.

Also, the world today. What if my baby has to know Hilary Clinton as his first president? Or Donald Trump? What if my baby's best friend has two mommies? What if my baby tries to tell me that he thinks he's actually a she? What if my baby's brain is skewed by the prevalent use of social media? What if he subconsciously feels like if he doesn't take a picture of an event, it might as well not have happened? I already struggle with that, and I wasn't even born into this craziness.

I feel so scared--and so selfish--when it comes to having kids. I feel like a bad person. Sometimes I want kids RIGHT NOW, sometimes I can't even pretend like I might want kids any time soon. But God is doing several things to keep me sane about this, the biggest of which is my job.

I work for Classical Conversations: a classical, Christian, community-based curriculum program for homeschooling families. Its mission statement is "to know God and to make Him known," and one of its core beliefs is that parents are the best educators for their unique children. I did this program growing up, and its philosophy and content prepared me for college and life better than anything else could have. Seriously, I will have to write a post entirely about this company sometime.

But this is not that post.

I'm the assistant editor for the multimedia side of the company, which means that I get to read a lot of the curriculum and the catalog and the resources and the emails and basically everything that this company is putting out there for parents and students.

And guys, it makes me so excited to have kids.

I want to read Story of the World to my kids. I want to hear their little voices rattling off complex history sentences from memory, the way I did when I was their age. I want to show them the beautiful logic behind Latin, and how fun it is to read original documents. I want to see the light go on in their heads when they see laws of science work in experiments. I want to hear their thoughts on the Dred Scott decision. I want to see the map of the world they can draw from memory.

I want to help them love learning, even more than I did. I want to help them understand the truth, goodness, and beauty of the world even better than I did. I want them to live a life of learning, even more intentionally than I did. I want them to see the connections between Latin and music, western culture and theology, math and literature even better than I did.

I want them to live with more love for and awareness of God than I did. I want them to feel His joy more than I did. I want them to see His connections better than I did.

Every day, I get to work with resources that help kids become the best humans they can be for God. I'm selfish, I'm scared, I'm cynical, but how can I not want to have little humans who will learn and grow and love and explore and understand better than I did? I know it sounds sort of backwards and silly, but Classical Conversations is such a great program that it makes me want to have kids just so they can participate.

I know this isn't the best thinking process, and I'm struggling with whether or not I should even hit "Publish," but this is my truth for the time being. This is my reason in the rhyme. This is how I'm staying sane and wanting kids even though I'm selfish and scared.

*shrug* I'll let you know how I feel in three to five years.



  1. i think this is a very personal decision and not one to be made lightly, but you know that. as for me, I don't want to have children. partly for selfish reasons and partly because of the chaos of the world today. But sometimes i wonder what my kids would be like - especially because Nathan will be their dad and it will be really neat to see how they turn out and what kind of humans they will be. And in the same sense, I want to travel and go out at night and do all the adult things that I hear mom's complaining about missing once they are saddled with the littles. so, whatever you end up deciding, i'm sure it will be the right decision. :)

  2. I understand you deeply. I want kids. There's so many things I want them to experience. But I also struggle with the world we live in, and selfishness.

    When the time comes, you'll do whatever is right for you. Don't fret :).

  3. Natalie: Absolutely. I am (clearly XD) quite torn between listening to the complaining moms, and wanting to discover new little hybrids of me and Gabe... But I have no doubt of the adventure and joy you and Nathan are going to experience, no matter what! :)

    Alana: Amen! And thank you :)

  4. It's easy to sit back and think of how I would do things differently than all the complaining moms, but I also know that until I actually have kids I won't really know what I'm talking about, you know? But I like to believe that even if I were to have children, that I wouldn't be all "woe's me" and give up my dreams and passions and life for my children. I fully believe that by doing that, you are doing a HUGE disservice to your kids. You need to be your own human if you want to set a good example for your kids - they are not the center of the universe and teaching them that they are will turn them into terrible adults! -rant over. lol.

    1. Somehow I just saw this comment! That's a great point. It's always awkward and sad to me when I see moms making their kids feel bad for holding them back or something. What a terrible weight to put on a kid's shoulders! "I love you, but your existence is ruining my life." Uh, ouch. You're so right: No matter what, model joy and achieving your dreams!