Post # 46
camenae : my mom friends and I routinely joke about this: how our parents swear we all slept through the night, never fussed, never cried excessively, never had teething tantrums… just perfect little angel babies! 🙂
Obviously they just aren’t remembering correctly / have experienced what you pointed out. They’re looking back and seeing the highs and not remembering with accuracy all of the lows. Which is a good thing!
But to the OP, that doesn’t mean the couple you spoke with sees parenting as a big negative ball of WTF– it just means when you’re in the trenches of it, it seems really BIG (because it is!).
Another thing to consider when becoming a parent is “even though we signed up for it”, that doesn’t mean we can’t admit it is hard. It also means you have to accept and cope with whatever that baby brings. I feel extremely fortunate that my child so far is happy and healthy. Not every parent has that, and they’re dealing with the challenges of a new baby, toddler or young child + medical issues. Talk about stressful. That’s why you just never know what another mom or dad is going through, and I try really hard now to not judge their perceived negativity and think about how it must feel in their shoes to have so much responsibility riding on your shoulders at all times.
Post # 47
skunktastic : Just to offer a different perspective, my baby is 6 months old – I’m 36 and D H is 45. Everyone was like “oh no you’re gonna be soooo tired you’re too old etc”, but so far, we are doing just fine. He’s still not sleeping through the night, but my husband and I trade off taking care of him when he needs it, and we are both feeling pretty well-rested. After the first few weeks of adjustment, we both feel better than we expected to!
We do want at least one more, and that will likely be a shitshow, haha. But for now, being older parents really hasn’t been debilitating at all. And we are awfully glad we had our 20s and beyond to have lots of adventures and free time! (Ideally we wouldn’t have needed to wait *this* long, but that’s how life worked out. We are both epically grateful that we didn’t have kids with our first spouses!!!)
Post # 48
fromatoz : They’re looking back and seeing the highs and not remembering with accuracy all of the lows.
This! I think if everyone remembered vividly how hard it can be we’d stop procreating lol. My daughter is 20 months and I finally feel like I’m separated enough from the newborn stage to do it again so we’re trying for number 2. I remember I struggled a lot in the first 2 months but now I feel like maybe it wasn’t that bad and at least next time I’ll have so clue of what I’m in for. This feeling is probably utter BS and I’m fooling myself but I’m still going to give it a whirl lol.
Post # 49
LilliV : Same, we’re going to TTC for #2 at the end of this year and even though we’re balls deep in a sleep regression I keep thinking eh, it wont be that bad forever, right?!! Birth already seems like so long ago and we made it through, no biggie!
Post # 50
mermaidbride862 : To the OP I feel like there’s a pendelum swing happening here.
For a decade or so, we had a really severe mommy-culture of “motherhood is perfect, you should be glowing, look at how effortless this is” and if you personally don’t feel it’s perfect you’re obvioulsy doing it wrong.
Now I think we are in a correction phase where the pendelum is swinging to the other side. People are trying to be realistic about the hardships, so that when new paretns feel frustrated, or sleep deprived, or scared their doing it wrong, or any emtion other than “bliss” they don’t interprit that as a parenting failure. Maybe the pendelum has swung too far in the direction of those hardships, but it will self-correct.
The message that soon-to-be-parents and new parents need to hear, is it’s ok that you love your child more than life itself AND that being a parent is hard. Both of those things can be true at the same time.
Husband and I are TTC. Most of our frineds have a child, some have 2, and it’s been beneficial to feel like A) we have a support network throguh the hard times and B) we feel a little more prepared (LOL – to whatever extent a non-parent *can* be prepared for parenting…) that it will indeed be hard, and the hardship isn’t a reflection on us doing it wrong.
Post # 51
its’ not bad at all. i wouldn’t change my kids for the world. but having kids is life changing. i think your friends are only saying that because you are 25. i had my first child at 34.
but if you are ready for kids at 25, don’t worry what other people say.
any kids don’t stop you from traveling. i travel all the time with my kids. they’ve been on car trips and plane trips. money stops us. i wish we had more money to do more adventures with.
Post # 52
- Wedding: October 2016 - Montego Bay, Jamaica
I just want to chime in and say not all mom’s in their 30s and + are having babies later because we wanted to party our faces off and travel the world in our 20s! I didn’t marry my husband til I was 28 and then soon after realized I was going to struggle TTC. I’ll be 31 soon and Darling Husband will be 32 next month. So some of us will be older parents even though that isn’t what we ever planned on or imagined.
Not saying anyone here said that…I just wanted to throw that out there 🙂
Post # 53
ariesscientist : Your last paragraph resonates with me. I am a newlywed and not a parent or TTC yet. But I very much subscribe to the “do fun things while you’re young” idea because, as you said, you don’t stop being a parent at 18. Your kids will continue to lean on you, will probably want to come home, will still consider your home their house for a while, even if they don’t live there. If they have children young, they may need your help. There are a lot of ways in which adult children still need their parents. It’s not like once your kid graduates college at 22, you have all the freedom in the world.
Also, as someone who has cared for a terminally ill parent, this is also something I take into consideration. I don’t want to put off goals like moving, traveling, or career stuff because I know how your world can stop spinning when you become a caregiver. If you have kids young and put off the “selfish stuff” til you’re in your mid 40s or so, that means more than likely your parents are hitting the “elderly” stage of life and may very well need to rely on you in some capacity. Not saying anyone should plan their life around that, just saying that as someone who has had their life turned completely upside down by an out-of-the-blue illness, these things happen and your life is consumed by them. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer when I was 23 and I was one of her primary caretakers. I only took care of her for a year before she passed, but I have co-workers who cared for their elderly/ill parents for years or decades. Just one more factor to consider if you wait til you’re older to do some of the “selfish” stuff.
Post # 54
What I dislike about those kinds of responses to the desire to have children (wait, give it time, don’t rush it), is that there’s an inherent assumption in there that you can have kids any time you want. And that’s not true.
Do I wish I could be married longer before starting the TTC process? Yes! Do I wish we could spend a few more years enjoying life, just us? Yes! However, I didn’t meet my husband until I was 26. There are medical issues between us that will make having children difficult, if not impossible. We’ll likely need medical intervention to get pregnant. I don’t have the time to wait, especially since we want more than one child and I’ll be 30 next year. I have to consider all of our circumstances as a whole, and ask myself if I wait, and then we struggle with infertility (likely) for a few years, will I miss my window?
Post # 55
EllyAnne : I didn’t see your initial comment so I wasn’t responding to you in my statement. I was actually thinking of the conversations I’d had with friends when we were all were beginning to have children and realizing our previous (limited) experiences had not prepared us at all for becoming a parent and being the person everyone hands the baby to when there’s an issue (a cry, a fuss, a stink, a blowout, etc.)
And I agree- sometimes it’s helpful to get the good gossip from the people who are already doing it! I got a lot of tips and support from women who were already mothers. I understand, now, that they saw the ass kicking that was coming my way and wanted to help me through it as much as possible. Now, I try to do the same for other new mommies.
It’s like we’re in a kind of secret society, sometimes.
Post # 56
- Wedding: May 2016 - Sussex, UK
knotyet : knotyet : I think this is different depending on your social circle. Only one of my friends had kids before we were 30. I understand it’s different as you have medical issues (I do too) but absolutely no one made any comments until our wedding day then it’s been a mix of “what are you waiting for?”, “tick-tock” or “be ready to never give up your freedom!” I met D.H ar 27 but despite now having problems TTC I know I wouldn’t have been ready back then. D.H was 25, definitely not ready and it’s only been the last few years that we’ve built up considerable savings and bought a suitable house. I should add that none of my friends have struggled to get pregnant between late 20s and early 30s.
Post # 57
- Wedding: May 2016 - Sussex, UK
TwilightRarity : yeah, I definitely don’t assume to know what it’s like thinking of a small dependent human every waking hour. I’ve seen parents go through good and bad times (including a few divorces since babies arrived sadly). My mum had post partum psychosis so doesn’t remember me in her life until I was 2. I guess I feel a little more aware because of my advanced age! I’ve had the phone calls from mum friends who are crying their eyes out but then seen them blissfully happy at other times.
Post # 58
No kids yet. But I rememember very specifically one of our friends gave us the advice (wedding advice cards) to wait to have children and when we were ready to wait 10 more years. Our friends have two children. I never really understood what that meant.
Post # 59
hickoryhills : Honestly I think it boils down to the fact that we are very much an entitled and self absorbed culture/generation today. Everyone expects things to come easy and I’ve feel that people today crumble in the face of challenge far more than they use to. We’re also a culture of convenience, and kids are NOT convenient. I think people who have such extream reactions like the OP’s dinner companions are a perfect example of people who were likely not 100% prepared for the realities of being a parent.
mermaidbride862 : As a parent I can agree with what they said, but I do think the dramatics and their delivery was likely not as it should have been. People take delight in telling others how horrible being a parent is and how much your life changes, but not everyone has the same experience. I believe a lot of it has to do with your expectations, managing them correctly, and also your parenting style. Is having kids a major life change? Of course. I’ll change your marriage, finances, travel, relationships….but that doesn’t mean that change is always for the bad. It is all consuming but as long as you take time for yourself it’s managable.
I often roll my eyes at people who proclaim your life is basically over when you have kids. Um what? Only if you let be. Personally my marriage was stronger with the birth of our son, and has stayed that way. My husband far exceeded my expectations. We still regularly go to dinner. We still travel. We still have date nights. We’re also not helicopter parents. We happily use a babysitter to have a date night. I nursed & pumped so my husband could take on some feeding responsibilities. Because I gave up some control and accepted help from others instead of carrying it all on my shoulders I think it made me a more relaxed parent. I’m not saying it’s all roses, it’s most certainly not, but it’s not horrible either. My husband travels for weeks at a time and I’m often flying solo. IT’S HARD. There are days I cry or get stressed but that’s just part of it.
All that being said, I am 100% in agreement that having kids is something you really have to think about and be ready to change your whole life. For some people there are bucket list things they want to do. The reality is for 99% of those people they’ll never do their bucket list items even if they put off having kids. 😉
Post # 60
Just throwing in two thoughts… well first I think this is common in US/Western culture but not necessarily other cultures. I think a lot of it has to do with the disintegration of extended family network–most of the time in the US, it’s just two parents taking care of the child, so it’s way more work than if grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, etc. are around nearby to pitch in.
Also, children are directly “parented” way more today than they ever were before and there are so many expectations for US parents. Kids are rarely left to their own devices – their time is structured and constantly supervised. Obviously that’s a lot more work for the parents! I read recently that working mothers spend way more time today with their kids than stay at home moms did in the 70s.