For the past few years I have lived by the motto, “I love other people’s kids. I like to watch them for a few hours, sugar them up, and give them back to their parents.” Coming from a large family, I am one of 17 grandchildren and just as many great-grandchildren on my mom’s side alone. There was always an opportunity to babysit siblings or cousins since nearly everyone lives in the same town. I love kids and have always known that I would want my own…someday.
When my husband and I got married we knew that starting a family would be in our future, but we wanted to take some time for ourselves. Two years later, I know that starting this family is inevitable. We have taken the time to get a few things established like buying a new car, fixing up our home, and getting a puppy. I love having a dog. In some aspects, a puppy is much like a baby. I know, I know, dogs are not actually babies, but for us right now, it is pretty close. We have to make sure that the dog is fed, is let out when it is time to go to the bathroom, pick up messes, make sure she is healthy and stays that way, and best of all – we get to snuggle. Life is pretty good and I feel pretty content. Or at least I would if we weren’t aging every day.
This year I turn 30. I have never been one to think “oh my gosh! I hate having a birthday, it means I am getting old.” I just take each year and live it the best that I can. The downside of that is that my body is turning 30, even if my mind is saying I am 25, which means it is baby-having time. My husband, on the other hand, turns 35 this year and doesn’t look a day over 25. He is strong, active, smart, and a red-head (I would love to have little ginger babies!!). His family is also large, with nine nieces. Yes, nine girls who have my tough husband wrapped around their small fingers. He is great with kids and always has been; some of our friends even call him the baby whisperer. Knowing that he is ready for children is never far from my mind, and I want to give him what he wants.
My parents were young when they had me. My mom was only 21 and my dad was 23, but times have changed. People are living longer, taking time to do things in their young adult life, and starting families later. That helped to make our decision to start a family after being married a couple of years a pretty easy one. While my husband has been ready since we got married, I sometimes wonder if I will ever be ready for kids.
I remember my friends and cousins saying that they had “baby fever” at one point or another. Even still, I have friends who have baby fever all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hold a baby as much as the next woman – but does that really constitute as baby fever? Babies are cute, kids are cute, and they sure say some funny things when they get older. I love how their minds really are like sponges. Their thought process is also intriguing to me. For instance, my nephew tells the most amazing stories. He loves to learn about everything, but he especially loves to explore and act like a ninja – as boys do. Stories about rocks that look like meteors and how they got their holes from space worms and how space spiders need protecting from him because he is a ninja highlight my days with him. His sister is equally adorable with random statements like, “I eat all the time,” and her constant singing of “Let It Go.” When I am asked serious questions from them about why we stop at red lights and what would happen if I didn’t stop, I realize that with simple questions my answer will help shape their little minds. Even in this moment, I am aware of the great responsibility of having a child. I will answer this question the best that I can and every other question of “but why?” after that; and then I will return these sweet kids to my brother and sister-in-law so that they can answer the more difficult questions that I was thankful to have dodged.
The “someday scenario” is just one of the many challenges of parenting and one of the many things I think about when having a child. There is also the biggest factor of losing my freedom. I love being able to do what I want, when I want without having to think about another human. I get to stay up late and sleep in whenever I want. I never need to find a babysitter. You want to do something last minute? Sure, I can go. Why? Because I am not a parent. However, I see my friends do these things all the time and they are parents. So would I really be losing my freedom?
Two of my friends, who also happen to write for this blog, are two of the best mothers I have ever met. They are educated, working moms, involved in several community organizations and own their own business. As if they were not living busy enough lives with just those things, there is the mom part to think about. It seems, their boys are well-behaved, always clean, their homes are clean, meals are prepared, and they always make time to hang out with their family and friends. In other words, they are able to have the freedom to do what they want, when they want and they have kids! Knowing these ladies, I know that they have great support systems in place with their husbands and families and that is a huge help in making everything in their lives happen. I also have those same support systems, so there is no reason to think that I cannot do everything I want just because I have kids.
Based on all of my experiences of babysitting and being with all of my nieces (twelve total “girly girls”) and my one “man’s man” nephew, I see why people would want kids. There is a great joy in their laughter, their triumphs, their learning, and being their protector. But let’s be real, the thought has crossed my mind that I am giving up a lot to have a child; pregnancy and parenting are both very intimidating to me. My husband will often point out people who should maybe not have procreated and said, “If they can raise a child, so can we,” and to be honest, that short sentence is all I need to hear to know that everything will work out. It will work out not because “everyone-else-is-doing-it-so-we-can-too,” but because God is the center of our marriage. We trust in Him and have each other. Knowing that my children will have a father as amazing as my husband and I will have a partner amidst the chaos that children will cause from time-to-time makes me certain that marrying him and living this life full of uncertainties, tribulations, joys and wonderful experiences was God’s plan for me. So even though I love other people’s kids and love to give them back, I look forward to the day when I will love my own kids and keep them always.
If you liked this post, check out some of Jelly Bean Journal’s other guest writers: