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Life Interrupted?

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Recently, I met a mom who said to me, “Having a kid really ruins your life.” I burst out laughing because you don’t get a lot of moms who will articulate that sentiment, and especially not in person, to someone you’ve just met.

For me, I would say it does, and it doesn’t. From a selfish perspective, I’m certain my path to self-acceptance would’ve been much more circuitous without kids, and minus the generally positive mindset that I have now, I doubt I would’ve led a fulfilling life even if I’d attempted to infuse it with experience and experimentation—which I probably wouldn’t have, given the lack of urgency.

But yes there are limitations to a life with kids, and you do get disappointed with them or you may occasionally dislike them as much as you would anyone else who’s in your space 24/7. But we don’t live by binaries and without a generous dose of bittersweetness and inner conflict in the mix, I would be the first person to be bored with my life.

In any case, I’m 11 years into motherhood and I would still say that all things considered, life is better with kids. Not everyone agrees:

Fischer says she found herself forced to have endless baby conversations with other mothers. She watched friends drop their previous interests and careers for “baking bread or setting up mummy blogs or making jam”.

Oops. Guilty on two counts: baby conversations and blogging. Read the full Guardian article here.

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2 thoughts on “Life Interrupted?

  1. This is one of the parenting topics that intrigues me. I can see why parents would regret having children sometimes, and I’d think someone is lying too if he/she says otherwise.

    As a non-parent, what jumped out of the article are these: the chapter title “Your Kid Will Always Disappoint You” and how the thought of your child completing your life is sure to lead to disaster (I paraphrase). I think these apply to _everything_ in life, not just having and raising kids, so it stands to reason that it’s perfectly normal for parents to regret having kids, and I think it’s possible to live with that kind of regret and still love your children.

    I guess the taboo is entrenched in the myth that a parent’s love must be unconditional and that feeling and admitting even a little about not wanting your child is blasphemous. Like you said, we don’t “live by binaries”, so that’s really an awful way to judge a parent.

  2. E says:

    It’s so cute that you’re following this blog too, but you know I always appreciate your perspective even though you don’t have kids. <3 My parents never made me feel that they regretted having kids, but… till today, I do still feel the spectre of their disappointment, and there is some remnant guilt for not having made them proud in terms of my school achievement/career advancement. (Not partner choice though–I chose well!) But the view from the other side (as a parent) definitely helps to temper any hurt or resentment on my part; I know they did their best, just as I'm trying to do mine.

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