Listen, I love my children more than anything in this whole world, and they are undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to me. Still, there are things about being a parent that isn’t awesome.
This top ten list may serve as confirmation to you that you are not alone in having conflicting feelings towards parenthood. For those of you that don’t have kids yet, it may serve as birth control. You know what though? The list will also serve as a reminder to those of you who do have kids of what an absolute life-altering blessing children can be.
I hope that you can relate, and I most definitely hope that you enjoy the list…so here it is:
The 10 Best Things About Having Children
By far the best thing about having children is the unconditional love they give you. It doesn’t matter if you just got fired from your job, stepped in dog poop or haven’t showered in two days — to have someone in your life, whose affection and love for you is unwavering, non-judgmental and constant, is the best thing anyone could ask for.
Having children enables you to act like a kid and not be considered crazy by the judging public. Okay, well, they still may think you are an oddball, but parenthood allows for parents to jump in puddles, make silly noises and play in the rain. Even more, you get to be yourself with people who genuinely enjoy you, because it is all they have ever known and everything that they love.
Having children is like being on an adventure with tiny, fun teachers who you learn new things from every day. From the newborn stage to dealing with toddlers, tweens, teens and even adult children, the constant changing your offspring are doing as they grow older, leads to an amazing odyssey of growth, learning, and developing new skills, for you.
Having children helps you realize how awesome you are. Children, more often than not, especially if when they are young, treat their parents like a celebrity or a superhero. Kids are so enamored and amazed by their parents from the moment they are born, and it is pretty gratifying to have someone hold you up on a pedestal, day in and day out.
Having children means that you get to witness the most beautiful thing this world has ever seen — a child’s smile. Corny? Yes, but true. And, you also get the pleasure of knowing that you are the person driving that smile. That’s an unbeatable feeling.
Having kids unveils to you what your strengths and weaknesses are. How amazing is it that our children serve as a mirror for us, to show us our behaviors and habits that may need to be changed. At the same time, they also reflect for us the beauty that we sometimes neglect to see within ourselves.
Having children forces you to establish and live your values. Ultimately, for most of us, that is, becoming a parent makes us less vain and less judgmental of ourselves and others. With children in the picture, what car you drive, what clothes you wear and what other people think of you seem so much less important.
Having kids forces self-improvement. I do not know any parent that has not, in at least some small way, become a better version of themselves by having a child. We owe so much to our children for being the catalyst to self-reformation.
Having children lets you take a tax credit! Come on, let’s be practical here guys! Per the IRS website, the Child Tax Credit is a substantial tax credit that may be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child, depending upon your income.
Making those precious children is oh, so fun, and totally deserving of a top-ten spot.
The 10 WORST Things About having Kids
They are expensive. Whether it is paying for their education, building a house big enough to contain all of them or securing life insurance so that they will be taken care of, if/whenever necessary, kids are very costly. Some parents, of course not me, joke that the most expensive thing about children is the cost of all the alcohol you have to drink to put up with them. So there’s that, too.
They are exhausting. You think you know what it means to be exhausted before you have kids, and then you have kids, and you are like “WTF?” Yep. That’s parenthood. Jim Gaffigan stated it well when he said, “I don’t know what is more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early or acting like you know what you’re doing.”
They never leave you alone. You will rarely pee or shower by yourself again. Oh yea, and you were hoping to finish that book that love…that will never happen. Do you like hot coffee? Nope, no more.
It will be harder for you and your partner to have time alone to do anything. Unless you schedule and take regular date nights (which you should), it will be incredibly hard to find time between work for you, work for your partner, kids activities, family time, cooking meals, and laundry to have any quality couple time.
You will inevitably lose your “sexy bod” and develop “mom bod” or “dad bod.” This is an actual thing, and it will happen to you, at least for a short period.
Having kids forces introspection. Although this is also considered one of the best things about having kids, there are plenty of people in this world who are super-content with their basic self — flaws and all — and don’t desire to engage in any more in-depth self-analysis. If you are one of those people and you have made the decision to have a child, heads up, because some severe self-observation and examination are going to be forced on you.
You will now have to put off some of your dreams. Did you want to take a trip to Europe? Nope, sorry, not happening with infants or toddlers. You want to travel around and follow your favorite band on their U.S. tour? I don’t think attending concerts with your Baby-Bjorn on is the best idea. You want to quit your job and “find yourself”? Well, you are s**t out of luck cause kids need insurance coverage.
You can’t “let loose” too often. Your new “crazy Friday night” is you and the hubby, one glass of wine, or two (if you are feeling frisky) and maybe Netflix til 11 pm.
Your sleep will NEVER, ever be the same. From infant feedings to being woken up in the middle of the night to clean a dirty diaper, to comforting your little one from bad dreams, to your child wetting your bed, experiencing night terrors or even trying to sneak out of their room — you will rarely sleep a whole night through again.
Kids never stop talking. No really, they never stop talking, and you are always expected to be an active, attentive and compassionate listener to the words they say. This can be hard when you are sleep-deprived, alcohol-deprived and private-time-deprived.
I love my children more than anything in this whole world, and they are undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to me. This is the life I have chosen, the life that I want and the life I 100% believe I was put on this earth to live. But, each of us has to choose to live our lives in the way that makes us happy.
Maybe you are happy without kids, and if that is the case, there is no judgment here.
But, I will tell you this — if you decide to have children, it will be the greatest damn decision you will have ever made, as it was, and remains to be, for me.
This post originally appeared on Jthreeandme.com