Monday, May 24, 2010

Is it worth it?

After my rant last week and subsequent defense-of-being-crazy I received the following comment from Schmei:

I'm so glad you keep it real. I'm also glad you're OK.

As someone who's actively mulling the whole procreation angle, I'd like to ask: If you could rewind two years, knowing what you know now, would you do this again?

Because "It sucks and you hate it and you can't go back" is what I'm hearing from a few new moms I know right now, not just you. And it's making me wonder if I'd ever really want to have a child.

Because some days it really feels like the moms saying "OMG it's SO WORTH IT" are, indeed, farting glitter. Looks great, smells not-so-fresh.

So, to be honest, way back around months three and four, when things were REALLY bad, I thought to myself not just once, but at least a handful of times, that there is no way to truly know if you would want a child until you actually have one; but by that time, it's too late to do anything about it. I mean, of course you are going to love your child, but there is no way of knowing if you will get along with that baby or like them or even feel like putting up with them, until you have one to force the decision down your throat.

But I trusted that things would get better at some point and I gripped onto that promise for dear life in order to survive and get myself through some of the most difficult moments of being a mom. I can't say I didn't lose my focus, as evidenced by last week's rant, and decide that it would never get better and thus hurl myself into a pit of despair over having made the wrong decision to have children. But I did manage to always work myself back from the point of total loathing-of-my-situation to see the indescribable awesomeness that having a child is.

I think that is the great paradox of parenthood. It is simultaneously the most awful and the most rewarding experience you can imagine.

My sister gave me great advice before we started our family. She has a son who is now 5 years old, and she said to me that when you are a parent, the highs are really high and the lows are really low. I agree completely with that statement. What I didn't 'get' until after Little G arrived, was that the highs and lows weren't necessarily spread out evenly over your days, months, or (I am assuming) years. You might just have a horrific, no-good, awful day followed by another one and another one with maybe one awesome moment thrown in there that just barely allows you to forgive the stink of so many bad days in a row. Thankfully, the parenting highs combined with the parenting run-of-the-mill moments seem to be enough to wash away the pain and frustration of the parenting lows.

I have learned that I need to work on my patience when waiting for those high moments while I am in the throes of the low moments. I am also learing to trust that even in the darkest hours- it won't always be that bad.

In a way, parenthood is a little like life. Life gets hard, but we don't give up on it, because we know how rewarding it can be.

I promise you that having a child is rewarding and craptastic and awesome and frustrating and (I don't hesitate to say) "OMG, SO WORTH IT". I have seen and experienced the gamut in the short time that Little G has been in our family.

So, would I make the same decision to have children if I could rewind my life two years? - Absolutely.


  1. I just left a comment on Mandy's blog about a similar thing - why do I wait to have kids? Part of it's fear of change. I used to think that as I got older, I'd gain the patience and even-temper I feel is needed to be a parent. I think my temper's gotten worse though. And now that I have less free time than ever before, I value peace and quiet, control and sleep more than ever before. I hear that you have little of any of these things when you have a child. I am glad for women like you who share the good and the bad of motherhood. It affirms what I have thought all along: I am sure it's rewarding, and sure it's something I do want to do, but I should not expect it to Always Be The Best Thing Ever like some of my friends would lead me to believe.

  2. Thank you. (My lack of comment hasn't been a lack of interest - this is the first day this week I've been able to check over here!)

    I'm grateful for your continued honesty about motherhood... and I am glad you can say that it IS worth it and you would do it again. That's nice.