I have run across some Facebook statuses, blog posts, and other humorous social media updates that point to all of the benefits of choosing a life free of the “burden” of parenting. While I understand where the authors of these posts are coming from, and even, the convenience in many ways of not having children, I have weighed the benefits of a life with children versus one without.
My husband and I had the choice to pursue parenthood. There would be no “accidental” pregnancies in our lives. We also had the choice to pursue a life without children. We could have stayed in our quaint two bedroom cobblestone front home, and traveled the world. We could have spent our lives on a seemingly perpetual date.
We did not choose this, though. Because of our experience of parenting, I’ve come up with some simple, and yet relevant, reasons why life with children (however they come to you) is the best thing ever.
Once you become a parent,
- you begin to value the simple things in life.
- you are suddenly thrust into a world of humility.
- you learn that there is nothing more satisfying than self-sacrifice.
- you are gifted with simplistic examples of love.
- you are reminded that grace is a gift freely given, and one that you need to work on giving.
- your life is enhanced in ways that you never thought was possible.
- the artwork on the refrigerator is the most priceless piece of work you have ever seen.
- your own health becomes more important.
- you are given the gift of multiple second chances by the same little humans who love you, need you, and whose life is dependent on you.
- you work harder, sleep less, and do not regret either of these.
- your heart; the one that has led your decisions throughout your life, is now being led, moved, and persuaded by the little beating hearts walking right next to you.
- you are reminded that each day brings a new opportunity to start again, learn something new, correct a bad habit, and let your imagine soar.
- you are surrounded by the opportunity to remember and embrace those magical moments of your own childhood.
- you are reminded of how hard your parents must have worked to raise you, provide for you, and give you a life of opportunity. Or, in some situations, you are reminded of how void your childhood was; thus, you are being the change needed in the next generation of children in your family.
- you gain a simplistic and innocent sense of humor. (All it takes in the mispronunciation of one word by your child, and suddenly, you are giggling.)
- you know that the most important job you have is being a parent. You defend it. You protect it. You speak up for it, and, you are proud of it.
- you know you are the most important person to your children, and by this, you are nearly overwhelmed with unspeakable love.
- you are greeted with happiness, told that you are loved, and freely given tokens of love on a daily basis.
- every moment of life, from going through a car wash to traveling to an adventurous destination, is filled with excitement and exhilaration.
- you begin to see glimpses of your own future, and you fight for it. You whisper hope into the ears of your children. You teach them to love without judgment, and dream without borders. You tell them that the world is open for them, and to seize their dreams. You long for them to embrace their own sense of the world, and yet, you hope they do not forget where home is.
I used to think, or at least give off the impression, that life would be okay without children. Deep down, though, I knew I was missing out. I grieved for something to which I did not even fully understand. I just knew that I did not want to enter into my Heavenly home with missing the valuable experience of being a parent.
When I see the Facebook statuses, blog posts, and other humorous social media updates that depict why a life without children is better than a life with children, I find myself defending the plight of parents, the needs of all of those babies who have made their way to our lives, and the hope of our future. I could go on and on about the importance, hardship, yet joy of life with children.
As a child, I was not promised parenthood. I actually never visualized it. Instead, I hoped for it. I prayed for it. And now, at the age of forty-two and thinking through the past thirty-one years of my life, I cannot imagine not fighting for parenthood.
My friend, if you are reading this wondering if you should get pregnant, pursue IVF, become a foster parent, adopt, or, if you should choose a life without children, I want to tell you that there is nothing more challenging, yet, more incredibly rewarding than being a parent.
I will never stop challenging those who consider children as less important in our world. Sure, movies may be easier to watch, going out to eat might be a little more quiet, traveling may be relaxing and exotic, and you may have more down time to sleep in, and embrace your own hobbies, but this blogger, this parent, and this child of God, will always support the case for kids.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127: 3-5