09 May Having Children Vs. Not Having Children
I recently read an article about parental regret, titled ‘I regret having children’ by Anne Kingston.
After reading this article, I have to admit that I was pretty disturbed. Not by the views expressed, but more so by the impression given, that most moms or parents REALLY feel the same way, we just aren’t speaking up.
I beg to differ.
Also, to learn that there’s a 9,000 member Facebook group I regret having children, was alarming to me.
And to be honest, I have been really hesitant to write this post, because I don’t want to be just another parent, woman, or writer criticizing and judging those who do feel some type of regret about parenting.
At the same time, this article did stir up some feelings regarding the choices we have as adults who decide to have children.
Below are just a few quotes from the article that I would like to highlight:
“At first glance, Amy* is like many busy young moms—she’s 34, lives in Alberta, works full-time and is devoted to her five-year-old. “I love my son with all my heart,” she says. “My life revolves around this child.” Four nights a week from May to June are spent at a sports field, she says. “All his schoolmates do it, so if he doesn’t, he’s left out.”” ~ ‘I regret having children’ by Anne Kingston.
This mom has chosen to make her life revolve around her child. Whether because of pressure or because she feels it’s the motherly thing to do, this is neither healthy for the child or Mom. She has also decided that she HAS to keep up with the Jones’ and allow her son to participate in certain activities because everyone else is doing it.
Maybe it’s overcompensation for her feelings of regret that are to be regretted. Choosing to allow her life to revolve around her son’s can actually contribute to these feelings. While she may believe she is doing what’s best for her child, this can actually be detrimental to the parent-child relationship.
“She never wanted children (“I was very independent,” she says)—her husband did. “It would have been a deal-breaker.” Parenthood put an untenable strain on the marriage; her husband wasn’t as involved as she wanted; they separated.” ~ ‘I regret having children’ by Anne Kingston.
Here we have a self-proclaimed independent woman. I won’t get into my thoughts regarding the independent women here, but I will say sometimes our independence can become a hinderance to our growth.
The mom here, was pressured into having kids by her ex-husband. It doesn’t sound like she and her ex were on the same page with having children from the beginning. It seems as though the strain on the marriage came before the child. But now, parenting or motherhood has become the regret instead of regretting not fully working through disagreements.
“… her two children left her “exhausted and bankrupt,” and she couldn’t wait for them to leave home, she wrote.” ~ ‘I regret having children’ by Anne Kingston.
As parents, we often try to keep up with the ways of the world. There will always be consequences for our actions, and we have to learn to self-regulate. It is ok to rest and not get involved with EVERY activity. It is ok to tell our children, “we don’t have money for this at the time”. Our lack of boundaries often causes problems in the long run. And again, instead of taking responsibility for our actions, we turn to selfish regret.
“Unsurprisingly, women who express regret are called selfish, unnatural, abusive “bad moms” or believed to “exemplify the ‘whining’ culture we allegedly live in,” ~ ‘I regret having children’ by Anne Kingston.
I have to admit, after reading this article, I did sense a bit of selfishness from the women who expressed their regret. Not that what they were saying was unnatural or that they are bad, whining moms. I honestly believe their feelings are totally natural.
We are all naturally selfish. I cannot judge, because I too have been, and often find myself being selfish.
Some will be convicted of their selfish ways and choose to learn and grow from them, while others will make excuses and choose to remain stuck in their selfishness.
Knowing that we are selfish as a people, we can make two choices. Have children and be stretched beyond our comfort levels, or to not have children, knowing it isn’t a commitment we are willing and ready to make.
For whatever reason, you’ve decided to have a child. Things may get tough. Parenting can and will be a challenge. We have to remember that the child we choose to have doesn’t have a choice.
Sadly, it seems as though parenting is often viewed like marriage. We make a commitment to love and honor our spouse forever, but when things get tough, we are quickly ready to throw in the towel.
To call it quits.
Every day becomes a struggle, and it’s as if we want to divorce our children like we do our spouse.
I encourage you to stay committed to motherhood and doing things to improve parental satisfaction.
When you have some time, I encourage you to check out the article, ‘I regret having children’. In this post I have only highlighted a portion of the article. There’s so much more to it and some positive views of parenting were expressed. I challenge you to read it with an open mind. Know that there are many women and men who feel parental regret, and with valid explanation.
Instead of judging, pray for them because everyone should have the opportunity to parent with joy.
My deepest desire is to help those parents with regret, find purpose in parenting.
If you are feeling some parental regret, here are some things you may be able to do to help you grow pass these feelings:
- Determine your why. Ask yourself why you may be experiencing parental regret (is it because your world revolves around your child, or maybe because you are trying to keep up with everyone else or comparing yourself to others, etc.)
- Give yourself permission to have these feelings, but be determined to move past them.
- Get support. Share your feelings with others you trust. You are not alone and they may be able to help and encourage you beyond these feelings
- TAKE A BREAK! parental regret may come as a result of not being able to get a break from parenting. Not only are breaks important, but they are healthy.
Make the choice to grow and learn from any of your selfish ways. Marriage and parenting are opportunities for us to let go of selfishness and learn ways to become more generous.
After reading the article, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you experiencing parental regret? Or, do you not understand how some parents could be experiencing regret? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.