Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raising Kids

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings" by Hodding Carter.

I really like this quote because someone recently asked me if I would still have kids if I had to do it all over again? 

Babies seem to be popping up all over the place. There are a few at work "expecting" and the new movie "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is coming out soon. Of course I knew that my answer would make a great blog post. And since Mother's Day is happening, what better time to answer. 

You never forget that moment when you find out you are pregnant. The thrill of a new life, the changes that would be forever, someone to call you mom. The first smile, the first giggle, the first sniffle. 

The barfing, the weight gain, the swollen feet, the sleepless nights. And all of that was before the baby came into this world. The good always seemed to outweigh the bad though. 

I was married in my late twenties and had my daughter just before my 30th birthday. My son followed 2 years, 1 month later. We had our million dollar family. 
It was exciting and thrilling, a new life. We were yuppies—young urban professionals—producing yuppie kids. We rallied against overcrowding in our schools, peanut butter was banned from lunches and day care became the norm. Remember “thirtysomething”—a TV show about raising kids in the 80’s? 

Most of my friends drove Volvo’s, although I drove a Buick. We all had a nice house in the suburbs, dressed our kids in designer clothing and took them to McDonald’s for Happy Meals and a romp in the ballroom. 

There was no Facebook or cell phones. Crap, not many even had a computer. We rented movies to play on our VHS videoplayer hooked up to a TV that didn’t have a remote—dials only to change the station. Our kids watched Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and his neighbourhood and Polka Dot door on PBS. 

I lucked into pretty good babies. They were sleepers and rarely were cranky or colicky. We got through the rough patches. There were times when you question whether you made the right decision to bring a child into this world. 

I say it is. 

Kids are a financial burden but somehow you make it work. In the early 90’s, my hubby lost his job and I only had part-time work. He gradually developed his own business over the years but the first few were lean. Lots of shopping for clothes in discount stores and making most meals from scratch. But we made it. And I think it taught my kids that you don’t get everything you want. 

The best thing I ever did (and maybe a good piece of advice) was allowing any and all friends to come play at our house. I was stunned that so many moms and dads do not want their kids to bring friends home. Sure there were extra snacks and extra drinks to hand out and cleaning up some messes but at least I knew where my kids were and see the friends that they made. Some of them even called me “mum”. 

In most cases you don’t give up on your kids. You stick by them in good times and bad. You made that commitment the day you found out they were yours for keeps. You can’t go back on your word. Nope, you have to deal with what was given you. 

Both of my kids grew into great kids. I know other parents whose kids did not. Both of mine graduated university and both are working—one making a great salary, the other not so great. My daughter is getting married in the fall. My son is still looking for the right girl. 

Kingsmere, Quebec 1989 

It is hard. You will make mistakes. You will doubt yourself. 

There are times when you coast through parenting—the soccer tournaments, the kisses and hugs, the good report cards, the smiles on Christmas morning. Sometimes you want to throw in the towel—the whining, the fundraising, the exhaustion. 

It can be harrowing when you have to discuss things like boys and girls and sex and making it in this world—getting an education, getting a job, living on your own. 

And when the big crocodile tears stream down the face of your little girl because a boy has just dumped her you will feel the pain in the pit of your stomach as if it is happening to you. But when another boy proposes and you see sheer happiness on that same face you know you wouldn't have missed one moment of their life. 

So yes, if I had it to do over again, I would still have kids. 

Besides they are always reminding me not to forget that "they choose my nursing home"! 

What about you. If you had to do it all over again would you still have kids?


Gilly said...

What's this wetness in my eye? I think you might have thawed my cold black heart just a little! Lovely!

Steph said...

I've only been a mom for 8 years now, but I wouldn't trade a moment of motherhood. Sarah has brought so much joy to my life it is amazing. You did a great job, iMom...this is why we love you!

MandaPanda said...

My girls are 6 and 4 and I have no doubt that, ultimately, it was the right decision for me. Just as ultimately, 2 is enough for me. LOL.

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