Let me tell you straight--don't have kids

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When I was thinking about getting pregnant with River at the age of twenty-four, poor as hell and living in a cluttered one bedroom apartment with four cats--I went about asking every single parent I knew if I should get pregnant or should wait. All of them got this pained look on their face. I imagine it is the look you get when you are constipated or maybe when you are trying to hold in an explosive fart in public. 

The look said, don't ask me this question. 

What should be so hard about the question? I didn't know then. They had children that they talked about with soft eyes. 

What they told me was a stammering, back and forth that went something like this: "Well, kids are wonderful but....it's a lot of work. Your whole life changes. You just need to do what you want."

What they really wanted to tell me was "No. Hell. No."

But what parent is going to tell someone hell no when they have these adorable children that they love more than their own life (more than anything). You know, the two precious beings they write a letter to each month, snap all those photos of, can't stop talking about--yes, those kids. To tell you no is like going back in the future and slapping their child lusting self across the face and screaming, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" 

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My own baby hunger began about half a year after Jason was bringing up the idea of children. I was adamantly against children yet. I had so much I wanted to do. I was on the cusp of finishing college with my entire future ready to unspool in any direction I desired. My cats were my babies taking every ounce of my maternal cravings. 

Then my friend's niece happened.

A sweet two year old who insisted on holding onto my hand and sitting across from me in Dunk'in Doughnuts. Who saw the Halloween themed window stickers behind my back and was honestly afraid they would come alive and get her. From that moment on, the baby lusting fire began burning.

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I wouldn't take back River for the world. I wouldn't go back in time and tell myself to wait, to enjoy my youth and freedom and numerous options. I couldn't. Because my children were totally worth it.

So let me break it down for you without making the poop-face.

Children are a lot of work.

Your whole life changes.

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You like going out to movies? You like watching them snuggled up on the couch with your honey? You like sleeping when you are sick and tired? 

The reality of children is that almost every single moment of your life is given to them. Sometimes I get to go to the movies. But for the entire first year and change of both my children's lives, I didn't. I loved having long, boring afternoons with Jason. THe kind where we would look at each other and wonder what to do next. The days when we could have sex whenever we wanted to. Yeah, goodbye. That isn't how life is now. What we have is a sliver of time after the kids are in bed to fill with the many numerous things we miss doing. Sometimes things we have to do spill into that "free" time. You know, the free time that is sometimes interrupted by a woken up child or a sick child or the child that sneaks into the living room to watch five spying minutes of the movie on tv before you notice him staring at the screen, hunched in the shadows. 

Children are amazingly good at adding stress to a relationship. I can't stress this enough. Your entire world is thrown into this weird loop and it takes some getting used to and a lot of letting go. 

Today I left the house, no idea what I would make for dinner from what remained in the fridge, cleaning and laundry to do--just so I could go biking with the kids. But I came home to all that work. Before I could start any of it, pee, or eat my lunch--I had to get the kids fed and Sage down for a late nap. About ready for nap, I catch Sage with her hand down her diaper. Her diaper filled with shit. That's just how a day with parenting goes--there is a lot of shit involved. 

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I can't tell you not to have children. There are many reasons to do so and I talk about those much more often than this. 

The greatest things in life aren't free. 

The greatest things in life take the most work. 

It's all so very true.

I promise not to make the poop-face if you ask me my opinion on having children or not.

I'll just tell you not to and then when you go and do it anyway, I'll lend you my sympathy after a hard day. I'll take your kid to the park. I'll laugh with you when you remember what your life was like before you had children and how many precious hours you wasted doing boring shit like watching two movies back to back when you could have been enjoying looking down at your hands and not seeing shit on your fingers. 


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