Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

The Good Parts About Having Kids

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A reader recently asked in the forums: “What are the good parts of having kids?” and I have enjoyed reading the responses while I thought about my own answer to this question. I have only been a parent for three years and five days (and the eight+ months before that when I carried Jackson inside me), so I am still learning the good parts of having a kid and I know I will continue learning for the rest of my life, long after Jackson has grown up and is no longer a kid (though he will always be my boy).

The thing is, there are so MANY good parts about having a kid, but, for me anyway, they are measured more than anything by moments — some so fleeting that I often have to consciously tell myself to remember this, remember this, remember this. And even now in my remembering of some of these moments, I feel nostalgic that they have long passed and that Jackson is now my precocious and curious and active, active, active 3-year-old and not my little baby any more. It does go so fast, as everyone says. And the moments that make all the lost sleep and sacrifice and expense and worry worth it fly by. But the good news is that these moments find a permanent home in your heart, and, even when their place in your memory loses footing over years of life and loss and chaos, they root themselves deep in your heart and stay.

I could talk about some of these moments that have brought immeasurable joy to my life, but instead I will sum them up by describing what they’ve done to my heart: they have filled and sealed cracks and holes made from heartache and disappointment with laughter and love and compassion. They have expanded and pushed through walls, and lightened the weight of all the negative feelings I’ve picked up and carried with me all my life. And even as the hard and challenging and sometimes heartbreaking moments of parenthood break me down, these magical moments — and there are so many every day — pull me up and pull me through. They have made me a better person in just a few years. I am more tolerant and more patient and more loving because the experience of motherhood has made me so.

Having a kid isn’t for everyone. It is the hardest, most exhausting, and, more often than not, thankless thing I’ve ever done. But it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. And I am so, so grateful I got the opportunity to do it and that, not only did I have the opportunity, but I also didn’t let fear of the unknown, or fear of hard work or fear of change or fear of sacrificing some of the things I enjoy, keep me from pursuing this thing that has been better than all the rest.

I can’t wait to see who Jackson grows up to be. I can’t wait, and yet, at the same time, I want to savor all these fleeting moments that continue filling my life with joy. I want to hold on to them forever. I want them to never lose footing in my memory. But I will settle in knowing they’ll be with me forever, at home in my ever-expanding heart.

29 comments… add one
  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray October 14, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Oh man, I am ready for a kid now! That’s it, sperm bank here I come. 🙂

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki October 14, 2014, 3:10 pm

      I’m telling you, it’s the way to go!

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties October 14, 2014, 8:19 pm

        or you could find a nice infrequent male commenter to be your house husband 😉

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    MissDre October 14, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Perfect 🙂

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  • gigi

    gigi October 14, 2014, 3:18 pm

    That was beautiful Wendy! He is such a lovely little guy!

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray October 14, 2014, 3:26 pm

    I think my favorite thing about Jackson is how much personality he seems to have! I did meet him (and steal a few kisses – I like to rub that in!) and in the brief meeting I could tell he has oodles and oodles of personality. And it shows in these pictures, too.

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  • something random

    something random October 14, 2014, 3:56 pm

    🙂

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    Jane63 October 14, 2014, 6:54 pm

    I did the same thing when my kids were growing up. “They will never be this age, again”. My advice is to write these things down. As they grow and become who they will be your brain will forget these awesome things to make room for more awesome things and you will forget. Write them down. 🙂

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    freckles October 14, 2014, 6:57 pm

    That’s beautiful Wendy 🙂 You sound like such a good mother and Jackson is lucky to be part of such a warm, loving home. I’m sure he will turn out to be a wonderful kid, and a wonderful teenager, and a wonderful adult!

    I’ve been enjoying reading the responses in the forums as well, but your answer makes me wonder how motherhood would change me. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but you mention how it’s made you more tolerant and patient and loving. All traits I could stand to improve upon 🙂

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 14, 2014, 6:58 pm

      your user name – freckles – always makes me smile. i love freckles.

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        freckles October 15, 2014, 1:42 pm

        Aw thank you! 🙂

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    FancyPants October 14, 2014, 6:59 pm

    “And I am so, so grateful I got the opportunity to do it and that, not only did I have the opportunity, but I also didn’t let fear of the unknown, or fear of hard work or fear of change or fear of sacrificing some of the things I enjoy, keep me from pursuing this thing that has been better than all the rest.”

    Thanks Wendy. I’ve been thinking a lot on this, and I think this was what I needed to hear from somebody.

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  • Mr. Cellophane

    Mr. Cellophane October 14, 2014, 7:35 pm

    Beautifully written, as usual, Wendy!
    .
    One of the bittersweet things about this stage of his life is that he won’t remember it. So you have to do it for him.
    .
    All those toddler and pre-school obsessions (for my kids it was “Bear in the Big Blue House”, Buzz Lightyear, Thomas the Tank Engine and The Wiggles) are gone. They don’t remember them! Fortunately, we do, we remember the songs, the dances and the catch phrases. It is sweet to think and remember those days with them, and also fun to watch them squirm when we bring them up in front of their “too cool” teenage friends!

    PS is it OK if I have an Internet crush on Addie?

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 14, 2014, 9:51 pm

      It’s more than ok, it’s encouraged! 😉

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  • avatar

    TheTruth October 14, 2014, 9:13 pm

    I have 4 daughters and 1 son.

    I only need one of my daughters to marry rich, and I’m set for life.

    You have a daughter for life, but a son only for 16 to 18 years.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover October 14, 2014, 10:04 pm

      …. what?

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 14, 2014, 10:19 pm

        You know that saying: a daughter is your daughter for life, a son’s a son until he takes a wife (or something like that). And it’s so true! Me thinks.

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      • something random

        something random October 14, 2014, 10:49 pm

        That saying is exactly why a lot of mothers hope at least one of their boys turns out gay.
        I do think women have a special want to be matriarch of their own house. Which is why daughter in-laws famously resent their mother-in-laws (because they want to break away and start their own family traditions and they don’t want to perceive their husbands as the little boys that MILs famously love to treat their sons like). Mothers and daughters supposedly stay close, especially after grandkids when daughter is developing a new relationship with mother.

        I dunno. I hate perceived women wars and the thought that my boys are going to grow up and marry someone who comes in feeling they have to be in charge of everything and I’m some obstacle.

        Is anyone out here married to a man who is still really close to his mom and you think that’s just peaches and cream?

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      • Portia

        Portia October 15, 2014, 8:22 am

        Well, not myself personally, but my parents were both very close to my dad’s mom, in some ways my mom was closer to her. We called her Bubbe and my mom has told me for a long time she wants to be just like her one day, the next Bubbe. My mom even lived with her MIL for a little while, and this was a few years before my parents got married. So although yes I understand the trope of the wife and the MIL not getting along, it was not my experience growing up.

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      • Portia

        Portia October 15, 2014, 8:25 am

        (And I’m not going to touch on what the “next Bubble” comment means for her expectations for my childrearing. At least I have a sister, and odds are she’ll have kids one day.)

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        RedroverRedrover October 15, 2014, 8:29 am

        I think it depends more on the specific mom. My best friend’s husband is close to his mom, and they see her a fair bit. Of course there are always annoyances, but on the whole they get along, and the mom babysits their kids and stuff. My husband isn’t close to his mom at all, so we don’t see her that much, which means my son doesn’t see her much. Plus I’d like it if I could get more of that sweet, sweet babysitting action. We get along well and I could certainly handle having her around more.
        .
        With that being said, it definitely wouldn’t work out if he was a mama’s boy. She’s definitely a “matriarch” type. She even said it once, in front of all of us, that she’s the matriarch. And I’m thinking, you’re not MY matriarch, lady. But I just let her go on, I don’t care, she can think what she wants. But I can see how if my husband didn’t back me up when I wanted to not do something that she expected, that it would get really tired really fast. I don’t think we would have ended up married though if he was like that.

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        ktfran October 15, 2014, 9:11 am

        My little sister is close to her mother in law. Of course, not as close as she is to our mother, but as far as getting along with mother in laws, they’re both pretty damn lucky. The MIL will even go on camping trips with our family and my middle sister invited her to our wedding.
        .
        I also got along really well with my ex-fiance’s mom. She treated me like a daughter before we were even engaged.
        .
        I think it’s pretty much the same with all of my cousins and their husbands/boyfriends family. We just have a friendly demeanor and tend to pick people with welcoming families. Ours is welcoming as well.
        .
        Now I will say two of my uncles (my mom’s bros), they’re much closer to their wives families and don’t come around as much, which is a shame. Because of that, I’m not as close to their children, they just weren’t around…. but I’m super close with all of my mom’s sisters girls.

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        Eagle Eye October 15, 2014, 10:47 am

        My bf and I have been together for a while, and we’re both really close to our parents, but mine live far away, while his live close by. We probably see his parents about 2x a month for dinner, and since his mom works at the same university as the bf and I do, we see her for lunch now and then. Sometimes, together and sometimes separately.
        .
        She and I get along really well, because she’s a cool lady, with interesting things to say and a unique perspective on the world.
        .
        My boyfriend is also quite close to her, but neither of his parents try to control us or our actions, which I think is really key, they let us do our thing, which has allowed for me to feel comfortable getting as close to them as I have.
        .
        It also means that my boyfriend sees himself separately from them, and has a good backbone in regards to saying “no.” I think that the fact that he’s so good at maintaining boundaries has also helped keep the relationship healthy.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed October 15, 2014, 10:51 am

        Yeah–my boyfriend’s parents live down the street (a block) from us, but it’s not a problem because they aren’t intrusive. In fact, I join his mom and grandmother and other family friends for a weekly girls game night. They are great people and I’m glad he has such great parents. I’m also lucky that if need be, he’s not afraid to set boundaries.

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      • something random

        something random October 15, 2014, 11:07 am

        Okay, the message I’m getting is if I’m very close with my dil (at least on the same level or more than my son) everything will be okay.

        I already kind of figured I would have to kiss butt to who ever my sons end up loving. And I think the idea of a dil who is open to me seeing her as my own daughter sounds really nice. I’ve always wondered what a it would be like to have a daughter. I’ll hope for that. Or maybe some sweet, gay husband who will let me baby them both.

        But I think the whole “son until wife, daughter for life” thing still stands, unfortunately.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed October 15, 2014, 11:09 am

        I think it can stand, but it depends on the family. It certainly hasn’t been the case in my family, and some of my friends families, but in other, more… traditional friends’ families, it has been true.

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    Sunshine Brite October 14, 2014, 9:38 pm

    Hm, I’m not sure, being a parent is still not for me. Just a thought. I want to be ready already, but I’m just… not yet. I’m already older than I thought I’d be when I would start a family, just turned 27. Alas, I just have to let things happen the way things happen and plan for my ability to be ready.

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    • avatar

      freckles October 15, 2014, 1:46 pm

      That’s how I feel. I’m going to be 30 next year, and I honestly thought I would be ready by now, but I’m not quite yet. However the thread has caused me to be a little less scared, and I’m hoping in the next year or so I will be ready. (More complicated will be whether Mr Freckles will be ready around the same time as me).

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    Rachel @ Reality Chick October 15, 2014, 7:55 pm

    “And I am so, so grateful I got the opportunity to do it and that, not only did I have the opportunity, but I also didn’t let fear of the unknown, or fear of hard work or fear of change or fear of sacrificing some of the things I enjoy, keep me from pursuing this thing that has been better than all the rest.”

    THIS. Especially as a new mum myself 🙂

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