I know people personally and through other folks who tell me they know people avoiding parenthood. These people aren't trying to decide if they want to have kids. They know they do. They are in healthy, loving and seemingly wonderful relationships, so why wouldn't they just start their families. Just do it, so to speak.
Here's why. They take this whole, I am responsible for another life very serious, and they should. They don't want to screw up.. They are happy now and yes kids would be great but they tell you, they just aren't ready. And kids, that just seems stressful and overwhelming. They have read the articles.
We live in an environment of judgment and of my opinion matters. And its stressing young couples out! We live in a world of constant scrutiny and being an ant under a magnifying glass is only fun for the person holding the magnifier. It's every man for himself nowadays and we aren't very supportive of our fellow parents. Its a club that people sometimes find themselves apart of without the memory of signing up. And others who find themselves hazed. It's not for the faint of heart and it takes guts and courage but its not impossible and yes, if now is the perfect time then you should join us. Not all of us think we know best. In fact, if we are truly being honest, none of us knows what we are doing. And yes you can do this without all the advice of the world!
When I had my first child, I was on social media but at that time it was more, 'look at my vacation pictures.' It wasn't how it is today with the sharing of articles and opinions and critical comments due to safety in numbers. By the time I had my second child I didn't even participate in social media because I found it time consuming and didn't see much of a purpose. I can't imagine what this must be like today to have a new baby and open your Facebook news feed.
Articles are out there and they are looking for you. To pop up on your feed on a day that has already been particularly terrible. Articles that tell you to breastfeed or your kids will die and never be on the same reading level as their peers. Personal response pieces letting you know that having pets is impossible with kids and all good parents take them to the pound during pregnancy. Opinion pieces on vaccination. Everyone has an idea and everyone wants you to know they are correct and did what is correct and that YOU are incorrect if you don't take their advice and shall I say, heed their warning.
Of course, you are terrified.
Of course you feel that 1 mistake will ruin your future child and this will be a direct reflection on your parenting. You should feel this way, you have had lots and I mean lots of negative, opinionated information thrown into your face. So allow me to offer a refreshing alternative today. Not something that will solidify your decision, but maybe something to make it not seem SO scary.
I used to read those articles too. I have seen the comments and I too have felt like maybe those parents are better and have it all together and those kids will be amazing and what I am doing is all wrong. So I get it, I really do. But guess what- I don't know what I am doing. Ever. And my kids are okay.
I breathe a lot and I close my eyes tight and I cry in my car sometimes because my child had a melt down at the store and I got 'those' looks from strangers. NOTE: You will know the look very soon if you decide to join us. I read parenting books and implement strategies for about 2 days, then I forget. My kids have worn shoes too small and had accidents without a change of clothes. Yes, the school will send them home wearing clothes that once belonged to the opposite sex. I feed them McDonalds and take them to county fairs. They pet animals at the zoo and don't always wash their hands before eating funnel cake. I forget the sunscreen and make them share 1 towel that I packed for myself that I found on the floor. They have messy rooms and long toenails and if there is mud or chocolate within 20 yards they will find it right before we need to leave the house for a public event.
And the parents of these two kids, don't even get me started. They stay up way too late and have poor eating habits. They never say the right thing. They drink wine and let curse words slip. They make their kids do lots of chores and yard work and they shout when their kids don't listen and they feed them toaster strudel. They stopped reading parenting advice articles a LONG time ago.
BUT they love each other and their kids more than anything on this planet. And they say it and SHOW it all the time. They make time for family movie nights and microwave popcorn and people tell these parents how amazing their children are and they can't believe it because they don't feel like they do anything right, ever. And as a parent you too will try your hardest to screw them up but somehow they will still turn out okay.
But yet, our kids are amazing. They are good people and they are funny and they care about others and they are the best people we know. So how did this happen when we aren't feeding them grass fed organic whole grain extra veggie vegan spaghetti while listening to Mozart, reading Shakespeare and breastfeeding until they are 12? Um..because they are humans and humans are resilient and created to survive and thrive. And your kids will be okay too, without the advice of the world.
You will just know what to do.
I can't write it on a blog post or argue with someone I have never met in Nevada on Facebook about this topic but I can tell you that somehow, like magic you will just know the answer. You will know your child and you will know what works for your family and you will be just as good at this as all the rest of us are..not. But don't let complete strangers that claim they are perfect because they do A, B and C convince you that you can't do this or persuade you from missing the most exciting, fun and unbelievable life experience. Besides isn't social medial for sharing the highlights and not the low nights.
Take it from me, a person writing a blog that knows nothing of your life or situation and isn't prepared to tell you how to do any of this. A person that jumped off a cliff hoping for best and expecting the worse. A person that laughs at those posts that try to make me feel like a sub par parent because my proof that I am doing okay is in the faces of my children who are happy and better that I imagined. A person who people pull aside to remark that my children are awesome and want to know what I am doing. To which I reply, "I don't really know, I forgot to feed them breakfast. So maybe that's it?"