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The “Inconvenience” of Having Children

Posted by on December 29, 2011

My grandmother once told me that the arrival of a new baby today is received entirely different than it was when she was a baby.  She told me that today when people hear that another baby is to be expected, the event is celebrated and anticipated.  She told me that her own birth was similar to taking a bus to go on a trip and having nobody there to meet you at your destination.  In other words, a baby was something to be “dealt” with as another inconvenience in an already inconvenient life.

I would like to think that nobody views the birth of a baby today in such a manner, but I know that that is not true.  Lots of people have babies that they don’t really want to have.  In fact, I know many people who chose to have children and then later wonder what the hell they got themselves involved in.

I don’t know when exactly it happened, but somewhere along our anthropological journey it seems as though humans grew very disconnected from themselves as mammals.  I know that sounds weird, but follow me.  When a dog is preparing to have puppies, the dog doesn’t  start buying up books to better educate herself on how to best raise the puppies.  And I have yet to see a gorilla at the zoo ask her keeper for tips on how to best get her baby gorilla to sleep.  These mammals, though very different from humans, know exactly how to care for their young.  And they don’t seem bothered by the “inconvenience of having children.”

But humans are different.  Yes, we are mammals, but we are “evolved” or at the very least better than all those other lame mammals.  And we have very busy lives.  We have careers to manage.  We have bills to pay.  We have social lives to maintain, and we have lifestyles to maintain.  So we can’t be bothered with the inconvenience of having children…but we still have them anyway.

Despite how difficult, busy and ridiculous our lives are, the vast majority of the population still reproduces.  Because despite having these lives that we don’t want disrupted, we also want to have a child to enjoy all of those cool moments that we see on television and in the movies.  We want somebody to carry on the family name.  We want somebody to share experiences with and impart our wisdom on.  Or at the very least, we want somebody to put us into a nice home when we grow senile…even better if they keep us out of the home and let us stay in their home.

So in a classic “I want to have my cake and eat it too” move, these same people, who want to lead these lives where they wake up with their hair perfectly in place after having slept 8 hours and then find their babies asleep in a dry diaper at 9 a.m, need to find solutions to all of the “problems” that their children have.  And so they go to the bookstores, online chats and websites by experts to have their kid’s “problems” solved…so they can go back to hitting the gym, keeping their lunch dates and getting their beauty sleep.

I once fell into this group of people.  I had my firstborn and quickly found myself shell shocked.  I couldn’t help but think,

“How the eff am I suppose to do all of this shit?!”  

How was I suppose to lose the “baby” weight?  How was I suppose to look magazine perfect whenever I walked out of my house?  When was I suppose to stop being so bitchy?  How was I going to have a career?  Why didn’t my husband realize how tough everything was?  When was I going to have MY life back?

I had all of these questions and my kid had all of these “problems” like:

being hungry all the time

growing teeth

not sleeping  8 hours a night

not being able to adequately express his needs

having gas

not wanting to sleep alone

wanting to be held all the time

So you can see that once I discovered my kid had this long laundry list of “problems”, and I had all of these very pressing “needs,” the only rational explanation was to find a book written by somebody with some letters after their name to help me “solve” my problems.

So I bought a lot of books.  Actually, I bought an entire freaking library that included titles like this:

And none of it helped.

I tried letting my son cry it out to remedy his sleep “problems.”  It didn’t work.  My son would cry and cry and cry and cry for all lengths of time.  And like an idiot, I listened to the rules written by some “expert” and let him keep on crying until he was a complete wreck and my husband and I were ready to kill one another.  Side note: If you are looking for a great way to end a good marriage, take advice from people that call themselves parenting experts and inform you to ignore every biological instinct you have about children.

I tried not holding my kid all the time so as to not “spoil” him.  Because in case you didn’t know, children are a lot like fruit and can easily spoil if handled to much.

I tried just slapping some ointment onto my kid’s gums instead of letting him nurse as much as he wanted to because he had teeth coming in.  Because he already had that “clingy” problem, and I didn’t want to exacerbate it.

I even tried teaching my son some sign language in hopes that he would not be so frustrated when communicating his needs to me, but really, I just didn’t want to be so damn frustrated when my son was trying to communicate his needs to me.  Well, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but young, pre-verbal children can’t associate a sign with an emotion that they have yet to comprehend.  And let’s face it, there is no sign in a baby sign language program for, “I’M JUST FREAKIN’ PISSED, MOM!”

So for various reasons, my husband and I decided to wait quite awhile before having another child.  And as I got farther along in my second pregnancy, I suddenly had the realization that this new baby was probably going to have all of the same “problems” as my first born.  So I decided it was time to start buying books again in order to nip these problems in the bud.

Because God forbid I have another child who wanted to be with me all the time, sleep in my bed, nurse on demand and…well, just be a normal baby.

So I bought this book…

But before I read that book, I watched these movies:

And then my wheels got turnin’, and I bought these books:

I realized something.

I realized that my first born never had any “problems.”  I was the one with all the problems.  I wanted a television baby.  You know, the kind of baby that…

hardly cries

immediately sleeps when placed in a crib

enjoys spending time alone

sleeps 8 hours

eats at convenient times

isn’t too clingy

rarely has gas

and cuts teeth like a hot knife through butter

But babies aren’t like that….not even a little bit.  You see, babies don’t understand that we mammals of the human variation are not so inclined to tend to these primal needs.  We have more important things to do like fit into skinny jeans, have “me” time and get our beauty sleep.  Babies don’t get any of that shit.

So in essence, babies are still just as “inconvenient” as they were when my Grandma was being born; however, now we have a whole industry geared towards modifying these natural inconveniences so that they fit seamlessly into our schedules…right between drinks with the girls and a one hour massage.

But in my opinion, of debatable, educated intelligence, all of this tinkering with the natural caring of babies is not boding so well for the greater part of society.  I don’t know if you have spent much time with the greater population, but there are some really screwed up people out there.  And having spent a fair amount of time working with children in public schooling, there is a fair amount of kids that are pretty screwed up.  These screwed up people have to come from some place.  And sure, a lot of these screwed up people probably came from parents who were terrible…but how do you know which parents are the terrible ones?  I remember hearing this some place, though I am not certain where, but I feel it is appropriate to share…

“For a society where every person claims to be a great parent, there sure are a lot of screwed up people in this world.”

And, no, the blame can’t all be placed on “experts” or books or even the random people that give you advice on the street corner.  No, I think the blame falls on the parents.  I think the blame falls on the people who expect to have a baby come into their life and just assimilate into their own lifestyle.  That is stupid.  Most people don’t even expect that of  a puppy.

I don’t have any solutions to this issue.  I am just the former joe-schmo mom who use to buy baby books like a cigarette addict hoping that eventually I would get one that had the magic formula for having the perfect, easy baby.  But that book doesn’t exist.  And if it did, it would say this…

“Kids are inconvenient.  It is true.  They won’t sleep when you want them to.  They will probably eat more than you expected.  They will most likely want to sleep with you, and they will probably make a lot of noise.  But if you get over yourself, learn to sacrifice a little and quit viewing every normal thing your child does as a problem, you might just realize that kids are the greatest inconvenience you will ever have the pleasure of experiencing.”

Signed,

A reformed parenting book buyer who now has enough sense to just go with the flow, listen to her heart and forget about what the effing experts have to say in their overpriced books.

P.S.  My four year old does not appear to be screwed up due to my lack of common sense during his infancy…however, by all outward appearances, I look normal too. :)

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erebus53 5 pts

Have not read other comments so I don't know if this has come up but I know for a fact that primates in captivity can have very similar issues with parenting as humans do.http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/159780/Look-lea... this article it talks of a gibbon who had no clue how to mother her offspring because she had never seen it done, and had to be shown how to breastfeed her newborn by human demonstration and video footage.It just seems that most of us these days are "raised in captivity".

Bellarose 5 pts

erebus53 Wow, that was so interesting! Especially in regard to breastfeeding, this gibbon's troubles show why many women "can't" breastfeed nowadays whereas if this many women couldn't breastfeed before the advent of formula, human population would dwindle down. Of course women CAN breastfeed, but we are, as you say, raised in captivity. It does show how efforts to expose the public to breastfeeding both in media and by allowing women to nurse wherever (including where GASP children may see) will help improve breastfeeding rates in future generations (and therefore lower disease rates and improve overall health of future generations).

tammyrcv 9 pts

I wanted to write this to make sure new moms reading your post can not feel condemned or like bad moms for choosing something different. Maybe I am writing this because I am a sleep dprived mom who is sick and is getting up 4 times a night because my teething son wants to nurse :) and my 2 year old is so busy I can't ever get a nap. But I do respect what you wrote and agree with a lot of it. Just wanted to add a different perspective for mothers who choose something different. Btw- Yes I am homeschooling my children, I use clothe diapers, and I breastfeed my children. That should prove right there that I love my children with everything I have because believe me, It is HARD work. But many will look at me as a bad mom because I don't vaccinate, I spank my son when I feel led to, and they sleep in their own rooms instead of in my room or in my bed. Judge how you like, but I will continue loving my children how I see fit, not reading books that say I am destroying my children's spirit or teaching them to grow up violent. So good luck to all you moms and hope I didn't step on any toes, ok, maybe just a few. :)

Yes, I do nurse my son, I do cloth diapering and I am homeschooling, that should show right their how much I love my children, because it is HARD work, But I am looked at as a bad mom because I choose to not vaccinate, I spank my child, and they sleep in their own rooms instead of in mine or in my bed. I just want all moms to know that we are all different and we need to learn to respect eachother and see the heart, not the actions. Hope I didn't step on any toes, ok, maybe just a few. Good luck to all you mothers and God bless.

cbplaner 16 pts moderator

tammyrcv You don't have defend yourself or make apologies. There is no right or wrong way to do it. I just think people tend to feel better about their mothering when it comes from their own instincts and heart. No toes stepped on here :)

tammyrcv 9 pts

cbplaner Your awesome. Most women would be offended by my reply. Thank you for understanding :)

tammyrcv 9 pts

I enjoyed reading your post and mostly agree, but I am also going to be the "jerk"(that many will see me as). I do agree that many experts in child rearing are confusing the new parents. Just as many women are confused by the birthing process from reading or listening to Experts. I look at every parent as different in their own unique way. Just as I look at every culture raising their children in their own ways. I love my children unconditionally and never regret them. I have 2 wonderful boys, age 2 and 4 months and yes, my 2 year old is a handful and can drive me insane, but I never once do I doubt my love for him. I do a lot of thing differently then what you are suggesting. Yes, I let my son cry when he was 6 months old, and put him in his own room at 5 months old. I co slept for the first 2 weeks then he slept in the bassinet. I breastfed my first son till 11 1/2 months and am still nursing my 2nd son. I don't do vaccinations and I declined everything the hospital was requiring me to do including hep B vaccine and the eye cream. I delivered both boy naturally with no pain meds because it was the best for them. I circumcised both of them (they may hate me later) and yes, both of them sleep on their tummies. So as you can see, I do a lot of things differently then most. I am a mix between natural and "unnatural". But as you suggested, I follow my heart.

I wish you would have made more of a point in your post that everyone is different and their is no set way that a mother needs to raise her child.

Every mother is different and each and every mother has their own path and lessons to learn. I was raised in a community of 350 people who home birthed all their children, never vaccinated any of them, who used spankings as a form of discipline, (not beatings) and home schooled every one of them. So the environment you are raised in will heavily impact the way you raise your children. I don't see the mothers who don't do what I do as "inconvenienced" by their children, but some are uneducated or choose to do things differently then what some moms choose but it dosn't always make them bad or worse moms then others. Some can follow the rules to a T but never really love their children while others mess up daily and love their children with all their heart.

loveismyreligion 6 pts

tammyrcvhttp://www.amazon.com/Natural-Child-Parenting-Hear... sound like someone that could really use a book called; The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart. Posting this may be a waste of time as you sound really close minded, but I hope you try to educate yourself some more, break the cycle,for your kids sake."God bless".

tammyrcv 9 pts

loveismyreligiontammyrcv I am far from close minded :) Believe it or not. I learn from watching and when I see something work for a mother, then I am more then willing to try it. :) Comments like yours it what makes other mothers feel judged and more closed minded. Your way is not the only way. Every mother has a heart to follow and just as Bethany said, she respects her mother and so do I. I learned, I watched and I grew up learning more everyday. It is the heart to want to get from your children and believe or not, children who are spanked does not always turn out like you think just as children who are disciplined like yours do not always turn out awesome. It is the parents and the heart that matter. :) So for my kids sake, I will follow my heart and obey God through it. God bless you too and I pray you will be less judgmental of mothers who not fit in your cookie cutter box of mothering.

adamsleach 6 pts

loveismyreligion Close minded? Which post were you reading?? lol... Don't worry tammyrcv and don't feel like you have to explain yourself to anyone, let alone people like this...

BethanyG 5 pts

tammyrcv I couldn't agree with your ways more. My mom is a mother of 8. After her first 3, two being c-sections, she decided to have the rest of us at home. She breast fed, NO vaccinations, home schooled us all and spanked us anytime we did something wrong (never beat, and never out of anger). We were raised in a Christian home. I respect my mother SO MUCH for all she did for us. I respect my father for working constantly to allow her to stay at home with us, and he is just all around great, too. :) I want to be like my mom and do the same for/with my kids. I'm expecting my first in 6 short weeks and haven't been concerning myself on "how" I'm going to raise him, I believe that my mother showed me exactly what needs to be done. I look at my family and am just blown away at how healthy, handsome, loving, caring, respectful, honest, talented, smart and disciplined they all are. I want nothing more then to have my children turn out the same way. I wish I could do a home birth this time, I'm convinced it's the best, healthiest most comfortable way to do it, but we don't have the ability to this time around and I plan on having a completely natural birth at the hospital. The next ones will be at home! Again, thank you, there aren't many moms out there who go with their instincts and just do what comes natural. God Bless!

tammyrcv 9 pts

BethanyG You cannot know how much you blessed me with this reply. It means the world to know there are other moms that respect other forms of mothering then what everyone calls "Natural". NAtural is follow a natural instinct in your heart, not following a book on what natural is. Thank you so much and I would like to get to know you more. my email is tammyrcv@hotmail.com and it is also my FB email. I would like to learn more from other mothers.

momiss45 5 pts

Great post! I couldn't agree more, and in addition to all this, I have been mortified by how Dr's push women into having C-sections instead of normal births. Normal births seem to be too inconvenient these days. I predict a huge rise of midwives and home births. (I am 46 and the mother of 4)

GradBaby 7 pts

I really enjoyed this post as it really resonated with me. I started my journey by watching the business of being born, figuring out what a "doula" was and choosing a midwife. And now as a mama I'm trying my best to go with the flow. We've been blessed with a pretty chill baby boy, but I'm trying not to get too worked up over everything. I can read all day and night but ultimately, I'm his mama so I know what's best for him. If I can unearth that instinct and do what I feel is right for him, then it probably is. We've had our range of issues (lots of BF fun!), but they've worked themselves out and just go to show. . .we're never really in control anyway ;)

cbplaner 16 pts moderator

GradBaby Yep, control is just one big illusion!

thesalmon 6 pts

i appreciate your post. i wish i was brave enough to say all this sometimes...but i can just say i agree ;)

cbplaner 16 pts moderator

thesalmon Thank you :)

ChrisHarmon 7 pts

except that many animals do not just know how to parent- look at how many zoo mothers have failed and the keepers have to take over.. we ARE animals- and our ability/learning curve on how to parent is mostly from watching it happen- and in this day and age- many people only experience their own family's parenting (or tv/movies!!!)- vs the whole being raised by a village thing..

cbplaner 16 pts moderator

ChrisHarmon I think that a lot of parenting is instinctual, but I think we often question our instincts because of the "village" we have been raised in. I agree that a lot of what we think we should do is based upon television or movies, and in that regard I guess we are more like the zoo animal then the wild one :)

Mistieve 8 pts

Another reason people have kids...to have someone who will love them unconditionally. Not that that works out but another reason. Enjoyed reading this!

Babyhuggs 7 pts

Hi, I'm a happy Grandma now and listening to my daughters friends talking about parenting I realize that they are scared of 'screwing up'.(they're all doing a great job) I find it really sad that so many people are scared and unsure 'How to be Mums'

So many people are isolated from family and don't have a support group around them. I learnt much of my parenting from watching my sisters with their babies. (I'm the youngest in the family)

In the days of village life (no I'm not that old) and tribal living there was always someone available to help new mums, and the older ones to. Children were accepted As Part Of Your Life. People ate together and children grew up with an understanding of social structure. Your life Did continue, you were still a part of society. Children were not excluded. And, having children didn't exclude you either!

There are a lot of things that you will do in your life, but raising a child and watching them grow... Is the one thing that you can not do over. All other things can be postponed and revisited at a later time... The growing up of your child can't.

Bellarose 5 pts

Babyhuggs I think you got to part of the heart of the issue when you talk about children and their parents not being excluded from social situations. Part of the reason parents struggle against their parenthood sometimes, I think, is because children are not welcome everywhere in society. You don't want to have the noisy kids in a restaurant- not even if they are sitting down and behaving well, but just LOUD. You don't want to BF in public for fear of being asked to go to the bathroom or leave the establishment. It all makes for a world in which we feel like we have to leave our kids somewhere else in order to live. It should be a world that welcomes our kids as part of society.

MaryWelfelGreen 6 pts

I just love your blog, I'm new to it, just found it today, but I have co-slept with my 3 children, and plan to for future children. I suppose I am the average mom, as I was scared my first time too. It's sad. I hope we get to hook up sometime and I look forward to more of your posts.

cbplaner 16 pts moderator

MaryWelfelGreen Thanks, Marry! I appreciate that :)

becky.swain 11 pts

Exactly. I wish society as a whole would quit scaring the crap out of FTM's. We scare them about everything! Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, parenting. Why can't we just tell all new parents to be, "Look. This parenting thing is tough. Take your time. Trust yourself. Trust that nobody knows your baby and its needs better than you. If you need some suggestions, ask around from real people with real kids you like. Take that info, chew on it for bit, decide if it's for you, then act.

YOU are the only expert on YOUR child.

cbplaner 16 pts moderator

becky.swain "YOU are the only expert on YOUR child." I say that all the time!

RealChildDev 7 pts

I totally get you! You make some really great points here. Love your side note, too: "If you are looking for a great way to end a good marriage, take advice from people that call themselves parenting experts and inform you to ignore every biological instinct you have about children." Yes, I agree!

ChristyR 7 pts

sadly I know many people who see their kids as nothing but an inconcenience :(

great post!

ayurveda 9 pts

Learning about parenting should be done from ours grandmother actually,it helps us on uplift the confidence in us to treat our children. Most parents are actually scared when it comes to raising their child.

Shiba 6 pts

ayurveda I don't have kids yet but I know the fear you speak of. I think a big part of my problem is I lack exposure to babies. (I can't be alone in this. Any other 20-somethings?) My siblings are close to my age. All of my child bearing friends are in other states. None of my relatives that are close have kids. I'm just never around babies. And I worry about taking advice from my mother, because she is part of a generation that relied heavily on commercial baby food and formula (I know that's still going on). It's hard to know what to do and what to expect when we are so disconnected.

I love reading this blog because I like to see the reality of babies. I want to know what to expect when I get to that point. My goal is to be in a place where I can afford to be a stay at home mom for at least the first year so I don't have to worry about getting enough sleep (etc) to function at work. From what I've heard, maternity leave is a joke in the US. It is as you say. Society finds babies inconvenient, and that's a shame.

cbplaner 16 pts moderator

Shiba Being able to stay home that first year will make a huge difference in your experience as a mother. And yes, maternity leave can be a joke here.

Mistieve 8 pts

ayurveda not even just parenting...birthing should be learned from the previous generation. So many women are terrified of the birthing process.

Bellarose 5 pts

ayurveda Except that I wouldn't raise my kid anything like the way my grandmother did. Some of our grandmothers weren't the greatest and they don't always have the best advice. Her kids got bottles, mine bf. She had 9 kids in rapid succession and got overwhelmed (her husband died and all the other baby-daddies disappeared), I only have one (3) and will space out any future kids. She fell into depressions and slept all day while her teenagers worked. She attempted suicide. She had various men around her kids and some of them physically and sexually abused her kids, I would never. She hit them with switches, I practice gentle discipline (no hitting involved). Her advice was that I needed to give my baby a bottle of water at two-months-old (I declined) when she was getting all the hydration she needed from BM. She would do CIO, I've always parented to sleep. She had doctors managing all of her births, with her on her back, I birthed without intervention and in any position I needed. I probably do things more like my great-great-great-great-great grandmother, but I can't talk to her. I love my grandmother and she was dealt some hard stuff herself (child loss, husband loss, etc.), but that doesn't mean I should parent the way she did.