I believe that all adults should try before they buy
.... having kids, that is.
WARNING: If you believe that everyone should have children, then you might want to skip this post. If, on the other hand, you are curious about my thoughts on child-rearing or my love of being an auntie or my delight at learning how awesome my hubby is, then keep reading!
I am 33 years old. I am married. And I don't have any kids.
Actually, I don't want kids of my own. Ever.
Just loaner kids.... nieces and nephews and friends' kids, that is.
"Why?" you ask. Well, here's a short list.
- Kids need attention all the time. There are no breaks. You cannot just tell them you need a time out and expect them to leave you alone. And if you do walk away or ignore them, they are certain to hurt themselves.
- When kids cry for seemingly no reason you cannot tell them they have 5 minutes to cry it out and then they must stop. This does not work. I know, I tried it.
- Kids chew with their mouths open. It is "see food" for every meal. No matter how many times you remind them to eat with their mouths closed. Seeing chewed food makes me want to vomit. No matter how many times I've seen it. It's just gross....
- Kids whine. It's not their fault, it's just their little voices. Still, it is terribly annoying. Especially when you cannot make it stop. Ever.
- Kids need less sleep than I do. I thought they were supposed to sleep a lot, but that's a lie. Or perhaps, I just sleep a lot. Either way, when I'm taking care of other people's kids my sleep suffers. And these aren't even babies I'm talking about. How people survive months and years of insufficient sleep, I'll never know. I'm not signing up for that adventure.
- Kids try their hardest to turn you against your partner. They lie. They claim the other adult said it okay. Even if they haven't talked to said adult. Or even if the other adult said no. You must always confer with your partner. Luckily, my hubby and I made a pact before we borrowed our niece and nephew: whichever of us came up with the strictest ruling on an issue was the ruling that stuck. This may seem evil, but really it is genius because it completely undermines the kids' ability to play you off each other. Plus, when the kid is caught lying (which they inevitably will be) we gave them an extra time-out.
- No matter how frustrating kids are, you can't spank them. At least in our way of parenting. This means that taking away privileges (like eating ice cream) and giving time-outs are our only ways to punish them. And both of these take extra patience and sometimes inflict the crappy consequences on you too. (You mean no one gets ice cream, me included? Crap!)
Still, none of this is say that I don't like kids. In fact, I love kids! I love watching them experience something new. I love their joy at the little things. I love teaching them things and delight in learning new things from them. My nephew for instance is incredibly knowledgable about tent caterpillars and other creatures. My niece is always on the hunt for good fairy habitat. And playing with rocks and sticks and splashing in frigid water is so much fun with two little kids. Oh! And beany weenies are delicious. Who knew?
And last, but perhaps most importantly, I learned how incredible my hubby is and what a good partnership we make. Each day when we were taking care of the kids, we made sure to give the other a break. Be it taking the kids to an evening ranger program while the other drank wine in the hammock in peace. Or sailing alone with the kids so one of us could catch up on sleep. Or watching a children's movie cuddled up in the tent with the wiggle worms while the other enjoyed the stars. Taking turns and sharing are quite helpful skills to have as adults and frankly essential tricks for maintaining your sanity and love while caring for someone else's children--and probably your own children too, although clearly that is not my wheelhouse.
So, thank you to my wonderful brother- and sister-in-law for lending us two adorable and sweet kids for two weeks so I could discover these things. It is truly a blessing to know that I do not want kids. Instead, I will continue to borrow other people's kids (yours if you let me). And then give them back when I can't take it anymore.