What They Do Not Tell You About Having Kids
By Frank Kermit
I always try to be very practical and realistic in my articles. This can come across very negative, given that my topic is Relationships (and all things relative) and most associations made with love, sex, dating and relationships are generally positive ones. So writers such as I often get scorned for presenting a realistic side of what relationships have to offer. I don't wish for people to walk away from my works with a negative view of love, life, relationships and each other.
What I do want to impart is that the reality of relationships, if you are aware and prepared for it, can work in your favor to have a great one. If you are not prepared for the reality of relationships, it is the lack of awareness and preparation that will taint your experience, and not the relationship in question.
I am a father. I love my son. The best way I can describe what it feels like to be a father is to tell people that I have acquired a happiness and fulfillment that I never knew I was missing. With that said, there were a number of realities related to having kids, that I was not neither aware of nor prepared for. What I am about to share with you is by no means a complete list. Think of it as an introduction to the things most people will not tell you about becoming a parent.
Having a kid means that you will never again take sleep for granted. There simply is too much to do, within too little a time frame, and you don't get any days off. You learn just how much people with children are actually running on very little sleep.
Having a kid means you learn to eat garbage and learn to love the taste. Here, I refer to metaphorical garbage, such as biting your tongue when you want to tell off your idiot boss, because even though you would be ready to handle the consequences of getting fired from your job, there is a little person who is depending on you to keep a stable income and whatever company benefits you rely on, to keep that little person healthy, taken care of and safe.
Having a kid means that you learn very quickly that all of your hopes. dreams and plans need to take a back seat to the absolute needs of your child. Those ideal vacation spots, alternative career pursuits, and even artistic endeavors will simply have to wait until you work your way into a more stable and affordable situation, which depending on other life circumstances (poor health, employment issues, and family crisis) could make it impossible to ever pursue. Your dreams of writing that book, being known for your art, or pursuing a lofty education really don't measure up against having to care for an infant and tending to you kids basic needs for survival.
Having a kid means that you learn very fast that no one gives a damn about you or your kid as much as you thought they did. You and your kids are no one else's first priorities, and people will take care of their own problems before they will ever worry about you and yours.
Having a kid means whatever issues you did not resolve from your own childhood could come swarming up when you become the parent. Some people end up reliving their own horrible childhoods as they watch their own children grow up. Raising a kid is hard enough. Battling your own personal demons just makes it that much more difficult.
Having a kid means that if you choose the wrong relationship partner, you find out in the worst possible ways. As a relationship coach, I often find my clients very surprised when they go on and on about having thought about finding their soul mate, and I ask them if they talked to their soul mate about common values they would utilize in parenting.
Would you be surprised to hear that the majority of people never (and I mean NEVER) considered qualities of being a good parent as a means of identifying a soul mate? If it turns out that your soul mate would be a lousy parent, you may just want to re-consider just what the heck your criteria for spotting a soul mate is.
Having a kid means that your relationship will experience extra pressures. Even the best partnerships will feel the strain of parenthood, and will have to separate actually being upset with your partner, versus just lashing out at your partner because you are both at your wits end.
Having a kid means that you simply will not meet those deadlines for work because your kid needed you to rush out to a hospital for an ear infection, or dehydration from prolonged gastro, or an injury that took place at daycare. The less support system of have of extended family and friends, the more you will have to run around on empty just to keep a minimal status quo.
Having a kid means you have come to realize the most important job a human being could ever have is to be a good parent. It is a hard and nearly thankless job for the most part. It is at that point when you come to terms with that all you can do is the best you can, with what you have, and you just hope that will be enough. If it is not enough, then you and your kid are both in trouble.
At the same time, this might be a key factor in you having compassion for your own parent's shortcomings. Even your parents did the best they could with what they had, and when their best was not good enough, it was all you could get.
Having a kid means, that if your life did not have any meaning before, it does now.
Having a kid means, that you have a new appreciation and understanding for issues that affect the masses, because they affect the world in which your kid is growing up.
Issues like censorship, laws regarding keeping people safe, bullying, tuition fees, even changes in government policy that could potentially affect your kids 10 or 15 years in the future matter to you more than they ever could have before. Having walls built around home swinging pools seems like an example of over regulation, until it is your kid that could be in danger of drowning.
Having a kid means you realize just how much people who do not have kids, really do not understand what it means to raise a child of your own; and as a parent you cannot take for granted that anyone would care enough or have compassion for your kid the way you do.
All those, "If I ever had a kid, I would never..." yappers find themselves touting a different tune when they are the exhausted parent just trying to survive another day during a kid's defiant stage.
Having a kid means you learn just how incredibly helpless a parent can feel when your baby is suffering, and there is nothing you can do about it, wishing you could simply take their place and suffer for them.
Having a kid means you swap an-exciting-romantic-power-sex evening for an evening of microwave-popcorn-cartoon-movies-and-a-smiling-calmer-kid as a definition of a-good-time-had-by-all.
Having a kid means you will be pushed to the very limits of your energy, your patience, your ability, and then...you continue going. You have someone depending on you and thus you simply have too. Parents do not need to watch The Walking Dead. During cold season, parents sometimes ARE the walking dead.
Having a kid means that you become acutely aware of your mortality and thus start getting focused on having a legal will in place, or inheritance in place, in case you die, so that a contingency plan is set to care for your kid after you are gone. You may swap your dreams of fame and fortune in exchange to just wanting to own your own house and some land to grow your own food, just in case you don't last long enough to meet your own grand-kids.
If you and your partner are thinking about having a kid, and if it is your first, make sure you are ready for the sacrifices and life changes it will bring about.
Adhere to the reality of having a kid. Otherwise that lack of awareness and preparation will be the exact reason your relationship may not survive.
FRANK KERMIT MA
EXPERT RELATIONSHIP COACH
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