Does having kids suck?

August 12th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life - (80 Comments)

Last year I wrote a post sharing my thoughts on an internal debate I was having; should I have children, or not? In the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to have kids, but I hadn’t found anyone who instilled in me a burning desire to become a mother. I know so many older females who are childless by choice that I’m confident I will die happy should my life take a similar path.

Now, I’m definitely in favor of birthing some babies, but I’m scared shitless.

I’ve lectured on child development for years, I’ve read more parenting books then most parents have, and I’ve been around kids as a nanny and volunteer since my first job at a childcare agency when I was 16. I know having kids is rough, but lately I feel like every time I get on facebook or check twitter someone is sharing an article on how horrific it really is to be a mother.

Having Kids

Here’s the cliche; a new mom is at her wits end after going on 2 hours of sleep. She’s covered in baby piss, too tired to shower, surrounded by a dirty house, can’t remember the last adult conversation she had, and alternates between moments of depression and extreme baby-heaven bliss.

I’m sure having a kid is hard. Really, really, hard. But, is it actually that bad? I mean, if I start breeding sometime soon and I’m working from home on the blog/freelance writing, will I be so overwhelmed with a new baby that I can’t even shower regularly or fold laundry? Forgive my ignorance but I just don’t get it. I really don’t. Is it the lack of sleep that makes things difficult? The sudden change of lifestyle? Or is it the new sleep & sex deprived marital stress that makes surviving day-to-day life so difficult?
SomeeCardsArticles like these, which I assumed are intending to be comical, make me angry at how they perpetuate the ‘parenting sucks’ mentality:

20 Ways Kids Suck the Life Out of Their Parents

More Examples of Why Having Kids Sucks

10 Ways We are Tortured By Our Babies (including genital mutilation, sleep deprivation, and solitary confinement.)

In graduate school I remember taking a Social Psych class where we got into a huge debate on the topic of having children. One of the articles we read basically stated that the idea that kids will bring you happiness is a myth perpetuated by our culture to ensure the survival of our species. That parents try to convince non-parents to have kids because they are secretly (or maybe outspokenly) miserable, and want others to suffer as they have.

One of the best articles I read on this topic came from Time magazine. Results of their meta-analysis (analyzing the data from lots of studies) showed:

Certain types of parents (e.g., young parents and parents with small children) are particularly unhappy, while other types (e.g., fathers, married parents, and empty nesters) report especially high life satisfaction, happiness, or meaning. In other words, whether or not children go hand in hand with happiness depends on many factors, including our age, marital status, income and social support, as well as whether our children live with us  and have difficult temperaments. Children give our lives purpose, infuse fun and pride into our lives, and enrich our identities. At the same time, they are also vectors for worry, anger, and disappointment; they deprive us of energy and sleep; and they strain our finances and our marriages. Not surprisingly, research suggests that the downsides of parenting are more evident when kids are very young or teenagers, and when we lack the resources (monetary, social, developmental) to manage them.

It sounds like if children are in the future for me I’ve waited until a perfect time to have them. I’m mature (at least more mature than I was in my early-mid 20’s!) I’ve reached my educational goals, I’m somewhat financially stable (would be more so if I was married, which I’d like to be before having children), I’ve traveled and I feel like I’m ready for my next phase in life.

Most research I’ve read on parenting and happiness boils down to this; adults without kids are happier, but adults with kids experience more satisfaction with life.

I think I’m ready to be satisfied.

If you have kids what’s the worst thing about parenting? The best?
If you don’t have kids what are your biggest fears about parenting?

 

 

 

 

Travis and I headed over to Dothan, Alabama after an easy 6 mile run on Saturday. There isn’t a lot to do on base, so I’ve been looking for things nearby that we could check out. I stumbled upon Landmark Park:

A 135-acre park built to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of southeast Alabama’s Wiregrass Region. Experience history on an 1890’s living history farm, complete with an old farmhouse, smokehouse, cane mill, syrup shed, and sheep, mules, cows, chickens, goats and pigs. Drift back in time in a Victorian gazebo, a one-room schoolhouse, a drugstore and soda fountain, a country store or a turn-of-the-century church.Experience nature with a walk through the woods on an elevated boardwalk, stroll nature trails, visit our interpretive center and planetarium, see wildlife exhibits and have a picnic in our picnic area.

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It was adorable! It’s normally $4 per adult to get in but military and their dependents get in free until Labor Day. Thanks to the 94 degree temperatures we didn’t stay very long, but we walked around the nature trail (where I saw more banana spiders than I ever care to see again in my entire life) and were able to check out the buildings and some of the animals.

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Travis couldn’t believe I wanted to pet the pigs. I’m such a kid when it comes to seeing animals still. I want to pet everything.Alabama5I shared the following photo on Twitter/Facebook and said “This goat don’t give a care.” Someone nicely responded that of course it doesn’t, because it’s a sheep. #ImDumbAlabama4

UsThat  night we watched Top Gun since it had been so long since Travis had seen it he could hardly remember it, which is like sacrilegious since he’s in flight school. We watched Throw Mama from the Train Friday night (loved it) and we’re halfway through the first Lord of the Rings. I never saw the third one so we’re starting from the beginning. Such an amazing movie!

Sunday morning we headed out for a run I had been dreading for weeks. 12 miles at my LR pace which is about 10:45. I have a love/hate relationship with the area on base. It has low rolling hills everywhere. It’s awesome since I know they will just make me a stronger runner, but I’m also really missing my flat Pensacola routes! We ended up gaining 500 feet in elevation and it was 94% humidity out. Overall it was a great run, but I’m looking forward to my easy pace long runs next week.
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It’s pretty cool to get to run past helicopters!AlabamaAfter the run we headed into town to run some errands and a trip to Zaxby’s happened. Birthday cake shake and fries happened as well. ZaxvbysHere is a photo of Salem with one of his toys stuck in his fat fur.IMG_7806As usual my time off between semesters is flying by. I’m hoping to get a lot of work done on my syllabi this week, write up some posts to have on hand when the semester gets crazy, and take at least one whole day off to be a lazy heifer.

How was your weekend?
If you had an entire day off to do whatever you wanted what would you do?

I have been in an experimental phase with food lately. Since I’m now dating a carnivore with somewhat picky eating habits (hates onions, sweet potatoes and tomatoes!) I’m constantly trying to think up fun new foods to try that (1) are healthy and (2) don’t originally contain meat. One thing we love doing is making burritos together since you can just add whatever you’d like, but I wanted to spice it up a bit and came up with these mango burrittos with spicy cinnamon vegetarian meat. Growing up Mexican food was always a staple in my house since it was so DIY everyone’s tastes could be accommodated. This is the perfect menu item for get togethers at the house!

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say this is the best burrito I’ve ever had. I am a huge fan of the sweet & savory combination so the cinnamon and cumin spiced MorningStar Farms crumbles combine with extra juicy mango chunks is divine. Literally, nearly a religious experience. Morningstar FarmsAs usual we made up about 6 burritos and had 4 leftover. You could wrap them up in tinfoil and throw them in the fridge if you wanted to keep them for a while, but I didn’t so I had them for lunch for a few days. Travis was nice enough to let me have all the leftovers. Such a keeper.

IMG_7785Mango Burritos with Spicy Cinnamon MorningStar Farms Crumbles

In a large skillet throw in a bag of MorningStar Farms Crumbles and season with the following:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 stp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mango (add this toward the end)

Cook on medium heat until warmed up (about 8-10 minutes.) While this is cooking make up some brown rice and whatever else you’d like to add. We also added some mango salsa and shredded mexican cheese. This was super filling, and even the meat-eating boyfriend loved it. The leftovers taste great, and paired with some roasted veggies it’s a pretty quick, nutritionally complete meal!

IMG_7790I traditionally use the MorningStar Farms crumbles in Italian dishes or vegetarian sloppy Joe’s. I love how versatile it is and how differently you can make it taste with a little bit of seasoning.

p.s. If you haven’t tried MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers yet you should do so immediately! I love having one plain with a wedge of laughing cow cheese on top, or crumbling one up in scrambled eggs for breakfast. So good and 10 grams of delicious protein!

What do you like to add in to your burritos? 

What is your favorite Morningstar Farms product?

This post was sponsored by Clever Girls Collective on behalf of Morningstar Farms. I eat their stuff at least once a week!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.