There’s this other thread that asks why anyone would want to become a parent. I thought I’d post my reply here, because I’d like to hear from others who’s experience is similar to mine.
When I was courting TW (That Woman) I was in my mid-thirties. I hadn’t had any kids and, frankly, the prospect of ever becoming a parent frightened me. It’s not that I hated children, exactly. I actually liked children. It’s just that my liking of kids was more theoretical than actual.

I used to live in near-mortal terror of visiting people with babies. They’d thrust this little bundle they loved more than anything else in the world at me and say “Wanna hold 'im?” At the time, if you’d given me the option of walking barefoot on hot coals, I would’ve had to stop and think about it before I could give you an answer. Children, especially babies, are helpless, noisy, smelly, and require more than a little supervision.

Here it is several years later and I’m the father of a 3½-year-old. If I talk to someone about my kid for more than a few seconds, I am siezed with the urge to show them a picture of him. It actually causes physical pain to restrain that impulse. I’ve changed diapers without flinching, cleaned up vomit, walked the floor with a fussy baby at ungodly hours and survived on way too little sleep, all for Jordan. I’m not saying I actually enjoy diaper changing, etc., but I shoulder such burdens without flinching and don’t consider myself a martyr for doing so. I’m glad to do the things that need to be done for his sake.

I also find that I understand my parents a lot better than I did. I get jokes that only a parent can. I take a perverse joy in saying “No” when it’s a better answer than “Yes”. The reverse is true, too. “Yes” is more fun than “no”, just not as dramatic. I enjoy sharing experiences with my son that have no attractino for me by myself, like cooking “Jiffy Pop­”[SUP]TM[/SUP] popcorn on a camp stove in the living room so he can see the top of the pan bulge up “magically”.

I feel incredibly proud when I can buy him a gift he really, really likes, especially when it’s kind of unusual. F’rinstance, did you know a stick-vac makes a fantastic gift for a 3-year-old? I got one for my Son last weekend. It’s basically a hand-vacuum with a detatchable handle and a wide nozzle for doing floors. He loved it! He spent the whole weekend picking up his toys so he could vacuum. He even vacuumed the living room after we had popcorn. I hope I can keep this sort of thing up – he’s a lot more cleanly than his old man was (is, too – I hate cleaning, and only do it out of a sense of duty).

Becoming a parent has, in my opinion, made a better man of me. So, who else has changed in surprising ways since they became a parent?


Well, I always thought I’d be fine foisting the kid off on someone else. I always babysat (from a very young age) and figured I’d continue the cycle by trusting a teen with Cranky Jr. Besides which, I’m just not a real mushy, attached person. I figured I’d be really laid back about leaving Cranky Jr.

Well, I was and I wasn’t. I was fine with trusted friends or his grandparents taking him. But the first time we left him with a stranger, I cried. And I had a horrible night the first night his grandparents took him to give us a break. Unbelievable.

There were other changes, but I’ve written about them on other threads and why bore you all twice?

I’m disappointed. I was expecting all sorts of “I sure didn’t expect parenthood to be like this” responses, but all I’m getting it the message board equivalent of crickets chirping in the darkness.

C’mon, folks. I know you didn’t expect life with children to be what it is. Fess up!


OK, here’s something I didn’t expect. I love the fact that my kids look like me! I’m absolutely fascinated by it. I was adopted and I don’t really look like anyone in my family, so I get such a pathetic kick out of having someone notice a resemblance in my children.

I was also pleasantly surprised that Squid makes such a good Dad. He was almost aggressive in his dislike of children before we had Squidlet#1 (unplanned pregnancy) and I was a little worried, but he’s been amazing with all 3 Squidlets and he’s also mellowed towards other children.:slight_smile:

Back in the dark ages before marriage and child, I swore I’d never be a working mom. I would put June Cleaver to shame. I would be MOTHERHOOD personified.

Well, as life would have it, I had to work - like I was at work on Wednesday, my daughter was born in the wee hours on Thursday, and I was back to work on Monday. It was that or live in a box and eat grass. Hubby was going to school as a disabled veteran and his benefits would not start for a couple of months. We were blessed to find a day care that didn’t have a “6-weeks-old or older” rule, and because my baby was so young, she became an instant pet. Despite that, I felt like the WORST mom in the world the first day I left her.

Fast forward 15 years. I’m still working. Daughter has been a latch-key kid since she was 9. Finances are better, and in general life is good. The dreaded teen years are, in fact, a blast. My baby has grown into a wise-cracking, self-assured, straight-A, learning to drive, loves motorcycling with Dad, pretty good cook, and all-around great kid. She’s kind, compassionate, funny, talented, fun to be with… I honestly marvel at how terrific she is!

She makes me think that maybe I was a fairly decent parent. And I’d not trade her for the world. Of course, once she’s 18, she’s outta here!!!

Well, I was never a baby person. I had no serious thoughts about having any kids, let alone four. I live everyday in constant amazement at the strange turns my life has taken. With the exception of a year and a half break, I have been changing diapers for almost 11 years straight. Twelve months of two in diapers at the same time.

Parenthood has changed me, I think for the better. I’m less selfish and have a sense of being part of something bigger than me alone. It’s been an interesting journey, and one I would easily do again, if I had the choice.

Today is my baby’s birthday. I became an adult when my older son was born, and I learned how to be young when “Birthday Boy” was brought into this world. Kids are fabulous.

A different perspective: It’s an illusion that becoming a parent has made a better person out of you. In reality (and you showing others the picture of your son inspired this idea), you are merely thriving on the fact that YOU now have a continuation (i.e. you view your son as the little YOU). Therefore, the parenthood has made you more selfish.

Well, put me in as another person who thought, at one time, that I would never have children. My mother was (and is) chronically depressed and is an angry, bitter woman. My father is a sometimes-recovering alcoholic with a wandering eye (and, unfortunately, that eye tended to wander toward girls not quite yet of age.) I was convinced that I was incapable of being a good mother and swore to never procreate.

When I reached my mid-twenties, though, I had enough distance from my upbringing to make a distinction between what was me and what was them and I changed my mind. My husband and I got married when we did simply because we both decided we wanted to have children. (We had been “living in sin” for three years.)

My mantra over the years is that I can never be perfect, but I can certainly do better. My parenting is unavoidably self-conscious. Having been spanked daily, I have to make a conscious effort (often in the early days, but still, once in a while) not to physically harm my children when I am angry. Having been belittled and ridiculed on a regular basis as a child, I must remind myself that such behavior is unacceptable. Most of the time, I think I do a pretty good job. If you had asked me way back when if I could every be happy staying at home with four children I would have laughed in your face. Of course, now, I can’t imagine any other thing.

On previewing, I read Frannie’s comment about learning to be young, and I must agree. Being with my children has been an invaluable gift in that I have learned the joy of play, of silliness, and of just being.

I became a parent by choice. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. :smiley:

My daughter was planned. She was an angel baby. SO easy to care for. I’d catch myself thinking “man, is this it? Too easy!”

And once she became a toddler, a walking, talking, bona fide kid, I realized that she had spent the first year of her life lulling me into a false sense of security. She completely blindsided me with her kidness.

The LittleGoddess is a “spirited” child. She’s “assertive” and “independent.” Great qualities for an adult, but in a three-year-old…oy. I must be doing something right, though, because she always gets glowing comments from her day care workers. Then I scratch my head and say “excuse me, are we talking about the same kid?”

Her good points far outweigh her bad points, though. She’s smart, creative, and funny. Her imagination is limitless. She’s a handful, but man, she’s fun.

The LittleGoddess has a brother, BabyGuy. He’s one. And he’s a lot like his sister. Easy baby, but now showing the same spirit as the LittleGoddess. He also thinks his big sister is the greatest thing since apple cinnamon oatmeal. This frightens me.

I’ve still got many, many years to go before I can know whether or not I’m doing okay as a parent. I hope so. I just want them to grow up happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. If I don’t see them on Springer, I’ll know I’ve done my job. :smiley:

Having been around kids my whole life, either being in a large irish catholic family ( why, yes, that is a redundancy), baby sitting, or camp counseloring, I always knew I wanted kids. But I wasn’t one of those, " I can’t waiiiiiit to haaaaaaaave a BAAAAAAYYYYY-BEEEEEE" types.

I went through my self absorbed years (Birth until 31) and when our son was born, I started noticing colors. Being more tolerant and kind. I am polite to the dog now. Instead of
“Get your flatulence spewing lazy butt off the bed.” I now say, " Get your flatulence spewing lazy butt off the bed, *please *." In an effort to destroy any of my self esteem, the dog ignores me.

It blows my mind that this easy going nearly three year old, who has fits of toddler two’s only when he is hungry or his baby sister looks at his toys/stuff/him in anyway shape or form, came from me. I even look at his sister, one year old now, and go, " Now, where in the heck did you come from again?" I mean, my husband and I, in a fit of huffing and puffing, *created * our own tax deductions in the summer of 1997 and again in the spring of 1999.( If you do the math, you can see that we are scheduled for our every other year boink soon. My husband is quite excited, as you may understand.)

I fully expect to see a box delivered by parcel post on the front porch with a baby inside it and twenty extra pounds for me to place randomly on my body.

The coolest aspect of parenting so far, besides disjointed sentances, fragmented thoughts, hundreds of crappy photographs taken, glazed over eyes from learning to live on less sleep and a constant loop of either the Teletubbies, the Bear in the Big Blue House and Rolie Polie Olie is the fact that I am solely responsible for the bad manners that my children will have in life. I mean, how cool is that. :smiley:

(Note to anyone who works for Social Services or is a neighbor to my Mother, that last sentance was sarcasm.)

Last Christmas (99), MrDuhnym and I dropped off ToddlerNym with the grandparents and took a much needed vacation to the Bahamas.

We tried to leave early. We had a miserable time. We missed the child so much that is consumed us. (Granted, we’re attempting another solo vacation in April, but now that she’s two, we expect success and hopefully a conception while there!)

Every time she says, “Kiss Mommy!” it jump-starts my heart and my eyes well up.

Oh crap…there goes my mascara.

She’s the biggest joy, I sometimes fear that I won’t have enough love for another one.

Sometimes I get blindsided by parental instinct, even when not in the immediate presence of my progeny. F’rinstance, shortly after New Year’s I was sitting alone in my living room, watching “Father of the Bride II”.

In one scene, Steve Martin’s character is feeling sorry for himself because his plans for the future have to be changed, since his wife is now pregnant. He’s walking down the street, and you hear a small child’s voice cry out “I love you, daddy!” as a businessman is leaving for work. Suddenly, I’m lunging for the Kleenex™ because my eyes are welling up with emothion (well, actually, it was tears, but you get the idea ;)).


Selfish? I suppose there is an element of selfishness in parenting, provided you’ve got a cynical world view. I suggest you read a few more of my posts before attempting to pierce me through with the ack-ack of your rapier-like wit. I get enough hostility from TW, and need no supplemental harassment from amateurs.[/sup]

[sub]She certainly earns her name, doesn’t she? Way to make an impression in three posts, newbie![/sub]