Lately many of my conversations have been centered around the question of having kids. I have a good mix of friends who are single, married without kids and married with kids, but this topic of having kids has come up a lot lately. Like on the daily. I'll start off by saying that I support whatever your decision is on this to have kids or not have kids pendulum. To each their own and if you know kids are right for you then you go Glen Coco! So for those who are on the fence, let me share some perspective. Not to change your mind, but hopefully solidify what the right decision is for you.
Liam was unexpected. He wasn't planned, but he wasn't not planned if that makes sense. It just happened. In fact when I found out I woke up Matt at 6am after taking 2 tests, cried tears of uncertainty and asked Matt, "Is this ok?" That should be a red flag when you take a pregnancy test right? That I wasn't happy but I was more like "OH FUCK!" Truth be told the first things that crossed my mind was, what is going to happen to our Europe vacation, how are we going to afford this, then is Matt going to be pissed. Well spoiler alert folks - it all ended up ok in the end, but that's not the end of my story.
I've never been a maternal person. I personally always thought that kids were a natural progression of life so kids were always part of the picture, but was I dying to have kids? No. However, life (the little shit it is) works in funny ways and turns out that having a kid saved me, actually us, in ways that we didn't realize. See, Matt and I pre-child were good. Good as in content. Our careers were going good, we finally got to travel more and were able to indulge in things without thinking about how it's eating into our monthly budget. We were good, but when we had Liam it became better and here's how:
Careers: People talk about how kids sometimes makes people re-evaluate their careers and in some cases forego careers temporarily. In our case, it enlightened us to work harder, better and find jobs that we love. Matt worked in finance and hated almost every minute of it. I worked at a great company with great people but would have been totally complacent if I didn't have Liam. Having a child was the right motivation we needed to not only work hard to still enjoy the lifestyle we lead, but he also empowers us to not settle for something that won't make us happy. Why show a kid how to go to a lifeless job you hate, when you should be supporting their life choices to do what they love?
Personal interests: I always say that you can see a parent's best trait in their kids. Having a child keeps you youthful and is a constant reminder of much more there is to live in life. As Liam is finding his groove in activities he likes or doesn't like, I'm re-establishing a connection with some of the things I lost interest in as I got older. Music, playing sports, or even just getting dirty at the playground makes you more aware of what you can still do now as an adult. It's been fun exploring new interests or re-kindling with things I once loved doing...and it's especially fun when I have my buddy to share those moments with me.
Marriage: Ahhh this is the big one because I'm a TRUE believer that people should never have kids to save a marriage. We definitely didn't have a child to save our marriage, but sometimes it feels like he happened to do just that. Had we not had Liam, I think we would have been ok without having kids. Living a life just the 2 of us. But Liam brought our relationship to a whole new level that has made us stronger. Before we felt like a married couple who are vastly different from one another, but it worked because in our case opposites attract. But now we feel like a unified team. We may not agree on hobbies and our personalities may be different, but when it comes parenting and our lifestyle we couldn't be more unified. Overall we have a greater appreciation for each other and I'll just leave this topic by say that everything all around is much better!
Views on life: Perspective. The biggest thing that having a kid has done to me is given me perspective. Without a child I felt like everything happening to me at that moment was the end all be all. But having Liam changed all that. It made me selfless, aware of others around me and is a constant reminder that this moment now (today, tomorrow or next week) is just a blip on the screen. It really is. With a child in the picture you get to experience things in a different way than you did growing up, maybe in some cases better and you realize that there is so much more to life than the things that consume your day to day.
So in a nutshell. I'll leave you with something I told someone last week when we were discussing this very topic. Not a day goes by where I wish I had my life before Liam. To me that says a lot cause I loved my life pre-child, but my life now is way better in ways that I only hope others can experience.