Guess what? Being a parent is really hard. Now, it’s not hard like lifting weights and it’s not hard like long division, but it is hard. You are responsible for an entire life, from before they’re born until they become self-sufficient and able to care for themselves (and even then you have a part to play). The one thing being a parent is not, is inconvenient. This may sound a bit harsh, but if you ever think that your child is inconveniencing you, then you shouldn’t be a fucking parent. Period.
Let’s explore this a bit. At some point in your past you decided to have a child. You’ve decided to be a parent. You decided to be responsible for another life. I do not care what your circumstances are. You chose to have a child. It is a choice, every time. Don’t want to have a kid but still want to have sex? Use protection. Don’t want to have a kid and don’t want to use protection? Don’t fuck. You’ve fucked and weren’t protected and are now pregnant? Don’t want to be pregnant? Then terminate the pregnancy. If you think abortion is wrong (I don’t see how it can be, but that’s me) then have the child and choose whether or not to be a parent. Choice. It’s that simple. Except when it’s not simple at all*.
Do you like to go out on the weekends (or during the week, I guess)? That’s not going to happen as much. That’s a fact. There’s just not as much time as there was before. The kid is either too young to leave with other people, or you’re too damned tired to go out (because of all the parenting you’ve been doing) or you don’t have enough money to go out as often or to pay the sitter. “But I love going out and I don’t want to stop, I have to right to some fun too!” You chose to be a parent. You can still go out, just not as much. This isn’t an inconvenience, it’s parenting. You see, you’re not just choosing to have a child, you are choosing to now have a different life than the one you had before. There’s no getting around that. If you can’t see yourself changing your life then don’t chose life as a parent. Again, pretty simple really.
Once you’ve chosen to be a parent, to have children, then every decision you make after that needs to be seen through the lens of ‘parenting’. There’s no way around that. That laptop, shoes, beer, weed, trip, casino night, movie, game, dress, date you really, really, really want? Go ahead. No problem. As long as it’s not going to stop you from being able to care for your kid – feed them, provide them a home with heat and water. Pretty simple right? Not at all. But don’t you dare look at that child and resent the changes they brought with them. You chose those changes. You chose that child. Every decision you make from now on will affect that child in some way.
What if you’re a few years in to the whole parenting thing and suddenly realize that you can’t do it or just don’t want to do it? Well, the choice is still yours. You can chose to stop being a parent. Easy? Nope, not even a little bit. The way I see it, the whole point of being a parent is to do what’s best for the child. If having you for a parent is not what’s best for them, then get them a new parent. You have that option. You can put your child up for adoption. An insanely hard choice that I have seen a few people make. You need to admit to yourself that you can’t do what’s best for your child. Even the shittiest parent in the world doesn’t want to admit that. Ask yourself if you can put your child’s needs ahead of your own. Don’t answer right away; take a little time to think about it.
Children will be a drain on you. They drain your energy, your bank account, your life force, your patience and sometimes it feels like there’s nothing left to give. Children will also fill your life with more than you can conceive of. The rewards can be unbelievable.
*Obviously there are times when it’s not at all simple. Here’s the thing, though, there’s still choice. Through my past work in Child Protection, I knew a 13 year old girl who had been raped by a relative. She became pregnant. She chose to not abort the pregnancy and keep the child. My initial reaction to the situation was to ask how we could expect a 13 year old to make a choice like that – to become a parent or not. Of course, we can’t expect her to know what she’s doing, she was 13. Obviously, part of the child protection piece was supervising her to help her learn how to care for an infant. So where’s the choice? She had every opportunity to chose to either continue parenting the baby or to allow her to be adopted by a family. Not an easy choice. Still a choice. If she chose to continue as a parent, then that child is in no way an inconvenience to her.