…and why you’ll do it anyway.
Today the Illiterate household is tired. A deep, aching tired. It’s an ache that comes from weeks of layering fatigue on top of tiredness on top of sleeplessness on top of exhaustion. We are not unique. All parents go through this at some point, many are going through it now and for those about to say to themselves “it’s funny, I’ve never experienced it” you are either delusional, truly blessed or about to get a really, really big surprise.
If you had told me before kids that this is how I was going to feel, I would have accused you of being a drama queen, of embellishing the truth for pity (I’m quite happy to get some by the way, ideally in the form of baked goods) or not knowing the right way to raise kids (you got to love the wisdom of the child-less, would-be parent).
Once you have a child though, you get it. Which is the weird bit because once you’ve experienced long term sleep deprivation, you would think that you’d happily never do it again. But, statistics say otherwise. The 5 million (ish) families in Australia have an average of 1.9 kids each. This means that more of us have two than have one and some of us have three, or four or whole minivans full of them.
So how does this happen? How do rational, sensible grown ups decide to “do it” (pun slightly intended) again. Well it all starts with the conversation that my wife and I had last night, that starts with “could you do it again” and finishes with… snoring. Ok so Barry White moments with very young kids are rare but that’s not the point. The point is the conversation just before the snoring was seriously about potential timing, and sleeping arrangements and where the extra toys/clothes/baby paraphernalia would go. Even while struggling to stay awake at the rock n roll time of 9pm, we were seriously talking about more kids!!!
We hadn’t even got to the stage of carefree, kids-and-lives-under-control and were embarking on a hypothetical “what if we had some more” conversation? How could this happen when rationally, there’s so many reasons to avoid further procreation at all costs? As an experiment I put the following list together in less than 5 minutes (and I type slow)…
10 rational things to remember before having another baby
- Your chid will not care that it’s winter and you need to get out of bed to make up a bottle or breastfeed at 1am, 4am and 6am
- Your child will also not care that today is a weekend, that you haven’t slept in for months or that today you have a really important presentation/meeting/interview
- American breakfast television, Hills Song, Infomercials and other television you get to watch when dealing with point 2.
- Each consecutive child you have puts you a few more years from buying a two door vehicle
- That pain in your neck when you wake up at 4am in the armchair after patting your child to sleep 3 hours ago
- A newborns ability to initiate DEFCON 5 by deciding to breathe a little quieter for a few minutes
- The fact that breastfeeding for many is like being given a room full of Ikea furniture in kit form, without instructions or an allen key and being told you have 15 minutes to put it all together. Oh… and there’s a kid screaming at you the whole time you are trying to do it.
- The banshee like screams of a tired/hungry/in-need-of-changing child in the confined environment of a car, on a freeway, more than a few hours from home.
- Sleeping does happen but at all the wrong times. Like being up from their first morning sleep before 9am or just as you pull the car up in front of your house
- Hearing other people talk about going to see a movie. And hating them.
Why, in the face of all this “evidence” do we keep on going back for more? Well the answer could lie in the next list
10 other things to remember before having another baby
- When they fall asleep in your arms
- …and the look on their face when they’re asleep… in your arms
- When they cling on to your finger when your feeding them
- …and when they finish feeding, look at you, milk drunk and content
- Their first smile, laugh, giggle…
- …first roll over, crawl, stand and steps
- When you leave for work one morning and they lean in and kiss you first
- …and hold on to you as tight as they can because you’re their hero
- When you get to see your whole world is 25% bigger but infinitely better
- …and see the world all over again from a totally new perspective
- …and did I mention the falling to sleep in your arms?
I suspect that the answer does not reside in rational reason, but in the emotional, irrational world where the strongest argument is defeated by a smile, and countered by a cuddle.
How about you? How long would your “not” list take to assemble and would you/did you have more kids anyway? What’s your best reason not to have more kids and the reason you did? What’s stopping you having even more?
Sharing my Tuesday with Jess over at EssentiallyJess.com for I Blog on Tuesday