Family Magazine

a Response to the Philosophy That “kids Ruin Your Life”

By Lindsayleighbentley @lindsayLbentley

I read an article recently arguing the point that having children will ruin your life.

Although I realize that things like this are most likely written to simply stir the pot in order to gain momentum and go viral due to their controversial nature, I still wanted to address it.  Because it is pervasive, and I believe it is damaging.  Not only to children but also to the individuals who believe it.

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I have a few friends who, for one reason or another, have elected not to have children.  I am not speaking to these people.  That is their right, and there are reasons that I am not addressing here for which some choose to be childless.

The issue I am addressing is the one that says that having children will ruin your life. That having children is nothing more than an inconvenience.

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However, the people who have bought into this thinking may be right, if their goal in life is to have it easy, without much distraction or disruption.

But what prompted this whole post is remembering that the things in life that bring true satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy don’t come easy….children not excluded.

Before my husband and I had children we weren’t sure we wanted them.  We wanted to travel, we wanted to hang out late with friends and not be bogged down by ugly strollers, diaper bags, and pack n plays.  We wanted to be free…

But what we didn’t realize at the time is that all of those things are 100% insignificant compared to having children. 

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It reminds me of how my toddler thinks.  At moments during the day, all he wants in life is an animal cracker.  He finds his way into the pantry, brings out the box, and offers it up to me with the sweetest big eyes.  He begs and begs, and will burst into tears if he’s denied.  At that moment in time he truly believes that animal crackers will bring him all of the joy and pleasure that life has to offer.

Because he’s never tasted Crème’ Brulee.

See.  Children are the Crème Brulee of life.   But it’s hard to crave, value, and desire something you’ve never tasted.  If all you have had is animal crackers, you believe that free, easy access to those is WHERE. IT’S. AT.

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You don’t know what you are missing because you’ve never experienced better.  You’ve heard of Crème Brulee, but it seems like a lot of work.  It takes a lot longer to create than just opening a box of crackers.  It takes preparation, patience, quality ingredients, skill, and special instruments.  You’ve watched your friends eat it, but the amount of work and time required doesn’t seem worth it compared to opening up a box of crackers.

But oh, if you could only taste just a tiny bite…then you would understand.

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Do you see my point here?

Not having children is easier for sure.  It leaves your schedule pretty open.  It allows you the ability to hop in your car or on a plane at a moment’s notice.

But having children is, without a doubt, the most rewarding, and fun thing my husband and I have ever done.  No, children are not convenient.  They’re not easy.  They’re not quiet or clean or considerate.

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{And no, having your own children is nothing like babysitting}

But they are amazing..  They are worth it.  So much more so than I could have ever imagined.  When I look back at our reasons for considering not having children I chuckle, because those reasons now seem so utterly petty.

It pains me to consider just what we would have missed had we chosen “easy and convenient and free.”

Another point I want to touch on is the impact that this “kids ruin your life” thinking has on children.  I know, it may be easy to forget that they are actual human beings, with thoughts, and desires, and opinions, and feelings, and brilliant minds with a perspective on life that we can actually learn something from….but what if you heard your spouse telling someone that you had ruined his/her life?  Think of how insecure children are, and please, before you speak these words or share blogs or articles supporting this viewpoint, consider the impact what this toxic attitude has on the little lives around you.  Your nieces & nephews, your friends’ children, your OWN children.

If people could experience the love, joy, and absolute magic that having a child (whether this is through your own pregnancy or an adoption) can bring.  They wouldn’t feel this way.  I’m sure of it.

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My last point:  There is a facet of love that I didn’t understand before children.  I love my husband.  But it’s a love that we have to work at.  It can wane if we aren’t intentional.  Ask me to stop loving my children?  Impossible.  I feel that I get a glimpse of the unconditional and incomprehensible love to God, because of my children.  Perhaps this is why God asked us to “be fruitful and multiply…”  Not so much as to populate the world, but so that we could better understand His love for us.  As it turns out, we ourselves are children, children of God.

I think that the messiness, challenges, and difficulties that come with raising children serve as a humbling reminder of our own need to be cared for, guided and loved unconditionally.  I’ve learned more about the character of God through raising children than from anything else.  It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done, and it’s the best work I’ve ever done.

So yes, children will absolutely wreck your life.  But in the most amazing way that you could ever imagine.

live well. be well.

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