A few days ago, I found myself driving the kids back and forth from their aerobics class after I’d come home from work. So there I was, all tired and in the mood to crash on the sofa, forced to play driver and ferry the kids, buy groceries, walk the dogs, and generally be ‘mom’.
In the car, I mused aloud to my younger one: “I wonder if there are any benefits of having children. I mean, humans do it every single day and it’s all about passing on the genes and taking the human race forward and all that, but tell me, really, is there any other benefit of having kids? There’s just work and pain and tension and heartache and expense… I can’t think of a single reason I’d recommend motherhood to anyone.”
My otherwise bright teen had no response. “I dunno, mom. You’ll have to figure this out yourself. I want kids when I grow up, though.”
So I’ve spent some of my spare time (increasingly rare these days) figuring out if there is any reason to recommend motherhood to anyone. I finally had a eureka moment today and thought I’d write it down while on a flight back home from a conference.
1. Having kids keeps you updated on everything that’s trending in the world – from music to fashion to technology. It is through our kids that we stay updated. Now, you’ll say one doesn’t need to go to the drastic extreme of having kids to do that, but I say, any learning is far more effective when you live both the pros and cons of it, day in and day out.
2. Having kids keeps you young. This sounds paradoxical but it isn’t. If I didn’t have kids, I’d avoid a lot of adventurous, spontaneous things in life and would be an old fuddy-duddy sooner. Because of them, I am forced to do new things on a regular basis and that keeps me young at heart.
3. Having kids helps you in your career. Again this sounds contrary to common sense, but hear me out. I work in an industry (online media) that targets young adults. Knowing their behaviour patterns and life choices helps me tremendously in understanding my target audience. I am able to make better informed decisions when it comes to creating my product for them. They also actively give me feedback, which I then act on. So having them around is good for my career.
4. Having kids makes you get up early in the morning. Now, everyone knows the benefits of this, but I’m a lazy person and if I didn’t have kids, I’d be in bed till 10 in the morning. Due to their school schedule, I now rise with the sun and it’s been over a decade that this excellent habit has been forced on me.
5. Having kids keeps you busy and alive. No matter how much I grumble about the back-breaking labour and the chores that are my burden as a mother, the fact is, all this is keeping me occupied and living life to the fullest. There is never a dull moment. It is a crazy, maddening, even exasperating existence but somewhere I think it makes life worth living far more than not having anything to do.
I once read somewhere that having kids does not increase the parents’ happiness quotient (it may even lower it) but people continue having kids because it gives meaning to their lives. And meaning is more important than happiness, it appears. Perhaps this is true.
In any case, I have made peace with my lot today and have thanked God for planning a better existence for me than I would done for myself. They’re hard work but I’m better off with children than without them. So hey, if you want a review on motherhood, here it is:
It works for me.