Healthy Family & Home

Why I never wanted kids. And what changed it all.

Most girls grow up knowing they want children. Some even knew how many they want, going so far as to pick out names years in advance. But there’s another group of women who have decided they just aren’t going to have children at all.

I used to think I would never have kids. I had a huge long list of why’s:

  • What if something happens to my child? I couldn’t cope with that.
  • I don’t think I would have the energy to keep up with chasing kids all day.
  • I like my lifestyle. I don’t want to give up my freedom to become domesticated.
  • What if I end up divorced? I don’t like what that might mean for my kids. So why have them in the first place and risk it?
  • What if the father just turns out to be unreliable? In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever find a husband who I can count on to be the kind of father I’d want for my children. (Perfect men only exist in fairy tales.)
  • I’ll lose my best career years to my kids.
  • My body will have to endure hell to bring kids into the world, right? Then I’ll just become a lumpy sack of fat.
  • The world’s a scary place. The economy is shot. Morals are unheard of. Drug use and teen pregnancy is on the rise. I just don’t like where the world is heading and I’m not sure I’d want to bring a kid into this place.
  • I’d have to cook more. I’d rather go out to eat and party than slave in the kitchen day and night.
  • What if my child hates me when he or she is a teenager?
  • I just don’t think I can be all that being a mother requires to do it well.
  • I don’t know if I’ll be able to discipline my child. Or make tough decisions.
  • I wouldn’t want to NOT pay for my kids’ education. If I’m going to have children, then I want them to grow up understanding I’ve got the basics covered for them. So I’d have to funnel all my money into that, right?
  • Having kids is dang expensive. I’d rather travel or go shopping than put all my money into college savings.
  • What about when they get old enough that they want to start dating? How on earth would I handle THAT?
  • I don’t particularly like children. Most seem quite obnoxious and needy, don’t you think?
  • How on earth can you bear knowing you are fully responsible for the health, safety, and happiness of another being?
  • I’ll get droopy boobs from breastfeeding. Because I wouldn’t want to have a baby and not breastfeed it.
  • What if I die during childbirth?

I’m sure there were many, many more reasons. I had a very complicated, detailed list. It’s just a little fuzzy now…

Yes, even with all those fears, I’ve gone ahead and done it. I’ve got an almost 3-year-old son and another little boy on the way now.

Why did I choose to have kids in the end?

It’s my husband’s fault, really. He wanted children as part of his future. If I wanted to marry him, then they would have to be part of my future, too. I was so sure of him as a person that I knew he was the man I wanted to share my life with, and he would be all that I wanted in a father for my children. Turns out that was the biggest issue for me.

Still, I was scared to death when we actually got around to that first baby.

But having children has been so worth all the risk, sacrifices, and lifestyle adjustments…

I can’t imagine it any other way. In fact, I’m going to pack up my laptop and go home to a pile of sloppy kisses waiting for me right now.

I know having children isn’t for everyone. What say you?

Healthy Family & Home

Has your driving changed since becoming a parent?

One day just before I found out I was pregnant, I found myself screaming wildly at other drivers going too slowly or pulling out into traffic just in front of me. This was highly unusual for me, a cautious, mild driver under normal circumstances.

Turns out it was the hormones of early pregnancy, and not a permanent change in my driving attitude.

Now that I’m a parent, my cautious side reigns supreme. I have made one major adjustment, though. I always turn my rearview mirror on a slant, so I can see both my son in his car seat as well as the drivers behind me.

My husband, the dad, however, has become a completely changed driver.

His driving had honestly scared me at times before. He was aggressive, preferring to maneuver traffic actively, usually at a pace that was a little too fast for me.

Now, I have to yell at him to hurry up when we’re heading home and I’m desperate to get to the bathroom.

Talk about a 360 degree turnaround. He drives leisurely, usually somewhere right around the speed limit, depending on traffic. He no longer has to change lanes constantly. And he just seems a whole lot more relaxed.

I remember our drive home from the hospital with a newborn in the backseat. My husband stayed in the slow lane on the Interstate, constantly surveying the traffic around us. It would normally be a 5-minute drive, but it probably took us 10 minutes that day.

His driving was forever changed. And I’m glad (mostly).

Toddler Tenderness

When you’re not the preferred parent

I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be the parent shunned in favor of another. When my almost three-year-old son needs anything, it’s all “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”.

While my husband does his best to comfort, feed, snuggle, potty, and otherwise take care of our son, he is sometimes met with “Not Daddy, just Mommy”. He’s even been told “Daddy go out, Mommy stay”.

Preferred Parent

If it were me, my heart would break to hear those words. It does break just to hear it said to my husband.

I admire my husband for continuing to stay in the game always, never losing heart. He’s a wonderful, caring father, and he loves our son unconditionally. They have loads of fun playing together, and my husband shares lots of the care time, too. They have their own bonding rituals. And just today, our little guy was over the moon when he heard Daddy’s car pull in after work.

But for our little one, it’s obvious there’s just no substitute for a mother’s love.

Not all little ones are attached so much to their mothers, though. I have neighbors and friends who say theirs are completely enthralled by Daddy, barely giving Mom the time of day.

Is it just natural for a child to develop a stronger affinity for one parent? Why does this happen?

I’ve been wondering if it’s just that a child can sense a personality that’s more akin to its own, the way we as grownups also identify more with certain people who come into our lives. It just seems odd to think this could happen also within families, I suppose.

Or, on the other hand, could it have something to do with an experience the child had as an infant?

When our son was two months old, we tried to get him to accept milk from a bottle. My husband was the one to give it to him, of course. And it never took—he just cried and cried every time. Is it possible this caused the impression that it was Daddy’s fault that Mommy went away?

Now that I think back, there were a lot of times we tag teamed caring for our son, since I would go off to do some work when Daddy came home. Perhaps it was a more gradual resentment of the fact that when Daddy was around, Mommy was often gone.

I’ve also heard that this preference for one parent over another can come and go in waves, though that really hasn’t been the case for us.

What’s been your experience? Do your little ones have a preferred parent? Tell us in the comment section below!

Healthy Family & Home

How to remove some of the most common stains you’ll encounter as a parent

Stain removal is a specialized skill. You practically need a graduate-level course to treat the range of stains that will present themselves during your tenure as a parent.

What makes dealing with stains so difficult is that removal often depends on the material that has been stained, as well as the stain-causer. Take a wrong step, like drying or ironing clothing before the stain is removed, or using a stain remover that reacts with the staining agent, and it might look like you’re doomed.

Never fear. We’ve rounded up some of the best stain removal advice for parents here. Many will help you deal with stains that have already set. Learn techniques that take you well beyond “scrape off the excess” and “dab gently” and find products that have earned the stamp of removal from other parents who have gone before you.

Stains you probably only have to remove if you’re a parent

Desitin or diaper creams – Baking powder is a key step in getting this greasy stuff out of clothing and fabrics.

Crayon stains – It depends on the surface or material. Start here and then choose the surface type to see what you should do to remove crayons from things like grout, porcelain, carpet, wallpaper, wood, leather and even non-washable surfaces.

Permanent marker – It’s surprising the number of things you probably already have around the house that will take permanent marker right off. Cooking spray? Who knew! See more specific help for marker on upholstery or carpet here

Baby poop

Leaked diapers are the bane of new parents everywhere. Many a cute baby outfit has been lost to this seemingly impervious substance. Don’t let poop stains hold hostage your child’s onesies or cloth diapers! See this mom’s guaranteed steps to stain-free baby clothes, and these more gentle steps for fabrics you don’t want to scrub.  OxiClean seems to be a favorite product for a lot of moms, and another environmentally friendly method of removing poop stains is the SUN! See more here if you’re looking to avoid bleach and such.

Foods

See how to remove stains from formula and baby food, soy sauce, mustard (and turmeric), and the ubiquitous ketchup.

My favorites: general stain removal tips

  1. If you can, treat quickly to keep the stain from setting (carry a Tide pen in your purse)
  2. Blot don’t rub (really hard to do when you’re frantic!)
  3. And keep a bucket in your bathroom for easy soaking.

That’s it! Any links you’ve found really useful for help removing stains?