As a mother of three, every now and then I will get the question from child-free friends or couples: Is having children worth it?
I’ve realized that my answer isn’t necessarily what whomever I’m talking to expects or what most would say. I’m not one of those mothers who says “oh it’s so hard but it’s all worth it in the end.” In reality, it’s worth it to me, but I can’t say that it would be “worth it” for everyone. Children are blessings, but they also can wreak havoc over your marriage if you let them.
My answer: It depends. Here are three reasons why kids might not be worth it (and three reasons why they are).
They don’t care about being annoying I love my kids, but at the same time recognize that they might all kind of be jerks. That’s not really an attack against them personally, it’s just that kids are pretty narrow in their focus, and usually think about their needs before anyone else’s. My 11-month-old son has no qualms about waking up at 5 clock in the morning and screaming at the top of his lungs. He really doesn’t care that you might be sleeping at the time.
Now imagine if one of your friends came into your house, threw your stuff on the floor and woke up screaming in the middle of the night for no reason. How long would it take for you to put that person out? Now imagine that you have multiple people in your house, all doing some version of that same thing. Imagine the stress that you and your spouse would feel because of it and you can’t put them out. I’m not saying parenting feels like that all of the time, but I have felt that way on my worst days.
They will take all of your money My husband and I used to daydream about what we would do with all of our extra money once we weren’t paying for anything child-related. Then we stopped playing that game because it made us too sad. When you have children there is always something expected or unexpected to pay for and kids only make it worse by having no concept of the value of money. Whether it’s adjusting to not being able to splurge so much on yourself, or just trying to figure out how to make ends meet, managing money after children can be hard on your marriage.
They make going out much harder Gone are the carefree days when you can just decide on a whim to go out on a date with your spouse. Sometimes I feel like it takes so much just to get out that by the time we’re finished getting everyone where they need to go, I’m so tired that I don’t feel like going out anymore.
On the flip side…
They raise the stakes Let me be clear: your marriage is an important honor and commitment whether or not you have kids and not having children doesn’t make your relationship any less committed. But when you have children, you’ve added another knot in that chain linking yourself to your spouse and your family forever. They create a bond that no matter what my husband and I are going through that can never be broken.
They make you laugh all of the time From the youngest to the oldest, my husband and I probably die laughing at least 5 times a day at something one of the kids is doing. My house is never, ever quiet, unless we aren’t home, but although the noise can get to be overwhelming, I wouldn’t even know what to do with the silence. The fun we have together and the memories that we are creating make parenting worth it for me.
They’re living, breathing representations of the love you share with each other Really. Have you ever thought about what it means to come together with another person you love and from that create an entirely new person that didn’t exist before? Just thinking about that can’t help but make me feel closer to the man I love.
Do you think kids are worth it? Has parenting made your marriage better or worse?