If you have read any of my articles, then you know I refer to “The Beautiful Chaos” often. So what is this beautiful chaos? Let me explain. Do you ever think “what the heck have I done?” as your kids are screaming, jumping off of furniture, literally pulling your hair and biting you. Do you ever question your ability to be a good parent? Do you ever ask yourself “why did I have kids?” Let’s not pretend that life is all rainbows, butterflies and unicorn poop here. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the guilt that comes along with these common thoughts. We need to recondition our thinking and ditch this nasty emotion. It’s this guilt that holds us back from being present with our children. It’s the guilt that is hard on all the relationships in our lives but especially with our children and ourselves.
What if we took societies standards and said: “#*&@ OFF”!?
We live in a fast-paced world, and even many stay at home parents must supplement the income in some way. Adding this pressure of earning a living to maintaining a home and raising kids is just mind-blowingly difficult. I often get asked, “why don’t you just stay home with the kids and let daddy work?” Well, he is working. I am working, we are both working, we are both parenting, and we are both caring for the home and cooking the meals. We chose to have three children, which means we have committed to housing, feeding, clothing, educating and nurturing them. I am blessed to have a supportive partner who meets me halfway on the majority of obligations. Some mothers and fathers are doing this all by themselves every day, and for those who are doing just that, I bow down to you. Military spouses, single moms, single dads, and even some grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. I see you, and I honor you. You are the very definition of the beautiful chaos. (emphasis on beautiful)
As I started writing this article, there was one question that I could not, for the life of me get out of my head and I wanted to hear the answers other than my own, so I reached out to a group of Facebook friends. My question was “Why did you have kids?” We talk a lot here at FMA about “why” rather than “what.” It’s easy to tell each other what to do but explaining why is a much different thing. As I said above, life can be chaotic due to added pressures of society, financial stress, and lack of support so why do we still choose to have children?
Here are some answers I received with permission to share anonymously.
“I had children because I had always loved being around them: I loved their innate wisdom, humor, and cuteness. But also because one got sent to me, seemingly when I was not even “ready”…but he came, and I knew that he came to me for a specific reason, to help me grow up, among other things. And really, to save my life and completely change the direction I had been going in. He showed up, and I knew that it was meant to be, even though I felt completely unprepared for motherhood at the moment I found out, and was terrified(for weeks, lol).” She continued to explain why she had her second child “Oh, and I had my second child because I had baby fever like mad, and I already had one and felt he needed a sibling. And I reaaaally wanted a little girl.”
-Mother of 2
“I did not plan for my first pregnancy in a tradition way. I wished and hoped for something to change my life because I was going down a crazy path. I got pregnant when I was 24, and it was something that we had talked about and upon romantic conversations- we would dream about. Today we have two children, and we wanted our second child because we wanted to make a lifetime of memories as a family.“
-Mother of 2
“I always wanted kids. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a mom. I always had that mother hen personality. I’ve always been drawn to babies and kids, and it was a natural step in our marriage when we decided to start a family. I’m so thankful that conceiving was easy for us. A little too easy, as it turns out! We had only planned on two kids, so our third was a surprise.”
-Mother of 3
“Because I got pregnant.”
Mother of 3
“It was just a natural progression of where we were in life. We’d talked about it, and we were both open(not even open – we both wanted to have kids), but really I think it wasn’t so much about any outside influence as it was that we made the decision one day to go for it. We were both heavy smokers, and had agreed that we wanted to have healthy children – we could screw our bodies up no problem, but weren’t going to do that to them. Once making babies was really out there, we both quit smoking probably 4-6 months prior.”
-Father of 3
Having a unique last name and being the last male in my line with it, much was about family legacy. Almost an obligatory thing, but in a great way. My father also passed away very young, and I never had someone I could properly call that father figure, so I wanted to truly see that role first hand and have always been excited about the experience.”
-Father of 3
So why did I have children?
I wanted kids my entire life, but In my early 20’s I had this surge of innate and uncontrollable longing for a baby. I had many miscarriages before marrying my ex-husband and then “one stuck, ” and I had my oldest. I wanted nothing more than to be a mother. Despite being completely unprepared on a financial level, I was emotionally and physically ready. I knew I could provide my children with unconditional love and I felt that was a rare quality in parents of my generation. I have a desire to raise people who will protect our planet and future generations. I know they will be the real universal warriors.
Aren’t these answers beautiful? Raw and honest. I think a very general “why” is because people were looking for something to save them from themselves or change their lives and then, babies. One father even stated that it was about his family legacy. After his father had passed away at a young age, he knew he wanted to experience that role. Siblings seem to be often justified by providing memories and relationship with the oldest child. So if these “whys” are this deep and meaningful as well as life changing then don’t we owe our lives, in some cases to these little ones of ours and not the other way around?
I reflected on this greatly over the past few days. I have always felt that I owe my children something, never once thinking “I brought you into this world, so you owe me!” It’s been an overwhelming feeling of gratitude when I look are their bright faces or when I’m having a terrible day and one of my sons will say something that cracks me up so hard I snort, and then we are all rolling with laughter. I am so grateful to be their mother. They chose to spend a lifetime learning and growing with ME.
In our Empowered Parent Program, we talk about Unconditional Parenting, we step away from traditional methods and focus on building relationships with our children based on love and respect. We believe in teaching through love, experiences, connections and tolerance. This philosophy can help you find the beautiful, so you can better handle the chaos. Unconditional parenting is healing for both parents and children. With Why’s as compelling as the ones above I think we owe this to future generations that we have chosen to bring into the world. We need to set them up for emotional success, encourage open and loving hearts, emphasize lightheartedness in an otherwise dark world. By equipping them with these qualities they can go forth into the world and help lead others down this path of unconditional love for themselves, others and our planet.
Here are some steps you can take to implement an Unconditional Parenting approach today:
- Relationships first. Form connections rather than dominance. You do not have to be right all the time just because you are the parent. Don’t injure the relationship by always putting your foot down right away.
- Ditch the trickery. Instead, restructure your request. Maybe if you ask your child to do something in a different way bribery would not be required to get compliance.
- Unconditional Love. Don’t use love as a reward and don’t use the lack of love as a punishment. Change the language to “I love you no matter what.”
- Admit to your mistakes! You are human, and they need to see you admit when you’re wrong, apologize when necessary and laugh it off when needed! You are not perfect, so don’t even try to get away with that.
- Listen more and ask questions rather than react. This will help build your relationship and encourage a trust. Your kids will also come to you with concerns if they know you are more likely to listen than react.
Endless Love & Gratitude,