Why it’s okay to not be a Parent
I’m a single mom of two teenagers and yes I decided to have children and to be a parent. I also highly respect those who choose not to be a parent and I’m going to share my reasons with my own parenting experiences. Please know that yes I unconditionally love both of my children and I do love being a parent and at the same time yes there are many moments that I wish I wasn’t one but that does not mean I do not love and cherish my children.
It is perfectly okay if you choose to not be a parent because parenting is not rainbows and unicorns. Pretty much ’80s and 90’s babies had it made in the shade versus the new generations from 2006 and up. You are shamed so much for being a parent because everyone has their eyes on you from the moment you have your baby at the hospital. It even starts before that, because it is all about how you are going to parent your child and Will you be breastfeeding? Is your home baby safe? Are you going to buy a car that is child-approved? What brand of baby seat are you buying? It is a never-ending parade of what and how to become a parent and the environment you are bringing your child into.
All the fancy things you bought and did before the child arrives you can kiss that goodbye because once a baby comes you are tired more than half of the time because newborns do not sleep all night yet you have to wait until about 3 to 6 months for that to happen. As they start to grow into a toddler starts crawling and walking and fine motor skills, they start to get into things and touch everything. I’ve had moments of finding sugar all over my kitchen floor and my bathroom covered in baby powder. During those moments all I could do is honestly laugh and just clean up the messes that were made.
The frustration and exhaustion pretty much stay with you for the rest of your life being a parent. Each stage of their life has a new thing and so do diagnoses because almost every child has something whether it’s mental health or a disability. Which means more doctor appointments and the great hunt for specialists and waiting lists. Throughout this, there is so much disappointment and angst for an appointment that isn’t months or years out. When my children were 5 and 4 years old I received some parent resources and had them both seen by a specialist and checked out. At the time my 5-year-old nothing was wrong, they were perfectly happy. My 4-year-old had to see another specialist because she was diagnosed with Autism. I wanted a second opinion. The second opinion happened after an all-day evaluation of several different specialists. An occupational therapist, speech therapist, physical therapist, and developmental pediatrician. The diagnosis was that my daughter was Intellectually Developmentally Delayed (in shorter terms low IQ) and had ADHD.
When school starts that is just an extra level of shame because you have to show up and yeah other moms judge appearances and how you interact with your child. Teachers ask you every tom, dick, and harry question though it’s more like an invasive interrogation. Each grade comes with new problems and issues. Elementary school is probably the best school time because it’s not too complex and during this period you’re helping your child learn to read and write and also have their first trip to the library. The Library is and can be a magical place because they have a whole room dedicated to children. There are activities, computer games, audiobooks, and so many many children’s books to go through. By the time your child is in 1st grade, you can breathe a little more because they are getting older and those trips to the library turn into a little bit of relaxation for mom.
With all of this in mind, no not everyone goes through this, parenting is a journey, a long winding road. It is perfectly okay not to be a parent and have kids. That just means you get to go to awesome places, buy neat things, and not lose your identity.