Kids. Are They Worth It?

The other day a friend of mine asked me what might seem to be a simple question—is having kids worth it? Would she be missing out if she didn’t take the plunge?

My answer was yes, having a baby is worth it. Yes, I would do it again. In a heartbeat, in fact. But does the joy of having children really outweigh all the hassle and stress that being a parent brings? I’d say it does—but I really couldn’t give my already overworked, overtired and over-scheduled friend any good reasons why.

I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’m still struggling to put it into words. Here’s a handful of the reasons I’ve come up with so far.

Kids remind you what joy is. As adults, we have joyful moments—but most are shadowed with at least a little doubt or self consciousness. But babies? Experience happiness with 100 percent of their body and soul, holding nothing back. As a parent, you get the benefits of all their secondhand joy (I think it makes up for all the secondhand smoke we breathe).

One word. Toys. I’m not sure how old I was when I decided all my Barbies and My Little Ponies were for babies, but I remember being very sad about leaving them behind. But now I get to play with all my favorite toys all over again. And you know what? Play dough smells just as good as I remember.

Kids remind you what’s really important. There was a time when I lived for my job. If things were going badly at work, well, life was going badly. Now my career is just one part of my life. And knowing my daughter thinks I rock even if a client fires me or my boss tells me I suck? Well, it makes all the rest of it a little easier to bear (and her diaper bill reminds me why I need to get paid).

Then there’s the love. How do you describe it without being cheesy? I can’t. I’ve tried. It’s visceral and all-consuming. It’s overwhelming and earth shattering. It gives everything a whole new meaning—and you a new reason for being. It simply has to be experienced to be believed.

And let’s not forget, having a kid is the best way to ensure someone will be there to change your diapers when you’re old. And really, you don’t want to have to do that yourself.

What would you tell her, dear readers? Is having a baby worth it? Or is child-free the way to go?

18 Comments on Kids. Are They Worth It?

  1. Rebecca
    January 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm (5 years ago)

    I have a child free friend who I think would be an amazing mother. She’s married to an amazing man (who I think would be the best dad ever!) and they both have good jobs and they have a nice house too along with good educations but not ivy league. Just a simple good college education.

    I just told her that something happens when the baby slides out. That moment you become a mom when they put the baby in your arms….your brain changes and you understand everything with a different perspective. Like when mom and dad were mad me for doing (anything I ever did to disappoint them). Or when mom and dad were proud of me and bragged to everyone who would listen…………It just can’t be put into words.

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 12, 2011 at 9:03 am (5 years ago)

      Exactly. How do you put into words that which there are no words for?

      Reply
  2. alicia
    January 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm (5 years ago)

    I agree with all your reasons. And I have another to add. I have also given it some thought and have decided that it is the only way to truly learn humility, patience, perseverance, long suffering, and unconditional love. Because there is nothing harder or more rewarding than the job of a mom.

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 12, 2011 at 9:03 am (5 years ago)

      You got that right. There’s no better way to learn!

      Reply
  3. Jen
    January 12, 2011 at 7:49 am (5 years ago)

    Sometimes, I wonder the same thing. If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, would I have kids again?

    ABSOLUTELY!

    Its a tough job but having kids has made me a better person.

    Great post.

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 12, 2011 at 9:02 am (5 years ago)

      I think that’s what it comes down to – it does make you a better human being. A more tired, stressed and grumpy human being (at least I am), but better, nonetheless.

      Reply
  4. erica
    January 12, 2011 at 10:08 am (5 years ago)

    I think my favorite moments are when B dances all by herself… she lets it all out, and doesn’t care who’s watching.

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 13, 2011 at 10:25 am (5 years ago)

      Tori does that too. I wish I still knew how.

      Reply
  5. Lise
    January 13, 2011 at 1:03 am (5 years ago)

    Living in Arizona, we’ve had our share of bad news in the media this year. (Already. Twelve days into the new year.) As I was watching news coverage of the recent tragic shootings in Tucson, I couldn’t help but notice my toddler son, playing happily in front of the television, paying no attention to the sad-beyond-words story unfolding. Shortly thereafter, a commercial came on with the sound of people laughing. Immediately my son looked up at the TV and started laughing along with the actors. It warmed my heart to see him share in the joy of others, having no understanding of WHY they were happy. Just knowing that people were joyous was reason enough for him to join in. When the news came back on, he went right back to playing with his cars – again oblivious to the sadness.

    As much as it made me feel good, it also made me wonder how long it would be before he took notice of the evil in the world. (Because I’m old and cynical.) My hope is that he’ll focus on the good for as long as he can.

    All this rambling is to say that having children is TOTALLY worth it! Just one reason among millions is that through my son’s eyes, even for just a moment, I was able to tune out the bad in the world and focus on the good.

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 13, 2011 at 10:24 am (5 years ago)

      I think those moments are what makes it all worthwhile. There’s too much sadness in the world…

      Reply
  6. Lady Jennie
    January 13, 2011 at 8:20 am (5 years ago)

    Hi Amber,

    I’ve been away so just popping back in.

    You summed it up perfectly. It’s mainly the love that keeps me going. Those sweet baby hands wrapped around my neck that won’t last forever. Sob. I’m all done having kids now.

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 13, 2011 at 10:24 am (5 years ago)

      But you’ll always have the memories…I read a book recently that said life isn’t really about what you did, it’s about what you meant to people. That struck me as just about right.

      Reply
  7. Tiffany@Lattes&Life
    January 13, 2011 at 10:17 am (5 years ago)

    I would tell her that nobody can answer that question for her. She’ll know if she wants children…and children aren’t for everyone. The childless life has a ton of advantages, and she shouldn’t discount those (if that’s her choice). Parenthood has many advantages as well, but it’s not for everyone (just as the childless life isn’t for everyone). I think there’s this idea in our society that you HAVE to have children in order to be complete. And I think that’s just not true. Maybe for some who genuinely feel that way, but I think too many people frown upon those who choose the opposite. Each choice has merit and advantages and disadvantages (just like the choice to work or stay home). It’s a very personal choice…she’ll know in her heart what her answer is!

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 13, 2011 at 10:21 am (5 years ago)

      That’s kinda what I’ve told her. I hope she reads your comment. I think it would help.

      Reply
  8. Allison @ Alli 'n Son
    January 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Totally worth it. Although, honestly I find myself yearning for free time lately. With tantrums and power struggles sometimes I just need some peace and freaking quiet. You know?

    Reply
    • Amber
      January 15, 2011 at 9:25 pm (5 years ago)

      Yes. I know. I know that feeling well.

      Reply

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