Recently some other moms and I were talking to a friend who doesn't know if she wants to have children or not. All of the other women recounted pregnancy/birth/infant stories with horror, only to end with a nice, pat "but it's all worth it." My friend finally looked over at me and said, "I notice you're not saying 'it's worth it'..."
I guess I don't think of the work I do for my kids as being somehow "worth it." My kids are just people for whom I have inexplicable love and hopes and therefore I care for them the best I can. Sometimes they're cute. Sometimes they're sweet. Sometimes they make me laugh. But, overall, I wouldn't say wiping down the toilet ten times a day, washing spaghetti sauce out of hair or crawling in bed at night to discover that at some point in the day someone spilled chocolate milk all over my pillow is really "worth" hearing my 2-year-old belt out a rendition of "Yellow Submarine," darling though it may be.
I know of at least two people whose mothers have told them openly that if they had life to do over again, they never would have had children (not in a personal "I hate you" kind of way, but just a general musing). A 70ish acquaintance of mine has told me that the only reason she has 3 kids is because "back then" condoms weren't made as well as they are today and they often broke. I have another friend who told me that if she knew everything she knows now (she's 50 something with 2 grown kids) except who her children are, she would never have had kids.
On the other hand I know some of the "everybody ought to have kids" sorts too... I guess it depends on your experience having kids and also what you perceive you missed out on doing (or didn't) as a result. Having kids has good and bad points and some experience, or focus on, more of the good and some, more of the bad. Certainly one only has to watch the news to know that not everyone ought to have kids.
For my part, though I love to complain about them, I won't be donating my own to the Salvation Army or anything. They're all mine and I'd no more want to get rid of them than I'd want to get rid of my left arm. But do I highly recommend everyone hurry up and have some of their own? Sure! Unless they're one of those people who shouldn't, or they really don't want to, or...
Copyright 2005. Staci Schoff. All Rights Reserved