Why Did You Want to Be a Parent?

Mother and ChildStatistically, for generations it’s been true that most people have gone on to be parents.  The paradigm is breaking down slightly, with  people increasingly choosing to either delay or forgo having kids, but raising children remains an important part of many people’s life plans.  Women have a variety of reasons for wanting to become mothers:  for some, it’s an important part of their religion, while others believing that having kids and raising them well is the best possible contribution that they can make to this world.  Others have always dreamed of having a family, and have never wanted to be anything except for a mother.  Some will never have conceived of children as being a part of their life plan, and will later be persuaded by friends and family.  And there are others who will have children simply because it is what people do.

One thing that is worth asking however, is why you want to have children, and what you hope that your future children will gain from having been raised by you.  Although I am aware that having children is considered by many people to be the pinnacle of their life’s work, whenever you are considering having a child, the question should not simply be what you want, but what would be best for the hypothetical child.  Too often I see parents who seem to feel that their children exist solely for their own self-gratification, and who give little thought to the needs and wants of the child in question.  Parenting should always be for and about the child, not the desires of the parents.  It is at the same time both the most selfish and the most sacrificial act that most of us will ever undertake, and a choice that should always be made with care.

October–A Hectic Month for Mothers

Stressed Mother Holding BabyOctober can be a very hectic month for mothers.  In addition to all the fuss associated with Halloween–buying you child the perfect costume, helping to chaperone the class party, buying candy to hand out on Halloween, and  taking your child out Trick-or-Treating, to name a few–October really kicks off the holiday season, with Halloween decorations being replaced by Thanksgiving and then Christmas decorations.  Although the holiday shopping season doesn’t officially start until the Friday after Thanksgiving, everyone knows that people actually start Christmas shopping long before November.  There are seasonal gifts to worry about (ie. those that won’t be available in late autumn), in addition to the risk that you might not be able to get your hands on some hot item if you wait too long.

Unsurprisingly, stress levels are prone to reaching near-epic proportions as the holidays roll around.  Below are a list f tips to help you combat the holiday blues.

1.  Me time.  Send the kids off to a friend’s house, and take a bubble bath.  Read a book.  Meditate.  Take a nap.  Whatever it is, do something that you find relaxing and enjoyable.  Bonus points if it’s something that you don’t normally have the time to do.  In my experience, the less you feel like you can take time out for yourself, the more you need to take time out for yourself.  Don’t be afraid to indulge a little–it’ll help everyone later on.

2.  Involve the family.  Don’t do all of the holiday decorating/baking by yourself.  Involve the rest of the family as much as possible.  If the kids are reluctant, make a game out of it.  Tell the kids that whoever is most helpful during the day gets to put the angel at the top of the tree, or gets to eat the first cookie.

3.  Learn to say No.  As the tasks pile up and well-meaning requests from fellow PTA members, friends and family members begin to bog you down, learn to say no.  Stop overstretching yourself.  The world won’t fall in if you don’t agree to bake a cake for your child’s holiday party, or if some other family member has to host Christmas dinner.  The more you overload yourself, the more stressed you will become, and the less time you will be able to devote to each task, meaning that your work will be of significantly lower quality than usual.

4.  Don’t procrastinate.  Don’t leave Halloween costume shopping or wrapping presents for the last minute.  Do everything early, so that as the big day approaches, you actually have a chance to breathe and relax.

5.  Allow room for error.  There is no such free as the perfect Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s–something, no matter how slight, will always manage to go wrong.  I once showed up at a wedding and didn’t have a place to sit at the reception.  Relax.  The world isn’t going to end because you forgot to take your Great-Grandmother’s special Thanksgiving napkins out of storage.