Ambivalence about parenting


I love my nieces and nephew dearly, but I am glad when they go home and it’s quiet again. I just cannot imagine making the huge sacrifice children require. I’ll be getting married next May, and while we’re not planning on getting pregnant for a couple years, obviously God’s plan is not always the same as ours :wink: We’re both excited about having children but I have my days when I value my peace, quiet, and freedom too much. I guess I just feel inadequate, and the thought of becoming a mommy at age 23-24 seems so young. Raising a child in the faith especially is such a huge responsibility, when I am still learning. I came from a family of six kids and envisioned a large family for myself, but I don’t see how we could handle it emotionally, not to mention physically and financially (but that’s a whole other topic). Is it selfish to want more time for myself? I know that when push comes to shove, you find a way, but I don’t want to be a bad parent because I’m unhappy. Did anyone else feel this way? :confused:


I guess this should have gone under Parenting- oops!


I have no practical advice for you because we do not have children, but I will say that I know EXACTLY how you feel, and I’m 42 (DH is 29)!! Every single word you say could have been typed by me.

We were just married in September, so this is all new to me as well. We are not trying to conceive, but we are not trying not to either, so what ever happens happens. But it does indeed terrify the daylights out of me. My only approach for sanity is to pray for God to give me the strength of acceptance of His will, and to know that He will provide what ever I need, as I need it.

Yep - scares the heck out of me too - you are not alone there! :smiley:



I think many feel this way Lil M :slight_smile: I think I might have a few times as well. But believe me all those feelings you have go away when you first hold your baby in your arms. When it’s your own it’s very different, believe me. It’s no longer a “sacrifice” you just don’t see it that way anymore. The love you have for your own child washes away your own needs. They become less important. You will have new worries of course but the joy of parenting and sharing this with your husband brings the two of you even closer than you can ever possibly imagine.

You will get some time of yourself btw :wink: they do nap…I used to love nap time. Also my dh was and still is the best father in the world. Always supportive and incredibly helpful with the girls.

Now they are teens, very interesting :smiley:


I’m in a rather similar boat as you are. I’m also getting married next May… wait… checking your ticker… carry the one… May 31?? Freaky coincidence… anyway, in a recent meeting with a deacon at the parish we will be getting married, he told us that he feels is often best for couples not to rush into parenthood. Take some time to be married first, then have a family. Maybe after you’ve cemented your marriage you won’t feel as ambivalent, but most importantly, have children because you want children, not just because you’re married and “that’s what married people do”.


i get those feelings sometimes. I don’t want to end up like my mom and not give my children enough time. My biggest fear is that I will mess my kids up, and they’ll wish they hadn’t been born. But other times, I know that I do want kids, and I guess I just have to trust that God will help me and keep my kids from becoming too damaged. Idunno, it’s a hard situation.


It’s different when they’re your own.

They drive you even more nuts. :smiley:



I feel this, and I have children!
As far as getting to know your spouse is concerned-there is no quicker way to get to know him than bleary-eyed at the 4am feed!


I totally get where you are coming from. I was the oldest of 2 kids and was never around many little kids growing up nor had much interest in babysitting. I related much more to people who were my peers or older than me than those who were younger. It seemed little kids were mostly annoying to me and I, too,was usually all too happy to wave goodbye to them.

When my husband & I married we knew we would delay starting a family because we were both in professional school. We were young (24) and knew we wanted kids some day…but had education, careers, travel, etc… on our agenda. When we celebrated our 5th anniversary, we were 7 months pregnant with our first child. For us, those wonderful years together before parenthood are still some of our fondest memories as a couple and time I would never trade. Not only was it fun, but it allowed us to lay the foundation for financial stability so I could be the parent at home. We also realize that you can never be 20-something again–even once your grown kids leave the nest.

Ever since our kids arrived, there were (and are) aspects of parenting that challenge my personality type. But the good news is babies arrive one at a time (most often) and while I’m still not the type to revel in a game of dress up and could barely survive hosting a playdate with five 4 year olds, I am constantly delighted by my kids–and only occasionally annoyed. I have also learned that kids and adults have very different needs, and you shouldn’t make your kids your world nor abandon everything that makes being an adult such fun–like intelligent conversation with friends/family, your hobbies, athletic pursuits, quiet time, romance, etc…

The best advice I can give is to be honest with yourself, recognize your own limits and then balance your kids’ needs with your own. It’s OK for your kids to learn you don’t do well with screaming-through-the house-chaos–or–that you expect them to help pick up their own messes–or–that bickering among themselves can turn you into the wicked witch–or–that you can’t play 20 questions and drive without fogetting why you got into the car in the first place–or–that you expect them to obey your request to play quietly and independently for 30 minutes so you can catch-up, regroup, take a shower, close your eyes, not anwer any questions…

Life as you know it certainly changes with kids, but it also opens you up to explore your own talents and gifts, experiences and relationships you would never have tapped into without becoming a parent. Don’t worry now about whether you’ll have 2, 6 or 10 kids. You are not expected to procreate endlessly, but to use your judgement as husband and wife wisely in evaluating whether or not to bring more children into your family.

a few other things:
–make sure you have either willing family close by or the resources to hire a sitter regularly so you and your husband have time away together;

–take time to develop your female friends–they can be life support when you need it most;

–don’t be so devoted to your kids’ welfare that you compromise your own;

–you will do yourself and your kids a huge favor by teaching them to do things for themselves–it is a positive way to teach them that you have needs/interests that are different from theirs and that there are limits to what any one mother can or should do for them;

–share your hobbies/passions with your kids so they develop some interests beyond Barbie & Barney. There is nothing better than sharing/doing something you love to do with people you love most in the world.


I think Island Oak had a lot of good thoughts…

Take ONE step at a time… and concentrate on where you are NOW… enjoy this phase of your life, because you’re right, it won’t be the same once you have kids. It doesn’t have to be miserable, but it will be different.
Focus on your wedding and spending one on one time with your husband. The children will come in their own (and God’s) good time… and (normally) one at a time… you grow as they grow… together as a family. You aren’t thrown into the lion’s den suddenly all alone… it’s a slower learning process than that.

Focus on where you are now… and those memories of your quiet early married life will bring smiles as you reminisce… :slight_smile:


Congratulations on your impending marrige. Take it one day at a time, and remember, God knows better than we do when we are ready for children. :wink:


Yep. And I still do sometimes. For me the first year of parenthood was an enormous adjustment. I tend to naturally be kind of a loner. Children were a bit of a challenge.

But the funny thing is, that even at the same time that my feelings could be shouting that I must be crazy to have signed up for this parenting business, there was suddenly this new part of me that I don’t think existed prior to getting pregnant and giving birth. Sometimes it was almost like a completely different person had taken over my body. This strange person was totally devoted to caring for these new little people as they came along. Whatever the rest of me was or was not feeling, it was like the parent part of me insisted that my only purpose in existing was to care for my children.

Fortunately this parent person eventually made peace with the
rest of me so I could manage to fit God, spouse, food, family, friends, finances, work, etc. (not to mention self) into the overall picture of life.


Rob and I felt the exact same way. Then I had the first and we were sunk head over heals.

God makes parents uniquely suited for their own children. Thank goodness!


lol, lol, lol…ohmygosh…lol. Well said! And so true, :smiley:


Kanda- wow 3 babies already! I guess I have no reason to complain :smiley:

Thanks for all the encouragement. FH gets so baby-happy (which is adorable) but like marriage, I want to make sure we fully understand what we’re committing ourselves to before I start buying little people socks :stuck_out_tongue:


When you hold your baby in your arms for the first time your heart will melt… Now there will be times that life is overwhelming but its all worth it. I had my 15 year old at age 24 and my 22 month old and age 38 and I am so happy that I have them both. If someone would have told me that I would have 2 children almost 14 years apart, I’d probably would have cursed them…LOL My only regret is that I didn’t have more children during my 20’s and early 30’s…


Everyone feels some ambivalence about parenting. That is normal. Are you planning to marry and then not have children?


No, we are certainly planning on having children. It’s just that the closer I get to it, the more afraid I am of having that huge responsibility and messing it up!


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