Kierstin is a mom to two little girls and host of the satirical podcast Really Good Advice for New Moms.
At the moment, one of my two daughters is whining through tears about all of the reasons she doesn't like me today. Even as she's seething at me, all I can think when I look in her big blue eyes is "Wow, I wish you had a volume button" and "I love you." So, I feel like I'm at a pretty level place to create this list of good reasons to have a baby.
By the way, there's really no unselfish reason not to have a kid. In the end, having a kid is as much a selfish act as it is a selfless one and thus is the conflicted nature of parenthood.
Kids Make You Take Better Care of Yourself
I wasn't an unhealthy person before I had kids. I was moderate in almost everything except my consumption of Captain Crunch and The Office. But I also wasn't really taking good care of myself. I stayed up too late most nights, involved myself in friendships that were vapid at best and toxic at worst and consistently brushed off my anxiety disorder, even when it contributed to said nights spent awake worrying.
Now that I'm a parent, I see myself reflected in how my kids react to me. I see how crabby I act when I don't get enough sleep and how worrying about stuff that doesn't matter vibes off on my kids and that's not cool. So, having kids has forced me to take better care of myself on an intrinsic level that I might not have been motivated to - or even noticed a reason to - before.
Also, Captain Crunch is super expensive it turns out.
Kids Force You to Live Life at a Slower Pace
There were times before I had my first daughter that I remember thinking, "Holy cow, I wish I could just get a minute." Between work, classes, nights out with my friends, and trying to look baller for all of it, I was beginning to feel a little drained.
Once I became a parent, those things slowed and now I do homework in sweats from Old Navy with a kid sleeping on each shoulder. It's not that you'll never get to enjoy working, getting an education or going out while looking hot ever again, it's just that the pressure you put on those things will soften as the years go by and you realize that life moves fast enough without your prodding.
Just Because You Don't Like Other People's Kids Doesn't Mean You Won't Like Yours
That kid who threw a cherry tomato at your head at Olive Garden? That's not your kid. Your kid will definitely, 100% do stuff like that. But you'll not only love him when he does it, it will ignite something in your bones that brings you a quiet pride, for some reason.
Friendships Fade After a While
No offense, friends. But if the bonds you once held with your near and dear from high school and beyond are beginning to loosen and you're finding yourself more inclined to stay in on a Friday night and watch The Handmaid's Tale with a bowl of 99 cent ramen, then now is as good a time as any to ask yourself, "Wouldn't this be even better with the baby-soft smell of a fuzzy newborn head curled into my neck and an extra fifteen pounds on my ass?" If the answer is yes, then yeah, it's time to have a baby.
You Respect the Person You're Thinking About Starting a Family With
Maybe it's your wife, your boyfriend or yourself. Maybe your parents are going to help you out. Whoever it is that you plan on raising a family with, if you respect them and you genuinely feel that they respect you, parenting will be 100x easier and make the tough stuff a little lighter.
Kids Give You a Reason to Indulge in Tradition
You've Always Wanted to Have Kids
There were parts of my life where I thought I was okay with not having a family. Mostly when I was 20. But for most of my life before that, I felt a little glowing ember of desire to be a mom one day, and it was apparent from my third year when I started dragging a baby doll with me wherever I went to all of the teenage years I spent babysitting—and actually enjoying the company of—other people's babies and kids. By the time I was pregnant with my first baby, only a few years after I declared I probably wanted none at all, I was aching to start a family.
If you've nearly always experienced a desire to have a kid or two to care for, don't ignore it.
You're Ready to Wade Through Your Own Childhood Issues
It turns out that when you have a baby, you can't just ignore past traumas and mental road blocks anymore (and if you don't think that you have them, ha ha, you're hilarious). If you're not already actively addressing those things then becoming a parent will almost definitely force you to—making you a healthier and happier person from the inside out.
Are You Stressing About Whether or Not to Have Kids?
You Want to Trade in Your Single Escapades for Family-Oriented Adventures
While Instagramming every boutique bar in a 75-mile radius is quite the feat, maybe you're taking notice of the playground McDonald's along the way and feeling a pang of nostalgia.
You can still Insta your craft-beer adventures even with a family, and having one broadens your horizons and your adventure options, especially once you wade out of those fleeting years of dirty diapers and half-empty baby bottles. And having a family to share your interests and experiences with gives your memories a sweet, golden hue.
You're Worried About The Effects of Aging on Fertility
As I round the corner to 30, my periods aren't as regular as they used to be and I know that in all reality, my fertility is beginning to wane (which seems unfair since I just recently grasped the concept of not recycling the mac and cheese box before making sure I've read all of the directions). If you or your partner are concerned about the toll age may take on fertility, it's time to get down to business and make a decision on whether or not you want to start a family.
If your plan is to adopt anyway or to conceive in a different way, then this isn't pertinent.
You're Prepared to Create a Safe, Loving and Stable Home for a Child
2007 brought a gem of a movie into this complicated world. Starring Kristen Wiig, Will Forte and Will Arnett, The Brothers Solomon is the story of two formerly-homeschooled (holla!), genius (meh) brothers who want to have a baby to coax their father out of a coma. The film has very poor ratings and I know almost no one who has willingly watched it outside of a handful of friends who I forced to watch it with me and who are basically not my friends anymore.
But in the movie, in preparation for their baby, these guys pad their whole house, practice dropping and catching baby dolls and surprise each other with all of the unexpected things one might find in a diaper, including a live chick.
You don't need to do that. But if you're ready to put together a space where a baby can thrive and learn in a healthy environment where they know they're loved unconditionally, then you're on the right track to starting your family.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Kierstin Gunsberg
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on July 24, 2018:
As a grandma I can't help but be drawn to topics on kids. I love your child photos, they are delightful and sure do bring a smile to my face. Super article as well ;)