Why did you become a parent?

Pictures.MichaelKappel.com

Pictures.MichaelKappel.com

I’ve heard so much about different parenting styles, but a thought occurred to me the other day. I hardly ever see articles that talk about why people decide to become parents and how that might influence the way they parent and the way they treat their children as adults.

This comes on the edge of my mother accusing me last week of abandoning her.  We haven’t been getting along very well lately. I was a bit taken aback at the abandonment claim considering I pay some of her bills and only live 30 minutes away from her. But I’ve never been one to shy away from an argument when I think the other person is completely wrong so I pointed out how I still live in this city that I can’t really stand anymore despite having wanted to move away years ago.

She likes to tell me that one day my daughter will abandon me too.  That she’ll go off to college and into the world and I’ll be alone. I don’t know how many times I’ve said to her “good.” I want my daughter to be able to stand on her own and experience so many great things life and this world have to offer.

She doesn’t seem to understand that and I’m wondering if it’s because we had children for different reasons.

So why do people become parents? I really have no fucking clue. I know my mother always wanted children, but I don’t exactly know why. I know why I had my daughter  I had her because I was pregnant. I wasn’t ever a person who thought “I’d like to have kids one day”, but I also never thought “I really don’t want kids ever.” I left the decision as an up in the air thing that either happened, or didn’t.

And so one day I found myself pregnant. I’m pro-choice, but after a certain point in my life, I knew that wasn’t a choice I was going to make. There was a life growing inside me, and I could give it every chance to live.  I couldn’t think of any reason not to except inconvenience and that reason sounds fucking awful. So why not? Having a kid was just another adventure.

I’ve mentioned before that I was never one of those parents who dressed their kid up like she was my personal doll. I don’t look at her and think she will carry on my legacy (wtf does that even mean?).  I don’t think “now, I will never be alone” or “when I grow old someone will take care of me”.  Those all sound like nice things, but really, you can’t count on that.  Why? Because your kids are their own people.  They are going to end up making their own decisions. The only way you can try to ensure they behave the way you want is through fear or guilt or money. That sounds awful to me.

My daughter likes to say she won’t leave me alone. I just smile and say it’s okay if she does. I would like a phone call and some visits, but ultimately, I want her to be happy. Yes, I want her to love me. But I want that to come from her knowing that I love and support her and will be here for her if she needs me.

I don’t mean to rag on my mom so much. I know she loves me and supports me and she’s had to carry my weight well past those US 18 years by law. She’s a very strong woman who had to raise me on her own and has never made me feel like a burden. But sometimes, sorry mom,  I feel like a caged bird.

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2 responses to “Why did you become a parent?

  • vin

    Yes, I am. Of my mom. (My dad had more children than I have fingers.) But my whole life has just been my mom and me. It’s been like that for my daughter’s life too, where it’s just the two of us. I have wished for years my mother had met some awesome guy and fallen in love or had some other kids. Something so she’d have something else to focus on and not just me. And somehow I feel like an awful child for even thinking it.

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