Guest Post: A Dad’s Choice to Have Children
In this premiere Choosing Childfree guest post, Jason Greene writes about choosing to have children because he wanted to nurture them, and why that isn’t for everyone. Jason blogs about being a full-time dad and life in general at http://thejasongreene.com/.
Within an hour of being married, my wife and I were asked the question that has been lobbed at every couple that have declared their enduring allegiance: “When are you having kids?” I didn’t realize that once you say “I do,” you open yourself up to “When will you?” So I just said, “I don’t know grandma” and we continued to dance.
It’s not like my wife and I hadn’t discussed having children before we got married. Like most people, my wife and I talked a lot about future parenting plans while we were still dating. We were both in agreement that we wanted to have children and we believed that we had a lot to offer the world in doing so. You see, not having children ourselves, we were practically experts in having them. After all, I did own a copy of Three Men and a Baby on VHS back in the day.
We wanted children and we wanted a lot of them. My motivation was simple: I wanted to give someone the life that I always wanted. I wanted to be someone’s hero. I wanted to try and raise someone that could make all the wrongs in the world right. Oh, and I wanted to raise the next great sports star. (But don’t tell anyone that last bit. We’re not supposed to admit that.) Like I said, my motivation was simple.
Just to be clear, my desire to have kids didn’t stem from the fact that that’s what the world told us we were supposed to do. I wanted to have kids because I wanted kids. I wanted to be that dad that staggers through the obstacles in the house to feed the baby at 3 in the morning. I wanted to be that dad that hears a nightmare cry from one of his children during the night and runs to their aid. I wanted to sit at the table and review spelling words and rejoice with the kids when they bring home a well-deserved good grade. Before I became a dad, I thought that’s what parenting was and I couldn’t wait for it.
Then, a little over 9 years ago, I stood in awe of life entering into the world. A midwife wrapped up a little squirming and crying body in a blanket and handed him over to me. Before that moment, I would have been completely grossed out at the mere thought of what I had just witnessed. Watching your wife become an upside-down Pez dispenser is no easy task. (Yes, I can hear many voices from far away yell, “How do you think we feel?” But this isn’t about you ladies, this is about me.)
When I held that little baby, I knew that being a daddy was what I was put on this earth to be. And that was also the moment the realization came crashing down on me that I was not ready to be a parent. At all. But, it didn’t matter. Because I had a good partner and we were jumping in feet first. So I held my son close to my chest and stared into his blurry eyes. I promised him, “I will be the best daddy that I can be” and “I’ll try and never let you down.” And of course, I haven’t always kept those two promises, but I’ve tried.
I understand why people choose to live child free. Not everyone enjoys raising kids as much as I do. Not everyone views waking up at 3 am and crossing a minefield of sharp toys in bare feet to rescue your child from a nightmare as a glorious calling. That’s okay. I don’t like kittens as much as some people. They are messy, always underfoot, and make me sneeze. Kittens aren’t for everyone, and neither are children. But children are for me.
Photo Credit: barbourians