I was never in a hurry to become a parent. I knew that my life would be 100 percent different than it was before kids, and I was right, but it was different in ways I did not expect. There were things missing in my life that I did not even realize.
1. Unconditional love
Everyone talks about the love you feel for your child, and how the only way to feel that love is by having one of your own. It is true. My husband and I have a pretty amazing love story, and we've been through a lot with each other. It is a love we chose to have, one that was not instant, but rather developed over time. Then we had kids.
There is something magical about the love you have for your child. In my case, I had two kids at once, and I remember looking at both of them and thinking that I could not love one more than the other. I loved them both with all my soul. From the moment they were born, I would do anything for them. They didn't need to earn my love, or prove my love, they had it instantly. No conditions. Just love.
2. Becoming a grown up
When you have kids, you grow in ways you did not even realize you needed to grow. Your kids watch everything you do. They follow your example, and they learn from your habits and mistakes. It makes you a better person. You have to be, if you want your kids to have a good example to look to.
You also have to make hard decisions. Formula and diapers are expensive — some things have to change in order to afford them. I definitely do not have as many luxuries as I did before kids, and surprisingly, I am happy to give those things up. I want my kids to have everything they need. They come before me, and that is something I never thought I would be OK with, but I am. Having kids made me throw away my selfish ways (most of them) and grow up.
3. Endless entertainment
I never thought I would be entertained by a baby laughing at the dog as he ran around the room, but I was, for at least half an hour. Or by my toddler getting her groove on to Bruno Mars, but I could watch that for hours. Kids do the cutest things, things you never imagined would be cute or entertaining, but seriously, who needs TV when you have kids? There is something special about watching your kids learn, and grow, and use their imaginations in the most incredible ways.
4. Real love for your spouse
I love watching my husband interact with my kids. I see the love he has for them, and that makes my love for him grow even more. Your relationship with your spouse changes when you have kids. It becomes harder to connect and it is easy to focus all your attention on your kids and not your spouse. You now have to make time for them during your day or you may not have any time for them at all. But your relationship can also blossom into something even more beautiful than you had before. You are now working together to raise children, one of the greatest callings on earth. You are their first example of what a relationship is. Love each other, be kind to one another, and your children will follow in your footsteps.
Now that our kids understand and comprehend more of what they see on TV, we have changed what we watch as a family. We have made more wholesome selections, and I have to admit, I have been pleasantly surprised at the level of entertainment these shows are. It is refreshing to not need profanity or crudeness to be entertained. The atmosphere of our home has become lighter and sillier. It changes our demeanor and promotes kindness, sharing and a loving environment.
6. Constantly working out
Having kids is a work out. Very seldom do I have a huge block of time where I can just sit and do nothing. I am constantly picking up toys, lifting kids in and out of their high chairs, chasing after them around the house and the list goes on and on. My kids keep me active, and I realize how much I need to stay in shape so I can keep up with them. It is a symbiotic relationship that has been great for my waist line.
7. Having a piece of yourself
Whether they are your own flesh and blood, or adopted into your home, your kids take on some of your same traits. They say the same phrases as you, scrunch their face in concentration like you, and even have a love for your pickle and peanut butter sandwiches. It is amazing to see how your child develops and grows and turns into a toddler, teenager and eventually adult. The best part is, you get to witness that growth and experience their triumphs and trials right along with them. The human experience is a beautiful thing to witness and knowing you have a piece of yourself left on this earth, makes you feel that your legacy will live on even after you are gone.
Those who choose not to have kids often wonder why people question their choice, but the reason is simple. For those of us who have kids know what we were missing and we want everyone to be able to experience the same love and joy we get from our own kids.