In an earlier post, I wrote about the “Seven Things You Have Less of When Having Kids”, which was mostly advice to those who are in a relationship and are considering having kids. What I left out is all the wonderful things that come with having kids. The following are my Top Seven things you gain when you have kids. The list does not include "weight", "tax credits" or "perspective".
Enlarged capacity to love. Adding members to your own family is an amazing experience. Somehow your own heart expands, lets more love in and your capacity to love grows. After having our first child, we wondered if we could love our second child just as much. Sure enough, after having our second, we easily loved her just as much. Furthermore, I fell more in love with my wife Susan. We even love our dog Nugget more, especially because he is so gentle around our crazy children.
New emotions. The new emotions and feelings that come with parenthood are indescribable. On one side there is joy and happiness. On the other, there is often frustration, weariness and often the feeling of defeat. Then there are the tears. Not sure if they are tears of joy or sadness but there are tears. Just reading the books Someday or If I Could Keep You Little brings me to tears. I have "heart melting" moments every day, most recently when Caden gives Eloise a kiss or when Caden says "God made the moon and God made Caden".
Greater respect for your own parents. Like many of us, my first memories started around age four. I remember having a wonderful childhood and my parents doing everything for our family. However, I have no memories of my parents likely getting up with me in the middle of the night, changing my diapers and dealing with all the crying. Now that I have experienced that for myself, my admiration and respect for my own parents has grown stronger.
Appreciation for your partner. I did not know I could love, respect and admire my wife more than I did before we had kids. And now I know it wasn't even close. She carried our kids for 40 weeks, delivered them and loves and cares for them unbelievably well. After having kids I saw her in a new light: a gentle, loving and patient mother. She has greatly helped me through the parenting stage, making me a much better parent and person.
Joy for the simple things. Being a parent means you get excited about the simplest things: seeing your kid roll over, clap or walk for the first time. Even potty training brings excitement; I never thought I would get so excited for someone pooping in my life. I am excited daily by Caden seeing a fire truck, cement mixer, helicopter or airplane. Before having kids, we were quite picky about the restaurants we visited, what we were making for dinner or what we had planned for the weekend. Now we are just happy to actually make it through dinner at a restaurant, have any kind of weekend plans and stay awake for any kind of movie. Even with this, we have never been happier.
Patience. Kids are not always on your schedule. Their little legs cannot keep up with adults. When you really need to get out the door, they usually will not get dressed, or they will need a snack or a drink. Often there is a diaper blowout when you least need one. Having kids will definitely teach you to become a more patient person, which can lead to being a more kind, empathetic and loving person.
Learning to be present in the moment. We have so many distractions in our lives: work, social media, TV, and smart phones. If you haven't noticed, kids need our constant attention. They need their parents to be engaged and involved. Having kids teaches you to put your worries and troubles aside and be in the moment with your children.
Having children means having to sacrifice, becoming less self-absorbed and becoming a better person. There are constant challenges and obstacles to overcome (or at least get through). Life becomes a little more difficult. However, as you can see, the positives far outweigh the daily challenges of parenting. My life is much better with kids.
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