Active Parenthood

pram-running

If you’re a childless person who has considered the thought of having children at some point in your life, you may be as terrified as I am. No wonder, given that many parents have nothing good to say about the experience apart from terrifying stories of complete loss of self, interests, friends and life in general. When you tell such a parent about your visit to the cinema or theater, a run or a workshop (in fact you can insert any activity that’s somewhat positive) you often hear “Ah, enjoy your life when you can because once you have kids…”. Whenever I hear something like that, I feel like I want to perform a sterilisation procedure on myself then and there. However, looking at other parents, one starts to wonder whether it has to be that bad, or are children as good an excuse as anything for one’s weaknesses? After all, plenty of mothers and fathers are social and physically active, even though it’s certainly more challenging than during one’s childless life.

First of all, I don’t feel I can lecture anyone. I have no children of my own and those who claim I have no idea about how it is are right. I’m sure that children require many compromises and sacrifices and your life will never be the same again after you’ve had one. Late night partying must disappear from the list of your entertainments but to be honest, I know very few established couples in their late twenties and early thirties who do it anyway. Other age appropriate activities don’t seem out of reach for parents. I’m pleased to see more and more couples as well as mothers and fathers on their own, taking their children out almost wherever they go. Especially house parties are baby friendly with lots of aunts and uncles, happy to take care of the little ones (and even happier to give them back). Coffee dates and dinners with girlfriends also seem to be increasingly popular among mothers. What’s more, it appears that the babies who are out a lot and who are  used to varying environments and people tend to be quite pleasant. One starts to wonder whether it may be nurture and not nature that produces children of the sort of little Satans we’ve lived under for a year now and who at the age of five and seven approximately, throw a few tantrums daily.

Secondly, I see more and more physically active parents. Park Runs, for instance, are full of moms and dads running and walking with prams. Some activities will require leaving the child behind, but parents should try to support each other in their motivation to remain active. Recently I saw a mom of a six month old child in my Facebook feed who completed a 53 kilometers long cycle while the father was taking care of the child. I was not only impressed but also ashamed. I don’t have a newborn to care for and I don’t exercise that much! To see people on hikes with their children when they’re still carryable is also not a rare sight. The older the children, the more options a parent gets, including gyms offering childcare while a parent or parents exercise.

Last but not least, there are passions and interests that parents have and that they ideally shouldn’t be abandoned when the child is born. The list of possible preferences is so long that I cannot provide solutions. For all the naysayers I would just like to mention a few inspirational stories. Stephen King finished his first novel while working full time and soon after he had his first baby. J.K. Rowling had more than one child when she started to draft Harry Potter on serviettes (!). A famous Polish traveller, Tony Halik was travelling with his wife who was pregnant and after she gave birth to their newborn baby. Last but not least, Stephen Hawkings’s first wife was working on her PhD as a mother of three children and… well, the wife of Stephen Hawkings, who as we know couldn’t help much because of his condition. I’ll never stop believing that when there’s a will, there’s a way. Parents should be reasonable but changing their lives entirely for the sake of their children will just make them miserable. A happy parent means a happy child and I say that as a formerly unhappy child of an unhappy parent. You still deserve to pursue your dreams and enjoy your life when you have offsprings and you shouldn’t listen to those who are telling you otherwise. Parenthood should enhance your life and not destroy it. Otherwise why have children at all?

Cheers to all the active mothers out there! I’m sure it’s often not easy but I hope to one day join their ranks rather than those of the self-proclaimed martyrs.

Time for your opinion Dear Rinsers! Do you admire active parenthood or do you think that once you become a parent you should be housebound? Did you manage to be a happy mom or dad or do your regret ever having children (you can be honest, you’re anonymous)?

Advertisements

8 comments

  1. bklynboy59 · October 12, 2016

    Regret??? NOOOO!!!! With out children can’t be a grandparent and I really enjoy that!!!! I was always active I took both my kids to the park taught them to ride bikes play sports went to the movies and spent time with them. Was it easy ? Absolutely not. Many challenges especially when they became teenagers. It doesn’t have to be an extreme of once you have kids you are housebound. Like with anything it’s about a healthy balance.

    Liked by 3 people

    • zlotybaby · October 12, 2016

      Thank you for your comment! Yes, I think it’s all about the balance. I also think that parents who complain a lot often suffer because of uneven separation of work with their partner. I’m glad you were one of the exemplary dads who didn’t think that women should be the only ones to care for children.

      Like

  2. EnglishRosiee · October 12, 2016

    Haha! I like the way you say without children you couldn’t be a grandparent 😛 So basically you have to suffer through your own kids to get the fun part with the grand kids! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · October 12, 2016

      I must say this thought has never even crossed my mind yet 😉 One set of kids first!

      Like

  3. EnglishRosiee · October 12, 2016

    Nice post !

    I agree active parenting is the way forward. As much as people on this blog probably think of me as a hater of family, I actually don’t hate little people. Some of them are alright, well the ones that have active parents at least!

    The same way as incorporating a partner/husband/boyfriend into life should enhance it rather than take away from it so should having a child. Of course, some compromises have to be made but you should still be able to do the things you love.

    I think a lot of it also do with control issues. There are some people who are/become control freaks when they have kids and feel the need to monitor their precious child 24/7…and won’t let anyone else touch the little gem! I had one friend who left me a long document of dos/don’ts while I baby sat her kid – there was even a strict procedure I had to follow if the child started to cry. Believe me it was complex – I think you needed a PhD to look after that kid.

    A lot of maintaining your identity is not just about sharing the workload with your partner but also with a wider support network – family, friends, neighbours, hired help, etc. I guess exposing your kid to lots of people also helps them to be socially adjusted adults.

    Anyways, its hard to predict what any of us will be like as parents and I’m sure its the one job that we will all make mistakes in. I do however hope I am one of those super parents that can still run marathons while mothering but lets see – maybe when the time comes I’d rather use that time to sleep 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    • zlotybaby · October 12, 2016

      We can never predict what we’ll be as mommies but I have a feeling that even before being mothers some people weren’t running marathons nor doing other things aimed at perfecting themselves 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. angelacampbellx12 · October 12, 2016

    I’m a mom of one. I would never regret having him. He changed my life for the better and honestly, he motivated me to become better not worse. I’ve never said anything to anyone about how their life will be completely different with kids, or how their life will now revolve around their children or the whole enjoy your free life while you can. I think parents have to find a balance with everything. It’s ok for us to get a sitter every now and then and go enjoy the “adult” things in life. There are also a ton of fun things for us to include our children in. Parents have to stop seeing their children as a burden and see it as a gift. After all, we are raising the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · October 12, 2016

      Thank you for your comment. I agree with all you’re saying. I wish more people had as healthy an outlook on these things as you do. Mothers like you give me perspective. It may also be that a lot of mothers I know come from my home country which is quite conservative (read sexist) so a woman who tries to pursue her interests and have a healthy balance is often judged as a bad mother (because “good” mothers just stay at home all the time).

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s