Tuesday, June 21, 2016

If I Ever Have Children

1. I won't try to set them up on dates with people who look exactly like my spouse and then fail to understand why that's fifty shades of creepy.

2. And they become overweight, I'll show them how to cook healthy food and go for bike rides with them, not constantly berate them for being fat and point out all the young people their age who are so much thinner.

3. And one of them is a daughter who comes home from her first school dance in tears, I'll comfort her with ice cream and stories about my own unrequited crushes. I won't tell her, "No wonder no one wanted to dance with you."

4. I will encourage them to pursue careers that they are passionate about, not pressure them to pursue the career that I want for them and then become smug when they struggle to succeed in their chosen careers.

5. I won't criticize their hair, their clothes, or the way they walk, so that they'll never feel the urge to go on Jerry Springer's show just so they can yell at me.

6. I won't insult them for being unmarried. I'll tell them about how I was single too, and how at the very least it gave me something to write about.

7. I'll welcome them home with homemade cookies and questions about the good things in their lives, not complaints about how they don't visit more often.

8. I'll encourage them to become independent, not become furious when they make decisions without consulting me first and then constantly try to make them feel guilty as a result.

9. I will protect them if my spouse berates them, not blame them for provoking my spouse or accuse them of being the ones with bad personalities.

10. I will never allow my mother or father to treat my children the way they treat me.

I've never been a mother, so I have no experience or any real idea of how difficult it is to raise children. So it's easy to say that I won't be like my parents.

If I ever do have children, I will do everything in my power to treat them better than the way I am treated. Many other people my age have traveled all over the world. I've barely gone anywhere, except for a trip to New York that I kept secret because my parents would not have approved. I have even had to take a leave of absence from my jobs and give up vacation time on more than one occasion so that I can take care of my parents' dogs while they travel.

This summer, I have to give up two weeks of my vacation so that my mother can take two separate vacations. A couple years ago I had to give up my spring break so that she could travel. Next week I have to visit my parents (which I am dreading so much that I literally broke out in hives); if I don't go, they will show up at my apartment, which would be even worse. They don't care that I want to take my own vacation or have other things to do.

One reason I'm so neurotic and obsessive is because of how I was raised. I took a personality test in high school, and my teacher said that my innate personality was actually easygoing and laid-back. But he said because of my upbringing, I grew up to become a Type A personality instead. He said this soon after he met my mother.

What about you? If you don't have children, what kind of parent would you want to be? If you do have children, did you ever make any resolutions about parenting before they were born?


  1. Wow. If those things happened to you then I am so sorry. Parents should love and encourage their children. Not make them feel terrible. Hopefully, you're not made to feel that way anymore.

    1. Hi Libby,
      Unfortunately, they're still like that. What's worse is that they don't see anything wrong with their behavior. To this day they keep insisting that I'm the one with the bad personality.

  2. You'd be a great mom. It's unfortunate that some parents do or don't do these things. I'm sorry you experience(d) this.

    1. Hi Chrys,
      Thank you. I used to think that I would never have children, because I was afraid I wouldn't be a good mom. But now I know that I'll do everything I can to make sure that I treat my children with kindness and compassion.

  3. I've learned everything about being a mother from watching the way other people (naming no names) parent, and then doing it differently.

    The world is a harsh place - I, and my husband, are the only ones who are always going to be on our kids' side.

    I'm so sorry you had this upbringing. But I did giggle at 'He said this soon after meeting my mother'.

    1. Hi Annalisa,
      My mother often insisted on meeting with my high school teachers when she was upset over my grades. She even wanted to do that when I was in grad school and said she would meet with the chair of of the department. But I put my foot down on that one.
      I wish my parents were on my side like you are with your kids, but instead it's me vs. them.

  4. This is awesome. Yeah, I don't want to traumatize my children by inserting myself in their love lives. Matters of the heart aren't easily manipulated by parents.

    1. Hi Emily,
      Sorry about my late reply; I'm out of town right now, so I haven't been blogging. Anyway, I wish that more parents could be like you and understand that they should stay out of their children's love lives. It's one thing if the children's partners are abusive; it's another thing altogether if the parents think they should control their children's relationships.

  5. This is awesome. Yeah, I don't want to traumatize my children by inserting myself in their love lives. Matters of the heart aren't easily manipulated by parents.

  6. I think most of us have a distinct desire to parent differently than our own parents did. After picking me up from the movies with my friends, my mother once told me that I shouldn't wear that outfit again because it looked like there was a tire around my middle.

    While there are always things we do as parents that we thought we never would, or reactions we have that we used to think were impossible, I think it's totally legit to decide what kind of parent you want to be before ever having kids. Sounds like you understand how important empathy and support is, so right on.

    1. Hi Caitlin,
      I'm sorry about my late reply; I was coming back from my parents' house yesterday and spent more than half the day traveling.
      I'm also sorry about what your mother said; she should not have said that. My mother has criticized my clothes ever since I started buying my own clothes, back when I was a teenager. I think a lot of it has to do with her wanting to control me, even more so than how I look. I don't want it to be like that if and when I have kids. To this day my parents have never really apologized for how they treated (and continue to treat) me; they think that they are right. But I know they're wrong.