Thursday, June 2, 2011

Since I had a baby....

Have you seen this Beyaz commercial?

I'm glad they don't show it much, because every time I saw it I wanted to throw something at the TV. This commercial irritates me for several reasons, (you know the part where the women pick out the "perfect man" off the table. A bit inappropriate, don't you think? Reverse those roles and have men picking out a "perfect woman" off the table, I already hear the angry mobs of feminists!) but the overall premise of the commercial is what I find the most disturbing.

The commercial tries to make a point that having children prevent you from accomplishing your "goals". Be it college, vacations, buying a house, etc....children are a hinderance and one that should be avoided if you want to be accomplished. 

Before I go on, I want to clarify I'm not knocking anyone who chooses to use hormonal birth control. This is a very personal choice and everyone has different reasons for using it. My husband and I have made the choice to avoid hormonal birth control for health reasons and personal convictions. Everyone has to make their own decision about that.

What I DO have a problem with is the idea this commercial presents, children get in the way, they prevent women from having lives, they tie you down, etc, etc.

Now, I only have one child. He's almost 2, and some days, my world definitely revolves around him. But he has never prevented me from accomplishing my goals. The only person who prevents one from reaching their goals is themselves. Can kids cause a road block, um...YEAH. But so can husbands, boyfriends, jobs, parents, family, friends....pretty much anything can cause a roadblock in some way or another.

I don't like the idea that our culture has of "you have children, your life ends." Suddenly your life becomes sleepless nights, diapers, breastfeeding (or bottles), cleaning up messes and feeling frustrated, frumpy and  unfulfilled. Children can never belong to a woman who travels to Paris, has a college degree and is beautiful and thin!

How absurd.

So, I made a list of 10 things I've (we -- my husband too) accomplished and things I'm still working on, all since having a child -- these were done while still cleaning up messes, breastfeeding (still breastfeeding!), and sleepless nights. Sometimes I did feel frumpy and frustrated, but most of the time I DO feel beautiful and never once unfulfilled. Most of these things I NEVER did when I was childless, or even single.

1. I graduated from college. (Okay, I was 37 weeks pregnant but still...I HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE)
2. Learned the basics and fundamentals of cake decorating and successfully used fondant for my son's first birthday and several times since!

3. Took a Caribbean cruise and visited Belize, Honduras (where I went zip-lining), and Mexico (where I went snorkeling), I had never been out of the US or Canada until my child was born, and I had NEVER been zip-lining or snorkeling!
('s a lot higher than it looks! HA!)

4. Participated in a Guinness Book of World Records Challenge
5. I'm currently training for my first 5k and will be running my first competitive race in a few weeks, after this...we are training for a triathlon! (No, I do not have pictures of this because I look pretty scary when I run.)
6. Began certifying and working as a doula, with plans to be certify as a childbirth educator next.
7. Learned to sew and made curtains for my house and sliding glass door, plans for outfits for little man next.
(Picture taken prior to hemming!)

8. Paid off over $12,000 in debt and we will be debt free in less than a year.
9. Sanded, stained and put together a large shelf (okay, this may not seem like much to most people but this was a BIG thing for me, I've always wanted to decorate, paint, stain my own it raw and just do it, but I never did. I finally got to early this year!)
10. Read The Hobbit (most of it out loud to my son), most of Jane Austen's books (with the exception of two), re-read the Harry Potter series and I'm about half-way through the "Read the Bible in a year" program.

My husband and I still enjoy trips to the zoo, Sea World or Six Flags, we go to the movies, we have date nights once in awhile, I've learned to cook some amazing dishes (including making apple pie crust from scratch), I've been teaching Sunday school at our congregation and we take several trips throughout the year to visit family.

And I'm not alone.

-My SIL is currently painting her entire house (she has two kiddos), she's almost finished college (more than half of it has been completed since she had kids), she's traveled, she's going to college and she's gorgeous.
-My mom got her masters while homeschooling two bratty kids (well, one bratty kid and then myself...HA!)
-A friend from our congregation (who has a 2 year old and is pregnant with her second child) just recently got back from a beautiful trip to Paris.
-Another friend recently completed P90X (and she had six children).

I could sit here and make this blog super long and full of moms who are busy still enjoying life, and have children. Some are single moms (either due to divorce or death, or they never married), some are married, some are older, some are very young, some are wealthy, some are poor....but they've refused to see their children as a hinderance in life.

I feel it is important to point out that as a mom, some days your biggest accomplishment is just getting a shower! But it's still a goal reached.

Children, planned or a "surprise", are a blessing. They are a joy. They are a precious life. Don't let the "ideals" of the commercial above fool you.

What have you accomplished or achieved since having children? What adventures have you had? Any goals you are currently working on?


  1. If anything, having my children has refined my goals to what I really believe is important. Yes, these change a bit over the years, but my core values haven't and I think with every child I have become a better time manager (though far from great lol). I know not everyone has this experience, but if you realize that motherhood--as being a wife, as being a daughter, as being an employee, as being a Christian in general--means a life of service, you are less likely to place your expectations of happiness on your husband, children, career, whatever on others and more on yourself and the realization that nothing external will ever make you truly happy. Only in God can we be truly happy and even then only when we realize that true happiness is not a feeling but a recognition of all that we have and an undying sense of gratitude for the gifts He has given us. Sorry to ramble.

  2. "..A life of service, you are less likely to place your expectations of happiness on your husband, children, career, whatever on others and more on yourself and the realization that nothing external will ever make you truly happy. Only in God can we be truly happy.." -- I think that is key, and probably why our culture sees children so negatively. We live in a very selfish culture, one that isn't keen on service...having to take care of a child, serve others...ACK! What a nightmare!

    When it is all said and done though, and we stand before the Lord on judgement day, our accomplishments will mean very little, if anything, if we haven't lived a life serving God....and that goes for everyone, childless or not.

  3. Good for you! I completely agree! Life doesn't stop when you have kids- life is enhanced!

  4. We camped in a tent up the Al-can highway and then back down again.
    We went snorkeling in the East China sea
    I completed the equivalent of my junior year of college when I had two small children.
    Spoke at a homeschooling convention
    had articles published in magazines
    Designed my own house

  5. I'm pretty sure I didn't do much of anything truly worthwhile before I had children. They have forced me to look at life differently, to figure out what is important and to make goals. It's true that the financial obligations of having children make it harder to travel and have 'experiences' but we've found ways to experience life with the children, and that has made those experiences infinitely richer!