This post from Karen Cheng (one of my favourite bloggers!) got me thinking. About parenthood, specifically.
This post is not about why one should become a parent (along with 10,542 reasons why having a child is the best thing on earth and beyond) or why one should not become a parent (sleeping-in late and not being a milk machine expressing milk every 1.35 hours). I’m sure we have all heard both sides of the coin, many times over.
This post is about why people have kids. And what happens after they grow out of their oh-my-god-you-are-so-cute stage, into emotional teenagers with their own mind (and 5,000 piercings on strange body parts) and further on, into adults.
I have to admit that when I think of having kids, I only picture them as cute little things, all helpless and cute in their rompers. The furthest I go is of (cute) kids sitting in baby prams and cooing at strangers who are at their mercy (for being oh-so-cute). Then the lovely picture stops. I rarely imagine my child (if and when we have one) as a (emo) teenager or – gasp – as an adult.
Do people have kids because it is the ‘right time’ and the ‘right thing to do’? I hear this a lot. Man and woman date, get married, have kid, have another kid, grow old and die. Is that the right thing? Who dictates the ‘right thing’ anyway? Are we then saying that singles are doing the ‘wrong’ thing along with childless couples?
Or do people have kids because having a child together is a product of husband-and-wife love? This is very nicely written by Yi-Lin in this entry so pop over to have a read. If this is true, why do I read of people who have a child to ‘save a marriage’? I have lost count of the number of posts I read on forums where a (sad) wife shares her thoughts about how she wants to have a child so that ‘my husband will return to me/spend more time with me/leave the other women/etc.’ When did having a child become a pawn in the game of life?
So assuming you decide to have a child for the ‘right’ reasons. Child grows up and becomes old enough to think and more often than not, do things that go against your wishes, many times over. Your cute little child with the chubby cheeks and angel face is now an ADULT and doing the opposite of everything you advise/suggest.
*insert big sigh*
What do you do now? Do you let go and let your offspring learn the lessons of life on his/her own, knowing that you have brought your child up in your best capacity? Or do you rein him/her in against his/her wishes (“because parents know best”), leading to shouting matches and general unhappiness all around. The age-old saying of how a child remains a child in his parents’ eyes ring very true here.
But, my question(s) are:
At what age should parents let go?
Will they ever let go?
Should parents let go?
Why can’t they let go?
Parents will always worry about their child, regardless of age, gender, marital status, etc. That is a fact. Worry about their health, their grades, their work life, their personal life, their finances, and the list goes on. In fact, the worrying starts the moment conception takes place. Will my baby be healthy? Am I eating right? Am I doing the right thing? Worry worry worry worry worry….
Will there come a day when parents stop worrying and let go?
A thousand questions, not many answers in sight…