Not Everyone Should Have Kids


Asa homeschool mom, I learned early on not to suggest homeschooling was a great idea for anyone else. I saw it done so poorly sometimes that children were years behind when their moms would finally get honest and send them to school. They wanted to…so badly.

But homeschooling your kid is like falling in love with the idea of someone and marrying them. There are real consequences. Actually doing it and liking the idea of it are completely different animals.

The longer I am a mom — which has been more than 23 years now — the more I realize that moms don’t usually have any idea what they are doing. And most are completely unaware of that fact.

True, there is no real “Handbook for Children”. If there were, it would hopefully start with lessons on logic and reasoning, unconditional love, self-sacrifice, listening skills, and learning true observation. However…there isn’t.

Many women fall in love with the idea of children, the beautiful Christmas cards they would send out, the way Junior would learn to read at age 3 and compose his first song at age 8. The way Sally’s hair would be braided on her first day of school…and the beautiful dresses she would wear.

They never clued into what real children are like.

Real children are inconvenient at best, pain-inflicting often, and expensive, always. And when I say pain, I mean Every. Imaginable. And Unimaginable. Kind. Of. Pain.

Because the more you fall in love with someone, the more it hurts when they hurt, the more you want what they want, and the more you will give to see it happen. And I am not talking about money. I am talking about your innermost desire and soul.

I love my kids more than anything in the world. And this is my truth.

With a son in the US Army, my world stops when his name pops onto my phone. I’ll be talking to him until he is done. I’ll talk to him while I brush my teeth, go pee, get a shower, make dinner, do chores, go on hikes, order materials for work…whatever it takes.

He is more important than anything in that moment. I make it work. Because I never know when those calls might stop.

There is a whole culture that supports blaming mothers for everything that is wrong in the world. There is the Oedipus complex, described in what seems like ancient times, and the mother-child wound, in more modern times. Psychology almost completely backs up the “sucky mom should be blamed for everything” hypothesis. Theologies don’t help, either. At all.

  • Mother’s who breastfeed are lucky moms…their milk glands worked.
  • Moms who stay at home to raise their own kids are lazy and deserve no respect.
  • Moms who homeschool are controlling moms.
  • Moms who cook real food for their kids aren’t letting their kids be kids…because kids are supposed to eat cold meat, cheese, chicken nuggets, and ice cream as their main food groups.
  • Moms who make their kids work and do chores are lazy.
  • Moms who don’t give their kids phones until high school are unenlightened and disillusioned.
  • Moms who tell their kids the truth and don’t sugarcoat things are messing them up in the head.
  • Moms who…


It goes on and on. These were just some of the things said about me over the past 23-plus years.

Mothering, became, to me, my primary source of rebellion.

I didn’t see a way out of my marriage. I didn’t see a way out of my limiting theological beliefs. I didn’t see a way out of living inside my cultural norms, in many ways. But, I was going to mother my kids how I wanted to. All those who disagreed, be damned.

No, I didn’t do playmates or preschool. I didn’t send them to school until right before my divorce. They breastfed for about 2 years, fed themselves afterward, potty-trained themselves, and didn’t eat sugar for at least the first 3 years of their lives. None have had cavities except the baby, and no major health issues…until the baby as well. It’s been an intense learning experience for me.

I have often heard people talk about their baby daddies as “sperm donors.” I had one of those as well. Of the 5 times he donated, 4 became pregnancies that were viable and became my children.

They are now 23, 20, 18, and 16.

We don’t talk about shitty mothers as “womb-donors” or “egg-donors”. And I wonder about that. What makes motherhood, as little as we respect it in our post-modern society, so sacred that we cannot be forced to be honest about it? Or even allowed to be honest about it?

As a young mother in my 20’s I would often get phone calls from my sisters-in-law on both sides of the family. They would ask all of the questions.

“He’s got a fever and he is rubbing his ears. What do I do?”

“He is teething and he just won’t sleep. What do I do?”

“He keeps throwing his food instead of eating it. What do I do?”

“She is vomiting, not burping up, most of what she is drinking from her bottle. What do I do?”

“My nipples hurt like crazy. What am I doing wrong and is this going to go away?”

New moms have a right to have every insecurity available to womankind. Becoming a mother…a real mother, is a process. It is not to be belittled.

Being a good mother is:

  • To be inconvenienced. Kids will not get sick on your schedule. You will miss work sometimes. You will begin to forget why you loved cooking in the first place. You will question everything at some point.
  • To be humble. To find people to help you do your job because they know more about it than you do.
  • To be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • To be resourceful. When your child has a penchant for music, you find a way to help them join a choir, or a band, or take lessons. Get creative!
  • To know when to say no…to fight your battles carefully
  • To not react, but to know how to take breaks. It’s a process!
  • To push them when needed…after a lot of thought. Because sometimes it’s better to just lessen your grip on the wheel of control. (Clue: It USUALLY is)
  • To be an advocate. To want the best thing for them…despite what you want for yourself. Swallowing pride is an every day requirement.
  • To be a worrier. Because having children is like having your heart walking around outside your body, all day, every day.
  • To commit to living in fear of the unknown, every day.
  • To commit to finding the best way forward despite the pain.
  • To commit to allowing them to make mistakes and Swallow. Your. Pride. Again.
  • To know when to step in and when NOT to step in.
  • To be present, in body, mind, and spirit. It’s a process!
  • To demand respect from your kids…and to get it. Because you have put in the time, love, and effort. You won’t get it all of the time, of course. But, you will get a hint of it, every now and again.
  • To give more than you have resources for. It is to find a way…when there is no way, to paraphrase the famous womanist quote.


To be a good mother is all of these things, but more than that, it is to know joy beyond anything imaginable. It is to feel buoyed up by your children’s little successes. It is to know love that is deeper and more fulfilling than anything you’ve ever experienced. I love being a mom.

It is NOT:

To be “done”. We are never done. I don’t care if your kid tried to kill you, is in prison the rest of their lives, or raped the next door neighbor’s dog. You don’t get to be “done”.

To NOT care. To say “Whatever. In a couple of years she will be her own problem. She can get emancipated or go to college or whatever. I can’t afford to care anymore.”

Fun. Okay, it is, sometimes. But motherhood is shit sometimes. It is shit most of the time. And it is lonely most of the time. You are unpaid for your work, almost totally unappreciated, and invisible to those inside and outside your home.

To command respect from society. Sadly, no one gives a shit if you are a good mom. There are no awards for having amazing kids who are well-adjusted and responsible. There is no recognition for the hard work done in the middle of the night for decades, instead of sleeping. And there certainly is no monetary gain to be had, either.

So, here’s the deal:

If that sounds good to you, go ahead and make plans to have kids. Just remember, that there are no guarantees that a partner or spouse will show up to support and be with you through this. That’s usually a lovely pipe dream.

You gotta wanna do it enough to do it alone, with the village, of course. It’s no joke. You are going to love it and you are going to hate it. But, if you do this right, you will never regret it.

If it doesn’t sound good, please don’t have children. If they are going to be less than number 1 (next to yourself and your partner (if you have one)) on your list, please don’t. If your career or your pleasure-seeking drive is more important, please don’t. No one really wants to raise your kids for you. Just don’t have them. Perfect Christmas cards with the dogs will need to suffice.

Your mission, if you so choose it, is to be the best damn mother you can be. And no one knows better than you, if that life should be yours.

No one will get it all right, ever. Not the first time, not after a million attempts. But, being a real mom, is TO KEEP TRYING!

There is truly no end to the love you can offer your children, if you choose to bear them or adopt them. However they land in your life, those “bundles of joy” will not always be that, but you must always remember that they deserve to be treated that way.

Get your village intact, find your support system, and love the shit out of those kids. We owe it to them!

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