Kids And Your Mental Health
These kids are the highlight of my life. The happiest and most loving babies you will ever meet, my niece and nephew. Jameson, or baby J as we call him, only cries when he is hungry or needs his diaper changed. Maliyah, or Mali as I so lovingly named her, has her two-year-old temper tantrums but is otherwise a happy baby. I recently had the opportunity to babysit them and jumped at the chance. No one got hurt, nothing got broken, no one cried, an overall successful babysitting adventure. It was a nice family time break that I needed. But it was also exhausting, and it got me thinking. A lot of people don’t have or want children for many reasons, I being one of those people.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE these kids. I would give them a kidney if they needed it. I think most kids who aren’t related to me are cute and I awe at babies in the checkout line like everyone else. Besides my personal reasons for not wanting kids, they take a huge mental toll on you. It’s so hard to take care of yourself when you have kids. Especially if you have a mental illness when sometimes it’s hard enough just functioning. You have to put their needs before yours and many more factors have to be taken into consideration when you make decisions. You have to have a partner who is aware and understanding enough that you both need time away from the kids and take one for the team.
Let’s talk negatives
Some people find having children gives them energy and makes them feel fulfilled in life. And that’s fine, but this post is not for you. Let’s be honest, no one really talks about the negatives that come along with having children. Who wants to be the one to talk about the downsides of miniature humans? However, these are considerations that need to be made for people with mental illness and people who are considering having children who may be surrounded by people who downplay the negatives. For people like me, the thought of losing all of the stuff in this post is just not worth it. You can call me selfish, you can tell me I’ll find a nice man and change my mind. And maybe I will. But I doubt it. So come at me for caring about my mental health over a non-existent child.
Steal your energy
Kids are exhausting. Before they are even born they cause you to lose sleep. Moving around inside and kicking, laying on the wrong side or at an awkward angle. Then you are forced to be awake until you can push on your stomach enough to get them to move or find a comfortable position. After they are born you can’t get them on a sleep schedule until they are at least one, and even then won’t sleep through the night. Once they learn how to walk, talk, and play, you are really screwed. You have to chase them around and make sure you are watching them 24/7 so they don’t get into anything they shouldn’t be. If you’re thinking “well I can rest once they are in bed!” yeah sure until they keep getting out of bed and you have to keep putting them back and fighting with them that its bedtime. By then it’s way past YOUR bedtime and you lose sleep before you have to go to work the next day.
Goodbye free time
You lose the majority of the free time you ever had. Feeding, watching, playing, dressing, bathing, etc. that takes up a lot of time. And as previously stated, you are exhausted. Once your little hellions are finally asleep and in bed, you will be too tired to enjoy any free time you will miraculously get. Want a night out with your girls? Your boys? With your partner? Better be willing to fork over money for a babysitter in case your family cant help.
Throw alone time out the window
Have you ever heard of a mom who went to the bathroom by herself? No, you haven’t, because they don’t. Not until the child is at least six. They want to do everything you do and be everywhere you are. This one I know from personal experience. Have you ever tried going to the bathroom with a toddler in the house? They follow you (because they want to know where you are going) and then force their way into the bathroom with you (because they want to know what you are doing).
You have responsibilities now. Even on your days off (well, technically there are no more days off). If you want to do anything you have to think of a few things now. Are kids allowed? Is it kid friendly? Are there things there for kids to do? If you can’t bring your kids, who’re going to watch them? Family? Friends? Babysitter? How much will they charge? Can I afford that? If you answer no to at least one of these questions, whatever you had planned is pretty much canceled. Until your children hit the age of about 13, you can’t leave them alone without fearing for their safety and the safety of your house. Even at that age, they will be involved in after-school activities and who is gonna drive them to those mom and dad? You are pretty much on lockdown as a parent until they get their license and can take care of themselves.
I love my niece and nephew. My little sister is adorable even when she’s annoying the crap out of me. Their faces light up when I enter a room and drop when I leave. I don’t mind watching them, but I love my alone time and the ability to come and go as I please. I care about those two way too much to ever make them share my love.