Have you ever had one of those days when you wonder exactly why you had children? As a ‘good parent’ you usually never want to admit that to anyone, but come on……who’re you kidding? The days when you could literally throttle your child? I had one of those days recently:
Nice evening, watching one of my favourite crime series that I’d recorded, – recently got the DSTV Explora so now I don’t have to fight with or beg my toddlers to watch something other than “Go Diego Go” or “Frozen” (for the umpteenth time) – my kids had finished dinner, taken baths and were supposed to be winding down for the evening before their 8:30pm (ish) bedtime by sitting and playing quietly (yeah right). I recently stopped letting them watch cartoons at night if they have school the following day; reduces the velocity of crying that used to occur when I turned the TV off and announced “bed time”.
Anyway, at bout 7:45pm my daughter suddenly started acting like she had a sugar rush: jumping, talking gibberish, running around and yelling at the top of her voice. Her younger brother still believes he’s meant to copy her every move and promptly followed suit. So I started trying to calm her down with distraction, threats to not get a treat the next day, threats of spanking……..the usual gamut, all to no avail. Instead she giggled, laughed and intensified her efforts. Then my son bumped into her, fell, screamed, made her slip and fall, she got angry, then tried to scratch her brother in retaliation, he screamed……….then the circle was completed by their baby sister waking up from her hitherto delicious, evening nap with a wail. At that point I screamed, turned off the TV, tried to separate my squabbling children, comfort the baby, gave my daughter the mean eye, then rolled my eyes and gave in to helplessness. Even if I explained till I was out of breath, my daughter would not understand how she had just made an otherwise calm evening, a circus.
Sound familiar? If you have or associate with children, the answer is obviously yes. I fantasized about shipping them off to some foreign boarding school and getting them back when they turned 18. Then I sobered up and thought of a friend’s friend who had recently lost a 5 year old to malaria (or so the wonderful, and probably clueless doctor, told her – in Nigeria you generally take critical medical diagnoses with a heavy dose of salt). Her wish at that moment was that her son would walk in the front door and turn the house upside down as much as he wanted. I then gave my daughter a hug and kiss, did the same with my son and fed my baby to sleep again; after all, children act as children should and why did I have them if I hadn’t prepared for them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
When I look at some other parents situations I empathise, in other cases – and the ‘other’ cases are too fast on the rise – I cannot comprehend what they are thinking and wish there was a way I could take their children away. So I started wondering: Why? Why do people have children? The answers I have come up with so far are:
1). Marriage: In most societies, children are considered a natural progression after marriage and one sign of maturity or responsibility; a normal course of life.
2). A mistake: Guy and girl have sex without protection and girl gets pregnant. What follows is covered in numerous scenarios painted in points below.
3). Faith: After situation (2.) above takes place, they or their parents decide to not have an abortion. I’m not for abortion (though there are certain situations where I honestly don’t believe I could live with not having abortion but that’s a topic for another day), but I’m aware that it’s considered an option for a lot of people.
4). Entrapment: To get a guy to marry a lady OR vice versa
5). Biological clock: Don’t want to wait till you’re too old to contribute to the next generation’s population. An option mostly unique to women.
6). Love: You want to love and be loved after life has disappointed you; to fill a void created by someone or other people. Another option typically unique to women.
7). Riches: To sell them for money either as babies or when they’re of marriageable age to the highest bidder.
8). Life: To fulfil God’s commandments, bring up Godly children, impart wisdom to the next generation, love and nurture them in a way that will reduce the population of damaged, dysfunctional people out there.
9). A combination of some of these options, probably due to circumstance, etc.
Personally, I think point (8.) is the reason we should have children but stuff happens and the path you take depends largely on your belief system, background and circumstances. I also think that more children are born as a result of point 1 and 2 than any other.
What do you think? Have I exhausted the major reasons people have children?
Please share your thoughts via comments.