To Have Children or Not …

“Don’t have kids. Just. Don’t. Do. It.” That’s my standard line to my friends, they also know how serious I am when I say it. What very few mothers, actually parents, do not openly tell people is just how difficult it is to be a parent, especially a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my children – I often worry that I maybe love them too much and I’m obsessed with being around them, but uwoah they are A LOT! Nobody must ever lie.

Raising children is not just money and Instagram posts whilst wearing matching outfits, it is much, much more than that. It is an all-encompassing, all giving, an often thankless role that we take on. It’s financial, it’s emotional, it’s physical, it’s mental – it is everything. A parent literally pours out every single ounce of themselves to raise a child, it’s a lifelong commitment – I see it with my grandmother who literally still worries about my mom and aunt who are well over 50!

I often encourage new moms, or moms to be that women are not born as mothers, it is not a default setting that is genetically built into women. Mothers are also born, on the very day their child is born, so are they – part of the journey is learning how to be a mother, in the same way, the child will learn to sit, and walk and eat, it is lifelong learning. Being a mother is an incredibly fulfilling thing, but in order to attain that fulfillment, you go through the ultimate, the literal very most. I find that socially, not many women share their challenges, especially about Post Natal Depression, we are not sharing openly enough about the days when the very things that you would give your last breath to genuinely annoy you and you just want to walk away and come back later – or in some instances never. There have been some instances where mothers have left their children and never gone back. These are the things that older women do not openly share, we see our mothers and grandmothers and think that they made it work, often seemingly effortlessly, therefore we can make it work too. It is only when you are older and a mother yourself that you realize what they went through, and maybe they had it tougher because of little to no knowledge and most of all, societal expectations to run a home and raise many children whilst the husband is away making the money to bring home the bacon.

Another thing I often tell women (and in recent times men as well) is that one of the most important decisions of your life is choosing the person you are going to make children with. This is the person who will be in your life forever, hey man you’ll be co-ancestors to your lineage together! Many have come back and said that the signs of dodgy, deadbeat guys are not there during the romantic times pre-kids. I sincerely beg to differ, but that’s another story for another day. The partner that you choose to procreate with is the person that has the ability to help you on the days when it becomes too much – be it taking the kids out the house just for a few hours, or taking care of the children’s financial needs to even being there to encourage and offer support when you feel like you’re not doing well.

Look, parenting is not for the faint-hearted and mothering requires you to literally have a heart of steel, but even through all the trying times that nobody tells you about, there is pure joy in raising children. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing for sure that you are adored – children love every single part of you and in all honesty, they appreciate your efforts. That being said, when deciding to have children, be very very sure that it’s what both you and your partner want and are able to manage. I am in no way saying stay in an unhappy union, because of children, but be there for each other. Gents, the woman raising your children is an absolute queen and gents that are active, present fathers, continue to do that and encourage your brothers to do the same.

Writer: Palesa Motau