Friday, January 1, 2016

My sole reason for being...

This morning, a friend of mine posted a picture of herself with her kids and wrote that her kids were her "sole reason for being."  While I guess I understand that she's really trying to say that she loves her kids more than anything in the world, I also think it's sad when someone says their sole reason for living is their kids.

I probably feel this way because God did not "bless" me with any kids.  And the kids Bill had with his ex wife turned out to be alienated divorce zombies.  Although he will always love his children, Bill has learned that he can live without them in his life.  He didn't learn that by choice; he learned it because he had to.  Bill has found that he can survive and even thrive without contact with his children, although when their absence was new, he had some very dark days.

Last night, we were talking about the ghost kids.  I told Bill that when you're a parent who loses a child to death, people are sympathetic and kind.  When you lose your children to divorce and a spiteful ex, people are much less understanding.  It's like a death that no one cares about.

Don't get me wrong.  I know that parents have a love for their children that I will never completely understand.  I also believe that men and women are equally capable of loving their children with the same intensity. I don't think physically carrying a child in the womb automatically makes someone more loving, intuitive, or caring.  But I also think that people should be individuals and have intrinsic worth unto themselves.

You don't have to be a parent to have value.  Your kids should not be your whole life.  One day, they will grow up and have their own lives.  Many of them will one day have their own kids.  How will it make you feel if one day your child says that their child is their "whole reason for living"?  Don't you think their lives should be about more than just their offspring?  How sad is it that apparently people are only put on the Earth to breed.

I would like to tell my friend this, but I have found that people don't appreciate it when others make comments that come off as critical.  I'm sure my friend doesn't really think her life is only about her kids.  I'm sure there are other components in her life that matter.  I guess it just makes me feel sensitive because if your whole life revolves around your children, what good are childless people like me?  My friend is trying to express her endless love for her kids.  I just wish she'd stop and think about it before she says that they are her "sole reason for being".

I'm not sure that any of us really have a reason for being.  A lot of us are probably here because of a cosmic accident and choices other people made.  I know for a fact that I was never my mom's reason to live.  She didn't even necessarily want me and told me so many times.  I turned out okay and I know she loves me.  But her life didn't revolve around mine when I was a kid and it doesn't now that I'm an adult.  That's a good thing.

Just a few deep thoughts for New Year's Day...





4 comments:

  1. I, too, think it's sad that anyone would, in essence, consider his or her life to be without meaning except for their children. I don't even know for a fact that I will ever have kids, either. i'd like to think my life will be meaningful either way.

    i think that while children are young they should be extremely important to their parents, but saying that one's children are one's sole reason for being, in addition to being a sad commentary on the life of a parent, is neither good for the offspring. It's in a way putting to much pressure on kids to be expected to provide meaning to a parent's life. childhood and adolescence are tough enough without that added baggage.

    While I think parents of either gender can love children, I suspect that in the average case [though certainly not in all cases] a mother is the more nurturing parent. i say this in part because I believe that for many parents, the biological ties between mothers and offspring are stronger than those between fathers and offspring. there's evidence of this even in the animal kingdom, or perhaps particularly in the animal kingdom.

    That being said, some male parents are far more nurturing than their female counterparts. I would expect the Lt. Col. to be in that category. My own father was every bit as nurturing as my mother was, and my mom was a relatively good mom. The retired Lt. Col. didn't seem to have much of a choice if he wanted his children to have even one good parent, though I would guess he would have been extremely K-selected no matter what his children's mother had been like.

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  2. My dad, despite being an alcoholic, knew a lot more about rising kids than my mom did, at least when they first married. He was also more affectionate and caring. I know that mothers carry babies inside of them, but I also know that adoptive mothers can be nurturers too.

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  3. I once had a similar argument with a friend: She was disturbed by my statement that the most important relationship in my life is my marriage (and not my relationship with my son). I took it one step further to say that there are times I have put the well-being of my marriage in front of my child's wants- not his needs, his needs are always met.
    To me, this is perfectly logical for at least two reasons:
    One, there will come a time when my son moves out, and then I will be left with my husband. If I neglect that relationship for 18 years, pampering to my son's every whim, what will be left when the child is gone? I suspect a broken, empty marriage that ends when two strangers no longer have a child holding them together.
    And two, we are responsible for setting an example to our son of how to care for himself and his marriage; he needs to know that it's okay (and important!) to care for yourself and your spouse, and that your world cannot revolve around your child(ren). And should he choose not to have kids- or if he can't have kids- he needs to know that his life still has value.

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    Replies
    1. Yes! You get it! Bill pretty much has said the same thing. He was very devoted to his daughters and his former stepson when he was married to their mother. In fact, he pretty much married his ex wife because he fell in love with the idea of being a dad to her son. She had led him to believe that his bio dad was not in the picture (he actually was trying to stay involved, but she told Bill lies about her ex that he believed). Then, when they married, she quickly got pregnant. Had she not had her young son, I doubt very much that he would have married her. Had she not then had Bill's daughters so quickly after they married, I doubt he would have stayed with her for almost ten years. She tried to use the kids to lure him back, which was a very unhealthy and unfair way to use them to get what she wanted. Fortunately, her tactics failed.

      Ex has two more kids with her third husband and the patternfor that relationship was the same. She told her third husband lies about Bill to get him to bond with Bill's kids, then quickly gave him a daughter and a son. At the same time, she made it clear to Bill and his family that she never even wanted to marry the guy. She simply settled for him so she'd have a husband.

      People who live only to be parents eventually find themselves out of sorts when the importance of that role inevitably ends. My friend who posted that status update has a job and friends and I'm sure her post was more about overwhelming love for her kids than actually living solely for them. The scary thing is that there are many people out there-- women especially-- who think their only worthwhile role is to be a parent. Kids grow up and have lives of their own. Their parents should not be putting a heavy burden on them to be a reason for being.

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