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The real reason for having children.

by janevermeulen on July 7, 2014 · 0 comments

When I was pregnant, I quickly discovered that parenthood seems to give people a license to dispense unsolicited advise. In all honesty, most of the advice did not bother me. I did not mind hearing tips about daycares or toilet training; my original plan had been to pretend that my newborn son was a puppy and use my skills as a veterinarian to raise him. But, there was one piece of advice that brought out my inner Incredible Hulk. The dreaded saying “parenthood is going to change your life”, generally accompanied with a sneer or a smug smile. I had my son late in life and enjoyed the freedoms of being child-free for a very long time. My response: “I hope so. I am bored with my current life and would not mind a change”. One thing no one told me was parenthood was a chance to regress. Playing with toys, dancing with Care Bears and watching cartoons is no longer “eccentric”; rather it is the sign of being an “involved mother”. Oh, and it is fun.

A few weeks ago, I came across an invite for the Care Bear Dance Party (for children). I was ecstatic—I loved the Care Bears! I marked my agenda, made plans with friends and plotted my dance moves. Then, someone asked me which Care Bear was my son’s favourite. Huh? My son is fifteen months old and has never seen a Care Bear in his life. But, my favourite is Grumpy Bear—thank you for asking. So, I woke up my son from his nap and we trotted off to see the Cheer Bear dance and sing. We both had a good time dancing and clapping, but honestly, I think the day was more for me. However, if I did not have a child, I would have just been some creepy lady dancing with Care Bear. Instead, I was an involved mother enjoying some outdoor time with my child. Motherhood rocks!

Later that week, I discovered a national website that sells used toys in good condition. Image my surprise when I found out that the physical site of the toys is a house several blocks away from me in Esquimalt.  We just purchased a sandbox and my husband decided that my son “needed” some heavy-duty Tonka trucks. After many hours of agonizing, he decided on the toys that my son “needed”.  I also decided that my son “needed” a vintage Oscar the Grouch toy on a string.  Okay, I admit that I love Oscar the Grouch. I will also admit that I am nervous that there seems to be a theme in my life – Grumpy Bear, Oscar the Grouch. I think I needed that Cheer Bear more than I thought! My husband went to pick up the loot and we spent the evening playing with our new toys. Occasionally, we would even let our son play with the toys.

I think we do ourselves and other parents a great disservice when we forget that parenting is fun. I don’t kid myself (no pun intended) by thinking that parenting is easy, but there are times when I find myself genuinely laughing with my son. I will admit that I am reliving my childhood, but with less anxiety and more joy. I may have lost the freedoms of being child-free, but I now have the freedom to be playful and silly. And yes, my life did change. And that is a good thing.

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