Do kids ruin your life?

We have a few friends who are younger than us – married couples who don’t yet have kids. And all they seem to hear from us (slightly) older folk is that having kids = no sleep, no fun, and no life.  Understandably, they are feeling just a little bit apprehensive about having children.

We somehow seem to be passing  a subconscious message onto the next generation:  kids will ruin your life.

And to some extent that is true. A lie-in will not exist for many years. A holiday sat relaxing by a pool with a novel will be a thing of the past. As women, our bodies will never be the same. We will sacrifice, serve, and lay our lives down in a way that we never thought possible.

But that’s only half the story. And the following is true whether or not you have your own kids, or are part of an extended family with kids:

Children are a blessing….ALWAYS. Whether they are mid-tantrum, good-as-gold, or anywhere in between.

Our kids give us more of a glimpse of God’s heart of love for each one of us, and how much it cost Him to give up His son.

Though our kids we see what unfettered joy looks like. There are times when I want to capture the look of  joy on my kids’ faces: pure, uncomplicated, wonderful, precious joy.

Through our kids we learn what it’s like for life not to revolve around ourselves.

Kids will CHANGE our lives, we can be sure of that.. and mostly for good.

How have kids changed your life? (either your own kids or part of your extended family)

What are some of the great things about having kids in your life?

Posted by Anna

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19 thoughts on “Do kids ruin your life?

  1. I don’t have my own children, but have to say other people’s discussions however negative they may seem have never put me off. There’s nothing I want more than my own children. Currently I have the privilege/responsibility of being in loco parentis for up to 30 children for several hours 5 days a week. Yes it can be challenging, frustrating, irritating and there are times you just want to scream!

    However, it is also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I get so much joy watching children ‘get’ something, I laugh with them, I (want to) cry with them, I get emotional when they achieve something no-one (especially themselves) thought was possible and I thoroughly enjoy being with them.

    Without the kids I teach, my life would be significantly less rich and colourful. It would be quieter, more peaceful, easier and a whole lot more dull!

    Conversely they have also taught me a lot. I have learnt patience, humility, self-control and lots more. I’m not saying I’ve got it all right yet, but I wouldn’t give up teaching for anything. It’s what makes me tick and I probably get too attached to my kids, but I love them!

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      • I wholeheartedly agree with you Ema -Ruth’s kids are REALLY lucky to have her and I know that for a fact because Ruth has taught our eldest son for this past year! It has been wonderful to see him grow under her care and teaching.
        Ruth, it is abundantly obvious that you both care deeply for the kids that you teach, and that you are extremely effective at passing on skills, values , and knowledge. We are extremely appreciative for all you have done.. THANK YOU !

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  2. This is a real encouragement Anna as I have definitely experienced the culture of negativity about having kids. It also bothers me because I wonder what kind of message we’re passing onto children if we’re always focussing on the challenges which they bring.
    I don’t have my own kids yet but, as you know, getting to be part of extended family with you guys has enabled me to see what a pleasure it is to be part of the kids’ lives – they are a wonderful, beautiful gift and they teach us so much just by being themselves and letting us be in their lives.

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    • Yes, that’s a great point… “I wonder what kind of message we’re passing onto children if we’re always focussing on the challenges which they bring.”
      It’s been a joy to have you guys as part of the family and we all think you are AWESOME!!

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  3. Phil and I regularly remind each other how we don’t want to be public about the difficulties of being in a family. It’s not that we don’t want to be real but we want to show the amazing privilege that we have; to have found each other, love each other, have the honour of having and raising 2 wonderful children. Being real in this way (and not negatievely) is one way we can glorify God for all His good gifts. Undoubtedly parenting is one of the hardest (if not the hardest) things I have ever done. It is almost the thing I have done for the longest amount of time in my life. It has caused some internal wounds as well as my external changes. But it has been nearly 6 years of utter joy too. I watched Sophie come out of school on Monday and found myself shed a little tear. Her wonderful face appeared at the school door, hair flopping in her eyes, clutching all the things she had to show me, mouth talking nineteen to the dozen and I could have popped. She is beautiful and daily teaches me things about myself, our world and God. She challenges me regularly and not just with tantrums and moods. Her questions and pursuit of truth is eye opening and humbling. I am truly blessed to have her and can’t wait to watch the woman she will become.
    Jacob is the type of child that turns heads as we walk down the street. Almost white blond hair bobbing up and down and an innocent grin to match has all the old ladies cooing. But he has taught me a whole new way of loving. A complete falling in love from day one, I shall always treasure holding him at 3hours old and watching the sun come up, just me and him. He helps me to laugh, love and be patient. He is wonderful.
    I know I have gushed but writing down the beauty of my children is always so easy to do and I hope that I will continue to be able to verbalise these feelings more regularly, both to them and my friends who don’t yet have kids!

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    • I love the gushing becky 🙂 really special
      And I’m challenged by what you write at the beginning “It’s not that we don’t want to be real but we want to show the amazing privilege that we have; to have found each other, love each other, have the honour of having and raising 2 wonderful children. Being real in this way (and not negatively) is one way we can glorify God for all His good gifts” I want to do that more.. thank you for reminding me.

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  4. Great post Anna and reminds me to keep on being thankful as I struggle with a pre-teen who is pushing buttons in every possible way. I do love her deeply and she me, but this is a stage of life where my unconditional love for her despite eye-rolling, shrugging, sighing and sullen-ness needs to me on display. It seemed much easier at times when she had chubby limbs, cute dimples and faltering steps. And yet it is precisely now that we need to love strongly and put it on display, even if extended hands are pushed away (literally) and sighing comes as naturally as breathing.

    She is irresistibly drawn to the Kingdom and Kingdom things and this is one thing I am vocally and demonstrably grateful for: that showing a child the way to walk, humbly with God, I believe is bearing fruit. We have tried to teach her to live missionally, focussed outwards instead of always on our own comfort in church, from a very young age, and this means that we see the juxtaposition of moaning at mum to praying for the sick. I think I can cope with this because I know that we have instilled in her a deep love for God. She makes her own choices but she has seen a way to walk that holds a deep attraction.

    And so this is my final point of thankfulness for having children – they are wired to connect with God as naturally (I believe) as breathing – to see this go on and on in my own children who are growing up fast gives me such hope and deep joy. Faithful God.

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    • Lynn, glad wordpress let you make a comment – good to hear from you! Yes I agree there are certainly times or seasons when our children are more challenging than others. And I love how beautifully you write at the end about how children connect with God as naturally as breathing – I agree with that and I think it’s one of the main reasons why they are such a blessing to us adults. They teach us so much about depending on, and relating to, our Father.

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      • Indeed. In the days where we are at stress points, I love how my daughter is so quick to forgive us as her parents when we “could do better” – she throws her arms around us and loves us all the more. You are so right dear Anna, they show us the Father, who welcomes us unconditionally and with deep, demonstrated affection.

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  5. Amen to you all. We had the same experience of “just you wait” negativity so I went into having babies thinking it was going to be pretty awful. How wrong I was! I love the words from the Michael Card song that he writes about his son, “I would walk 1000 miles, simply to see the sunrise of your smile.” I feel that way about my boys, and I know my Father in heaven feels even more that way about all of us. Here’s to celebrating what it means to be Family!!!

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    • Thanks Linz , a wiser, older,mum once gave me the advice to cherish every season of our children’s life because there would always be challenges but so much joy to be found in each season too. x

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  6. Being a mum is the most wonderful privilege ever. The unconditional love that children have for their parents is incredible, powerful and moving. Just to feel those little arms wrap themselves around you and a voice say ‘I love you Mummy’, makes any of the challenges worth while. I have learnt more about myself since having my son than I did in the ten years previously and have learnt to rely and trust in the Father’s love more as a result of my own love for Alex. Children are truly a gift from God, and the joys far outweigh the challenges.

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  7. Thanks for this Anna. As someone yet to enter the world of parenthood, I have always really appreciated it when people have shared the struggles aswell as the joys of being a parent.
    I think it’s easy to get an idealistic view of having the perfect family home when wandering around Meadowhall or church looking at all the cute babies, so it’s good to see the reality, which has it’s highs and lows like the rest of life.
    It’s hard to imagine being able to love so sacrificially in the way that a parent does for a child but I remember you and Rich reminding me that God gives you the grace you need for every situation because his grace is sufficient for us.

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  8. Another great post – I’ve been thinking about this since I read it. Int he same way we seem to diss having kids, I think often we diss our own wider family… I’m troubled by the way Christians talk about their natural extended families… If we’re serious about Oikos, we need to honour our own in-laws…

    I was surprised at the reaction at our toddler group when I said I’d asked my Mother-in-Law for advice on toilet training…. WHAT..?!! GASP…?! WHY…?!

    It saddens me to hear they way mum-in-laws are derided in general. They did one thing right – they brought up the man you love and married….so maybe they know a bit about child-rearing…?!!

    We miss a trick on Oikos if we don’t start with our own family. I think there’s good understanding developing about how we do that with our kids, but is there good understanding about our natural extended family…?

    One day, we’ll be in-laws and we should maybe model love and honour of them to our kids…?

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