…I can’t stand kids.
This is a post I’ve debated writing for a long time. Several months ago I sat down at a women writers group and listened to a woman discuss her experiences with parenthood, and was beyond relieved to hear her words. She said, “I had three kids, and I have always loved them all… ‘can’t imagine life without ’em. But I honestly have never, ever liked kids.” We all laughed in a state of shocked hysteria. She was rather blunt, adding with a look of disgust, “I can’t stand ’em!”
Finally, someone said it. She said what I have always felt, despite having chosen to have five kids, all of whom I adore with all my heart and soul; all of whom I cannot imagine living without. How can that be? I have asked myself that question many times. To love my individual children, each one occupying a very distinct and special place within the deepest part of myself, and be generally uninterested in ‘children’. I am completely annoyed when I am around a group of kids. How can that be as a mother of five? I’m a mother who has wanted nothing more than Motherhood as my career. And believe me, I still love Motherhood!
I meditated upon this conundrum for months. Nothing came to me until I finally let go and just accepted myself exactly as I am. It wasn’t until I fully embraced and acknowledged myself that I gained insight. I mean, I am NOT one of those people who would EVER volunteer to teach children, or have a big get-together at my house with several of my kids’ friends. So many things about young children drives me nuts. I have enormous respect for teachers who work full time with children because doing that seems agonizing to me. I look very forward to my replenishing, quiet time alone (it’s a deep need of mine), and look even more forward to when my children are adults. Call me terrible, but we all have our gifts, interests, and strong suits, and working with kids is not one of mine. I accepted that a long while ago. For me, what parenting is all about is service, relationships, and human connection. That’s what feeds me, and it’s where I have the biggest opportunity for personal introspection, development, and selflessness.
I have a passion for intimate 1:1 connections. The more children I have in my life, the more opportunities I have for those experiences. I also have a deep need to nurture and serve human beings in a close and intimate, 1:1 way. As my kids get older, I notice my relationship with them improves, deepens, and becomes more interesting. I have enjoyed Sorin as an older teenager far more than I did when she was young. I’m hoping this will be the case with all my kids. Already, with Sky and Prasad I am noticing a deepening emotional and spiritual intimacy. Even with Liam’s challenges, he’s becoming far more enjoyable with age. It excites me. As they mature, I enjoy the connection even more. This isn’t to say their teen years will be without difficulty… I’m certain there will be challenges. I just don’t click as well with the duties, noises, behaviors, stimulation, and fuss of very young children. It’s simply mind numbing at times.
So, there you have it. I don’t like kids (never really have). I love my sons and daughters more than I could have ever imagined, I just cannot stand kids, for the most part. Strangely, even as a kid myself, I disliked other kids. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I felt comfortable with my peers.
I may be offending some parents, but I’m okay with that. It’s a difficult thing to understand, especially if you have a special affinity for little stinkers. I see my children as souls first, then human beings, individuals, and then future adults. The ‘kid’ part is temporary; a phase, thank God. I live for the connection, relationship, and the exchange of love and service to one another in this most old and honorable profession- Motherhood. We’re not required to have a general love of kids. I’m finally okay with myself feeling this way, and it’s freeing.