Why I Wanted a Kid

I’ll never forget years ago at a Chicago craft show, that menacing plush asparagus holding a Krylon spray paint can. His name was Mr. Lertchman – he was the raddest. I wanted it for my baby boy. I should have just bought it on the spot. It was gone when I went back for it. Still, I made a pretty cool connection.

That was the first time I met Steff Bomb, the famous maker of “monsters” – stuffed asparagus, tree stumps, pizza, corns on the cob, human limbs, GameBoys, banjos, sliders and so forth.

Since that encounter, I’ve plugged her work here in multiple gift guides. I think her pieces are perfect for children and kids at heart. Made by hand, with love and humor, there’s no better treasure than a monster from Steff.

She wrote something on facebook yesterday that struck me: “i don’t think i’ll ever understand why people want to have kids.”

At first, I was kind of irritated because it seems so obvious to me as a mom. Twenty “likes” and a few scathing anti-children, anti-breeder rants and I’m like, maybe I should jump in. Then I was like, wait, this is probably not the best venue to spill my soft, emo mommy guts. Which brings me to this post.

So many people wonder but are afraid to ask their breeder friends why they decided to have kids, and I appreciate Steff for her bravery. So here are my very personal and honest thoughts about my why. It’s a two-parter because there’s the why we decide to have children and why we choose to KEEP our children (hehe!):

I’d been with my spouse for almost 10 years and we were happy and in love (still are). We were super active in the local arts community, working day jobs and freelance gigs, and our free time was generally spent partying. Partying was getting old. The scene was getting old. We were getting older. Our friends were leaving the city and settling down. We felt like there had to be more to life.

We had no desire to live nomadically, drop out or otherwise follow some elaborate ambition that would be unfavorable for raising a family (though, seriously, I know a ton of artists, travelers, musicians and whatnot raising amazing families. Totally admire them!). For us, at least, all signs pointed to baby making. That and we both talked about it and shared a desire for a family (that’s kind of key). We were ready. That’s the simple story of why we made Ollie.

Did I know I’d fall in love with him? Did I know motherhood would be so incredible? I had hoped so. Did I think I’d ever ponder why? Not really, but I’m glad I am right now because like most parents, my biggest thrill is thinking/talking/writing about my child (lame and 100 percent true!).

Why do I keep Ollie around? Only a bazillion reasons: Because he’s got J’s intellectual curiosity and my evil-cute grin. Because with the genes of a writer and artist who know nothing about sports, he’s gonna be quite the baller (amirite?). Because he’ll tell me totally randomly and unprovoked that he’s my best friend. Because he is so eager to make friends, to help a smaller child, to tag along with the big kids. Because he could care less if he’s playing with a baby doll or a monster car. Because he can create a magical world with the box a toy comes in. Because we can give each other that look and start laughing hysterically. Because he still wants to cuddle, to hold hands, for me to “kiss it better” (clearly we’re not talking about a teenager). Because I’m not the only one whose life has completely changed forever in a positive way now that he’s here.

Those are just a few of my whys.

I could go on and on about how parenthood has informed me to make better decisions in my life, made me more thoughtful, optimistic and driven to do things that make my son proud of me. That’s another post altogether.

How about you? Do you have kids? What were some of your deciding factors? Or, if you don’t want children, why not?

8 Responses to “Why I Wanted a Kid”

  1. 1 Patti March 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

    This made me smile 🙂 You and J are such amazing, inspiring parents and I can only hope that I’ll be half the mom you are! I’m blessed to have you as a sister, but I feel even more blessed to be able to share the joys of motherhood with you!!

  2. 2 susannakd March 16, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Very apropos for where my head was this morning. I think you learn more about your reasons for wanting a kid AFTER you have one, because mine are relatively reflective of the general reasons people want them. I don’t have any children (yet), but I’m very ready. I still try to be happy for my friends who get pregnant, but I’m getting pouty about waiting. Evidence: http://meantforsomethingbetter.com/2012/03/16/comparing-and-contrasting/

  3. 3 dada March 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Yes. All of this. But mostly so I could take a break from mowing the lawn for a few years.

  4. 4 norah March 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Love this. As someone who half apologetically makes every FB post about my daughter, I love seeing that other people are cuckoo for (and because of…amirite!?) their kids. xo

  5. 5 jen July 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Great post. I also hail from Chicago — Logan Square to be exact — and recently hauled out to the burbs. I think it’s often times harder to rationalize having children to people who are childless and single (and still rocking out every week), but like you I felt perpetually bored with the same rigmarole and wanted “more.” Now my big question is how to survive the burbs and all of this driving! 🙂 I just discovered your blog. Thanks for writing!

    • 6 Erica B. July 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Jen, where do you live now? For me, surviving has been a few fold: At first, it was about finding new places in the burbs that reminded us of the city like this little gem called Duke’s in downtown Crystal Lake (craft brews, locally grown food, urban vibe). They are few and far between, but there are venues and events that are progressive and attract like-minded people. Second, as luck would have it, I met a great family through my blog, who moved from Portland to a neighboring town. We decided to meet up and hit it off immediately. We have a ton in common and our boys are a month apart in age. They’ve been a lifesaver. So I’d definitely recommend finding other families who you can relate to. Third, we just embraced it – the suburbs and the country: the open spaces, the slower pace, the neighborly charm. As for the driving, I don’t have much advice. I guess it’s just a reality out here in the sticks!

      • 7 norah July 9, 2012 at 9:55 am

        You met them through the blog!? I thought you went to college together!

      • 8 Erica B. July 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        Tina and my husband were in the same circle of friends in college, but it was before my time and I don’t believe I met or crossed paths with the Judys before we moved out here. So glad it all came to be.

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