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parenting journey life is full of challenges sacrifices and changes. the question is what kind of parents want to be. You can decide and shape your journey where you want to go for a better understanding of growth.

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My first thought in response to your prompt was, “Mu” (roughly translated as negation or “unask the question”). If only because I never found one motive force, one point to parenting, and I was a little suspicious of one being claimed. Unless that point was an unconscious desire for competing in a major shit-eating contest. Trying to find just one point, THE point, is like trying to find meaning in a Pauly Shore film.

My second thought about what it has brought me was that I’m REALLY lucky that I got all existential before having children (see: undergrad Philosophy coursework and subsequent readings of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Steiner, Sarte, and Camus). If only because that kind of self-reflection and self-examination was old hat and a well-trodden trail by the time my first daughter was born in my late 20s. Throw in Waldorf/Steiner teacher preparation, and I was more than prepared to meet the poly-crisis of parenting.

Until I wasn’t. Because Major Mood Disorders are sneaky bastards. And it’s not that having children did me in, but it certainly added a unique pressure.

Low-hanging case in point (note: it’s nearly 3am, and this is what I’m doing with my waking consciousness): sleeplessness. I’ve always had a somewhat tenuous relationship to my sleep life. I fall asleep easily; I do not stay asleep easily. Add a cosleeping infant to the bed and a waking-at-2:30-each-night-like-clockwork toddler (now nearly 9 year-old who has sustained the habit), and you’ve got a recipe for a downfall.

My only saving grace that has come from these two angels of death has been the real-life, real-time demonstration of how mutable, mailable, plastic, and flexible life unfolds to be. Nothing stays the same for very long, and just when you’ve figured it out, it changes again. A certain kind of opportunity for grace arises from that (for others, for myself). I am apparently the kind of person dissertation advisors ask, “Are you always this intense?” Being able to moderate my actions and reactions to life has been a learning. Life is hard. It’s a really long time; it’s also not that long. Learning this by living this has made descending into the middle a bit less Dante-like—though, like Dante, I am too lost in a dark wood, bewildered because I had lost the way.

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Yep, dirt and clouds baby. Dirt, and clouds.

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Very good points Richard.

Parenting is a transformative journey that fosters maturity and self-development. It presents numerous challenges but offers immense long-term satisfaction. As a parent, you are instrumental in shaping a human being, nurturing them to become a strong, responsible adult. Your efforts can elevate their potential, and if done right, this positive impact can ripple through generations. This process embodies evolution, leaving behind a lasting legacy through your children. It’s a profound contribution to society and much more, as you help cultivate future generations.

People who choose not to have children may have different goals and priorities, often seeking pleasure and temporary satisfactions. However, as they grow older, most will regret this decision. While men biologically have the option to start families later in life, it becomes more challenging for women. The modern media's focus on individual pleasure over family values contributes to the erosion of the family institution. This shift can undermine the foundational structure of society, as strong families are essential for social stability and continuity.

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It can’t be ingrained in our DNA and not have a point. People are too quick to dismiss the idea of having children these days, as we are inundated with Netflix and pills.

Therefore, the pursuit of meaning is lost in the dopamine distractions.

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May 18Liked by Kevin Maguire

My thinking behind becoming a parent?

In hindsight I gave zero thought to not being a parent. Or even about whether to have kids or not? Just a desire within to have children, regardless of the consequences I guess.

It wasn't a case of whether to have children, more a challenge of finding someone to have them with me! :)

What has it detracted from? I genuinely don't think it's detracted from anything. Sure there are ups and downs but these are human beings I've helped create that love me as much as I love them (I think!).

What has it added to? Absolutely every aspect of my life.

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Since writing the above, I keep thinking about it and wondering how much thought I did put into it. My youngest is nearly 21 so any thinking on it was decades ago!

It's extended to my wondering how much thinking I've given to any of the major decisions I've made in my life or whether I've just ploughed through life on auto-pilot, school, uni, family, work etc. Maybe the decisions in all aspects of my life have been so easy that I haven't had to think about them too much?

But then, have I ever had to make difficult decisions? Yes I think I have.... for example deciding to go freelance in IT with a young family and having to quit my permanent role before getting my first contract. That took a few months!

Maybe there have been a lot of decisions that appeared difficult at the time but in hindsight were obvious choices. I think that's how I'm viewing them now.

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not having kids would have been a professional insult to 150 years of kinship research in cultural anthropology. Evolution + professional standards...

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Planet Parenthood sounds awfully like something else.

You may enjoy my piece on Minecraft addiction: https://ishayirashashem.substack.com/p/parenting-cute-little-minecraft-addicts

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