My sister-in-law posted these questions on her blog because she's gathering info to make decisions about whether she and her husband should have children or not. Of course, I selfishly, want her to:), but promise to answer the questions truthfully. We'll see how many we get done before Stella wakes up!
Did you always want to be a parent?
If you didn't, when and why did you change your mind?
Do you ever regret becoming a parent?
No. There are times when I wouldn't mind one day of "before", but I adore Stella too much to say I regret having her.
Would you recommend being a parent to someone else? Why or why not?
I think that is a decision everyone has to make for themselves. I think if you want to become a parent and are in a strong relationship and stable financially, spiritually, mentally and physically, then yes, go for it! You'll never be completely "ready", you just have to be as ready as you think you can be.
Who raised you? Do you think that your parents/primary caregivers were a good or bad example of parenting? How has this helped or hindered you in being the kind of parent you are/want to be?
My parents raised me, they've been married for 35 years. They were and are awesome parents and I am REALLY fortunate to have always have had a great relationship with them. Even as a teenager I enjoyed hanging out with them. Seriously! Although my father and I have argued about politics and school and stuff, I do have to admit. But mostly that was when I was a teenager. I think having them as models has been great for both having a wonderful marriage and being a parent.
What do you wish someone had told you before you became a parent?
Babies go to bed early. Like 8! So you can't go to parties and drag them along. Who knew?
Do you consider parenting your vocation? Do you have another/other vocation(s)?
I am a full time Mom, but I'm also an Actress/director/writer. I would consider theatre my vocation and Mom who I am, if that makes sense?
Is staying home with your children something that you do currently/did/want to do/not want to do? Why or why not?
Always wanted to do it, feel so fortunate I can. I would not have wanted to become a mother if I couldn't stay home with my children. People always asked after Stella was born "when are you going back to work?" Uh, when all my children go to school? MAYBE if I have to!
How do you fulfill your needs, hopes, dreams, ambitions, etc. while caring for those of your children?
Leave Stella with Tim at night sometimes so I can go see plays and continue to serve on the theatre board I'm on. Leave Stella with Tim so I can act in plays.
Are your friends/family/community supportive of your choices in terms of work and family? How does this affect you?
Yes. My husband never makes me feel like he's the one working and it's "his" money. It's ours and my job is as important as his.
Is your workplace supportive of the demands that parenting places on your life? n/a
What do you wish you had from others to support your parenting of your children?
I wish Tim could work from home more so on crazy days I'd have backup and get to see more of him:)
Do you have a spouse/partner? Did you when you began parenting? Same partner the entire time?
Yes, Yes, Yes
Did your spouse/partner want to have children? As much/more/less than you?
Yes. At first the same, then as it got closer, I think he had to be cajoled into it a bit:)
How has parenting changed your relationship? Has it strengthened? Weakened? Was this change permanent?
Hmm... We've always had a really strong relationship. It's different, but not worse or better. Things were very difficult when Stella was very small, I will admit. So in that way I guess they were weaker for a while.
How do you divide parenting responsibilities?
Tim does everything I do, other than nursing, which obviously I was on my own for for a while there! Tim does baths, like Kelli's husband does, because I was terrified of Stella drowning when she was an infant. It's also easier for him because his long arms easily reach into the tub. Oh, I brush her teeth, Tim doesn't do that at all:)
How do you divide financial responsibilities? (If you don't mind sharing--I know this is really personal) Do you plan to keep the current arrangement long-term? Why or why not?
Tim was relieved when we got married to hand all the financial responsibilities over to me. I enjoy keeping track of finances and we've always had joint accounts. We of course make major decisions together and Tim honestly doesn't really spend any money (other than for lunch or something) without checking with me first. I've got him trained real good;)
Education/faith (I know that this is another intensely personal topic/set of topics and I hope that I am being respectful in the way that I am asking these questions):
How do you/plan to educate your children?
Public school. If involved parents abandon the public school system it will never survive. I feel STRONGLY in public school. It was good enough for me and all my family dating back to the invention of public school, and it will be good enough for my children.
Are/will both partners be as involved in decisions of education?
Did/will you raise your children in a certain faith? How did/will you decide if one partner feels more strongly than the other?
We are raising them in Christian faith, attending a United Methodist church. Both of us were raised in the Methodist church and confirmed there, my great-grandfather was a Methodist minister. We have some problems with the way our church is changing right now, so we may switch, but I'm pretty sure we're both committed to raising our children in a UM church.
How does your family of origin impact these decisions?
Well, my family seems quite happy with it, and I guess they influenced it a long time ago by raising me Methodist, but they haven't said anything about it directly. Tim's family cares more, I think, because they were missionaries, but they don't impact our decisions. Although I thought they were going to go on a revenge mission when they found out Stella was bit by another child in the church nursery;)
Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of educating your children?
What additional support would you love to have from others to help educate your children?
I wish involved parents would not abandon the public school system. Our job as parents is to supplement the education they get at school, but abandoning it entirely makes me very sad. If you don't agree with something they learn at school, tell your child that you don't and explain why.
Growing your family (literally):
How did your children come to join your family?
Well, sometimes a man loves a woman and 9 months and 22 hours of labor later... Is that what you meant? If you don't know how these things work, I'd be happy to get a book for you.
How many children do you have/plan to have/want to have?
Have 1, plan to have 3.
How many children were in your family of origin? How did this impact your answer to the previous question?
2, my brother who is 3 years younger than me and me. I want a bigger family. I thought the dynamic of the families of friends who had 3 children seemed boisterous and crazy, but not quite as crazy as the dynamic of families with 4 children like my husband's.
Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of growing your family?
Yeah, no one has said boo.
What additional support would you love to have from others in terms of growing your family?
Well, it'd be nice if they'd ever finish building our new house so we'd have room for more munchkins!