Chad and I have been married for almost six years. Many, if not most, couples who plan to have children would have already started by now, but the truth is we love being just us. And we will probably have kids in the future, but we’re in no rush for the most part. But we are around kids a lot– we have nieces and nephews and might-as-well-be-nieces-and-nephews and we love them for all their silliness and games and laughter and growing. So to all our friends and family who have kids, I want to remind you of a couple things:
You’re kids are not a burden, and we don’t find them annoying. In fact, we love them. Just because we don’t have our own children does not mean we are anti-kids or don’t want to spend time with kids. So please stop apologizing when they cry or misbehave as if we are automatically frustrated. We aren’t. We know babies cry. We know they wake up in the middle of the night and early in the morning. We know toddlers throw fits and test boundaries. We know all kids have good days and bad days, good moods and bad moods. It’s okay.
We also know how to hold babies and how to change diapers, how to feed kids and talk to kids and, in general, interact with children of all ages. We’re actually pretty good at it sometimes, if we’re given the chance. So if we’re holding the baby and she starts to cry, that’s okay. We can handle it. We’re not offended or annoyed or frustrated– at least not right away. So you don’t have to rush over or give a thousand pieces of advice or make an excuse about why they need to go back to mommy now. Truthfully, we don’t listen to babies cry that often, so it doesn’t get on our nerves nearly as quickly as it probably does your nerves. So we can take it. Let us hold the baby and stop stressing about it. I mean really, having a crying baby taken away from you as if you don’t know what you’re doing is much more annoying and offensive than the actual crying. We’ll let you know if we need help, trust me. I’m not above giving the child back if I can’t take it anymore, but it rarely ever comes to that.
Let us help. Just because we haven’t chosen to have kids yet doesn’t mean we don’t want to help. You don’t have to feel bad when we offer to watch the kids or change a diaper, as if you’re shirking your responsibilities or burdening us. You’re not. You’re letting us in. You’re letting us know you trust us. It makes us feel closer to you and closer to your kids when we get to help. Plus, I know you need a break a sometimes, and that’s okay too!
Remember we love you, and that love extends to your kids. We know having kids is an adjustment. It changes things. It changes a lot of things, and we know that. We know we may not be able to go to the movies with you anymore. We know that dinners will end earlier. We know there are schedules to keep and bedtimes to mind and children to be nursed. We know that the time we spend with you will be different now, but that’s okay. So please invite us to the birthday parties, send us the sports schedules, and keep us included. We won’t be able to come to everything, but we want to keep being your friends. And if that means we meet for snacks at the playground on Saturday afternoon instead of drinks at the bar on Friday night, we’ll bring some granola bars and juice and meet you by the jungle gym.
Just remember to be you too. Make time to go on a date with your spouse (we’ll babysit!) Make time for us to spend together, with kids and without kids. Make time to relax and enjoy your family and your friends. Let us be a part of your family, because we want you to be a part of ours.