Monday, July 02, 2007

Parenting survey

So, today is the first day of my vacation and I am loving it! I awoke to rain, rain, and more rain. In fact, I forced myself to get out of bed only because I want to sleep tonight. Even though it's so dark I could probably sleep all day. It's a perfect sit on the couch and listen to the rain while you read kind of day. Or blog. Or catch up on your message boards. I did turn off the TV because it was distracting me. I am listening to music.

So, I am soliciting advice. But also, I am soliciting opinions and stories and just wanting to know what you think. I feel like I am one of the last of my friends to make that journey to Parentville, so we get the benefit of all that experience. And usually, not much pressure to join "the club." We're wrestling with so many issues as we try to make a decision. We are 33 and 34, financially very well-off comparatively, although we'd want to be more "secure" (haha, I hear God laughing--in a kind way, but laughing nonetheless). We both struggle with mental illness and although there is a strong chance that we'll be healthy and stable, do we really want to bring children into the world knowing our limitations? Blah, blah. You've all heard it.

So, now it's your chance to tell me what it's been like and what you think. I've arranged this like an interview to make it easier to make comments and if you even want to answer it on your own blog and tell me in the comments, that would be lovely. Or, email me if you want to say something really personal:
katiekat74
earthlink.net

This is open to all current and future parents, including papas. I really want to hear your perspectives as well. There are no right or wrong answers. I get so tired of people tearing each other's parenting skills and decisions down. I know everyone has biases and agendas. So, I'm not looking for a debate here. I am just wanting to listen and soak in all the thoughts and opinions and stories. I admire what parents do every single day!

General parenting:
  1. Did you always want to be a parent?
  2. If you didn't, when and why did you change your mind?
  3. Do you ever regret becoming a parent?
  4. Would you recommend being a parent to someone else? Why or why not?
  5. 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?
  6. What do you wish someone had told you before you became a parent?

Work/home life:
  1. Do you consider parenting your vocation? Do you have another/other vocation(s)?
  2. Is staying home with your children something that you do currently/did/want to do/not want to do? Why or why not?
  3. How do you fulfill your needs, hopes, dreams, ambitions, etc. while caring for those of your children?
  4. Are your friends/family/community supportive of your choices in terms of work and family? How does this affect you?
  5. Is your workplace supportive of the demands that parenting places on your life?
  6. What do you wish you had from others to support your parenting of your children?

Marriage/partnership:
  1. Do you have a spouse/partner? Did you when you began parenting? Same partner the entire time?
  2. Did your spouse/partner want to have children? As much/more/less than you?
  3. How has parenting changed your relationship? Has it strengthened? Weakened? Was this change permanent?
  4. How do you divide parenting responsibilities?
  5. 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?
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):
  1. How do you/plan to educate your children?
  2. Are/will both partners be as involved in decisions of education?
  3. Did/will you raise your children in a certain faith? How did/will you decide if one partner feels more strongly than the other?
  4. How does your family of origin impact these decisions?
  5. Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of educating your children?
  6. What additional support would you love to have from others to help educate your children?
Growing your family (literally):
  1. How did your children come to join your family?
  2. How many children do you have/plan to have/want to have?
  3. How many children were in your family of origin? How did this impact your answer to the previous question?
  4. Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of growing your family?
  5. What additional support would you love to have from others in terms of growing your family?

I'm sure there are questions I left off-- please feel free to add them. Please feel free to share any of your anecdotes as well. I've read a billion and fifty books and now I want some more stories from the people I know. Please forgive me if any of these questions seem rude. Thanks for sharing!!

13 comments:

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Oh, I LOVE when you stay home and blog all day! :) You know I will do this as soon as I get a free minute, but I think you might already know a lot of my answers. I have a feeling it will make me think though.

Lainey-Paney said...

Okay. You have a ton of questions...and maybe it's just because you want to know about others....but you know that nobody has the right answers...and nobody can tell you if you guys are ready to be parents or not....

But...clearly you guys (or you at least) are thinking about it....

I'll try to answer the questions as best I can.... after I copy & paste them!

Lainey-Paney said...

General parenting:

Did you always want to be a parent?
YES.

Do you ever regret becoming a parent? NO, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE TIMES THAT IT IS VERY DIFFICULT, AND I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT IT IS DIFFERENT THAN I IMAGINED.

Would you recommend being a parent to someone else? Why or why not? NO, I WOULD NEVER RECOMMEND BEING A PARENT. NOT BECAUSE I THINK PEOPLE SHOULDN'T HAVE KIDS...BUT BECAUSE IT'S A PERSONAL DECISION THAT ONLY THEY CAN MAKE. I THINK BEING A MOM IS WONDERFUL, BUT SOMEONE ELSE MAY THINK IT SUCKS...

Who raised you? MY MOTHER & ADOPTIVE DAD.

Do you think that your parents/primary caregivers were a good or bad example of parenting?
BOTH. AND, AS I GET OLDER, I CAN SEE DIFFERENT THINGS THAT I MAY HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY...BUT I DON'T THINK THEY DID A TERRIBLE JOB BY ANY MEANS. I JUST THINK THAT IN A FEW SITUATIONS, I WOULD HAVE CHOSEN SOMETHING ELSE.

How has this helped or hindered you in being the kind of parent you are/want to be? I CAN CLEARLY SEE WHAT I DON'T WANT FOR MY CHILD...AND SOME OF IT I WENT THROUGH MYSELF.

What do you wish someone had told you before you became a parent?
THERE IS NOTHING THAT ANYONE COULD SAY TO ADEQUATELY PREPARE ANOTHER FOR PARENTHOOD. EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT; EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT; EVERY STORY IS DIFFERENT. SO THERE IS NO ONE BIT OF ADVICE THAT WOULD JUST MAGICALLY MAKE EVERYTHING FIT PERFECTLY LIKE IT SHOULD. FOR ME PERSONALLY---MOTHERHOOD IS SOOOOOOOO MUCH HARDER THAN I EVER IMAGINED. BUT, THE REWARDS ARE SOOOOO MUCH SWEETER THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY FATHOM.

Do you consider parenting your vocation? NO.
Do you have another/other vocation(s)? I WORK FULL TIME IN A HOSPITAL.

Is staying home with your children something that you do currently/did/want to do/not want to do? STARTING NEXT WEEK, I WILL BE WORKING PART TIME SO THAT I CAN STAY HOME WITH MY SON MORE.

How do you fulfill your needs, hopes, dreams, ambitions, etc. while caring for those of your children? I'LL BE WORKING PART TIME & GOING TO GRAD SCHOOL PART TIME. I AM ABLE TO PUT MY SON'S NEEDS AS A PRIORITY, BUT BEING HIS MOTHER DOES NOT MEAN THAT I STOP BEING WHO I AM. DOES IT AFFECT HOW I PURSUE MY DREAMS?? OF COURSE. DOES IT CHANGE MY COURSE OF ACTION? MAYBE....IT HASN'T YET, BUT I CAN'T SAY THAT IT WON'T.

Are your friends/family/community supportive of your choices in terms of work and family? YES.

Is your workplace supportive of the demands that parenting places on your life? YES & NO. JUST BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO BE A PARENT DOES NOT MEAN THAT I SHOULD BE TREATED ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN AN EMPLOYEE WHO CHOOSES NOT TO. HOWEVER...WHEN I WANTED TO GO PART TIME, MY BOSS WAS FINE WITH THAT & VERY SUPPORTIVE. MY MOTIVATION WAS TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH MY CHILD. SO, DID I GET THE SUPPORT B/C THEY DIDN'T WANT ME TO QUIT ALTOGETHER, OR DID I GET THE SUPPORT B/C THEY SUPPORT MY DECISION TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH MY CHILD? I DON'T KNOW. I DON'T CARE--STARTING NEXT WEEK, I'LL SEE THIS PLACE 3x/WEEK & THAT'S IT!

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? YES.

How has parenting changed your relationship? Has it strengthened? Weakened? Was this change permanent? IT CHANGES YOUR RELATIONSHIP IN SO MANY WAYS. TOO MANY TO POST HERE. SOME GOOD; SOME...JUST DIFFERENT. AND YOU HAVE TO ALSO CONSIDER, THAT IT IS NOT JUST THIS NEW BEING THAT CHANGES YOUR RELATIONSHIP WHEN HE/SHE GETS HERE; YOU BEGIN TO CHANGE DURING PREGNANCY. YOU CHANGE WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON. YOU HAVE THIS BABY, AND YOU SEE THE WHOLE WORLD DIFFERENTLY. AND SO MAY YOUR PARTNER. AND PARENTHOOD WILL BRING OUT THINGS IN EACH OF YOU---STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES....AND FOR A WHILE IT MAY JUST BE A SURVIVAL THING AS YOU GET THROUGH RAGING HORMONES & NO SLEEP....
IS IT PERMANENT? HELL, I DON'T KNOW!

How do you divide parenting responsibilities? WE BOTH ENJOY DOING THINGS WITH OUR SON, SO WE ACTUALLY FIND OURSELVES FIGHTING OVER WHO GETS TO PUT HIM IN BED, AND WHO GETS THE LAST KISS...ETC.
DIAPERS...BATHS...ALL OF THAT WILL COME & FOR US, IT JUST KIND OF WORKED ITSELF OUT.

How do you/plan to educate your children?
Are/will both partners be as involved in decisions of education? YES WE WILL BOTH BE INVOLVED IN *EVERY* DECISION ABOUT HOW OUR CHILD IS RAISED. HUBBY WANTS ME TO HOME SCHOOL. QUITE FRANKLY, I AM VERY INTIMIDATED BY THAT; DON'T FEEL SMART ENOUGH, AND WANT HIM TO HAVE THAT "OFF TO SCHOOL" FEELING & MEMORIES.

Did/will you raise your children in a certain faith? How did/will you decide if one partner feels more strongly than the other?
WELL, WE ARE BOTH CHRISTIAN, SO THAT MADE THAT EASY...BUT...WITH REGARD TO SCHOOLS & FAITH (BECAUSE AT THE PRIVATE LEVEL THEY CAN BE QUITE INTERTWINED...), I HAVE A STRONG BELIEF THAT I CANNOT SPEND MY MONEY TO SUPPORT TEACHINGS THAT I DON'T BELIEVE IN, OR WANT MY CHILD EXPOSED TO. SO, WITHOUT SAYING TOO MUCH---I WILL JUST SAY THAT I PAY ATTENTION TO RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATIONS WITH SCHOOLS.

How does your family of origin impact these decisions? THEY DON'T. GAGE IS OUR SON TO BE RAISED HOW WE SEE FIT.

How did your children come to join your family? I GAVE BIRTH TO GAGE.

How many children do you have/plan to have/want to have? 2 OR 3. OR ONE. WHATEVER. I MEAN, WE HAVE ONE NOW, AND I'D LIKE TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE MORE; BUT, IF THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN, IT'S OKAY.

Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of growing your family? HUBBY WANTS AT LEAST ONE MORE; HE REALLY WANTS A LITTLE GIRL.

goodness...that's a lot of typing!

Kate said...

Lainey--thanks so much for your answers! I find it fascinating to hear what other people think & do. I know no one can ever really help us make our decision, but I still love hearing about others.

Kelli--I would still love to hear your answers! :)

I suspect that whenever we do make our decision, there will be a certain amount of "it just feels right" to it. Kind of like when you "just know" about getting married. And heck, sometimes you make mistakes. But you'd still do it again. I don't know. We'll see.

ksl said...

I was going to come tell you my answers were up, but you already saw them!

Kelli in the Mirror said...

I'm still working on this.

Does your friend AM have a blog? I'd love to see her answers too.

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Okay, mine is up now!

Carrie said...

hi kate - i'm answering your survey too - it'll be up in a little bit.

Kelly said...

Did you always want to be a parent?
Yes

Do you ever regret becoming a parent?
No, but it is harder than I tought it sould be.

Would you recommend being a parent to someone else? Why or why not?
If they want to. Parenting is a descision that only you can make for yourself.
Who raised you?
My mom
Do you think that your parents/primary caregivers were a good or bad example of parenting?
A good example.

How has this helped or hindered you in being the kind of parent you are/want to be?
It has given me a strong foundation for parenting.


What do you wish someone had told you before you became a parent? That it isn't always an instant bond with your baby and that is ok. That is is VERY hard, but it does get easier.

Do you consider parenting your vocation?
yes
Do you have another/other vocation(s)?
I have a degree in early childhood education.
Is staying home with your children something that you do currently/did/want to do/not want to do? Why or why not?
I do, I want to be the one to raise my child. I don't want to look back one day and realize that my son grew up without me. They grow up too fast as it is.

How do you fulfill your needs, hopes, dreams, ambitions, etc. while caring for those of your children?
Caring for my son is my dream.

Are your friends/family/community supportive of your choices in terms of work and family? How does this affect you?
Yes, it helps me to be more confident of my decision.

Do you have a spouse/partner? Did you when you began parenting? Same partner the entire time?
yes

Did your spouse/partner want to have children? As much/more/less than you?
same
How has parenting changed your relationship? Has it strengthened? Weakened? Was this change permanent?
It was weakened at first. We were both tired and didn't have much alone time. It is better now. I love watching him be a daddy!
How do you divide parenting responsibilities?
I do most of them because I stay at home.

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?
He takes care of that. It will be like that at least until my son starts school.


How do you/plan to educate your children? Right now I give him as many experiences as I can, when he is school age I will send him to public school.
Are/will both partners be as involved in decisions of education?
yes

How did your children come to join your family?
I gave birth to him.
How many children do you have/plan to have/want to have?
One, originally we wanted more, but my son was born 14 weeks early so we decided that was enough. We may adopt in the future.

How many children were in your family of origin? How did this impact your answer to the previous question?
I am an only child. I always said I wanted more than one because I didn't like being an only child, but it really wasn't that bad.

Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of growing your family?
yes

Kate said...

Thanks so much, Kelly!

It is good to hear that even though those early days are hard, you do get through them. And I totally don't want to be one of those women who's always complaining bitterly about her husband and what a twit he is.

biggirlpanties said...

General parenting:

Did you always want to be a parent? Off and on, but mostly on
If you didn't, when and why did you change your mind? When I met DH. With prev BF I would never have had kids - we would have traveled around the world like irresponsible gypsies and it would have been ok.
Do you ever regret becoming a parent? not yet

Would you recommend being a parent to someone else? I can't answer this without knowing the person and what their interest in parenting is.
Who raised you? 75/25 split btwn mom and dad/step-mom
Do you think that your parents/primary caregivers were a good or bad example of parenting?
Mom - mostly good
Dad - 50/50 - some very hurtful examples of bad
How has this helped or hindered you in being the kind of parent you are/want to be? Made me know that the priority for my baby is to be steady, constant, patient, and kind. Limits and boundaries are important, but not for their own sake, so make them flexible if the true intention for them allows for it. But don't be wishy washy because you will make your kid unsure and therefore insecure. Love first. Discipline through love and reason, not BECAUSE I SAID SO. NEVER be cruel. EVER. It teaches nothing but self-loathing.

What do you wish someone had told you before you became a parent?
I think I heard it all, but the valuable parts were: It will change you and your life more than you know. Be prepared to focus on someone other than yourself. Every minute of the day. And be prepared to love doing it, except when violently ill. But do it anyway when violently ill unless your spouse can help you at that time. You will always be tired. Get prepared. And you learn to deal with it.

Work/home life:

Do you consider parenting your vocation? it is now my primary vocation.
Do you have another/other vocation(s)? My career, which I do enjoy.
Is staying home with your children something that you do currently/did/want to do/not want to do? I would rather work part time and be home more during this first year, but that isn't an option. I don't think I could entirely stay home because I would lose myself.
How do you fulfill your needs, hopes, dreams, ambitions, etc. while caring for those of your children? I remind myself that caring for her needs is only one part of raising her. Modeling how I hope she lives her life is an every day lesson that I teach to her. Loving my job and working hard at being successful is one way of modeling that to her.
Are your friends/family/community supportive of your choices in terms of work and family?
The ones I care about are. I don't know/care what the ones I don't care about think
How does this affect you? It reassures me and instills confidence in my choice.
Is your workplace supportive of the demands that parenting places on your life? Most of the time, but there is a lot of pressure. But my job comes with a lot of pressure.
What do you wish you had from others to support your parenting of your children?
More work from home opportunities.

Marriage/partnership:

Do you have a spouse/partner? Yes
Did you when you began parenting? Yes
Same partner the entire time?Yes

Did your spouse/partner want to have children? Yes
As much/more/less than you? More than me at this time. 8 year age difference
How has parenting changed your relationship? We don't focus on each other enough
Has it strengthened? Weakened? Both. But seeking ways to keep it alive by reading His Needs Her Needs for Parents.
Was this change permanent? New parent, I'll let you know
How do you divide parenting responsibilities? Most fall to me. But he partners when asked. And there are some default responsibilities. And he does more around the house while I care for the baby.
How do you divide financial responsibilities? We have separate accounts but share money and trade off buying things. Do you plan to keep the current arrangement long-term? Not exactly; been lazy about a budget which is required to get a joint account - we both want our own fun money accounts because our irresponsible spending patterns are different.

Education/faith

How do you/plan to educate your children? Didn't make career decisions to support private school, so public it is. But I will be actively following my interest areas in her development, and he will follow her in his interest areas - there isn't much overlap there.
Are/will both partners be as involved in decisions of education? yes

Did/will you raise your children in a certain faith? we haven't found a church yet but are of the same christian faith at least
How did/will you decide if one partner feels more strongly than the other? we'll figure it out, or trade off churches. I have more church interest than him so I will probably win by default
How does your family of origin impact these decisions? no
Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of educating your children? yes
What additional support would you love to have from others to help educate your children? MONEY for private school
Growing your family (literally):

How did your children come to join your family? natural birth, no fertility assistance needed
How many children do you have/plan to have/want to have? 1-2
How many children were in your family of origin? 1 full brother, 1 half-sister, 3 step-siblings
How did this impact your answer to the previous question? Impacted wanting more than 1. Finances and personal patience level impacted the limit of 2.
Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of growing your family? Yes
What additional support would you love to have from others in terms of growing your family? I'd love childcare support from family so we could get moving on #2 since we cannot afford daycare for a second child right now.

biggirlpanties said...

ps - I am not biggirlpanties.blogspot.com. Mine is different, but it's private. I'm a nestie. ;-)

Kate said...

Thanks so much, biggirlpanties! Nesties are the best!