There is no doubt that a carefree lifestyle has its perks. It satisfies our intrinsic need for freedom, pleasure and fun. To give it up would be to defy our basic human tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain. For some, the reluctance to have children is often attributable to their association of carefree lifestyle with pleasure and parenting with pain. Naturally, we would prefer the former and avoid the latter.
We often observe or hear that raising children is ‘painful’, ‘costly’ and ‘demanding.’ Ironically, the immense joy, meaning and fulfilment of being a parent that is deeply felt by those who have taken the plunge are not often apparent or observable. Step out of your existing ideas about parenthood, speak to those who are enjoying the pleasure of parenthood, and gain a more complete view of what having children could mean. It might be more fun and fulfilling than you had originally thought and worth trading in the carefree lifestyle for.
While work and children are important, and hence tend to occupy most of our time, taking care of our well-being and to nurture the relationship with our spouse is also critical. Until we make the latter an imperative (must do), they tend to be either ignored or left to spare time (which is a rare commodity in today’s hectic life).
Schedule ‘couple-time’ and ‘me-time’ into the calendar and do the necessary arrangements to make them happen. For example, take turn to give each other the space for personal time, find a friend or relative who is willing to look after your kids while you go out on a date (i.e. “Night out without kids!”), or take half-day off from work while the kids are in school. The possibilities are endless once you are committed to make ‘couple-time’ or ‘me-time’ a must do. And most importantly, do that without guilt for they are essential to a sustainable family life.
~ Kenny Toh, Founder and Principal Coach, Institute of Advanced Parentology