My relationship with my parents has always been a little rocky, but it was the worst when they pressured me to settle down. It’s not so much the husband that was missing from my life in their minds—they wanted me to have a baby. In fact, they wanted to be grandparents so badly that they threatened to disown me over it.
My parents grew up in the ’50s and they both have a bunch of siblings.
Their families were a little looser with birth control than we are today. They’d rather have five kids and make a big pot of spaghetti for dinner three nights a week than have one kid and nutritious food that’s a bit more flavorful. The thought of not having kids wasn’t even on their radar. In fact, one time my mom told me it’s what “women are expected to do.” How old-fashioned is that?
They started planning their whole lives around eventually being grandparents.
This was extremely hard since I felt like my life choices were directly affecting theirs. Did I want to have kids someday? At that point, maybe. But feeling like I’d have a kid so that my parents could fulfill a role just makes the whole thing really disturbing. It was almost like I was reconsidering my own opinion on the matter out of spite.
When they met the guy I’m steady with, they asked him about kids right off the bat.
I wish I prepared him better since I knew it was coming. It was literally the second question they asked, after “what do you do for a living?” The good news is that he was cool about it, which proved to me that he was a keeper.
I told my mom she was coming on strong, and she gave me the harsh truth.
She literally said that my relationships affected her life based on this choice and that she would stop speaking to me if I didn’t consider giving her grandkids. As you may expect, I blocked her on my phone for about a month. It was like she was trying to take control of my body and my life in the weirdest way.
My dad tried to soften the blow.
He was tired of the rift, but didn’t offer a lot of support. “It’s not that we’d disown you,” he said. “We’d just really be disappointed in you, and we don’t know if we’d keep you in the will since it just seems greedy.” That opened up another debate. I had to have kids for an eventual monetary gain? His point was that they didn’t want their money to be spent on me living a luxurious life without any of the hardships of parenting. They were definitely disowning me but using other words to make it seem less severe.
My boyfriend provided so much strength.
He made me feel like when the time did come (and spoiler, it did) that this would be a choice we’d make for us. Not for our parents, or for the will, or for anyone’s expectations. This would be our kid, and we’d set the rules. If my parents came on too strong, they’d be the ones who get cut out.
It’s ridiculous for our parents to think that they’re owed grandkids.
I’ve heard it from my own parents, along with some of my older family members. Kids are a lot of work and a complete life change. If it’s something they get to experience, that’s great. But nobody should ever have a kid just because their parents will be disappointed if they don’t — that’s just ludicrous.
Yes, having kids today is harder.
Parenting 20 to 30 years ago was completely different. Times have changed, and millennials today simply can’t afford the same kind of help our parents did. People always say that it “takes a village” to raise a child and that’s true. In my parents’ day, my mom could always depend on my aunts and uncles to watch me last minute. These days, I live hours away from my family since there weren’t a ton of jobs and opportunities there. I need to pay for my “village,” and it’s incredibly expensive.
Going by these old-fashioned rules also made me realize that my parents wouldn’t be listening to my parenting advice.
I’ll say no sugar, they’ll give them a lollipop because that’s part of the “role.” I’ll tell them my child has a peanut sensitivity, they’ll disregard that because my generation is “too cautious.” In their eyes, I’ll always be their kid, and they’ll parent the way they want to. I mean, any parent who threatens to cut their child off based on grandkids is bound to be ignorant and controlling.
When I did get pregnant, I waited for months before I told them.
Because again, this was up to me and my boyfriend. The sooner my parents knew, the sooner they’d want to meddle and post embarrassing statuses about it on Facebook. They are owed nothing. And since this classifies as medical information, that’s included.
They’re pressuring me for more, but it’s not going to happen.
Being a parent is really hard. I thought that maybe some of their pressure would end after having my first, but even that’s not good enough for them. I’m so tired of hearing that my child needs siblings. They don’t. Plenty of single kids have grown up fine. Also, the first time was incredibly taxing on my body, which is a fact that they seem to gloss over. It’s a little sick that they’d rather have more kids to spoil, even if it meant seeing my health suffer as a result.
Parents, just remember that nothing in life is guaranteed.
Putting pressure on your kids to have kids is really damaging. My relationship with my parents may never be the same. It really made me question my whole purpose in life. Plenty of my friends don’t want to have kids, and it’d be a shame to think they’re ruining their parents’ life because of it. Also, some of my friends straight up can’t have kids, so giving them an ultimatum is even more harmful. Before you shoot your mouth off, think about what you’re actually saying. It’s 2019, and women no longer need to have the role of “mom” to be complete.
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