I Used to Want Kids, Then I Became a Teacher

I’ve always loved kids. I’m the weirdo that coos at your toddler when we pass in the street and who’s more comfortable making conversation with a 10-year-old than an adult, so teaching was an obvious career move. The thing is, you get to know the dark side of kids pretty quickly when you spend the day trapped in a room with 30 of them. Here’s why becoming a teacher has completely put me off wanting kids of my own.

  1. From a distance, kids look like fun. Having a teeny tiny version of yourself to dress up and play with may sound like a laugh a minute, but from a distance, you’re only seeing the best bits of being a parent. You might pass a kid in the street and think they’re cute, but imagine having to spend every waking moment with them, constantly putting them first even when they’re driving you crazy. Suddenly, the whole thing seems a lot less appealing.
  2. Kids need attention all the damn time. When you’re working with kids, there’s no such thing as having an off day. Whether you’ve woken up with a spring in your step or are nursing the hangover from hell, kids will demand your full attention. Trying to explain to 30 round faces why the sea is blue when you need to be lying down in a darkened room with a wet washcloth on your forehead is no fun. Trust me.
  3. You can never be fully prepared for the responsibility. If I ever stop and think about the responsibility I have on my shoulders once the parents have left the school gates, it makes me feel quite ill. When you’re looking after kids, you have to be prepared for anything to happen. Children fall down and scrape their knees all the time, but you need to be on constant high alert in case of allergic reactions, banged heads and broken limbs. When it’s hard enough taking care of my own health, who needs the stress of looking after someone else?
  4. You can kiss your freedom goodbye. The best thing about being in my twenties is that I can literally do whatever I want, whenever I want. Add children into the mix, though, and I can say a fond farewell to my freedom. It’s not just the big things, like having to turn down nights out with friends to stay in and babysit, but it’s every tiny aspect of what makes me who I am, from cooking child-friendly meals to what films you watch at the cinema.
  5. They WILL copy everything you do. I’m just going to come out and say it: children are annoying. So great is their devotion to you that they’ll copy literally everything you do. At work, I’m constantly tiptoeing round trying to be the best role model: if I fly into a rage at the slightest bit of stress, the children will think it’s okay to do that too, and heaven forbid if I should accidentally swear. Trying to be the best version of yourself at all times so you don’t ruin the children in your care is exhausting.
  6. Even the sweetest little angels will annoy you after a while. When I first dealt with difficult kids as a teacher, I told myself that when I had my own they’d be different. The thing is, even my favourite children started to grate on me after a year—imagine what having one in the house for 18 years would be like! No matter how charismatic the child, there are times when you just need to be alone. Luckily, I could leave work at the end of the day, but having your own children means they’re with you all the time, holidays and all.
  7. Kids make everything complicated. The simplest activities become unimaginably complex when you try and do them with children. Leaving the house, catching a train and going to the supermarket all become logistical nightmares when you try and do them with children in tow. Having to factor another person into every single arrangement makes things infinitely more time-consuming and expensive.
  8. Childhood isn’t an idyllic scene from Mary Poppins. Whenever I told people I was a teacher, they would gush about how nice it would be to live like Miss Honey every day. Anyone that genuinely thinks that the day to day reality of working with children is like anything they’ve seen in films needs a serious wake up call. Working with kids is hard and raising them is even harder. There’s tears, tantrums and me tearing my hair out on a daily basis. I’d think long and hard before I opted to bring that into my personal life as well.
  9. Once you’ve had kids, your identity permanently changes. Never mind if you were a career driven high flyer or a popular socialite – after having kids, your main identity is somebody’s Mum. No matter how many strings to your bow that you keep up with afterwards, raising that child just has to be your number one priority. I’m not ready to lose my identity or my independence just yet.
  10. It’s impossible to know if you’re doing it right. As a teacher, I’ve seen lots of different approaches to raising kids. While there are a few that I can put my hands up straight away and say they’re not working, I’ve never identified a parenting style that I can say hands down will work for every child. Being a parent is a constant guessing game, and it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who has no idea what you’re doing. In an area where the chances of failure are terrifyingly high, I think I’ll be giving kids a miss for a while.
Isobel is a freelance blogger and writer for hire specialising in content for millennials who haven't quite got it together yet (i.e. herself). When not glued to her laptop, she enjoys eating cheese, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends.