This is part two of the big ¨Should I have kids?¨ question. I encourage you to read part one as well.
As I said in the first part, this is way too big of a question for me to answer for you. But I want to give you some benefits to contemplate that you may not have thought about if you don’t have any children. In this blog post, you will learn about the health benefits, spirituality, how it keeps you young, elderly care and how it makes you smarter. Let´s answer ¨Should I have kids?¨ I would encourage you to also read Cute Stories to Stop Your Fear of Becoming a Parent.
If you would like to start with part I, check it our here.
I am going to give the same obligatory comment that I gave in part one of the post. These are general observations and statistics. I will use the classic TV saying, ¨your results may vary.¨
5) Health Benefits
There are actually a few health benefits from having children, especially for women. Irma Russo, chief of the molecular endocrinology section of the Breast Cancer Research Laboratory at Fox Chase Cancer Center says that the risk of breast cancer goes down significantly if you have a child between 18-25 and goes down some if you are between 25-30. Part of the reason is because breast tissue matures fully which makes you less susceptible to cancer-causing changes. The hormonal changes also help prevent cancer as well. There is a catch though, you must lose the weight that you gained during pregnancy to reap the benefits. But for every year that you breast feed, you drop your risk by 4 percent on top of the previous reductions.
Ladies, you get one more. Baby Center reports ¨It’s still somewhat of a mystery how pregnancy and childbirth shake things up when it comes to “female disorders” like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovaries. But gynecologists and endocrinologists have long known that for many women, having a baby is the beginning of the road to recovery.¨
Men, don´t fret, guys with children live a longer percentage lifespan to the average childless male compared to women with children compared to women without children. Here is a very boring study if you want to learn more.
One benefit that effects the whole family is that parents are more likely to push their kids to eathealthily. This of course makes everyone else healthier because no one wants to make two meals. I know from personal experience that the desire to make your little guy or girl healthy and safe is a strong instinct that parents have. I have to be a good example by eating my vegetables too.
20,000 people were polled on health-related lifestyle choices after they had children and these were the responses:
- 83% say they eat more healthily or are trying to improve their diets.
- 65% are exercising more, or intend to.
- 69% say they’re keeping a closer watch on their mental health, or are trying to.
- 57% say they’re more likely to see their doctor more often or make an appointment if something seems wrong.
- 66% say they drive more carefully.
- 58% are more likely to wear their seat belts.
There are two strange things that stand out to me in this poll. What is crazy to me is that so many people were not wearing their seatbelts. Why do people still do that? Also, 100% of people should be driving more carefully if they have kids. If there is a kid in the car, be more careful. Plus, there may be other kids in other cars. Come on people! But I do find the second question funny. 65% are exercising more, or INTENDED to. I intend to do a lot of things but never do it. High risk behavior, smoking and excessive drinking is reduced as well. Again, you have to lose the extra weight gained during your pregnancy.
Statistically, one-and-a-half to five years (depending on who you ask) is added to your life by having kids. However, If the added weight gain wasn´t a factor, the average added years would be much higher. It does look like a happier and more fulfilled life also adds to your life expectancy. Even though it seems that the lack of sleep in the first few years and the stress that teenagers can bring would lower life expectancy, the happiness seems to outweigh the negative parts. At least a poll of 500 people says so.
6) It Gets You Closer to God
I try not to drag the Bible or religion into this blog too much because it’s not what the blog is about. When we started this blog, we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t be preachy and minimize content about religion and never talk about politics. We want to be informative and that´s all. But, this is a very noticeable trend amongst parents and therefore, it is informative.
I know that I became a better Christian when we had a baby. The Bible says, ¨The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control¨ (Gal. 5:22-23). I think that parents know that this is needed if one wants to be a good father or mother and God helps one get there.
I also think that with a new understanding of love, there is an outlook on life that makes you want to be close and understand a creator that loves you. In Christianity, there is a push to understand love better and to love others better. I will give you these verses and then move on to number seven in my list. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a says ¨ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.” There, you suffered through it, now we can move on.
7) Stop Being Old
Obviously, there is no way to slow your aging – that isn’t quite what I mean. If you’re like me, when you watch the Grammys, you have heard of three people on there. I personally have no knowledge of any pop-culture songs. My son is a bit too young for that kind of thing, but two years ago it was the same for kids tv shows. Now on the other hand, I am pretty much an expert on shows and songs for toddlers. Soon, I will be back on top of pop-culture and be able to communicate with gen z efficiently.
They also make you do a lot of stuff. Being active and exploring different activities directed towards kids is super fun. And makes you feel young. I don’t look like a crazy idiot to bystanders for playing on the jungle gym at the park, I’m just a really good parent trying to show my son a good time. Unless you are a parent or under the age of 14, you have forgotten how fun jungle gyms are. Plus, you’re like a super hero to a toddler. Oh, you can´t go high on the swing by yourself? I´ll take care of that for you.
8) Elderly Care
I was hesitant to put this on here because I don’t like to think of kids as insurance policies. For the most part, it is your job to take care of them and protect them from the world, not the other way around. At the same time, if I´m lucky, I will be 80 and have a hard time doing things myself. When that day comes, it will be nice to have help with some things. Challenges of life compound in your later years and it will be nice to have a solution to certain issues.
9) You Will Get Smarter
Our understanding of the world is always changing. When I was in third grade, I can remember my teacher teaching us a lot of things that weren´t true. I can remember being taught that diamonds were made from coal and fossil fluids were made from dinosaurs. We were taught that Christopher Columbus found America and that the sky is blue because it reflects the Ocean. She taught us that Chameleons change color to camouflage themselves, that you taste with different flavors with different parts of your tongue, blood is blue before it hits the air and that you can see the Great Wall of China from space. The list goes on and on. Now, she may not have been the one who taught me all of these things, but she did teach a lot of them. I will also add that a some of these have a bit of truth to them, but are mostly untrue.
For those of you that can´t remember 1996, the internet was pretty much for email and before fact-checking Google to see if a claim made was true. The reason I am attributing a lot of these fake facts to her is because she would also tell us a lot of urban legends that made their way from email to email. Urban legends are nothing new, people have thought there have been razor blades put in Halloween candy forever, but it picked up A LOT in the late 90´s and early 2000´s. I don’t have any proof of this, but I’m 99% certain she would read her email before class started and just spouting off these ¨facts¨ to the class. Except for learning how to multiply large numbers, I think I could have just skipped 3rd grade. Ironically, she was one of my favorite teachers.
But my point is, you have a lot of stuff like this that you have learned and as your kid gets older, you will find out how terrible your education from that one teacher was. They will help correct you on whateveryour equivalent of gang initiation by flashing headlights at people and attacking them is. But, it will make you smarter. You will also learn concepts from school that you previously forgot or couldn’t quite understand. I personally am working adding two numbers together.
I hope if you have been contemplating if kids are a good idea, or if you’re hiding away in the bathroom just to get a moment of peace and quiet, you feel better about the stress of kids. They can be difficult, but they can have a great impact. It´s one of the cheesiest clichés out there, but they really are blessing; even if they are a curse on occasion.