The Full Moxie is pleased to offer our advice column, “To Whom It May Concern.” Our respondent, “Yours truly,” is a relational and communications expert with a Masters in Communication, and is also an experienced university instructor on the subject. To submit your own anonymous question, please click here.
To Whom It May Concern,
As a parent of one wonderful, two-year-old son, my spouse and I can’t seem to decide whether we want to have a second child or not. We are very happy with our lives, but also would like for our son to grow up with a sibling. With the way the world is these days, sometimes it’s hard to fathom bringing another child into our society… how will we know what the right decision is? Is there a pro-con list system or something?
-Parents of 1 (or 2)?
I trust the intention is not to come off like you are trying to decide on a minivan or an SUV, but I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge all of my readers who don’t have the opportunity to “discuss” whether to add another life to this earth. Essentially your position to choose is both unique and common. Don’t argue with me, just accept the juxtaposition.
While there are many who will never wake up one day and look to their partner and say “Hey, lets get pregnant” and then BAM they’re pregnant, there are also, many who will and then their children grow up wondering why their parents were allowed to procreate. For examples, please refer to reality TV.
I too wish I knew the right decision and not long ago wrestled with a similar fork in the road. Based on your inquiry I have a few questions to pose:
- Why do you want your son to have a sibling?
- Is fear a constructive decision-making tool?
- Is there truly a “right” decision?
- How many times have you made a pro/con list and still just did what you wanted?
Your situation is unique because you and your spouse can discuss things like, Do we want another child? Can we afford another child? Is the world too scary for another child? Can we ensure the child won’t turn out to be a psychopath (statistically you’re pretty safe on this one)? Is it the right time? Should we give our son a playmate? On the flip side, it’s these very questions that make your situation as common as someone else in any given mommy and me play group.
Some people say “Go with what feels right” or “Yes! A child is a blessing.” We call these people grandparents and they should not be advised in these situations. Where is your spouse with all of this? My first directive would be to make sure you two are on the same page. In addition, your answer can be yes but not now or no, but maybe later. If you want to “just see what happens” as some of my girlfriends did, be warned nature will take its course. It’s like saying “Lets eat cheeseburgers every day for a year and see what happens.” The end result is clear and it’s merely a passive way to not take ownership of the decision, so please refrain from this. Also, it’s okay to not “feel done.” I’m one of many gals who never felt done with child bearing or rearing and that feeling is not grounds for another child. It is however, a reflection of embracing the maternal and not just accepting it. I LOVE being a mom and at times I hide in my bathroom with the door locked and pretend I can’t hear my kids calling my name.
You may never find the “right” answer, regardless, you will make a decision. Even in not making a decision you will make one. I think it’s good that you are actively trying to think this through.
Whether you are parents to one child, birth 20 more or adopt, be present. Be available. Be authentic. Be someone your kid(s) can brag about. Don’t just Be a parent, Be healthy so your kid(s) can grow up to embrace relationship and not exploit/demonize/fear them. Be a legacy. At the end of the day it’s who you choose to Be that counts.
To Whom It May Concern,
Within the past 6 months, I have adopted new, healthy habits and have lost a significant amount of weight and feel better than I have in years. As part of my habits, I have stopped drinking alcohol and indulging in junk foods. As a result, I’ve had friends say that I’m “boring now” or try to pressure me to drink or eat fried food and other things that I just don’t want to put in my body anymore. Does this mean we really can’t be friends if I want to continue down this healthy road? These are close friends, that I didn’t think I’d lose over finally getting healthy. Are we truly at a crossroads or is there a solution?
-Frustrated, but Healthy in Fresno
Seriously? Who are these people? I vote ditch them and find some new friends. You say they’re close friends so I will make the effort to find a solution and aid in any way I can.
You certainly do not have to end relationship, but it sounds like you do have to establish new boundaries. One of the great things about friends is we choose them and friends should be “for” us and not “against” us. In other words, we can be different people. We can choose different lifestyles. We can disagree on many things, but at the end of the day our friends should want and support good things for us.
My assumption in all of this is that you are not running around telling your friends what to eat or not eat because let’s be real, giving your friends health advice is like saying “I think you need to lose weight” and though women can tolerate many things, that is not one of them. If my assumption is correct and you are not pulling a Richard Simmons, then let’s look at the situation from your perspective.
I applaud you on the healthy life choices and I’m at a bit of a loss as to why your friends are tracking what you eat and drink and then complaining about it. I have this image of your friends huddled around you in Mean Girls fashion attempting to shove food and alcohol down your throat, and I’m thinking it may be less severe than my image.
The good news is that many restaurants provide healthy options for dining out, making it easy to go out and eat and even have a good time. I know raw vegans who can make this happen so I believe it’s true. It seems like it’s not what you are or are not doing that is really the issue, rather, it’s change.
It’s possible that the issue can involve friends being petty and jealous though I think it’s more that they want connection through activity and feel a sense of rejection or perhaps separation when you don’t participate. You’ve made it clear that you are enjoying your new choices and have no plans to change, but you can also find new ways to spend time together. Relationships provide opportunities for give and take.
If your friends workout, try to sync a workout together once a week, go to coffee, make a day trip, go shopping, host a dinner and invite everyone to your place, go bowling, billiards, bike riding, skiing, on walks, have movie nights. Find a show you all love and get together once a week to watch it. There are so many ways to affirm relationships through time outside of restaurants and bars. Find other ways to have fun and if the relationship is of value, you two or three or six will make it work and enjoy finding new ways to connect. If not, then I suggest you seize the opportunity to “choose” new friends.
[featured image via Xfinity]