Joanna goddard anton

“When I imagine my future, I see myself as a mother. But what are the upsides to having kids?” asks a Cup of Jo reader named Antonia. “I hear so many stories about how children are a) exhausting and b) expensive, and that’s scary! I want a kid because biology is doing its thing over here, but what’s actually great about having one?”

I hear you, Antonia. Oh my gosh, parenting can be hard. The lows are low, for sure. But the highs are close-your-eyes-and-clutch-your-heart high. Sometimes I think of parenting like traveling somewhere foreign and far — you are jetlagged at first, the flight lasts forever, your cab driver grumbles, you take the wrong street on the way into town, the hotel breakfast is expensive. But! Omg, the views! The hikes! The sunrise! The hotel dog! The violinist playing on the street! The best pasta you’ve ever had! The surprises and delights you had no idea to even expect. The life-changing magic of flipping your world upside down. Sometimes it’s demanding and stressful, yes; but oh my god THE VIEWS.

Here are 10 more specific reasons, in my experience:

Toby and Anton

Toddlers laugh 400 times per day, according to science, and that joy is infectious.

All the funny things they say. Eight-year-old Anton recently turned to me in a panic: “I have to start working out, it’s almost Hot Girl Summer!”

The moment they put your baby in your arms. I would have a million babies for that moment.

Because even the hard stuff is full of love.

You feel like a kid again: You sing! You dance! You ride bikes! You watch cartoons! You drink milkshakes!

Because maybe they will decide for a year to exclusively wear cowboy boots.

My Kids' Hilariously Passive Aggressive Notes

The passive-aggressive notes they hand you when you get home from work.

All the things they teach you. A good airplane drink. Cool dances. How to get out of your own head.

toby and anton

Because you will trace their profiles with your finger at bedtime and want to weep from the beauty of it all and the impossible love you feel for these little marvels.

So, Antonia, I would say that parenting can be hard and exhausting, and society doesn’t make it easier; also, of course, many people decide to stay childfree for all sorts of reasons, and that is 1000000% great and fine! But if you want to have a child, and you are just nervous, let me hold your face in my hands and tell you: it’s also magic.

Fellow parents, what would you add?

P.S. Kids in conversation, and one thing that has surprised me about parenting.