Ask Amy: Married couple is ‘looking for reasons to become parents’

Dear Amy: My husband and I are in our mid-30′s. We’ve been together for 10 years. During the course of our marriage, we have traveled a lot and have had some wonderful adventures.

We’ve been talking about whether we should have children, and, true to our personalities, we’ve been doing a lot of research about what it is like to be parents. Honestly, a lot of what we’ve read and heard makes parenthood sound fairly awful, like an exhausting and depleting journey with no guaranteed happy ending.

We’re really undecided and are looking for reasons to become parents. We’ve asked a lot of other people. Now we’re asking you. Can you help?

Undecided: I think this may be one of those cases where, “If you have to ask, don’t do it.” I can affirm that parenthood is exhausting (especially in the early days). Being a parent is also extremely depleting, expensive, and occasionally heartbreaking and soul-sucking (especially in the teen years). And … although parenting doesn’t have a “stop date,” it also seems over all too fast — because for many parents, the experiences in between the exhausting, frustrating, frightening, and depleting periods are made of spun gold.

Parenthood will also alter your notions about “happy endings.” Oftentimes, for parents a happy ending means sleeping through the night, attending a business meeting without spit-up on your blazer, leaving the emergency room with a child on the mend, or seeing your teenager make it home safely in a snowstorm. Some of life’s happiest happy endings and greatest lessons are delivered through the quotidian experiences of parenthood. So look at the families around you. If being around other families fills you with longing, then — dive in.

Parenthood is not for everyone, and unfortunately it is the children who end up ultimately shouldering the burden for their parents’ choices.

Dear Amy: My friend “Jennifer” and I moved into an apartment together last year. We are both on the lease. At the outset, we agreed that if we wanted to have boyfriends — or other guests — stay regularly overnight, we would limit this to at most two times a week. I have a boyfriend and have adhered to this agreement. I frequently work from home and it is important for me to live in an environment that is fairly quiet and peaceful.

Jennifer’s sister lives nearby and for the last two months, this sister has spent five to six nights a week at our apartment. She says this is because her roommate’s boyfriend has started staying over at their apartment. Plus, our apartment is just nicer than hers is. I enjoy her company to a certain extent, but when the two sisters are together, they tend to be noisy, messy, and — it’s just disruptive. I’ve talked to Jennifer about this and she seems unwilling to enforce this rule with her sister.

At this point, I feel exhausted and stressed by this situation. What do you think I should do?

Roomie: You and “Jennifer” talked this over when you moved in together (a very smart move on your parts), and she agreed to this limit on sleepovers. You should check the language on your lease (many leases prohibit others from essentially moving in), and discuss this calmly and frankly with both women.

Jennifer’s sister understands the pressure of living with an “extra” person because her roommate’s boyfriend has driven her out of her own home. The two sisters might want to look for their own place, but starting now they should agree and adhere to the house rules that you two established when you moved in together.

Dear Amy: Annoyed” reported that both parents had died, and she didn’t like it when her siblings said that they were “going to visit mom and dad” when they went to the cemetery. She felt that because their folks were dead, they should not be spoken of in the present tense.

In my opinion, Annoyed is wrong. I am the designated crypt-keeper of my family. When I go to clean the graves of my relatives, I even chat with them, especially with my parents. This does not hurt their memories at all. Both of my sisters live out of town and I even send pictures of the graves after I have tended them. I think Annoyed needs to take a chill pill.

Betsy: This question got a huge response from readers. I’ve enjoyed reading many tributes to loved-ones who have died, and many readers — like you — visit and talk to their family members at their gravesite.

© 2024 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.