Thoughts on Action
"Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live." ~ Nicolas de Chamfort

Make Your Leap List Before You Get Married or Have a Baby

Because evidently you’re going to be leaping off the face of the earth. At least, that’s what Honda would have you think. Their latest Leap List campaign has me a little puzzled. If you haven’t seen the commercials, the basic premise is that you should create a list of things you “wanna do before everything you oughta do” (their sad corporate attempt at casual language, not mine). The implication being “you better do it now, cause no way in hell are you doing it after [insert life event] happens.”

I’m ashamed to admit that I had two opposing reactions to this campaign, based on the featured life event:

Getting Married

This one offended me a little.  Here’s the scene:

  • Guy lamely asks girl to marry him in the street. (No ring, no bended knee – is chivalry dead?)
  • Girl says something like “Married?” [Cut away to sad, wistful look] “But there were so many things I was gonna do first. Hike the Appalachian Trail, learn to play the drums, finish my short film…”

I wanted to grab that bimbo, shake her by the shoulders and say, “No wait, getting married’s cool, and not just because of all the expensive cutlery you’ll get as gifts!” I didn’t, because if I had tried, I would have irreparably damaged our flat screen TV, which Drew loves more than me, more than Mr. Cecil’s ribs even.

Having a Baby

This one inspired a different reaction:

  • Girl springs on unsuspecting guy, “I think I want to have a baby” while out shopping in a busy street. (Good tactic, husband cannot throw public tantrum.)
  • Guy looks appropriately crestfallen and says something along the lines of “But I was gonna see the Northern Lights in Alaska, go spelunking with the guys, and build that fighting robot…” (Is it even possible to get down to the baby-making process with this man and his sad hobbies?)

Now of course, I wasn’t offended by this (I too, would panic about when I’m going to get my spelunking in.). But old “meskobe,” disgruntled YouTube viewer, sure was. If you didn’t already click on the video link and see the comment she’d posted, here’s what she had to say:

Whoever came up with this new ad campaign is my least favorite person in the world. I hate the insinuation that getting married or having a baby will immediately end all ability to have fun or do anything. Marriage & children are two of the greatest adventures in life! Why not do all these “leap list” things WITH your spouse and kid(s)??!!

I cackled and did a little “Yeah, right! You can’t do ANYTHING with kids!” and then had the sobering…

Ohhhhhh. Wait a sec…

If I’m sitting here thinking they’ve got it wrong about marriage, isn’t it possible they’ve (and I’VE?) got it wrong about kids too? I don’t think the Honda marketing people are (necessarily) idiots, and the idea for these commercials didn’t just get plucked out of thin air. People – obviously lots of people – really do feel this way. But I’m not one of them when it comes to the sentiments about marriage. There’s nothing I feel I can’t do because I’m married. If anything, it’s made me want to do MORE crazy things and now I have someone to do them with (and be my designated driver).

Is it possible I would feel the same way on the kids issue if I had a couple of my own? Maybe. But…

Kids Are (Way) More Work Than Spouses

And there ARE some facts that simply can’t be ignored:

  • It WILL be outrageously expensive to take children on a trip to Europe, whereas it will just be embarrassing to take your husband, who will demand to be taken to a Parisian McDonald’s for a Croque McDo. (Oh yes, it’s real. Oh yes, Drew ordered it.)
  • Infants WILL likely bounce right out of that white water raft, whereas husbands only cling tightly to your life vest and scream like ladies.
  • Unless you’re Amber Miller, running a marathon while 39 weeks pregnant WILL be rather withering, whereas your husband is likely to hand you refreshing beverages as you run past, like straight vodka disguised as water.

Perhaps the biggest difference of all is that you can easily leave the husband at home for these adventures if necessary, attended by little more than a bag of Zesty Ranch Doritos. But kids require significantly more expensive babysitters.

I don’t know why these commercials have consumed me the past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s that my Leap List before having a baby would take me all the way through menopause to complete. Or maybe it’s because it just seems silly – everyone I know who has had children says that you’ll never truly feel ready and you should just jump in. That used to sound brave. Now I’m wondering if these are just lazy people who wanted an excuse to skip out on their Leap List. [smiley face]

Should I write my own stupid Leap List? And then if I can’t get through it while still in my child-bearing years, I have my answer? Probably not a good idea. I’d probably just load it up with ridiculous things like Co-Star in a Country Western Musical with Elijah Wood & Soleil Moon Frye.

Nevermind, that’s the best idea I’ve had all week.

16 Responses to Make Your Leap List Before You Get Married or Have a Baby

  • Basketcase says:

    Brilliant ending!

    I can totally see where you are coming from with both breakdowns – marriage definitely does not curtail your opportunity for anything other than random / casual sex (and even that is up for negotiation in some of my friends marriages). In fact, I hadn’t really travelled till I met my now-husband, and now we are off to Europe.

    But my parents are also proof that there are still heaps of things you can do while you have kids. They certainly didnt stop having a life (well, once they could afford it again, once I was about 8), leaving us with grandparents for 10 days or so while they went overseas. In fact, they are off overseas again themselves in the next few weeks.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Ahh yes, grandparents saving the day! I suppose that’s the problem with living in California – no one here is actually FROM here, so there’s never any grandparents around. And I’m pretty sure my friends would murder me if I tried to dump a pair of kids on them for 10 days. :)

  • Megan says:

    Hi Maybe Lady! I was sent to your blog from STFU, Parents (another good site that shows how parents turn in to crazy monsters when they have kids), and I am going to definitely be following you from now on! My husband and I are having the same dilemma- do we want kids, or do we want to continue to be happily selfish and doing things that we want?? (I’m 27, he’s 26). A few things are scaring us off so far:
    1. Lack of money. Poor economy. ‘Nuff said.
    2. We are both genetically next in line to have twins. *gulp*.
    3. We both like our “me time” too much. Going on trips, reading for hours, playing video games…
    I look forward to more posts from you! :)

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Oh my goodness – adding the strong possibility of having twins into the mix would be terrifying! I’d be riding that fence a while longer, for sure. Thanks for stopping by the site, I’m glad you’ll be following!

  • EricaEnyc says:

    I got married at 34 so there were plenty of years for me to accomplish many Leap List checklist items before partnering up. However, a few aspects of my career were no longer options once I said my vows. The long hours I was accustomed to working needed to stop, there would be no more traveling at a moment’s notice, and I could no longer be available for overtime. My job was my life and now, my life’s much more full, but the adjustment has been quite a challenge.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I do think it’s great though that you’ve been firm about things like not working overtime so you can spend time with your husband. I know a lot of people who don’t have kids feel like they’re not afforded the same advantages in terms of having a hard-stop on working time to go pick up the kids. Well, as they say – no one ever puts on their gravestone “I wish I would have worked more.”

  • Joy-Lyn says:

    Um…the yes or no question regarding having kids needs to happen BEFORE marriage, not after. After marriage, the question becomes WHEN (if the yes was mutual).

    I watched that, and was all: “YOU’VE decided? YOU???” Dealbreakers = divorce… you cannot compromise on having kids. No one has “a little bit” of children. And no…having “just one” is not a compromise.

    If some guy pulled that one on me, that would make me feel “tricked” into the marriage (because I wouldn’t agree to marry without him being childfree beforehand) and I would NOT be happy.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Hi Joy-Lyn! I do agree with you that the CONVERSATION about having kids should definitely take place before marriage. As for determining yes or no before marriage, well, I guess that’s up to the couple. My husband and I are equally on the fence about it, but wanted to get married and make the decision together and we’re both glad we’ve done that. But I AM consistently amazed at how many people don’t even talk about it before getting married! Such an important topic to have avoided altogether!

  • Claire says:

    Thank you for this post! A leap list, bucket list, etc is absolutely necessary before having kids (or making any other gigantic decision).

    I am also childfree and plan on staying that way. I dated a couple really great people who I came to find out were wanting to have kids. It’s not easy to break up with someone you really care about when a decision this big is at stake, but there really is no other way.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Well, you’ve done the right thing, Claire! Sometimes people push off the subject until after marriage and then just hope they can get the other person to conform to what they want.

  • Ashley says:

    My husband and I are having a similar issue. Do we want to be young, hip parents? Wait until we’re older and more financial secure? Plus our parents are still working, so there goes the built-in 10 day babysitter. We got puppies…they’re tiding us over. It’s much easier to get a puppy-sitter…

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Good for you guys – we can’t even handle the responsibility of a puppy at this point! You’ll be much better prepared than us if we do decide to have kids.

  • Scott says:

    You know “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” means something different now, thanks to former Governor Sanford (Sandford?). Be careful of things on the bucket list that have double-entendres….

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Ooh, I had to look that one up, hadn’t heard it. Obviously the Honda people hadn’t either since they put it in their commercial! Wonder if somebody got fired over that…

  • Jessica Holt says:

    Well I think a lot of the leap list has to be put on hold when a child is small, it can be done with a child once they are older, not saying it\’s still not more expensive because you have to pay for the kid, but you can probably do it with them once they have passed those small years, depending on what you want to do of course ;)

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