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

Have Yourself a Lonely Little Christmas?

Much like 94.7 The Wave out here in LA rockin’ the Michael McDonald version of Winter Wonderland in early November, I’m getting into the Christmas spirit far too early this year. I simply can’t help myself. I LOVE this holiday. We’re the hillbillies leaving our obnoxious multi-colored lights on the balconies until the HOA sends us a letter that we’re bringing down property values. I look forward to my fortieth birthday when I’ll finally be allowed to wear knitted Christmas vests through the entire month of December, à la every third grade teacher in the Midwest.

Why do I love Christmas so much? There’s all the obvious things, of course. A week and a half off work. Starbucks gift cards in stylish felt jackets. An opportunity to damage my husband’s career at his company party by sticking my hand in the chocolate fondue fountain and showcasing my three-martinis-deep dance moves.

But it’s actually a little more intangible than that. It’s the knowledge that no matter how many other things change in my life, my parents will always host an hors d’ouerves party on Christmas Eve. My brother Ken will always spend $78 trying to out-fancy the rest of us with an appetizer that will be largely inedible. My dad will always have a batch of his homebrew Holiday Ale ready for us, and my mom will always cluck over how quickly it disappears. (As if we didn’t get our German drinking prowess from her side of the family.) We will always play euchre, Big Bear Rummy and Trumpet every day until someone falls asleep at the table or my mom throws her cards in someone’s face and storms off, leaving a trail of obscenities behind her. Mornings will always be loud when someone gets pissed that someone else took the last asiago cheese bagel from the fridge (ahem, Matt). I will always buy Ken a medium sweater and have to return it the next day for a large. My mom will always bake spritz cookies and Hello Dollies and other ridiculously-named confectionaries and we kids will always gain an average of seven pounds in three days. Why, just look at this Christmas baking joy, circa 1986! From everyone except my mother, who looks like she’s about to murder someone with a spatula (though maybe that’s the Russian mobster sweatsuit).

So much of my love for this holiday comes from the effort my parents put in to preserving the traditions of our youth. But it won’t always be this way. There will come a horrible year where they won’t be around to create that Christmas magic. And what then? Maybe one of us kids will pick up the reins and I’ll continue celebrating with my brothers until it’s OUR turn to exit the planet. But more than likely, both my brothers will marry (one already has), and both will have kids. They’ll begin shaping their own holiday traditions with the new sub-unit and our invitations will get lost in the shuffle. Maybe Drew and I will invite everyone to our place, but flying in from New York and Chicago with a family of four (or more) will eventually become too cost prohibitive for them. Or they’ll be obligated to go to their in-laws, or they may want to celebrate with only their immediate family…which it shocks me to realize will no longer include me. It’s just the way things go when kids come on the scene (which is exactly how it went for my parents).

So that leaves Drew and I with only the dozen miscellaneous cats we’ll have under our roof if we make a firm Childfree commitment. Don’t get me wrong – I do love a quiet night in with Drew, or a nice meal out or weekend getaway with just the two of us. But a major holiday that’s always been heavily populated with full family fun? That’s just not a twosome activity for me, and it never (voluntarily) will be.

It scares me to think that having kids is the only real chance I have at making sure I’ll have those boisterous holiday memories for decades to come. Many of you will likely remind me that having children is no guarantee that I’ll wind up with the family life I’m looking for. My fictitious future children might hate Christmas and spend sulky Decembers locked in their rooms, refusing to participate in the festivities or threatening emancipation if I buy them the wrong color Uggs. But I’ve never been a fan of not doing something just because the worst possible scenario could play out, and I would have to assume that there was at least a good chance I’d be able to recreate a fairly similar family dynamic to the one I grew up in. Minus, I would hope, the hysterical sibling arguments over the shared car.

But is wanting to continue those holiday traditions a good enough reason to put up with the physical, financial and emotional demands of child-rearing for the other 364 days a year? Am I allowing sentimentality for something I won’t be able to perfectly recreate anyways, cloud my judgment? Am I confusing future grief over losing my current family with grieving for the family I won’t have if we remain Childfree?

Such a heavy topic for a Monday. It’s probably best if I just slip on some headphones and let the smooth vibes of Michael McDonald’s Christmas album wash over me while I eat a platter of Hello Dollies for dinner.

48 Responses to Have Yourself a Lonely Little Christmas?

  • db says:

    My husband and I have been very pleasantly surprised at how much we (now) enjoy our childfree (and family-free) holidays, and you might, too. It was unfortunate necessity at first, living far away and working (albeit time-and-a-half), but now I would miss our solo fancy dinner and movie tradition, especially after the perspective of rejoining the crazy, extended-combined families last year. Dressing the cats in tinsel and bows happens either way.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Well as long as you have tinseled cats, how could anyone possibly go wrong?! Ours get pissed every year when we try and involve them in the family photo for Christmas cards.

  • Megan says:

    This is the first post I’ve read from you where I get a really strong feeling that you definitely don’t want kids. Just the way you’re phrasing things here, like “It scares me to think that having kids is the only real chance I have at making sure I’ll have those boisterous holiday memories for decades to come” or “But is wanting to continue those holiday traditions a good enough reason to put up with the physical, financial and emotional demands of child-rearing for the other 364 days a year?” These are not the things a woman who is really looking forward to having kids to share these things with would say.

    Not to mention that basically all of what you’re loving about the way things currently are has nothing to do with kids, with actual children. All of the things you do you do with all adults. Sure, it’s your family and you and your brothers are the kids, but none of you are children anymore. I bet your parents are loving that you’re all adults now and they can do things a little differently. Even if you had children, your Christmas would be totally different than it currently is because they’re little kids.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      You’re absolutely correct that I love things the way they are, with my adult family. The only problem is, that’s not in any way sustainable. Things are going to majorly change once my brothers have kids. I guess I just can’t figure out what to do with that right now.

      • Megan says:

        It sounds like you’ve got a really close family, so I imagine that once you’ve got nieces and nephews, Auntie Liz will still get invited to these celebrations. They might not happen right on Christmas Day, but it sounds like you guys are the kind who would stay close even after the kids come along. In fact, Auntie Liz might be the highlight for the kiddos since she’ll be so cool and give the most fun presents and have the best talks. :-) (If my brother had decided to have kids, that’s what I was hoping to be…except that I really don’t have any experience interacting with kids and I’d probably be awkward old Auntie Megan, who sits in the corner smiling, looking slightly bemused.)

        • Maybe Lady
          Maybe Lady says:

          Oh boy – Auntie Liz will definitely not be a highlight in the kids’ book – I’m awful with kids and have no idea how to talk to them! I’m hoping I’ll make up for lost ground when they turn 16 or so.

          • Courtney says:

            I’m new to the blog, so I don’t know your full background. But have you gotten close to a kid before?

            I think kids are like wine. Some people jump right in and love it. For some of us, it’s an acquired taste. Once you find a wine you like, or have special memories associated with drinking wine, you crave it.

            At first you didn’t even like it, but now life is so much … richer.

          • Maybe Lady
            Maybe Lady says:

            Haha – I love it – kids as an acquired taste! Very interesting, and to answer your question, no, I don’t spend any time around kids whatsoever! This is making me think about the fact that I HATED the first dirty martini I ever had, but now I have a hard time drinking anything else. I sense a post about this coming soon…

          • Katie says:

            I’m not a mother, but I’ve been around plenty of kids throughout my life and am now around my friends’ kids and preteens and I’ve determined one hard rule about interacting with children: They just want you to listen to them. Like, actually HEAR what they’re saying and ask to hear more of their thoughts. So you don’t actually have to say much of anything.

          • Maybe Lady
            Maybe Lady says:

            That’s an interesting point, and I think maybe because it’s so different from conversation with adults (where it would be awkward just to sit and listen for so long), that’s why it’s so hard for me.

  • loribeth says:

    Neither my sister nor I have children… we are both now over 50… and our Christmases are still much as they have since we were children (minus our grandparents, who passed away 10+ years ago). I have never missed a Christmas with my parents, & I am dreading the day they are not there anymore. You\’re not alone.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      That’s great that you still have your sister to celebrate with too. I feel like if at least one of my family members (my age) would be Childfree too, it would make things a lot easier.

  • Jennifer says:

    I think you end up creating your own traditions which you will do with or without kids because obviously you are a holiday kind of person. Just today I had a lady say its not the same at Xmas with her son grown and not living with them and I realized that was not something I really longed for. I still love doing the things i grew up doing with my parents and now that I’m married we have created our own traditions and share the time with my in laws.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I’m sure you’re right that we’d wind up creating our own traditions. I just find it hard to believe that I’d ever enjoy it as much as I enjoy spending the holidays with tons of family around. But I guess you never really know.

  • Alex says:

    Though I\’m an only child, I grew up in a large extended family that went all-out on holiday gatherings. Thanksgiving was always at my parents\’ house and was basically the event of the year. As my cousins and I started getting older and moving out, our parents weren\’t as interested anymore in going through the trouble of having the big parties just for themselves (yet proving what a sham the whole \”family ties\” thing is, if it\’s so easily tossed aside the very same second that For The Children is no longer an available reason). When I was younger (high school/college) this used to bother me. I was used to having this big thing twice a year, and now there was nothing. Then I moved out of state and rarely travel back to my childhood home anymore. I thought I would miss it all. I don\’t.

    I like that holidays are calm and quiet now. That I don\’t have to prep for anyone other than myself and my husband. That I don\’t have to pretend to feel social if I don\’t. That I don\’t have to put up with my ignorant conservative family members\’ pontification over dinner on why Democrats are the antichrist. That I don\’t have to travel over Christmas (oh sweet lord, thank you). Yes, that I don\’t have to deal with any screaming kids. That I can make this day exactly what I want it to be. That I can have the holidays on my own terms.

    This is really just an extension of my favorite part of being CF and living far away from my meddling family: that I never have to kowtow to anyone else in my day-to-day life (other than my boss, but that\’s why they pay me, and anyway, he\’s much less annoying than most of my relatives). Whenever I hear my friends or coworkers complain about the holidaze, about the chaos and the fortune spent on presents and the ten hours at the airport and the judgmental in-laws and the whiny children and the cooking for 20 people (all of whom have, of course, different tastes in food), I feel so relieved that it\’s not me that it practically makes me light-headed. My husband\’s aunt and uncle (childfree, of course) used to go to the Caribbean every Christmas, and I always thought that was the most glamorous thing I\’d ever heard. (We have yet to spend a holiday on a palm-tree-studded beach, but just that fact that it\’s an option makes me happy.)

    I understand that in growing up and away from that tight-knit childhood environment, I\’ve lost something. I just think that in my independent adult CF life, I\’ve gained so much more. On the rare occasion when I\’ve wanted to be in the thick of things with large groups of people and thus gone to the party, I\’ve always ended up regretting it, or at least, regretting not leaving earlier. And then I get back (finally) to my quiet house and I wonder why I ever bothered leaving it in the first place. (You know the saying \”the more I meet people, the more I love my cat\”? It applies here, and yes, it applies to family just as much as to strangers, if not more so.)

    And I\’m sure you know this, but sentimentality is a horrible reason to have kids :) While I\’m sure your kids would not be Christmas-hating monsters, they would still be, well, children, and unless you like the other 99.999% of parenting, Kodak moments (always fleeting) will not carry you and your sanity through the rest of it.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I can totally see why the CF lifestyle makes sense for you. But I think I’m probably a much more social person that craves that group interaction. So what do you do when you’re that sort of person, but don’t particularly enjoy children (and don’t know anyone else who doesn’t plan to have them)? Le sigh. Well, I hope you get that Caribbean Christmas soon!

      • Alex says:

        I agree with Megan above. Creating the holiday atmosphere that you crave doesn\’t need to include children. I think all of us could use a few more (or just a few) CF friends. So many of the potential \”issues\” with being CF could so easily be resolved if it was easier to make CF friends. I think this is a reason a lot of people have kids (instant company), but of course, that\’s not a good reason to reproduce, and there\’s never a guarantee that your kids will, as they age, want to spend time with you.

        I look forward to the day when being CF is commonplace enough that everyone will meet many CF people just in the course of daily life. We\’re about 20% of the US population now, and even higher in some other countries. You\’d think this would be easier. I think it\’s made harder by the fact that being CF is still considered largely taboo, and so a lot of CF people don\’t feel comfortable being open about it, and a lot of people who might prefer to be CF never even consider it as an option. Statistically, 1 in 5 people we meet (again, in the US; 1 in 4 in some places, like Germany and Australia) will never have kids. I wish they wore signs or something.

        Also, I wanted to let you know that I appreciate how you respond to each comment, even if it\’s just to say hi. It\’s nice to feel heard :)

        • Maybe Lady
          Maybe Lady says:

          I know, it’s insane how I’m literally only person I know out here who may not want kids, and I’m not exactly a hermit! Where ARE these 20%? I know they have meet-up groups online now, but much like online dating felt in the very beginning, it just seems…weird. But maybe soon, it’ll be as commonplace as match.com marriages!

  • Sarah says:

    We moved countries, so haven’t had a family xmas in a very long time, what really helped us with the transition (unbeknownst at the time) was we bought a vacation place on a little ski hill (we could afford to do this as we don’t have kids!) and we have happily been adopted into the many other families and couples that spend their Christmases at the ski hill too, it has come to a point where we end up accepting 5 or 6 different invites on the one day and it’s a big fantastic open house for everyone on Christmas day, it really is like an extended family- it’s actually kinda nice for hubs and I to have our private eggs benny and pressies with our cat on xmas morning before hitting the ski hill. I don’t see this ending anytime soon, as lots of our friends up there are sending kids off to college and o/seas, so there are lots of christmas orphans and we will always form a part of each others christmases. I kind of almost prefer it to the family christmas to be completely honest… it’s nice to form new traditions.

  • Karin R. says:

    I wrestled with this EVERY year. But I’m nearing 39 now and I think I’m finally starting to be comfortable with being childfree. I LOVE holiday traditions and I struggled with all the changes as the family started to grow. What I found to be helpful was to create something that my husband and I do every year so that there was some kind of stable tradition in place even if Christmas starts happening at different houses every year. On Christmas Eve, my husband and I have dinner with my parents (and sometimes my brother or sister and their families too) and then we drive all over town looking at holiday lights with a thermos of hot cider. When we get home we make fancy adult beverages and open gifts to each other. Christmas day is at my mom and dad’s… for now. But I know someday that will change. I think this will be the first year where I will not be wondering “would Christmas be better if I’d decided to be a mom?”. Christmas is pretty cool just the way it is. And the rest of the year? WAY too cool to make that kind of change.

  • Sara says:

    I just \”discovered\” you and spent way too much time reading your entire blog. (Clearly, I do not have children.)

    I\’m 29; happily married for 4 years; self-employed.

    I waffled for years, leaning on the \”no\” side. But then a few weeks ago, my doctor suggested getting a test to evaluate ovarian reserves (TMI, sorry), just to see what my chances were like.

    As it turns out, I am basically barren.

    After I hung up the phone with my doctor, I collapsed on my kitchen floor and bawled.

    This reaction stunned and terrified me.

    Then again, I\’m also terrified of diapers and whiny brats.

    My doctor said I could consider IVF but I shouldn\’t wait. This would mean going from \”probably not\” on the kid question to \”yes, and I\’m going to squander my life savings trying.\”

    Over the last two days, since receiving this news, I\’ve found myself scheduling consultations with fertility specialists. It\’s like I\’m having an out of body experience: who is this crazy woman trying to pay someone $25,000 to have a baby?

    Maybe that diagnosis was the kick in the pants I needed. Maybe it\’s true that you don\’t know what you\’ve got \’til it\’s gone.

    Since I can no longer choose option 3 (wait until later), I guess I\’m jumping on the train. It\’s terrifying and exciting and still might not work.

    I guess I kind of figure that neither having children nor NOT having children guarantees a good life, and a whole lot of it has to do with your attitude. So…here goes…

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Wow, that is quite a story! And I think you’re totally right – it sometimes requires a kick in the pants or a shock or a wake-up call or whatever you want to call it, to make you really see what you want. I’m glad to hear that you’ve discovered what that is, even if it may be a bit of an uphill battle. I wish you the best of luck and hope it all turns out well!!

    • kallie3000 says:

      Good luck! May you make yours the best life, no matter the results. And may those around you love and support you in all your trials. *hugs*!

  • kallie3000 says:

    I am going to have kids, but don\’t have them yet, and to me Christmas is not near as Christmassy without little kids opening presents from Santa. For the last three years, my sister-in-law\’s family has been the best: they let us stay overnight on Christmas Eve, hang out and watch the kids open presents, and generally include us completely in the whole Christmas thing. They even bought us our own stockings for Santa to fill!

    Even if your family does kind of go their separate ways, there are plenty of other people who don\’t mind full houses at Christmas. It might take a bit of work, but you could always become that magical christmas fairy, flitting from house to house delivering Christmas joy (and cookies!). That is a lot easier to do without kids, actually!

    And in a couple years, just post on your blog about it again – I\’m sure you\’ll get lots of invitations. If you come to my house, though, you are going to have to play peekaboo and keep the Santa secret. Just warning you ahead of time ;)

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I’m sure you’re right that many people would probably open their homes to us at the holidays…but sometimes there’s just no substitute for family. Wait, what Santa secret?! Is he not real?!?!

  • kallie3000 says:

    Also, my dog in a santa hat is at LEAST as cute as any baby picture christmas card! Ha!

  • Lisa says:

    I think about this a lot. I have grown up with the kind of magical holidays you describe. I swear Christmas at my parents home is something like out of a magazine or Christmas movie special. But what happens in 10 years when my parents are too old for this? If my husband and I don\’t have kids, we are not moving out of our cozy apartment which couldn\’t host that kind of party.

    When you ask if it\’s worth it for the other 364 days – and another commenter said this makes you sound child free, it does a little. But people can have doubts.

    And really it\’s not just Christmas, it\’s Thanksgiving and Halloween and walks in the park. There are so many experiences I think that having children would enhance. I could totes handle another few years of partying, I\’m 29 now… but after that I think I\’m going to want something more out of life.

    What Sara said above also freaks me out. This year I learned about a condition I have that has a small chance of making pregnancy very dangerous for me. I had about three days where I was inconsolable. It seemed so unfair that so many people get to have this beautiful, natural process why would it be so hard for me? I went back to discuss with my doctor, and apparently I was missing a few facts. She said not to worry and there\’s no reason to think it will, complicate a pregnancy, just to be aware that there is a tiny change it will and be on the lookout for symptoms if the time comes. I calmed down.

    I thought of this blog and the few thought experiments you have posted, \”What if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to decide NOW?\” \”What if raising kids was free?\” Here\’s another, \”What if your health was such that pregnancy could be very dangerous and even more uncomfortable than it normally is? How would you feel? Would you still want kids?\”

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Wow, those are all great questions – I definitely need to add those to that page! Thanks for sharing those – and your experience, it’s all helpful.

  • Interesting topic. I will say I love Christmas SO MUCH MORE now that we have children in the house. It’s like getting to re-live the magic of your own childhood. It’s wonderful. However, since you have two brothers, maybe you can alternate years that you go visit them with Drew for Christmas? Who wouldn’t want fun aunt Liz around at the holidays!? And you could be fun, WELL RESTED aunt Liz who stays up late with them having a sleepover in front of the Christmas tree, buys the “IT” gifts because their own parents can’t afford them what with saving for college and shelling out for field trips. And maybe cool Aunt Liz can become part of what THEY love about the holidays. Especially because she doesn’t bring any pesky cousins to annoy them :p

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Those are all lovely thoughts, but I’m afraid I will just probably never be Fun Aunt Liz! I truly, truly am terrible with kids and can never find anything to talk to them about. And despite working for a toy company for five years, I never have any clue what toys kids find fun! My value might be better felt by the adults if I just volunteer my services as holiday bartender extraordinaire…

  • Marie says:

    I never realized how much more “Christmasy” Christmas feels until last year when my 3 year old was old enough to get it. The lights, the stockings, the treats, the games, the Santa… It blows their mind and it is awesome to experience it through their eyes. Sure parents get carried away (not much different than cat-parents forcing their snarling cats to pose in tinsel) and parents love to complain about whiney kids, but to me, Christmas got waaay better when my kids came along. Until then, it was basically just a repeat of the Thanksgiving party except with different colors and a tree, or a chance to take a trip without using as much vacation time.

    I agree with Megan above that this blog entry makes you seem very pro-ChildFree but I would say that all your posts are like that. Maybe you feel different IRL and this just makes for good blog material, but the phrase “But is wanting to continue those holiday traditions a good enough reason to put up with the physical, financial and emotional demands of child-rearing for the other 364 days a year?” – it is really sterile.

    Parents are happy with their lives and their kids when they truly wish to have a relationship with these little people because when you do, the other stuff – money, lifestyle changes, etc. is just overhead. People who put price tags on their kids are generally going to be pretty disappointed. To see them grow day in and day out is the real payoff. It’s not because we need a Scrabble partner to go along with our eggnog in 30 years.

    I think your blog is fun to read, but sometimes I feel like the topic of “I like the thought of kids in very specific contexts but not if I have to actually work for it” or “Maybe I want kids but these are all the ways I see them making my life suck” can only be recycled so many times…

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I’m sorry if my material seems recycled to you, Marie – I’m really just writing about topics as they become important to me, and sometimes the same sorts of issues manifest themselves in many different situations. It may seem boring to you because you know without a doubt that you were meant to love being a mother, but for those who are struggling with this decision, it’s helpful to approach it from all the as many angles as possible. Many of my readers seem to identify with this, so I’ll continue to post as long as I’m still working through this question and there are people who care about this topic.

      • Marie says:

        I’m sorry! I meant no offense. I’ve been there. Really. I babysat a ton in high school but I hated it and I don’t think the kids liked me very much, which sort of sucked. Hard when people start asking if your younger sister is available before you. Then I spent several summers working at a camp and again, I was like the second least cool counselor there and the kids were really annoying. My younger cousins thought I was weird and I couldn’t stand playing with my older cousin’s kids at family get togethers. I definitely did not want that in my life.

        So I moved on, set my whole life up around not having kids – my job, hobbies, even bought a house that I would have never bought if I thought I was going to have kids. And… now I have them and they mean the world to me even on days I feel like dropping them off at the police station. I’m still in the bad-decision-house. I still don’t particularly like other people’s kids and I don’t really like playing with them – even my own kids. I’m terribly uncreative. Life is strange sometimes. I think your blog is really interesting because I’ve never known anyone who was “on the fence” only people who wanted kids and people who didn’t. Good luck.

        • Maybe Lady
          Maybe Lady says:

          I think you were writing my biography until the part where you had kids! Well, who knows, maybe my story will end the same way too!

  • Diva says:

    It sounds like you\’re grieving a bit for the family holidays that you so loved when you were little. And I can get that. Sometimes life makes us have to retool our traditions, and it can be sad. When my dad passed away when I was 20, our traditions changed dramatically, and I mourned them for years. And now with siblings in jobs and states that don\’t allow us to gather all at once, we have never returned to those family times. My boyfriend, however, has a huge family and they have adopted me into their celebrations. And my mother now comes with me! It\’ll never be the same, and sometimes I wish it could be a little less togetherness, but I also feel fortunate to be so welcomed into the family.

    I think that, social bee that you are, you will find a way to create family celebrations for yourself — with Drew, with your siblings, or with other people — even people who have kids. And while things will be different when your brothers have kids, that doesn\’t mean that you can\’t be there and enjoy them (if their kids, less). They might be preoccupied, but I also think they\’ll love having a helpful adult they can talk to about something other than their kids! At least that\’s been my experience with my own friends — they want childfree people around, not only are we helpful, but we give their minds a break from parenthood! :)

    Yesterday, I visited a dear friend who just had a beautiful baby girl. And I loved holding her and feeling her little hands and toes. I kept waiting for that twinge of baby craving, or sadness, or regret, that I wasn\’t having a kid of my own. And I just didn\’t feel it. I totally wonder what their life will be like, and slightly envy the experience they will have as parents — but not enough to make that choice for myself. I look forward to possibly babysitting and getting to know their little girl. But I was glad to take the \”twinge test\” and to come out of it feeling like I was okay with my choice.

    Thanks for your blog.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I love that you’ve dubbed this the “twinge test”. I think I need to start holding more babies and put this to the test!

      • Diva says:

        Yes! I do think holding babies and being around kids can be a helpful barometer — not an exact one — but a helpful one!

  • Marie says:

    AskMoxie is a well-known blog in the MommyBlog genre. There’s a lot of reality and not much fluff in her writing and her commenters, many of whom have been commenting for years. Thought you would enjoy this week’s posting:

    http://www.askmoxie.org/2012/11/qa-deciding-to-have-a-baby.html#comments

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Wow, I’ve never heard this “after the child tax credits, the costs essentially zero out if you don’t have daycare”! I’ll have to make through all the comments and see what everyone else has to say about that.

      • Marie says:

        It’s a complete crock of poop. Unless you store them in the basement and feed them hot dogs and white rice, kids are a net drain on the budget no way around it. Some more than others. The poor woman who wrote that will be on the Confession site in a few years saying, “oh my God, according to the government I was only going to spend $2465 a year on my kid but now she is screaming for $30 a week ballet classes, pink Uggs, and she needs dental coverage!” the comments on that site are money. Many different views are represented.

  • Serious_about_Smoothies says:

    What a lovely thread… thank you to Liz and everybody who comments. A lonely little Xmas sounds really scary.
    However, 8 years ago, I traveled to visit my large extended family the day after Xmas. I was welcomed with the following holiday scene: Pablo Jr went bersek at 10am (surrounded by a large amount of opened boxes), and threw a fit yelling \”I DON\’T HAVE ENOUGH PRESENTS!! WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE PRESENTS?\” and then looked furious at my empty hands. That moment, a fairy died and the emergent childfree spirit in me was born.

  • Katie says:

    I’ve been thinking about this lately since it’s holiday time. I know a few bachelors in their 60s – uncles and family friends. They’re always enfolded into my husband’s large family events. I like to think that if we keep strong ties to the members of the family that we’d be able to join in the same way ourselves in 30 years. On the other hand, lately each year I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to have an event-free holiday that’s actually restful. Also, I think that if I were ever to have an event-free holiday and feel lonely about it, volunteering at a shelter, food pantry, food delivery program, nursing home, etc. would likely help that. Or there might be friends or acquaintances who either don’t have an event or don’t want to join the family event and might welcome an alternative…

    Everyone’s comments were really interesting too and made me realize a few things. I think that part of this is truly just change and change can be hard and sad, but a number of comments mentioned traditions and I think that’s the key here. Tradition is what can slip away as the years pass and people and situations change. I think that having children tends to create tradition because they thrive on consistency. Tradition can be easier, too, because something new doesn’t have to be thought of each year, which has to be great for parents. But adults can create tradition for themselves too and it can be just as powerful as those created for children. This is one of the reasons that I insist on making my husband and my birthdays a big deal with cake and candles. The tradition makes it special. Funny, actually, that doing the same thing each year can do that.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Good for you! Our grown up birthday tradition is for me to get Popeye’s fried chicken every year. Sometimes my husband puts a candle in the biscuit, but I’m going to start demanding it every year from now on.

  • M. (Spain) says:

    Wow… the more I read your blog the more I think you’re my doppelganger. This is another aspect of being childfree that scares me to death. I love spending the Christmas holidays with my family and I dread the day the older generation leaves this Earth and my cousins (I don’t have any brothers or sisters) are no longer available because they have kids that their in-laws want to spend the holidays with. It absolutely terrifies me.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I love that I have a doppelganger! But I imagine this is even harder for you, not having any siblings. I know a couple of people who grew up as the only child and were determined to have a ton of kids because they’d always wanted to be surrounded by family. I imagine it adds another layer of complexity into the situation.

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