These questions have been plaguing us for years…Could we afford it? Would we give it the attention it deserved? How could we find room for it in the house?
Finally, we received a sign from above: right there, on a top shelf at Marshalls was the exact model and color we’d wanted, at a drastically discounted price. Our new KitchenAid baby!
Oh, if only the human baby decision had been so clear-cut. Those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning know what a hot mess it’s been. But, folks, the decision has finally been made. And it’s pretty irreversible at this point, considering I’m more than five months pregnant.
Yup, five months…that means I’ve been avoiding writing this post for at least that long. Partially because I know many of you just heard “Another One Bites the Dust” roll through your head (or was that just me when friend after friend announced their pregnancies?) But the much bigger reason for my delay is that I had no idea how to explain it. After five million entries dissecting the issue from every possible angle, how could I not find a way to sum it up intelligently? I still haven’t figured it out, but at the very least, I owe the Undecideds an attempt. So here goes.
It started about a year and a half ago when I went home to see my parents and Indiana made me a little sad. No, it wasn’t just the iceburg lettuce and shredded cheddar “salads”. It was the reminder that we were 2,000 miles away. That we had to spend $800 in plane tickets and a few oh-so-coveted vacation days just to get our fix of playing family card games. That the only people I could wear my worst sweatpants in front of were people I only got to see twice a year.
So what were our options? Move back to Indiana? I’d sort of rather die (sorry, fellow Hoosiers). Aside from that, my recently retired parents were becoming a flight risk, talking of warmer climates. So what about the rest of the fam? Our siblings were scattered throughout Chicago, New York and Cincinnati. There was no single place to settle down, and even if there was, who knew how long they’d be there if the right job or house or whatever came up across the country?
That left us with two choices: find a friend group that felt like one big family, or build a bigger family of our own. We love our friends, but California is a transient place. One glance at a kickball team photo from 7 years ago would reveal that only 10% of us still live here. We’ve still got the same sized group, but it’s something of a revolving door these days. It’s become difficult to want to get too comfortable with anyone.
A tiny crack opened in our Childfree wall. We’d been doing the same sort of thing for so many years; it felt like time for a big change. So we flipped the switch. Instead of No, we thought what if Yes? New questions rose to the surface. Would it be hilarious to coach a Little League team? Could we finally have an excuse to rent an RV for educational vacations? Would we be endlessly entertained by talking about our kids, speculating on their motivations and dreams as often as we did with the cats?
For the first time, it sounded kind of…fun. So, Yes?
We decided to marinate on it for six months and found that Yes, this could be what we wanted, what we needed. A seriously drawn-out job change complicated things and we wound up waiting a year and a half instead of six months before pulling the trigger. Now here we are, another five months later. Carrying the most well-thought-out fetus in the entire world.
By no means have I done a 180. Walking past the daycare at work and hearing the sounds coming out of that place still sends shivers down my spine. Those “precious baby kicks” I’m feeling only conjure visions of Sigourney Weaver in Alien. I dread – DREAD – the thought of attending anything resembling a Mommy & Me gathering. For that matter, I dread the thought of being referred to as a Mommy. These things will likely never change.
The one thing that has though? For the first time, I can see my future clearly. And it excites the hell out of me. I’m not wondering anymore if I’m going down the right path. I’m going down the one that I’m on, the one I’ve chosen – even if it wasn’t with 100% certainty. It probably won’t be everything I think it will be (when is it ever, for anyone?), and I imagine I may struggle more than most because this mothering thing doesn’t come naturally to me. But we’ll do our best, and I’m wildly, irrationally confident that we’re going to have a pretty damn great life.
Can’t really ask for much more than that.
I want to thank everyone who came along for the ride over the past few years. There were countless comments, recommended articles, and heartfelt emails (on BOTH sides of the issue) that helped me get to where I am today. And while I wish I’d done this years ago to save myself the agony of this process (and perhaps some of the physical horrors of being pregnant in my thirties), I don’t think I’d feel as at peace with my decision as I do right now.
For those of you out there still riding the fence, I bid you good luck. No one knows better than I what a struggle you have ahead of you. I wish I could leave you with some parting words of wisdom that would make it all clear, but you’ll have to settle instead for one last command: Keep your ears open for other people’s stories – some will resonate more than others, and this will be telling. Don’t let anyone make you feel crazy or selfish or stupid for taking the time to consider where you want your life to go, or for making a choice that wouldn’t have been theirs. But most importantly, when you finally turn left or right, do your best to keep your eyes forward and throw yourself into it with as much gusto as if you’d known from the start that this was where you were meant to be.
Okay, that was like three commands, but accuracy was never my strong point in these posts.
Why do people always try and talk my husband and I into having kids? I cannot believe how many times we’ve been cornered by some half drunk 40 year old who only want to convince us that having children in the best thing that can ever happen to a person. I wonder are they trying to convince us, or themselves? And I always want to say “Oh, by the way, I’ve met your kids and I think they’re awful and lazy and why do you keep feeding them McDonalds for lunch?” Does that make me a bad person? Maybe, but it makes you a bad person when you say “I didn’t know what love was until I had children.” And “I had no purpose until I gave birth”. What? I don’t really love my husband? My job and volunteer work must be meaningless because I don’t have an infant? Who are you to tell me this crap? If that is what’s important to you, then fine. But don’t assume everyone is going to find that much joy in baby poop and breast pumps.
Also, why are moms so mean to other moms? Every time I go to some women’s interest blog page, it’s filled with mothers bashing other mothers on the way they raise their children. Aren’t they all supposed to be in this parenting thing together? But no, there’s actually a term – “Mommy wars” to describe how awful moms are to other moms! It’s completely absurd!
And apperantly women hate their bodies after birth (another reason not to have kids), but I just read this really crazy controversy about some mom, who actually worked her ass off and was proud of her body after she gave birth, and all the other moms are like “She’s fat shaming! Why isn’t she spending more time with her sons! She’s a bully! I’m a better mom than her because I choose to eat pancakes with my kids for dinner instead of working out”. Holy hell!!!! So I gather it’s like this: First you have to post 900 pictures of yourself pregnant. After you give birth you have to hate your body. Then you have to proclaim that you’re going to accept your body for the changes is made because you gave birth. And then you have to take pictures of you’re saggy boobs and stretch marked stomach and post them to body proud sites that embrace things like that. But never, under any circumstances can you give birth, get fit right afterwards and show off how amazing you look and feel because it would make others feel bad about themselves.
It just seems to me like have a kid is more like a cult these days and I really just don’t buy into it. There are all these crazy rules you have to follow (depending on what fads or trends you’re following). You loose your identity and get reassigned one (“I’m _________’s Mom/Dad). You have to subscribe to crazy dietary restrictions (which I’m pretty sure involve little gold-‐fish crackers and hotdogs and I don’t even think you can drink). And the only reward it assures is that after this life is over (parenthood) your next life (being an empty-‐nester) will be much more worth it. No thank you. I’m not gonna buy into it and I’ll thank you all very much to quit trying to get my husband and I to drink the kool-‐aid. We’d rather drink red wine anyways.
By Marcia Drut-Davis
Author: “Confessions of a Childfree Woman” amazon.com
Have you heard any of the following statements at any wedding or wedding shower?
1. Awwww. They’ll make such beautiful babies!
2. Want to guess how long until we see a little one?
3. Do you think she’s already prego?
4. Hope they wait until they have their first child.
5. Maybe we should have purchased blue or pink booties with the gift!
6. I hope they can afford a baby soon because they both just started jobs!
7. They better get started to make that baby on their honeymoon. She’s not getting any younger you know!
8. Can’t wait till they make their parents grandparents.
9. I wonder if they have a boy will they call it Junior?
10. If they have a girl, I bet they’ll keep trying for a boy to carry on the family name.
Alas, I’ve heard all these statements. I never realized how pronatal and ignorant they were until I became savvy about how much pressure there is equating marriage with having children. It’s not just hetero couples either. Gay couples get pressure too! They may hear, “Wonder who will be the surrogate? Or, “I guess they’ll adopt, huh?”
It’s such utter nonsense. Let’s look at each assumption:
1. Beautiful babies? The genetic pool is vast. There are no guarantees two good-looking people will produce a Gerber child. And, if people want kids, who knows if they’ll face infertility or not! In my opinion, it’s wrong to make that statement. If you hear it, comment! Set people straight.
2. Just because a woman has a uterous, doesn’t mean it must be filled.
3. Already pregnant? How dare anyone assume this? Is that the only reason people want to marry?
4. “First child” I agree that waiting if they want kids is a good choice. Look at the word “first”. There’s an assumption there will be more.
5. Have you seen wedding/shower gifts with baby clothes attached? I have!
6. If they both started jobs, they’re crazy to think about any baby! The cost to raise one is astronomical.
7. Just because an older woman is marrying does not mean she’s a breeder facing the biological clock.
8. Making a grandchild. This is no reason to have any child. Grandparents are waiting for the icing on the cake of parenting and can be very pushy. They face their own peers handing out baby photos. (You never see teen photos, huh?)
9. Another assumption and none of anyone’s business.
10. It’s pronatal and dangerous to assume everyone must have children and if they do….one of each sex. Carrying on a family name as a reason to have children is the height of selfishness, in my opinion. Our planet has enough people already! Besides, many girls are using their father’s names too!
That’s my rant for the day. Remember, if we stay silent, these things will continue. Speak up. Be heard and never get into any push/pull confrontation. If that happens, walk away and enjoy your own childfree lifestyle.
I have am cursed lucky to have a number of kids in my life, even though I don’t have any kids of my own. Some of these kids are family (nieces and nephews) while others are the children of friends and co-workers. Meanwhile, I have a dog. My dog is getting up there in age and I’ve been a pet-parent for over 12 years. You would think that this gave me an opportunity to have a “leg up” on the parenting conversations, but people who have human children hate having their children compared to my dog. They think that their children are different and should be treated differently, but I “beg” to differ.
Anyway, here is my list of all the ways that I’ve noticed that dogs and children behave in pretty much the exact same ways.
(My apologies to the cat people. I am allergic to cats and this hasn’t given me the chance to spend much time around them to observe their feline habits so I can’t write about their comparison to children, but you are welcome to include your experiences in the comment section.)
- Food – Both dogs and little kids need special food. You can’t feed a dog the same thing that humans eat and you can’t feed a baby or toddler the same things that adults eat.
- Bathroom Habits – Dogs and children require training to teach them how to properly go to the bathroom. For dogs, you want them to go outside or on special paper/pads in the house. For children, you want them to go in a diaper at the beginning and later transition to a potty.
- Naps – Dogs and babies are both content to nap throughout the day. And, when both sleep, they do not do so quietly. Dogs and children make noise and move around a lot while sleeping.
- Play Time – Kids and dogs love to play and can make anything into a toy. Even if that is a cardboard box, wrapping paper, or food.
- Mouth – Everything goes in the mouths of children and dogs, whether it is supposed to or not.
- Constant Supervision – See “mouth” above. You have to be quick to get a button out of the mouth of a dog or baby. Even if you thought that button was sewed tightly onto your throw pillow, they will find a way to dislodge it and put it in their mouth in the 10 seconds it took you to sit down across the room.
- Safeguarding the House – Before getting a dog or a baby, it is important to make the house safe for them and from them. Everything under 3 feet in height must be moved if it is breakable, small enough to be swallowed, dangerous, or could be damaged by the child or dog. This actually means that everything gets put up high or locked into a cabinet and all cords and wires have to be removed or taped down.
- Listening Skills – Children and dogs have poor listening skills. You constantly have to repeat yourself to tell them the rules or expectations for their behavior.
- Privacy and Alone Time – Neither of these exist if you have children or dogs. You can’t even go to the bathroom or make a phone call without being interrupted. Children and dogs constantly want your attention.
- Tricks – Parents of children and dogs can not contain their pride in showing off the newest trick that can be performed by their kids or dogs. Whether that trick is crawling, walking, sitting or speaking, the parent is overjoyed to show off this trick to anyone willing to watch. And, often a food-related bribe is needed to encourage the child or dog to perform said trick.
And yet parents still get mad when the comparison is made…
by Lunacy of Ink at http://lunacyofink.com
While out with some friends recently, my husband sent me a picture of the new chicken coop, for we own two chickens and we love them very much. When they’re not roaming free around our garden, they deserve someone special to sleep with and make us eggs.
I was so happy with Gaz’s picture I made it my wallpaper and showed it to all my friends. I was aware that I was like one of those parent-types who at the mere mention of their child, whips out a smartphone and starts showing you dull and boring pictures of their baby doing dull and boring things. But this was different. My baby is a chicken, which is cooler, cheaper, and provides food.
later that day, I met for the first time my best friend’s new baby, Baby Wipes. Baby Wipes was fast asleep when I arrived, but that didn’t stop us bonding. She was so cute. I couldn’t help crying a bit when they put her on my chest and we had a sleepy cuddle. Call it a hangover, call it what you will, but I was an emotional mess.
Obvs I am madly in love with Baby Wipes. I put her picture on Facebook so I could show off that I met her when she was three days old and she loved me enough to sleep peacefully on my chest.
And then came the comments. The presumptions that I was broody.
Now look here. Just because I love my chicken and my best mate’s baby, and just because I am married and recently moved to the countryside, doesn’t mean a thing. The best thing about Baby Wipes is that I can love her and spoil her and have loads of fun with her, but then I can hand her back to her parents and they can do all the boring stuff and they can take responsibility for her future. This is the answer to remaining child-free – just enjoy your friend’s babies a bit, then go back to your life.
Having spent the day getting all emotional about chickens and babies, the most sensible thing to do with my evening seemed to be going to watch BlackFish, a documentary about SeaWorld and captive orcas. Yeah, that was a really good idea.
So I finished my emotional day crying at Tilikum the Orca’s rubbish life. But that doesn’t make me broody. I don’t want a baby. I just want to love my best mate’s one. It might seem like a contradiction that I can have all this love for Baby Wipes and not want a baby of my own. But I have all this love for Orcas too, it doesn’t mean I want to bring one up.
It’s hard work being an early pioneer of the child-free lifestyle choice. But then again I do have a lot of child-free time in which to rant and moan, which I am sure is just as rewarding as raising children. Right?