Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Now? Later? Never? Too late?

I love Joanna Goddard's blog, Cup of Jo. She always has thought-provoking posts.

This one, on the decision whether or not to have kids, completely floored me. I thought I was alone in my yes...no...right now...never...maybe? fluctuations.

Apparently not.

Disclaimer: to my friend who has just told me she's pregnant, I'm thrilled for you and I can't wait to meet the mini-you; to my friends who have kids, they're adorable and I love them and I think being Auntie Kate is the Best Thing Ever.

Ok, disclaimer finished.

I'm 30 and have been married for almost 6 years. All kinds of inappropriate people (acquaintances, hairstylists, tenuously-related family members) ask me, "So, when are you having children?!" (Close friends, fine. People whose middle names I don't know, mind your own damn beeswax, says the girl on her open-to-the-internets blog...) Some days, I'm desperate for kids. Some days, I can't bear the thought of them. Also, I have some friends-of-friends who are struggling with infertility. I can't even imagine how it feels to get the "oh my gosh you did NOT just ask me when I'm having babies" question if I were desperately trying and spending tons of money on it and failing completely. Which I'm not. But I could be. You don't know that when you ask me.


I work full time. We have a small house. We have a boat. We have one (very cute) car. My parents live on another continent. I sing in a choir with a 2-hour weekly evening rehearsal, 20 miles from home. I love tower-bell ringing, also generally in 2-hour blocks, in the evenings. I love reading for hours in bed. I love lazy weekend mornings. I'm selfish. I like quilting (and spending money on quilts). I go to New York once a year (on a red-eye with a kid or with a stroller? ACK!). The schools around us are really not very good, unless you go to private school, which costs an alarmingly large percentage of my annual salary. Homeschooling, anyone? Then there's the birthday parties (a seemingly endless stream of them at a certain age), the ballet and the ice skating and the bike rides and the park and mom, my shoes are too small and I really need to have that new game and I just threw up and what's for lunch?

I always wanted kids when I was younger, you know, when I grow up. I worked as a camp counselor for years. A lot of my friends have kids (or are pregnant). I love kids. Babies are cute. I make cute clothes and quilts and shoes for them. But these are not campers. Campers go home to Mommy and Daddy at the end of the summer. Babies go back to Mommy and Daddy when they cry.

They're expensive. They smell. They take up ALL your free time. They make you depressed after you give birth and then again when you stop breast feeding, apparently. They're, um, permanent. You're responsible for them. Seriously. PERMANENT. Like, forever. I'm 30, and I still talk to my mom at least once a week. What if I have a kid that turns out to be a mass-murderer? Or, worse, a Republican (kidding)?

Am I ticking? I have no idea!

When I wasn't sure if I wanted a kindle, I asked the bloggie peeps. This feels a little bit bigger than that. I'm really, really glad that I'm not the only one.


Vivren said...

You neglected something kind of huge--which is that you are kind of parent some of the time! Does that play into the ambivalence at all? Because you kinda sorta have a grown kid already?

janerowena said...

You know what - I really don't think it matters. I truly believe that you can be just as happy with or without children. I happen to possess two young 'accidents', ten years apart, not at all planned. I love them dearly but know that my life would have been just as happy, but very different, without them. Also a lot richer, as we went the private school route.

Have a hunt around your area's league tables. Suffolk schools vary hugely.