… for wanting to have kids?
Yea, hi, I’m one of those twenty/thirty-something bloggers blogging about the whole whether-to-have-kids thing. Much as I fight being one of the crowd, I’m one of the crowd. It’s freaking biological.
Seriously, though, are there right and wrong reasons for wanting to have kids? Or, more specifically, right and wrong reasons for wanting to have kids now?
Is “because I want my life to be bigger, brighter, and more interesting by experiencing it with — and for — someone else who is my kid” a good reason?
Is that the same as, “I don’t like my life and think having a kid will magically fix everything?”
What about, “Because life is seeming like a stupid endless cycle of stupidity and I think that means I’m ready for the next crazy thing”?
Or, “I want to have a child who looks and acts like my husband — infuriating and awesome all at once — and can’t help but be like me, too, so I can be with her* through everything good and awful and wonderful and scary”?
I’ve always wanted to have kids – someday. When I got married the first time, I was twenty one. Despite my young age, (crazy) people asked when we’d have kids, to which I’d reply, “We have two decades to decide.” Fast forward ten years, and I know two things: 1) it wasn’t nearly as funny a comment as I thought it was at the time, and 2) the decades are flying by.
One of Gretchen Rubin’s four splendid truths is, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Yes, yes, YES.
Soon I’ll be thirty one, an age I’ve always wanted to be (31 and 34 were always my favorite ages, can’t really tell you why), and I’m looking forward to the next year. But. But! My biological clock is suddenly ticking and I’m fighting off the monsters that tell me I’m ridiculous (or wrong or silly or ridiculous – they like to repeat themselves).
Me: I think I’m ready to start thinking about when to have kids.
Monster: Crazy woman, it doesn’t count if you qualify every word with a qualifier word.
Me: I’m ready to have kids. Except, not this second. Well, maybe.
Monster: Silly woman, how can you be grown-up enough to have kids when you can’t even say the words? Actually, forget saying the words; you can’t even think them without twisting yourself into a pretzel.
Me: I’m ready to have kids. *gulp*
Monster: Why? Is this because the neighbor and the friend are thinking about having a kid? Are you just trying to fit in? You weren’t actively considering the kid thing until then, after all, figuring another year was a fine amount of time to put the whole thing off.
Me: Does it matter why I started thinking about it? I did, sure, because they were, but now I can’t shake it. In thirty minutes of thinking, virtually every thought came back to my kids: I want my kids to play there, I want to take my kids to that place, this steep drop-off will be dangerous for my kids. And it wasn’t even in an obsessive way (I know obsession), more like a simple statement of fact.
Monster: I don’t know, we all know you can obsess. Remember the camera extravaganza? Or the basement thing? Or the kitchen remodel meltdown?
Me: Yes. I obsess. But now that I think of it, the camera extravaganza started because I wanted to get good enough at photography to share my children with my long-distance family. And the basement extravaganza was because I wanted a non-creepy guest suite so my family could visit — and stay with us while having their own space — when we have kids. And the kitchen remodel meltdown was so we wouldn’t have to deal with a kitchen remodel with kids to take care of… and they wouldn’t crawl on that nasty (and probably freaking asbestos-laden) floor.
Monster: Gotcha. Okay. I hear you. But I’m a monster, so I have a few arguments left. You know, the important ones you can’t shake. Ready? You’re not old enough.
Me: HAHAHAHAHAHA. I’m officially not “too young” for anything anymore. For once. And definitely not to exercise my state- and God-supported right to procreate.
Monster: You’re not grown-up enough.
Me: Fair point. And I might not ever be, but I do suspect that being someone’s mom will be the nudge I’m looking for. I grew up a bit while being single and alone, then more while being engaged, then a ton during our first year of marriage. I’m as grown up as one person with responsibility for and to other adult creatures will be… and I’m not getting another puppy.
Monster: He’s not grown-up enough.
Me: His deal, not mine. I’m here to support, not pester or facilitate or guide, not him, anyway. He should be allowed to grow up as his life path leads him. (Hello, hippie comment, but true.)
Monster: You’re not solid enough as a couple.
Me: Fair point, yet again. I don’t have an answer for this, but I acknowledge the need to deal.
Monster: Your people live across the country.
Me: Yes, true, but unless I’m planning to move back there, seriously (um, no), this is fact, not decision-point. Time to mourn and move on. And I’ll keep working on the basement non-creepiness and photography skills, talk with my parents about how they’d imagine staying in touch once there are spawn to share, and make real plans for get-togethers. My kids won’t get to stay with their (maternal) grandparents just because, but they will get the experiences I missed – traveling cross-country for a holiday, spending the summer in the company of people who let you have cookies for dinner, Skype.
Monster: I’m tired. Let’s pick this up another day.
Me: Me, too. But I feel better, so thanks for the chat. My husband and I need to strategize on shoring up our relationship, finishing up house projects, and timing, but I think I know where I stand. You’re pretty cute, monster o’ mine.
*I’d never, ever, EVAH wanted to have a girl. Girls were scary and b*tchy and horrible creatures… but then I met Jen and made girlfriends and realized we’re pretty freaking awesome, us chicks, and now I’d like one – who can’t shut up and giggles like a fool and is prone to bouts of discontent, even. Boys would be cool, too, though, since they’re all boy-ish and awesome. So, yea, boy or girl would be great, and I’ll keep defaulting to girl just because it terrifies my husband (mostly because he was once — still? — a teenage boy and therefore knows the dirtiness of a teenage boy’s mind… and, ahem, of teenage girls’, too).