• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

04 December 2009

ankle-biters

Kids. Whether carefully planned or accompanied by "surprise!", most of us grow up and have them, right?

A few of my friends are either pregnant or have kids. We've got cousins who have toddlers and/or are expecting their second or third child. Similarly-aged coworkers have small-to-medium-sized little ones. And I've reached the age where the ice-breaking question is no longer "so, are you dating?" It's now "So, do you have children?" That's what happens when you're in your mid-to-late twenties I guess. Several of the gals who've blogged for that wedding site are in various stages of pregnancy and/or new motherhood. Over a dozen of them, in fact. It's gotten to the point where people are joking that "something is in the water".

I have always wanted to be a mother. It was a goal of mine. I definitely wanted kids by the time I was 25. Now I'm closer to 27 than 26, I'm not pregnant, and I'm not trying to be. (In fact, I'm definitely taking serious steps to NOT be.)

I've been told my whole life (more and more so as I've become a "responsible adult") that "when it happens," I'll be ready. While I realize that no birth control is 100% accurate, I have done my research and chosen what I deem to be the best, most foolproof methods. So the reality of that saying is more along the line of: "When I'm ready, it will happen."

Kids cost money. They also cost time. We're selfish about that stuff - time especially. We like buying gadgets. We like seeing movies. We like taking trips. Oh, and tuition for two ain't cheap, y'all. And when you pay tuition, you tend to take classes. Classes come with homework. When we do have free time and money, we like to do what *we* want to do with it. We've been told half-jokingly by our similarly-aged friends (who are also parents) that "If you had kids, you'd understand ____" or "You only do ____ because you're not parents." Are they condescending to us? Or are they jealous? Sometimes I can't tell which it is.

Consider this too: upward mobility (of which Pink Hubby and I are big fans) takes sacrifice. On weekdays, work and school take up 95% of the time that we're not sleeping. Once we're done with school, we may have to move to different places several times to find the opportunities and the lifestyle we're seeking. Also when we're done with school, we hope to spend some nice quality time together: traveling, chilling, and generally being free of all that academic weight.

All of that stuff isn't easy with kids (unless you're really well-off to begin with, which we weren't -- but are striving to be). Kid-less couples are free to do what they want, when they want. They spend their money how they want to, and they spend time together or on hobbies. I've read over and over that kids often put so much strain on a marriage that it doesn't recover until they've moved out of the house. You can't be as romantic, as irresponsible, or as frivolous. Basically, you can't have as much fun and you're loaded down with stress.

Someone is bound to comment and tell me that kids ARE fun. They're the most fun we'll ever have. K. Sure they are, and they will be little blessings and joy and all that sappy blah-blah. Sometime.

But, I often don't think I have the patience for kids. I grew up as an only child. And I don't just mean the only one my parents had. I mean I was the only child of the whole family, until my cousin was born when I was 14. I don't really do well with babies and small children. First of all, babies terrify me. Their tiny, squirmy bodies. Dear god. Shudder. And then, they're so NEEDY. I'm selfish. I like my sleep and I like to do things when I am ready to do them. Pink Hubby and I joke that the problem with a baby versus a cat is you can't lock a baby in the basement at 5:30 AM when it won't shut the hell up so you can get some shut-eye. Will my patience improve with age? I'd like to say so, but I kind of wonder. Guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I think the biggest emotional struggle for me has been related to the rest of my family. The older generations aren't getting any younger, and at the rate I'm [not] moving toward procreation it's possible that some family members won't get to spend a lot of time with our future brood. But you know? I can't rush and get knocked up to please others.

I'm sure that the rewards of raising children are probably a fair trade for giving up some 'amenities' of child-free existence. But I know I'm not ready now. If there is something in the water, I'm switching to chardonnay.