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I’m Thinking (JUST THINKING) About Having a Kid

Don’t die of shock.  This is not a statement that I am actively trying to get pregnant (I’m NOT).  I am still leaning towards the idea that children are not for me right now, but I have officially gone from “Oh, HELLS NO” to “Ummm.  Maybe?”.

My View of Having Kids

If you have been reading BFS for a while, you may have noticed that I sort of cringe at the idea of having kids.  I’ve named off a bunch of reasons over the years, but here is what it really boils down to:

My shallow reasons…Kids in general are messy, sticky, and go through a ton of bratty stages.  I also think babies are generally really ugly, poop way too much, cry way too much, and would completely screw up my figure more than donuts ever have (yep, good ol’ vanity).  Teenagers are just nuts (I still remember how I acted).    And did I mention how messy kids can be?  I really, really like my brand new, shiny house.  I’m not ready to have crayon on the walls (if I get lucky enough that they don’t use markers) or stains on all of the bedroom carpets.

My deeper reasons…I think that raising children is a huge responsibility that not enough people take seriously.  I would take it very seriously and don’t want to deal with that.  It takes time, patience, energy, and flexibility.  I don’t have all of those traits at the same time…ever.  It also means that the world stops revolving around you (you know what I mean) and it starts revolving around this little life that you are in charge of not screwing up.

My deepest reason…What if my kid wasn’t like us?  My husband and I met in the Honors College dorms on our college campus. We both were academically lazier than we could have been back then, but we have the ability to learn easily.  We both like to learn (different topics interest each of us, but we both like knowledge in general).  I also seem to be able to read people pretty well and socialize.  What if our kid isn’t like that?  What if it is disabled physically or mentally?  How would we be able to handle that without being bitter, awful parents?

Plus, Mr. BFS hasn’t wanted kids either, so it was just a no brainer.

What’s Changed?

So, what’s changed?  Nothing really.  All of my reasons against having kids are still there.  But I’m 30 and want to make sure I look at all of my options before I get to 35.  I was old enough to remember my mom having both of my younger sisters.  The pregnancy seemed pretty normal at age 32 but way harder at 38.  I know that the longer I wait, the harder it will be.  I also know that it is just easier to raise a kid before your age slows you down.

So I have been thinking.  My shallow reasons for having a kid can be handled pretty easily.  Yeah, kids are messy, bratty, etc.  And yeah, I will have a post-pregnancy belly.  But I think that stuff isn’t really all that important in the big scheme of things.

As for my deeper reasons, the older I get, the more I think I could handle taking parenthood seriously and not minding.   I also think I could give up the figurative spotlight and actually enjoy watching a new, little life get way more attention than me.  Plus, I know that my friends, and hopefully all of you, would still talk to me and make me feel special, lol.

And for my deepest reason, I guess everybody worries if their kid will be their own definition of normal.  That really isn’t something that we can control.  If I have a kid that is a lot like us, it would probably be easier.  But if I have a kid that needs more help or has some sort of disability, I guess we could handle that too without being crappy parents.  It would just be harder and probably more expensive.  I’ll just have to hope.

Mr. BFS has also gone from “Oh, HELLS NO” to “Meh”.  So he would most likely swing whatever way I do overall.

In the Meantime

So, there you go.  I am JUST THINKING about having a kid.  I will let you know if I actually make up my mind at any point.  I also know that our decision one way or another won’t mean crap if we just can’t have kids or something like that.  But making up our minds is definitely the first step.  We’ll revisit this on and off over the next few years until we really know what we want to do.

In the meantime, I will hopefully get some more time around children just to help.  I let my friends know that I am up for babysitting overnight again.  I also am attempting to become a Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program.  I started the process a couple of weeks ago.

My interview with a program rep is tomorrow.  I already filled out all of the paperwork, submitted the docs they needed, and completed an online training course (with a perfect 100% on the quiz, thank you very much, LOL).  Even if having kids isn’t for me, I’ve always enjoyed volunteer work and I need to get back into it.  I stopped volunteering with the local hospice when we were moving late last year and have started getting that inner-volunteer push again.

Plus, I may not be perfect, but I think I am a pretty solid role model for kids.  And I do enjoy being around kids as long as they are not screeching or tearing up my house.  :-)  In fact, I have had a great time with kids pretty much every time I have hung out with them outside of my home in the last few years.  I hope the interview goes well and I can get matched to a “Little” soon.  I’ll let you know how this works out.  :-)

So, what is your view on children?  Yay or nay?  Did you always know?  What made or helped you decide?

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39 comments to I’m Thinking (JUST THINKING) About Having a Kid

  • I totally saw this coming after yesterday’s post! We’re going to have at least one kid then go from there, but it will still be a couple years. I know it will be a lot of work, but I feel we need to have at least one.

  • I think you would be a GREAT mom! I can’t wait to get married next year so I can start having kids. I know it will be difficult while they are young, but I think I’ll really like raising teenagers and then having a lifelong friend once they become adults.

  • For a long time, we weren’t sure if we wanted kids, and if we did have kids we were going to wait until we were in our 30s. Lately though, we have been very on board with having a kid within the next couple of years. It is crazy how much we have changed our minds!

  • Oh boy – this is a topic that has tortured us for the three years we’ve been married. I will be 30 next Monday (yay!), and my husband will be 28 in January. We decided about a month ago that we would stop birth control on my birthday. As the date got closer, I freaked out and changed my mind. My husband has never really wanted kids, but he would have them if I really wanted to.

    The bottom line for us is that we don’t feel like anything is missing from our lives. We are happy with our marriage, dog, house, careers, etc. Never once have we felt like something wasn’t “there.” We decided that having a child because we feel like we “should” is not a good reason to have one.

    So we’re back on the no baby track. If our hearts change, we are open to that. For now, we’re staying childfree and are completely okay with that.

    Good luck with your decision! You are not alone!

  • So you’re pregnant? :)

    I can speak from personal experience that babies are much easier to deal with at 20 than 30. I couldn’t imagine doing it at 40.

  • I was just like you, not crazy about kids, love my own life, etc until age 30, and then something started to change. I still didn’t have one until I was 33, but the mood certainly shifted when the 20’s were behind me. I think for us, we were OK in the present but the thought of being old and not having a family to be with (kids and grandkids) seemed like it would be a big downer. I still like order and having my own time, but you do learn to let some of that go and you become a great multitasker and time utilizer. I used to think I was busy, but I actually wasted loads of time before having a kid. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

  • Ugh. I’m 30, too and this is something I think about more than I wish I did. Some days kids sound like a great idea, and then others, it sounds like the worst/riskiest idea in the world. I used to tell myself I had until 32 to decide, but nice since rescinded that deadline. All it did was stress me out.

  • Personally, I am much better situated (mentally, physically, and financially) to have kids now that I am in my 30s, verses 10 years ago. I’ve actually always felt compelled to adopt, so the age limitations we women face were not as big of a factor for me.

    I think you would be good, loving parents, but just be sure you really want to be a parent before jumping into anything big. It means a lot of life changes. Likely no longer having paid tenants in your home. Less time available to devote to your business, and a LOT more money to shell out on kid-expenses (not to mention the huge expense of health insurance). You will likely lose many of your single and child-free friends who just don’t like being around kids (but on the plus side, you will also gain many friends from playgroups and the like so that one is probably a wash). It is a big life change… one that is quite rewarding but not without personal sacrifice.

  • I was never a “kid” kind of person and I’m still not, to be honest. That said, one birth control failure later and I was a parent, ready or not. One thing you’ll learn, should you decide to have kids, is that your heart expands infinitely (along with your tendency to cry over commercials). You honestly won’t be worried about things like disabilities or personality – not that those things don’t have a huge impact on your life, but the details just become secondary. Parenthood changes you in ways that are hard to describe…but it’s completely worth it.

  • I LOVED this post! haha, after you stated all the reasons why you don’t want a kid, I was thinking well why would she possibly be thinking about having one!?

    I’ve always been pretty vocal that my husband and I want kids. However at the beginning of our marriage, it was definitely NOT RIGHT NOW, and then all of a sudden I got the baby fever and now I think about it pretty often. Lucky for my husband, I just started grad school, so we’re looking at least another year and a half before I pop one out (but seeing as a kid takes nine months to cook…)

    And even though we’ve always wanted kids, I do think a lot about what we’re actually giving up: freedom. But I feel like we’ll still gain so much more in the long run.

  • My husband and I have always agreed that we want to have kids, but the number and timing were/are subjects of debate. It’s not that I really like babies or kids so much but that we want to create a/add to our existing family. I like the idea of family a lot even when the relationships are rough. I guess that’s an “always known” in a sense but definitely not “always desired” viscerally. Thankfully we don’t have baby fever yet but I think we’re getting a little warm.

    Anyway, at the moment I’m like “Yes, but not yet” and my husband is like “Maybe now?” But we have to birth these two PhDs first!

  • I think it’s usually expected that a married couple have children some day, but I don’t agree with it. I wrote my thoughts on being “child free” (as I like to call it) not that long ago: http://awindycitygal.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/on-being-child-free/

    Your idea to do more volunteer work with children is a great way to learn more about your temperament around kids and “test the waters.” I think it’s awesome that you’re putting so much thought into this; so many people don’t question the societal “norm” to have babies!

  • Kids are totally easy – piece of cake. If anything, having a kid makes life easier, less stressful and more restful.

    :)

    The opposite of all of that, but they’re still the best thing ever. I only have two. Follow your heart, but if you’re waiting for the right time you’ll never find it. So don’t worry about timing. Just worry about whether you and Mr. BFS want to have a kid.

  • Edwin Sierra

    I made the “time for a baby recommendation” like six posts ago, and got ‘hell no’s’ from your readers.

    Just want to take the time to say, I told ya so.

  • @Lance, good luck when you are ready!

    @Kevin, wow, you are excited to get started! Good luck!

    @Michelle, apparently that happens a lot. :-)

    @Becky, I think you are making the right choice…wait to make sure you two really want to have a kid. It’s a huge responsibility that I wish everyone would think about super carefully before jumping in. :-)

    @Jason, nope, definitely not pregs. :-) Yeah, 20-somethings have the energy, but I look like 19, so hopefully I can get away with 35 or so. ;-)

    @Kim, I assumed that I would end up going back to using every spare minute pretty wisely like when I had a day job and this was taking off. I just worry that I would run out of energy. I’m glad you have found a balance – it gives me hope.

    @Mrs. Pop, yeah, none of my deadlines are hardcore, just general ideas, lol. I think we both will just know if/when we are ready.

    @Denise, yep, no worries. We aren’t rushing in. And yay for wanting to adopt! If we decide to have kids but can’t, that’s my next plan.

    @Andrea, lol, I love it when I meet parents that aren’t “kid” people. It really does give me hope that brain chemistry will help with a lot of the worries. Your son is a lucky guy.

    @Newlyweds, I look at all of my reasons and think the same thing, lol. And yes, the loss of freedom is scary. Although I have seen a bunch of couples that we know just keep up with most of their lifestyle by taking the kids along or hiring an overnight sitter or using grandparents every month or two.

    @Emily, LOL, good luck with pushing out those PhD’s!

    @Linda, thankfully, we don’t feel that society pressure. I know that a few of our friends want to eventually have kids and I know some don’t. But we all also know that we love each other either way, lol. No one close to us (other than parents and grandparents once in a while) ever pushes the issue either way. If we don’t have kids, I’ll still be a great fake aunt to any kids that Isabelle, Ivy, D, or anybody in the group decides to have. If we have kids, that same group has mentioned that they would take turns babysitting once in a while so we could all hang out still even if it isn’t as often. And both sets of our parents would probably want to take care of the kids once a month too…so that’s two times a month that we can have fun with friends kid-free, lol. But I do sort of still worry about the overall energy suck…I am a very social person and don’t want to lose that because I’m too tired.

  • I always tell my friends/family that I don’t want kids. But in reality, I think I do – I’m just terrified of how good (or really, how bad) of a mom I’d be…

  • @Edwin, Sorry for that! Especially if it was me…I have my grumpy days… Anyone who ever suggests that I have a kid here seems to get a response or two in the negative and it works the other way too. People are fiercely opinionated on emotional stuff. But I am just thinking about it, so you have to hold onto your I-told-you-so for my “I’m Pregs” post. :-D

  • @a terrible husband, good advice. That is our first step. So, why is your name “a terrible husband”? Now I have to click over…

    @Lisa, if that didn’t worry you, you would be an awful parent. So yay for being sane! :-) I hope it all comes together for you when you are ready. :-)

  • Thanks. Ha! It’s because I messed up all the little things in my marriage, so I wrote a book (first draft so far) and started a blog about how to (not) be a terrible husband by doing the little things right (and to keep me accountable)! I can be very lazy!

  • Meghan

    I have the same “deeper reasons”, which is why we would actually make excellent parents.

  • Amy

    My husband and I made the decision together to not have children. And, to make sure it didn’t happen, we both had procedures done. I’m sure we would have been fine parents, but I’m not sure the marriage would have survived all the stress, noise and mess.

  • I have always known that I want children but the question for me is when. Both hubby and I are 27 and we seem to be in the “let’s talk seriously about it soon” but soon could be a month or a year! We’re just doing what feels right for us! :)

  • Kids are great to have but a lot of work and responsibility. If you think you are ready go for it. Just remember you are never truly ready. We just had our first together this year and my son is 13yrs old. Add my younger brother to the mix and now we have 3 kids and wifey would still like to have another plus I want to adopt. I think having kids depends on what you want in life. Not everyone wants to be parents.

  • And this timely opinion piece from Time magazine came through my Twitter feed from @eemusings: http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/01/i-just-dont-want-a-child/

    I’m going to have to check that book out!

  • Let me just say, if you’re seriously considering having kids, don’t put it off too much longer – this is coming from someone who kept putting it off and putting it off (three more years didn’t sound like that long, but every year we said that.) Now we don’t have that option to have a kid. Sure, I could adopt, but I don’t think we’ll be going that route. Perhaps we’re that 10% that can’t have kids, but putting it off didn’t help matters. Sleep on that! ;)

  • Give it a little time before you decide, because having a kid is a full time job and if you do decide that it’s time, then be prepared for big changes–major ones…

  • Mel

    A lot of great advice here. As you know, it comes down to one thing – whether or not you and your husband want kids. :) I don’t think the energy drain would be an “issue”. Once you become a parent, it’s nothing like what you thought it would be – the worries you had become irrelevant and new worries pop up. Sharing board games, dressing them up as elves, teaching them Doctor Who lore, introducing them to old school Nintendo is like doing everything you already do (at least for us), just with smaller versions of people. Our initial reasons to have our first child were silly and our second was a… surprise… but parenting has been rewarding, hard, fun, exhausting, invigorating, and scary as sh!t. But when I watch the leaps and bounds my son has made this year despite his obstacles and the amazing drawings my daughter comes up with, or even the way they take care of each other even after they’ve wrestled each other down for that single Lego – it just takes my breath away and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
    Good luck as you two think on it! :)

  • I think kids are okay as long as they’re yours and you can tell them what to do. I personally don’t like to be around other people’s kids which is strange coming from someone who worked in a daycare for ten years.lol But now and days woman don’t have to rush to have kids before 35 because of medical advances. Look at Halle Berry. She’s like 50 and she’s having a baby.

  • I write this one handed with my 7 week old son eating in my lap. And I’m 33. And I didn’t want kids. Until, maybe I kinda did. Bam! 10 months of miserable pregnancy, a horrible delivery experience, and 25lbs later, this kid is Awesome with a capital A. I had lots of similar reservations, but I gotta say I don’t think people regret having kids.

  • You are totally right: kids take a lot of time, but for me, it has been worth it. I am not gonna lie, sometimes it is frustrating, trying, exhausting, but it is also rewarding, fulfilling, and fun.
    We never had the drawing on the wall experience or even tantrums, so I think we lucked out in that department:)
    One thing I would suggest is to babysit a child 1-year-old or younger. It might help you make up your mind about if you want to tackle the baby times. My husband and I were considering adopting another child (our only child is almost 10), but I babysat our friends little one-year-old and I am glad I did it. I had forgotten how busy babies could be and how I kinda like that my kid is older and can do stuff on her own. We decided, after much discussion, that we were out of the baby stage of our lives and we were okay with that. It was an invaluable experience for us, and it may help you, too :)

  • I have always, always wanted children. Except for maybe a period in my teens when I pretended I didn’t like them. I’ve always just liked them. I get them. They are entertaining. I think that whatever you decide, you’ll be happy!

  • Go for it! Live Life Adventurously!

  • @a terrible husband, love your blog! Subscribed! I think you named it a bit hard though…you weren’t even a terrible husband before you started this…you were somewhat normal and now just more aware. :-)

    @Meghan, good point!

    @Amy, that’s a worry too. Glad you two knew yourselves well enough to know what to do.

    @Christine, that’s always a good plan.

  • If you had asked me this question during Daughter Person’s first year of life, I would have told you no questions asked – you *can* regret having kids. Now (on meds), I wouldn’t give her up for the world. We were “ready” to be parents, and we both wanted to at least try. It’s much harder than people tell you it is, but it’s also just as rewarding as they tell you.

    I also think that parents have their “favorite” ages. I would never want to deal with an under 1yr old again, but give me another 2yr old? I’d enjoy it. Just because you don’t like babies doesn’t mean you’ll be a bad parent – you’ll just not enjoy the “baby” stage, but there are many stages to a kid.

  • Mutant Supermodel

    Having kids changes you. It is the most stressful thing in the world. And NO not everyone gets the fulfillment from it most people talk about.
    I have three– two of which were surprises (I have a history of medical issues with birth control). I never really was the type of person who wanted kids. I was a HELL NO. My first was a surprise and then I was like eh I don’t want an only so I guess we should have a second and then #3 was surprise again. It puts a huge strain on you, on your partner, on your relationship, on your money, on everything. And I don’t think talking about these things is shallow. It’s reality. We have this weird concept about having children about how it’s such a high calling and so precious and the greatest thing ever. I don’t buy it. I think raising kids is important but no it’s not the most important thing in the world and it’s not the most fulfilling thing in the world for everyone. If it’s fulfilling to you to be a caregiver than ok yeah but if not then I don’t think it’s worth pursuing just because of your age and because of the insane societal pressure to do so. You can still be involved with children and leave a lasting impact without actually having any.

  • uh oh…this is how it starts…

    Well, on the subject of spawning: I waited until I was 32 to have my kid, mostly because I was pretty ambivalent on the prospect of parenthood. There’s some value to being an elderly primapara, as the doctors so graciously dub you. If you wait for a while, you’re earning enough that you can afford to hire babysitters so you can continue to go out at night. You can afford to hire an older woman to care for your toddler during the day, thereby evading the disease and general nastiness of day-care. Later, you may be able to afford a private school. Also you can afford to take the kid along on vacations, which was important for the then-DH: he loved to travel.

    Your child gets used to living the way you do. My son, who was certainly not Little Lord Fauntleroy, did not stain the carpets. He did not break the dishes and glasses (I hate plastic and refused to switch over to Melamine plates and plastic glassware). He never wrote on the walls with his crayons. He did not paint the cat blue (although one of his little pals did trim the hair off the dog’s tail…). He hardly ever even swung from the chandeliers. And this was a kid who once caused his mother to say, with a straight face, “Please don’t walk on the ceiling.”

    Parenthood is, as you might gather from that remark, amazingly hard work. And Mutant Supermodel’s not kidding when she says having kids changes you!

    As for all the scary possibilities… Life is full of scary possibilities. Terrible things can happen in any part of your life. Did you not get married because the love of your life might run the car off the freeway and put himself into a permanent vegetative state? It would be a great tragedy to have a child be disabled; but unless you know you or your husband has a genetic issue, that’s no good reason not to have a child.

  • Susan

    I didn’t have a child until I was 35 for many reasons, but I am so glad that I did. My baby is almost 20 now and one regret is that I didn’t have at least one more.

    That being said, the latest issue of Time has this topic on their cover this week. Here is a link to one of the articles: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2148636,00.html?pcd=pw-related

  • @Thomas, wow. Good luck with your mix!

    @Little House, I’m sorry you feel as if you missed your chance. That is a sucky regret or feeling. I’ll definitely keep that in mind. I really am hoping to really know by the time I’m 33…especially if hubby really does want to push the “If we have 1, we should have 2″ kick that he’s gotten on…maybe 1 around 33-34 and another around 36…we’ll see.

    @Beat the 9 to 5, yeah, that is why my husband is not ready. We both know that our lifestyle would blow up and change into something completely different.

    @Mel, awww, your comment was just all full of love! :-D

    @Ramona, it is totally possible to have a kid further down the road, but I don’t keep up with myself as well as Halle Berry, so I think my 30-something body may be able to handle it better than down the road. :-)

    @Dogs or Dollars, first of all, your Pug and my Mr. Pug look way too similar, lol. :-) Secondly, thanks for the vote of confidence that we would at least not regret it.

    @Briana, another good suggestion. I’ll see if any of my new baby friends want a sitter…

    @Daisy, that is our overall goal…just to be happy. :-)

    @David, LOL

    @Mom, it is good to keep in mind all of the stages. I’m so glad your regrets went away!

    @Mutant Supermodel, I am a realist and really appreciate your comment. I think that there is definitely a chance that I could regret having a kid. I also think that my 50 year old self may be a little sad if I didn’t have a teen getting ready for the next stage of their life around the house. I just need to make up my mind now…

    @Funny about Money, still laughing about “spawning”!!! That stage of the pregnancy where the baby can be seen moving with the naked eye really does make me think that “spawning” is the perfect word for it. Yeah, I think I am ready to take the chance that things won’t go perfectly. But I am not sure I am ready to give up our current lifestyle quite yet…maybe a couple of more years to save up for everything you mentioned (except private school…we are more likely going to want either public school or home schooling…maybe both. My parents did well at really teaching me and school was where I mainly socialized and made sure I was learning the right stuff to take tests well, lol).

    @Susan, my husband says if we have one, we should have two. We’ll see…

  • Fertility goes way down in your 30s and the longer you wait, the harder it’ll be. I was never a kid person, but I’ve adapted and now I get the “wow, you’re so great with kids” comment all the time, so people do grow and evolve.

    It started like that for me too. I wasn’t absolutely certain I didn’t want them, unlike some people I knew who were certain they didn’t want them. Eventually we just took a leap of faith and started trying. I was in my 30’s and it was definitely harder to conceive with the second one than with the first. A few years makes a huge difference. There is no amount of analysis that will give you all the answers. You’ll still be afraid that they’ll have all the worst qualities of you and your spouse, you’ll be afraid they’ll be born with a disability, you’ll be afraid of all these random things out of your control, but you’ll still love them.

    I do think it’s annoying when people pressure you to have kids because they have kids. I hated that back when I was child free.

    Kids are expensive and messy and time sucking. But they’re also cute and cuddly and they provided a tremendous amount of personal growth for me learning how to be a parent. I also like experiencing things for the first time with them. It’s like starting over in a way. I get to do all the things I was never able to do as a child.