We have reared 2 of those most wonderful felines to ever grace this planet....but none of the human species. So as you can probably imagine with all those little facts combined, we get a lot of "So when are you having a baby????"
How many times do you think we (ME, as the woman really gets the brunt of it) have heard that? Well, take that number you just said and multiply it by 403 and you'll have roughly the right count....and my god does it get OLD! I know we aren't alone in this, but frankly I'm tired of it and I feel compelled to speak up about it. The thing is, I know not a single person means any harm when they ask the question. I know they aren't trying to upset me, but what they don't understand is that when you are constantly hearing it from someone from each facet of your life it becomes overwhelmingly annoying.
I have been thinking about writing this for about a year now and how ironic was it that the day after I really started to plan it out in my head this post came up in my Facebook memories
So yea.....I was "that" person who lost their ever lovin mind on Facebook...it happens and I'm not even ashamed of it. I remember wanting to sit down immediately and write a blog post. It probably worked out for the best that I didn't. I've had a chance to calm down from the initial trigger (the passing of a year will do that for ya) and really think about how I would want to explain it without (hopefully) sounding like a lunatic.
"If you wait until you feel ready, you'll never have kids"
"No time is the right time"
"that's because it's true!"
Same dialogue, different people. I just think it's so funny that people think I haven't heard it before. Or that coming from them the 786th time is going to make the little light bulb appear over my head and I'll say "Gosh, you are right!!" and then ask The Boy to meet me in my sisters laundry room and impregnate me right then and there at the family function.
Ok....so that last line may have been a little much, but really this whole thing is just a little much.
The thing is, I get the point they are trying to make. I know there is no perfect time. I get you never feel 100% ready....I'm not a complete idiot believe it or not.(actually, can you just believe it please?) But there's also such thing as not getting yourself into something that you don't feel ready for. Basically you have to find the middle between those two opposite feelings and finding that middle is for me to worry about and not for you to tell me when to get there.
This is another great one that very much still applies to the one above. When I bring up that I don't feel financially ready I get alot of
"if people waited to be able to afford kids they would never have them"
Again, I constantly feel the need to point out that I get the principle behind what they are saying.....but my god....shame on me for wanting to feel like I can properly support my kids. What the hell am I thinking? I've seen people have kids repeatedly that they can't afford and I have no desire to do that to myself or the children.
It's not so much the day to day expenses that scare me. I feel like you can move things around, cut back on some things, change a few habitsvto buy the food and diapers etc. What really scares me is the large expenses like daycare. You know what....daycare in itself is such a big thing let me just go ahead and give it it's own section......
Have you seen the cost of daycare these days? Holy crap!!! I don't know about you, but I am not able to just shit out anywhere between $500-$1,000 a month with just 9 months preparation. Not unless I hit the lottery big or sell some organs. It's a HUGE expense that you have to be ready for. Then there's also the aspect of finding a place/person that you can trust. It's not like picking a restaurant out for dinner (and I struggle to even do that!) It's a really big deal.
I have had The Boys parents and even my sister that now stays home mention that they could watch the baby....but even that brings me a huge level of stress. I have seen situations like this with grandparents watching the kids go badly enough times to make it worrisome
- One girls in-laws repeatedly said they couldn't wait for her to get pregnant and that as soon as she did, the mother in-law would quit her job to stay home and watch the baby. About half way through the pregnancy she was still working and then ended up admitting she no longer planned to quit and would not be able to watch the baby.
- In another instance, the mother of the girl was the one to watch her child while she worked. Her mom never did complain about it, but when she decided to quit her job and stay home herself after about 9 months her mothers response was "oh GOOD!!!" So while she had never actually complained about it, she had grown unhappy in the situation and was relieved for it to be ending. I'm sure the reason she never spoke up about it was because she probably felt guilty because she had offered the babysitting herself. Imagine though how bad the situation could have potentially gotten
Not to mention that then you are having to work around the schedules of other peoples lives. The one and ONLY advantage in my eyes of an actual daycare business is that there are very set days and hours and multiple employees for coverage. When you choose a person in their home you have to work around their schedules too. If they take off on a week long vacation you have to find someone else in the meantime. Or if they get sick....whatever it is. It can have you scrambling to find a Plan B.
The Body Commitment
A year ago when the shit really hit the fan on this topic and revved me up, The Boy was working a horrendous schedule. He had been working 6-7 days a week for 3 months straight and 12-15 hour days were the average. I specifically remember that just 2 weeks earlier was the first time we had been out in public together at all in that time (and it was meeting up at a Waffle House at 3am after his shift) The Boy himself was making comments about wanting a baby sooner rather than later, but I had to tell him that I didn't see it happening anytime soon. If he even got to the point of having 2 days off, because of the nature of his job they would be during the week. I was (and still am) off on the weekend. When would we ever get to be a family together? I get doing what you have to do when you're in it and getting by. I've been there and done that. But I'm not looking to put myself into a situation where going in I know it's bad if I don't have to. I refuse to feel like a single mom and never get to feel like a family.
A year later his schedule is getting better at his new job. Over the last few months he has had better days off than he has had in 2 years and we have been seeing each other a lot more....which is great! It is a definite step in the right direction. I just need some more time put in at this job and proof of stability before I go jumping in. We have had a terrible two years where he has lost his jobs unexpectedly at 2 different places (another story for another day). I'm sure you can imagine how this would give me anxiety and for someone whose personality depends on the feeling of security, it has been quite a struggle for me. I need more time to feel secure and settled before taking such a huge life step.
Since were just talking about jobs, let's dive into that topic a little deeper too. After being at the same job for 7 years, I just started at a new company about 4 months ago. I'm starting back at square one with vacation time so I will need time to build that back up for any kind of maternity leave. People don't think about the fact that besides the expenses of bringing a human into the world, you also have to be able to afford to stay home if you don't have paid maternity leave (which I don't know anyone who does) Most people around me only seem to be able to afford 6-8 weeks before being forced to return to work with no time left in their bank. Then when their kids get sick they are in a tough spot with trying to stay home with them without having the time, or never being able to really accrue much before needing to use it again. And once you have kids you never know what is going to happen. I mean I know you NEVER really know what is going to happen, but the more lives you bring into the equation the harder it becomes. You never know when they are going to get sick, hurt, whatever. How often will you have to leave work early or call in all together. Worst case scenario I've seen it cost people their jobs. Best case I've seen it create tension and awkwardness with their employer and/or coworkers.
The Difference Between "when" and "do"
Like I said in the very first paragraph, I know people don't mean any harm when they ask "When are you going to have a baby?" but I want them to better understand how it can make someone feel. It's very presumptuous and borderline rude. Like asking an unmarried woman "When are going to get married???" Just don't.
The better question would be "Do you want to have kids?" I have NO problem at all when people ask me that. That feels like just a regular question between two people. It doesn't have an underlying expectation. It's simply an honest question with a much better delivery.
So think about this the next time you ask a "when" question and see if there is a better way to phrase it. It could make all the difference.
You Never Know What Is Going On In Peoples Lives
Another reason you might want to keep your mouth shut when it comes to people having kids is that you never know what is going on in other peoples lives.
They could desperately want children but be struggling with a fertility. Possibly running out of money and/or options to make their dream come true.
They could be completely financially unable to even go down that road to begin with...whether naturally or through IVF. I'm sure people don't exactly walk around saying "I want kids so badly but I'm broke as hell"
Their relationship could be in a fragile state. Three years ago The Boy and I were in a bad place and quietly spent an entire year in therapy working to save our marriage. Every time I got the "When are you going to have a baby" question during that time I had to fight back tears. It was a painful reminder of the state of our relationship and how far we were from that. Six months out of that year I would call the therapy intense. With such intense weekly therapy and emotions on our hands as it was, we weren't publicly announcing our struggle as we really didn't need the added pressure and opinions of everyone around us. The baby question really cut me deep during such an emotional time in my life. (I'm happy to say we are in a much MUCH better place now)
Moral here....we all have struggles that not everyone needs to know about all the time. Your words could hurt without you even knowing or meaning to. Just be careful and empathetic towards those around you.
Overall....Can we Just Acknowledge That It's a HUGE Fucking Step
Seriously though....can we just acknowledge that? It's so easy for the outsiders to romanticize it. I'm not saying having kids won't be rewarding and amazing. I'm sure it will be...I have no doubts about that. I know I'll have them snuggled up on my chest as a newborn and shed a tear in disbelief that this cute, tiny, little human is mine. I know the sound of their laugh will make me melt and that watching them develop a personality will be one of the most fun things I'll ever get to watch. I know all this..... But let's not forget what comes with it. Long sleepless nights, sickness and injuries, self doubt, fear, guilt, financial hardships, stress,...the list goes on and on. I'm not trying to make having kids sound like the worst thing on the planet at all. I just want people to recognize that it is a huge lifelong responsibility. You are in charge of raising a productive member of society for Christ sake!! That's kind of a big deal.....and the people doing it need to feel ready for all of that. They sure as hell don't need you pushing YOUR expectations, timelines, or opinions onto them. Be mindful of what you say to others.
That is all.