- 2 years ago
- Wedding: February 2011
I’ve noticed that CFBC are so different. Some really love kids and babies, they just like playing with them and give them back to their parents. I am not like this at all. I get a warm feeling (only occasionally!) thinking about starting a family and having a baby but then I hear people say – why do you want it if you don’t even like being around other people’s kids for more than 10 minutes. I think it’s my love towards SO, it’s so strong, it makes me want a piece of him and not miss on an opportunity, any experience with him…
And I know this is a common sentiment among parents, but I’ve never quite understood the idea that you love someone so much you want a piece of them or don’t want to miss out on an experience. I don’t want a piece of my husband. I just want him. Kids would mean less one-on-one time with him, less undivided attention to each other, and even with the easiest kid ever, it will create conflict. Parenting is such a monumental undertaking, that decisions and ideas about how to raise a child feel critically mportant, even small things. I’ve seen parents get into fights over how long their kid should have a pacifier or whether the kid should go to bed at 7:30 or 8:00. I’ve seen kids ask one parent for something, get denied, and then immediately ask the other parent who says yes, and then the parents getting into fights about it (and I definitely did my share of that as a kid too). Some people handle conflict better than others, but I have yet to find a single pair of parents who agreed 100% on every aspect of raising a child.
The experiences I want with my husband are to fully enjoy each other for the rest of our lives. An 18 year commitment (at a minimum) which takes time, energy, and money away from each other does not appeal to me at all. The average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is currently around a quarter of a million dollars (that’s just the average, so it’s quite a bit more if you live in a HCOL area or will be helping with college). For me, if someone said, “Do you want a quarter of a million dollar lottery ticket you’re guaranteed to win?” I would have to be crazy to say no. I view parenting as having to pay that money instead of winning it, and in addition to losing all that, I also lose time with my spouse, career opportunities (moms do deal with a lot of prejudice in the work place), sleep, and the freedom/flexibility to travel easily. Obviously this is a worthwhile tradeoff for some people, but I can’t imagine a universe where that’s what I would choose. Fortunately my husband is 100% on the same page, and neither of us has to worry about the other one suddenly changing their mind. I do hope, whatever you end up doing, that you go into it with a strong sense of direction. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea for parenthood to be approached with ambivalence.
As for you not understanding why I want a kid with my SO (again I want to stress that this feeling comes and goes), well – first of all – I think it’s very natural. I can’t really explain it. It could be hormones but love is nor all about hormones. In real life I am consirered to be a very rational person if you ask any of my friends and relatives. And people are different. To me it makes no sense – how can someone be a nanny, love spending time with kids and not want their own kids…So I guess it’s ok 🙂
You said you probably wouldn’t be starting for another two years to try for a kid, but I was wondering, if you’re still not ready then if you would put it off or just go for it? Are you young enough to have some flexibility? And have you and your husband discussed what you would do if you can’t conceive on your own? I feel like that can be very telling. I broke up with a guy (when I was still making up my mind) when he told me he wanted two kids, maybe as many as four, and that he would adopt if he couldn’t have them. I wasn’t sure I wanted kids at all, but I knew I definitely did not want to raise non-biological children. Is it really the experience of raising a child with your spouse that you guys want, or is that only something you’d want if it’s a mini-you/mini-him? One of my now CFBC friends said that was the dealbreaker in her first marriage. She was willing to have a kid with her spouse, but after trying unsuccessfully, he wanted to move forward with adoption, and she realized that she didn’t want to raise just *any* kid and wasn’t willing to go to that length to do something she was only doing for her spouse in the first place. I think it’s good to know where your husband stands on that issue early on so it’s not a surprise if it gets to that point. It seems like it could also take some of the pressure of TTC. Like, if you agree that you only want biological children, and it doesn’t happen, then you can just be childfree (even if it’s not by choice).
I have a four-week old baby so I’m obv very new to the parenting thing and have a limited perspective. All I will say is that in my case, I have never liked babies or even children – I find them boring at best and a huge PITA at worst. I was a nanny for a few summers and also babysat a lot as a teenager to earn some money, and I hated it! I was that awful babysitter/nanny who’d park the kids in front of the TV so I could read a book or something rather than be forced to play with them. I was pretty awful. I did not like most of the kids I babysat/nannied for, and the feeling was mutual!
I do not like interacting with kids because I feel super awkward and am never sure how to relate to them. I think kids pick up on my discomfort too, making the whole thing even worse. I don’t really find babies all that cute and would always dread being asked to hold a friend or relative’s new baby lest it start shrieking or something.
That being said, I always knew I wanted to have kids of my own – it was never a question. I think I just wanted a family and assumed when I had my own kids I’d feel differently about them than I did about other people’s kids?
The jury is still out since, again, four weeks of experience…but I will say, in MY experience, having a newborn that is my own has so far been an entirely different ballgame. I did not bond with my baby immediately – like, the moment they handed her to me I was definitely emotional, but in those early days there was definitely also a feeling of “who is this baby??” and even an occasional, “what have we done???”
But at the same time there’s a deeper connection that is almost …I dunno how to put it into words exactly, but it’s almost like I’ve gone into autopilot. Caring for my baby is a sleepless, 24/7 job, but I find that I’m just doing it innately…it doesn’t even really feel like a burden or boring or any of the things I was worried about or experienced as a nanny/babysitter. Like it’s tiring as hell and draining, but at the same time it’s like second nature. I’m sure part of that is hormonal. But I think one of my biggest fears before I had this baby was that I’d just feel detached and maybe even resentful at the thought of devoting so much time to her, and so far I haven’t felt that at all.
I dunno this is all over the place, and I want to be very clear that this is only MY experience, and it is obviously very limited given how new I am to motherhood, and there is no guarantee it would be yours or anyone else’s experience, etc etc etc. But anyway just thought I’d share in case it is at all helpful.
ETA: I should also mention that *so far* our baby has been relatively easy as far as newborns go, which I’m sure is helping. She is not overly fussy and pretty much only cries when she’s hungry or needs a diaper change. If I had a baby that wailed 24/7 I might feel very differently, and there’s obv no guarantee what type of baby you’re gonna get!
If I am still not ready after 2 years when I am 30, I will just have to reevaluate everything. I will think about it when I get there 🙂
How do you feel about kids?