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One of the most common questions I get asked is when Matt and I are having kids. Now that we’re 2.5 years into our marriage, it seems to be the announcement everyone is waiting for. My answer is always “not right now.” Here’s why we’re not rushing to have kids and are delaying parenthood… indefinitely.
Trust me, I get why people ask questions. The age old adage “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage” is practically ingrained in every American’s head. I see evidence on my Facebook feed weekly. So, it makes total sense that people ask us this. It’s the way most people have been trained to think about the progression of life. However, if you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I like to go against the grain a little.
Before I answer this question, I just want to say that I’m 100% supportive of all things parenthood and child related. SO supportive. Seeing families together makes my heart melt. Getting the Tinybeans daily updates from my friends that are new moms is one of my favorite parts of my morning. It’s so special to witness and I can only imagine how special it is to experience personally. Parenthood is one of the most challenging things in life and I have the utmost respect for every single parent. Seriously, I don’t know how you do it. Please send tips.
While there are a lot of factors at play, the most important of which is that we simply aren’t ready. I could end the post right here because that’s truly the biggest part of this decision. However, things aren’t that simple and that would make for a really boring blog post. Neither Matt nor myself have that burning desire to have a family. At least right now. I keep waiting for the day where one of us wakes up and says “I’m ready” but so far, we can both definitively say that it’s quite the opposite. I’d really like to feel ready before I commit to that big of a life change. That’s just how we feel. Doesn’t make it right or wrong. It’s just us.
Another reason we are delaying parenthood is that we still have so much to do. Our list of goals and life accomplishments is long and as any parent knows, having a child makes achieving them just a little bit harder. It does make things a little more complex. Right now, I want things to be more simple. I have enough to juggle! A majority of what is on that list are places that we want to travel. It’s difficult to travel with children (although not impossible) and we’ve seen this firsthand in our friend circle. I don’t want to be seeing far off places for the first time at age 60. I want to see them now, while I’m young and can enjoy them to their fullest. We also both manage day jobs and work on Visions of Vogue on the side. We love the freedom and feel like we have enough responsibility right now. We’re not looking to take on more. We just don’t see how a child fits into our life at this time. Are the sacrifices worth it? That’s a decision every person gets to make for themselves. That’s the great thing about our lives! We are in control! Just remember, that decision is solely for yourself (i.e. not to pressure others with).
Economically, it doesn’t look too pretty. I’m not saying the investment is not worth it. Unconditional love is amazing (I know from marrying Matt) and having more of it doesn’t sound bad. I’m just saying that as a finance-minded individual, running the numbers makes me cringe a little. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise a child and that’s before paying for college (which I am a strong proponent of). My life wasn’t always easy. There was a point where I was living on dollars in a bank account. Yes, I said dollars. It was at that point that I made a promise to myself that I never wanted to live like that again. I never wanted to worry about when my next paycheck would hit my bank account. And I never wanted to not be able to do something that I wanted to do because of money. That’s also part of why I work so hard, just ask Matt. We’re all shaped by the experiences that we have in our lives. That one was a particularly memorable one for me. While I recognize it’s totally possible to raise a family and be comfortable, I just like to think it through before I take the plunge. Maybe plan a little more if not save up. However, I can think of another big purchase I’d like to make first and that’s a home.
Physically, childrearing does not sound like a walk in the park. Fortunately, I have a lot of friends and coworkers going through this to confirm this for me. So, the research is solid. I’ve never heard a single one of my pregnant friends describe anything positive about growing a human inside of you. While this is only a minor reason in why we’re delaying parenthood (very minor), it’s something I think about on occasion. Do I really want to erase the hours and hours of work I’ve put in at Pure Barre? I get that it’s totally possible to bounce back. But I’m not having great luck even maintaining my weight here in Chicago so far and I’d rather not exacerbate that. I repeat: this is not a showstopper, it’s just like the guy next to you in the movie theater that is trying to get his Sour Patch kids out of the plastic bag. Annoying, but you still can experience and enjoy the movie.
I’m just not interested. I was never one of those girls who grew up playing with dolls or playing mom. My dad gave me Hot Wheels instead. And I liked it. As weird as that may seem, it’s completely normal to me. It’s just who I am. I don’t ooh or aww over babies. Sure, I can acknowledge adorable baby photos but my interest kind of stops there. I don’t have a desire to hold them (what if I drop them?), I’m quite horrible at tolerating loud sounds (kids love loud sounds), and I like our home to be clean and things to be in their place (do I even need to explain?). Maybe I just need more time to develop this maternal instinct. Maybe one day this will change. But that day isn’t today.
Quite frankly, babies terrify me. They’re like these little aliens that can’t speak to you to tell you what they want. You have to guess. I know how frustrated Matt gets with me when I tell him nothing is wrong but yet I secretly want him to know what’s wrong. Having a baby is like that but ALL THE TIME. Until of course, they can speak.
If you’re reading this and just don’t understand, I understand. I’ve had so many comments made to me, choice-shaming me for admitting that I feel this way. I’ve been asked quite a few of awkward and rude follow up questions. The judgement is real. I’ve had people tell me that I’m missing out, that they hope I get to experience parenthood, or that I wouldn’t understand how great parenting is. Yet, if you think about it, you could easily flip any of those arguments back on the asker. Not that I’m advocating doing that! Aren’t parents also missing out? Last I checked, parenthood isn’t smooth sailing for everyone (or even anyone from what I gather?). And some might argue parents don’t understand how great it is to not have kids. The point is, we all should be able to make our own decisions and be supported in those decisions. Without the judgement. You do you.
So, I’m not saying no to parenthood. I’m just saying not right now. This could change in a month, a year, or never. I don’t know! I just want to make sure that I feel ready when it does change. I want to be 110% into it. I’m just that kind of person. Trust me, when Matt and I make a decision, you guys will know!
What do you think about delaying parenthood? Do you have any strong opinions either way? Please share!