First, let me say that I know I’ve already written about our decision not to have kids a half dozen times. Second, I was actually going to post about something else today, but for the past five minutes the kid next door has been screaming I HATE YOU at the top of his lungs, making it impossible for me to concentrate on my other topic. I always expect him to be hoarse, but the screeching seems to have no ill effect on his vocal cords.
Going back to the first thought, if you think I’ve written about whether or not to have children repeatedly, then try to imagine how many times I’ve discussed it with my husband. The answer is thousands. Tens of thousands, even.
I have never, ever wanted kids, I’m just not a maternal person. However, in the past two years my biological clock finally started ticking. In spite of this, I still don’t really want children. Many of my reasons are very personal, and so I’ve never gone into detail when writing. Suffice it to say kids probably aren’t in the cards for me. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t get that gooey squishy innit-so-cute feeling whenever I set eyes on a baby. I get that way about puppies and kittens too, always have. I have not always felt that way about babies. In fact, I used to think babies were sort of weird looking. They have such big heads, and they’re so marshmallow-y – it’s a little disconcerting. Now I get it. I may not want it, but I totally get it. They are irresistible little buggers.
I’m in my mid-30s, and the time to have kids is rapidly diminishing for us. My husband is not remotely interested, and when I actually think about what all goes in to having kids, neither am I. But there is this nagging suspicion in the back of my mind that worries we will regret this decision one day. Also, most of the couples we know have at least one, if not multiple children. Keep this in mind.
I consider myself to be a logical woman, but that does not mean I don’t engage in some stereotypical female behavior. For example, without fail, every time my husband relays a story of one of his coworkers talking to him about being a father, the first thing I ask him is, “Do you feel like you’re missing out?”
His answer never changes, because he is quite happy as a twosome, but when he discusses his father friends, I always wonder if he’s trying to tell me something. Of course, guys don’t do that, but since women tend to think that way we assume guys do too. Since most of our acquaintances have children, it seems the topic comes up every week or two, which means each time I mentally dissect the conversation and wonder if there is some hidden meaning to what my husband says. You’d think I would have leaned by now.
So, over the weekend, we were having breakfast at our favorite restaurant. Across from us was a couple with a set of twins that looked to be about 18 months, and a newborn. Holy crap, I said to my husband, that is a lot of small persons. I guess that reminded him of a conversation he had with a friend the previous night about being a dad. The gist of it was, he loves his kid, but kids consume every bit of your free time and therefore he and his wife were going to stick to just the one.
And so began another round of the ‘are we making a mistake’ game. Only this time, my husband held his hands up, and said with confusion, “We have had this conversation so many times, are you changing your mind?” I responded with an I don’t know, followed by a no, followed by my husband staring at me like I finally fell off the deep end.
The truth of the matter is that if my husband had turned to me and said, ‘yes, I want to have kids’, I probably would have passed out. I know this, and yet, I still flip flop back and forth about how I might feel in the future about the decision we have made today. What’s worse, even though I know having this conversation over and over again is driving both of us crazy, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have it again before the month of March is over. I hadn’t given much thought about why I feel the need to repeat the same discussion with my husband until today. Perhaps I’m looking for validation, who knows?
The decision to have children is monumental, but so is the decision not to. Clearly I am a little conflicted. I wish I wasn’t. Give me something definitive, whether it’s my old child-free way of thinking, or a new parent-minded mentality. This merry go round of mostly decided but not quite is a crummy ride.
PS – Just as I finished typing this, the kid across the way started up with a fresh round of I HATE YOU. He never grows tired of it.