Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The big dilemma

This is a dilemma that occupies too much of my brain, often when I'm walking by myself.

I fear that I'm going to be saying this too much nowadays, but, once again, "as Elizabeth Gilber wrote"... now that I'm in my early 30s, it seems like having a child soon is the prudent thing to do, mainly because now is the right time, biologically. I don't even know if this is the same thing as a biological clock. Isn't the biological clock the irrational feeling that you desperately want a baby, no matter if your life is ready?

I know, I know. My life is as ready as it absolutely needs to be. I'm happily married. We are both employed, etc. etc.

But we are so not ready!!! Maybe a few more, just to get the point across:!!!!!

But then I second guess myself and I think, well, maybe I think I'm not ready, but really that's just fear. But I'm not supposed to be afraid of the things I'm afraid of. Aside from the normal fear of pushing a slippery bag of cat food out my hoohoo (give or take a few pounds, hopefully take), I am seriously afraid of not getting enough sleep, having to get up really early after not having gotten enough sleep, falling asleep in my soup because of being overly tired, being way more cranky than I already am, due to extreme fatigue.

Aside from the sleep deprivation (a very real fear, I'm not making this up), there is the one about having to be on a strict schedule. Currently, I leave work when I feel like it. If I slack off a little bit during the day, I simply stay an extra hour. My job is not geared toward leaving work at 5 o'clock on the dot to rush home to pick up Junior at daycare. I've never had a job like that, actually. How does that even work? I guess one has to start the workday much earlier. And give up exercising in the morning, for sure. People with kids, it seems, go to the gym at lunch or take their kids with them to the gym, if they are so lucky as to belong to a gym with a daycare. That right there is depressing enough. I hate gyms.

And then there is this. I spend how many hours at home awake during the work week? Three per night, maybe? Assuming I did change my schedule so that I'm home at 6, then there are maybe 4 hours in the evening before I crash because presumably I'll be getting up before dawn in this wonderful babyful fantasy world.

Four hours per night is not a lot. And it's less than four hours spent with the kid, since the kid presumably will not go to bed at 10, although I guess you never know. Why do we want to throw our lives into chaos, just so that we can shuffle the kid off to daycare?

Of course I don't want to quit my job to have a kid. I haven't accomplished anything of note in my "career" yet, so why would I give it all up now? I say, oh well all I have to do is get a freelance gig going so that I can still work. Oh sure, easy enough. And people at work are always lobbying to get the one day a week where they work from home. As if that makes it all worthwhile! So one day a week the person is not giving work or the kid their full attention. Perfect situation!

Jeff and I don't want to give up traveling or eating out at nice restaurants. And I don't want to be the person who hasn't bought new shoes in years because all the money goes toward the kid.

So, does this all add up to our not really wanting kids??? Aren't we supposed to feel this incredible pang to give up everything we hold dear now so that we can instead hold dear a little mewling, puking, shitting infant?

9 comments:

sidewaysrain said...

oh honey. 98% of the time I feel EXACTLY the same. I can't picture my life being so very different. I like my life the way it is! I set it up this way ON PURPOSE.

Chelle said...

I am scared, too. About all of it. I hear it's worth it, though.

bluesleepy said...

There's nothing wrong with waiting a little longer to have a kid. Hell, there's nothing wrong with not having kids AT ALL. Don't feel obligated to have kids because it's not for everyone.

I can't help you with the thing about working while having kids because I've always been a stay-at-home mom. But you can still do a lot of the things you do now, especially when the kid's an infant. You might not want to take him to a bar for a drink, but when Grace was a newborn, we didn't change much at all. There's no reason to stay home if you're not a stay-at-home type of person. It's only when they start to throw fits that it becomes an issue.

If it makes you feel any better, I am scared to death about having this next one, though I already have Grace. And I'm scared for exactly the same reasons. My life is so good right now with just Grace; she's 90% an angel, and she's so easy and well-behaved and independent. What the hell am I doing throwing a newborn into this?! How drastically is my life going to change??? WHY am I doing this again??? So I think your concerns are 100% valid and normal. Hugs to you, my friend.

PS -- sorry for the length of this comment.

Anonymous said...

my wife and I just had a baby -- he's 6 weeks old now -- the thing about it is when you think about all the changes and all you'll give up, the thing you can't calculate is what you will gain. James doesn't even do much except occasionally smile and he's already just about the best thing in my life.

You definitely have to jump in feet first into the deep end, and if you aren't scared you probably aren't thinking about it enough. But it's worth it.

Best of luck with your decision.
Mark

andrea said...

This sounds like a conversation Brian and I have had MANY times. Brian is a lot more nervous about having a baby than I am, but parenthood terrifies me at times too. Hindsight (and the fact that we've been trying for over a year with no success) has me wishing we started trying a long time ago, but we really weren't ready back then.

Erica said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it sounds like you're not quite ready to have a nipper at this very moment. If you do, then I can no longer envy your free-and-easy lifestyle. Aren't you like, just barely 30? Give it a couple more years. There's no rush. And who says you need to have them at all? You can always borrow mine to get a kid fix. I can pop them on the next flight.

craige said...

I'll be 33 in October! Old! I will gladly borrow yours, but only because they are so dang cute.

Janneyjay@gmail.com said...

Play roulette and let God decide. The day Morgan was born was the greatest day of my life. You won't miss the sleep or the money. You will wake up every darn day and thank God you are blessed with a child. And fyi your parents will do whatever you ask them to if you EVER need help. Trust me.

andrea said...

I second what janneyjay said. You won't miss the sleep or the money. It's easy to fear what you haven't yet experienced, and it's impossible to understand the enormous bounty of love and happiness that a child will bring into your life without having experienced it. Having a kid is one enormous leap of faith. Trust me, I felt the same way you do, and that's why I waited until THIRTY-NINE (which, by the way, I don't really recommend doing - having a kid requires good health, vitality and energy). At that point, something in me said "Let's do this," and I got lucky. You could wait for your "let's do this" moment, but in my opinion? The fact that this dilemma is already occupying your thoughts much of the time means your "let's do this" moment is tugging at your sleeve, trying to get your attention.

Plus: all the sleep dep and schedule stuff, that's all just for the first couple/few years. It's hard to adequately express how quickly they grow up. You may surprise yourself by missing that early stage once it's gone.

Good luck. :)