How a lovely relationship has closed my womb
It’s always been a given that I want to have kids. That is, until I came into a loving, healthy, fun, stable, invigorating, hilarious relationship.
My interest in and experience with tykes began for not the most noble reason — as a freshman in high school, I needed ten hours of community service to become a member of the National Honor Society and was looking for a quick way to fulfill the requirement [my life was very busy with watching A Different World and ashamedly shopping at Lane Bryant; not a lot of time to spare]. The flyer read – “Do arts ‘n crafts with kids in an afterschool program Wednesdays.” Cutting and pasting for a couple of hours didn’t seem daunting, and so that’s how I found myself on a school bus from Evanston to Cabrini Green.
After my ten hours, I kept returning. My interest in public housing and all-issues inner-city was piqued, the immediate love and rockstar status the kids anointed me every week was intoxicating. A year later, I was coordinator of the program. That plus my standing Saturday night babysitting job for two kids, both until graduation, cemented children into my formative years.
While in college, I mentored a teen, created a pen-pal program between my freshman residents when I was an RA and kids who lived in public housing, was a summer camp counselor, and interned at Teen Voices Magazine. Post college, I coordinated a Saturday morning volunteer program at an Englewood elementary school for five years, taught and continue to teach digital media to hundreds of Chicago Public School students in under-resourced neighborhoods, and continue relationships with various kids I’ve met over the years.
All this is to say, other people’s kids have been a constant in my life and I knew that one day, I’d complement [replace?] your kids with those from my own loins.
Over the year and half that I’ve been dating Boyfriend, of course I’ve done the obligatory girl-thing, where you write your first name and his last name, where you envision what type of food on a stick you’ll have at your wedding, where you conjure up images of the results of a DNA-smushing, where you think “Wow, Boyfriend will be such a good dad!”…
But weirdly, as we’ve gotten more serious, my urge to procreate has lessened. To the point now where I don’t know if I want to have kids.
We bike thirty-five miles to Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana. We Trader Joe’s at 9:30PM. We go on two-week European vacations where we fly by the seat of our pants, pack light, and eat street food. We go to late-night improv shows. We do bar trivia. We get to Millennium Park hours early to get good seats for Iron & Wine. We have a GoogleDoc of eateries we want to try, many of which are bars/pubs, none of which are Chucky Cheese. We cringe when we see large families or tiny-beings within a year or two of each other. We already have to schedule get-togethers weeks/months down the line. We have dreams of European bike trips, more professional collaboration [do you need someone to lead your office in team-building/improv activities?!? Contact me!] and the creation of Boyfriend/Girlfriend LLC.
I don’t want to spend my money on diaper-genies and jars filled with mashed peas. I don’t want to spend my time car-pooling other people’s critters, baking for school fundraisers, or devising discipline scenarios. I don’t want our conversations to revolve around sitters, field trips, tap class, and report cards. I like an empty backseat that we can fill with doughnuts or six-packs or bike accessories. I like that we can leave for an outing carrying nothing but keys and a wallet. I like that we don’t fight.
I’m sure there are parents who answer questions about the ’80s at Riverview Tavern on random Tuesday nights, who talk about TV shows that aren’t brought to you by the Letter R, and who have tons of energy and are always up for whatever. It just seems few and far between.
For now at least, I choose spontaneity, light backpacks, and 3AM Golden Nugget pancakes.
i want to hear more about this food on a stick. is that really happening? and, if so, can that food be vegetable free? or, at the very least, will there be concessions made for others at the event who share boyfriend’s last name? there are those with boyfriend’s last name, for example, who leer suspiciously at europe, who are gutturally frightened of food at three a.m., and who yell really obscene and blasphemous things at people who ride bikes on the sidewalk when he’s trying to take his after-dinner walk (which normally happens around 5:30 p.m.). for people like… Read more »
Being a parent is a 24/7 job, and I supposes it’s only natural to want things to stay the same when they are going good but you have to remember even if you don’t have kid(s) that the only constant in life is change.
Been married 17 years now without children, because when we were dating we felt like you. We’ve never changed our minds or regretted it, despite the assurances of many well-meaning busybodies that we would. If anything our relief at being able to have time, money, disposable income, and low-stress, quiet lives have deepened over the years.
If you have childfree instincts and the courage to trust your instincts, don’t let anyone change your mind!
Don’t over-think it! You will be amazed at the INCREDIBLE feeling of satisfaction you get from seeing your own offspring learn and grow. All the mundane things you take for granted now (wine and beer and travel) become so much more fun with your children to share them. You might realize there’s more to life than spreadsheets and coffee shops 🙂
You share beer & wine with your children???? I’m hoping they’re of legal age now. Otherwise, you know there’s a time & place for everything, right? Aka hire a babysitter to go out or stay home & drink. I’m sure you meant it differently than how you wrote it, but just had to poke fun & point it out. lol Mundane for you may be exciting & fun for another. To each their own. How boring would the world be if everyone lived their lives in the exact same way as everyone else? Plus, this line of thought implies you… Read more »
RossW Having a thought and then writing a blog post that takes 10 minutes to pen doesn’t seem to be overthinking a topic in my mind. What you call ‘mundane’ sounds like heaven to me, whereas what comes with raising a child does not. I don’t want to realize there’s more to life than coffeeshops and spreadsheets, I LOVE my life. Regardless, it doesn’t matter what I think when it comes to your life and your life choices, and vice versa, right? That’s what makes the world the best! What you want for yourself doesn’t have to be what I want… Read more »
sayahillman RossW Hear hear, Saya! You do you.
Excellent blogpost. As juliacsmith says: you do you. Marriage and parenthood aren’t one-size-fits-all propositions. Fortunately you’re in a situation in life where you can choose. I think back to high school frolics and am thankful not to have become someone’s father. Then, last August during my drive from Chicago to Portland, I felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to have made my own decision to not only move, but to drive and make it a 16-day road trip. Like the guy in the Geico commercial says to the lady as he prepares to ride off on his horse: “I’m a loner,… Read more »
Thanks OzData! Very glad to have met you and so happy that you took the leap out West…
[…] won’t go into detail here about the whys. But when I learned that yet another friend of mine is leaving Chicago, this to procreate or not to […]