The Family Way

To say I’m not a kid person would be an understatement. At my family photo shoots, I do nothing in order to get the kids to be cheery and happy. I leave that up to the parents and simply chase, while doing my best to get good angles, light and smiles all at the same time. Trying to entertain as well, would be asking for disaster. Doing these family photo shoots is enjoyable most of the time, but always exhausting. Every time I finish, I think, “Wow, that was fun, but thank goodness I don’t have kids.”

Maybe someday that will change. Maybe one morning I’ll wake up and say, “I can’t wait to have a baby and dedicate my life to being a mother.” But, I’d be lying if I said I hope that happens. Right now I have a dog, which completely satiates any maternal cravings I might have.

Part of my lack of desire to have children stems from my yearning to have a wildly successful career. Now, I’m still not sure in what, but I’d love to be the next Annie Lebowitz or a less sappy Elizabeth Gilbert. I would like to work for the U.S. Olympic Committee or the World Cup Planning Committee. I’d enjoy building a multi-million dollar construction company with my husband and overseeing the business side.

But, I don’t think I’m being unrealistic in thinking that any kind of serious career building requires immense sacrifice, definitely more so on a woman’s part than on a man’s part. In fact, when I started googling the topic, I found a fascinating post by a professional blogger about it.

When men are in powerful positions at their jobs that require time and travel, the first thing they sacrifice is their family. If women have children, they cannot sacrifice their family. They don’t have the luxury of choice.

Sometimes I feel societal guilt for my lack of desire to procreate. But then I slap myself in the face and snap out of it. Really, the Earth is overpopulated enough as it is. I don’t think anybody will miss my spawn if I choose never to have them.

In some sense, I’m looking forward to our big trip because it will be a form of running away from that pressure. People aren’t going to look at two broke backpackers trudging across the world and ask them, “So, when are you thinking about hanging up your traveling hat, staying in one place forever and making babies?” I’m looking forward to having nobody asking me if I’m pregnant yet for the entire time we’re on the road. If anyone dares pose the question, I’ll punch him.

I’m not saying I will never have a baby. Because I never say never. Time changes people. And we’re still newlyweds. We’re not ready for kids right now, but maybe someday we will be. I mean, I once hated all dogs, and now I adore Papito with all my heart and soul. That little bitch has changed my life. And I have a feeling that if I do end up with a daughter, I’ll probably be able to say the same thing about her. :)

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Comments

  1. Fned says:

    hehehe… I’m gonna wait till I’m in Santiago to really comment on this one. All I can say right now is: MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY!

    :D
    Fned.

  2. Rachel says:

    I have this funny little feeling that whichever you choose will be just as fulfilling for you…and after all…you guys are the only people that you need answer to….don’t feel pressured either way! ;)

  3. Amanda says:

    You ARE good with kids, though! F. loves you! In fact, last night she was doing a chilean-style touchdown dance after seeing your video about Seba not losing his job. I wanted to record it and send it to you but then she got embarrassed. Sometimes I think the people who don’t try are always kids’ favorites.

    But regardless of that, I totally understand, too. In fact, the last thing I was thinking as I fell asleep last night is, “Do I really want children? Not really.” Haha. Getting the heck out of Chile has really like… made me not want them, because no one is pressuring me here at all. In fact every time I call my mom and say, “I have some bad news,” she automatically responds, “Oh god, no, don’t tell my you’re pregnant.”

    And I think one of the best things you can do as a parent is to wait until you’ve fulfilled your dreams because at that point you’re wiser, happier, and will have so much more to offer as a parent. Obviously, not everyone’s Mom was able to do that and they’ve still been great Moms, but I think it’s definitely something I want to do so I’m not tempted to drop it off at my Mother in laws and say chao, haha. :)

  4. Maeskizzle says:

    I know, people think about babies a lot here. People have been asking me when V and I are having babies since we had been dating for a year. Because marriage is definitely just a detail. On my wedding day, I think I had 2-3 people ask when we would be popping out a baby. And since then I’ve had two people ask if I was pregnant. I mean like, why else would we get married except to reproduce or because we are accidentally already pregnant? It definitely seems more common to ask about babies here. But then I wonder, maybe living in the States, people start asking you when you will be procreating when your in your 30s and not your 20s. But even so, I don’t feel pressured by it. I usually get a pang of irritation and then remember, “well, that’s a common question here” and go about my business.

    A friend of mine was at her aunt’s birthday with her boyfriend last year and her aunt blew out the candles and made her wish out loud: “I want M and X to have a baby.” hehehehee. Nothing to do but laugh. And the baby is on its way. And everyone in the family is exstatic.

    Anyway, it’s good to think about having kids before actually doing it, and not just having kids because everyone else does. I’ve definitely felt both ways too, but am now planning on probably having a kid or two someday.

    Interesting article – advice from the top. It’s food for thought.

  5. Emily says:

    Thanks for sharing that article, it was really interesting – it made me a bit sad/stressed for the future, but at the same time it’s nothing I didn’t already know. The only thing I disagree with is your statement that women can’t sacrifice their families as much as men can. I think they can and many do (whether via a stay-at-home dad or professional help), it’s just still less common than it is for men. My parents were older when they had me, and part of that meant that they had the income to have nannies when I was little and the seniority to say “I’m going to work from home in the afternoons and pick my daughter up from school” without the company having a problem with it. I really admire both of them for making me feel like I had plenty of love and attention while at the same time continuing with careers that they enjoyed. I’m sure it wasn’t easy!

    I used to think that I wanted to have kids relatively young, definitely before 30, because one thing I am very aware of is that had my parents had me 10 years earlier, I would have 10 more years with them. But now that I’m in my 20s, so enjoying being a couple and realizing that there are lots of things that I want to be able to do before having to get a little less selfish and put a childs’ needs before my own, 30 isn’t looking quite so old anymore :) Besides, I fully agree that the dog is currently satisfying any and all maternal urges. I sometimes worry that I won’t love my children as much as I love her, haha.

    I think my most embarrassing “when are you having kids” moment was when a friend’s 23 year old girlfriend asked me if we were thinking about kids. She already had a 4 year old, but it was pretty clear that he hadn’t been planned, so I didn’t feel strange saying “not for a LONG time!” When she asked why, I couldn’t believe it, and burst out “because I’m only 22!” in a tone that made it clear that I thought people who planned to have kids at our age were crazy. That night she and the friend announced they were having a baby together. Oops.

  6. katieo says:

    Ha! I remember the “pressure” very well.
    “No no no. Not yet!” we said.
    Then, surprise surprise, I found out I was pregnant MUCH sooner than we had planned on. (In my mind then, it was very traumatic.)

    But now, I look back and consider it one of the best things that has ever happened to us.

    That said, I really find it pretty intrusive when anyone, well-intentioned or not, asks about having children, timetables, if you’re done, when you’re starting etc. I have felt all sorts of pressure from the weirdest places and just think that people basically want to feel validated in their own decisions.

    It really is up to you (as a couple) and NO ONE else!

  7. Theresa in Mèrida says:

    The other day, my friend and I (we both have grown kids and retired husbands) were talking about how we don’t understand women who aren’t happy when their husband retires and they get to be together all the time. Her opinion is that it’s people who had children early on in the marriage and didn’t have enough time together to really bond as a couple. I felt that it’s people who don’t have a spouse oriented marriage. I love my children very much, but my job is to help them grow up and move on it their own lives, not center my own life around them. It isn’t a healthy example to set at all.
    I also think that having kids totally changes your life in unbelievable ways but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
    regards,
    Theresa

  8. Isabel says:

    oh, the baby pressures here in Chile. I’m not married yet so I know I don’t get pressured quite as much as you do, though the married thing is sort of an afterthought here for many people. I got bombarded by a group of Chileans with those questions on Saturday and the argument that my uterus is only getting older from now on was used–that was a new and annoying one. I even love babies, But definitely not for me at 23!

    Go travel and build your business and feel awesome for not having kids to tie you and S. down! Although I have to admit that even though I’ve never met you, I see kids in your (distant) future. Good thing I’m not psychic!

  9. Hulie says:

    I could not agree more! Everyone thinks I’m a freak for not wanting kids but I’m completely dead serious. I can’t imagine anything more horrific than getting knocked up right now!!! AHHH It freaks me out just thinking about it. But I agree that maybe… MAYBE… it could change but my career comes first. No doubt about it.

    And I loved the video. It made me happy to see your face and hear your voice, as well as seeing you and your cute husband do a dance :)

  10. Rebecca says:

    I’ve been married almost three years (anniversary at the end of April). I’ll be 34 in March.

    And I’m asked this ALL THE TIME. And the answer is always, “We don’t plan to have children.”

    It’s hard, now, knowing that our time to change our mind is getting shorter and shorter. But I just don’t see us having kids.

  11. Lori - Blondie in Brazil says:

    I said it was going to be 30 for us. Now I’m 30 and I’ve moved it to 33, maybe 35. :) I’m just not ready yet and still waiting to see if I ever will be.

    The one thing I’m not planning to do (on purpose) is have a baby in Brazil. As cool as dual citizenshipe would be, I just can’t get to the point of trusting the medical system here.

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