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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Thursday
Sep082011

The Conversion to Mommyblogger?

There’s a certain camaraderie amongst bloggers. I read you. You read me. We comment. We forgive long bouts of silence and grammatical errors.

When I was wedding planning, I relied on many blogs and bloggers to help get me through the process. Blogging helped me feel less alone in the process since my mom lived nearly 7 hours away and my MOH was across the country with a full time job and two kids.

I still read and follow many of these now-married brides both publicly and as a lurker. It’s been a little over two years since I started writing this blog and reading many, many other blogs. What’s interesting about these blogs now are the conversations going on. The conversations are about the babies. I cannot tell you how many of these women, now married for over a year, are pregnant, talking about getting pregnant, or who are showing off their little, pink and wrinkly newborns.

Once again, in the process of life, I am taking the road that does not seem to be the norm. *sigh*

And let me just touch on this topic a smidge - about taking a different direction. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything the “right” way. I’ve tried, but I mess it up all the time. I don’t think I’ve ever had the maturity that I’m supposed to have in jobs or life or whatever. I stayed in college an extra year to get an extra degree in Costume Construction Technology (yes, that’s right) while my friends were graduating and taking “real” jobs and/or going to grad school. I moved to California and worked for Frederick’s of Hollywood as an assistant buyer of crotchless panties while these same friends went to work for IBM and Deloitte Touche and KPMG. They got married while I was getting drunk at a club. They bought houses and I rented. They made money and I scraped along.

Now, in terms of a career, I finally found my niche and kicked ass. However, I have this feeling that many of my friends still regarded me as a loose canon, “She’s our artsy friend.” I honestly have no idea how they regarded me, this is just my impression.

So I’ve always felt like I‘ve been many, many steps behind everyone. I assumed that would be the case when it came to my marriage. The Candyman and I got married and I was 39 years old. We talked briefly about babies and decided we’d talk more about it after we’d been married a year. A year came and went and the baby talk was still just idle conversation, occasionally a little stronger on my part after too much hot sake at the sushi bar. The reality was that the conversation wasn’t happening in the way that I think those conversations are supposed to go.

I guess I imagined intimate talks in bed, snuggled up to The Candyman, whispering over the future family-to-be. Or perhaps a more logical approach – a discussion of finances and timing and house-size over coffee at the kitchen table. Or perhaps an idyllic chat at the park as we watched kids and toddlers play on the jungle gym.

Nope. Not one of those conversations has ever happened. It’s more like this:

Me: Should we have a kid?

The Candyman (lounging in his leather chair, watching Jeopardy and drinking copious amounts of V8): Why would we want to do that?

Me: I dunno.

The Candyman: Me either.

Or sometimes like this:

Me: Do you want to have a baby?

The Candyman: Sure.

Me: Now?

The Candyman (raises an eyebrow in anticipation): Does that mean we can go have sex right now?

Me: Never mind.

And occasionally:

Me: I don’t know about this whole baby thing.

The Candyman: Me either. Fuck it. Let’s just keep our money and spend it on ourselves.

Me: Yeah. Babies can be expensive.

The Candyman (popping another can of V8): Yeah. We don’t need expensive.

Me: Yeah.

So you see the level of intensity in these conversations, no? We’re focused. We’ve got a plan. We know exactly what we’re doing.

Meh.

And that’s how I feel about having a baby: meh. And I don’t think I’m supposed to feel “meh.” Couple “meh” with the fact that I’m FORTY ONE and I’m just not so sure about any of this baby business. I never played “house” when I was a kid. I had Barbie and the Barbie Dream House, but my girl was ALWAYS solo. I never even asked for a Ken. I’ve never dreamed of having a family, the white picket fence (though oddly, we have one of those) or any other traditional living scheme. It just never came up in my head. I have never, ever longed to be a mother or a mom or anything other than a cool aunt who buys both educational and totally inappropriate toys.

But the reality is we’re getting down to the wire in terms of actual, physical pregnancy. My clock has never been one to tick in a way that I ever really heard, but the wrinkles on my forehead are LOUD ENOUGH, thank you very much. Yet I don’t have any strong emotions one way or another towards having a child. My body nor my mind screams out at me to conceive. I do not long to parent, join a play group or re-learn Algebra so that I can help my kid limp through it. None of these things appeal to me. At all.

It’s almost like we’re making this decision by not making a decision. It seems too hard and somewhat final to stand up and announce, “We’re not having children!” Instead, I think we’ll just continue to cruise along  and see what happens. Sometimes I see this approach much like I do other aspects of my life: too many steps behind everyone. Lately though I’ve been trying to look at my life in a way where I compare myself less often to “the norm” and judge myself based on what I really want. The problem with that is figuring out what I really want instead of chasing after something that simply doesn’t fit.

Please tell me I’m not the only person out there who thinks this way. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with not having kids, right? 

 

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Reader Comments (29)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with not having kids! And I have no burning desire to be a grandmother, so if that mattered (which it shouldn't), no worries there. And YOUR "normal" is absolutely wonderful. When you were a toddler I recognized a special "joie de vivre" in you that has carried you to where you are now. Enjoy your uniqueness - it makes you an interesting person.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMom

This is so refreshing to hear you say that! My new hubby and I have those SAME conversations and I thank 6lb 7oz baby Jesus that he feels the same way I do (aka: indecisive as f%#$). We're only 30 and 33, but I still feel the pressure to make some sort of decision, but I don't want to decide. I want it to happen naturally, but I have NO clue how I feel about it. I've used the word "meh" about it too. I think I'd be a kick-ass Mom, but do I want to be? I HAVE NO IDEA! I hate that my womb spins whenever I see a newborn baby. Some crazy neanderthalic gene in my brain says "must procreate now," but my head says "oh heeeelllll no."

It's nice to hear someone who's one the fence too. Thanks Louise!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa

NOTHING WRONG. Nothing wrong at all. Granted, I'm in my late twenties, but I see my life ahead of my going just as easily either way - with or without kids. Not everyone has to have them. Not everyone has them!

Google yourself some "child-free blogs" and hang out with that community for a while. It will help normalize your feelings, or perhaps make you feel an ache that you didn't know you had. Spending a lot of time with a group that's all doing the same thing makes it hard to tell where your true barometer is pointing...

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

Another great post Louise! There's nothing wrong with not having kids, and nothing wrong with not knowing either way. My biggest fear is that I'll go on in the meh.... place forever (where I'm at now), and wake up one day when it's too late thinking I missed out. But I still think that's way better than being a meh.... parent. Kudos to you for starting the discussion!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Oh, Louise, I just started reading you, but I already love you. I'm running into many of the same issues with my FB feed. Kids are popping up everywhere! Now, my fiance (33) and I (30 in a week) have already decided to forgo having kids, but it took time for me to come by that decision on my own (he was pretty stalwart about that from the beginning). For me, I think I would be a great mom, but I feel called to do so much other things before wanting to deal with children. And they are expensive. And some of the people I know are saying that I only decided that because of him, but I myself (and those truly close to me) know it's not true. I chose my own choice.
So, all that was to say that you are definitely not the only person to think this. And thank you for putting it out there. There definitely shouldn't be anything wrong with not having kids. :-)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

I think it has to be one of those drunken spur-of-the-moment decisions. Like "ohmigod we're so in love, let's have a baaaaby!" and then you go make one before you sober up. I dunno - Keith and I talk about it all of the time, and never do I feel like it's 100% an excellent idea. The older you get, the more rational you become, and that decision defies logic, as far as I'm concerned. Not that I wouldn't love a little baby - I just, I dunno - I also really like our current lifestyle, you know? So here's to happy accidents! Or not.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterveronica

Here is the thing: in all the time that I have been reading and commenting and behind-the-scenes-emailing with you, I have never heard you say one thing, not one, that suggested that you actually want to be a parent. I've heard you say that you feel societal pressure to become a parent, and that you know that now is the time to piss or get off the pot, but that's it. And that's perfectly, absolutely okay.

Not everyone wants to be a parent, and anyone who doesn't truly want to be a parent, shouldn't become one. Hell, even some people who think they want to be parents shouldn't be parents.

You and Candyman have a solid, happy life that you thoroughly enjoy together. You get to live the life you both want, have and enjoy. So do that and don't borrow worries that aren't really yours. Those of us who are parents sacrificed aspects of ourselves to be parents. Maybe that's partly why so many parents try to recruit to their fold -- pure jealousy of the things that we gave up. "This is why I can't have nice things..."

You know how fiercely I love my kids, so you know that I find parenthood personally rewarding, but I also try to be honest. And the truth is, parenthood is not for everyone. It's not even for parents all the time. Remember: cute, wriggling babies only do three things: cry, sleep, eat and poop, and mostly they do three things to the exclusion of sleep. Then they grow up. Eventually they will turn into teenagers. If you're unsure you want the tiny, pretty adorable things, you really don't want their growing up versions. If you're not ridiculously in love with the idea, and it's just this feeling of "meh," DON'T DO IT. It's okay, really. We'll still be your friends.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Dude, IT'S NOT JUST YOU. I was meh, but I thought maybe it would change if I met the right person or turned thirty. I met the right person and turned thirty, a certain number of years passed, and I'm still meh. I've been having dreams where I'm pregnant (one of my close friends just had a baby) and every single time I'm disappointed. I think it's mostly about why you got married (the blog phenomenon, that is). I got married just because I wanted to and my victim, er husband, didn't mind too much.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterindependent clause

Oh, Friend. I feel you on this one. I used to think that if i had kids, it would be okay and if I didn't have kids, it would be okay. Then, four years ago, my little brother had his first child and I was one of the first people to hold him. I held this little baby burrito and stared into his eyes and my desire to have a child of my own became stronger. Now, I'm 37 and my husband will be 40 this year. My husband wants one, most of the time. We both get a little nervous when we think about it too hard. That's true of every big decision we make, though. We both get nervous around change. I have talked to my doctor and I have contacted a fertility center.. but, that's about all. We haven't filled out the paperwork, we haven't scheduled sex. I'm not doing all of the things that you're supposed to do when you're trying to get pregnant at 37. And, I really want a Camaro. I'm not sure how that fits with having a baby.. but, they're small, right? And the Camaro has a backseat.. When I ramble like this, I'm not sure I'm mature enough to be someone's mother. Just know that you're not alone and there's nothing wrong with not having kids. I'm hearing more and more women (couples) deciding to not have children. My sister was shocked when I told her that we may not. She said, "Who will take care of you when you're old??" I answered, "Well, with all of the money we'll save, we'll freaking HIRE someone to do it." We all know that giving birth to someone doesn't mean they'll be there for you when you're old. Okay. More rambling. Feel free to email me if you'd like to toss around thoughts. :)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristy W

PS Kerry, Excellent advice

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterindependent clause

Louise, don't have a baby if you don't want one! From my extensive research watching "Teen Mom" and "16 and Pregnant" (and also from being a teacher), having kids under any kind of pressure rather than internal desire is just a recipe for disaster. My new husband is a baby whisperer and we definitely want one (just one) child in a few years, but that does not mean that our decision is right for anyone else besides us. Stay strong! Enjoy your independent lifestyle! The rest of us can look on with envy as we change poopy diapers ;)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

The soul-searching/mind-searching decision of whether to have a child is pretty natural, especailly as one approaches "the point of no return". (I'm older than you are. I can say that without being insulting.)

I think people should have children if they have a strong desire to have children. People who don't have the desire to have children don't need to have children and should not have to justify it to anyone else. Period. Regardless of societal pressures, one really doesn't need to have a reason to not to have a baby. I see it as more of an opt-in program than an opt-out.

As far as I'm concerned, I have a family...it's just theere are two of us, my husband and myself. We have children that we are close to; some related by blood, some are children of friends. I love them. If we had had children of our own we would have loved them and raised them well. But we didn't...and I'm just fine with that. No regrets.

It's a different path...not a lesser path.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClare

They say Baby Fever is REAL! And I believe it, but i'm glad you aren't falling for it. Yea, a lot of us bride bloggers are becoming mommy bloggers, but a lot aren't as well. I think that timing has to be perfect for you and your hubby, if you so choose that path. Do you have to? HELL NO! You have to want this huge crazy responsibility otherwise, there is no point to do it and live 18+ years regretting the decision! Would you make a great mom? I bet you would, but that doesn't mean its the path you have to take! You know exactly where you stand, don't feel bad about it. I know its hard not to always feel like you are explaining yourself, but really - as long as you and your hubby know what's going on and why, that is ALL that matters.

For the husband and I, it took us a lot of time before we decided to go down that path, but we both knew it was something we wanted fairly quickly. Because we are on the same page, and we knowingly went into this with such intentions, it makes the pregnancy that much more meaningful and wonderful for us. But our path is not everyone's path! And the differences in paths doesn't make one more right or wrong than the other, it just has to fit the people who walk it!

Love this post and the honesty of it! :)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmyJean

Veronica is right-- about how getting drunk leads to babies (regardless of whether one even talks about babies during said drunkenness)! Sometimes that's a good thing, but often it is definitely not. Either way, it knocks you right off the fence of indecision into the yard of parenthood, that's fo sho.

But I hear you. When I was on that fence, I thought, "How am I supposed to know if I want to be a mom? I've never done it before. I don't have the requisite data for decision making!"

Love the recap of conversations with the Candyman. :)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGEW

i'm with you too, louise. i never needed a ken either or pictured a family. i still don't, really. i go back and forth with isaiah bipolar-ly on a month-to-month basis: NO KIDS vs. aww...babies and he's always been along for the talks, although i know he wants kids.

i don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling when i think about kids. i don't get the "I WANT THEM!" feeling. i hardly even like kids. at least, other people's rude versions of kids. i always wondered how couples who decided to have kids came to that decision. how can you decide to pop out expensive, painful mini-versions of yourselves? i think it's something that just happens...you know? and you just grow to love the idea in our case, what do you think?

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlizzie

I love your "just float along" plan. The honey and I have made the decision that we do NOT want to have kids, and we have a perfectly fun time zerberting other people's babies. To be a parent, I think one should WANT to be a parent. Plus we are really, really selfish and don't want to give up fun times for small people. And neither of us feel like we would be good parents. SO: no babies!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

I feel exactly the same way. I am well into my thirties and have never felt and urge to have children. I've never seen them as part of my life, as in, "when I grow up I want three kids, two girls and..." Nope, not me at all, but still felt compelled to "have that [periodic] conversation" with the hindsight groom. It went much like yours. After two years I'm finally "coming out" with friends and family about our decision not to have children. The reactions are mixed (like it's anybody's business anyway.) I've actually had friends be upset with me, calling me selfish for not having children. Excuse me?

Anyway, it's so refreshing to hear of another woman forging a path that is right for her. Thank you for this post!

I love all these comments y'all! I am so happy to know I'm not the only one who is meh. Happily, I don't have lots of people asking questions about babies. I think most people get it at this point. I don't have to field all the intrusive bullshit younger couples get!

September 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

I didn't have Barbies growing up. Am I the only one? It's hard to relate to a tiny little blonde thing when you're decidedly...not. :) I was meh on the babies for a long, long time. Like Christie, above, I had my fair share of vocal friends about this. "You're not really a family unless you have a baby" being one of my favorites (not). And then, one day, I got off the fence. I have no idea why. Timing? Age? The sucky part is all the smugness from the folks who just knew I'd see their way of things. What are you going to do right?

It sounds like you and Candyman have a good thing. I like what Clare said above. It's a different path (and really, these days, how different is it?)..not a lesser path.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkc

I think you owe it to yourself to actually decide. If you can talk it all through with the Candyman in a nice biggie size conversation - there will be no regrets either way!!!!

ab

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterabby

LAWDY. I battle with the "supposed tos" ALL THE TIME. About all areas of my life. And let me first say to you that I admire the "different" directions your life has taken. Sure, it makes us uneasy to go against the grain, because we all have this natural tendency to want to be one with the group. But "different" experiences make you more than just a person, they make you a character. And lady, you have character in spades.

Now that we have that out of the way.... eh. Children. This topic has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, because I feel like we HAVE to decide. And we feel "meh." And I honestly, honestly, feel very reluctant about the whole process of having something growing inside me and then having to get it out. Which leads me to conclude: screw it. You know? But then we talk about how we'd always thought we'd be parents some day, and what if this, and what if that, and when it comes down to it 60% of us want to do it and 40% doesn't. So... is that enough to push us over the edge? UGH, and HALP. That's pretty much where I'm at right now.

So, yeah. I am basically no help to you whatsoever and I'm not even sure why I bothered to type my confusion out and present it to you in the form of a blog comment. But I will say this: if I do get knocked up, I hope I don't become *too* insufferably mommybloggery.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlyn

I totally know where you're coming from, and think you are 100% normal! There is absolutely nothing wrong with NOT having kids! My fiancee and I are still undecided...and I have my days where I think of how we can take amazing vacations and have a second home if we choose the no kids path!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I didn't have children and I just turned 53. Oh, I heard lots of comments along the way, but it didn't faze me.

As far as the biological clock, you can always adopt later if you want to.

The worst thing you can do in life is try to run while looking at the other guy. It interferes with your own run and you start running slower and losing your place.

Sorry for the running metaphors. ;)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori

Thanks for all the comments, y'all! This has been a great sharing of thoughts! Here's a kicker: last night I dreamed a little baby was abandoned at my old office. Guess who took it in?

September 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

I might be going through a rough time with my children, but right now I would trade them in for a trip to Spain and a pitcher of sangria. Kids are a lot of work and aren't always fun. I think if I had started when I was 20-something it might have been easier than starting at "advanced maternal age." I have friends my age who have grandchildren when I have a 2-year-old. But, I always think that things work out for the best. I know I would not have been ready to be a parent at 20-something. As far as you and the Candyman having children, if it happens that's great but if it doesn't happen then that's great too. You can go to Spain and drink sangria for me.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkd

Hey, fellow costume construction degree lady! I often feel the same way, that I am always several steps behind my friends and peers, and I'm not sure the whole kids thing is going to work for us either. But I relish the fact that J and I's lives are constantly shifting and adventurous. I hope it never changes, even if babies become a factor. I think it is great to have a sense of perspective like yours.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Emma

Thank you for this post.

This is exactly how we feel. Pretty "meh." Making an actual decision not to have kids, announcing it to people... is tough, though. Very final-seeming (though having kids is about a thousand times scarier to me, and even more final... no taking that back). I feel like we're also making a decision by not making a decision. I feel out of step with my peers (yet again). I'm also the artsy one, the one who never wanted to get married, and especially never saw herself as married-with-kids. But it seems like everyone I know is somewhere between talking about getting knocked up, or tending to their 3 kids.

It's been incredibly hard to shut off the social pressure and figure out what *we* really want. I feel like it surrounds me 24/7... it's subtle sometimes, but always there: it's The Next Step, supposedly (well, that or buy a house). It makes me wonder how many people have kids simply because "that's what you do." It's challenging to venture into... scriptless territory.

"Please tell me I’m not the only person out there who thinks this way. There shouldn't be anything wrong with not having kids, right?"

Hell no, and hell yes. I hate when people act as if it's "selfish" to not have kids... there is no need nowadays (as opposed to pre-1900s, where they worked the farm and were seen as necessary labor, small grown-ups vs. little dolls), and it's not an unavoidable consequence of sex. I can see how adoption is more selfless, but that's not really the most popular option.

And yet, I still feel pressured. I feel like something's "wrong" with me for wanting to opt out of motherhood, especially since I do like kids and find them interesting and fun to be around. But being responsible for them for 18+ years is a whole different matter. Having them... interrupt my marriage feels like something I would resent, too.

September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Also: I love your mom's comment - my mother told me essentially the same thing, and it's a gift, really, to not have to make a decision around the "but I want grandkids!" pressure my friends seem to be experiencing.

@Sarah and kd - it's so helpful to hear a balanced perspective from parents instead of the "do it!! you'll loooooovvvee every minute" urgings. I like the idea that we make the choices that suit us, and we live with the good and bad... because no path is perfect, with or without kids, and there may always be some "what if?" wistfulness. But having or not having kids isn't going to make or break a life, it's just another bend in the (hopefully very long) road. So thank you, for making me feel like less of a freak and better about knowing myself. :)

September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Since I wrote this post, I've had several face to face conversations about child-rearing and marriage. Something I've found that's interesting: there is this whole school of thought that there are couples out there who encourage marriage/children to their friends because they want everyone else to be as miserable as they are.

Hm.

Now I'm coming up on 2 years of marriage and so far, I fucking love it. It's hard some days, yes. But all fabulous things take a little work. I want my few remaining single friends to meet people, fall in love and get married too - because I want them to experience that same joy. It's not like I want them to become members of the Suck Club. for me, Club Marriage does not suck at all.

I can't image that my friends who DO encourage me to have children (there are only a few) or who are very pro-kids say so to me because they want me to be miserable. I KNOW these folks love their kids and love having them. As most people can see - having children is a much more visible form of hard work. Sometimes, that works becomes so difficult, it's hard to work on the marriage too.

And that's one of my biggest fears - is putting so much into the rearing of my child that my marriage suffers. I want NO PART of that action. My marriage and The Candyman are my top priority and I would like to keep it that way!

September 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

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