Friday, March 28, 2014

Settling In

So I'm almost 34, and things are really settling in for me now with respect to my childfree future. I started this blog when I had just turned 27, and I always knew that I would still feel this way in my mid-30s, but I really get satisfaction from knowing that they're here, and that I was right.

I have to admit, at first my childfree 30s were a little weird. Every single one of our closest friends, who got married the same year we did, now has children. And the few married friends we now have who don't have children are either significantly younger than we are, just got married within the past year, or are medically unable to conceive. My closest female friend still doesn't have kids, but she's also nowhere near getting married -- and she wants kids someday.

So basically, we don't really know ANYONE in our social circle who's made the same decision we have, and this felt weird at first. But, more and more, I'm very comfortable being the odd ones out because I know we've made the right decision for us. I have no idea what to do with children, know very little about them, don't particularly like them, and can't even fathom being responsible for one 24/7. Put me in charge of a little kid for even an hour or two and I start to get twitchy by the end of it. I was not cut out to be a mother, full stop, and if I had been, I'd know it by now.

There's a certain comfort in your 30s that comes with knowing yourself more and more. In the case of my childfreedom, I always knew this was what I wanted, but I only feel better about the decision the older I get and the longer I live with it. And that's the greatest assurance of all that I've made the right choice.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Where Does A Baby Fit In? Nowhere.

I did a post like this five years ago, when I originally started this blog. I'm revisiting the topic today because I've been thinking about it more often lately, and because my life has changed a lot since then. But my conclusion is the same: I just do not have the time and energy that a child needs and deserves from a mom.

Here's what a typical day looks like for me nowadays:

5:45 AM: Wake. We live out on Long Island now, so we have a long commute and have to get up really early. I shower first since it takes me longer to get ready than it takes my husband. Shower, blow out my hair, put on my makeup, get dressed, feed the cat (the closest thing I'll probably ever have to a child.)

6:30 AM: Out the door.

6:45 AM: Onto the train. I have an hour train ride into the city. I use it to read the newspaper in the morning, usually, and if I'm really feeling motivated possibly do some reading for school (I'm in an MSW program at the moment.)

7:45 AM: Arrive at Penn. Subway to work.

8:15 AM: Get off the subway. I'm in the South Bronx now, where I work as a social work intern for a legal advocacy organization. This allows me to use my law background, but still satisfies my internship requirement for social work school. It's a tough job. Our clients are poor, mainly people of color, and face many problems including mental health issues, substance abuse, lack of housing, etc. I hear a lot of sad stories. I'm also running around a lot during the day -- it's a very mobile job, from the office to court and back again a lot, as well as doing home visits and the like. So I'm usually totally sapped by the end of the day, physically and emotionally.

8:30: Arrive at work. Work all day long. I'm supposed to get an hour lunch break, but we're so busy that usually doesn't happen. I'm lucky if I get a chance to eat some balanced, healthy food while on the run (I usually have to pack it with me to make this happen, so I'm not relying on buying it somewhere.)

4:30: Leave to go home. I negotiated an 8:30-4:30 schedule, instead of 9-5, so that I can be at Penn by

5:30: To take the train home with my husband. Another hour of reading, for school if I can manage it but honestly I'm so tired by this point that I usually just crash out, lean on my husband's shoulder and go for something comforting: chick lit, or whatever novel I'm reading. Or I play Words With Friends with my mom.

6:45: Arrive home to cat. Cat thrilled to see us. Usually we've picked up takeout on the way home -- I cook on weekends, but during the week it's just too much to contemplate. We settle down in the basement, watch some TV and eat dinner.

8:30: Usually by this point I'm starting to yawn. I'm tired ridiculously early these days, and I usually try to listen to my body because if I don't get enough sleep I'm useless at work the next day. I go upstairs and get ready for bed.

9: Write in my journal. I do this every day.

9:30: Either pass out, or read for 15 minutes and then pass out.

Rinse and repeat.

All my time and energy right now is going to my career and my marriage. I don't have any left over for a kid. What's left goes to taking care of me: reading, journaling, and getting enough sleep so I can keep getting up and doing this every day.

There is just nowhere for a baby to fit in here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Goodbye, Swingset

When we moved into our Long Island home, the prior residents had been a family of four. With a ton of stuff and two children, we found it hard to believe they'd ever fit in this house.

We made a number of changes, including painting over the chalkboard paint on the basement walls, and merging two smaller bedrooms together to make one great big master bedroom since we didn't need the extra space. But until today, the one thing we hadn't gotten to was the swingset.

That thing sat out near our driveway for almost three years, looking, to my eye, absolutely ridiculous. We knew we would never use it. We're not thinking maybe someday, maybe in a few years, we might have kids. We've known for a long time now that that was never going to happen.

The swingset wasn't really in the way, other than arguably being a bit of an eyesore, but it didn't fit us. It was the last trace of "kids live here" from the prior owners, and we had been meaning to get rid of it for a long time.

A few weeks ago my husband finally broke it down, and today, he finally hauled the pieces off to the dump. The space near our driveway where it used to stand is empty now, and I feel surprisingly relieved that it's gone. It didn't impact my day to day life, really, but having something in your space that is completely at odds with who you are can be jarring, and having it gone, I feel more at peace.

Goodbye, swingset.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I'm Back

For now, anyway. Who's going to believe me if I promise regular updates after disappearing for five years? But at the moment, I'm happy to be back and posting.

I'm 33 years old now, and have been thinking more than usual about our childfree choice. Don't misunderstand: I'm not reconsidering. I'm in the middle of a major career reboot, going for a second graduate degree that I won't finish until I'm 35. And more than ever lately, I've realized how much I love my free time, and need it. I am an introvert by nature and I need as much quiet time as possible every day to read, journal, or just think and be by myself. That's not ever going to change, and it's the main reason I've never wanted children.

But, as much as I'm more sure than ever that I don't want kids, I have to admit I'm feeling a lot more like the odd one out than I did in my twenties. Almost all of our close friends from back then have children now. We've been hanging out a lot with our family, who understands, and we hang around a lot lately with one particular couple who's a few years younger than us, so they're not really thinking about kids yet (although they are open to the idea of having them someday.)

Being the odd ones out doesn't bother me; I've always known eventually we'd be the last ones standing. But it does feel weird at times, and leads me to, if not question my choice, kind of wonder what it is that makes me so different from everyone else. I still have absolutely no desire to have kids. It just feels a little stranger to feel that way than it used to.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vacationing Childfree

My vacation with my husband this week has reminded me again just how great childfree travel is. To remind all of you the same, here is a list of just a few things we have done together this week -- all of which would have been impossible with small children.

-Enjoyed long and lazy afternoons in the backyard at our vacation cottage, catching up on our reading.

-Went wine tasting on several days of the week, often stopping to have a glass outside at a particularly pretty vineyard.

-Went to a nighttime outdoor screening of the Audrey Hepburn classic "Sabrina," complete with picnic of wine and cheese.

-Had a quiet dinner at a nice Italian restaurant on the water, at a table out on the deck.

-Visited the bar at our favorite bistro for several cocktails, some Olympics-watching, and a chat with the bartender.

-Had a couple of beers together at 10 PM in the hot tub at the cottage. (I won't say whether or not we opted for bathing suits.)

-Went for an 8-mile canoe trip up the Peconic in a two-person boat, stopping for ice cream at the end.

-Grilled an intimate dinner for two out on the deck at the cottage.

This is the most relaxing week I've had in ages and I don't even want to imagine how it would be transformed if we had a child or three we had to focus on instead of one another.

I actually had a dream last night that we had two children. I told my husband about it when I woke up. He shuddered and said, "Ugh, bad dream."

Diner Brats

My husband and I are on vacation this week on the North Fork of Long Island, our favorite place to go to relax. We like it for the wineries and for the general sense of peace and quiet. Unfortunately, that peace and quiet was shattered over what should have been a relaxing lunch today.

We were at a small luncheonette and ice cream parlor in the area, sitting in a booth and looking over menus, when a family walked in with four screeching children. I immediately rolled my eyes at my husband. I could tell right away that these tykes were going to be trouble. As they gathered around the ice cream counter, screaming "The pink one, Mommy, I want the pink one!" and "I want sprinkles!" and "I want chocolate sauce!", I hoped fervently that they would take their ice cream to go and walk back out into the pretty summer day. Unfortunately, they decided to stay, and to seat themselves at the booth right behind us.

We could not believe the behavior of these children. Their screams reverberated off the walls of the tiny diner, assaulting our ears for the entirety of our meal. There were other families with kids in the diner, but none were making any noise at all except for these children. We actually heard one of the little boys -- maybe six or seven -- shout at his mother, "Mom, DON'T TAKE ANY OF MY ICE CREAM!" My husband and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

"If that were my kid, I'd take him outside and smack him," my husband said in a low tone.

"I'd tell him he's buying his own ice cream from now on," I replied.

"Even though he wouldn't have any money, because he wouldn't be getting an allowance for the next decade," my husband agreed.

Finally, the family left. It was astounding how much quieter the diner was. I don't think I'd realized until then just HOW much noise these ill-behaved, entitled brats had been making.

Oh well. At least we're back at our cottage now, blogging in peace and quiet. Those parents get to reap the fruits of their own lack of discipline all day long.

Earplugs, anyone?

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Polite Reminder: Keep Your Damn Mouth Shut

Longtime readers of this blog will remember several past posts from about a year ago, when I had gained some weight and idiotic people who (obviously!) didn't know me very well kept "congratulating" me on what they assumed was my pregnancy. Unfortunately, as I'm naturally rather petite and any extra weight tends to collect around my abdominal area and stay out of my face, arms and legs, gaining a lot of excess weight does kind of tend to make me look pregnant. Which, of course, does not excuse the tactlessness of others in pointing this out.

However, I'm proud to say that I've lost approximately 14 pounds since January of this year, largely due to taking up running and cleaning up my diet. No one has brought up my supposed "pregnancy" in quite a long time, and I thought this nightmare was finally all behind me.

Until the doorman in my building at work today, one of my earlier "congratulators," delivered the ultimate slap in the face. As I breezed by him on my way in this morning, he called out to me:

"Hey! How's the little one?"

So, to all, a polite reminder: PLEASE DO NOT EVER, EVER MENTION A WOMAN'S PREGNANCY TO HER UNLESS YOU ARE 100% SURE THAT SHE IS PREGNANT. And by 100% sure, I mean either she has told you herself that she is, her husband/partner has told you, or she is going into labor and needs medical assistance.

This has been the Childfree Corner PSA of the day.