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.