married life // kids

babies

Image by Kelly Christine.

I may kick myself later for even bringing this up, but I kind of want to talk about having kids. Last week in Mexico, Mr. Lovely and I were playing nanny to our sweet niece sometimes while my sis and bro-in-law were out having fun, and it was enough to get me thinking.

Do you have kids? If you’re married with kids, how long did you wait to start poppin’ out babies? It crosses my mind all the time, because while I love little kids and caring for them, I also really, really love my life right now. Mr. Lovely and I are pretty much footloose and fancy free, and live our lives accordingly. We’re always on the move, traveling and running around and having adventures. And it’s not to say that a kid would stop all of that, but it would definitely change things. Or am I wrong about that?

I live in a cross-section of two worlds: one is full of actors and creatives my age who are nowhere near settling down, and the other is the people from my hometown, who tend to marry and start having children right out of school. And I think for me, neither one of them seems right. I don’t want to be anchorless forever, hammering away at an actor’s life where you live out of a suitcase and know people for three months at a time. But I’m also grateful that I didn’t have kids right away, because I’ve had all of these amazing experiences that were brought about by my choices.

I guess my question is — how do you know when it’s time? Because the other thing that I don’t want is to be in a wheelchair when our kids are graduating college. I’d like to be young enough to be active with them for a long, long time. Okay guys, who’s got words of wisdom on this one? xoxo

 


32 comments

  1. Elle on said:

    So glad you brought it up! The worse part is we have too much decision making power! How can that decision ever be made?

    I have always loved the idea of not having kids. But every now and then husband will make some form of “when we have kids….” comment. When he does I’m always like “Tell me now! I don’t want to be an old parent!”

    I feel I could be happy either way but I just want the decision to be made already so I don’t have to think about it anymore. An accidental pregnancy or a fertility problem would be a godsend to me. At least then I would know :)

    • chelsea on said:

      You know Elle, I think that some people would scoff at your idea of nature making the decision so you don’t have to, but I completely have had those thoughts as well. It’s like if it was out of your hands, you’d just play the cards you were dealt and make things work one way or another. I wonder if this is more common to our generation, or if our moms and grandmothers thought this way too. Where’s my mom! I want her opinion on this one. :)

      • Elle on said:

        I know!!! I love the “play the cards you were dealt” way. So simple!

  2. Jen on said:

    I’m so glad you posted about this… I’m in a similar boat.. baby fever like crazy, afraid of waiting too long in case of potential fertility problems, but not sure we’re emotionally/financially ready for the next step.

    I’m ready.. he’d like to wait a bit longer to feel more secure in his new job, which I can understand too.

    And yes yes yes I agree with Elle.. I would be thrilled to have an accidental pregnancy and not have to make this decision either :)

    I’m coming back throughout the day to read the other comments on this one. I need the advice too!

    • chelsea on said:

      You brought up a whole other portion of the conversation that I didn’t even get to yet! The financial thing is such a consideration, especially now. I feel like job security is tricky, school is so expensive, and I want to be able to provide for any children the best way that I possibly could. We are both starting our own businesses, and obviously not in a place to be supporting a third person. Tricky stuff!

      • Audrey on said:

        The financial stability part is pretty important, because you’re already under a huge load of stress just being a new parent and adjusting to this new way of life. If you add money worries on top of that stress, it can be extra hard on a marriage and on parents trying to just learning to care for this new baby. I’m not saying you have to be rich, but you have to know you’ll be able to support yourselves adequately. In retrospect I’m thankful our parents were older, even though I felt they were “nerdy” when I was in high school, because they were a little more financially secure. Even though at times I feel not part of an “in” mom crowd as a 35-year-old new mom, I’m thankful we took a little time to get more established.

  3. Heather on said:

    You’ll never be “ready,” so if you are waiting for that, you’ll be waiting a while. My husband and I waited for 3 years after getting married. We got to enjoy some time together and I wanted to live out my 20s without kids.
    The footloose and fancy free days aren’t gone entirely, but they are more…shall we say, choreographed :)
    MOST of the time however, your children make up for any of that. There is no greater joy…a cliche, but very true.

    • chelsea on said:

      Heather! Thanks for your lovely comment! And I’m sure that once a child is there, the joy takes place of any doubt. We’re one year into marriage and it still feels so new and fun, and I love being a little team of two. Although, the more the merrier, right? Haha!

  4. I’m in the exact same situation. Half my friends are nowhere near kids (most of them are in LA pursuing careers from when we lived there) and the other half started families right out of high school or college (from my WA hometown). I don’t know how old you are, but I think you’ll get a strong urge when you’re ready. That happened to me around 30. My new hubs and I are also really loving our carefree lifestyle right now. But we’re getting to the age where having children will have to happen soon. Here is my new revelation: is anyone ever really ready for kids? :)

    • chelsea on said:

      That’s probably more like it! I think your revelation is spot on. ;)

  5. Audrey on said:

    I agree completely with Heather. I was married 7 years, 32 years old, and up to the day I delivered, still wasn’t sure I was “ready.” And yes, the amount of “choreography” one must enact just to get through daily life sometimes makes your head want to explode. You will realize that what you used to call “tired,” “exhausted,” or “sleep deprived” had to have been from some other dictionary, because the mom version of these words are a whole other level.

    But the other realization you will have, which outweighs all that other stuff, is that you never knew you had this capacity to love something or someone THIS much.

    • chelsea on said:

      But isn’t that part of what’s so scary? Loving something THAT much? Some movie or book or something described having a child as having part of yourself walking around outside you. To create something that’s so fragile and vulnerable and send it out into the world seems so bonkers and difficult!

      • Audrey on said:

        Yep. So now you know why I’m constantly wondering/stressing/worrying about things that would maybe just appear insignificant. You never want them to be sad, feel pain, get hurt, grow up wrong, etc. But they will be sad sometimes and feel pain, and that’s just part of it. And that’s also the struggle of the whole working mom plight. I have to be honest, there isn’t a day any more where my attention isn’t fragmented. I don’t just go to work and be at work. Part of my brain is wondering if she’s ok right now. Maybe that’s silly to some moms, maybe it’s a first time mom thing, but everyone’s a bit different I guess. Mom always tells me, “Parenting isn’t for cowards.” She’s right. And hearing that 10 times a week makes me feel better. :)

  6. Jessica on said:

    I love this discussion! I am by no means full of wisdom on this subject though. My husband and I have been married for four years and we are expecting to meet our little boy in four months. I don’t think that there is such thing as being “ready” to have kids. There is always an excuse or two. Friends of ours were in a situation similar to you and your husbands, except that at the time, they never planned on having kids. They were at a friends birthday party and the friends dad was asking them about kids and when they were going to have them. He was being playful and bugging them, as I’m sure many people around you bug you about have kids. When they told him they didn’t think they wanted any kids, he got all serious, came in close, and said, “You know, kids make your life better.” That made them think and take the leap and even though it can be tough, they would agree that life is better. I don’t believe that parents should change their life completely to accommodate a child, they should teach their child to accommodate their life. That always makes the best childhoods :)

    Good luck and God bless with decision making!

  7. lyndsey on said:

    we waited 4 years to have a baby and it was perfect for us. gave us enough time to get our careers going, travel, get our finances in order and just enjoy carefree married life. at the time i sometimes felt like it was FOREVER and that i was missing out on not having babies yet, but now that i look back i sometimes wonder why we didn’t wait LONGER. ;) just kidding. i love where i’m at now so it all worked out. and i love knowing i’ll still be young & healthy enough to enjoy life once my kids are grown up & out of the house!

  8. Ashley on said:

    My hubby and I did not wait long, but it was something that we both always really wanted. I would say now, I would have waited a year or so longer (we had kids about a year and half in). I would have liked more time to have more adventures, but now we have different adventures and they are wonderful I am not going to lie. We do lots with our kids!

    I will say that for my experience kids made my hubby and I a lot closer, we went through some rough patches, but it made us more “one” some how. And now it’s like I love him more in a different way for the way he loves our kids.

    I too would say that you are never really ready, but they are such a blessing and something I feel to honored to be a part of.

    :)

    • chelsea on said:

      This is so wonderful: “It’s like I love him more in a different way for the way he loves our kids.” Wow!

  9. Rachel on said:

    Ken and I always knew we wanted kids, and we did decide to just let nature take its course. Nature did not waste any time, because I was pregnant 2 months after we got married. Sometimes I regret a little that we did not travel more before having kids, but now I look forward to traveling as a family. Yes, that travel has to be more “choreographed” (great word), but that can also make it more memorable. And as for finances, a lot of very smart women told me that if you waited until you were financially ready, you would be waiting forever. Something will always come up to spend your money on. And once we started our family, we did whatever we needed to make our money situation work. The thing to remember is that your independent life and your married life aren’t over once kids arrive; you just have to adjust. And I typed all this with my 5 year old crawling on me pretending to be a baby snake. Haha!

  10. Kristina on said:

    What a fantastic conversation – it’s wonderful to read everyone’s thoughtful perspective on this topic! For us, having happened two ways: the only reason we waited 3 years after we were married was that the hubby was deployed – and after he was home we were fortunate enough to be able to settle into good jobs and buy a home. So baby #1 was carefully planned out. Baby #2 was a total surprise (for which at the time neither of us felt ready!). But now that he is here, I am actually really proud of the fact that I can get out of the house, work full time, and still do all the things I love AND share much of it with my kids. A great deal of this is attributed to having great family and friends nearby, but I absolutely believe that if you are passionate about something in life, there is no reason not to pursue that passion and include your family. It may require some creativity and dedication, but I feel that we have been able to include my daughter in many of the activities and traveling that we loved before we had kids. And it’s both amazing and fulfilling to see her make those experiences her own (she’s very excited about dance and loves to travel with us visiting friends).
    I think that Audrey’s mom is right on – parenting is not for cowards! And if you are courageous enough to drive in with a whole heart, the rewards can be endless.

  11. Hi dear! I just talked about this week, too!:
    http://designforminikind.com/2012/11/mom-chat-why-did-you-decide-to-have-kids/

    And it’s funny – our lives seem a bit parallel. Ken and I lived in Los Angeles for the bulk of our married life, so we were surrounded with young creatives living footloose and fancy-free. When we moved to the midwest for family health reasons, the majority of our age group had already started their families (most already had multiple children!). We found ourselves between the popular life stages, but we were pretty OK with that.

    For me, a flip never truly switched. Instead of “wanting children,” I started thinking I didn’t “not want children.” Ha. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s when I knew we were ready (although you’re never truly ready, are you?). Then boom – instant baby!

    Love this conversation – it’s always fascinating to hear others’ reasons, yes?

    • chelsea on said:

      Oh wow, thank you for that link! I love your point of view, and I’m starting to think that the more prevalent feeling among the women that I know isn’t “I’m so ready to have a baby,” but more like, “We’re going to take this leap.” Which can be totally scary, but obviously so worth being brave and going for it. Thank you for weighing in, lovely!

  12. I agree with Heather, no one is ever ready! I have a few friends that are waiting for the perfect home, right amount of income and for life to slow down. Sometimes that just doesn’t happen. My husband and I were married 5 years before our son came. He came at the perfect time. Was our lives in order? No. But he brought order! People are scared that when your child comes, the fun stops. So not the case! My children are the biggest blessings in my life and they make life way more fun and interesting. It’s totally possible to have a great career and be a successful mom at the same time! You’ll be one of those!

    • chelsea on said:

      You are the sweetest! I love your comment — so positive and happy. And I love that you say your son brought order — that’s so interesting! I suppose that life opens up space for the things that need space, huh? I’m so grateful for awesome mom role models like you!

  13. Amy on said:

    I didn’t read everyone’s comments, so sorry if I’m being repetitive!

    My husband and I were married in July 2010 while we were still in college. In May 2011 we found out I was pregnant! It was a complete surprise. We wanted to have kids soon after I graduated, but I didn’t ever imagine being pregnant while still in college. I graduated in July 2011. Our son was born on January 17, 2012. I don’t regret anything or wish it was different. My plans are slightly altered, but my dreams are still the same. Does that make sense? I still want to do everything I have always wanted to do, and I know that I still can. It’s just going to be a different route to get to the same destination.

    I’m really grateful for the Internet community that shows all different types of moms and women leading successful and fulfilling lives.

    So I guess I don’t have an answer as to how to know when the right time is to have kids since our right time sneaked up on us. It’s different for everyone. Becoming a parent is just as life changing as everyone always says it is, but it is worth it. And you can still do all you’ve ever wanted! Never ever think you can’t.

    • chelsea on said:

      Amy, that’s so beautiful! And you’re so right about having so many positive women as role models in the internet community who are not only wildly successful, but also rockin’ moms as well.

  14. Hubbie and I have been together since 2001 and married since 2008. We are finally ready (and excited) to have babies! What I’ve (in my humbled opinion) learned is- if you’re questioning it, you probably (key word: probably) aren’t ready. Probably not the time. When you’re ready- you’ll know. It will be all you think about- all you dream about. You’ll eat, sleep, breathe baby madness. Baby fever. ;) Enjoy yourselves!

  15. Elaine Costa on said:

    Here is what I know for sure: when a baby does happen, you will have no idea how you ever did without him/her. <3

  16. shadi on said:

    I waited 13 years after getting married to have our first one. My husband wanted to have kid earlier but I WAS NOT ready. We got married very young, moved to another country with a different language, were still studying, moved from one city to another, from one country to another from a continent to another and one day I knew I was ready! I started noticing pregnant women everywhere, saw babies everywhere, wanted to hold them. I wanted to stay home instead of going out every other night, wanted to stay in the same city for years to come. I had my first at 34 and second at 38, to some people too late! but I know with all my heart that I am a happy mother now because I waited until I was ready. and I know how lucky I am to be able to get pregnant at 34 and 38. I would consider adoption if I couldn’t get pregnant myself, so many kids in this world who need a loving family…

  17. AJ on said:

    I am a virgin poster…but being a new mom I couldn’t resist.

    I love being a mom!

    For me, a few things gave me confidence to start moving towards motherhood (1) accepting that there would be a huge learning curve involved in raising a little one (2) trusting myself enough to know that I was capable and willing to make decisions in the best interest of my baby, my marriage, and myself (3) making sure that my husband and I were on the same page…that we were rooting for the same outcome and going to join forces for the journey that was ahead of us and (4) reminding myself that I was not venturing down an uncharted path…being pregnant, giving birth, and being a mom, although new to me, was not a new invention…millions from all walks of life with different lifestyles and different financial resources had successfully done it before me.

    In hindsight I realize that although the above items helped me categorize and prioritize my emotions and thoughts enough to take those first steps towards being a mom, they had nothing on natural motherly instinct. For me the minute I accepted motherhood as a goal and reality everything became crystal clear. My emotions and priorities just naturally categorized themselves and I was just pumped and excited for what the future held.

  18. Kate on said:

    i love this post, since i’ve been wondering the same thing. we got married this past march, so we’ve been married just under a year – but i’ll be 30 in april – so i’m feeling the clock ticking. we know so many who have had issues getting pregnant that it makes me nervous to wait. but i think we both want to be a little more financially stable, so we’re thinking maybe fall 2013 is when we’d start ‘trying’ (always sounds so funny). my husband is def not as ready as i am though, i have heard people say that men never think they are ready until the baby arrives…but i want him to have baby fever as much as i do! :) i loved reading all the other comments on this..great topic!

    • chelsea on said:

      Thanks for your comments, Kate! It’s so tricky to try to figure out, isn’t it? Maybe that’s the thing — no one ever quite figures it out and everything is fine anyway.

  19. Monica on said:

    It sounds like you are in a great place right now and your perspective on life is beautiful. I think it’s so important to examine this question with the depth that you do – because littles are oh so live changing. I will say this – my husband and I do need to focus a bit more on spending time alone, but the soul-filling joy that our two kiddos have brought to our lives is truly amazing. We are so so grateful for our little ones and the family that we have created. It sound like you have the pieces in place to still honor what is important to you in life. I think that’s a key component of being a parent. Wishing you all the best and so so glad that I stumbled upon your platform – I will be back for more. xx – Monica

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