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We Absolutely Probably Almost Never Want Kids Ever (We Think)

I wish I were one of those people who wanted a baby and knew it.

Not what you were expecting to hear, right? Coming from the person who once tweeted that the sound of a child’s scream makes my uterus shrivel?

Well, I didn’t say I wanted a baby, I said that I wish I was the type of person that knew that they did. Calm down.

I do not want a child. Even a little. Sure, they can be a lot of fun, the love of a child is a beautiful thing, someone to take care of you when you’re old, blah blah blah. I don’t hate them. But a child does not fit into our life. It doesn’t fit into 16 hour work days. It doesn’t fit into working mostly nights and weekends. It doesn’t fit coming home from work and going to the grocery store at 10:30pm on a Tuesday because we’ve been out of food for three days. It doesn’t fit into impromptu ski trips and spontaneous decisions to go to the bowling alley for 25 cent wings and a pitcher at 8pm on a Sunday night. It doesn’t fit into going out on a Saturday night and not coming home until 4am, then sleeping off a hangover the next day.

And I know what you’re all thinking, you that have kids. You’re thinking, “Oh, you won’t miss going out and drinking with your friends, and the love of your child is more precious than even the most perfect day of skiing!” You’re thinking that one day, when I’m older, I’ll realize that it’s time to stop being selfish and thinking about caring for someone else by myself.

Nice try, but it’s not all about that.

Okay, it’s maybe a little bit about that. I like our life the way it is. I like the freedom, the flexibility, the sleep. I like being about to work ridiculous hours and enjoy my work without aching for the time I’m not spending at home. I like being able to spend what little extra money we have on things we enjoy, like skiing and beer. I like being able to have a kegerator in our kitchen. I like that I only have to worry about Kyle and myself, that there are only two people to juggle. I like that we can live ridiculous lives, make poor choices, and live squarely in the center of chaos. Maybe I would like being a parent more, I can’t say, but I can say that I really like the way things are. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

But it’s more than that, even.

The reality is, the entertainment industry isn’t conducive to family. It’s just not. The work and the hours are erratic and inconsistent. Sometimes my days are only five or six hours long, sometimes they’re 14 or 16. Sometimes I only work a few days in a week, sometimes I can go three or four weeks with only two or three days off in the run. We work mostly nights and weekends, time most people set aside for their kids. It can require a good amount of travel, depending on the gig.  And god forbid you go on tour, as Kyle and I are hoping to do at some point; you can be out for anywhere from six weeks to six months at a stretch. Some people hop from tour to tour, and it can be years before they’re home again for any significant length of time.

Is it possible to work in this industry with a family? Oh sure, it’s possible! My boss and a few of my co-workers have kids. But much greater than the number of coworkers that have kids is the number of former coworkers who’ve left the industry so that they could raise their kids. Those who are still working with kids have spouses who work normal jobs and don’t mind being a part-time single parent; I don’t know a single family with kids where both parents work in the production side of the entertainment industry. (Not saying there aren’t any, but I haven’t met them yet.) It’s really, really hard to have kids and work in this industry. Shit, for some people it’s even difficult to have a marriage; as a veteran of the industry once said, “There are a lot of divorced techs out there.”

So yeah, it’s possible, but you have to want it really, really bad. And we don’t want it really, really bad. We don’t even want it regular bad.

As we reach an age where many of our friends are starting to have kids, (some are even on their second or third!) I feel confident with our decision not to start a family and comfortable with the idea that we will probably never have children. It’s just not really possible with our careers, and I don’t envision a future where one of us decided to leave the industry in the name of a family. And none of that makes me sad.

But I still wish that I wanted a baby.

Here’s why.

Because that is a big motherfucking decision to make within a finite window of time that will dictate the course of my entire fucking life.

Right now, I’m confident that I don’t want kids at all. But will I always feel that way? I don’t know, and I won’t know until I’m near the end of my life looking back. But by then, it’s too fucking late to do anything about it; I’ll be stuck with whatever decision I made 30 years ago. On the other side of that metaphorical coin, it’s 20 or so years before you’re truly done with the commitment of a child, (assuming that you only have one,) and that’s a long motherfucking time to regret leaving behind a career and a life that you truly loved in the name of having someone to pay for your retirement home.

Right now, and over the next 10-15 years, is when we’re supposed to be making this decision. It’s a decision that we’ll have to live with for the rest of our lives, and no other decision in life has more permanent consequences.   Choosing a career is a lot of pressure,sure, but the world is inundated with stories of people who realized that they couldn’t stand their jobs and pursued an entirely different career path. (Don’t believe me? Watch any cooking show for two hours, at least one of them will be a former cubical jockey who decided to go to culinary school.) It’s never too late to decide that you want to be something else or that you want to live in another part of the world or that you want to be another kind of person or learn to do different things or be around different people or have different beliefs. Nothing’s final in life, and everything’s up for discussion…except the decision to be a parent or not.

That one’s pretty fucking final.

Which is why I wish that I wanted a child. At least then I would be certain in my decision and confident of my path moving forward.  People who know that they want children are sure that they’ll have children (barring medical complications) and that it’s a decision that they’ll be happy with for the rest of their lives. (Because no one who wants to have kids ever regrets the decision after the fact; I’m pretty sure it’s a biological impossibility.) But as long as I stand by our decision to not have children, there will always be the worry in the smallest, furthest back, deepest buried part of my brain that we made the wrong decision.

All I’m saying is that either way, it’s  a pretty big fucking gamble.

Recently, I spilled all these worries to one of our aunts. She also has an incredibly demanding career, (Assistant US Attorney, anyone?) and into her 50’s has no children. I asked her how that came to be, if it was an intentional decision or just the way life played out, and if she regretted any of it in any way. I wanted to hear from someone who’d been there, done that, and already knew the answers to my most serious questions.

You know what she said?

Well, I’m not going to tell you most of what she said, because that’s some really fucking personal shit. But what meant the most to me was how she concluded her response. She finished by telling me not to worry about it. She told me that we have many years still before biological issues will force us to address this decision seriously, and to just enjoy those years fully. She told me that she can see that Kyle and I have a strong relationship, that she can clearly see that we love and respect each other, and that whatever we decide, we’ll be awesome at it. We’d be great parents, but we’d also be great non-parents, and both choices are valid. And even though this was kind-of the response that I’d expected, it was very comforting to hear, especially from someone whom I love and respect so deeply.

So I’m not really worrying about it right now. I still don’t want kids, but getting wrapped up in the “what if”s of 30 years from now will do nothing but exhaust me. Truth be told, me of five years ago never could have predicted where I would be now, so any attempt at trying to guess at our life five years from now is an equally ridiculous exercise.

In the meantime, it’s 9:00 pm on a Tuesday and Kyle just called to see if I wanted to go for drinks with some friends. Seeing as I’m in flannel pants, I’ve got to get changed and ready to go so he can pick me up in half an hour and hit the bar.

Because we can do that.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Jennifer M. February 1, 2013, 10:33 am

    I’m in sort of the same boat sister! Love this post! Love you guys!

  • Mike February 1, 2013, 11:09 am

    That is an awesome post. Sarah and I are that part of our lives as well. We have considered adoption at some point (since we are a bit older than you guys, we are already at the point where it becomes far more dangerous to have children), but right now, not only do we not want children, but it isn’t practical. And of course we don’t feel that children are the end all be all of existence. I am sure they are great. But we just don’t want them right now. Not even a little bit. And I think the worst thing you can do is to have a child when you aren’t absolutely convinced that you want one with all your soul. And I too wish I wanted them. We go to church, and if you think society puts a lot of pressure on people to have kids, church people are the WORST. Good post.

  • Arielle February 1, 2013, 11:16 am

    I think the decision to have (or not have) children is like any other decision in life in that you never have complete information when you have to make a choice. I know it’s probably hard to think about “what if later in life I regret not having kids?” but you never know what you’re going to think later in life about the choices you make now (ask anyone who ever regretted getting a tattoo!). You can only act on the information you have at hand NOW – and if having children is not something you and your husband want now and is not something that makes sense for your lifestyle, then…that’s okay. To have a baby just because you MAY, at some point in the future, wish you had one seems unfair to present-day you since obviously it’s a huge decision and a huge undertaking of time, money, effort, etc.

    All of this rambly nonsense being said, I also do not think I want children (though as a single lady I feel less external pressure than you probably get). But it’s such a controversial decision to some people that sometimes I too sort of wished that I knew I wanted to be a mom one day. Because sometimes it would be easier to talk about baby fever than it would be to try and explain myself to people who don’t comprehend how I could possibly not want children.


  • Kate February 1, 2013, 11:35 am

    I’ve almost written the “No Baby-No Baby-No Baby” post several times. Although in our case, the certainty of remaining childless is there. The closest I have ever come to “wishing if I knew I wanted one” is the desire to have a magic portal to see into a parallel world where we did have a child[ren] just to see how how lives turned out. Because they would be SO very different than the Us of now. Everything would have to change. Everything.

    • Monster February 1, 2013, 7:44 pm

      I must confess, I also deeply wish for a magic portal to see into a parallel world where we had a kid, but only because I desperately wish I could see what a combination of my and Kyle’s DNA would look like. I feel like that would be both frightening and hilarious.

  • Camels & Chocolate February 1, 2013, 12:02 pm

    I SWEAR I WROTE THIS. That or you’re in my head.

    This times 1,000,000,000,000,000!

    This is the conundrum that plagues every day of my life. Right now, I am 1000% certain I do NOT want kids–for all the same reasons as you. But also, right now I’m terrified what if I wake up one day when I’m 50 and realize that I do. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, then you adopt–I know the story. But still…)

    At the same time, I’m also f*cking sick and tired of answering the question in the South–not IF but WHEN we are having kids. The other day, I ran into a couple I’ve long known—the husband of whom told me at my grandfather’s wedding “oh I didn’t know you were expecting!” right before I got up and gave an eulogy to the whole congregation–and I asked about their new grandbaby and the wife responded, “she’s good. How about your parents–any grandkids in the near future for them?”

    Me: “not unless there’s something Kari hasn’t told us…”

    Her: “well, I’m sure it will happen soon.”

    Me: “actually, no it won’t. Scott and I made the decision seven years ago that we didn’t want children. We’re fine with the family we have.”

    Her: “well, you never know. You can’t control these things.”

    Me: “actually you can, and we had certain procedures taken to ensure that they DON’T happen.”

    How rude (of her), am I right? Like she knows my uterus better than I do?

    And that’s just one isolated incident in the life of a married, childless, Southern woman.

    • Monster February 1, 2013, 8:05 pm

      Argh! I hate that conversation! Look, I’m totally will to accept the idea that I may one day change my mind; I used to think that American cheese was delicious, so clearly I’m capable of change. But if I can accept the idea that I may one day change my mind, others need to accept the idea that I may not. But what really fries me is that fucking look of smug assurance that usually accompanies this discussion. The sideways look with their little half-smile and the tone of voice that says that they think they know what I’ll want five years down the road better than I do, that I just don’t know any better. That shit fucking makes me want kick teeth.

      (Also? “You can’t control these things?” My birth control and I beg to differ!)

  • allison February 1, 2013, 12:14 pm

    I have so many thoughts on this issue and this post and these comments, but I’m not going to spill them all here, because they’re all pretty similar to what’s been stated. I don’t want kids. As a single woman, I don’t get as MUCH pressure (I DO still have a mother, so she’s working pretty hard at it), so it’s not a major issue. But I’ve never wanted kids. When I was a kid, my dolls were my “sisters,” not my “babies.” I was a babysitter only because the parents just needed me when the kids were asleep. I’m an aunt, and while I like holding my nephew sometimes and looking at his cute face, there’s no tug to have one of my own.

    The thing about being single is that people think I will change my mind. And I might. It’s possible, because changing your mind is a normal human occurrence. But it infuriates me when people will say I’ll change my mind when I meet the right guy, like I don’t want kids just because of the man-factor, not because of anything about myself. I’ve been in serious relationships before, and never felt the urge to have a baby. I’ve ended serious relationships because the man has wanted a baby.

    I have a career right now where I could work and take care of a kid. I’m settling down in one place. But I don’t want one. And I think the fact that I’ve never pictured myself with a baby says enough, says that maybe it’s a GOOD thing I probably won’t have a baby, instead of having one and thinking it’ll be what I want with the right guy or when it’s mine or any of that crap people feed you when they’re trying to convince you procreation is something everyone MUST do. Honestly, I don’t want the responsibility of raising a child. I think pregnancy is gross and strange (and yes, I KNOW it’s natural but that doesn’t change anything) and not something I feel the need to experience. I don’t think I’ll regret not having a child in ten years. I think I’ll value other life experiences way more than funneling myself into one person who might grow up hating me and never pay for that nursing home, anyway. And isn’t it selfish that everyone thinks their children will take care of them? It makes sense, since YOU raised THEM, but to have a kid sacrifice so much of their life later…

    Ok, my thoughts are running wild and apparently I didn’t hold myself back on this comment as much as I initially intended to, but I’m going to post it anyway. Forgive my rambles.

    • Monster February 1, 2013, 8:22 pm

      Wait, but that’s how it works, right? As soon as you “find a man” (as if a man was something to find, like a job or a good doctor) you’ll wake up the morning after your wedding with the sudden unquenchable desire to spit out babies and bake roasts while wearing stilettos and a frilly apron.


      Oh, just wait until you get married, then you’ll understand! *wink!*

  • Christine February 1, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Wow. A lot of responses to this post. Not going to pretend that I read them all. Here is the thing. NOT trying to persuade you to have kids. But if you did, you would be great parents. You don’t always think so, but you would. Hell, I’m always trying to pawn my kids off on you. And giving up the life of doing whatever you want whenever isn’t gone forever. Just 13 years or so. That is the social aspect. Now, the financial aspect of working in the arts is a more difficult one, and I totally understand that argument. I couldn’t do what little work I do in theater if it were not for my sugar daddy. Would Ryan like to do something different? Sure. But he won’t, because of the way we want to raise the girls. Does he (and I for that matter) sometimes resent it? Yes. He would love to be a stay-at-home Dad, and I would love to work full time in theater. But we got kids, so we just can’t afford that. Not sure what I’m trying to say, other than reaffirm what Kyle’s aunt said, and be strong in your decision for now, knowing that you have 10 or 15 years to change your mind. Worry about the rest then.

    And on another note, wanna go drinking this weekend?

  • Christine February 1, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Oh, yeah. Even if kids can take care of you in your old age, doesn’t mean they will. Or they will put you in one of those homes that gets investigated on 60 Minutes. That is not a valid reason to have kids. Its a selfish one. So you are being very unselfish in not wanting to have kids.

    • Camels & Chocolate February 2, 2013, 6:05 pm

      Ha! I love this point. That is the ONLY thing that makes me think I could potentially change my mind in the future–the “what if when I’m older” question. But I should just take your advice and throw that scenario out the window!

  • karen February 1, 2013, 5:09 pm

    I read this blog, and as the “possible grandmother” I probably have a different slant. I want to make one thing very clear: please do not have a child because you think you should, or that this child will “take care of you when you are old.” Only have a child if it is something you both want to do. Yes, it is a lifelong commitment & yes, your current job requirements would not be conducive to having a child. But then again, if we all waited until it was the “right moment” or we “were financially secure” or we “were on the right career path”, no one would ever have children. You & your peers can make choices that most of us never had the luxury of making – i.e. birth control was just coming into being when I was young, so we could plan when & if we wanted children. All that being said, I totally respect & admire those who have opted not to have a baby. So many people have a child for all the wrong reasons. BUT you are both still young, have lots of time before the clock ceases ticking, and who knows where you will be & what you will want five years or more from now. Just keep all your options open. All I know is that I will respect your decision & know you will be great parents if that’s the direction you go or will continue to be the great people you are if you decide otherwise. BTW Kyle better put me in a GREAT facility – did I mention I had a kidney stone while pregnant with him??

  • DeAnne McConnell February 2, 2013, 7:32 am

    Speaking from old age. There are several people in the RV park that do not have kids and did not want any and do not regret. They say they have done things that they would not have been able to do if they had kids.

  • Keely February 3, 2013, 6:55 pm

    Meh. I was totally convinced I didn’t want kids until I was about 32, at which point I thought it was a good idea. I’M STILL NOT CONVINCED IT WAS, and I’m over 5 years in.

    The point is your aunt is right. You have tons of time to ‘decide’, you’ll take it as it comes, and you should just enjoy the fact that you can go do all those things and your already-stressful job/career isn’t more stressful because you’re trying to find childcare too. You’d be fantastic parents, but you’ll also be fantastic ski-ers and drinkers and tour-ers and theatre crew and whatever else you decide to do.

    Because you’ll have a fuck of a lot more time to do it if you don’t have kids.

    • Stephanie February 5, 2013, 7:13 am

      You have no idea how terrified I am of my biological clock. You know that Doomsday Preppers show about the people who are preparing for the zombie apocalypse or some shit? Kyle has a Bug-Out plan in affect for the day that I wake up and announce that I want a baby. I think it involves going out on tour for a couple years until my ovaries give up.

  • Charm City Kim March 11, 2013, 6:57 am

    Please, on behalf of reasonable parents, don’t feel bad or like you have to explain yourself for not wanting kids. I don’t think you’re being selfish (& really don’t understand some parents’ logic that not wanting kids is selfish because I very much believe that wanting/having kids is selfish since it fulfills seem need in people to have a person carry on their name and DNA and to have the kids care for them when they’re old). Whoa… Run-on.

    Do I miss the freedom to travel whenever & wherever? Sure. Do I miss the extra income I once had to buy nice things for myself! Absolutely. I miss a lot of things from my pre child life. But I’m also pretty happy with the choice I made to pop out 2 babies because that is what I (selfishly) wanted!

    I agree that it kind of stinks that there is a window of time for women to procreate so it adds pressure during a period of a woman’s life to decide what she wants.

    • Monster March 13, 2013, 4:58 pm

      Actually, you’re the only person on this planet who makes me want kids, but only if mine can also be born as tiny half-Asians like yours. Because yours? SO goddamn adorable!

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