Thursday, December 25, 2008

Serious Business (tm)

Me and B are in the midwest for the week. We have no way to watch TV (his parents have a big one, but they are always watching sports and poker games and lots of stuff we have no interest in), reading and going on the computer all the time gets old, so mostly when we are out here we sit around and talk to each other. Inevitably Serious Business (TM) comes about when we have this time to just talk to each other for days in a row. Last time we were out here, we decided to get engaged for reals (we had been talking about it for months beforehand, but it was here that we decided to start to tell people and to set a date).

This time around our serious business (tm) has focused on two topics: Getting a dog, and having a child.

First the less life-changing confusing thing: A dog. I was never much of a dog person. I far prefer kitties, as I can leave them alone for days, and not worry that they will starve or pee all over the apartment. But B loves dogs, and had one as a child, and wants to get one. And over thanksgiving we hung out with his sister's dog (which inspired a post about dogs that I'm not going to bother to link to), and have been hanging out with the dog this week as well. And I'm starting to come around. I think I would even like taking a dog for walks, getting out of the house a few times a day, even though B would be in charge of most of the dog-related things.

We are thinking we may start looking for one when we get back home. We still like the beagle idea, since B likes smaller dogs and I like bigger dogs, and a beagle seems like the good middle ground that we both would like. But it would have to be a quiet one, and most arn't. Most likely we will check out some beagles from petfinder and also just go to a shelter and see if there's any dog there that we like (beagles or otherwise).

Then there's the scary life-altering thing: We have been discussing having kids a lot lately, since with my career, around next spring/summer would be a pretty convenient time to get pregnant. If we didn't have a kid now (and by now I mean getting pregnant next summer and having the kid in Spring 2010), we realistically would probably end up waiting until I got tenure (which would be 8 years from now if all goes on schedule- I'm 26, so I will be 32 when I get tenure).

On the one hand, it would be a good time now, I think we are both responsible enough, and we can afford it. We both very much want to have kids. I don't know that I would want to spend the next 8 years without any kids.

But what is making me hesitate is that I'm not sure if I'm ready to give up my lifestyle. Not that I go out getting drunk every night (I don't even drink), but I like the freedom to take off whenever I want, have random adventures, stay out late (although honestly I only go out like once or twice a month at most). And of course all the other freedom's you give up when you have a child. I don't know if I'm ready to do that or not.

Also we are getting married in May, and have only been together 2 years at this point (our 2 year anniversary is in 2 weeks). Am I going to miss having that time just to ourselves if we have a kid right away?

So how do you know when you are ready to give up on your own 'childhood' (or young adulthood, whatever, you know what I mean)? Do you just know? Or does nobody feel ready until way after you already have a child, and is that normal?

20 comments:

  1. you never are. You become once the child is there.

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  2. Yep. I always say that if you wait until you're "ready" to have a child, you'll never have one because honey, no one is EVER ready.
    And the younger you are when you have them, the younger you'll be when they're all grown up.
    That's one way to look at it, anyway.

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  3. >Am I going to miss having that time just to ourselves if we have a kid right away?

    My wife got pregnant a couple of months after we were married (we dated for 4 years). And yes, we did miss out on that time to ourselves, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Its the most amazing experience. And Ms. Moon is right. The younger you have children, the easier it is physically at least. Much more energy to deal with them and teach them.

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  4. If you feel that twinge of longing in the pit of your stomach, then you're ready.
    And once the baby is born, you will not be able to imagine your life without him/her.

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  5. I'd say, have the kid sooner rather than that much later :) But that just might be me, wanting to have kids and not wanting to wait until I'm around 30 and financially stable (I still have a lot of school left), to do so.

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  6. Yes, you will give up a lot having a child, but that will be true no matter when you have a child. However, you get more than you give up in return.

    And there is a way to still go out as couple of times of month, even with a baby. It is all consuming at the beginning, but that is just the beginning.

    And no, no one is ever "ready." Life changes once you have kids whether you are 16 or 46. I am glad I had my kids in my twenties even though I was still a poor grad student. It was rough financially for a while, but I am glad I didn't wait.

    Just think, by the time you are tenured you will be enjoying your already big kids, be able to go on family vacations and enjoy some of the benefits of financial security. The early years will be challenging in some ways with needing to juggle building a career with a young child or children but it will be worth it when you find yourself with everything you want in your thirties. And you could still do it well even with the challenges of doing it young and before tenure. You are financially stable, have a loving committed relationship and two people who are wanting and able to be wonderful parents.

    Of course, if you could somehow wait a year or two so that you don't have so many adjustments at the same time, that might be even better.

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  7. We waited a long time after we were married to have a kid. Almost 10 years. About 6 or 7 years into it I would have bet the ranch that we would remain childless. Finally we decided to adopt, and I thought I was as ready as I would ever be.

    After our kid came home, my whole outlook on life changed. I had previously loved my job; now I only fantasized about being a SAHM. There were enough babysitting issues (not bad ones, mostly ones having to do with the fact that I didn't want her at a babysitter at all) that I decided to try to find a way to stay home.
    The only thing that I thought would really work was finding cheaper housing, and the only real option for that where we were was moving about an hour out of the city and buying a mobile home. We came close to doing that but selling a house and moving is really expensive, and we kept putting it off.

    After about three years of being pretty unhappy, we received a paid offer to relocate to rural NY with my husband's job. This would enable us to buy a dirt cheap house (comparatively speaking) and without the large mortgage and the child care bill I was able to quit.
    And I have been desperately grateful ever since.

    If I would have waited another five years, I could have had my house paid off and not have had to move. But moving to rural NY rather than living in urban midwest was a good trade for us since we still have access to some nice places for vacations without needing plane tickets. Also the people here aren't nearly as materialistic, so there's very little pressure to have this kind of car or that kind of clothes.

    Just be prepared for some radical changes in your outlook on life. I was positive I would not mind leaving my child in day care because all my friends did the same thing, but I cried many days on my way to work.

    Homeschool Mom

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  8. homeschool mom - B has always talked about how when we have kids he wants to be a stay at home dad. One of the advantages of giving birth in spring 2010 is that I wouldn't be starting my job until september 2010, and I am sure I will be finished with my dissertation before I give birth, so we would have 3-6 months together before I go back to work (depending on when I actually end up getting pregnant)

    And one thing that attracted me to the job I'm trying to get (professor) is that the schedule is so flexible, so that any day or time I'm not teaching I can work from home. :)

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  9. Then you are so all set! No conflict at all. I'm really jealous. (smile)

    Homeschool Mom

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  10. Don't have kids. No one is happy with kids. They will turn you into a miserable person. Do you really want to be miserable?

    Settle with the dog. If you really need a little person around get a trained monkey.

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  11. Don't wait - we waited and it may be too late. But also be aware that it's not always as simple as just deciding to have kids. Sometimes it doesn't happen - trouble getting pregnant, miscarriages, etc. Not trying to scare you, just pointing out that what you decide is to try to have kids, not to have them.

    -Too old

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  12. you will never be fully ready, for you have no clue how much a child will change your life until you have one. i had my first baby at 22, and by 29 i had all 4. i was young, had the energy for sleepless nights etc. BUT i noticed a huge difference btw the sleepless nights at 22 and with the last one at 29. the younger you are the easier it is.

    plus, if you wait for stuff like financial security, tenure, etc, there will always be another excuse to put it off. Babies are very portable - do it now, it will only cement your bond with B even more.

    thats what i think - good luck. remember, you need to practise a lot in order to get what you want ;-)

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  13. Regarding the dog: I have a beagle and she's wonderful. She is well-behaved, trained, never barks, rarely howls (only when she is frightened). She was a rescue dog that I adopted, and she's four years old (her owner had to give her up). If you are really nervous about caring for a dog, adopt a slightly older dog from a rescue shelter. You'll be doing a good deed, as most of those dogs will be put to sleep if they are not adopted. You also won't have to deal with the puppy stage, which is cute but very trying, unless you don't mind scraping poop off your couch. My adult beagle is cute and lovable and I don't regret adopting her for a minute.

    If you decide to postpone the child, have some fertility testing done first to make sure there are no issues. There are some easy, non-invasive tests that both of you can take, just to reassure yourselves that, other than normal aging, you aren't up against future problems.

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  14. The older I get, the less inclined I become towards parenthood. I want a few good years to develop myself and my career first.

    I think way too many people rush into it.

    PS Dog ownership ain't a walk in the park, either. They have a lot of energy and needs, and they never get toilet-trained.

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  15. Don't plan your family around getting a job, tenure etc. As we enter deeper into an economic depression you may 1) not get the job you want (or deserve) 2) lose the job you have 3) never get tenure.

    Just go for it. Just remember your lives and relationship will never be the same.

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  16. Free month's worth of food for adopting a shelter dog: http://www.pedigree.com/Images/PDF/free_food_form_08.pdf

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  17. I don't know I keep reading this thread - too painful for me.

    -Too old

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  18. webgirl- yeah, we have already decided if we go forward with getting the dog we will be rescuing one from a shelter or the SPCA or something like that. I do NOT want to deal with house training a puppy, and of course want to rescue a dog from death- since I keep hearing about how people are surrendering their dogs cause of economic problems.

    the only thing I'm actually nervous about is how it will get along with my cats...I don't want to come home to dead kitties. :(

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  19. Chances are the felines and the canine will ignore each other. The only skirmishes may be around territory, especially if you get a dog that will eat anything including cat food.

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  20. I totally don't get how people can surrender their pets because of the economic crisis. I mean, if I really needed to, I could feed Bonnie Walmart dog food and it would cost me probably $50 for the entire year. There are also a million links online to coupons and free pet food and treats, and most vets will reduce their rates if you are unemployed and just need the bare minimum shots for your dog. I think it's just incredibly irresponsible and cruel to abandon an animal like that.

    As far as the dog not killing the cats, reach out to other dog and cat owners on the web...I'm sure there are tricks and methods of having them all get along with each other. Lots of people own dogs and cats and have to deal with that problem.

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