Now that Stacie and I are both over 30 years old, we’re both getting barraged almost daily with “Do you have kids?”, “Why not?“, “You only have a few years left!”, “You’re not getting any younger!”, and any of a myriad of other rude and even insulting statements and questions.
But rather than helping to nudge us towards parenthood, these questions/statements are making us even less fond of birthing or adopting our own child. So for any of you out there who know us personally, keep your lips tight when you want to ask when we’re having our own kids. We’ll continue to examine our motives for having kids, and if the time is right, we’ll decide on our own about kids, and then let you know.
Now, talking about motives for having kids, I’d like to share with you a rather disturbing thought shared with Stacie by one of her coworkers this past week. First, I’ll set the stage:
Unsure of Our Career Paths
Both Stacie and I have come to a crossroads in our lives where neither of us are sure we want to continue working in our respective fields, or at least our current career tracks. She still loves nutrition, but she’s not sure she wants to stick with clinical work (i.e. working in hospitals). It’s stressful, underpaid work, but she does see the rewards of helping her patients directly. It’s a tough decision.
For me, I’m an IT consultant (generically), but I’ve never quite enjoyed my jobs. Instead, I’ve enjoyed educating others as soon as I learn something, and helping them to do their jobs better. I’ve normally become the subject matter expert in my jobs, mainly through my nosiness, but I’m tired of government contracting, and perhaps even IT. Unfortunately, I seem best suited to working in IT as it comes to me rather easily (although I’m not a programmer or engineer), but I haven’t really taken the time to see what else is out there for me.
Babies are the Answer!
So while discussing our displeasure with our jobs with her coworker, Stacie received the following response:
Have kids. Kids are a great distraction from your other problems. You’ll forget all about your problems and HAVE to focus on the kids.
Wow. I never thought to have kids to avoid my other problems. Is it that easy? Don’t kids introduce an enormous number of their own difficulties? Wouldn’t I then be juggling my job AND kids, rather than just my job?
I wouldn’t even be writing this article if the coworker said this in jest. However, she said it to Stacie in all seriousness.
Don’t Find an Escape!
In short, the point of examining your motives before embarking on any major purchase or life decision is to be sure you’re making the decision for the right reasons. Having kids to make you forget about your problems, whether career, financial, marital, etc., is the completely wrong thing to do! Your problems don’t go away. You can’t ignore those bills, or think fights with your spouse will go away because you have a new baby in the house. They’ll probably even escalate. Your bills will grow larger; if you couldn’t pay them before, how can you afford your new baby? As for fighting, you now have one more issue to bring into the fight, and the child is on the losing end every time.
For us, we’ll wait on having kids until we work through figuring out our own desired paths. If we know we’re having career problems now, then we can more easily change our path now when we’re childless than if we had a child.
Some people would call our reasoning for not having kids yet as being “selfish”, but I’m not going to accept that reason. If you haven’t caught on yet, we’re making sure that IF we decide to have kids, we’re doing it for the right reasons and that we’re bringing the kids into a stable, healthy household (as best as we can manage). We recognize that we’ll never be perfect in our relationship, finances or careers, but if we go into parenthood unprepared for the challenges that kids bring, then it’s not fair for the kids or for us.
So rather than using kids as an escape from our problems, we’ll go ahead and just try to fix the issues first (if we can). We won’t try to be debt free, but we will try to be financially stable and secure.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.