Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Things to do before you have kids

I just saw an article listing a bunch of things you should do before you have kids – like sleep in every weekend, go to wine tastings, and take awesome trips. Reading an article like that makes me feel since I had kids young I didn’t get to do much before they came along. I mean, it’s not like I sat around doing nothing, but still, you can only do so much before you’re 24, right? As soon as I finished college, I started a working full-time and taking masters classes at night. I took my final semester of night classes while dealing with morning sickness and Meg was born 6 months later.

We purposefully didn’t put off kids to do fun stuff, like take awesome vacations, because we decided to enjoy kids when we were young and all that other stuff when we’re middle-aged. My parents and my MIL do all sorts of awesome stuff and it’s better than if they’d done it in their 20s, because they have money now. My parents went to Japan last year and they’re going to China in June and Israel in December. Granted, Japan and China were for my dad’s work, but if they had kids at home I doubt mom would be able to go with him. Actually, if they still had kids at home, my dad wouldn’t even HAVE this job. He waited to pursue it until my youngest sister was a senior in high school because it involves a LOT of traveling (he’s gone most evenings) and he wanted to be around for us. My MIL has gotten involved in bike riding and by “involved” I mean she’s traveled to Colorado to do Ride the Rockies. Finding the time to even train for that would be really hard if you had kids around, let alone the time and money to go.

Plus, being/having young-ish grandparents is great! All of our parents are in their late 40s/early 50s and they have lots of energy to play with grandchildren. My mom takes care of Meg 2 ½ days a week and loves it. I don’t at all regret our decision to have kids young. My parents/in-laws and even grandparents and great-grandparents all enjoyed having kids young and still being pretty young when the kids left the house. I guess I really don’t know any different. Obviously, it all depends on when you meet the person you want to marry, but having got married young I/we just didn’t see any reason to put off having kids.

Still, a co-worker of mine, who is my age and has been married for about the same amount of time, is leaving soon to travel Europe with her husband for THREE WEEKS. I’m a little jealous. But the simple stuff makes me even MORE jealous. Like a lazy Saturday: sleep in, go to brunch, maybe catch a movie, then eat dinner out. Aside from a once, maybe twice a year weekend when the kids go to Grandma’s or something, we’re not going to have that for a looooooong time. All that stuff to look forward to “when the kids are out of the house” is over 20 years away. And since I don’t even WANT the time to pass quickly – I don’t want my kids to grow up and leave! – it might as well be never. Which makes me wish I’d done a little more of it before kids…

Again, I don’t wish we’d waited longer, I guess I’m just in a mood today. A mood that spontaneously going out to dinner without a toddler would cure. Since that’s not going to happen, I’m a little wistful.


  1. I did all those things before I had kids - it was fun but it doesn't matter much because once you have kids we're all in the same boat. But we do try to travel with Anna as much as we can and hey, I'll be leaning on my mom more too. Spontaneous dinners for us are just earlier and at a more kid friendly place. But yeah, not that spontaneous. No matter when you do it, kids change your life. It's great but it's very different. It must be great to know you're totally in your prime fertile years though - for me that gets more iffy every year.

  2. But you know, I didn't have enough money to do that stuff before I had kids. And even without kids, I wouldn't now, either. Plus, for women, there are good years for fertility, so it's not like you can wait until you're 40 to start having kids and expect it to be easy.

    Sure, I enjoyed being able to sleep in on the weekends, and I love going out without kids, but it just happens a lot less frequently than it did before the kids were born.

    I'm sort of baffled though. I thought that part of the reason that my mom and MIL couldn't/didn't help out w/ child care more (like during the day/week) was because they were so "young" and were still working full-time jobs. But our parents are all in their early 60s. Your mom must be lucky to not be working at this age!