The Whole Kid Thing

I went to the bridal shower of my best friend from elementary school this weekend. There were a number of other people I grew up with there, and more than a few of them had teenage kids. I am 33 years old.

photo of Kym and two nieces poking heads out of the window of a cream playhouse with green shutters and a blue roof
I am going to depend on these two to take care of me in my old age.

I grew up in a small town. There were two movie theaters when I was a kid, but by the time I hit high school, both of them had closed. As those of you who grew up in similar situations can attest, when teens have nothing else to do, they tend to revert to the free and readily available stand-by of good old-fashioned boning. And smoking lots of weed. But mostly sex, and a whole bunch of teenage moms. I knew these women had babies when we were in high school, but the reality that their kids were now old enough to drive threw me for a bit of a loop. And then, of course, came the questioning of my childless state. The truth, and what I told them, is that we aren’t planning on having kids. The responses this time, though, surprised me. While this statement is usually met with varying amounts of derision, people claiming I just don’t realize I want one yet, or the alwaysappreciated admonishments for being selfish, here it was different. There was a wistful look in their eyes as they accepted my statement and moved onto the next topic. I cannot recall the last time I haven’t had to defend myself for deciding to remain childless.

For those out there without kids by choice, you know what I’m talking about here. It is a topic that has been covered many times and by people much more eloquent than myself. It’s not that I don’t like kids; quite the opposite. I adore little ones – babies, toddlers, and every age on up. I was a live-in and out nanny for years. Friends that are pregnant or parents ask me for parenting advice all the time because I have spent so much time parenting, just not my own children. My friends call me the Baby Whisperer, and I have a particular deep-knee bounce that is so effective at soothing a crying kid that I should patent the damn thing. Seriously, I have yet to meet the child that can continue to cry once the bounce begins. And yes, this includes soothing still-nursing babies in the middle of the night when I have no boob to shove in their little mouths. It is that good. This only serves to contribute to the incessant urging to breed, however. “But you’re so good with them!” And, “You guys would be such good parents!” are common lovely compliments, but do nothing to change my mind.

Photo of Kym in a kitchen holding baby niece and bouncing her to sleep
Miss Ellie will help, too. I have awesome nieces.

Here’s the thing – one of the reasons we are so good with kids is simple – we have slept through the night. We are well rested. We have not had to get up at the crack of dawn to get everyone ready for the day, put in a full day at the office, and then come home to cook dinner, do homework, clean house, give baths, etc., etc., etc. It is the perfect situation for everybody involved as it stands now. Parents get a much deserved break from the constant needs of their child, the kids get two people who are fresh and ready to run around like fools to entertain them, and we get our fill of baby/kiddo time. Then everyone goes back home to their respective positions; repeat as necessary. I am the person that my friends call when they need their first night out after giving birth. That is an AWESOME feeling for me, knowing that they trust me enough to take care of this new and infinitely precious person for them so they can eat dinner without having spit-up running down their neck. I am delighted to do it every time I am asked.

We have left the door open just a crack on the kid front. We have said we will revisit it at 35 and see where we stand, and if we decide we want one, we will adopt. I have absolutely no desire to be pregnant, no desire at all, and there are plenty of babies and kids out there that need loving homes (contrary to the dearth the anti-choice folks like to spout off about). While we have gotten some push-back on this (and the family members most against us adopting are the ones whole are also vehemently anti-choice. Riddle me that, Batman), pretty much everyone is on board. The old “it is totally different when it is your own biological child” trope does not fly with me, since my step-dad adopted me when I was younger. Whenever someone busts that out, I ask them if they think my dad loves me less than my little brother and sister, his biological kids. This shuts them up real quick. And the funniest thing to me, now that everyone knows that’s our plan, is how their language has changed. They no longer say “You guys need to have a baby!” We now hear “You guys need to get a baby.” Whether we do or not is yet to be seen. It’s pretty close to 100% on the “no” front, but I will never say never. Perhaps one morning I will wake up and my broken biological clock will have magically repaired itself and the urge to have a munchkin running around will overwhelm me. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

photo of Kym, Charlie and Steven, Kym sticking her tongue out at Charlie, who is sitting on Steven's back
They trust me because I am such a good influence, always.

Kym nuzzling the face of her niece, Charlie

Kym holding Mia, wrapped in a towel
After bath snuggles are the best!
Kym in wedding dress holding Sierra in white tank and shorts
Until then, I will keep vying for the Best Auntie award with all these nuggets.

26 thoughts on “The Whole Kid Thing”

  1. I love this, because I’m with you.  I love kids (although I don’t quite have the knack or experience you have – never changed a diaper in my damn life.)  I can’t WAIT to be an aunt, although it’s a few years off at least.  But I don’t want my own, and if for some reason I change my mind, I’m can say with confidence that I never want to be pregnant and will adopt.  It’s nice to hear the “I love kids but don’t want my own” perspective so eloquently laid out.

    In related news, I recently finally blurted out to my boyfriend that I’m never having kids, a discussion I was terrified of having since I know he’s always wanted them, and I probably want to spend the rest of my life with him.  Wonderful man that he is, he assured me that it was okay and he’d rather be with me than have kids.  It was one of the biggest moments of relief I can ever remember having.

     

  2. At this moment in my life I am really incredibly grateful that I don’t have kids. I think that will change–I do picture raising children in the future–but I am in no rush. I get a little uncomfortable with how much people my age are reproducing already, actually, like a lot of the things I want to do without kids are harder when everyone you want to do them with does have kids. It’s a weird phase of life. Also, I think tentatively I won’t ever want to be pregnant and have a kid the biological way. I have both personal/body reasons for that and also sort of political (environmental and women-in-society type politics) reasons for not thinking that’d be my preference. But there’s tons of time, especially if I choose adoption instead of biological childbearing. I could decide I want a kid 30 years from now and work it out.

  3. Awesome. Thanks for sharing. I am single and in my late twenties, but all my best friends (a group fo 8 people) are all in relationships and either married or engaged. A couple even are engaged. When they ask if I want kids…I kinda don’t. Even though I love kids and have a great job working with kids, like you mentioned in this article I enjoy my sleep — Plus I enjoy the lack of stress that children cause, and the financial worries.

    But I do love kids and haven’t crossed off the idea…anyways, thanks for making me feel less of a freak for not really feeling the kid idea :)

  4. @Kymg I want to share with you a passage about first periods from Caitlin Moran’s book “How To Be A Woman”, which is my fave book ever.

    A READING FROM THE BOOK OF CAITLIN

    Neither of us can believe that we’re going to have to put up with [menstruation] for the next 30 years. ‘I don’t want children anyway,’ Caz [her sister] says. ‘So I am getting nothing out of this whatsoever. I want my entire reproductive system taken out, and replaced with spare lungs, for when I start smoking. I want that option. This is pointless.’

    Pretty much how I feel, except I want a spare liver instead.

    1. …as if knowing whether or not you’re the kind of person who desires to make a whole other human being in your guts, out of sex and food, then base the rest of your life  on its welfare, is a breezy ‘Hey — whevs’, decision.

      Love her.

  5. I think the world needs childless aunties to turn to with problems, questions, and companionship for those frustrating teenage years. Kids are cute and I love oogling over photos of babies, but I have no interest right now in spending my nights covered in puke and consoling crying children. Or fighting over cookies at the grocery store. Nope, I’m happy to enjoy my late twenties without children.

    1. Right? I know the day will come when they will all show up on my doorstep because their parent “just don’t understand!” and then I will let them vent and spend the night and remind them to remember this when I am old and feeble and need someone to wipe my ass for me. I can then pull out the “do you have ANY idea how much shit I wiped off your butt when you were little?!?” if they give me any lip.

  6. Love those pics!

    I don’t know whether we’ll ever have a child of our own. For the moment, and the foreseeable future, I want to focus on being a wicked awesome (as opposed to a wicked evil) stepmum to MrCanuck’s girls. Though we don’t get to see them often enough, my best birthday present was having them tell me out of the blue that I was “beautiful” and ‘nice”.

    I miss them so!

    1. Oh goodness, that brought a tear to my eye. As someone who has an awesome step-parent who stepped in and stepped up when my bio father proved to be a big giant douchefuck, I have the softest of spots for step parents who aren’t evil. I also has a wicked stepmother, so I got to see both sides of the coin. It warms my heart to hear tales of step parents having great relationships with their step kids. You are awesome, keep being awesome, and thank you, from a step kid. Plus, compliments from kids are the best and most pure compliments one can receive, so you must be truly beautiful and nice.

  7. Great post!  You bring up so many good points about being kid-free. This kinda describes where I am right now (25, unemployed, single, w/ a two-year-old niece). I’m perfectly happy to play the role of auntie, but I’m nowhere near ready to have kids myself. Luckily, nobody has started asking me yet.

    (BTW, who is the guy on the right in the third picture? Because he is FINE!)

    1. That’s my little baby brother (who is 25 and 6’4″, but whatever, he’ll always be my “little” brother), who is currently in LA trying to break into show biz. Had I known how popular he would have been here, I would have posted this one

      It’s unfortunate that he is so unsightly, isn’t it? =) Poor kid.

      1. Oh. My. Goodness. *fans self* Girl, that is one hot baby brother you’ve got there!  Hope he decides to pass his genes along. ;) (If he hasn’t already, that is…) Shame he’s on the other side of the country, though.

        *Sorry if that sounded creepy.

         

        1. I took him shopping a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t believe the way he gets treated by ladies in stores. His girlfriend(sorry everyone) and I walked away from him to browse and all the female employees swarmed him immediately, offering help, giggling like schoolgirls at every word out of his mouth. It was hilarious. Thankfully, he is also a total sweetheart who doesn’t even realize how ridiculously good looking he is. And when he does act a little too big for his britches, I wrestle him to the ground and fart in his face so he remembers that no amount of pretty will save him from being a little brother. It keeps him grounded.

          1. I wrestle him to the ground and fart in his face so he remembers that no amount of pretty will save him from being a little brother. It keeps him grounded.

            I almost snorted my drink out of my nose!!  I pray that my kids have that kind of relationship when they are grown…which brings me to my next point – can you come to Savannah to babysit for me and teach them how it works??

             

            I think so many moms are so caught up in the happiness of their own motherhood that they fail to see that type of happiness is not, in fact, universal to all people with a uterus.  At least, that’s the only reason (as a mother of three) I can come up with for the behavior of pushy/nosy moms.

             

            1. Savannah?!?!? Hells yes I will! That is the one place in the US that I want to go where I have never been. I told the husband I wanted to take a trip there, and he (not in a mean way, just confused) said “Savannah? Why?” and I said I JUST WANNA.

              That being said, I am really, really, really lucky in the family area. My mother is a freaking saint, seriously one of the most awesome women in the world, and my siblings (there are 9 of us, with half and adopted all mixed in) are all really close (save for my older sister, who hates me, but that is a WHOLE other post). While I would happily impart the wisdom of close siblinghood on your kiddos, just know that when I used to try to train my younger siblings on how to get what they wanted from my dad, laying out exactly what they needed to say in order to get him to say yes (I am the master at manipulating my father to my will), they would run up to him and say “Kymmie said to say…” Way to blow it for everyone, little shits.

              It may not seem like it sometimes, but I think most of us figure out that our siblings are the ones who are in it for the long haul eventually, as long as their parents don’t pit them against one another (like my bio-dad did with my older sister and me), or have obvious favorites – my mom thinks it’s funny that whenever anyone asks us who our mom’s favorite is, we all answer “ME!” at the same time. I know that seems trite and obvious, but the amount of friends I have who hate their siblings because of blatant favoritism is heartbreaking.

  8. Thanks for sharing! Those pictures are so stinkin’ cute.

    And I totally agree with you about how being well rested makes all of the difference.  I’m great with the babies at work, but I’m always so relieved to be able to leave after 12 hours and get in my bed. :)

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