Cardiogirl 19 percent body fat 100 percent fun


choose wisely, grasshopper


I think the folks out there who choose not to have children get a bad rap. But the people who say they choose not to spawn because they are too selfish get the worst of it, I think. Why not applaud their honesty?

As a producer (that's how my former dentist categorized his own children, producers and non-producers) I say right on to those of you who choose not to have children. It's a lot of work and if you don't actively want to have children you shouldn't.

Growing up I never wanted children. I never baby sat; I do not have siblings younger than me. It always seemed like kids were loud and a lot of work. (Now I can say with authority that they are, indeed, loud and a lot of work.) In college I never wanted children. I think, at the time, my biological clock was digital. There was no ticking going on inside my head.

When I met my husband and we talked about marriage and children I told him I didn't want children right then (at age 25) but I didn't see myself at 70 never having had kids. I didn't know how that was going to resolve itself, but that's how I felt then.

He did surprise me by saying he didn't think he would divorce me if I decided not to have kids. (What!?) But he would actively mourn the loss of not having children.

So all of this brings me to my point.

I understand that life can sometimes be an "and-and" situation but usually it's an "either-or" kind of deal. I'm down with that. But when you have children, life becomes "either-or" and "maybe not at all."

Before we had kids I would come home from work after a stressful day, sprawl out on the couch in my work clothes and take a little nap. When my husband got home from work we would decide if dinner was going to be Chinese take-out or pizza delivered right to our door.

Ah, the good old days.

Today I find myself carving into my own sleep time to do the things I want to do. As in, if I want to exercise I have to get up at 5:15 in the morning. If I want to write in my journal AND exercise (let's not get greedy Cardiogirl) I have to get up even earlier.

So either I do what I want and am extremely tired, or I am well-rested and annoyed that I don't get to do the things I want to do.

Many times at the grocery store, while I am holding the baby in one arm, dragging the cart of food behind me, calling to my middle child to "step it up we're going around this corner" and telling my oldest daughter to stop whirling in circles in the middle of the aisle, I run into The Generic Elderly Lady.

Sometimes she stops and talks to me saying something like (and I'm paraphrasing): Enjoy this crazy time in your life when your children are young and they idolize you. It is fast and fleeting and you will mourn the loss of these days when you are in the twilight years of your life.

And sometimes The Generic Elderly Lady just tilts her head in memory, gives me a knowing smile and her eyes get a bit misty.

I'm trying to take this in because I do believe The Generic Elderly Ladies speak the truth, but right now it feels like I'm barely treading water. It does not feel like I am gaining momentum but I do realize that my children will be adults sooner than I expect.

I just hope my kids all end up with a child like themselves.


2006-12-10 at 7:09 a.m.

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