Go Eat Worms, Nagging Baby Pushers!

justins-baby-card21Kittens, I am here to disillusion you.

You think, much as I once did, that the annoying questions will stop once you’re engaged. You think, having “landed a man,” that people will stop handing out unsolicited life advice and finally let you be happy, because—devil take it!—you’ve done what society wants, right? Not so, my dear yarn pouncers. You see, once the questions about your single status stop, The World starts in on wildebeests babies.

Welcome to pastel-wallpapered, pacifier-laden hell.

[For the purpose of dramatic recreation, The World will be played by italicized blue text, while the part of Grace will be sensibly vertical.]

We’re so excited for you and Professor McGregor, darling Grace! You must be so relieved that a man is deigning to marry you and your feminist ways. So, when are you having babies?

Not for a really long time. Like, at least five years.

Five years? Oh, my naïve Grace. Haven’t you heard how fertility works? Right now is the best/only time to have darling lumps of babykins!

Well, it’s not the best time for us. You see, the dear professor wants to get tenure first and I need to start and finish my residency. We just don’t have the time or resources!

Maybe you didn’t hear us correctly, sugar lump. If you don’t have babies in your twenties, you’ll give birth to horned horrors of children whose only forms of communication are shrieking and ritual sacrifices. We didn’t tell you this when you were single, just in case you were a spinster for another decade, but having babies in your twenties is crucial!

But we don’t want children yet. Every time a child screams in the grocery store, Professor McGregor and I high-five about not being parents. If we had kids now, I’d probably just hate them for the first year. I love sleep! My selflessness is really not developed enough to sacrifice it. We’ll chance the horns, thanks.

My dear, that’s how we all thought, until we had button-nosed mushy pea faces of our own. Once you see their wee, dear faces, you can handle all manners of trials. Sleep deprivation and never-ending screams are nothing, in light of your love! Why, the first time your spawn urinates on you is a moment to always be cherished!

We’re not ready for babies. Leave off.

But think of your grandmother, Grace. Doesn’t she deserve to be a great-grandmother?

My cousins, Alfred and Sage, have already taken care of that. We are totally absolved of any pressure!

But your father would love little ones to watch Notting Hill with!

My father would also love a dog. How about we get him one of those, instead? I’ve heard Labradoodles adore romantic comedies.

How can you be so selfish? Don’t you know that it’s your duty as a woman and a human being to have children? This is the next step, you callow girl. You’re supposed to get married and start a family. The species must propagate!

I call bullshit. On all of it. Are you ever suspicious that some people don’t actually have thoughts in their heads at all, but societal scripts they run through daily? That, perhaps, we’re surrounded by player pianos disguised as humans? After you get married, you have children, raise them, send them to college, then go tour the country in an RV, because you’re no longer needed until they have children of their own. That’s how it works! Once you deviate from said script, their wee little circuits explode. It’s all raised eyebrows and poor logic, instead of rational conversation.

Look, Professor McGregor and I want a family. Eventually. We want one when we’re financially and emotionally prepared. That seems super reasonable, to me. No one ever questions you about wanting to have children, only about not wanting to. How ridiculously backwards! The biggest life commitment you can make is the creation and care of another person. Shouldn’t that be treated with some degree of caution? Isn’t it the thoughtful thing not to jump on the baby wagon, just because we’re married?

Some people feel ready for children from the moment they reach adulthood. They are positive about their parenting abilities and the amount of love in their hearts. That’s totally awesome! They should be parents! I, however, have always known that I wanted children theoretically. Such as: One day, theoretically, I want to name a little girl Cordelia and teach her about feminism and Nutella! One day, theoretically, I will force bow-ties upon my son.

3234094106_5685e732a9One day, however, has yet to arrive. Right now, I am emotionally ill-equipped and not financially stable enough to feel comfortable spawning. I don’t want to deal with the realities of children: the long nights, the diaper changing, the worries about how to raise them into socially-conscious adults who eat carrots and respect women.

At the moment, I just want to watch Psych with my love and eat a lot of cake. Is that so unreasonable?

– Grace

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58 thoughts on “Go Eat Worms, Nagging Baby Pushers!

  1. good one!! and you know what really really bugs me as well? that people asking those questions and making comments do not have enough brain and empathy to understand that for some this subject may be painful, because there is plenty of people that desperately want kids and can’t have them, they do not run around shouting about their issues but say things like: one day we will, not right now and similar and hear all the comments and cringe and ctinge…

    • That is such a great point! You never know what situation people are in, whether its fertility complications or just hereditary issues, so how could you feel comfortable commenting on a person’s childless state? It’s a subject we should just let be, all around.

    • Like a comedian said, if they ask ‘such’ an awkward (yet societally accepted, encouraged) question, then you should make them feel awkward in return. Like,
      |Well, we tried five times last night.’

  2. Ok, so, I know I’m new to the party here, but I find myself nodding emphatically whenever I read a post that y’all have written. So…brava on another awesome piece!

    For what it’s worth, I’ve heard the “there’s never a good time to have a baby” comment more times than I can count (oh, and just wait until you’re married. People started asking about babies AT OUR WEDDING RECEPTION. When I returned from our honeymoon — and any subsequent vacation — without a bun in the oven, peoples’ disappointment has been palpable.). It’s true that there’s no perfect time to have a baby, but it’s also true that there are worse times than others.

    Take, for example, when you’re just getting established in your career/getting tenure/starting residency. Those things are, um, kind of a big deal. They require a lot of time and hard work. Or, alternatively, when you don’t have the resources — financially or otherwise — to appropriately care for a small person who is entirely dependent on you. The way I see it, financial stability and career stability are actually steps towards responsible parenting, and I’ll never understand why people get so Judgy McJudgerson about it. You’re clearly making the right decision for you and your fiance, and that’s what matters most. Keep on keepin’ on, sister!

    • At your wedding reception!? That’s just awful! I’m going to have steel myself for that. And, honestly, I may just print out your quote and hand it to people – there are definitely worse times than others. Now is just one of them, for us.

      • Oh, yes. At the wedding reception. It was beyond bizarre; it was made even more so by the fact that I didn’t have time to eat. Low blood sugar made the whole thing even more surreal.

        The good thing is that people tend to respond well when presented with the “there are worse times than others” approach, and they’re also amenable to the argument that you’d like to spend some time with it being just the two of you. Once people realize that getting adjusted to married life and simply enjoying each others’ company is on the radar, they tend to step off the “If you’re not preggers by the end of the month, I’ll shit my pants” soapbox. 🙂

  3. Not unreasonable at all! Let yourself eat cake! You have plenty of time to pop out a munchkin or two. Don’t let that big bad world bully you into feeling you’re wrong for being selfish and wanting to get your own life in order before taking on the responsibility of nurturing someone else’s existence.

  4. So true! In my case, I was blessed with a surprise baby, and everything has worked out but ladies at my daughters daycare have actually pressured me into having another. Crazy ol’ bats. I think it is good you are able to realize that right now is not a good time to reproduce. We are always taught not to give in to peer pressure and then the people that teach us that are the ones doing the pressuring! Stay strong!

    • That is such an excellent point! It’s as if peer pressure is only wrong, when it’s not about a societal expectation. The faults in that logic kill me.

  5. So many things right about this post!

    Firstly, I totally agree with you that children, in theory, are great. I loved babysitting in college, but I also REALLY loved when the parents came home and reclaimed their little darlings, who may or may not have acted so darling that particular day.

    Secondly, forcing bow ties on your future son. The world needs more men in bow ties! I’m still trying to force my fiancee into them. I see myself having better luck with our future theoretical son in 2025.

    Thirdly, I LOVE PSYCH. It makes my heart happy.

    • E, I think a lot of my reticence to have children right now is rooted in something similar. I spent all of my middle school and high school years babysitting my much, much younger sister. It was great, from many standpoints, but also nice to hand her back to my parents at the end of the night.

      Also, hooray for Pysch and bow ties! I’ve just introduced the professor to Psych, which he’s loving, but he’s also stubborn on bow ties. I’ll settle for his dashing three-piece suits and just stick the bows on our theoretical progeny, I suppose…

  6. Don’t tell anyone, but I do that to my married, childless friends. I pester them incessantly about having babies and tell them how wonderful they are, even to my friends who read my blog and know how miserable I think they really are. It is true that misery loves company, and what better company than that of my friends, right?.

  7. Once again you’re right on the money. I dont see anything wrong with wanting to enjoy your new spouse and getting settled in your professional lives and as a couple. I’m not even engaged yet and my paramour’s mother is already pressuring us for babies. Actually she’s been begging for babies. Since our second date. You’re not alone Grace. Babies will happen when we are ready for them to happen and not before.
    Also fully agree little boys should wear bow ties!

    • Since your second date? Oh, heavens! I really think we should just give all these parents puppies to take care of, so they can get some nurturing impulses out of their systems.

      • my ex-mother-in-law was very firm I should stop pill without telling my (now ex) husband-I was ready to have kids, he wasn’t-she was telling me how I should stop pills behind his back, get pregnant and “you’ll see, he’ll be very happy”, imagine!

  8. Thank you for putting my life in to words. It’s nice to know that at least we are suffering together!

    Can’t we enjoy having other aspirations….just for a little while? We haven’t even set the wedding date and were already fielding questions (by we, I mean I am) about “how many children we are having”. I can’t hardly catch my breath! Or worse, suppress my eye-rolling when they shake their heads in disapproval…”You want to wait to start a family? Well dear…don’t wait to long, you’re turning 30.”

    I’ll take my chances. Thanks.

    • Ugh. I hate that thirty has turned into this magical number for people to judge women’s eggs by. Every woman’s fertility is different. 30 is an average good age for first conception, not a hard and fast rule!

  9. I really dislike when people look at me like I don’t know what I want for my life when I deviate from the World’s Script. It is utterly frustrating.

    On another note, Psych!!! I love that show. And I think that show proves you can’t just let children fend for themselves when they are supposedly, “Grown up.” Parenting is a lot more work than that.

    • Agreed, Jami! If we all followed the script, nothing interesting would happen, so why are we still trying to force it?

      Also, that is SUCH a great point about Psych. If there’s one thing Shawn proves, it’s that parenting is a lifelong process.

  10. Cake sounds good to me! I’m getting married in the fall and when I mentioned once in passing that me and my fiancé have talked about how many kids we want to my mother, she was absolutely shocked. For years she’s thought I don’t want kids because I’m not jumping for joy to watch my nephews all the time. Just cause I’m enjoying my childless years doesn’t mean I don’t them someday.

    Having children when your financial stable? Now that’s just crazy!!!! 😀

  11. Love this blog, and especially love this post. Because so many of my friends have already spawned miniature, pooping versions of themselves, they expect me to really want some of my own, so I’m volunteered for babysitting services all the time because I must “practice” for my own. I’ve just started reminding them that, because I’m single, my time is simply too full of orgies and clubbing to watch their darling snot makers.

    • Ha! That is the absolute perfect response. It’s one thing if someone is thinking about having children, so they want to babysit as legit practice, but to just assume? Ugh. Orgies for everyone!

  12. I hate to break this to you, but it doesn’t end when you have children either. Then it becomes “Awww, she is so adorable! Time for another one! By the way, when ARE you going to have another one?”

    • Noo! This is awful news. I wonder if there’s a sweet spot, child number wise, that prevents nagging. I suspect it’s the lucky people with triplets…

  13. Have your cake and eat it too! Rock on with your man and enjoy your time the way you want. There’s no rush to procreate now, and no need to procreate if you don’t want to. As one of my girlfriends once said, once you have kids, there is no turning back.

  14. If this is what you are going through when you tell people that you want to wait for children, then you can imagine what it is like for me when I tell them that we do not want to have children. I might as well tell people that I kill puppies.

    • Completely agree! People think you must be mad to NOT WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN! I think we are the smart ones, making a descision based on what we want and not everyone else. Some people may see it as being selfish that we don’t want to commit the rest of our loves to raising and nurturing another human being. But it is a HUGE descision and its ours to make.

      • My best friend and sporadic blogging partner, Kate, gets this all the time. She’s always said she doesn’t want children of her own, but people give her so much shade about it! It’s incomprehensible that people would be upset over such a thing that doesn’t affect them, but they definitely equate it with puppy killing. Yet, personally, it seems much more responsible to know you don’t want children, rather than having them and realizing it. Ugh. Rock on, puppy killers!

  15. Is it appropriate that I read the World as having a southern accent? I completely agree, when I was married, people could not stop asking when I will have children. Silly of me to think that I can simply enjoy my marriage and career for a while.

    • Totally appropriate. Not even because I’m from Texas, but because I wrote this imagining Lemon Breeland from Hart of Dixie as “The World.” I’m not sure what it says about my psyche that antagonists are always southern in my mind.

  16. Grace, you made me laugh out loud with this one! For the record…when I am in the store and a kid is screaming…I physically cringe and then think “thank God I don’t have to do that anymore” My kids are 17 and 15 and sometimes they still bicker in the store, I just walk away and pretend I don’t know them! When it happens, it happens…just ignore those well meaning ninnies.

    • That is the PERFECT age for children. I really dread the temper tantrum phases. Even well-behaved kids will lose their shit in public sometimes. I need to be okay with that, before any start appearing in my life. I shall ignore all ninnies! Thank you for the great comment!

      • First: Thank you SO much for being a person without children realising that the crazy kid at the airport in Berlin (ah, entirely random example) might actually be a sane, well-behaved child having a really bad day.

        Second: I just dont get why TheWorld goes on and on about this. Even now, typing (with one hand) while nursing my third child and enjoying my nearly one year of paid maternity leave, I can easily understand why people would choose otherwise. That’s fine! It’s excellent, actually. The world needs people who can focus fully on their work/art/science/whatever without being distracted by children.

  17. Love this post! I don’t want children, ever, which gets so much more judgment than wanting them eventually. I hate that I have to face the inquisition every time I reveal that about myself, but no one ever questions popping them out–which they totally should, since that’s the biggest, most expensive, non-refundable decision you’ll ever make.

    So eat the damn cake! Haters gonna hate! 🙂

    • Amen. Can I just amen a million times, actually? My best friend doesn’t want children and the shit people give her for it makes my blood boil. The World always understands when a man doesn’t want any, but act like it’s unnatural for a woman to be childless. What the fuck? Surely it’s better not to have them, if you don’t want them. As you say, they’re pretty damn non-refundable.

  18. Loved reading this post! So nice to see someone else thinking for themselves and not giving in to societal pressure.

    I am getting married and turning 30 this summer, so the baby questions have been pouring left and right. Actually they started a few years ago… Imagin people’s horror when we tell them we don’t plan on having children at all!

    I’ve felt like this for a loooong time and I was very relieved to find out that my fiancé felt the same way early on. I kept thinking I would change my mind once I got older but I haven’t.

    People keep saying that having children will change our lives and that we would make great parents. I have no doubt that we would be awesome parents, but I just don’t think it’s in the cards for us.

    Now I’m off to enjoy some peace and quiet, cause I can!

    • Thank you so much, Janelle, both for loving the post and your great comment! My best friend, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times in this comment thread now, is in the same boat. She’s 27 and knows she doesn’t want children, but people either doubt her commitment to that or try to convince her otherwise, when she tells them this. It makes me furious. We have enough people, as we’re not exactly an endangered species, so why all the judgment? If you don’t want kids, surely it’s better to not have them. Radical, I know.

      Enjoy your well-deserved peace and quiet!

      • Agreed, our species is pretty well represented on this planet! I also worry about raising a child in this type of world, I turned out ok, but I also didnt have a computer, iphone or the internet when I was a kid. I see kids and teenagers now with little or no values, this is partly the parents responsibility. But when everyone is bombarded with media and outside influences like we are now, it seems like a much harder task to make sure your children will end up being well rounded people. You would think with unlimited knowledge and sources at our finger tips we would be a much smarter population. But really all we do is keep our heads buried in our smart phones and ignore human contact. I dont usually bring up this point in the great baby making debate, because its a very debatable one, but still worth discussing with the right person 😉

  19. Reblogged this on Honeycomb Slice and commented:
    I get so pissed off when people get offended for some reason when I say I don’t want kids. I just don’t, I’m giving my goods away to those who do because I’m that sure of it. Have an egg, on me folks.

  20. Pingback: Go Eat Worms, Nagging Baby Pushers! | Новости отовсюду

  21. Yeah, flashback to the good, old days when I was 25 and had just gotten my business degree. From people’s comments you could have thought I had made a baby-having degree. Thankfully most of them laid off for a really long time, not last because I broke up with my partner a year after that. It only took me 10 more years and another degree to finally feel ready and now I enjoy having two sons.
    I applaud your thoughtful life plan and your perseverance in the face of The World’s nagging. You go, Grace!

  22. Reblogged this on Note To Self and commented:
    I could not agree with this more. The amount of pressure our society puts on women to have children is truly staggering…and annoying.

    Also I think I might throw something at the next person who honestly, enthusiastically declares women need to have children to “propagate the species”. Yeah, ’cause the world with 7 billion people on it already DEFINITELY needs a few more.

  23. I love this post. I don’t children period. End of story. I am quite liking how my life is right now-childless. Every time I tell that to a person they all like: Oh, you’ll change your mind. No, I am not going to change my mind. I am not the kind of person to be a Mom. I can’t even take care of my cat, let alone a baby. Thanks for the awesome post.

  24. Ugh! I just love this post! It (as so many have said above) is so absolutely true. My beau and I have been together for about 3 1/2 years and we live together, so the comments about marriage (and even babies!) are non-stop. I have literally been told “Don’t worry honey, one of these days he’ll come to his senses and make an honest woman out of you”… I was appalled. You have no idea what’s going on in our relationship, we have had numerous honest open discussions about forever, and we’re not going to jump in too fast. We don’t want to get married and then, in five years, get divorced, we’d like to know each other for a minute first. If you were able to meet your husband-to-be, date for 6 months before you just “knew” and decided to tie the knot, and now are celebrating your 20th anniversary, I APPLAUD you!!! But the real world just doesn’t always work like that. Everyone has their own level of risk aversion, but I’ve had friendships of 6 years go south, why would I assume a solid relationship of 13 months spells forever? And don’t even get me started on the baby comments :::end rant::: 🙂

  25. Pingback: Share the Love: Baby Pushers, Being the Best, & Handymen | Cursory Moments

  26. YES THIS IS PERFECT! This applies to pretty much every life choice/baby related conversation I’m having nowadays, and I’m not even in my late twenties. People think what doesn’t happen in their backyard is their business! SO annoying.

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