Almost exactly year ago, TIME magazine ran a cover story called “The Childfree Life” about the rising number of Americans who were opting not to have kids. One of those couples was Paul and Leah Clouse, who both felt that they couldn’t balance their creative interests (a bakery for her, a blog for him) and also be good parents. “If we decided to have children, we’d have to grieve the life we currently have,” Leah said.
Now, it looks like the grieving time has begun. Because the Clouses are having a baby.
If you go to Leah Clouse’s Facebook page, you’ll see that her profile photo is now an illustration of her (with pregnant belly), Paul, and their two cats, with a note reading “Baby Clouse Arriving April 2015.” For many people, having a baby is a joyous occasion, and I’m happy to congratulate friends when they welcome children of their own. But I just can’t feel too happy for the Clouses. Keep reading »
They say that your life completely changes when you have a baby. That this overwhelming sense of love makes you forget all of the sleepless nights and dirty diapers, the temper tantrums and crayon marks on the freshly-painted walls. Many new mothers declare that this is what they were meant to do: bring another life into this world. I suppose this is how I feel, too — except that I’m not a mom yet.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother. I used to create elaborate scenarios with my dolls as my “babies” where I was their doting mother. When I was around 14, I began babysitting for one of the local church’s childcare centers a few Sundays a month; I’d spend a couple of hours watching after babies and toddlers while their parents attended services. I bounced smiling babies on my knees, fed them bottles as they looked up at me with their big eyes, and patted their backs and sang to them as they cried. In college I made extra money by nannying for a family during the summer. I’d travel with them and their three small children, taking care of them practically 24/7. At night I was regularly woken up because of the two-year-old’s nightmares. My alarm clock was the baby wailing for his first morning bottle. But even though they weren’t my kids, I felt that emotional tug deep inside my chest. Children make me feel a peaceful happiness — like you’re living in a world where everything is pure and beautiful. Keep reading »
The first few months that I had my dog Lucca were rough. I adored her, make no mistake, but training a two-month-old puppy is no joke. I would set my alarm for the middle of the night so I could walk her, as her tiny bladder wasn’t yet prepared to hold it all night. And while I was crate-training her (a fantastic method, by the way), she had more than a few bathroom accidents indoors. One time she peed on my bed three times in one day, always after I had washed the sheets from the previous accident. The impact on my social life took some getting used to as well; she needed to be walked right after work, which meant I had to skip happy hour regularly, and I couldn’t stay out late much those first few months either. But you know what? She grew up and became better trained and, most of all, I adapted. It really wasn’t a big deal. Very quickly I realized I couldn’t imagine my life before her or without her. She’s my baby.
Of course, she’s not a real baby. I want one of those very, very badly and am hoping to have a child of my own in the next few years, either with a partner or “Murphy Brown”-style. Regardless of how it happens, the child I have will be joining a family unit that includes Lucca. I’ve written about how it’s hard to imagine loving any creature as much as I love Lucca, but I also inherently understand the love for my child will be “bigger” or at the very least different. But I do not expect my love for Lucca to lessen. And I know I won’t ever reach the point of not loving her, despite what Allison Benedikt, a dog owner and mom of three, writes in her Slate essay advising future parents to never get a dog. Keep reading »
Why anyone would pay 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney money to talk about anything, I don’t know, but I guess it’s mutually beneficial. He has to pay the bills on that car-elevator somehow. Anyway, quoting from the book of Luke in the Bible, Romney encouraged the recent grads of Southern Virginia University to “launch out into the deep.” But what exactly did this mean? Find work that you love? Pay off those student loans before Sallie Mae hunts you down like a dog?
No. Get married. Keep reading »
My sister is the good daughter. My sister was kind enough to get married and procreate. She’s not only doing the species a favor, but my parents as well. My parents had always wanted to be grandparents to a couple of rascals. My sister gave them two: Jackson and Elliot. My parents are obsessed with them.
Just as it was when my sister and I were little, there’s nothing in the world my parents won’t do for Jackson and Elliot. My mother has completely re-centered her life around them and refuses to miss a holiday or birthday. I spent Christmas on the couch by myself, while my mom catered to my sister’s kids every whim in Colorado. “That was the choice you made,” my mother said. I’m not sure what choice she’s talking about — the one where I decided to move to New York City to pursue writing, or the one where I thought going to Colorado for Christmas would be the pits. We both hung up on each other before we could get into a lengthy discussion and ruin the holiday even more. Besides, being on the phone with me was tearing her away from the grandkids, and we can’t have that, can we?
Groan. Keep reading »