the no-kids thing

oh-the-placesI don’t really want kids. It’s not that I don’t like kids (though, that is one excuse I make). I just feel that all people should not be parents, and I’m not sure that I’m a person that could or should be a parent.

People always look so shocked when I say I don’t want children, like its an afront to humanity or themselves even. Older people (often parents themselves), shake their heads and tell me to, “wait and see”, that I’ll change my mind. But, I don’t know that I will. I mean, if I do that’s fine too, but I can’t see it.

You see, the thing is, I’ve experienced the nitty-gritty of kids already. My dad remarried when I was a teenager, and had a baby. When I was on holidays, I would look after a 6 month old baby. I was puked on, I changed nappies, and played with her until she fell asleep. And when I was 16, I actually liked it. I was broody, back then. I would have sprouted a few sprogs given half the chance (oh you know, and a boyfriend).

But since then, I’ve grown wiser, and a touch more cynical. I’ve realised that there are other things besides parenting that my life might be for. I got a puppy just before I got married. That was a mission. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog (she’s three now), I love having her around, but she is a huge responsibility. And she’s only a dog. It stresses me out to think that a child is exponentially worse.

My husband and I talk about it. The six-year age gap between us means that he gets to these decisions before I do, sometimes. I mean, we got engaged when he was 30, and I was 23. If he wanted kids, I was open to changing my mind. But the more we talk about it, the more we realise that we have so many things we want to do with our lives. So many places to see, so many things to do. And neither of us can imagine attempting that with a couple of sprogs in tow.

I hope I don’t wake up when I’m 45, regretting this decision. I’m 28 now (as of yesterday), which gives me a few years grace to change my mind still. But I can’t see that happening. A lovely friend of mine just had her first pregnancy confirmed, and I know how excited she is. I know that this is something she has wanted, yearned for, dreamed of. I know, too, that those are not things I yearn for. Not yet, at least..

Images are borrowed from here and here on flickr.com (creative commons).

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the wedding thing

Ah, weddings. I love them, don’t you? The celebration of love and life just makes me so happy. Slowly, more and more of my friends are getting married, and it makes me very nostalgic. See, I’ve been married just over two years, now, and though I’m by no means an expert on all things wedding, I feel like I learned some significant things when I was planning our wedding. If you’ll allow, I’d like to share them, for posterity. Hell, I don’t even know if anyone is reading this. I’ll share them for myself.

1. Let them in

One of the biggest things I struggled with when planning my wedding, was letting people help. I was determined not to put anyone out, I didn’t want my wedding to be that huge, stressful thing for all my friends. So, I tried to go it alone, and nearly drove myself mad. You see, I’m not a planner, I’m not a crafter, and I’m also not made of money. My friends are, variously, crafty, helpful, full of love and a desire to help. And one thing I’ve realised since then, is that I would have had more fun planning the wedding, if I had allowed my friends, who very much wanted to, to help.

I have wanted to help my friends with their weddings, and I keep seeing the same thing: bride goes batty trying to do everything, while putting up a front of ‘coping’, and shutting everyone out. Let your loved ones help when they offer. They offer because they love you, and they want to see you happy.

2. Let it go

I know how my family is, I know how my now-husbands family is, and I know that just because I was getting married, that was no reason to expect that they would change their fundamental personalities just to make my life easier (as lovely as that would have been!) So every time my dad was selfish, or my mother-in-law did something inexplicable, I was hurt and surprised that they could be so terrible. I was engaged for two years, which was plenty of time to come to terms with this. And yet, two years after the wedding, whenever I think of that time, it’s tinged with sadness that I was unable to get through planning my wedding without my (and my wedded) family misbehaving themselves. Ah well, we live and learn, hey? And surprisingly (or not, depending on where you stand), the older I get, the more OK I am with this.

3. Expectations

I had, like every bride, certain expectations of my wedding day. I wanted to be calm, radiantly happy, beautiful, and present in every moment. I wanted to feel significantly married and, well, different after having spent so long planning this one day event. In the end, though, between my uncomfortable wedding dress, my makeup taking much longer than I expected, and my dad being his usual completely obscure self, I was none of what I expected to be.

I don’t know why, but I hoped that the love I feel for my husband would shine out of my face, obscuring the fact that I had been living on a diet of coffee and cupcakes for months before the wedding (hot tip: this does nothing to help the double chin you are insecure about). I hoped that I would love every small bit of my wedding day. I hoped we would have a fabulous dance party, and everyone would go home in the small hours. Instead, I was tired, my dress had a zip that chafed my arm all night, I chose the wrong lip colour, that made me look angry, and my photos were…. well, they were of me, and I really dislike having my photo taken, so I was unhappy (the photos were great, my unhappiness was with myself).

4. Differentness

I didn’t feel different. My now-husband and I had been together for 5 years when we got married. We were venturing off on our honeymoon immediately after the wedding, and we had bought a dog about 6 months before the wedding, so I had moved in with him already. Our lives had already taken on a pattern, we were already a team, the wedding was a formality to legalise the commitment we had already made to each other every day of our relationship thus far. One expensive party didn’t make the difference I thought that it would to the way I felt about him, about us.

But even so, two years later, I realise that although the legalisation felt kind of superfluous at the time, it has made us a team in a more permanent way. And that is the value of the wedding. And hell, it’s a fun party, too.