Consider yourselves warned: ranting ahead.
Now that virtually all of my coworkers and a lot of our store’s regulars have asked about our wedding and what we did for our honeymoon, people are moving on to the next big question.
“You’re going to start having kids soon, right?”
Huh. I thought that was typically one of those questions that falls under the category of “rude to ask”, but evidently not, judging by the number of times I’ve heard it this past week. When I politely say “not right now” or “maybe in a few years”, I’ve gotten some very interesting responses:
- “You’re married now, so you don’t have to wait!”
- “I’m sure you’ll change your mind and decide to have them soon.”
- “Don’t you want to be young enough to be able keep up with your kids?” (Ahem. I’m twenty-seven years old, hardly knocking on death’s door.)
- (my personal least favorite) “Ha! That’s what they all say. You’ll be pregnant by Christmas.”
My siblings and I didn’t grow up with much. We were fortunate that our mom was able to stay home with us until I was almost done with middle school, but the trade-off was that Dad worked a ton of hours and we didn’t see him nearly as often as we (or he) would have liked. We weren’t the poorest kids in school, but I was painfully aware of our status as have-nots, and it was just one more thing the other kids bullied me about.
Dallas and I are just starting out. We currently have the ability to live fairly comfortably and even put a teeny-tiny bit of money away, but we have the sense to know that throwing another human into the mix is not something we can afford. I have student loans, and we have rent, utilities, and insurance (health and car) to worry about. We have one vehicle, and it’s ten years old (low mileage and well-maintained, but still ten years old). If work is slow and I’m not getting many hours, just paying my phone bill and student loans could eat up every penny I’ve earned in a month. One expensive car repair or a few slow weeks at the store could put us on the edge of wiping out our savings. Besides, we don’t need the added distraction–Dallas is at a critical stage in his doctoral work. He’s finishing his dissertation so he can defend it in just a few months, and he’s been applying for jobs all over the country so we have someplace to go next.
There are other considerations we’ve had to discuss as well, as far as the long term–we’re both under treatment for mental illness (he has bipolar disorder, I have generalized anxiety disorder). There’s a history of mental illness in Dallas’ family, and a fair number of people in mine have had issues with depression and substance abuse (mostly alcohol). So any future expansion of our family will be something we’ll have to very carefully plan out.
And there’s always the chance we’ll have a child who will develop a mental illness at some point. That’s a lot of the reason we’re only planning to have one–not only is that a more financially sound decision (since I’ll probably have student loans until we have a college-aged child), but if we do have a kid with some sort of mental or physical illness, we will have more time and resources to devote to their care, and no other children who will feel like we don’t have time for them.
Maybe I should just print out this blog post and carry it around to hand it to people who feel the need to ask questions that are none of their damn business. At any rate, I certainly feel better having it off my chest…