Why I’m Not Ready to Have Kids (Aside from Not Being Married)

Tiger Flying a Helicopter, 2015    Charlene    Pen on Paper.

This morning, I read this blog post from one of my favorite bloggers:

“How Did You Know You Were Ready To Have a Baby?”  *

“Ha,” I said, and emailed it to Charlene.

Yesterday, Charlene called me barely twenty-four hours after the nonstop festivities of my birthday weekend. When the phone rang, I was sitting in front of my computer writing interview follow-up emails in my pajamas. It had hit me just a few moments before: I was twenty-nine.

“Twenty-nine!” Charlene said, “I’m not ready to be twenty-nine.”

Charlene is twenty-eight. We are both job hunting so it made sense to talk about how little leeway we were making and about the lives of other twenty-nine year olds, as seen on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

“LinkedIn is the worst right now,” I said, “Like I don’t care much about the engagements and the weddings and the babies, but every day LinkedIn emails me and tells me so-and-so bozo from high school got promoted, or so-and-so who went into accounting is now like director of big numbers at wherever.”

We mulled over our decisions to attend grad school and after graduating from said grad schools, attempting to find jobs kind of related but not that related. But hopefully related. “I’m not too far off from when I first finished college,” I said, “A kid still.”

“I can’t even think about kids,” Charlene said.

“I used to think about ‘oh I’m going to be this kind of mom’ but right now, I want to have done some stuff with my ‘career’ and my writing. Otherwise, I know exactly what kind of mom I’d be.”

Charlene chuckled, “How’s that.”

“I’d be like, ‘Okay, I don’t have a job, I don’t have anything published but here’s this baby now, so I’m going to pour all my energy into her and hope she becomes everything I wasn’t.'”

“Oh God.”

“Yeah I know. The worst kind of mom.”

“That’s like a tiger and helicopter mom combined.”


“Actually,” I said, “It’s like a tiger flying a helicopter.”

We both laughed.

“Hey, can you draw me a picture of that? So I can blog about it? You know since we’re both unemployed and all.”

“Sure,” Charlene said. She’s a good artist. An hour later she texted me the above drawing.

It’s great, isn’t it? There’s never the right time to have kids, but sometimes the kind of parent you’re afraid of becoming is a good reason to wait for a better time.

*And yes, I’m aware that Tom and I are nowhere near where “Should we have kids yet?” is a serious conversation, but like horoscopes, it’s fun (or frightening) to think about. 

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