Thursday, February 07, 2008

Babies babies everywhere. Except here.


Oh for the love of marmalade. I wonder is there something in the water? Another two of my friends are sperminated, knocked up, with child, embiggened with baby.
I must admit I am feeling strangely nonplussed by it all. Pregnant eh? How nice for you.
I am glad for them, especially one of the girls who I know nearly all my life and is a really lovely mammy. Lovely mammies should have children, they're happy and their children are darlings. More people who are good and happy mammies should produce healthy happy babies. It seems a win -win situation. (People like my mother who resent having children and make sure their children know the 'sacrifices' they made to have them should rethink having babies)
So back to my friends. I think it's terrific that they are having their children, extending their families. I will of course be a doting 'aunt'. I'm very popular with other people's children, they like me. I collect CDs from newspapers for them, I include them in conversations, I enquire after their schools and pals. I pore over recently coloured pictures. I buy them nice christmas and birthday presents. I never give out to them or tell them to clean their rooms. See? I like my friends and I like their children.
So I realise I'm probably sounding churlish and a bit of a wally. But the selfish part of me now knows I can forget talking about anything other than baby stuff for the best part of this year.
Balls. I don't have that many female friends, losing them to a fetus is irksome- no matter how much I will like that fetus the moment it's able to make eye-contact.
What's worse is that my friends will start talking about babies around the clock-because that's what babies do, they take over. Suddenly there will be nothing but talk about morning sickness, veins and piles and stretch marks and food intolerance and back aches and whether or not soft cheese is a lethal as some people make out...
Le sigh.
And then will come the, 'What about yourself? Any plans yet?'
Now my female friends are not foolish women, but every time they get pregnant they seem to forget that other women-particularly this women- are not exactly as naturally maternal as they are.
Ergo the 'plans' question irks the shit out of me.
Of course I have plans, I plan to finish the project I'm working on. I plan to master a handstand. I plan to meet Sam and Medbh. I plan to go running in the Scottish Highlands with Finn in March, I plan to run this year's Dublin City Marathon faster. I plan to expand my little business and get a bigger foot hold in the UK.
It's not just me either. The paramour has plans for this year, and they seem mostly to include some travel and a business expansion. Oh he and I regularly talk baby, but we talk it in a vague, abstract, off hand sometime in next three decades sort of way, and considering I'm 35 and he's 36 ( when did that happen?!) this seems amusingly procrastinatingly long- fingered of us.
Truth be told both of us are too something ( lazy, single minded, selfish>)to be dealing with small children. Oh we like the idea of running around Bushy park with the imaginary perfectly dressed children on a sunny summer morning, conveniently not thinking about the waking, feeding and dressing of those children. No, ours is a rosy tinted vision of our future children, where they pop up out of the ground as chubby robust three year olds, who sleep eight hours a night and never get colds or any other childhood illness (ideally they should be champion readers, hearty sportsmen and eschew television in favour of learning a musical instrument)
Then there is the noise.
I freely admit I am intolerant of long sustained piercing sound. Like phones, or hoovers or babies crying. And they seem to do that a lot. I find a lot of noise stressful in the extreme, not unlike Rainman.
My big fear- and I'm really not joking here when I say this- is that we would have a child and then it might teethe or cry a lot. I can picture the paramour coming home from work and asking, 'Say honey, where's the baby?' And I will look up from my own work and silently point over the top of my computer to the pram parked under the trees at the bottom of the garden.
Seriously. That's my fear, and it happens to be an important one. I don't want to be my mother. We went for lunch over christmas with friends of ours and they brought their 12 week old baby and it started to cry as soon as his poor mother's food arrived, and then we all took turns bouncing this volcano of sound while she wolfed her food down.
'He's some set of lungs on him.' The paramour said as we toddled off up the road.
'Indeed he has.'
And both of us did that nervous twitchy smile people who feel guilty do.
Where am I going with this? Well no where really, But I read an interesting piece in The Times this morning, I'll link to it here
I feel for that woman, I really do. I understand her so completely it is frightening. She's happy the way she is. She feels guilty about it. I think I'm pretty happy the way I am. Maybe I feel guilty for that. But why would I?
For that matter I'm pretty sure the paramour is happy the way he is. He's not backward about coming forward, if he wasn't happy he would say something. Wouldn't he? Would he? Wouldn't he?
So, nine months of baby talk. Oh well, it's just another three weeks until I go back on the rum.

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82 Comments:

Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I was but a stripling when the first of the Drummsprogs was produced. It's the better time, I think. You just get on with it and the energy one has for late-night partying and boozing with a quick bounce back the following day gets transferred over to energy for baby sleeplessness.

In one's 30s it can become a 'when?' debate - mostly grounded in the certainty that it is possible. And many couples then find that it's quite difficult to conceive when they try.

This can add a few more years again. I know a couple in this situation and they're three years 'trying', several consultations, and no closer to their objective.

If you've no desire to have kids then there's no issue (pardon the pun). But the last thing you should do is think you'd be anything like your own mother... 'sacrificing' life, career, travel etc for your offspring.

10:37 a.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

You should not feel obligated to re-produce, people talk about it being selfish but being selfish is even more true of a person who brings an “unwanted” baby into the world or those who intentionally bring a child into the world knowing full well they don’t have a pot to piss in. I would love, lurvveee lots of little dinger, I mean like 5 but, you can dress it up whichever way you like, as soon as the babies start coming your career is over. Unless you are willing to pawn them off with a nanny all day every day kiss goodbye to the career and by the same token if you are happy to do that what is the point in having children. As soon as a little nipper arrives on the scene, the cars, the late nights, the clothes, the bags, you sanity/dignity the list is endless but everything goes. How would you go to the gym everyday for example? Needless to say I will probably be left on the shelf, childless with my legs dangling. I still don’t think that it is selfish though, why should you feel bad for trying to preserve a life you worked your hold life for?

10:44 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I agree it's so much harder as you get older. Both physically and even psychologically. If the paramour was dead set on having one I'd absolutely go for it and sooner rather than later but we do seem rather comfortable.
The being like my mother thing would be my big fear Conan, she'd regularly hold us responsible for her weight, metal well being, high blood pressure, cause of depression, lack of career, you name it we were the cause of it.
I'd hate to be like. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially my poor imaginary future children.

10:45 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

5 Nonny? You wouldn't need a gym, you'd be run ragged.

10:46 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

"Children are like farts - you can just about stand your own"

I can definately see where you're coming from FMC. I have a sneaking suspicion that we share the same Irish Mammy syndrome, and I think I have inherited a very short fuse with children. I might change in time (im still a young'un), but worry that my kids would end up resenting me.

10:54 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

"Children are like farts - you can just about stand your own"
Snarf.
Actually other people's are okay, you can usually hand them straight back.
My mother's favourite saying is, 'I love children, but I couldn't eat a whole one.'
People think she is joking.

11:04 a.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Ahh you wouldn't they would mind each other plus you'd be giving them friends for life. And after five kids I am sure my legs would be the least of my worries in the raggedy department. Ahh sure heres hoping unless I marry a househusband it won't be happening.

11:15 a.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

One of my friends is in labour, no really, I just got a call to say she is, how strange that this post was here when I came to have a peep!!

I want to have babies. I have always wanted to. Some people just don't. It's not selfish, it's not anything to feel ashamed of, if you don't want them, then don't have them. If I met someone that knew I wanted to be with forever and then turned around one day and said "oh by the way I don't ever want to have kids" I would say goodbye, because I would be giving up a dream and that's not good. Like a close friend of mine who broke up with a girlfriend of 7 years because she told him that she never ever wanted to have children. It's sad for them that they are not together but if you don't want the same things then there is no point.

Nonny, how you would go to the gym everyday is you would fit the gym in around your life, for example, you get the other partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife to take some responsibility. The same way as you would fit anything in when you have a child.

11:35 a.m.  
Blogger Sinéad said...

Ah yes, there are indeed everywhere.
A friend has just had a baby today, another very dear pal is in the first few weeks and I'm starting to feel it's catching alright. People even say to me, so when's the next one?

I stare at them murderously with my sleep-deprived eyes.

I love the mammy thing, but I love being me, the old me, pre-babby too. Can't handle a hangover as well as I used to, but heck, what can you do?

This week the little guy has started to tentatively say Mama. I can't describe it. It also goes a long way to cancelling out the bloody fatigue.

11:36 a.m.  
Anonymous Cate said...

FMC the baby will come when baby is ready.....so i'm told & mum just gets used to the idea.

12:40 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

My son is almost 15. I have never been anything but indifferent (at best) to every baby apart from him. But I have loved my little boy since he was born.

12:47 p.m.  
Blogger Lou said...

I love my God daughter to bits and she's not even mine, I'm harbouring a deep fear that I'm going to be one of those smothering 'helicopter parents' who never lets go!

12:56 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I like babies and I'm good with them. But it's always much easier to handle a baby or toddler that's not your own, perhaps because you don't feel you have to set their boundaries.

1:03 p.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

Clearly I had the look of a househusband when Common Law started casing me. Her career is going just fine, as is mine, albeit on a part time basis. To say that a baby means the end of one's working life is unmitigated bollox.

You have my sympathies, Fatmammycat, as far listening to baby talk goes. Even when CL was up the spout or the girls were very young it was boring, boring, boring. We both wanted to discuss just about anything else. Most parents of young children need to listen to themselves, take stock, and consider steering the conversation in other directions.

Or they could just shut the fuck up. Either way.

1:35 p.m.  
Blogger grimsaburger said...

My sister had her first when I was 17 and she was 19--a bit of a shock, but after a while you forget things could be any other way. Which worked as well on me as it did on her--once I passed 19 without getting pregnant, then 20, 21, and so on, I felt like I'd cheated fate. I married at 24, and each year we've spent together has had the same sort of meaning, like we've won some prize because we've managed to be married for almost 6 years without resorting to babies. But it doesn't feel like we're winning anything anymore, and in a few months we're going to take the plunge (immediately after I run that 10k, in fact).
Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that I turn 30 this summer.

2:20 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Got that damn impertinent question over the holidays (again). "So, no kids yet, huh?"

My response: "Well, I haven't been pregnant. Do I have to explain the process to you?"

Terribly torn about it. On the one hand, maybe some offspring wouldn't be bad - I'm already home (and happy about it) on weekend nights anyway, have good health benefits, decently healthy genes, and the house space. And SPOUSE is wonderful with kids. On the other hand - just the thought of the upheaval a child wreaks upon a person's life, freedom, attention...and the poo and the spit and the vomit and the crying...the CRYING. Oh god.

Sounds like I'm leaning on the 'no' side more than the 'yes' side, now that I read that back to myself. Huh.

2:20 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

"To say that a baby means the end of one's working life is unmitigated bollox."


Well I suppose your situation is unique, so you are able to say that. How many househusbands do you know? I don't know any, not one. I just asked himself if he would be up for a child minding career, oh how he laughed. And, I suppose you are right to a certain extent about carrer progression but for the vast majority of people that would mean sending baby of to a creche, what would be the point in having a child if that is the case plus I like paying my mortgage, creche and nanny fee's would not make my bank manager happy? Another factor I guess would be what you actually do for a living and what you aspire to, some people can work from home or part time etc. I can do neither and I travel a lot so as I said having a baby would definitly mean the end of my career.

2:23 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

Nonny makes an interesting point. Women do the majority of the child minding in this world. We can debate the rights and wrongs of it, but for sure this is what happens if we go and count the heads. In most cases, this means that the career takes a back seat - again, I'm saying this from a head count perspective. Science Foundation Ireland had a meeting a month ago of senior scientists and it was at least 9:1 male:female. The ratio for junior scientists is about 1:3 male:female. Much of this effect can be attributed to babies.

...or else women get stupid when they get old :)

OK, its probably the babies.

Look at this

3:18 p.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

Nonny, I am shocked by your conciliatory tone.

You're right of course, we're lucky to have been able to work this out. But the term househusband is a little inane. My career is not in childminding, and it's not like I wear a pinny or drive an SUV badly. Asking 'himself' if he would be up for a child minding career was the wrong question.

'Are you willing to share the upbringing of our child on an equal basis and make comprimises where appropriate?' might have been closer.

It has taken commitment and a lot of juggling, the occasional refusal of work and subsequent tightening of belts, but we have never had to put the ladies in childcare.

However, I agree that having children is incompatible with being an international woman of mystery.

3:23 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

i hate it when people say that women can have it all - unless you're quite fond of driving yourself insane, you can't. you have to decide where your priorities are: are you going to advance in your career (not necessarily give it up) or are you going to raise children? i know plenty of PI's at my university who aren't interested in taking women into their groups because 'they might get pregnant' - which means major time off from work, especially when you're working in an organic chemistry lab.

as for myself, i've known since i was a wee one myself i didn't want kids. oh sure, i think they're grand and loads of fun - the older ones anyway. but babies make me crazy - i don't like them, not in the least bit. i don't want to hold your baby, i don't think it's cute when your baby drools, and ffs would you NOT bring a crying baby to a restaurant or movie theatre? i've never liked babies, they don't make me go 'awwww' or want to spring one from my loins any time soon.

my stepmother hounded me for the longest time, telling me how selfish i am for not wanting sprogs.... but i'd rather get my phd and go on to have a successful, satisfying career.

i've been trying to get my tubes tied since i was 18 - but not one dr. will touch me because i'm not old enough 'to really know' if i want kids or not. ah sure, 26 isn't old enough to make a rational decision. yay, government! anyhow, J and i have talked it over, and he is also adamant that we not reproduce, and has agreed to get his tubes tied - seeing as they hand the procedure out like candy over here. the way we figure, if we get the urge later on, we'll adopt - that way we can bypass the whole icky crying baby nonsense.

3:28 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Our story to parenthood is long and complicated and probably not that interesting to anyone but ourselves so I won't go into it. I would if I thought I had any special insight to offer but everybody's lives are sufficiently different that self-knowledge about one's feelings about having children can only come from the individual and her partner.

There's no doubt about it, life after children will never be the same. It's exhausting and terrifying and amazing and rewarding - it's many things both good and fraught - but it'll never be the same. Ideally it shouldn't be entered into lightly. That all goes without saying.

You are a smart woman who knows the importance of talking to the paramour about this. The most important thing - forget everyone else, what matter's is you and the paramour, and that is all - is that you're both on the same page about it and that page doesn't have the words nappy, teething, Lamaze class or "moving on to solids" written on it. That is the most important thing - being excoriatingly honest with each other - really getting down amongst the feelings and the the assumptions and the expectations and the fears. That is the only way to avoid possible lingering resentments later on when the clock has ticked out on you.

And there's the rub. The clock. More important for women than men, it hovers over our lives panicking us and no doubt leads many woman to rush to babies they're not even sure they really want.

You're also a strong woman and not likely to be swayed either way by these stunningly rude people Andraste was talking about. It is by no means written in stone that everyone needs children to be happy. Some people do - I did - but it is a myth that we all do. A myth we could do without. Most of us with a head on our shoulders know that.

But it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks at all - your family, friends anything. Eliminating them from your thinking and bringing it right down to just you and the paramour is the only way to any peace on the subject. It's hard thinking getting to what you really want because so much honesty is involved. From reading your blog on all sorts of topics I reckon you are one of the most clear-headed thinkers I know though and more likely than too many other souls to do the hard mental work you need to do to make decisions like these. It takes courage and honesty and perseverance to find out these fundamental things about yourself, more so because you can swing around with it while you're in the process and the ground under your feet will be firm some days and not so firm others. I'm not flattering or bullshitting when i say that if I know anyone at all capable of such thorough intellectual and emotional rigour it is you. It just needs to be done is all, in order to be at peace with what you decide either way.


Finally, don't worry about turning into your mother. It's highly unlikely. That, I can tell. It is an abiding fear of mine, and I reckon that abiding fear is what will keep the her in me in abeyance.

And speaking of kids, I have to get mine up for kindergarten right now.

A big hug from a pal confident you'll do what's right for you and the paramour, whether that means babies or not.

3:37 p.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

We crossed, Doc.

I don't think there is any need to debate the rights and wrongs. It's wrong, full stop. We need to move to point where there is no longer an assumption that it is the mother who is always the primary caregiver.

I believe it's wrong to just go 'well that's the way it is'.

And Daisy Mae, aren't male vasectomies easily reversible? I'd don't think you'd have to go down the adoption route if you were to have a change of heart. Or change of loins.

Although by all means avoid the early icky...

3:38 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Daisy Mae, for some reason I get just as bored by the WE DONT WANT KIDS clamour as I do by the WE ONLY TALK ABOUT OUR KIDS babble.

Gimme, you're spot on. I saw my youngest through the primary stage, working part time. Not always easy but compromise is the name of the game and she was never in childcare.

3:39 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I always think people asking 'so no kids yet"' is a very rude thing, what if you couldn't have children? Is the asker prepared to handle that?

Reading back over my post and your excellent replies, I do feel more befuddled than anything else. I suppose it's just fear of upheaval, or if it ain't broke don't fix it. I can't imagine I'd do anything other than love any child I had to bits. It's just change, I don't like change a whole lot. Fatcats are very resistant to change and I feel children are the one thing in life you ought to be very sure about.
Having said that I imagine if I did get pregnant I'm sure I'd muddle along, using one foot to rock the bouncer while I snore leaden eyed over my computer. I suppose you just get on with it really. Plus there's a least a 50% chance it might take after the paramour and be a laid back sort of baby who likes sleeping, eating and thinking about sport a lot.

Babs! I hope you're doing okay sans work, feeling good and considering options.
Grims, glad you dropped by, I can imagine this week was tough going for you and the family. I was thinking of you.
Sinéad, aw, I bet that really does help. naturally my future imaginary child's first word will be 'Puddy' for Puddy likes children almost as much as she likes dogs. Which is a lot, the daft cat.

A strange unrelated thing. I'm just back from the gym. My locker today was right beside the weighing scales. After my shower I was trying to wring water out of my hair while holding my other towel up with my teeth when this rather large lady insisted I move.
I said, 'pardon?'- as you do.
'Can you move away, I want to weight myself.'
I looked at her incredulously.
'Fire ahead.' I said, 'I won't look.' ( it wouldn't even occur to me to try sneak a peak at someone else's weight, besides I wouldn't need to look at the scales to guess her weight)
But she insisted, and as she seemed to be getting irate I thought bugger it and sort of hopped damply to the next locker. She then climbed on, held her hands around the digital read out. Climbed off and kept her hands over the read out until it went to 000 again.
Then she gave me a truly filthy look and went back to her locker.
How bizzare!

3:42 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Gimmie you go out of you way to argue with me. That aside, James probably put my point across better (Thank you James). I never said you wear a pinny etc as I said your situation is unique. And whilst I am sure himself would make a gallant effort, the fact is, like millions of other women, I know I would be left to bare the brunt of the household tasks. Furthermore, like many men he would not sacrifice his career to mind his children. We earn the around the same and as I said neither of us can work part time, you know what that means one job would have to go, all things considered that would undoubtedly be mine. If we could both work part time that would be great but we can’t. And yes the fact that I travel would also be problematic, it is not very mysterious though, quite boring in fact. I do not want to tighten my belt, and I do not want to juggle, I do not want financial worry, I like owning my own home, but most importantly if I do have children I would not want to miss them all of the time. So in conclusion my dear Gimmie, if I had a baby I would have to either sacrifice my career or them and how the hell could you live with yourself if you did the latter.

3:54 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

conan - we don't go around talking about not wanting children, or put ourselves up on a pedestal, by any means. i think it's great that others want to have kids - i love other's children, i just don't want my own. but we are regularly barraged by the whole 'when are you two having kids, already?' question that the simple reply is 'we're not'. i hate nothing more than having to qualify it for any reason - saying we don't want to have children should be enough. what irks me is that a couple is seen as defective if they're not at least trying to have kids.

gimme - male vasectomies used to be easily reversible, and in some cases the vas deferens actually grows back together. but now the main procedure involves going in, and cutting out a section of the vas deferens before sealing off both ends, so that they don't grow back together. nowadays it is an irreversible process, although i could forsee going to great lengths to have it reversed.

3:54 p.m.  
Blogger PI said...

Don't dream of having a baby until you really, really want one. It's not fair on you or the baby. You could always wear a T shirt saying:
'I have no immediate plans to get pregnant.'

3:59 p.m.  
Anonymous jen said...

Oooh - this post struck a cord!

There's a friend (with young kids) back in my hometown who I ring every so often, as you do, and, without fail, her first question isn't 'How are you?' or 'How's life?', it's 'Are you pregnant yet?'. She is always disappointed by my answer.

Yes, one day we probably try for kids - we'd both like to but we're not in any rush and we're enjoying our gaggle of nephews and nieces. However, every time my friend asks that question I want to reach down the line and strangle her - it's so f@cking rude.

4:01 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Pat! Crank up the printing press, I'll take a dozen of those t-shirts in every colour.

4:05 p.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

Gimmie you go out of you way to argue with me.

Smash goes the glass house. I argue because your sexist attitudes wind me up. Which I can only assume is the intention.

I never said you should have babies, I said that babies do not necessarily mean the sacrificing of a career.

That's all.

Daisy - I didn't know that, thank you. Personally I'm just going to stick with the celibacy gig.

4:13 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

I don't intentionally wind anybody up regardless of what you think. For a lot of people it does mean sacrifcing your career, some people like yourself are lucky or perhaps not lucky maybe you have got it right but I am sure there are part of your circumstances you are not happy with. Plus, I agree, you are dead right, it is sexist but unfortunitly it is also a fact, women are far more likely than men to stay at home with the children.

4:22 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

while i can see both sides, i think a lot of it has to do with choosing to be with a partner whom is 'right' for you. i think that the broad generalizations, such as 'women are the main caregivers' are becoming more obsolete as we see men moving into the child-rearing aspects of the family. J has often said that if i change my mind and want to have children, he would be the main caregiver. i love my career, it's what i'm passionate about, and J knows and supports that - which is why he would want to stay home most of the time.

think of a man who chooses to raise a child (either alone, or as his sig. o. works) and what he would have to give up as well.

also, the country/region you live in also plays a role. if it's part of your culture that 'it takes a village to raise a child', things are easier. but if you are part of a culture that believes the parents are the only caregivers, things become much more difficult. some jobs offer daycare, others don't.

there are so many factors that go into having a child that i think broad generalizations, for the most part, don't help.

4:30 p.m.  
OpenID bendersbetterbrother said...

I can't be arsed reading all the comments, work to catch up on. But...looks like the clock is making itself heard. If you're going to do it eventually now is better. There is no rith time, never will be a right time when circumstances are just right. That just doesn't happen for 99% of us. Six weeks after my daughter was born I became 40. In honesty I think it's too old and you're not a kick in the arse of it. The chances of something going wrong in a pregnancy increase almost exponentially beyond your age and that's assuming you can conceive at will anyway. And, do you really want a universtiy student hanging around the house when you're 60.? Get on with it.

4:39 p.m.  
OpenID bendersbetterbrother said...

3 "right"s in the same sentence. Brilliant.

4:40 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

However, I agree that having children is incompatible with being an international woman of mystery.

heh

4:49 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

BBB, three rights is still better than one wrong.

4:57 p.m.  
Blogger Lou said...

I was raised equally by both my parents for a good few years. Mum had to go back to work (we were broke) so Dad was the one there when we got up and when we got home from school, he'd make our dinners and do our homework with us. Around half six we'd all pile into the car to go and collect Mum, and then when we got home she'd look after us and Dad would go off and teach. I think it was brilliant. Other than Dad's cooking. Which was not.

But I think if you have kids, you'll make the sacrifices necessary to look after them. For my poor Dad that meant taking work he HATED for a while to support the family, but I wouldn't say his career suffered because of it. And now we're all raised he's back to doing what he enjoys.

5:16 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

I'm obviously late to the party.

One of the worst woman-on-woman crimes is using reproduction as a cudgel to make other women feel like shit, whether it's having them or not.

If and when you're ready, you two will work it out, FMC.
And for the record, I think you'd be a fantastically nurturing mother. After all, you already know what NOT to do.

5:36 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It sound like the did a bang up job Lou.
Medbh. As long as my children trust me and know I've got their best interests at heart that will be a step up from my experience of mothering.
I was just thinking how nice it is to hear from Dads as well as Mams today, I think that's very nice indeed.

6:09 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

For fuck's sake!
Lou, I actually typed, 'It sounds like they did a bang up job.' Or at least that is what I was trying to type.

6:25 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Very good twenty, I never would have accredited my job with such prestige but hey it’s not bad for the stupid deaf kid either.

6:58 p.m.  
Blogger grimsaburger said...

Thanks again, FMC, for thinking of us. It's tough, but everyone's chugging along.

If all goes as planned, I'm about a year away from finishing a PhD. After hearing conflicting advice for the past five years about whether it's better to have babies during or after grad school, and how much we can expect having small children to affect my chances in the job market, we decided we're going to have to do whatever it is we want to do, regardless.
I have a knack for stubbornness, which I hope is enough to carry me through the next five years.

7:40 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

you too, grims? all i've heard is that grad school is just the best time to have children. my favourite so far has been 'even if you don't think you'll want kids, you should have them now - there's no better time if you change your mind later'

7:45 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

My father-in-law made a wise comment once, he said, "it's never a good time to take a vacation or have a baby, if you wait around for the perfect moment, it probably won't arrive, so you won't do it". I know that applies to me. I was ambivalent about having kids, although liked the idea. Left up to me we would never have done it, but that was a condition of marriage day 1 for my wife. You don't want kids, we are no longer a couple. She was very clear about it. All said and done we have 3 lovely little monsters, 5 and under, and fatherhood has been the most fun I have had. My personal experience is that I may not do as much of the things I like, but I still do them, and the quality is much higher. I've learned to maximise my time, and have cut the fat out of my life.
One last thing, everyone concentrates on babies. Babyhood is over in a flash, so fast you find it hard to remember what it is like. Babies are cute and all, but my 5 year is way more fun. Watching him discover the world is a blast, as his world opens up, so does mine. Now we can do things together. For fathers you can feed and wake up for an infant, and do your share, but I think that really is a mothers time. For men, the fun really kicks in later.

7:53 p.m.  
Blogger grimsaburger said...

I think most people who give advice on when to have kids are impaired by that lovely memory-loss thing that sets in more deeply every 6 months postpartum.
Whatever. I'm going to be chronically exhausted, Spouse isn't going to be able to help as much as I want him to until I get a job, the house is going to fall apart around us, we're going to be poor, and I may lose my mind, but goddammit, I'm going to produce a baby AND a dissertation, even if the final draft of the latter smells suspiciously like the former when I turn it in.

10:28 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

In for a penny in for a pound! I like it. I'm also just finished work for the evening, so excuse me while I hit the hot chocolate route and then fall flat on my face.
John Mc, I too find toddlers and young children far more entertaining than smaller babies. I love their logic and thinking processes.

10:35 p.m.  
OpenID snifflecry said...

Hello FMC, Does it have to be such a cerebral thing? It propagates the species. It’s what we do. I think good people get a little confused trying to rationalize this situation. The questions are just questions, answer them is you want. I think there’s probably a general innocence in the questions, but yes, they can be intrusive and insensitive. And, there are always fuckers who question stuff the wrong way, or ask the wrong questions.

I’m with Gimme here, there’s a load of claptrap stereotyping going on in some of the responses, and that doesn’t help, the stereo-typing. Sam has it right too, it’s whatever ye two want and fuck the begrudgers.

Great post, and you’re braver then I am to put this shit out there.

10:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er, read this from Nonny:

Very good twenty, I never would have accredited my job with such prestige but hey it’s not bad for the stupid deaf kid either.

And wondered what she meant?!?!?

(Bit sensitive on the subject as I have a kid who just happens to be deaf but sure as shit ain't stupid)

Orfy

11:00 p.m.  
Blogger Foot Eater said...

I agree, FMC, they're a complete waste of time.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think my wife's having those Braxton-Hicks contractions again.

11:42 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh said...

Yet again, another great, great post! So many interesting comments.

Me, I don't want kids. Never have. Only since I hit 30 could I really be honest enough to be open in saying that. I only know one family with kids really well - and strangely enough, I really like their kids, and the kids seem to tolerate me. I sometimes think that's 'cos I don't do the fussy bit to them, and crowd them. Anyway, never ever felt squishy about babies. Once they can communicate, that's a whole lot better. Anyway, it does quite possibly sound selfish; but I really love my job (I am a lucky nerd that way!), and I am also extremely lucky that it pays me well enough to live my life in a manner which enables me to everything I want - and I just never, ever see kids as being part of that. And I couldn't be with someone who really wanted kids. But rightly or wrongly, and very probably quite selfishly, that's just me.

On the people asking "when" or "why haven't you yet" - I find it incredibly rude and intrusive. Really offensive. The pre-supposition that what they have done /are doing should apply to everyone really irks me. I know it is the "norm" ... but go away! Do I enquire after intimate details of your life, no I don't; not unless you initiate a conversation that makes it clear that the topic is open for discussion.

The work thing - I go between being driven bonkers by people with babies/kids, and feeling really grateful for my life, and sorry for the hassle and career drop they (and it is always the women in the industry I work in) have to make. I've worked in teams where there was a competitive "how advanced are yours" vibe - drove me crazy. It was a project filled with people with waaaay too many SUV type notions though. I've also worked with women - and I'm sorry to cause offence to anyone on this; but it was always the women who take the career hit wherever I've worked - who worked their asses off to get to where they were, and suddenly they are sidelined. They will never get any further in their career. There - I've said it. They won't. It's a vicious circle: they're afraid to take on icky things that they will probably be required to put in extra hours on; then they don't have the extra experience required for advancement - and the more challenging work goes to people who aren't seen to have "constraints" on their hours. Which is of course another argument: if you are seen as childless and/or single, no-one seems to give a damn about impinging on your personal life. And also, why should anyone have to put in a gazillion hours to prove themselves either, but there you go.

That probably all sounds terribly mean - I don't mean it that way; I just think that "having it all" in the modern working world is indeed a myth. I guess having kids is like everything else in life: sacrifices have to be made - and in my (inflexible) working world, that means big, big sacrifices. I've been working in the same industry for 20 years, and the only woman to make it big may as well have had goldfish (her creche kept the kids overnight when required - which was not a rarity). If I had kids, I wouldn't do it like that. But I'm afraid I simply can't ever see myself wanting kids enough to make all the sacrifices that I believe would be necessary for their well-being. And fundamentally, I like my life just how it is: childless.

12:48 a.m.  
Anonymous laughykate said...

Ohhh I am late to this party. Oh how I hate baby talk. Shoot me now. As for the decision for having a child - it's such a personal thing, and NOBODY ELSE'S FUCKING BUSINESS, OKAY?!! God I hate people who ask those questions (the exception being your tightest inner circle).
Hey FMC, the fact that you're terrified you'd be like your mother - means you'll never ever be like her. That's a given.
Right, Friday evening - off to the pub, it's been a loooooooooong week and I'm gasping for a blizzardly cold beer.

4:11 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Morning Snifflycry, I see what you mean and you're probably correct, and to a certain extent if I was younger it probably wouldn't be as big a ponder for me, but having reached the big 35 I am inclined to put a lot of thought into life changing decisions (whereas If I was still in my twenties I'd be all, 'Baby, why sure, let's move country too, maybe buy two dogs and set up a new business...'
Older I'm just that bit more 'okay, let's think about everything first, and worry, don't forget worry.'
Of course at the end of the day we'll do what ever is right for us, but it's good to get feed back and read other people's experiences. Plus this is a most excellent group to throw stuff out to.

Orfy- I doubt she meant anything at all by it, but I'll let Nonny explain it herself as I"m not 100% sure what she meant.

Footie- Hah! it must be nearly time now, I hope you have fuel in the car and absolutely no hot toddy's before bed. Poor dear, are you flibberty-jibbert?

Sheesh- I read all your comment and I think you're quite correct on much of it, plus you seem happy and conten in your decision, so it is clearly right for you. But like you I am completely staggered that a creche keeps children over night.
No matter what the job, no matter how much I loved it passionately , no matter if my Boss offered me every incentive or praise or if he threatened me with firing, I could not do that to my own child. I just couldn't.
LK! It 8 :40 AM here, I guess Brian from Family Guy was right, it's always cocktail hour somewhere ( it has been a long week though).

9:01 a.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

I was deaf when I was a small child, my parents associated it with stupidity and assumed I'd be lucky to get a job as a sectary, but I did a little better than that and I am an "international woman of mystery".

10:02 a.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

sorry I meant secretary

10:05 a.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

I'm late to this party too - in fact I didn't know if I should join in this one! Cos I am the mother of a gorgous, perfect, brilliant daughter etc. etc. (all the usual things parents say about their own offspring - but naturally in this case it's true! - and I promise I will never mention her again in any posts). My other half did not want children - we travel a lot, eat out a lot and party quite a lot. He regarded our life as pretty perfect just being a couple. However, I don't do the "kid" talk thing, don't spend my life boasting about how Einstein she is etc. etc. and find people who do that extremely boring. I hate conversations about how awesome, clever, advanced somebody else's little Einstein is. Yawn! I am not defined by either motherhood or my work. I am still myself, an individual and the fact that we share our lives with a child is just a fact - we still travel a lot, go out a lot and our lives and careers have not changed a great deal. Obviously we have made some changes to facilitate her needs, but we haven't turned our lives upside down and put her on a pedestal, arranging our lives around her. She fits in. We use babysitters where necessary, as there is nothing worse than doting parents who inflict their child on an adult dinner party, and expect us all to be amused at their antics. Having children is a personal choice, and I don't believe people should ask others personal questions as these days I know people having IVF who cannot conceive and such questions are heartbreaking for them. For us, becoming parents was the right thing to do, and we both agree it has been, and is, the most wonderful, life enhancing experience. And sure, as a woman, your career priorities can change - but I think this is mostly a choice women themselves make. I hate it when people use the word "sacrifice" in relation to having children - there are no sacrifices, only different choices.

12:34 p.m.  
Anonymous Fat Cat said...

I'm totally with you in regards to screaming babies! Our family recently took a 'lovely' vacation to a tropical location. One of the nephews and his wife brought their young one with who shreeked unmercifully through the entire week. It made me want to scream. I'm in my 50's and have pretty much always felt babies were best left up to someone else. I still think so, especially after the ruined vacation!

2:08 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

As some comments suggest, apart from the big question of personal choice, the issue facing potential parents is a set of imposed false propositions. It's either: Have a career or have a child. Have a lifestyle or struggle financially. Travel or be tied down. And so on.

If our modes of social and economic organisation millitate against the choice to become parents being a free choice then we need to change them.

2:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Arnie Squashburger said...

Well I see a lot of people agree with you here so I hope you don't mind one dissenter. I find your post extremely bitter and twisted.

Bringing people into the world isn't exactly the most exciting topic out there I'll agree, but I'd hardly condemn someone for doing it.

I have to ask - when you say "Another two of my friends are sperminated, knocked up, with child, embiggened with baby."...are these people REALLY your friends? Do they have any idea you're ridiculing them on your blog?

Looks to me like the line that demonstrates most where your attitude comes from is... "People like my mother who resent having children and make sure their children know the 'sacrifices' they made to have them should rethink having babies". Freud would have a field day with that one!

Personally I feel people who bang on about their childhoods, which is effectively what you're doing here, are more boring than people who bang on about their children.

So to summarize...yes, I think you sound churlish, selfish and a bit of a wally. Only a bit, though, if that's any consolation.

7:05 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I don't really mind what you think Arnie, so feel free to say what you like, the difference between a mild mannered post and an irked commentator is never up for debate. But you really ought to look up the word 'condemn' first before you bandy it about.
Plus I've already said I'm being a bit churlish, so agreeing with me is hardly dissent, you may need to look that one up too. Other that than, carry on.

Sheesh, if you're happy I'm happy for you. It's not for everyone and that's a fact. MY spanish friend never wanted children and now in her mid-forties she is content as content can be.

Shebah! You dark horse, sounds to me like you have a lovely family on your hands, what could possibly be more delightful.

Fat Cat- it really has a way of penetrating the inner ear does it not?

Conan, I agree, but with costs rising it's a hard one to call. I know one of my friends would LOVE to be home daily with her children, but both of them need to work to cover their costs. It's a no win situation.

11:43 a.m.  
Anonymous Arnie Squashburger said...

Since all you can challenge is my vocabulary then I must have spoken a truth or two.

2:52 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Or you're just using the wrong words.

3:57 p.m.  
Anonymous Arnie Squashburger said...

Having read your blog (which I actually enjoy btw) for a while and seen your comments on other blogs, I'd say my version is correct.

I think it's a case of "God forbid anyone dares to challenge fatmammycat"!!!! Feel free to have the last word I know you want to ;-)

8:38 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I'm not injured by you, just amused by your dogged need to dig yourself out of the hole your poor choice of wording toppled you into. See, I didn't 'condemn' my friends, and neither do I 'bang on' about my childhood a whole lot. I can be churlish, and I AM opinionated but then it says that over yonder, under the cat picture.
If you read the blog regularly then you know I welcome all manner of opinions here, it's a public space. I don't always agree with them but I leave them up nonetheless, your comments included.
The only thing I won't tolerate here is drive by attacks, personal insults, or reiki frauds. Since you don't appear to fall under any of those headings you're more than welcome to stay.
Im going to watch Zodiac now, have yourself a good weekend.

9:25 p.m.  
Anonymous Arnie Squashburger said...

That's not quite how it see it...I reckon it is you who are digging YOURself out of a hole here.

Maybe I used a word or two incorrectly, but just how exactly does that compare to the essence of what I'm trying to say about your post?

The fact that I agreed with your "churlish" description merely shows that I had seen the word used in your post, all I was doing was placing emphasis. I think you put those negative descriptions of yourself there as a defense mechanism, hoping nobody will challenge you, so I was finding a way around it.

Plus, you are not the only one who can be opinionated. In MY opinion, you are whining about your friends in the relative sanctuary of your blog - I presume none of them ever read it. That is a shame on several levels. All I am doing is trying to offer an alternate view. What do you think your friends would say if they read your post?

I also quite clearly stated that your reference to your childhood was only in that post, so I don't see why you feel the need to claim that you don't bang on about it "a whole lot".

I started these comments with the theory that despite all your bravado in your posts, you could not handle being actually challenged, and I feel I have been vindicated. Just in case that's the wrong word, it means I think I was right.

That's it from me; hope you enjoyed Zodiac.

7:30 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

"Maybe I used a word or two incorrectly, but just how exactly does that compare to the essence of what I'm trying to say about your post?'

It doesn't, it never did. Like I said from the outset, I don't mind what you say, just use the right words.

"I started these comments with the theory that despite all your bravado in your posts, you could not handle being actually challenged, and I feel I have been vindicated. Just in case that's the wrong word, it means I think I was right."

Okay, if it mean that much to you, carry on.

11:04 a.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

i've been following the last bit of exchange quietly from the sidelines, but i can't keep it in any longer.

when i read a blog, i do not expect it to be 100% raw truth, every time. in fact, when reading a personal blog, i assume the person will more than likely embellish the facts a bit to make a more interesting story. call it literary freedom. unless the person is promising to tell nothing but the truth, and the whole truth... i see nothing wrong with colorful language to illustrate a particular point.

in fact, fmc never mentions people by name, so for all we know certain examples of people may actually be an amalgamation of personalities from a variety of people.

anyway, that's my 2 cents worth.

10:09 p.m.  
Anonymous Arnie Squashburger said...

A rousing defense of FMC your comment may be, Daisy Mae, but whatever way you dress it up, and even without referring to them by name, I myself would be a little irked if someone I considered a friend, who had listened to me talk about my children and clearly said nothing at the time, then went on to a public blog and complain about my doing so.

Oh, and FMC take note...apparently it's ok to "embellish the facts" so maybe my use of the word "condemn" was ok after all ;-)

1:59 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

I started these comments with the theory that despite all your bravado in your posts, you could not handle being actually challenged, and I feel I have been vindicated

I started reading these comments with the theory that you wouldn't ever shut the fuck up and I feel like I have been vindicated.

2:29 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

Arnie Squashburger is so obviously a troll trying to stir up a bit of aggro. Could it be anything to do with jealousy and the blog awards? Arnie, we all chat about our friends, and analyse our differences in a humorous way.We love them, we hate them, we criticise them etc. It's what all perfectly normal people do. And blogging is a fun way to share our opinions, and if they are slighly embellished, so much the better. The Irish are the world's greatest raconteurs, so fuck off back under your bridge.

3:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Arnie Squashburger said...

Point taken.

Note to self - from now on I must only ever comment if I agree with what someone says in his/her post.

I will shut the fuck up as per instructions, jealous troll that I am, even though I don't qualify for your blog awards.

3:00 p.m.  
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