The Dogged Question

Let me preface this by saying that I love animals and have grown up with a variety of furry friends from pet mice all the way up to my beloved late Appaloosa horse. Children are also acceptable but I am more likely to hang out with your kid if he’s well-behaved. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. I’m not an expert on all these creatures, but time and experience has given me a well-rounded knowledge.

That being said, last week I was dog-sitting for a friend. She’s a tiny black Pomeranian—the dog, not my friend—with a summer haircut the neighborhood kids would definitely make fun of if she were people. The dog has always been overjoyed and clingy with me when I visit my friend so we thought she’d be fine coming to spend a few days with her Aunt ~L~. And she was. I mean, sure she missed her mom, but she mellowed out pretty quickly and was a joy to have. Except for that pesky being-a-dog part.

Does this haircut make my head look huge?
Does this haircut make my head look huge?

Dogs are needy and very reliant on their people. I know this, and yet, I’m still amazed by the level of dependence. Don’t misunderstand me! Dogs are great! They’re fiercely loyal and forgiving and make great friends. But I’m just not the kind of person who likes adding more time consumption to my day. That’s why I have cats. They’re easy because most of the time, they could care less if I exist or not. I could be on fire and they wouldn’t look away from the sliding glass door to the patio.

Having basically a furry, adorable toddler in the house made me think about something that often bothers me, sometimes to an eye roll, sometimes to a teeth grinding anger.
Though I’m not a dog person, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had years of experience with family pets and the pets of friends. The same goes with kids. In fact, I find myself equating having a dog with having a small child, especially if it’s a puppy. And this brings me to my point. Dogs and kids are great, but they’re most likely NOT for me.

I’ll be 34 in August. I married Husband a little over two years ago. When we got together, the obnoxious question on everyone’s lips was: “When are you gonna get married?” Once we were engaged, it evolved into: “Have you picked a date yet?” And once I marched down that aisle and Flashmobbed my reception hall (seriously, we did, and it was AWEsome), the question became down right personal: “When are you going to have kids?”

Since I was probably 11 or 12, I’ve felt like I never wanted to have kids. Until I got married, I was only slightly aware that all of humanity was expecting me to want to. That seems a little messed up to me. First, I find everyone’s preoccupation with both my vagina’s business and my uterus’s functionality kind of disgusting. And it takes a lot to gross me out. Ask *d*. But if you think about someone asking you when you plan to have children, you realize what they’re really asking is: “When will you and your husband be having sex in order to make a baby?” See? I could get far more descriptive, as I’ve thought about this quite a bit, but I won’t. Second, it makes me angry when someone hears my answer: “I don’t want kids,” and insists that I do, in fact want them. That it’ll be different when it’s your own kid. I am under no delusions that it won’t be different. Of course it will. I’m not a mother but I’m also not an IDIOT. What really makes my jaw clench (and causes heavy use of italics in my blogs) is the idea that other people feel like they know what I want and insinuate that they also know my body, mentality, and personal preferences better than I do. STOP. IT.

I know myself very well. That’s the beauty of waiting to get married until after I turned 30. I’ve had those 30 + years to get to know just what I can and can’t stand, what I like to do, and where I want to go. The decision to remain child-free is not something I take lightly. In fact, I still mull it over at least weekly. It’s like I’m checking my stats and seeing if this is the week I will change my mind (SPOILER ALERT: IT ISN’T). But I do think about it. I don’t think about it because I’m hounded by so many people (even those close to me who should know better), but because there is part of me that would like to have someone to teach all the things I’ve learned on this speed-bump riddled road of life. I don’t doubt my capabilities to love unconditionally and sacrifice as a mother should. But I also understand that I like the way my life is and that I am selfish and wish to stay that way. At least when it comes to devoting time to a kid. Hell, I don’t even want a dog. I’m not going to do what everyone expects when I know it’s not right for me.

If my plan changes in the near future (‘cause let’s face it, it would have to happen soon since I ain’t getting’ any younger), it will have nothing to do with the harping and nagging of others who harp and nag even though it’s not their bodies or lives that will be altered.

How offended would you be if you had children and I told you shouldn’t?

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Perspective could save us all…

~L~

It’s Parenting Time!

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Here are a few steps that will prepare you for parenthood. Good luck!

Every time you are headed to the bathroom, make a phone call. Draw out the conversation as long as possible, preferably until the urge has passed.

When you finally make it to the bathroom, set a timer for one minute and make sure you are finished within that minute. (Kids apparently think the world will end if you are in the bathroom any longer.)

After every visit to the restroom, open the door to wipe and flush. As hard as you try, modesty doesn’t last long after the children figure out how to open the door.

Before taking a shower, throw in a few Legos. This exercise will help your feet callous properly before they end up anywhere under foot. It will also prepare you for the toys that will eventually end up in the bathtub.

Much like bathroom time, dinner will also become a blood sport. Learn to eat as much as you can in the shortest amount of time possible. Better still, eat the food cold.

After eating a meal, throw half of what remains directly on the floor or in the trash. Before kids figure out how to eat, the food gets on the floor more than their mouth and once they perfect this, they won’t want to eat.

When changing to a new outfit, find a way to make it dirty. Get used to the idea of food, snot or worse hiding somewhere on your clothes.

When the phone rings, turn up the television or radio louder than necessary. A ringing phone somehow also doubles as the volume on children. Once the phone rings, the volume goes up.

Perfect inefficient multitasking. Parenting demands multitasking but unfortunately, it’s almost impossible. Start practicing now by putting the milk in the cupboard or throw some dirty dishes in the freshly run dishwasher. Yes, these things happen.

Learn to have alone time quickly and be sneaky about it. Try opening the blinds and turn the light on during the deed. If you can perfect this, you may find a couple minutes for each other once you have kids.

Spend a few hours every night talking to a wall. There will be a time when you will wonder if the walls listen better than the kids.

Set your alarm for 3 a.m. every night. Spend the next hour wishing you were asleep. Get used to it as soon as possible. “Psst, you never will.”

Brush up on your math. Kids multiply everything by ten. You will need to be able to translate. They also have no concept of time. Everything will take forever.

Parenting is hard work but so rewarding. Make sure you find time to laugh!

*d*