Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I'm glad I did NOT have children earlier

While going on and on about how wonderful my little girl is my mom asked, "Now don't you wish you started having children earlier?" My answer "Not in the slightest"

Which at first glance may sound strange- why wouldn't you want the best thing that ever happened to you to happen sooner than it did?

Because I wouldn't have appreciated it had it come sooner to the degree that I appreciate it now.

I sat next to a man on a plane who's wife after 14 years of marriage decided she didn't want to be married anymore. She felt like she had missed out on life and needed to leave her 3 children, go to bars, travel and 'live life'. Those of us that waited to get married, and have children will never have the 'what if?' thoughts. I never wonder what life is like living on the beach and being completely self centered because I got to live it, and now I know for myself that I have the better part. The biggest benefit from having that selfish lifestyle in my early 20's is that I know it's worthless in my 30's.

Let me put this another way: I worked for Stryker. Stryker is a very reputable company, pharma reps, medical reps, pretty much everyone wants to work for Stryker.
While I was at Stryker I worked with a guy who had a very coveted job- and by sheer luck he got it straight out of college. When I talked to him I could sense that he fully did not appreciate the opportunity presented him. So much so that after having the job for only 6 months he decided to go back to school to get his MBA, because he missed the fun days of college.

Many men with MBAs would have done anything for his job, but because he had not experienced the workforce, because the exceptional job had come too early- he did not appreciate it and threw it away. I've talked to him since and after a number of people he respected in his MBA program told him he was a moron for leaving Stryker, he now deeply regrets his decision- but there's no going back.

I am a better wife and mother because I've experienced 11 years in a singles ward, I've dated hundreds of guys, been to foreign places. I can never take my husband for granted because I still have nightmares about being single.

I stare into my little girl's eyes and there is an appreciation for her that I would not have had at 19, 23 or even 26. The best thing that ever happened to me happened at the ripe age of 32- and I wouldn't have it any other way.

(Dear women who have made different choices than myself, The above post is not an attack on your life choices. The post is not to tell you I'm better than you. This post is not about you- it's about me, because this is my blog. )


Emmy said...

Yep, what is right for each person, espeically when it comes to marriage and kids, is exactly that, right for each person. For me, it was getting married young, then being married for 3 years before having any kids and about to have my third baby before I turn 30. Then in 20 years I will still be young and my kids will be starting their own lives. So to each their own.

Steve said...

I have to agree with you! If I were in my current place five years ago, I probably would have thrown myself into oncoming traffic.

"dated hundreds of guys"! Nice! It's a wonder you DIDN'T have a child sooner, haha.

Christin said...

Thank you for this post. I always cringe when my girlfriends complain about their husbands, and I too feel that when I have my own family I will not take them for granted like I would have years ago. I also think that this part of Mormon culture is ignored. All we hear about are the girls who get married young or the GA's who marry in their 50's. There is an in between but I think that most of them are too busy to write about it.

Will and Natalie Giddens said...

I love this post! I've felt the same way about my own life and how glad I am to have graduated from college and worked for awhile before getting married and having kids. And with my body being the way it is, it looks like I'll have my third and final child by age 30. Seems like the Big Guy really knows what he's doing with my life.

Cheers to you!

Zach said...

This is very well said. I love the way you phrased it, and especially your disclaimer at the end! I agree that multiple viewpoints should be more strongly expressed and encouraged in our subculture. Well done.

Deanne Hill said...

From the girl who did it the "other way": I think you are completely right. Although, I do not regret my husband or children, I do sometimes wonder if I would appreciate it all more if I had seen a little more of the world. But, a time and a season to all things. All my kids will be out of the house by the time I'm 45, and then it will be my turn and I get to bring along the hubby too! :)

Eddie said...

Life is wonderful and hopefully can be lived to its fullest at all ages. I enjoy the way you express yourself. Thanks for sharing.

Alice said...

I had 3 years of college before I got married, and had a lot of fun. Sometimes I miss the freedom, and the excitement of roommates and always having fun things to do.

However, I don't wish I had made different choices. I did what felt right at the time, and don't regret any of it.

I think it's good when we can look back at our choices and be happy with them. Some of them we had a lot of control over, and some not so much. :)

nrthshore said...

"...I've dated hundreds of guys..." okay, how about saying that a bit different? Using words as 'sufficient amount', 'more than enough', 'did my due diligence of', "had a good dating life" , "had my share of fun dating"

married at 30/ first born (Kory) at 32...felt the same about the new phase in my life at that time.

Miggy said...

Interesting. I made the similar choices. Married at 28, first kid at 30, prego with number 2 at 33.

But here's where I differ slightly in my thoughts ... I wouldn't do anything different--Perfect husband, great life and yes I had a tremendous amount of fun and dating in my early 20's. BUT I don't necessarily think I was better off... in some ways I'm glad I dated a lot of guys, in other ways it only made things harder--more heartbreak and even more confusion. Additionally, I have to say when my babe came along I was so stuck in the 'me me me' mindset and was so used to my selfish ways that I think it made the transition into motherhood a little harder, than if I had been prego in my 20's.

Again, I'm not saying I would have done anything differently. In fact, I'll go even further and say I don't think I COULD have done anything differently and be where I am today, which is very, very happy--but I don't think that having my 'selfish' period was necessarily a blessing.

Salt H2O said...

As I said to my 20 year old sister when she told me she was getting married and thought my feelings were going to be hurt (which showed she didn't understand me at all): Everyone has their own plath in life. There's no one right way to live it. The best thing for you would drive me crazy, and visa versa.

Getting married at 20 was perfect for my sister- she didn't have a desire to see Europe, or have a high powered corporate job. She found the perfect guy for her at 20and better yet could appreciate him as the perfect guy for her at 20.

That wasn't me. I needed to live the life I lead to appreciate fully the life I now have.

KJP said...

AMEN! You are such a great writer! Thanks for sharing your insight with all of us! I appreciate you and your example! You will be missed, but I am excited for what lies ahead for you in TEXAS! LOVE ya! :)

mj said...

I agree with you AND Miggy. Got married at 29 and just had my first at 31. I am completely convinced that I could not have snagged a better mate and I love our little girl. Side-note: I still have plenty of unmarried friends in early to mid to late thirties, so I think your perspective is probably influenced by Utah (while mine in influenced by DC)- you're not THAT old. Back to topic: Being a government consultant for the last five years and suddenly being thrust into mommy-land HAS been a difficult transition, though. Would I have been as completely overwhelmed with the amount of work and SELFLESSNESS it takes to care for a newborn if I were straight out of college? Maybe not. Anyway, I am definitely glad for how things worked out as not one of the guys I dated before was as good for me as my husband, but becoming mommy in my thirties is hard.

Cottage Cheese Thighs said...

I got married really young and had three kids by the time I was 30. I dont regret any of it, yes, there are days that I wonder what if...but really, to think about dating again makes my want to vomit. Now I just really look forward to the kids leaving home and using my AARP discounts to travel!

BTW, thanks for stopping by my little ol blog.

Dopp Family said...

Love it!!! I totally agree with you on this post!

Jo's Outlet said...

Salty, Salty! I'm totally with you on this. Although I think my friends were ready to get married early in life, I realize how lucky I am to have had my 10 years out of high school as SINGLE YEARS. When my sister-in-law was visiting with us just a couple years ago, she said to me, "We should go out dancing to a club or something!" I just said, "Uh, yeah. Hmmm..." remembering all the times I'd spent doing just that in the years prior and realizing I'd gotten it all out of my system!
That's hilarious you have bad dreams about being single again! I DO TOO! Of course just because I didn't get married until 28 (which is still young for most people) doesn't mean I married a perfect man, but he's perfect for ME and it was the right time for us. My sister was married to her soulmate/high school sweetheart at 20 (I was 25 at the time, and everyone going through the reception line was asking about MY dating life...Uh, I'm doing just fine, thanks.) She has her kids and her career now as well. But I was holding out until I felt good about whoever it was I was dating. I look back and feel so grateful I didn't settle for any of the guys I dated in the past. They were right for someone else, but my Kris was right for me and we just needed to take our time getting ready to be married to each other.
I had my first baby at 31, and I can't imagine living without our little guy, but I also can't imagine having him any earlier!!! Of course we can't have a huge family because the clock is ticking, but we may have one or two more at the most and call it good. Life worked out for us the way it was supposed to. I have my career and my family, and all my previous single / college / goofing-off experiences that I can look back on and laugh about!

Silvs said...

I meant to comment on this forever ago, but I really appreciated this post, so much so that I've been thinking about it for at least the last week or so since you posted it. I feel like these sentiments are some that I've been coming across or thinking about myself a lot recently, so it was nice to have your perspective on it.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks, and wish you well on your big move.

Lani Wendt Young said...

another great post - love yr writing and insight! "dated hundreds of guys" was my fave bit...only superceded by where your mother gives you suggestions for alternate ways to express aforementioned phrase! lol

ChelMo said...

Perspective is a beautiful thing, isn't it? I got married right in the middle (25), which seemed young after a couple of years in the Berkeley University Ward and the Colonial Ward in DC, old after a couple more years in the Torrey Pines Ward (the real reason, Daniel claims, he was able to convince me to marry him). With an intense toddler at home and a new one on the way, I sometimes yearn for the me-me-me days again. Luckily, I'd done my traveling, gotten my Masters Degree, lived on both coasts, and studied abroad before I got married. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have found the courage to get married. Some people need that sort of thing, some people don't.

And only 18 (25?) more years until the me-me-me days are back!