From keg stands to bottle warming – where has the time gone?

Years ago, I had an epiphany: Not only could I choose not to have children, but I would choose not to have children.

My reasons for not wanting them could be called selfish. I took a look at adults around me that had kids, and those that didn’t – and I decided I liked the lives of those who didn’t have children better than those who did. Instead of PTA meetings, they were going on cruises. Instead of back-to-school clothes shopping, they could afford sexy studio apartments in uptown.

When my niece Mia was born – I felt something I had never felt before – not just love for a child, but a real connection to her. I have felt this with Sadie and Cai too (my other niece, and my nephew). I’ve always liked children, always enjoyed holding babies and playing Barbies (for their benefit! not mine! I promise!) and when Kevin and Jenn went out of town recently and asked me to babysit, I put it on the calendar and looked forward to it for months.

But the feeling of not wanting my own children has not changed. In fact, I feel I have the best of all worlds – I get to come home to my toy-free house, yet two of the children that have my heart live just a few minutes away. I get to pass down the tooth-fairy pillow my grandmother made me to a great child, but I don’t have to worry about which school district I live in (just so happens it’s a great one, and hopefully one day when we sell the house some really great kid will be able to utilize it …)

What has sneaked up on me, however, is how different things can become socially. I see college friends – the girls I used to go to keg parties with and walk home drunk from the bar with and flirt our way out of trouble with the law with – and they are now talking to each other about which diaper brands are best and which children are sleeping through the night and who started crawling today …

And yes, I feel left out. Not in the “I wish I had their lives” way, but in the “I wish they still had mine” nostalgia.

On Halloween, instead of buying a kids’ costume, I’m putting together an adult one. And I’ll be drinking adult beverages at a bar with other childless friends. I’m not going trick-or-treating (although I took my nieces last year and it was one of my favorite times with them, so maybe next year …)

And I know the divide will continue. Of course, I will say many if not most of my friends have somehow managed to find that perfect balance – being moms, and also being friends. I can meet them for coffee and not have the conversation be 90% she’s-pooping-in-the-toilet-now-isn’t-she-great. I can invite a friend out for drinks and have the answer be “let me find a sitter!”

Although there have been friends where the answer to an adults-only invitation was, “Why can’t you host something kid-friendly?” (to which I replied: “You host something kid-friendly, if that’s what you want. I’ll be happy to attend.” And for the record, the invitation was to a bachelorette party – something I rarely think needs to be kid-friendly.)

Most of this post is stemming from the part of me that feels like I sometimes wake up and wonder where the past 31 years have gone. I was reading in a marathon-training book the other day that our bodies have to start battling against a rate of decline at age 31. I read that, and a sob caught in my throat. I am in a rate of decline. Where has my life gone? How could I be past college, past my 20s, and here? I know 30 is the new 20 – and I feel it. I feel it when I go out and I still get carded. I feel it when I don’t feel out of place at a college bar. But my body is fighting a losing battle against time.

And I don’t want to get old. I really, really don’t want to get old.


Writing this, I can’t help but think of a post written by Stephanie. I think about this post when I feel I’m the only one with non-maternal instincts. Read it. It’s good.






9 responses to “From keg stands to bottle warming – where has the time gone?”

  1. Amy Avatar

    I have to be honest and say this is one topic that I feel you and I are most different on. I have a hard time understanding it. But I still respect it. And hopefully I’m one of those with the balance. Because as the divide continues, I still want you as my BFF! We can complain about getting old together because ugh, 31! I don’t want to get old either!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Good morning, Thursday =-.

  2. Melissa Avatar

    You’re the coffee person I was referencing – you have the most balance of pretty much anyone I know in your life – with kids and every other aspect!

  3. Christine Avatar

    I never thought I wanted children till I had mine. I still don’t like other peoples kids. Not really. I cringe a little at the thought of all those screaming kids.So,no I will not babysit for you. Never have. Tho now I can’t imagine my life without my child. I am a better person because of him. I think it is a personal choice and as long as you and your husband are on the same page (I’ve personally seen 2 marriages end on this subject) then you will be that awesome Aunt we all want.

  4. Heather Avatar

    So much of this post rang true with me. It’s not that I dislike kids, but… well, you know how it is.
    I have a couple of friends who I met when they were expecting their first child. It’s really an ideal friendship for me because I get to hang out with one adult or the other, or both, or them with the kids (they now have 2), or one with the kids. They joke that their glad I don’t have any kids of my own because that means there’s no one to compete with their girls for my affection. Those really are the only children I can handle spending long periods of time with, and I really do think of them as if they were my nieces. I love being Auntie Heather, but I really don’t see being “Mom.”
    And if one person says, “you say that now,” I will find you and pop you!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Another Tuesday =-.

  5. Heather Avatar

    …and stupid autocomplete! It made me use the wrong “their” and I didn’t notice until it was submitted.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Another Tuesday =-.

  6. Crystal Avatar

    Wow, yeah I’m about to cry sitting at work. I’m stuck between the “I don’t know when to start” phase, and now I feel like I’m in your phase. At least once a day someone asks me when I am going to have children. It gets annoying, and yes you do feel left out when all of your friends start having babies and then you’re the minority. This means because you do not have kids, you don’t get invited places. It sucks. I like their kids, I can go do things with them and their kids, even though I don’t have my own. Or trying to celebrate your birthday with all your closest friends is like trying to pass something through congress, getting 8 different people on the same schedule with 8 different baby sitters to find. It sucks, but I love traveling. I love picking up and being able to go do what I want, when I want. I love coming home to nothing to do but what I want to do. Taking naps! Sleeping all night. I already take care of Ryan and 3 dogs ;P

  7. Kim Landrum Avatar

    That was me at 31 as well. At 34 something changed instantly — can’t explain it — and by 34.5 I was actively trying to get pregnant. By 35.5 it was done and my life was forever changed by my little man. Aidan is almost 6 and it is a constant challenge (not struggle) to make it all work. Like you I don’t want to give up being “me” and that’s not selfish. Fueling “me” means my son gets a better mom but it has taken me awhile to realize that. Whether you ever decide to pursue parenthood or not you are still a great and wonderful person — and I haven’t even met you yet. The good thing is, you don’t have to decide. Life will present you with its grand plan and you can embrace it whatever it may be. 🙂

  8. Kevin Avatar

    Great post. Being a parent, I can totally understand your point of view, but that does not change mine. I cannot explain it fully, but something about having your own kids is probably like the connection you feel times infinity. It is difficult and frustrating at times and somtimes you just want your life back, but at the end of the day the love you have for them makes it all worth while. And it helps a lot to have a wonderful sister that is kid free and free to babysit a lot! 🙂
    .-= Kevin´s last blog ..marathon training =-.

  9. Tracy Kimball Avatar

    Hey Melissa! Good insight. Although, I have to say that even though I loved my single years, having children has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I loved socializing while i was single, but now I love socializing with my kids and of course, my husband. I do find a balance, though, finding sitters, finding other moms to hang with. No one really understands how much of a triumph and the immense pride you feel at the smallest things – your child finally pooping on the toilet, or eating food they wouldn’t try before, or posting a scribbled mess of a picture on the fridge. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I respect your position, but realize that if you did decide to have kids, you would love it so very much. They grow quickly and then one day you can go on those cruises and live in the big city again. By then you can also love on your grandchildren!