T: Amazing Husband ST: Three-year-old Wonder Prof. G: Advisor I Prof. C: Advisor II Julie: Stylish Sister Rob: Awesome Brother Belle: Our Cat Bill: Grumbling BIL Rita: Uncomplicated SIL SMU: Smallish Midwestern University Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
Drop Me A Line
academeblog AT gmail.com
Quote of the Day
Monday, January 09, 2006
There was an article in our newspaper yesterday about couples who have chosen to remain childless. The article featured a few couples who had known since they were in college that they didn't want children, as well as a few high school seniors and college freshmen who were sure they didn't want kids, either. The article was careful to point out that all of these people liked children -- they just weren't compelled to have any of their own. Instead of raising children, these people devoted their lives to their careers, their pets, or their hobbies (e.g., one couple enjoyed flying in their spare time, and not having children allows them to get flying hours in when they can, also also allows them to spend money on their airplane and hangar space).
When I was in high school and early into my college career, I was fairly sure that I didn't want children. I couldn't imagine myself as someone's mother and I never had a strong desire to cuddle or hold a baby. I liked elementary school-aged kids because you could actually talk to them and reason with them, but toddlers generally drove me nuts with their incessant whining and questions. It wasn't until I met T that I knew I would have children -- in many respects, he changed my views on a lot of things because, for the first time, I really wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. For the first time, I saw myself as the future co-head of a family. I was excited when I found out I was pregnant with ST back in 2002.
Now it's difficult to imagine life without a child, life without this little being who copies whatever I do and wants to know my reasons for everything. It's difficult to imagine foregoing the late-night cuddles, the soft little kisses on the cheek, the impromtu basement hockey games or the invented "tackle frisbee" games in the backyard. Last night I put ST to bed at around 8:15pm and then came into my office (right across from his room) to read. After about an hour, I went to check on him and he was still awake, lying quietly in his bed with one arm behind his head. "I can't sleep. Let's rock a little," he suggested. I agreed, and I sat down in his rocker while he retrieved his "napping blanket" and clambered onto my lap. I love these times, love these conversations. "Dad never rocks with me," ST said, yawning. When I asked him why, he said "Because Dad's too big. I like that you're little, like me, so we can rock together." I cannot imagine missing out on statements like that.
I don't always love being a mom. Sometimes it's really frustrating and it's far and away the hardest thing I've ever done. Sometimes I get angry at him because I don't get to do all of the things I want to do -- I wanted to bake a loaf of braided challah bread this weekend, for example, but kept being interrupted -- and I get worn down because I don't have a lot of time for myself or time alone with T. T and I get short with ST when he won't leave us alone for a few minutes to talk or cuddle. ST is not good at playing by himself -- he never has been. That's taxing on a parent when there are no other children in the house. And it's emotionally heart-rending when your toddler tells you, "Mom, I'm not your friend today because you won't make me hot chocolate." Sometimes, I can really understand the appeal of child-free living.
At times, T and I feel like we're at a breaking point -- when we have a lot to talk about and no time away from ST to talk about things, and when we're both working insane hours to get things accomplished and don't see each other often, we both start to go a little crazy and get short with each other and with ST. I can feel that we're getting to that point now.
Fortunately, relief is in sight. T has decided that he and I are going to go, alone, to New Town (home of Smallish Midwestern University) in Midwestern State. We're going to find a nice hotel to stay in, have dinners out, take long walks together, and scope out potential neighborhoods. We're going to have fun while my parents are here at our house with ST. T called my Mom last night and hashed out all of the details and surprised me with the mini-trip idea this morning. I cannot wait! We're going to be away the first weekend in February.
We might not have an airplane waiting in the hangar, but it's nice to know that we can take time to get away in our own fashion. Although life with ST is generally fantastic and we couldn't ask for a more wonderful child, a few days to remember what it was like when it was just the two of us is definitely in order.