Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jim and Pam and Love and Babies

For those of you who have read this blog for awhile, you know that I have a slightly obsessive love for Jim and Pam, as evidenced here and here. Maybe because they're a lot like L. and me, in the way they/we got together, or maybe just because they're awesome.

Well, except for this season. After the wedding, Jim and Pam lost a little of the magic for me. And it is NOT because I was one of those Office fans who decided to just stop watching after the wedding. But the writers just turned Jim and Pam into bitchy, argumentative, cranky people! Especially when Jim was a co-manager--that, I just couldn't handle. They just got a little less awesome.

Maybe one of the least awesome things they've done is have a baby. I know that so many Office fans will read this, throw their computers across the room, and unsubscribe from my blog. Or maybe just be confused. But try to allow me to explain. They are so young! They didn't have any time to be young and married and in love, and to devote themselves to traveling and home DIY and just generally be awesome before this baby came along.

I mean, babies are kind of cute, I guess. But here's the thing about them. They stick around forever. You know? Clearly that's the thing about babies, but I think it's so obvious that people don't really think about it. When someone has a baby, it's all, oh look, so-and-so had a cute baby. But that baby grows into a kid, which grows into a teenager, which grows into an adult, which gets old. And that's your child, forever. It is the ultimate commitment. And for someone who's always been a little wary of that commitment thing anyway, that's terrifying. You can never change your mind! Talk about scary.

Honestly, the only time I think I'd ever regret not having a baby would be when I started to get on in years, and got lonely or sick, and wanted someone to care for me or keep me company. But being a little lonely in my old age seems to be a fair trade for getting all those glorious young 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s--to do whatever I want with my life. Travel, change careers, go back to school, move around, throw myself into my passions such as preventing animal cruelty, improve my house, write, go out for drinks with friends, splurge on great food, live abroad, follow my whims. That might sound selfish, but I work so hard to make sure I have a good education so that I can have a good life. I've worked this hard ever since I was very young, since I had a bad childhood and basically raised myself from the ages of 7-10. Sometimes people say, "Maybe that's why you don't want to have a child, since your experience with your own parents wasn't great." I don't think that's true at all. My adoptive parents, with whom I've been living since I was 12, are the most incredible people in the world, and I have a tremendous relationship with them. I know how strong that bond can be.

But I don't know. I just don't think I'll regret not having a baby, and I'm terrified I will regret it if I do. Isn't that scary?

PLUS there are so many gross side effects of pregnancy and childbirth that no one ever thinks of/talks about! Did you know most people poop all over the place while they're doing it? So what happens with that? Does everyone in the room just pretend not to notice? Do they change your sheets right away? Do you shower? No one talks about these things! And then there's the placenta...AND, depending on your insurance, just birthing the baby can cost $10,000!

Now, don't get me wrong--I've dreamed of my wedding since I was a little girl, and marrying the perfect man is one of my top priorities in life. I'm not completely anti-marriage, anti-domesticity. I just think having a great career and a great marriage can easily go hand in hand, even if small sacrifices such as letting one person follow his or her dream for a few years and then switching off have to be made. I think where the major sacrifices have to be made is when children come along.

I don't know. Maybe I'll change my mind. But I just have this feeling in my gut. Plus, I'm so awkward around children. I never know what to say or do. I never squeal over them.

If I ever do have children, I can already tell you what they'll look like. Want to meet them? They'll be...

A Black Lab named Jake...

A Goldendoodle named George Eliot (Some of you have seen her before...she is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen!)

A Border Collie named Edie...

A Golden Retriever named Ellie (though she'll have to come long after my beloved Golden Abby, who I can't even think about losing someday)

And a Labradoodle named Teddy, obviousy, because he's such an overstuffed teddy bear.

With all those guys running around, who has time for kids, anyway?


  1. Aw I love dogs! Mr. B and I are thinking about getting another one this summer for his birthday! :) I hope you have a beautiful weekend! I am not a HUGE fan of the office...I don't hate it but I never got into it (please don't hate me now!). But I get what you're saying about it!

  2. Hey Michelle- Kids aren't for everyone, and that's totally fine if you don't think you want to have kids. I know that is a thing people worry about because society expects people (especially married people) to start families. And don't worry if you don't want to do that. But (and you know there is a but!) I just want to point out a few things. You can still have kids and do ALL of those things you listed.
    Travel- you can travel with your family, we did as kids. We didn't have big expensive vacations, but we definitely traveled. A lot!
    change careers, go back to school- My mom got her masters when I was in high school, and both of my parents changed careers at some point after having kids
    move around- lots of families do this (mine didn't)
    throw myself into my passions such as preventing animal cruelty - there is no better way to be a role model for your kid!
    improve my house, write, go out for drinks with friends, splurge on great food, live abroad, follow my whims - you can do all of these! No one says you have to have a life like in the movies. I know plenty of families that have up and moved to Europe, or traded houses with someone in Australia for a year, etc. If you believe in this, you can do it with kids!

    I'm NOT trying to convince you to have kids. Not at all, if you want them you want them, and if you don't, you don't. But I'm just saying, people can certainly have kids and have an awesome life!

    Oh and yeah, pregnancy can be totally gross. But my best friend is pregnant right now and her husband was out of town so I went to her breastfeeding and baby rearing classes with her, and actually- I don't know, it's pretty cool in a lot of ways too :) But definitely gross. I agree!

  3. KA- Ooo, what kind of dog are you thinking! I hope you'll consider rescuing one! Though, of course, to each his and her own =).

    Maureen- You are totally right (as you often are ;)). I guess the corollary to all of those things is that I envision myself doing them...without kids. You know, not have to worry about finding babysitters or screwing them up somehow or moving to be near good schools. I hope I don't sound like a terrible person! Funnily enough, about your point about your friend, I think I'd actually enjoy being pregnant and going through that with my husband and even giving birth (am I crazy?) But after that, I don't know. They just drive me nuts! Perhaps I'll look back on all this in 10 years and laugh.

  4. You don't at all sound like a terrible person! I was just saying that even after I have kids, I definitely plan on living an adventurous life and doing all of the spontaneous things I do now but with them! You're not even close to terrible to want to do those things and not have kids :) I have lots of friends who don't want kids, and that's totally fine :)

  5. I agree-the magic really did leave for Jim and Pam. I'm hoping the writers turn it around for them soon. They were adorable in the beginning, but once the pregnancy happened, Pam turned psycho bitch and Jim got all cranky. And that was before 2am feedings!
    But I do disagree with one thing-they weren't all that young. Pam is in her 30s, and so it really was a good time for them to have kids, at least age wise. Too bad they couldn't enjoy being newlyweds for awhile though.
    I think you've got a good attitude about the whole kid thing. Plus you're 21-you're still out there having fun and enjoying life, AS YOU SHOULD BE!! I lived it up from 19-24. Now I'm a lot more calm, and I can honestly say I'm ready for kids, and I do want them. But I want at least a year as a newlywed with my Match before we have to be selfless for our kid. I think a little us time is important.
    So maybe babies aren't in the stars for you-maybe you'll adopt. Or maybe you'll just be that kick ass Auntie. It doesn't make you a bad person at all for wanting something different. All I know is for me, I didn't really want kids or marriage until I met Match. I think it took finding the right guy before I could picture myself as a wife and a mother.

  6. Is Pam REALLY in her 30s??? I thought she was in her mid-20s! I'm a little sad now, haha!

    Also...I can totally picture myself as a wife. Not liking kids is completely separate from my obsession and love with the domestic sphere (I spend wayyy too much time on home design and wedding blogs!) I've actually always wanted to get married young (okay, "young" meaning 23, 24, not now! God no)and though we have a little ways to go, I know L. would be a great person to spend the rest of my life with, and a great father. That's the kind of sad thing that I'm worried will come up for us in the next couple years, when we've graduated and moved to LA together, as is our plan. Is it wrong to move in and move ahead with someone you know would be a great father, and would love kids, if you feel like there's even a 50% chance you wouldn't? I definitely worry about that sometimes. L. and I have even joked that if we were married and he did end up wanting kids, he could adopt one for himself and it would be "his" kid, haha! (Joking, joking.)

  7. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that Jim and Pam are not the adorable and love-able couple that they once were. I hope the show turns them back into people we love, not the couple that is always complaining about something. It's too real life for me.

    The kid thing is a tough one. I think as long as it's clear that you won't change your mind, it's up to L to decide if he wants to deal with that or not. You should read "Baby Proof" by Emily Giffin. It's an interesting take on a wife who doesn't want kids. Definitely a must read for you!