On Children: An Alternative

Do you ever get that feeling? That blustering loneliness in your soul? Do you have thoughts like "maybe I'd like some company...that's adorable and overly dependent and loves me despite my flaws"(and is not a clingy significant other - those are the worst) or "weren't cave people having children in their teens?" Let's face it. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, maternal & paternal instincts bubble up in us, even when we're trying to fight them off like one might run from a swarm of bees or a deadly fire...but, probably, with less screaming.

I mean, I suppose it's hormones.

(I apologize in advance for those who aren't even considering marriage at this point, let alone babies. You may still be dating or trying to find "the one"...or, perhaps, you're just out to have a good time. If that's the case, enjoy! Life's too short, so if you're out and about, embrace it and date with reckless abandon - i said date...which doesn't automatically mean bed...listen to me, sounding like a mom. Psh.)

So, yes, I've found a soft spot recently for little girls wearing nautical dresses and little boys dressed up like Max from Where the Wild Things Are. (Yes, I'm referring to Axel's halloween costume!) All this time I was pretty sure my biological clock was either digital (so silent!) or broken...but, lo and behold, children (which, for a while - I'll admit - irritated me if they weren't anything less than angelic) suddenly stirred something in my icy, lump-of-coal heart.

I hear it all the time. "Oh, you're never really ready to have a child. It just happens."

...but here's the thing...I know I'm not ready for a child. Husband Charles (I think I'll officially start referring to him as that)...Husband Charles has also made it clear that he's not ready for children. You're talking to a newly married couple who enjoys video games, takeout food, each others' company (both in silence & with tons of chatter) and works more hours than most humans should ever have to. Sometimes, we'll binge on popcorn & ritz crackers and sit on the couch for unhealthy lengths of time.

In short, we're adult children in an uncomfortable number of ways.

And that's why I'm here to advertise the most amazing thing to save you from what you're not ready for. The question is: What do I do if I'm not ready for kids?

This is Mr. pride & joy. He has his mother's scrappiness & his father's eyes.

And, of course, if you want to take it down a notch with the responsibility, then consider finding yourself a little kitten. (Litter boxes are easier to deal with than walks...and weekend vacations are easier to schedule.)

Ahhh, a little one to call your very own. I got Mr. Merlin less than a month after moving to Los Angeles and it may have been one of the smartest things I've ever done. I picked him up at the Pasadena Humane Society roughly a year before my uterus began giving me any figurative nudges (the only kinds of nudges a uterus can give...unless your uterus has which case you have more pressing matters to attend to.) In the interim, I was able to raise a pretty swell pup who does your standard tricks, likes to jam himself between Husband Charles & I in the middle of the night, gives me a triumphant welcome home, is a great lap warmer, and knows how to melt my heart.

He doesn't whine about toys he can't get (though he makes the most adorably sad sounds at our feet when we're eating dinner), he doesn't talk back, he's resilient, doesn't need clothing (though he looks great in a sweater and his office bowtie is a hit), and is just enough practice for responsibility and discipline that any couple needs before even thinking about venturing into the world of childrearing.

Still not convinced? Ok, here...

Anything? What, are you soulless?! Here, try these on for size!

If you didn't feel any stirring in your heart looking at these photos, maybe you aren't meant to have a pup or a kitty. Maybe you should invest in a few small houseplants and call it a day...and that's fine too.

What I'm trying to say is this: you don't need to have children immediately if you don't want to. You have the right to build a life of your very own before bringing mini versions of yourself into the world. It's totally ok. You aren't being selfish. You're being responsible by knowing where you stand. Don't let anyone pressure you. It's your decision.

In the meantime, there are other things that need love out there too. Mr. Merlin was a rescue, found on the street to fend for himself. There are millions of animals out there who need homes. Now, I'm not gonna get all Sarah McLachlan/SPCA on you (have you seen those commercials?), but...ya know...I'm just sayin'...

So, if you're feeling like your relationship with your houseplant is moving too slowly (I've found they're usually pretty aloof & emotionally unavailable), but you're just not ready to bring forth a new generation, then consider animal ownership. You'll be rewarded with unconditional love and good practice for when you are ready to pop a few out or adopt.

And to all my friends with babies, major props to you. I don't know how you do it, but you do it well. I have a feeling you'll be getting lots of panicked calls from me when the time comes.

As it stands, Mr. Merlin is all I need...though maybe he needs a brother. (And so begins my long, arduous journey down the road to Crazy Dog Lady Town.)

Did you enjoy all the gratuitous doggy photos?! For more Mr. Merlin (because I'm pretty sure any Internet fame I will ever get is all thanks to him), search #MrMerlin on Instagram!


  1. Puppies > Children! Kids are great, but I'd rather be the cool aunt that hangs out with them and gets them cool presents. My baby Rory is quite a handful, but I don't ever have to worry about the day he says, "I HATE YOU" because I didn't give him that chicken treat he wanted so badly. And your baby Mr. Merlin is ADORABLE. :D

    <3, Nina

    1. Nina, you win for most amazing comment. Ha!
      When you bring in the greater-than & less-than business, I know it's legit.

      I'm totally that aunt right now and I'm pleased as punch with that. My sister has three kids and guess who's giving them cool gifts? (I'm pointing to myself right now.)

      I totally know what you mean about the whole "I hate you" thing...don't think I could handle that.
      May as well save myself the heartache...My uterus can wait.

      Yay for Rory! Yay for Merlin! Puppies 4 lyfe.
      Hope you're well!