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The upside of being a choice mom

It was Sunday morning, too early to have eyes open, but for whatever reason we woke up together, slowly, dreamily, our bodies close enough that I could feel his morning hard-on.

“Mmm,” I moaned, pushing my butt a little harder into his soft and hard spots.

“Mmm,” he moaned back, as his hands made their way from my hips to my breasts and body parts were being aligned.

And then, a cry.

“Mama! Ma-MAAHHH!”

I shot up out of bed.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to check on the baby.”

“He’s fine. Come back to bed, and let me check on a few of your things …”

“Hold that thought; I’ll be right back,” I said, as
I blew him a kiss. 

By the time I came back, nobody was coming
— the magic moment was gone.

Several years later, and Rob and I divorced.

Coincidence?

Hmm.

Well, there were a few other issues— a lot, actually — besides a series of child-related coitus interruptus “incidents” that led us to split. But I clearly remember those exhausting, stressful Married With Baby days. As T ponders in her post this week, it makes you wonder if
parenting with small kids leads to divorce.

I don’t think so.

If anything, unrealistic expectations, marrying for the wrong reasons and our own emotional baggage from the past probably lead to more divorces than raising a kid does. And we get so disappointed and frustrated with our partners so easily, over little
crap, too, like laundry and loading dishwashers. I mean, c’mon!  But, having children impacts a couple in ways you can’t possibly anticipate,
no matter how many stories you hear, books you read or experts you follow.

Until you’re in the trenches, you really have no idea what having kids is all about. And at that point, well, your options are pretty limited, and so like most good soldiers, you just keep trudging along, hoping your “battle” strategy works.

That’s if you even have a strategy. But since 47 percent of parents say pregnancy “just happened,” it seems that there are a lot of new parents who don’t have a game plan. “Just happened” isn’t a strategy that’s going to hold up in the heat of marital-parenting battle. especially since almost every couple feels stressed, conflicted and unhappy the first year or two after a baby is born.

Can that be avoided?

Yeah — if you’re a choice mother.

Not that I’m suggesting you become one.

I can understand the incredible sadness a woman might feel if she hasn’t met The One before her biological clock goes on the fritz. Still, I just can’t even imagine having a baby on my own when it’s so hard when there are two of you!

But it does have an upside.

Many choice moms love not having a partner around — they can do things their way and not have to deal with anyone else’s issues other than their own and their kid’s. You can always send your kid to his room and take away his Xbox when he misbehaves; can’t do that if you’re pissed at your hubby.

So maybe it makes sense to have a baby on your own; you avoid experiencing that post-baby stress and unhappiness with your partner and you can do the laundry and load the dishwasher whatever damn way you want! Have the baby first, and just have a guy show up later — when you’re happier, healthier and ready to have sex again.

Well, that’s what Lori “Marry Him” Gottlieb did — you can ask her how well it’s going …

Not every man wants to raise someone else’s kids.

Plus, men develop a Daddy Brain, kicked in by a pregnant woman’s hormones. By keeping dads out of the equation, we moms might be messing up a man’s capacity to fully love his kids — or someone else’s. And dads and kids both end up losers.

Am I happy now? Yep.

Do I love having a kid? Yep.

Was being Married With Baby hard? Yep.

Would I rather have stayed as an intact couple if we could have worked out our crap? Yep — parenting solo is harder.

What about you?

Photo © Delli-Pizzi- Fotolia.com

Bring on the comments

  1. Steve says:

    I never heard of the term “choice mom” before reading this article. Interesting! Thanks Kat :).

    If a woman can’t find a man she can cooperate with in a marriage, is she really unselfish enough to be a mother or ready to get along with a little, demanding and dependent human being?

    There are almost 7 billion people on Earth ( http://tinyurl.com/currentpopulation ) with the threat of the population going as high as 11 billion people by 2050 ( http://tinyurl.com/futurepopulation ).

    Nobody is doing the world a favor by consciously deciding to have children in less than optimal circumstances.

    No offense intended.
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Lost got lost. =-.

  2. Don says:

    Yes, I would definitely have preferred staying in my marriage and raising my kids…it took me almost 10 years to figure that out. I missed alot of good times and loving from not always being with my children. However, it was a decision that was made and one that cannot be taken back. I try and be happy each day and not reflect too much on my past mistakes. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the right woman to share my wonderful children with. I know that whoever I find…I will love her children like one of my own. Children are all so very special and each one has much to teach us adults…

  3. Jenni
    Twitter: msjennixo
    says:

    Would I rather have stayed married? Yes.

    Am I disappointed that I’m now a single parent? No.

    The problems in my marriage had NOTHING to do with the kids. Probably because my ex pretty much let me do all the parenting, and was for the most part just a babysitter while I was at work. I set the rules. I bought the clothes. I stocked up the food with what I wanted my family to be eating. I took the kids to the doctors. It was ME being Mommy, and him not doing all that much.

    Our fights were about only one of us playing grown up. While I miss being married, and having not only a husband but best friend, I do NOT miss also having to sometimes treat him like he was a third child.. a teenage child: “Why are you home two hours late? Why didn’t I hear from you most of the night? Why did you have to get so drunk and THEN drive home? Did you do any drugs tonight?”

    Us splitting up was the best thing. I feel like I’m a much better mother to my girls, without the stress of my ex-husband.

    Do I think being a “choice-mom” is smart? These days, definitely not! The economy sucks. Why would you bring a kid into the world on your own, when there’s always the chance of getting into serious financial trouble these days? To me, anyone who made that choice didn’t consider EVERYTHING. Finances, today’s economy, dating, etc.
    .-= Jenni´s last blog ..It’s In The Genes =-.

  4. T
    Twitter: tsquest
    says:

    I’m with you on so much of this. Parenting solo is hard. I also have a few friends who are looking into the choice mom route. I don’t know… I’m not sure I could have done that.

    Then again, I made no plans to be a single mom either and I’m doing just fine. :)

    Thanks for the linky love.
    .-= T´s last blog ..Skeletons =-.

  5. KC says:

    I loved being a single parent! I didn’t have to share custody. I didn’t have to battle with the EX about about how to raise kids and I didn’t have to undo all the spoiling that went on while they were with their mother. Yes,it was hard but something I wouldn’t give up at any cost. It also made me GROW UP. Having to take care of someone else and having them depend on you… I’d say the saved my life!! Besides.. I LOVE being a dad!
    .-= KC´s last blog ..Still Shaking =-.

  6. Kat Wilder says:

    #choice moms might be the smartest parents of all, you think? http://tinyurl.com/2uk398x

  7. katwilder says:

    #choice moms might be the smartest parents of all, you think? http://tinyurl.com/2uk398x

  8. Kat Wilder says:

    Are #choice mom's messing up men's brains? http://tinyurl.com/2uk398x

  9. Kat Wilder says:

    Steve — You may not have heard of “choice” mom because I’m assuming you’re not a 30-something single woman ;-)

    Selfish is a loaded term because anyone who has a kid is selfish — babies don;t demand to be born; we have them because we want them, not need them. The human race needs babies, but not so many of them.

    Still, it is easier to get your way with a kid than an adult. Hmm, maybe that’s why men love younger women?

    Don — that is the hard part, time away from our kids (although, that can be nice, too — we all need a break from each other). And as much as you might love another woman’s kids as your own, they’d have to like you, too. That’s a tough one sometimes …

    Jenni — Semms like you married a “teen,” one who liked to push the boundaries! But, how can you say this The problems in my marriage had NOTHING to do with the kids. and follow it with this: It was ME being Mommy, and him not doing all that much.

    Uh, isn’t that kid-related? We marry hoping to have an “equal” partner, however we define equal (and for some, it just might mean he goes to work everyday to support the family and she stays home with the kids, supporting the family that way); if we don’t agree on what that equal looks like — TROUBLE!

    T — Always happy to share the love. Thanks for inspiring me. Becoming a single parent through divorce is very different than choosing to have a baby on your own. Can’t compare.

    I love parenting my kid regardless; I’m just acknowledging that it is soooo much easier when there are two of you making it work as a united front. I have no regrets and I’m doing fine, too (however, I do believe I have a responsibility to keep some shrink in business someday; I’m sure The Kid will have his thoughts about things).

    KC — That’s nice to hear. You would have grown up whether you were single parenting or not — having a kid does that to a person. Although …

  10. BigLittleWolf
    Twitter: BigLittleWolf
    says:

    Babies and little kids are hard on marriage. Very hard. Less so if you have help – family, or friends, or paid help to give you a bit of couple time.

    I had babies after marriage, and planned. What I didn’t plan on was a husband who seemed to like the idea of parenthood (and marriage?) better than the realities and responsibilities. And you can’t ever tell about that until you’re living it.

    Do I have regrets? Some. But not about my two great kids – and the combination of parents who produced them.

    Still – parenting solo is more like “double decade interruptus,” not just coitus interruptus. Unless you’ve got the bucks to buy yourself considerable assistance.
    .-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog ..How to engage with an older woman (and not piss her off) =-.

  11. Kat Wilder says:

    BLW — Gee, I had a hubby who liked the concept of children — and marriage — better than the reality, too. Must be more than a few of them around ….

  12. Steve says:

    Selfish is a loaded term because anyone who has a kid is selfish — babies don;t demand to be born; we have them because we want them, not need them.

    Completely and totally agreed.

    Still, it is easier to get your way with a kid than an adult. Hmm, maybe that’s why men love younger women?

    Maybe, but the currently overused buzz term seems to be “Cougar”. Some of those women who I have met ( some of whom also seemed to be on the track towards being “choice moms” ) seemed to be the kind of people who have a hard time not having their 100% of the time and who like to spin it as being “independent”
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Death =-.

  13. Steve says:

    Philosopher Peter Singer, who has a talent for talking to ordinary people well, just wrote an interesting editorial in The New York Times about the philosophy of deciding whether or not to have a child :

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/should-this-be-the-last-generation/
    Steve´s last blog post ..Vegan trumps CRON?