My husband and I are arguing at the moment. One of us wants to have a third kid. The other one does not.
At lunch today my friend asks why we didn’t have this conversation before we got married. The problem is that we did. We sat down like two adults with absolutely no effing clue what parenthood and responsibility looked like, with no thoughts of how months of sleep deprivation might impact our marriage and certainly with no idea of what we were getting ourselves into. We looked each other in the eyes, held hands and said, “Let’s have three kids.”
It is easy to look back now and laugh at how naive we were, but I think that a lot of couples face the same dilemma. Dreams shared, plans made and then real life comes along a laughs you right in the face.
1. Write your plan in pencil.
Save your pen for the NYT crossword puzzle, Mr. and Mrs. Fancypants. I don’t care how smart and knowledgeable you are, you do not have any clue what life has in store for you. Turn to your trusty #2 when making plans and keep a well-chewed eraser on hand to make adjustments along the way.
2. Accept that it is okay to take turns
Short of winning the lottery, it’s pretty rare for married couples to get amazing opportunities in the same place at the same time. If you want to get through the challenges of career relocations and parenthood, you’ve got to fall back on the knowledge pounded into you in kindergarten. Take turns sitting on the swing and flying through the air. Realize that the person pushing is just as important and critical as the one feeling the breeze of success. And for god’s sake, let the mofo have a turn already!
3. Go for the kitten and not the kid
Whatever you do, don’t let the blinders of your past force you onto a path that doesn’t fit your new future. Don’t have a kid because you said you would. Don’t buy the house and car if what you crave is adventure.
4. When all else fails, just do something, anything, together
The secret to a strong marriage isn’t to be on the same page. It’s being able to survive the times when life crumples up your plans and finding the courage to write new words upon a blank piece of paper. Two heads are better than one, even if it means you sometimes bump them into one another.
Has anyone else faced the question of a kitten or a kid?