My Facebook News Feed is constantly filled with envy-inducing pictures and videos of smiling toddlers, so combating baby fever as a recently married 25-year-old woman is pretty damn hard some days.
But here’s the thing: It’s impossible to see the literal blood, sweat and tears that go into raising a child from this side of the screen. (We don’t talk about bad things on Facebook, remember?)
So, it took a couple of visits from real, live families with young children for me to realize that I simply am not ready to do all the things a parent has to do. Visiting with my eldest brother’s family of four right before spending a day with my best friend’s family of four was an eye-opening experience to say the least.
For example, when my nephew clearly needed his nose blown for the sake of everything clean and sacred in my 1,000-square-foot apartment, I grabbed a tissue as fast as humanly possible. I then halted as I stood in front of him, completely helpless, when it hit me: I have no clue how to blow a 3-year-old’s nose.
And if that kid would have been my own, I wouldn’t have had a fearless snot-warrior of a sister-in-law to hand that tissue off to, with a horrified look on my face. It would have just been me and those boogers.
That was the first sign.
For those of you who, like me, aren’t yet trained in the art of cleaning up another human’s bodily fluids, here are five more signs that, no, you are not ready for kids:
1. You’re infatuated with baby clothes more than any real-life baby.
Before my brother came to visit, I was totally in it for the tiny Converse.
It took about two hours of having a 3- and a 5-year-old in my home to realize that no shoe, no matter how cute, is enough justification for creating a baby human.
2. You care about what other people think of you.
Parents face judgment absolutely everywhere they go, and just about anytime they do anything at all.
Too much screen time, too many GMOs, MSGs or whatever other three-letter acronym the world finally discovered we shouldn’t be consuming, and you’ll be in serious sh*t with the Mommy blogger club, as well as your overly-caring family members and friends.
Being a parent means having a thick skin and being able to make decisions without worrying about what anyone wants or needs, except for you and your family. That’s not an easy task.
3. You have, and like having, nice things.
Goodbye, light-colored anything. Hello, plastic dishes and meals made of boxed noodles and butter.
Your oh-so-precious car will become an action figure graveyard littered with Skittles, M&Ms and that one thing from the kitchen you’ve been looking for for about six months now. Your clothes will forever bear the battle wounds of meals past.
One thing I learned from my recent stay with the fam(s) is that if you’re not ready to ditch any and all material items you hold valuable for the sake of procreating, just say no.
4. You also like eating in peace.
Yeah, you’re not ready.
Come back when you can handle receiving your plate at a restaurant, and not touching it for 20 minutes because you're trying to convince a screaming 2-year-old to eat his chicken nuggets.
5. You greatly value time to yourself.
Because when you live with children, the only time you have to yourself is in the shower. Consider it “spa day.”
Personally, I still consider vegging out for at least five to seven (okay, 10) hours a week a complete necessity, so it might take a year (or five) before I’m ready.
And sure, maybe that sounds sort of selfish, but isn’t being able to admit you’re not ready for kids quite selfless?