Tag Archives: Parenting

Let’s Talk About Vasectomies!

October 21, 2014

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Do you want to know what guys love talking about? Vasectomies. Cosmo may think it has something to do with lace underwear, but no. Guys definitely love talking about testicular surgery.

I want to tell you that Austin and I don’t talk about having a third baby every week, but that would be a lie because we talk about it every day. No one wants to talk about it, but out it comes in various forms having to do with things like vacations and private school and most importantly how will we ever have time.

Practically we know it doesn’t really matter. If we have zero or three more kids, we will be fine and happy and make it work. But when two firstborn children marry each other, it is very hard for everyone to just relax.

The conversation often centers around the desire to be more than parents. We find ourselves routinely frustrated over not being able to pursue hobbies because the kids are constantly asking for refills of orange juice. Austin loves babies, but worries the stage of diapers and tantrums will seem unending if we keep the ball rolling. I know how he feels. There are many moments every day when I stop and think, this is all I can sanely handle. This is absolutely it. 

On the other hand, children are heart growers, birth is beautiful, and what about all those instagrams of newborns in sleepsacks?

Pros and cons, pros and cons.

Our plan has always been to wait until Evie is three years old and make a decision from there, but it is hard to push it from my mind. I want to know for sure if these are my last infant years. Will I really only have two little faces in the rear view mirror? Should I be keeping my baby bathtub? What if my robot arm birth control is giving me a disease? IS MY WOMB EMPTY FOREVER.

I have talked about the last baby before. From the beginning I have treasured our daughter like she is the last time I’ll ever kiss a soft baby belly, and yet I can’t help but dream about a Braverman-like crowd at future holiday dinners. I love my kids so much, why wouldn’t I want more? Won’t Waylon and Eva want more siblings? What other kind of humans could we grow!

Of course there are many opinions. Last week I read an article on the top ten reasons why you definitely should have a third child. A few days later, I read another post on why you definitely should not. Both used the word “selfish” and both made it seem like I was only one round of Clomid away from the best or worst decision of my life. It was confusing.

It is human nature to be curious about the what-ifs. I will pray for peace and Xanax. Best case scenario is that I will become more enlightened, or at the very least, more relaxed. We have time. We have two mostly nice kids. Hormonal birth control (probably) won’t kill me. What will be will be.

In the meantime, keep making babies and let me know how it goes.

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Is God In The Basement? (And Other Questions)

October 15, 2014

A few years ago, I wrote a new-mom post worrying about the future spirituality (or lack thereof) of my kids. At the time it seemed important to “take a stance,” because that’s what you do when you have a first baby, but urgency quickly faded to apathy and our little family fell into a blank, agnostic rhythm.

For my husband, this is a non-issue. His emotional ties to a faith community have long been severed and replaced with a cheerful indifference for anything religious. He prefers to think of God as someone who is definitely there, but not necessarily a #blessings genie or someone influencing natural disasters and mono outbreaks.

I was fine with that avenue until our three-year-old son came home from his little Christian pre-school asking, “What is a God? Is he in the basement?”

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Sending our heathen toddler to a Christian preschool wasn’t overly intentional. The price was right, as was the walking distance and small town feel. I thought, “What’s the harm? Jesus is great! Let’s sing some songs!” I knew it would prompt some questions, I just wasn’t prepared for them to be so quick and specific. For example:

– What is a God?
– What is his real name?
– Is God in the basement?
– Does he swim in the ocean?
– Does he eat the fish?
– Are there lots of gods?
– Why is amen before lunch?
– Is heaven inside me too?

I was left stupefied by these questions. My mouth hanging open, faced with my own lack of spiritual depth and understanding.

This may sound like an intro to a fireside testimonial, but I assure you it is not. I’ve written quite a bit about the back and forth struggle of wanting to be part of a faith community while simultaneously being repulsed by the thought of fake smiling through another misogynistic pastor’s description of marriage.

The truth is, I think we were hoping our kids would eventually and semi-romantically “figure it out” themselves. You know, see the world, study some Hebrew, walk through the deserts and eventually land on some kind of educated and liberal sweet spot that allows for a lot of kindness toward mankind. Of course that is very hard to relay to a three-year-old who is wondering if there is a man named God literally hiding in the basement.

I almost didn’t write this post because this is not a “faith blog,” I am not a “faith writer,” and this topic can be polarizing. But from my experience, I am not alone in my struggle to introduce a faith perspective without forcing a religious agenda. Weeks after the initial onslaught of questions, I finally sat down with our son and explained what I knew about God. I said God is love, keeping us safe (I hope), and probably in the basement but not in a scary way. I said if he’s worried or sad or happy or bored, he can talk to God and that’s fine too.

This seemed to temporarily satisfy everyone.

Understandably, there are a lot of folks who would disagree with this approach, and that’s okay. Spirituality is a very personal and complex tomato that tends to bring out our deepest insecurities.

Here’s what I know for sure: God is love. God is light. If there’s anything we cling to, let it be grace. Grace for ourselves, grace for each other, grace for the pharisees crying hate in the name of Jesus because they probably had bad childhoods and anyways we’re just as guilty.

If I teach my children anything about faith, I hope it’s the understanding that we’re all capable of bringing great light and great darkness into this world. And it’s when we choose light that we choose God, and that’s always a good thing.

May we hold each other in the light.

May we try our best.

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