Help me demystify children
July 14, 2010 10:41 AM Subscribe
I need to figure out whether or not I want kids, before I accept my boyfriend's proposal. I think that I don't, but I have almost no experience with them. What are some places that might allow me (a stranger with no babysitting experience) to spend time with young kids, so I can start to make up my mind?
The only friend I have who has children lives on another continent. My own family is small, and everyone is childless. I literally have only spent a total of 15 minutes with any kid under 10, in the last ten years.
Some background: I am 30, living in Los Angeles. I have a great career, but one that would be hard to do if I had children (as I work from home.) I have lived with my boyfriend for several years, and he has been very clear about the fact that he wants us to get married within the next couple years, and that he wants to have kids one day. He is not into the idea of adoption. I have told him I do not want us to get married unless I also know I want kids for sure, lest I doom the marriage. I would happily marry him today, except for this unanswered question.
Things that are holding me back from children:
--The very real possibility of giving up the creative career I love, since I know that I wouldn't be very good at juggling both kids and work. Kids would win every time, and my work would go out the window
--Having to raise the children partially alone, since my family lives elsewhere and my boyfriend travels several days out of each week for work.
--The inability to reverse the decision, once they are born
--The fearful prospect of going from an independent career woman to a stay at home mom, resenting my husband who is off in Vegas for work all weekend while I am overwhelmed by crying kids
--All those studies that say that the majority of people who have children are less happy than they were before they had children
I'm trying to approach this as a research project, to be as thorough as possible. I'm usually a very decisive person, so it befuddles me to not know my own feelings on this matter. Perhaps it's naive, but spending time with kids is the only thing I can think of that might help me make up my mind. I don't want to give up the wonderful relationship I have with my boyfriend unless I really know for sure I don't want children. I need something to help me break this limbo, one way or the other.
Part of me thinks I could do a good job at the mom stuff. And I really love my boyfriend and the life we've made together. But I can't know that I'll be willing to trade what I have now for a life with children unless I spend some time with kids and can make a decision based on (at least a little) experience with them. And of course, how I handle them, react to them, etc.
So while I'm open to any advice you can give on the above statement, my real question is: lacking friends/family with kids, are there any places that would allow someone like me to volunteer to babysit or help out, considering that I have no child-rearing experience? Or are there any other ways I can try and figure this out on my own?