I'm 24, a year after graduation I'm still in the town where I went to university. I'm living with my partner Jake who has a five-year-old son. Jake and I are very happy together and I've become good friends with the mother of his son, Kaitlyn. We all get along really well now, life is easy, drama-free and steadily improving. The problem is, Kaitlyn, Jake and I are all really keen on adding to our crazy little family by me having a baby. I would love to do that, but on the other hand, I have family, friends and a small part of me shouting NO!!!! You're too young! Go travel the world!
How do I reconcile what I want to do RIGHT NOW, what I think I should do to avoid having regrets later and what everyone else wants me to do?
posted by mangoprawn to Human Relations (60 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is the third sort of life-drama question I've posted on here. The plot thickens... so much has changed over the last year, but I'm still stuck in a rut!
At the time of my last post, my partner Jake was being stopped from seeing his son Finn by the kid's mother, Kaitlyn. She hated us, wouldn't speak to us at all and Jake was in a really bad place for that year. I was doubting everything at the time. I don't know, if you want more context you might want to read that post.
But anyway, things have become even more complicated. In February Jake and I moved into a really lovely new apartment that we both are very happy in. Finn has his own room and he loves spending time here. After the court order, Jake started seeing Finn progressively more often, and over time we've now got to the point where Finn sleeps over here every other weekend. We all absolutely love it, we have so much fun together and it's always been totally unproblematic. Now that I've seen Jake be a dad I really respect his parenting skills, I'd never actually seen him parent when I wrote my last question! He's a wonderful parent. Finn is five years old now and we get on really, really well too.
Now here's the shocker – I made friends with Kaitlyn. We're really good friends now in fact. So basically the crux of my last question has been answered, but it opens up a whole new series of questions. Kaitlyn and I both apologised to each other honestly and thoroughly about our past behaviour, and once we were past that, we just became friends and we're both so happy about it. She says I'm great with Finn, she even says Jake is a good dad! She has no problem with us at all any more and even admits there was really no good reason why she stopped Jake from seeing Finn and that she regrets her mistake and has learned from it. We're such good friends that we meet up just to chat about our lives in general, it's not just because we have to, we actually turned out to really like each other. It's crazy, but it's made me so, so, so happy and relieved over the last few months.
The thing is though, Kaitlyn is really keen on me marrying Jake and us having babies as soon as possible, since she has two kids already and loooves babies and wants more more more. This hits me really hard because I've been broody for ages and I want to have kids with Jake, and I want to give Finn another sibling. But oh my god, if I make that decision: I make that decision. I have an IUD, there are no accidents. If I want to do this, I have to want it 100%, and I never want anything 100%, I'm notoriously indecisive. And this advice is coming from a girl who, love her to bits, but she never went to uni, she had a kid at 16 and then another at 21.... is she just a bad influence maybe?!?! On the other hand I was so touched when she said she would help me through the pregnancy and she would love to raise kids with me. That idea just seems so lovely to me, kind of like having a sister. And it's support that I would definitely need if I wanted to have children, because my parents live in a different country and I'm self-employed and can't afford to take time off work to have kids, although I work from home. She said she'd take care of the baby whenever I need her to, babies are her raison d'etre anyway. I think that's really sweet of her.
As for the job situation, I've now set up my own translating business and am doing so much better than last year! I've already earned twice as much this year as I did through the entirety of last year, because I have a nice calm home, no stress, no drama, a wonderful supportive partner who basically handles the rest of my life while I work my butt off.
Jake got a job last year in October and quit this year in March because it was commission based and he was making so little money he could hardly cover his travel costs. Ever since then he's really tried his best to get another job, but the situation with employment in the UK at the moment is terrible, as you may be aware of. He's trying to do several self-employed, freelance type ventures now, as well as continuing to work on his music career. He's an amazing musician, he's prolific, his music gets played all over the world and he has a decent following, he may be on the verge of a breakthrough, but you never know. Again, with music it's not really a reliable business to be in. But what is these days. He has a kickstarter – ha. But basically, we're doing okay, we don't have a lot of extra money but we're getting by, we're better off than our friends and if James got a job or made some money out of his music career we'd be doing really well.
We don't know if we still want to get married though. My family doesn't seem too keen on the idea either. Personally, as always, I have no idea what I want. I wouldn't mind either way. Which is not the best attitude when you're trying to plan your life. I'd rather have babies than get married. That of course would horrify my family. I just know I'd like to stay with Jake, but am I settling?
I want to stay with Jake, I do. I love him, and ever since things have been okay with Kaitlyn we haven't argued or had any problems at all. We're just happy with each other! If I could just get pregnant by accident and be tied to this place, I'd be happy, I'd make the most out of it and I'd still love life some days and hate life other days. But there are no accidents, I have a huge choice of things to do, so it's impossible for me to decide! I've been trying to live by that quote “The grass is greener where you water it” and it's been working well for me, I've made so many improvements and advances in my life. It's just this pressure to travel everywhere and do everything, and that I'll be a loser with regrets forever if I don't! Sure, I'll probably never have my dream life if I decide to stay here, but then again who ever achieves their perfect life they envision in their dreams?!
I feel like I'm so influenced by what everyone else expects of me and I never really think about what I actually want. But to be honest, I've always had pretty humble ambitions for myself, if I ever even had any. All I ever wanted was to have a family and a nice garden and lots of friends. I can do that in the UK. On the other hand I always saw myself settling somewhere with a hotter climate, but I've even never been outside of Europe and the USA. I think to myself “Omg, I should move to Costa Rica” but I have no clue, no idea at all of what being in these places I imagine is actually like.
Jake has absolutely no problem with me travelling for extended amounts of time. I know that's easier said than done, but at least he wouldn't stand in my way. So the preliminary plan at the moment is: 2015 & 2016 – travel as much as I can. 2017 & 2018 – get married and breed. Although I'm really broody now * sigh * and I'm obviously terrible at planning and saving for travel, I've never even travelled really. Sometimes I wish I were with someone who provides me with more opportunities for travelling but hey, you can't expect to get EVERYTHING from a person. Jake is like 90% perfect, is it not really ridiculous to go 'shop around' for someone better?!
Basically what I'm saying is, I've been working hard on the situation and in many ways I've really overcome the problems I had in the last question. Still, I'm living in this town I'm not really excited about at all, I could go anywhere in the world and still do the job I do, am I a fool if I choose to stay here?!
On my last question pretty much everyone was saying I should just get out and leave as fast as I can. I would've, but where?! How do I know that if I go somewhere else I won't just have the same problems? It's like everyone everywhere wants to get out of where they are. People from all over the world come to migrate to the UK, yet I convince myself when I'm depressed that it's a shitty place to live and I will have failed at life if I stay here. My family and friends from back home all think I'm settling for something and I'm meant for bigger things, but that's just so ridiculous to me! What do people want me to do?! Marry a millionaire, run for president, travel the world, I don't know! I could move anywhere in the world, where the hell do I go? It's always been my dream to move to California (lived in Santa Cruz for a while before) and live my life there. But let's be realistic, if I moved to like the Bay Area, I could just about afford to live in a studio, or go back to shared housing, so would my quality of life actually improve? I'd just be starting from square 1 again (albeit in a much more beautiful, exciting place).. would I be giving up too much?
In a way, I have everything, a great partner, good relationships to his existing family, he wants to start a family with me, I want to start a family with him, heck we would even get married if everyone insists.. isn't that what everyone is looking for? Wouldn't other people love to have what I have? Am I a fool if I give up what I have or am I a fool if I don't go looking for something even better?
(I am aware how much this all reeks of middle-class-ness and privilege... most people don't even get half the choices I do, but sorry, I just don't know what to do!!!)