In case you were wondering, if you Google “What to do with my life,” the sixth entry to come up will be a list of 70 Things to Do Before Having Children as proposed by a couple only known as “Marc and Angel.” Curious to see what I may have missed before giving birth to my daughter, I of course clicked on this link. I have some thoughts in response to Marc and Angel’s list, but seeing as how 70 items is a lot to assess in one post, I thought for today I’d focus on the first ten. So here they are copied verbatim:
- Live in a high rise condo with an amazing view.
- Take a month long vacation on the opposite side of the world in a city with a completely different culture.
- Attend the Super Bowl live.
- Jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
- Make love in places you aren’t supposed to.
- Swim with the sharks.
- Scuba-dive to a large ship wreck.
- Audition to be on TV or in a movie… even if you’re just an extra.
- Throw the house party of all house parties. Supply all the booze and invite everyone you know.
- Take sexy photos of yourself (keep them somewhere safe).
Now dear readers, before I share my comments, I need to remind you that my most devoted reader is my mother, Mary Kay. With that in mind, I’ve intentionally opted to avoid commenting on #5 and #10, cuz really, I just can’t go there knowing she is reading this (hi mom)!
So without further ado, my thoughts:
1. Live in a high rise condo with an amazing view.
I personally have never been one for high rises. I like being able to open my front door and grab the paper while feeling the breeze. I am not a huge fan of heights. And I like a neighborhood feel. But all that aside, why can’t you have a baby in a high rise? Admittedly, carrying a baby and all the associated gear up flights of stairs is less than desirable, but are we to assume that said high rise lacks the modern amenity known as an elevator? Hmmm…
2. Take a month long vacation on the opposite side of the world in a city with a completely different culture.
I did this once in my life. I admit, it was AWESOME. Saw six countries in four weeks with four gals who will forever be part of my innermost circle. BUT I was 22 years old, weeks out of college and unemployed. Since that backpacking excursion of summer 2000, I have (thankfully) been continually employed, but never have I worked anywhere where it would have been encouraged (and probably even permitted) for me to take a month-long vacation. Do many people have this option, childless or otherwise at their place of employment?
3. Attend the Super Bowl live.
I would like to do this. But not with an infant, and probably not with a toddler–that is unless my husband were the MVP of said Super Bowl game, and I was standing next to him while holding our toddler to assist him with the selection of which Caddy he wanted to drive home before filming his “I’m going to Disney World” spot. Even though my husband is very athletic, I think it’s safe to say he won’t be center field with the Super Bowl MVP trophy any time soon. But heck, I’d go to a Super Bowl if the opportunity presented itself. I’d love to take my daughter too if she were a little older to appreciate it. Until then, there is a little something called a babysitter.
4. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
There was a time I wanted to do this. I felt the desire strongest after watching professional skydivers plunge from planes above Lake Michigan during the Chicago Air and Water show circa 2002. But within an hour of witnessing that spectacle, the idea was completely off my radar. And now, I have no real desire to do this, and would have to agree with Marc and Angel, in this one instance, that this is something I wouldn’t want to do as a parent–just not worth the risk.
5. Make love in places you aren’t supposed to.
See above. Just can’t go there.
6. Swim with the sharks.
Never had and suspect never will I have any desire to do this before or after kids. Didn’t “Jaws” and “Open Water” terrify anyone else?
7. Scuba-dive to a large ship wreck.
Again, I ask why can’t you do this if you have kids? Heck, take the kids with you. I’m sure they’d love it. And isn’t this junior wet suit so cute?
8. Audition to be on TV or in a movie… even if you’re just an extra.
In Hollywood, it seems parenthood is the new black. Halle Berry. Julia Roberts. Amy Adams. Maggie Gyllenhaal. Reese Witherspoon. Oh just a few up-and-coming Hollywood starlets who are also moms. Apparently these gals, who happen to know a thing or two about show biz, think the roles of mom and actress need not be mutually exclusive. So perhaps neither should we.
9. Throw the house party of all house parties. Supply all the booze and invite everyone you know.
I once threw a party at my parents’ house when they were out of town. I was 17 years old and made a bad decision. I was so worried the entire time that A.) the police would come B.) someone would steal my mom’s jewelry (turned out they just stole all the wine off the wine rack–yikes!) or C. ) that the house would be trashed, that I didn’t enjoy one minute of the evening. I’m a little older now (and hopefully a little wiser), but I still harbor the worry of both A and C. (I have no jewelry worth stealing so item B is no longer a concern.) Still, I prefer my parties a little more intimate, and I don’t think parenthood has anything to do with it.
10. Take sexy photos of yourself (keep them somewhere safe).
Again, I don’t really want to go here. And if you know me, you know I hate having my picture taken so photos such as these would never be a reality–with child or without!
As I review this top ten list, I am mentally composing a note to Marc and Angel. It goes something like this… “Dear M and A, Thank you for your thoughts on what to do before taking the parenthood plunge. However, I suspect you don’t yet have kids. I fully admit that when you are a parent you’re limited in time and admittedly energy so that many of the things on your list aren’t as easily doable–but you certainly can do them. There are such things as babysitters. And judging by the number of flights I’ve been on in my life where a child (sometimes my own) has been screaming, I can tell you plenty of people are traveling with kids and not just to Disney World…”
I’ve found that having my daughter with us as we take on life’s adventures adds a whole new dimension to our experience, and I mean that in a good way.
So to those of you who, like me, were slightly disheartened to see this list, my advice is to instead make a list of things that having kids enables or encourages you to do (e.g. visit the zoo, go on a hayride, swim with the dolphins, touch a baby piglet). In my experience the list will be many times longer than Marc and Angel’s.