Published by

The Baby Question

{Me + Leo, my friend’s sweet baby}

This morning, I attended a “Mamas Makin It” panel in Hollywood. It featured women who I admire and who have achieved what I am currently attempting to, and was all about balancing motherhood and career. Although I loved what one of them said, that she doesn’t like the word “balance” because it suggests ballerina-like grace and accomplishing everything, and to her it feels more like a juggling act of just trying to keep all her balls in the air. I do not have a baby and the half-a-bottle of wine I had with dinner last night proves I am not pregnant, and I was worried I’d be the only weirdo at this baby group without… You know… A baby. So, I dragged my friend Ilana, who does have a baby (one of the cutest babies of all time, specifically). I’m super happy she had fun and got something out of it, but if we’re being honest, I was personally dying to go just to see these mythical creatures who somehow have jobs and children. I have neither, and am still exhausted at the end of the day from chasing the former; I was so curious to hear how they “have it all.”

It gave me peace of mind that they all seemed to humbly disagree that they “have it all,” even if it might look like it from the outside looking in on their lives. And all of them have nannies, at least part-time. Just like the rest of us, they found it hard to check everything off their To Do lists (I seriously have such a hard time with this currently, I have no idea how I will manage when Keeping Another Human Alive and Teach Them To Be A Good Person are thrown into the mix). And they unanimously agreed that being a stay at home mom is the hardest job of all.

The Baby Question has been on my mind for a while now. I’d like to preface all of this by saying I LOVE BABIES. I’ve always known I wanted to have kids, but it seemed like something in the very, very, very distant future. But as soon as Tony and I got engaged, people quickly started to skip over “when’s the wedding” and get straight to “when are you having kids?” It terrified me. I wanted to respond, “I’m too young to have kids!” But that’s not the truth (even though in my mind I still look the same as I did when I was 24). Or, “Just let me get through the wedding! I’m too obsessed with the difference between grey and dove grey table linens to worry about creating another human being.” Which was true at the time, but isn’t anymore. The wedding is over, and I have my sanity (mostly) back. Or, “I’M NOT READY! I can barely take care of myself, much less a baby! My career is nowhere near where I want it to be, and I have to establish it before I can even think about having kids!” Which is the absolute truth, for me.

You guys know that I’m a Type A perfectionist. I like to worry about every possible negative outcome and make a plan for how to prevent it before I make a decision (which is why it’s really good that I married an optimistic risk-taker like Tony). And so I never really thought seriously about having kids in the near future, because my life simply isn’t ready for them. I don’t have everything figured out yet, and there are so many things that could happen when we have kids, my brain misfires like those Fembots in Austin Powers anytime I begin to obsess over what could go wrong, what I’d have to give up, how my body will change, how I could fail. (I say “I” because I’ve never once worried whether or not Tony will be a good dad. I know he will be. Currently, he even buys baby food for himself as a snack because it it high in protein, low in bad crap and, apparently, delicious.)

And my career is important to me. Really important. However, it’s not exactly “established” or “remotely financially stable” yet. I chose the most insane, ridiculous career path; there’s very little rhyme or reason to casting, so much is based on what you look like/weigh, how many social media followers you have (please, for the love of EVERYTHING, please follow me) or even whether or not you remind the Powers That Be of that bitch from high school. And on the writing front, I kept writing screenplays that everybody “loved” but didn’t want to buy because they’d already bought something “female,” or because there were no male leads, or because the female characters weren’t “likable” (ie fuckable) enough, or because “there aren’t enough actresses who could play that role. If Melissa McCarthy or Kristen Wiig said no, who would be in it?” A lot of that energy drove me to start this blog… I got so sick of stuffing yet another piece of work into a drawer that I was desperate to find a way for my writing to see the light of day and maybe even entertain people. I love acting and writing, I’ve worked my whole life toward the dream of writing and acting for a living, and a very big part of me is worried that I won’t have the time or energy required to dedicate to rabidly chasing down those jobs. (So, thank you thank you thank you for supporting me. Seriously, please follow me/share this blog. Tell yo mama! Tell yo friends!)

My mom was a stay at home mother, as were most of the moms I knew growing up, and she was amazing. Really, really big shoes to fill. I loved all of the time I had with her, and I worry that I’m too selfish to live up to that. Which is not to judge mothers who work in any way, because I agree with Amy Poehler that woman-on-woman crime needs to stop and we’d all be happier if we just supported each other and knew that everyone is doing what’s best for them and their families, and doing their best in general. But, I didn’t know a lot of moms who worked outside the home when I was a kid, and a lot of the women this morning spoke about that “mommy guilt.” I can’t help but worry I won’t be enough unless I drop everything to be a good mom, or that I’ll always wonder “what if” if I do drop everything to be a mom.

I’m aware all of this is very melodramatic. And immature. Further signs I’m not ready to have kids. Less than two weeks ago, I lit the oven on fire by accident. I consider burritos totally appropriate meals for breakfast, and ice cream totally appropriate for dinner. Whenever Tony and I are watching TV with my parents and a sexy scene comes on, my mom still screams “Cover your eyes!” I’m hoarding clothes from 10 years ago, telling myself they might fit again eventually. I have a serious stray-dog-collecting problem. I still haven’t gotten around to learning how our TV remote works. I’m a monster if I get less than 8 hours of sleep. I eat sushi, wine and/or soft cheese at least once a day… I’m not ready.

But then my friends started having children. BABIES HAVING BABIES! (Only not really, because we’re in our late 20’s/early 30’s and are only half-joking when we talk about Botox now.) Some had fancy job titles and gave them up to be stay at home moms, and others kept their fancy jobs and went back when they were ready. Others are still chasing their dream jobs like me, only they made the leap and decided to just have kids when they wanted to. And then I went for my annual check up after our wedding, and my gynecologist gave me prenatal vitamins as a wedding gift. Everyone else seems to be ready but me.

All of the women in my life – even strangers – seem to echo the same sentiment “You will never be ready. There will never be a perfect time.” THAT SCARES ME SO MUCH. Because then, how do you know when? Some of my friends have said they suddenly felt this switch in their bodies one day, and any time they’d spot an infant on the streets they’d have this primal urge internally screaming “GET ME THAT BABY.” What if I never have that switch go off? What if, by the time it does, I can’t have kids anymore? And I can’t afford IVF because I’m still trying to get this whole acting/writing thing to pan out? (And then my brain misfires like a Fembot.)

I would love to hear where you’re at in your life. If you have kids, how did you decide when the time was right? How do you find balance (or juggle everything)? And if not, what are you waiting for and why?