Travel the world or have a child, or both?

Old Jul 10th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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Ok, my two cents. My husband and I married in your twenties. I thought children were smelly and nasty and why would anyone want to do that to themselves. This was my pat answer to everyone, and EVERYONE seemed to ask when we were going to have children, and it was nearly true. I loved being free and easy, no hard fast schedules. We were married 13 years when I started thinking of the future and children and I knew I probably needed to make a decision one way or another. We had worked hard for our income, moved into a new home we loved and were still (to this very day) madly in love with each other. I did some really hard soul searching about children. I didn't want to wake up one morning when I was 49 years old and regret that I didn't make this choice. And I was lucky, I had a choice. Many women of my mother's generation didn't. I took it seriously, got past the selfish thoughts of my live, time and money not being spent on ME entirely. It took weeks of self discovery and thought and I prayed for the right decision. At 36, I gave birth to a beautiful daughter on my birthday.
Today, my daughter is 14 and I'm 50 and I have to tell you that I made the right decision. Do you lose sleep? Yes and lots of it. Do you worry more. Oh yes. Does your life change? Yes and Yes and Yes. After 13 years of being a couple, we were now three and it took us nearly a year to become that three some. But I don't regret a second of it. I'm a traveler at heart anyway, being an Army brat and my parents moved us from coast to coast, through Europe and the Far East and back again. Traveling is in my blood!
We traveled before the child and we travel now. We took our daughter to Yellowstone when she was three, then at five. We've hit the road every summer, going from coast to coast. This Spring Break my daughter and I (just the girls) went to Washington DC and then a side trip on the way home to Chicago to American Girl Place. Next year, it's upstate New York and down the coast for holiday. We are putting together a trip to New Zealand. My daughter talks of where she wants to take her children in the future.
Just be prepared and be informed. Children add so much to your life. Take them with you. Then take a little trip without the kids with that wondeful husband. Life is what you make of it. Enjoy!
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Old Jul 11th, 2006, 05:06 AM
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"You cannot choose your child's personality." I believe this has been found inscribed in fine print on the Rosetta Stone.

"You CAN take a kid to Europe" . . .

but you can't make him enjoy it! We had one who didn't enjoy a trip at all until afterwards, when we heard her describing it to her friends as a great experience. I realized then that she was just so out of her comfort zone on that trip and worried about her international competition coming up (the reason why we were there) that she was unable to relax and enjoy it until the comp. was over.

There's no hard and fast answer to this question, as the wealth of replies and breadth of content attests. But these replies also give wonderful examples of people from many countries, backgrounds, family sizes and travel habits that prove that ANY situation can be adapted to travel!
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Old Jul 11th, 2006, 06:22 AM
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I'm a single mother with three kids, ages 8, 6, and 15 months.

I'm going on my second international trip this year. Travel plans are modified slightly, but yes, I don't see my having children as a deterrent to travel. Mind you, most of my travel is to visit family (I am an expat Aussie living in the US), but even when we go home or go to Ireland, we still fit in time to do new and fun things.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 05:10 PM
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My husband and I are both British and have lived here for over 20 years and now have 3 american girls, 18,15,13. we have ALWAYS travelled with them, it does help if you have good sleepers, I had two out of three. I have sat in a toilet on a plane trying to contain an 18 month toddler and travelled with three kids under the age of 6, by myself, but its all part of the adventure because I love to travel. wE also had a babysitter EVERY year so we could travel by is much easier to do this when they are younger.
I do feel that if you have to ask strangers perhaps you are not ready for kids.
my life would be empty if I didnt have my girls, no amount of travelling could make up for the loss....that's not to say that living with three teenage girls is bliss...ask my husband!!
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 10:20 AM
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Wow! What a great thread! As a new mom (2 yr old) and contemplating our first trip cross country with child in tow, a huge thank you to all who gave advice and tips. What none of us can tell travel_adict though, is that you really cannot put into words the overwhelming love and joy that a child brings into your life. Yes, having a child is a wild ride but I think the majority of us parents cannot imagine life without our children. My life previous was wonderfully selfish and indulgent. I am glad I had that time, but at 36 now, I look back and it was quite shallow and devoid of true meaning. BUT I very much respect the people who make the choice not to have kids. We don't need more unwanted children in daycare--its not fair to them.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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ChristineAnn, please be aware that many children who are in daycare are very much wanted and loved. I know you probably didn't mean it like that but casual comments such as yours just demean working parents.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Oh there was much to be offended about in ChristineAnn's post. I do have children, but to think of life without children as selfish, shallow, & devoid of true meaning is pretty judgmental of those who do not have them. I know others on this thread have said similar things, but let's not forget that people derive meaning in their life from many different things, not just children.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Making the decision to have children or not is a personal one - and not for anyone to judge. Not every female wants children and that doesn't mean they are selfish or indulgent, just that they choose not to have children. And there are children in day care who are very wanted, very loved and have a wonderful life.

Many things said on this thread remind me of an interview I onced saw with Betty Friedan and she basically said - oh my, some women just got the whole women's lib movement all wrong - it wasn't to pit one woman against another - it wasn't to say you had to have a career or not - or children or not - or be a stay at home mom or not - it was all about choices and woman having the opportunity to choose whatever choice worked for them and having the opportunity to make that choice come true - and for women to support other women in whatever those choices were.

Travel or have a child - you can do both or not, and like other things in life , traveling with a child is not better or worse just different depending on who we are talking about and what they are like. Anyone should know having a child means your life changes, just like many other choices change your life - search your mind, heart, read, research and make the decision that works for you. THAT is what anyone should applaud - making good choices that work for you and hoping they bring you happiness whatever they are.

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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 12:32 PM
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Beautifully said, as usual, escargot.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Thank you escargot and Suki for your thoughts. My life certainly had true meaning before I had a child.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 01:36 PM
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In defense of ChristineAnn, I think she used the words "MY LIFE" in reference to her belief that HER life before her child was selfish and indulgent, not every child-free person's life.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 02:21 PM
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I do apologize to any and all I offended! Yes, I was speaking of my own life. When I look back, the travel, dinners out, expensive weekends away, etc, just now seem to pale in comparison to raising my child. Those times were wonderful for a time but just not "fulfilling" to me personally. Too much "me" if you know what I mean! Any career aspirations I had pre-baby also ended up on the back-burner--there was no way I could leave my beautiful new baby for someone else to raise (or possibly harm)! As for the the daycare comment..while it may be offensive--it is something that women need to get educated about *before* having kids on a number of levels. DH and I make the sacrifices for me to stay home. This means less travel; less material possessions. I have friends that long to stay home but simply can't afford it or are staying in their careers because they can't imagine life without "mental stimulation." I simply don't think it's fair to the children on a number of levels, particularly health-wise and nurturing. I looked back and read that travel_addict would like to homeschool, so it is currently not an issue for her. I appreciate your comments, as I am sure she does as well. Clearly these are topics we all feel passionate about!
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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Hi ChristineAnn,

Did you happen to catch the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development study that was published recently that concluded that putting kids in child care per se did not have a determinal effect? You can find mention of this study at their website or at the American Psychological Association site. It basically said that kids in stimulating daycare scored as well cognitively and in language as kids that have home care. They also said that the mother-child relationship depended most on the QUALITY of the daycare.

If couples in California waited until they could afford a kid on one income, babies wouldn't be born here. Even renting a crappy house, it is tough to make it on one salary alone, if you make average salaries here.

So, what is less fair, to have a child that you love and nurture and put in daycare because you have to work, or telling a couple that they should consider not having kids because they don't make enough money?

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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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Thank you, escargot, for the Parisian sewer tour tip.
It might be a great place to get away from the heat in Paris... we'll be there next week and I'll be opting for the Louvre but will probably be outvoted by curious kids in favor of the sewers!

Apologies to OP for the brief hijacking of this thread

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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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Christine Ann,

I don't think you are intending to be offensive, but your use of quotes and comments do come across that way.

You said the following: I have friends that long to stay home but simply can't afford it or are staying in their careers because they can't imagine life without "mental stimulation."

First, should one really have a kid if they cannot afford it? I think it's commendable for someone to assess their financial circumstances, and realize that they may not be able to afford it, or at least, in the present tense.

You also said something that kills me and probably many other professional women. You said that you have friends that don't have children because they can't imagine their life without the "mental stimulation" that their job brings them. Is the idea of "mental stimulation" so trivial and insignificant that it shouldn't be a consideration? Your posts make you come across very sexist.

Like another poster wisely said, the point of the women's movement was to give women CHOICES without judgment. You clearly judge people who 1) put their kids in daycare; 2) decide to focus on their career rather than procreating; and 3) are financially responsible and determine that they simply cannot afford to have kids.

Just because you made certain choices, e.g., to have kids and stay at home, does not mean that people that make different choices are less than you.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Christine Ann is taking sides in the Mommy Wars. I have never understood that. I have seen all sorts of families and you can't tell by looking at how the kids turn out which ones had Moms who worked outside the home and which ones didn't. She's new at this and will probably figure it out one day.
I remember one couple that was so sure their first child's "perfection" was due to Mom being home. They used to brag about their excellent parenting choices. They shut up when number two came along as he was a perfect handful!
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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I also love this idea that everything must be about the child. Heaven forbid the mom want to do something for herself, like work because she needs mental stimulation. Personally, I think that that would make for some spoiled "I am the center of the universe" kids.
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