By Tamsen Fadal
I got married less than a year ago. I was 36 and my husband, Matt Titus was 40. In my eyes, it was the perfect age for me to give up my title as Miss and become a Mrs. As I recall, I had some very fun years, met lots of great people and I am still friends with some of my exes (not a bad deal for someone who dated for over a decade!) There was only one thing that bothered me back then, the questions, that I always got from people about my single status. In fact, I recall spending years answering "the questionnaire" that makes all single women shutter with questions such as "when are you going to get married?" followed by, "don't you want to settle down and be happy." Funny, I always thought I was happy. I enjoyed my "singlehood" status tremendously. I always had great friends, my social calendar wasn't lacking, I hit the gym as often as I wanted to and the fact that I wasn't tied down with any responsibilities allowed me to travel the world as a TV journalist.
Then, I met Matt. He allowed me to be myself. He was supportive, loving, easy to be with and above all, my best friend. We were married last October, and we have had an amazing year as "newlyweds," though, I must say, I don't feel any different (always something that I am asked, which may be another post, stay tuned). I am also happy to report people around me who are married seem much more comfortable about the fact I finally said "I do," and have "settled down with someone who makes me happy." We work together as relationship experts, we are co-authors and play together like kids when we have down time, from traveling to running to just "vegging" out on our beanbags. But, I have now recently discovered, there is a backside to the above "questionnaire" with a whole new set of questions, post the walk down the aisle. If you haven't experienced it yourself, I will give you the scoop, the new questions go something like this: "so when are you going to have kids," and "are you talking children, you are not getting any younger?" Thanks for that reminder. While, my sarcastic side wants to lash out with insulting responses, and ask what business is it of anyone's if I decide to have a baby. I want to say mean things and inquire about their happiness, but instead of hurling out nasty remarks, I simply say, we don't know yet. But, this brings another round of comments and inquisitions, including, "there is nothing like having a child to make you feel like a woman." Funny, I thought I was a woman and I feel pretty womanly. I wear makeup, dresses, love my Manolo's and have an amazing career. Isn't that enough to qualify for girl status nowadays? Apparently not. After thinking I had finally made everyone happy as a married woman, I find out that there's more I need to do to make those around me happy. Ironically, it's not even my family asking these questions. They are not begging me to make them grandparents. Instead, it's people who are friends and even acquaintances inquiring about my fertility status. So, I ask you, To Baby Or Not To Baby, That Is The Question. I am not sure if I want to have children, but isn't that a decision "the inquisition" should know about when I decide? I wonder?
By Matt Titus
Baby? Baby! What? Are you serious? We just got married. In fact, it hasn't even been a year. I have two Chihuahuas, a $3500.00 a month apartment to pay for, a hectic schedule and a beautiful wife who is more intelligent than me (which makes me have to actually think a lot in order to keep her interested.) Now, all of a sudden, everyone wants us to have a child. Great idea. No problem. Hey Tamsen, are you aware that everyone wants us to have a baby and evidently it's also chronologically "the perfect time" so I will meet you in the bedroom in ten.
I'll be honest. I am scared of the being a Dad. First, I am worried it will change the relationship and me. Here are the thoughts that keep replaying themselves in my head over and over again. If I do become a father, will I have turn into one of those "mommy dads" that I see all over the Upper West Side. I see them every Sunday. Perhaps you know them. They are the paunchy guys toting around diaper bags, strollers and have lost all semblance of masculinity. Now before you lash out at me, hear me out. I can eventually see myself chasing my beautiful baby daughter through Central Park on a brisk Saturday afternoon, but the only difference is I haven't gained fifty pounds, Tamsen and I haven't turned into "roommates" yet, and I haven't blown off the gym for three months in order to make weekly play dates. What's the deal here? Why does the addition of a child turn some marriages into a strained friendship? Sorry, I call them as I see them
What I am trying to say, is that I believe the true essence of love and marriage can be lost through the good intentions of each parent sacrificing all of themselves for their children. This all-consuming behavior usually results in the marriage being the ultimate victim. So, my question today: Why does the relationship change so much after a child is born? Isn't the child supposed to be the ultimate product of a loving, caring and beautiful union between two people? In my opinion, biological clocks, family, and friends have no place in the equation of when it's the right time to have a child.
It seems to me that the couples that make the best parents are the most selfish couples. These couples have put themselves, their love and their careers first, so when they start to entertain the idea of a child, they most likely have had personal achievement, career success and relationship fulfillment. They are truly satisfied with themselves and they are truly ready to give 100-percent of themselves to a baby and to each other. They also have mastered balancing their lifestyle and will not allow any part of their lives to be neglected and have a full understanding that without the relationship being first, everything else is meaningless.
But that's my opinion, and I am not yet a parent. I wonder, how do you know the right time?
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