NAMB: You’re Doing it Wrong

1 Apr

Somebody is doing it wrong.


If you’re a woman in the United States, you know by now that there are many choices available when it comes to structuring your family. But only some of them are right. My gentleman readers (or the younger ladies out there) may not know, however, so let’s talk about the many ways your lifestyle choice can be and probably is wrong.

Single, no children

This is acceptable until the age of 26 and three months. If at that age you don’t at least have a highly likely prospect of marriage you’d better start saving up the pennies you’re obviously working too hard to earn, because you’ll need to purchase a subscription to every dating site on the interwebs. And also plastic surgery because there’s clearly something wrong with you. You could spend your money on world travel, hobbies, or continuing education, but I wouldn’t advise it. Being well rounded isn’t half as valuable as being well off and well married. Which brings me to number two.

Married, no children

So when are you two going to have kids? Well, just don’t wait too long. You should probably have your responses to that tattooed to your forehead to save time. Henna tatooed, because future moms shouldn’t get inked–it might affect their unborn offspring. (Dad-to-be, you can skip the tatt, but do work on getting a promotion/raise at least every 18 months). If you aren’t preggers by your 2.5 year anniversary, clearly there are only two possibilities. First and most likely, fertility probs. If you would like kids one day but don’t have any right now, this is actually the only possibility. As the internet has taught us, fertility drops off at age 27 (hence the deadline in life situation #1). And since men can father children into their sixties, the problem must be with you, ma’am. Sure, you’re in grad school and your husband is job searching. We know postpartum depression and alcoholism runs in your family (don’t even play, I saw Uncle Tommy at y’all’s wedding). But since having a baby trumps all other considerations, we know that can’t be the reason you are still childless, so we’ll just say it: I am so, so sorry you have geriatric ovaries. Actually we won’t say it, we’ll just whisper it after you leave the party early (probably to try to get pregnant). On the upside, if you got married after 27, you can put the money you started saving for eHarmony towards IVF instead.

The second possibility is that you don’t want kids. Don’t worry, you’ll change your mind. How do I know? Because having biological children is the only way to experience a meaningful life and real love, and you want real love, don’t you? Your cat/career/friends/partner/best-selling novel doesn’t count.

Unmarried with children

This one is pretty obvious.

LGBTQ or any letter other than 100% arrow straight, with any kind of family status

See above.

One Child

Congratulations, you’ve achieved motherhood! It looks good on you too. For six months. After that we’re sure you’ll bounce back. So–when do you plan to have the next one? Everyone knows that only children are lonely at best and socially maladjusted at worst, and no matter where they fall on that spectrum guaranteed to be a prime weirdo. I know you’re interested in staying on a career track and that’s good. We ladies can have it all nowadays. But you don’t want to wait too long. Sibling spacing is indeed a heavy consideration, but five years? Your kids won’t be in the same school together. Oh. Ohhhhh….you must be having trouble in your marriage. OK, we won’t ask about it.

P.S. I know this great book about secondary infertility.

Two or Three Children

Since this is the ideal number of kids (three is the new black, you know) we’ll move on to other concerns. By now you probably don’t have any friends that aren’t part of your carpool, so you’ll want to brush up on these important discussion topics:

  • Who is your contractor and are they LEED certified?
  • Charter or private kindergarten?
  • What is the hottest workout, and how to look like you’re actually doing it
  • Is three too young an age to really appreciate a Disney World/European vacation?
  • And of course, who is stepping out on whom (husband or wife, duh, we’re not sexist).

Don’t think too much about things like life purpose and meaning (outside of your kids, obvi). Save that for empty nesting, or even better, your deathbed.

Now that you’re family is complete*, this is the time to consider the rest of your life. The gentle applause for staying at home while your kids were babies subsides once they’re in third, first, and preK respectively. Couponing as a full time gig is so 2011. What’s a lady to do? If you can’t manage leaning back in to a high powered career, there’s always activism/volunteerism. Maybe you should try blogging, that’s easy.

*unless your children are all the same gender. In which case–are you going to try for a girl/boy?

Four or More Children

Wow! You have your hands full. How do you do it? I could never manage that many. At this point your only hope of respectability is to be on the board of a Fortune 100 company or somehow in politics–a Kennedy if you can manage it. Otherwise, how could you be a loving* mother, a master chef, a fun friend, a successful careerwoman, have a home that’s a charming mashup of Pottery Barn and West Elm housing a stellar shoe collection, and be able to double as a Victoria Secret Angel on Halloween and Valentine’s Day? (In other words, the definition of having it all). If you are missing one or more of these elements as a woman with four or more children, you will automatically be labeled a hot mess. #justsayin

*defined as doting, but not helicoptery. You’ll know you’re doing it right if each of your children is well-mannered, high-achieving, and popular. 

The good news is, you should be covered in your old age. With that many kids, the odds are definitely increased that at least one of them will take you in or be able to set you up with a sweet assisted living situation. Of course this also increases your likelihood of having one or more of your children living in your basement as adults. Bottom line: make sure your will is up to date.

So, to recap.

I guess if you are an accomplished 25 year old who is engaged to a charming and successful male with detailed plans to birth one girl and one boy in the [not too] distant future with a rockin’ well-dressed bod and a successful yet flexible career, you are all set. Anything other than that and you’re doing this whole woman thing wrong.

Welcome to the club.

Give a woman in your life a high five for doing it wrong today, and more importantly, give yourself a hug. It’s all good.

P.S. Happy April Fools! Check out links in this article for evidence that contradicts the statement.


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