• Tue, Jan 14 - 2:00 pm ET

10 Things I Must Do Before Opting To Get Knocked Up

things i want to doGirls grow up believing that one day they will be a mother. At least I did, anyway.

From the earliest of ages, we are cultured to be nurturing: pacifying baby dolls, cuddling stuffed animals and empathizing with Disney characters. Although, I actually was always the anomaly. As a self-proclaimed tomboy, I was much more inclined to save the worms from melting into the boiling cement, feed the starving ants that frequented my closet and create grass mansions for the roly-poly’s in my bug catcher. Still, I was mothering in my own neurotic, clumsy, backwards way.

The games we play that are rooted in our childhood, like “house” and “wedding” promote the assigned gender roles that adulthood suggests. Like, that motherhood also implies marriage: first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage, right? Apparently not. According to a YouGov survey, more than three quarters of women, aged 18-34, would consider having a baby before tying the knot. Surprising, huh?

Admittedly, I like this statistic. It’s unconventional and I appreciate the idea of redefining the modern woman; rewriting the happily-ever-after generic romance tale. And yet, I can’t help but wonder…am I Carrie Bradshaw? Do I apply to this perspective?

Nope.

Mostly because my version is cut slightly short and I just don’t know if, after marriage, I see kids in my future. Is that just like, totally against the rules of feminism, Gretchen Wieners?
As a child, I never envisioned my wedding day. In fact, the prospect of people staring at me while I walked down a long aisle to kiss a man gave me extreme anxiety. Instead, my dreams typically consisted of glazed doughnuts, climbing trees and chocolate milk.

It’s not that I don’t love kids because I do. And whenever I visit my “niece” (my best friends daughter) I picture myself with my own. But, sometimes I get irritated taking my sisters dog out for a walk at six am; I already have a love-hate relationship with my body, and there are so many things I’d like to accomplish before I get pregnant. It just doesn’t seem plausible.

Hence, commence the list of things I want to do before (if ever) starting a family*:

1. The relentless quest for hardcore abs. I just want to know how they feel…

2. Complete my “to-travel-to” list, which is quite extensive. Because I’m dreading the day I’ll be the culprit of the crying baby in 12B.

3. Career woman. Considering I’m still an intern, I’ve got a ways to go. (Only up, though, right?)

4. Spend an entire day in bed. This entails: watching Netflix marathons with (red) wine, (chocolate chip) cookie dough and (all my) best friends. Although this also translates to every single Sunday, I’m just not ready to compromise these moments of comatose, wherein calories don’t exist and the only form of physical activity is paper-scissors-rocks-ing whoever has to buzz in the Seamless delivery guy.

5. Own a pet. It’s like having a kid…I’ve heard? And by pet I obviously mean a Golden Retriever, whom I’ve prematurely named Penny. Fish, birds, rabbits, and all forms of rodents just don’t count in this endeavor.

6. Sex. Have lots of it.

7. Roots. New York City is my 13th move in 25 years. I’m a total nomad, peripatetic itinerant, sufferer of wanderlust, with an extreme fear of boredom, repetition, and an addict to change. I’d like to establish roots and retire my wings (ah, is that possible?) before reproducing.

8.Spend too much money on impractical things. Glamorous, but completely frivolous purchases like lingerie, pinball machines, appetizers, Louboutin heels–now is the time!

9. Hair. Learn how to do it. My poor Barbie’s were subjected to Salon de Lindsey, which consisted of far too much chopping, beaver bangs, and an inability to curl, french braid and/or style to any capacity.

10. Cookies. Ah, finally, an admission: my perpetual life goal is to create the world’s best chocolate chip cookie. Obviously this pursuit requires experimenting, taste tasting and sampling of various brands (Hershey’s semi sweet is my favorite, thus far, sorry Ghiradelli fans). This time consuming, delicious dream is ostensibly unremitting and takes precedence over having babies, clearly.

*Note: This list is conditional of an imaginary man who wants to marry me, as sperm and an engagement ring are also pretty pertinent and currently nonexistent to beginning the fam.

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  • Kaitlin Reilly

    If you ever need a taste tester for #10, I’m basically addicted to cookies.
    I love this list! I’m not sure if I ever want children, either, and it’s glad to know that I’m not totally insane.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      seriously? so cool to hear a similar perspective…I thought I was the only one! haha

  • Anne Marie Hawkins

    #7: please please please don’t use the g-word. As a woman of Roma heritage I cringe every time I see it used as a stand-in for “person who moves frequently.”

    • Lindsey Conklin

      really? Ive always associated myself this way–I am super sorry though if its offensive. I really don’t mean negative connotations. i truly have no home, thats what i meant by it.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      removed :)

    • Anne Marie Hawkins

      Thank you!

    • Winston

      what the heck was the word..you totally gypped everyone

    • Gloria

      Give me a break.

    • Anne Marie Hawkins

      Sure, as soon as I get my break from the casual use of a racial slur that references hundreds of years of discrimination with occasional bouts of genocide.

  • elle

    As a woman with a son (whom I love) I advise you to please do ALL these things before you have a baby!

  • MerlePerle

    I got knocked up at 22. now I’m travelling the world and learning to do little girl’s hair. You din’t need to be completely ready to have a child, just completely willing!

    • Lindsey Conklin

      that’s absolutely true, too!

  • Kate

    Ugh. I was excited to read this list, but find it pretty shallow. I mean, rock hard abs and spend money on Louboutin? What about getting to know yourself, deepening your relationships, get an advanced degree? Maybe I’m taking this too personally?

    • Kaitlin Reilly

      I think that a lot of these are supposed to be the things that you might not be able to have time for when you have a kid, or things that become less of a priority. You can definitely get to know yourself after you have children because it’s a lifelong process, whereas you might not care very much about (or have the time for) working out to get crazy abs once you have kids because your time is spent in other ways. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to spend your money on frivolous things when you’re young, as long as you are reasonably responsible most of the time and can afford your necessities first.

      As for an advanced degree, I don’t think that everyone needs to pursue one. While I loved my undergraduate experience and would love to deepen my knowledge on some of topics I’ve learned about, I know it’s not very practical for me, personally — my time would be better used gaining experience in my field. Obviously this isn’t everyone’s path, but there are a lot of people I’ve met in school who want to go to grad school just to go to grad school (and end up in major debt without any idea as to what they really want to do after school).
      Then again, plenty of my friends pursue it because they are really fascinated with what they are studying and want to become experts in their field. It’s a great path but not for everyone.

  • Jennifer Dziura

    Wait, can’t you do #4 anytime? I might also add 1) mega-savings or some kind of passive income from your career, and 2) get your name on something lasting (like a book, or found a conference or something) so your professional reputation continues even if your personal productivity declines for a spell. And maybe a master’s, or taking random classes just for the hell of it.

    I don’t have a problem with the rock-hard abs. They just don’t go well with the cookies. Now that you mention it, I’m glad I’ve had rock-hard abs.

  • Cris

    Hey, I’m a nomad too, but in my travels I met enough hippie Moms who still do/have all of those ten things you mention. Who says you can’t still have it all after you have kids? A supportive partner is a plus, of course… makes it all way easier.

  • LynnKell

    I’d add having home decorations incompatible with kids. Have all kinds of breakable/funky/pretty/porcelain/suede/white stuff around the house.

    Also, attending all kind of shows or places where kids are not allowed or not exactly welcomed. You can get a nanny or someone to baby sit, but it isn’t always an option.

  • Natalie

    For chocolate chip cookies, my mom and I like to chop up the random bars of various sweetness/cocoa % that people give us for holidays and stuff. This includes Easter bunnies and sometimes flavored chocolate. It uses that all up and the cookies turn out insanely, insanely, insanely good. We also melt our butter all the way before mixing it.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      oh so interesting. I will definitely try the random bars. And melting the better all the way before mixing doesnt result in uber flat cookies?? ahh! love these tips…thank you :)