Unsolicited Advice

I hadn’t seen *Joann in years. In fact, I think the last time was when she had either just gotten engaged or married.

And how she was surrounded by four children, two of which were hers.

She looked distracted and explained her youngest was past his nap time. Her husband barely looked at me and both seemed to be waiting for someone/thing.

I made a quick exit and she said in a low tone: “Don’t get married and don’t have kids.”

I laughed a bit and answered “Well, I’m due January 3rd, so…”

“Oh!”, she said surprised “Are you married?”

“No, just a boyfriend.”

“OK, well, just have one then.”

This is the second time someone has uttered those words to me.

The first time came from my mom, who took me out to lunch as a teenager and said the same exact thing, stressing I should live my life and not be tied down. At the time, I was sort of offended. I mean, she was essentially saying she’d wished she hadn’t had me. I was also a teenager and not open to an adult’s advice.

But now that I am an adult with a lot of hindsight, some of it 20/20, I’ve been thinking more about these words of wisdom. I wish I could tell my eighteen yourself not to major in radio, to pay off her $500 credit card in full instead of making minimum payments, to develop a real sense of style, to not waste time on certain people…you get the picture.

So when someone who is married and kids tells me to not do what they have done, it’s hard not to believe them.

I watched the HBO documentary “112 Weddings”, where a documentarian turned wedding videographer decided to follow up with some of the couples he’d shot. None of them seemed particularly happy, most definitely disillusioned. The look in some of their eyes, a sort of defeated, bewildered and overwhelmed gaze, begged the audience to reconsider taking the plunge.

I suppose it’s too late for me now on one of two of those counts, but I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for me and what some of you know that I don’t about motherhood that would make me warn someone else not to do it.



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