In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should know…
17. How you feel about having kids.
They sure aren’t making the second half of The List easy, huh? No softballs in sight, where I can say “Well, of course I know that!”
Stylist and entrepreneur Rachel Zoe writes this week’s reflection, providing her perspective as someone who became a first-time mom at age 38. She and her husband, Rodger, had been together for 20 years — always knowing they wanted kids, but never necessarily slowing down to do anything about it.
She was, admittedly, quite lucky to become pregnant on their first try. And despite having such luck, Zoe urges women who know they want to have kids: “Don’t wait! I missed the window of being a young mom, and I’m super envious of my friends who had kids earlier than I did, because they can take their time and choose to have another child (or several!) if they want.”
This is where Zoe lost me a little bit. She’s making two assumptions here — first, that women who know they want children have the means, e.g., the partner and finances, in order to do so. And second, that they’ll be able to have as many children as they desire. While that sounds like a lovely landscape to live in, it just isn’t reality.
Plenty of women wish to have children, but want to be married and have a house before that. Or have prioritized their career, much like Zoe did, and want to be on more secure financial footing before bringing children into the world. Others still have fertility issues, complications and a whole host of other reasons why they’re not able to just close their eyes and wish for a child to appear, no problem.
Stepping off my proverbial soapbox, I also struggled to make sense of Zoe’s final point. She concludes by saying “there are many paths to motherhood… adopting, finding a surrogate… or being the best aunt ever. The point is that the path is in your hands.”
She’s urged us to not wait, but shouldn’t we be a bit more careful with such life-changing decisions? Perhaps this is the 29-year-old single girl in me shouting, but I don’t take the topic of motherhood lightly. Although I’m someone who takes forever to commit to a rug, I do believe bringing life into the world is not something to be rushed. There are many paths, but that doesn’t mean you have to sprint down any one of them before 30.
I can say with near certainty that my perspective on this would be markedly different if I were a woman who knew her own stance on motherhood. I’m not convinced I want children, but I don’t want biology or anything else keeping me from that option. I’ve thought about what paths I may take in the future, but I’m not rushing toward any of them when I know I’m not ready to be responsible for another life at this stage of my own.
For now, I’ll stick to being the best aunt ever. It’s fulfilling enough without having society shouting in my ear about what I should do. As I don’t have a 20-year partner to mull this over with, I think my current decision is just fine. And if I’m feeling particularly stumped, there’s a wikiHow article for that. Bonus: This blog post by Gloria Bowman eloquently emphasizes the plight of women without children. Please enjoy.
I’d like to thank all of you who took the time to read about Duane and Deirdre’s story last week, offered help and spread the word. I know there are countless stories like theirs, so it means all that much more to me that you contributed to their cause.
- Mom Hears Deceased Son’s Heartbeat: If you haven’t seen this story yet, grab some tissues. Heather Clark’s 3-year-old son died tragically in 2013 and his organs were donated to help other children. The recipient of his heart, 4-year-old Jordan Drake, recently met Heather and gave her the most precious gift: a listen to her son’s heartbeat. If that doesn’t pull at your own heartstrings, I don’t know what will.
- Super Bowl L: Um, hello. This is Planet Earth. Have you heard? The 50th Super Bowl is Sunday, coming at you from none other than San Fran-freaking-cisco. The city is abuzz with excitement as an estimated 1 million visitors flock to the Bay Area. I’ll be enjoying the game from a friend’s place, but if you’re braving the events, may the odds be ever in your favor.
- Puppy Bowl: With every Super Bowl the last 12 years comes the furry frenzy that is Puppy Bowl! My team plans to stop by the Puppy Bowl Café (terrible name, btw) to see the players in action. And, Uber was sending puppies to various locations nationwide — if you were lucky enough to snag a spot. Let the cuteness overload begin!
- “I’m So Excited” – The Pointer Sisters: Some big changes are coming to the Wittyburg world, and while I can’t share specifics just yet, I can say that I’m so excited! Cue this song and, naturally, the “Saved by the Bell” gif we’ve all grown to love. Stay tuned… and in the meantime, enjoy the totally rad ‘80s montage.
I’m back in the SF Bay Area, despite Snowstorm Jonas’s best attempts to keep me grounded in Florida. And this week, I can’t seem to focus on much else besides a friend’s heartbreaking story to bring home her adopted brother.
Please, take a few minutes to read about the plight to #BringDuaneHome. Share it with your networks, say a prayer, reach out to local news or national hosts — anything you think could help to heal their pain.
I know this is one of countless cases where our government agencies fail, and I know it won’t be the last. But whatever can be done to bring justice to Duane and Deirdre’s family is one small step toward the society these children deserve.
I’ve refrained from commenting publicly about last week’s Paris attacks, in large part because I am speechless. The resulting debates about terrorism, gun control and refugees are sickening, to say the least.
Here’s hoping these bring a little comfort and solace to your day.
- Only Love Can Protect Paris: This now-viral video of a little boy and his father will bring happy tears to your eyes. Watch as he tries to process the magnitude of the attacks — and then, comes to the realization that flowers and candles can protect one’s heart.
- How to Process Grief: “Not knowing how to deal with grief is a common problem for humanity,” this article begins. Taken from an elderly man’s perspective, this is absolutely one of the best explanations of the grieving process I’ve seen. If nothing else, it humanizes and normalizes how we all cope with loss.
- USF Wins Big: On the lighter side of things, my alma mater had an incredible win last Saturday, making us bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010. Taking down a ranked team and securing our spot in a bowl? I’m not mad about it.
- “Stitches” – Shawn Mendes: I’ve been toe tapping along to this song for quite some time. Mendes’s voice reminds me of a hybrid between Justin Timberlake and Adam Levine… it sounds funky, but trust me, it’s all good. Plus, he’s adorable!
Maybe it’s the influx of new parents on my FB stalker feed. Maybe it’s missing my niece something fierce. Maybe it’s just that I have finally found a soft spot for (some) children.
Whatever the reason, here are some little nugs keeping me entertained this week:
- Allison: I’ve been obsessed with my niece for almost a year now — ask any of my friends — but I’m going through serious withdrawals lately. Just look at that faaaace. Do you wanna see 500 more photos? Inquire within.
- The “Apparently Kid”: This viral video features a young gingery boy who has the vernacular of an old-timer. His explanation of riding the super slide is to die for!
- Baby Cries Until You Let Her Rage to Katy Perry: My dear friend shared this video, because it reminded him of Allison. It’s reassuring to know I’ll be a great babysitter if it just takes pop music to make her happy.
- “Dark Horse” – Katy Perry: Well, obviously. I enjoyed the song (quietly) for some time, but I guess I can now make my obsession public. If it means it’ll stop a baby’s wailing, I’m all about it, KP.