Karli Petrovic, Assistant Editor
The first time I considered that motherhood might not be for me occurred around the time I was 14. I picked up my wailing baby cousin to comfort him. Instead of appreciating my efforts to hoist his 20-odd pounds, he sunk his teeth into my shoulder. With few exceptions since then, children and I have been at odds, and having a few of my own remained out of the question. Upon telling close friends about my then-new job at a parenting publication, the unanimous reaction was: "Wait, really?"
Enter my boyfriend Steve, kid-whisperer extraordinaire. The youngsters adore him. One 3-year-old cousin forgets me entirely to ask if Steve (a.k.a. Blue's Clues—I mean, honestly, she even gave him a nickname!) will be attending the next family function.
Watching him in action, however, often makes me reconsider my no-kids-ever mentality. His effortless interactions ease my what-if anxieties. What if I am awkward? What if my kids hate me? What if I inadvertently raise the next Charlie Sheen? I feel so reassured that I may have even picked out a few names (Madelyn, Olivia, and Miles)...just in case.
And if that time comes, the plan is to adopt. We believe families exist through unconditional love and not necessarily blood relations. Not to mention I don't exactly foresee myself as one of those glowing, radiant pregnant ladies. I will most likely be heinous with uncontrollable cravings for cheese combos and Swedish fish. Steve handles my crazy just fine right now, so why push it? And...I'd get to skip that whole "childbirth thing" and dive into my role as a new mom. Or, perhaps the role Steve envisions: "When we have kids, I'll be 'good cop,' and you will always be 'bad cop.'" Just another thing for our future darlings to look forward to.
Then again, as my colleagues who are moms keep telling me, plans are made to be broken, and those who go into parenthood thinking they know it all are usually the most blindsided. And I must admit, I'm learning an awful lot—about the how-to's, the joys, and the chaos and subsequent striving for balance that seems to be the norm—by interviewing our experts and talking to all the engaged parents who interact with us.
So maybe I'll be better prepared as a parent if/when that day comes. Until then, I'm content to keep learning—and watch in awe as so many of you masterful parents juggle what seems to me, for now, impossible.
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