Sal and I have often talked about hypothetically starting a family… But last week, we found ourselves having serious conversations about when, how, and notably, where we’re going to start a family.
Hint: There’s a fairly decent chance it won’t be in New York.
A few years ago I half-jokingly posted about having baby fever, after visiting with family and friends who had young children. That sentiment has gone into overdrive after 72 hours of being surrounded by our Florida friends and their children, ages ranging from 4 weeks to 7 years. The immediacy of being around a bunch of cute kids isn’t the only factor, though.
First, there’s the very real fact that I’m not gettin’ any younger. With a large age difference between Sal and me, this is a much more real consideration for me than for him. I don’t want to be like the aging father/grandfather on Modern Family, struggling to get out of the lawn chair on the soccer sidelines.
Seriously, though, given the choice I’d rather aim to at least start a family in my thirties. It’s scary to realize that I’m older today than my parents were when I was born… Hell, by the time he was the age that I am now, my father had four children that we know of!
It would also be great to start a family while working for Corporate America in a big company that offers adoption benefits, like my current employer does. (Granted, I may not be employed there after next month, but that’s a whole different story.) With three months of paid adoption leave, and a few thousand dollars of adoption expense reimbursement, it makes sense to leverage these benefits before making any major career moves… like trying my hand at teaching college, which, again, is a different story.
On the other hand, we don’t want to be too hasty. I’m just now finishing up Year One in my Ph.D. program, which means I’ve got another year of classes ahead of me and then my research and dissertation, which could take anywhere from a year to the rest of my life to complete… And trying to be a Ph.D. student while being a full-time employee and starting a family? That’s a bit much, even for me. Which means we’d probably want to wait until I finish the coursework at least, and preferably am getting close to defending my dissertation, before we welcome the new addition. (And that doesn’t even address the possibility of Sal going for his MFA, which could add a couple more years of delay.)
Motivation and timing aside, though, there’s the very real question of how we would acquire a baby. We get asked that question a lot when the subject comes up with family and friends, and there’s no good or confident answer. (More on that, later.) The other big factor is where we would want to start a family: in New York City, or somewhere less expensive and with more of a support network of friends and family? No decisions yet on that one, either, but there are some very appealing options away from New York City that we find ourselves seriously considering now.
Clearly, lots more thinking to be done, which will probably mean several more blog entries on the subject… So stay tuned for more, and please feel free to chime in below in the comments. Especially if you’re up for a hypothetical road trip in (or alongside) a U-Haul.