Thursday, August 21, 2008

Advice from Me ... You SURE You Want IT?

OK, this is just wrong. You definitely DON'T want to tell family members you are writing an advice column when you start writing an advice column because then this might happen: You get a letter from one person who you suspect MIGHT be your brother, and you answer it. Later, you discover it WAS your brother who wrote the letter.

And about a week later, you get another interesting letter and you respond to it, not thinking anything of it, just responding as truthfully as you feel you can, and then you discover it is from the WIFE OF YOUR BROTHER (AKA YOUR SISTER IN LAW!) WHO WROTE THE ORIGINAL LETTER and YOU HAVE JUST GIVEN THEM COMPLETELY OPPOSITE ADVICE!

Here are the letters --

Should I throw in the towel now?

Manic Mommy
Dad or Not?
Dear Manic Mommy: WHEN SHOULD WE START? I am just around the corner from turning 30 and my wife is too. We have recently talked about starting a family. We actually have some names picked out. Sometimes we both like the idea and other times we can't imagine having kids. I talk to my siblings and they make it sound like a pain in the A** (up all night, no sleep, no social life, etc). But then I think about my family and my parent's age. My parents are almost 70 and the thought of not having them around for much longer scares me. Recently my father had an accident and I was not sure if he would make it. I see how much enjoyment my parents get when they hang out with us, maybe because I am their favorite child. I wonder if I will have that much fun when I am their age. So I guess the question is what is the right age to start a family so you can a) Still have a fun younger lifestyle or b) Have longer moments with your kids? Just looking for some help!

Thanks, DAD OR NOT

P.S. Do many men write you for help?

Manic Mommy: Dear Dad or Not, first of all, is this my brother asking this question? It sure sounds like it could be, but my baby brother would have made a bunch of typos AND he is clearly NOT my parents' favorite child.

Regardless, it's so cool to have my first ever question from a man, but I'm not so sure you're ready for the answer I'm going to give you, which is this:


Do not even second-guess yourselves...start working on that family now. Like, grab your wife NOW and start doing it! (Okay, you can finish reading this first I guess.)
As a parent, you can still have a lot of fun! Mr. Manic and I have a blast together, with and without the kids (maybe that's how we ended up with 3 in less than 4 years!). I'll tell you the truth, the first few years are hard, really hard. And sleepless nights, dirty diapers and mixing bottles suck, but the rewards of a baby are so worth it. They truly are!

So, don't put off what you know you eventually want, especially when there are no guarantees on when you'll get pregnant. Have fun with it, don't stress out. And don't forget to send me a birth announcement when it's time to share the great news!

Just Another Manic Mommy
Feeling the Pressure to Procreate
Dear Manic Mommy: I have been married for over two years and my husband and mom are pressuring me to have children. I personally have not been "bitten" by the pregnancy bug and cannot foresee it in the next three to four years. Everyone around me is claiming that will be too old to start. What is your advice? Should we start because of some fake time clock or should we wait till I feel the urge? Will I ever feel the urge?

Sincerely, Feeling the Pressure

Manic Mommy: Dear Feeling the Pressure, this one has me in a quandary, because if you read a recent question I answered titled Dad or Not, I urged the writer to start his family immediately. (As a side note, to which I really was not sure when I answered that question, Dad or Not was none other than my own brother, looking for advice! We'll see if he fires up a little niece or nephew for me any time soon!)

One very important detail you left out is your age. Let's pretend you are 24 or younger. Then my answer (and this is based on my own personal feelings as a mom and a woman - and reading between the lines of your question) would be to definitely wait. In my opinion, you still have some time. You've only been married two years; you and your husband should enjoy your time together.

On the flip side, let's pretend you are on the verge of 30. I would still say to not rush into it. While the answer to Dad or Not was definitely start trying for a family, I sense you are really not ready. Dad or Not, aka MY BROTHER, mentioned he and his wife have been discussing the possibility of a family together, and have had conversations about baby names. In your letter, I see no interest on your part to have a baby. And hello! You are the one who will be carrying this child for nine months. You will be experiencing all the symptoms. You need to feel at least a little bit excited about wanting to start your family.

After my husband and I had been married for a few years, he was ready to start our family well before I was. I just wasn't bitten either. And there's nothing wrong with that! You may feel a change in the future, and I hope you will be open to the possibility of a family someday. But for now, please do not get pregnant only because you are feeling the pressure from other people.

So, have a legitimate parenting or pregnancy question that won't stump me? Ask it here on Betty!


My Two Army Brats said...

I thought both of your replies were appropriate considering the questions asked in each regardless of who wrote the question. From now on let's pretend all the people asking questions are your siblings it could lead to tons of fun for all!

Maybe your brother could get pregnant instead of his wife. That might make it all easier in the decision making process for them!

B. said...

Oh, boy! I hope your brother and his wife are finding humor in this!

shopgirl said...

Oy Vey! Your situation is a tricky one - but I think both of your responses were good. And hey, they're the ones that called in for 'advice' right? Maybe your responses with get them to talk more openly to each other about their decision that lies ahead. And good for you for telling your sis in law to wait if she doesn't have the "pregnancy bug" yet. As a mid 30's girl who also hasn't been bitten, it's a relief NOT to hear someone say: "tick tock" you don't have that much time left. Well, maybe it just won't happen for me - or maybe I'll be like my mom and have a child in my 40's. Good for you for you for being such a great sis-in-law!!

Anonymous said...

I call foul. Also, they posed the questions in different ways. Dad said he thought they wanted kids but heard they were hard.

"Mom" said she isn't sure she wants kids and should she cave in to pressure.

Anyway, you're right.

Michelle said...

Oh Manic... I'm still laughing. That is something that would totally happen to me. Then I'd be sitting there thinking..."Well,
that's what I get, I guess" LOL
Just laugh and keep trying!

Unknown said...

I'm with the first responder. I think you did an excellent job answering both questions with the information you had to go on, and I probably would have said basically the same thing to both of those people!

Does little brother know his wife isn't ready?

Trish Ryan said...

You rock. Great advice, thoughtful, and totally helpful. And it stands up to scrutiny even though it turns out you're related to the letter writers.

I'd say this is a're our generation's Dear Abby :)

Unknown said...

I think you answered them both honestly and I hope they both find humor in it!!

BTW, I gave you an award on my last post. Put it on your blog and nominate 7 more.

Anonymous said...

I think you gave good advice to both, given what you "knew" at the time.
As an added note, I think that each and every child should be WANTED! WANTED!! WANTED!!! And LOVED before being born. So your advice to wait was right on!

Kate said...

Excellent advice for both! Dad or Not and Mrs. Dad or Not sound like they're both thinking about it, whether or not they're ready yet. Feeling the Pressure to Procreate doesn't seem called to do it now. I thought your advice was perfect.

Fran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

Ahhh, I love family. See, this is why you just don't tell them anything, right? Yeah... that doesn't work either, does it?

I do like how your brother was nice and apparent in his question!

Martini said...

Here's my thought .......

Regardless of how received the request for advice and who requested it ...... you answered the questions based on the information you were given.

If it bothers people, family, etc. ..... so be it. It is what it is and you can't change that now.

Life goes on ..... and so should everyone else.

Hey ..... I'm having friends over and trying a bunch of new recipes tonight. All they have to do is eat. Isn't that cool? Later gator.

March2theSea said... subject. cheetah girls movie tonight?? And the big tour? Pre-sale tickets went on sale today.. me and little march going again in November. Presale PW is "INDIA".


Anonymous said...

Your advice was right in both cases ...your brother sounds a little ready; your sister-in-law not so ready. But, hey, she wins! The solution is for your brother to spend hours on end with your children so he can see if he's really, really ready. I'm pretty sure you'd be willing to make such a sacrifice on his behave. My husband, who was ready before me, should have done that and I should have watched while he babysat. Then I'd get a picture of how he wasn't as energetic as he thought he was for the WORK of kids. Then I would have had a contract written up and signed in blood about what exactly he would be doing -- a 50/50 split,buddy. We've gotten there now, but it took 9 years!

MaBunny said...

Both of your reply letters were right on target considering what the person had written.
Hope they discussed the conflicting answers, lol. When did they find out that they had BOTH asked u?

Amanda said...

I'm a bit late on this but who the heck is EVER ready to have kids? It's only after the fact you find out all the stuff that no one ever told you - and that's the important stuff. Why don't they just stop trying not to have kids and see what happens? No one should feel they have to have kids but at the same time I would hate to think of your SIL having the same issues mine did. She left it 'til she was "ready" and found it was all too late and motherhood would never be an option for her. They never got passed it as a couple and ended up getting divorced.

At the end of the day its a decision they need to make together behind closed doors. After all, it's them stuck with the consequences either way.

Stephanie J. Blake said...

What I want to know is why you didn't answer the juicy question about whether or not the couple should have a threesome. I think it was on Lex on Sex.

And no man I have ever known is ready for kids until the kid shows up.