I Want Love, Marriage, and Babies -- Not Necessarily in That Order

Courtesy of Katie Johnson
Yep, that's me. And no, that's not the babysitter. That's my super-young mom.
Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.

I am an old hag.

Well, based on my family's history anyway. My mom had me just a few months after turning 23. Her mom had her at 20, her mom's mom at 16, her mother before that at 15, and everyone else -- well, we'll just assume they started making babies sometime between sixth and eighth grade. So although I'm not even 27, in baby-making years I'm practically retired.

See also: 10 Things You Should Never Say After Sex

Baby-making isn't just an added feature of my sexuality, it's in my DNA. When I asked my mother what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said that she had always wanted to be mom. That was it.

As a kid, I always thought this was sort of a cop-out, just like when you'd asked your parents which sibling they loved more and they would respond with an evasive, "We love you both equally."

But once I got past my late teens and early 20s -- what is better known as the "head-up-your-own-ass years" -- I realized that parenthood wasn't her only ambition in life, but it was the one that took precedent. And to her credit, she was good, like a you-can't-teach-this-shit level of good.

And like the paint-by-numbers firstborn child that I was, I wanted my life choices to follow suit. In fact, by the time I was in high school, I had it all figured out.

I wanted to have between four and six kids, and I wanted to start having them by the time was I was 25.

Yeah, I know. It was fucking insane.

It was also ironic since, as I've mentioned before, I didn't even have sex or my first boyfriend till I was a few months shy of 21.

Of course, like the song says, first comes love, then comes marriage. So if I wanted to get my little TLC reality show family going, I had to meet Mr. Right (and ideally, Mr. Fertile) ASAP. Two years of marriage plus a year of uninterrupted martial bliss before children, put me on track to marry my future husband roughly around 22.

Excuse me while I go to simultaneously laugh and and cry in the shower.

Needless to say, things didn't exactly go according to plan. And thank God, because I've met people with timelines, and for many of them their lives are one sad, scheduled milestone after the other. (Or at least that's what us singletons tell ourselves when we're stalking newly married exes on Facebook).

I'm not saying you shouldn't have goals. Trust me, I know quite a few loser ex-boyfriends who can vouch for my make-or-break adoration of goals. But there is a big difference between finding Mr. Right and settling for Mr. Eh-he'll-do-for-now-and-besides-I-want-to-walk-down-the-aisle-while-I-still-look-good-in-white.

Who wants that for a last name anyway?

There was no single moment that made me realize my plan was stupid or, at the very least, unrealistic. It was a gradual realization that fell somewhere between getting bored of men quickly, being afraid of commitment, and being told by teachers that there was more to me than just my ovaries.

I should probably note that none of my teachers made that statement verbatim because, come on, that would be downright batshit creepy.

It also didn't hurt that I met other women who had managed to get it all: the husband, the baby, the career. And if I had to guess how all those women's cards were dealt, I'm betting none of them were in the exact order they imagined.

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I thought, based on being a late bloomer and an easily distracted procrastinator, that if I were to bear children I should at least move on finding a husband (someone in particular out of a finite pool of men I would be acquainted with at the time who might feel the same way) by the time I was 26. I kept an occasionally updated list tucked in the side of my memo cube for my entire early 20s. I married someone not from the list. I happened to be 26 at the time. We didn't have children. Times are tight, so for $20 I'll let you know if you were ever on the list, y'all.

Diane Molloy
Diane Molloy

No right time for everyone, just what's right for eachnone. Ppl spend way too much time focussing on what others are doing or thinking. I had my kids between 27 and 33 years of age. That was perfect for me. I had a decent job with health insurance, a stable, loving relationship and enough life experience to know the world doesn't revolve around me.

Jesus A. Smith
Jesus A. Smith

By... now well lets say Ive gone by Business before pleasure :) :)

Roger Nichols
Roger Nichols

The "right age" should be when the parents can provide ON THEIR OWN, without gov't (other working adults) help.


Love youre job. Marry to youre job. Call youre job youre babby.

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