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Jen Lancaster


Child-Free by Choice

Posted: 04/23/2012 1:18 pm

Once in a while, I question our choice to remain child-free.

It's not that I don't love our pets (two pit bulls, one shepherd mix and five cats -- all rescues) and enjoy the rich, full lives we've built for ourselves, but there's always going to be a small part of me that asks, What if? No matter how happy anyone is with their choices, I believe it's human nature to wonder about the path not taken.

If my husband Fletch and I reproduced, I have to wonder -- what would our kid be like? We always assumed that our progeny would have my twisted sense of humour and his twisted world view and would thus end up a supervillain, or at the very least, wouldn't get into a decent college because of a piss-poor attitude and problem with authority figures.

After we were married, we were broke. Flat broke. Not only did we not have health insurance, we could barely keep a roof over our heads, let alone have the kind of coin to throw around on onesies and Pampers. More importantly, our lives were completely chaotic and we weren't about to subject another human being to our shitty choices.

By the time we had our finances back on track, we both felt too old to bring kids into the mix. (What if I spent the past 20 years on birth control only to find out it didn't matter because I couldn't have kids anyway? I'd be apoplectic!) And I'd be lying if I said a houseful of Barbie shoes holds any appeal.

Yet when I hang out with my friend Wendy's daughters, I'm always smitten, likely because they're almost exactly like me. (Despite Wendy's best efforts.)

The last time the girls were here, her youngest took a long, contemplative look around my backyard and then said all matter-of-factly, "Jen, when you die, I want your house." Wendy was mortified, but in my opinion, you can't get a better compliment than that.

Would we be the kind of parents who treat our kid like a status symbol, especially given that we now live in the super class-conscious North Shore suburbs depicted in John Hughes movies? Would I be the mother who'd run the family into financial ruin to make sure my girl had more Louis Vuitton bags than any of her classmates so she'd have a positive self-image? I suspect I might.

I bet I'd work hard to expose my child to culture early and often so she wouldn't be the asshat afraid to go out to dinner when her Indian roommate craves tandoori chicken. And if maybe she'd been more places and tried more things than the rest of her peer group? I'd probably be OK with that, too.

All my questions are answered the day I meet Margo.

But before I get to Margo, allow me to set the scene. In Inferno, Dante depicts an allegorical journey through the nine circles of Hell. If Dante penned his epic poem today, he'd include the tenth circle of Hell -- the Whole Foods in Deerfield, Illinois.

Nowhere has the motto "abandon all hope, ye who enter here" been more appropriate. From the parking lot dotted with third-row seating Suburbans covered in pro-environment bumper stickers to the pacifists who will cut you for the last jar of almond butter, it's entering an arena where irony ceases to exist.

Regardless, I want some damn kale salad. While I'm standing at the counter, a well-heeled mother and her even better-heeled child of five or six cut in front of me. The kid's clearly just come from ballet practice, however her dance outfit is topped in a pair of D&G jeans. She's also wearing Hunter Wellington boots. I know they're pricey because I tried on a pair and ultimately didn't buy them. (More because of my tubby calves than cost, but that's not the point.)

The child tugs on her mother's arm, then whispers something in her ear. Then the mom says to the deli clerk, "Margo wants to know what kind of sushi you have today."

Suddenly all the resentment I feel towards this kid and her $300 jeans melts away. How badass is it that a little girl is so adventurous that she's not afraid of a little raw fish? I went three decades before I ever tasted so much as a California roll.

Margo tugs on her mom's sleeve again.

"Margo wants to know if the rice is extra fresh."

Um, OK, not only does Margo appreciate tasty sushi, but she also has an eye towards quality. Maybe Margo will become a chef. Her finely honed palate is going to set the culinary world on fire!

"Margo wants to know if the rice is extra-sticky. The last time it was almost too sticky."

So Margo thinks she's Iron Chef.

"Margo needs a taste first."

Margo needs to learn how to say "please."

"Margo enjoyed the Escolar you carried last week. Margo wants to know if there's any more in the back."

Margo goes to Montessori school, doesn't she?

"Margo wants wasabi but she doesn't like the wasabi you have on display now. Margo wants to know if there's other wasabi that's like wasabi, only less wasabi-like."

And now I'm done.

At this point I'd like to shake both mother and child, shouting,"MARGO IS SIX! MARGO KNOWS NOTHING! MARGO EATS PASTE!"

Also? Margo's the exact reason that I shouldn't -- and won't -- have children.

But I will have kale salad.

So there's that.

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Celebrity moms:

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  • Beyonce

    Singer, clothing designer and recent new mom to Blue Ivy Cater, Beyonce is one fashionista that looked stylish before, during and after pregnancy. <br><strong>FASHION LINES:</strong> <a href="http://www.dereon.com/world.html" target="_hplink">House of Dereon</a>, <a href="http://www.dereon.com/world.html" target="_hplink">Dereon</a><br><em>Singer Beyonce hosts the screening of 'Live at Roseland: The Elements of 4' at the Paris Theatre on November 20, 2011 in New York City.</em>

  • Jessica Simpson

    She may have had a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/jessica-simpson-baby-shower_n_1362973.html" target="_hplink">fashion fumble in this snakeskin dress</a>, but Jessica Simpson is <em>usually</em> one stylish mama. <br><strong>FASHION LINE:</strong><a href="http://www.jessicasimpson.com/" target="_hplink"> Jessica Simpson</a><br><em>Singer Jessica Simpson arrives to the NBC Universal 2012 Winter TCA Tour All-Star Party on January 6, 2012 in Pasadena, California.</em>

  • Kimora Lee Simmons

    Living life in the "fab lane," mother of three Kimora Lee Simmons is not only stylish, but has also created a business empire. <br><strong>FASHION LINE: </strong><a href="www.babyphat.com/" target="_hplink">Baby Phat</a> <br><em>Designer Kimora Lee Simmons attends 'The Buzz On The Red Carpet' presented by QVC at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on February 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.</em>

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez seems to do it all. Sing, act, model, dance, parent two twins. She even finds time to design a clothing line for women in between it all. Talk about multitasking. <br><strong>FASHION LINE:</strong> <a href="http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/ourbrands/jenniferlopez.jsp" target="_hplink">Jennifer Lopez Clothing Line</a><br><em>Singer Jennifer Lopez arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California.</em>

  • Nicole Richie

    Former model and mother of two Nicole Richie is one of the most praised celebrity fashion designers in Hollywood. <br><strong>FASHION LINE: </strong><a href="http://hoh1960.com/about/" target="_hplink">House of Harlow 1960</a><br><em>TV personailty Nicole Richie attends Macy's Celebrates NBC's New Primetime Series, Fashion Star, With Elle Macpherson, Nicole Richie And John Varvatos At Premiere Party at Macy's Herald Square on March 13, 2012 in New York City.</em>

  • Camila Alves

    Mother and designer Camila Alves designs fashionable handbags for men and women -- one of her focuses is the fashionable and practical recreation of the diaper bag. <br><strong>FASHION LINE: </strong><a href="www.mymuxo.com" target="_hplink">MUXO</a><br><em>Designer Camila Alves attends the world premiere of 'Bernie' during the 2012 SXSW Music, Film Interactive Festival at Paramount Theatre on March 13, 2012 in Austin, Texas.</em>

  • Gwen Stefani

    This mother of two has been in the fashion world since 2003 with her line L.A.M.B. Stefani says the line reflects her personality and musical style. <br><strong>FASHION LINE:</strong> <a href="http://www.l-a-m-b.com/" target="_hplink">L.A.M.B</a><br><em>Singer Gwen Stefani arrives at the 20th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party held at West Hollywood Park on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.</em>

  • Sarah Jessica Parker

    As one of the most fashionable women on 'Sex In The City,' this mother has also branded herself with a clothing line and perfume collection. <br><strong>FASHION LINE:</strong> <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/bittensarahjessicaparker" target="_hplink">Bitten</a><br><em>Sarah Jessica Parker attends the 'Louis Vuitton - Marc Jacobs: The Exhibition' photocall as part of Paris Fashion Week at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs on March 7, 2012 in Paris, France.</em>

  • Victoria Beckham

    As Posh Spice, we remember this singer often rocking her little black dress -- but look how far she's come. Victoria Beckham, mother of four, also has a dress, denim, accessories and signature sunglasses collection. <br><strong>FASHION LINE: </Strong><a href="http://www.victoriabeckham.com/dresses/" target="_hplink">Victoria Beckham</a></strong><br><em> Entertainer Victoria Beckham arrives at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.</em>

  • Heidi Klum

    When this mother and model isn't stunning us with her chic red carpet looks, Heidi Klum works on her clothing line with New Balance. <br><strong>FASHION LINE: </strong> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/HKNB-Heidi-Klum-for-New-Balance/e/2412595011" target="_hplink">HKNB</a> <br><em>Actress Heidi Klum arrives at UNICEF Playlist With The A-List at El Rey Theatre on March 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.</em>


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