baby best

When I first meet people in Ireland and they find out I didn’t move over for a job, they ask the inevitable question, “Did ya move here for a fella?” Considering most American women I’ve met here did in fact follow their Irish husbands back to the homeland, I can understand why people would assume such a thing. When I tell them there is no fella and that I moved here to experience a new adventure, they usually ask if I A) want to meet a man and B) if I want to have children.

Of course it would be great to meet a fabulous, intelligent, handsome, funny, adventurous, foodie-type who loves to travel and is well-versed in current events/literature/etc. (or at least someone who possesses a few of these traits!). As for the kids question, my answer typically elicits a double-take of shock and disbelief, as if I was a three-headed alien or a talking dog. I don’t know if I want to have kids and to be honest I’m pretty sure that I probably don’t though I’d never say never. Most Irish people I encounter cannot seem to wrap their brains around the concept that a woman might not want to bear children, and I’m getting used to retorts like, “Oh you’ll change your mind – just you wait!” or “But of course you do, you just haven’t met the father!” Once, an acquaintance introduced me as, “Clare, and she says she probably doesn’t want children – can you believe that?”

baby wedding 2

The thing is I’m not a woman who was born knowing she wanted to be a mother, and I’m very lucky to have parents who never pressure me about having kids. I really like and even love [most] children and truly believe there is nothing in the world that compares to having them. I sponsor a child in Vietnam and am very dedicated to her happiness and well-being. But right now having my own children is something very difficult to imagine, perhaps because I’m well aware that my goals in life aren’t necessarily conducive to having kids. I love to travel and enjoy having the freedom to do so even on a whim. I relish having a lot of time to myself and cherish my personal space. If I do end up getting married, I want to be married without kids for a reasonable amount of time. Considering I’m in my mid-30s now and am single at the moment, it’s hard to imagine where kids fit in. I am very open and would even prefer to adopt over having my own child, but again there are many factors to consider before I can say for certain.

baby chair

The topic of kids is also becoming an issue as I start dating here in Ireland. Many men I meet are absolutely certain they want to have children and the fact that I’m unsure makes me an undesirable candidate. To each his own, and I respect everyone and anyone’s choices in this department, but I have to say that some of these men are kidding themselves (no pun intended). I recently met someone in his mid-40 who, for all intents and purposes, is a bona fide player. He insists he wants to have kids “one of these days.” Let’s suss out the situation: You’re 44 years old, play the field like a teenager and hit the clubs every weekend – not exactly the picture of stability and responsibility. While I understand age isn’t as big a factor for men as it is for women, showing a bit of maturity would be a good place to start if you’re going to use the kid card as a deal breaker. Sorry to burst your bubble, but women who want to have children are not going to be seeking out a middle-aged playboy for their future BabyDaddy.

Life is unpredictable and anything can happen, even something as wild as me having a baby one of these days. But for now, I think I could be perfectly happy with a husband/long-term partner and a couple of dogs and I hope people can be OK with that idea. It doesn’t really matter whether others approve or not; this is where I am in my life at the moment and no amount of peer pressure or outside expectation is going to change how I feel. I’m fine with not knowing, and though this makes dating in Ireland a bit more difficult I can live with it. I suppose the right “fella” will be one who is able to live with that as well.