For years, Kate Schierberl has been my favorite reluctant, slightly intoxicated mom to follow. She’s a full-time, stay-at-home parent (which is a category of hero unto itself) to two adorable, energetic little boys and offers an unapologetic glimpse into parenthood through her filter-free Facebook feed. She single-handedly proves that you can be a loving, nurturing, all-hands-on-deck parent and still have a sense of humor (…as well as personal identity).
Kate’s no bullshit about this whole “Mom Life” business, which I happen to adore. She’s sharing with all of us her decision to stop the baby train at two, and why she’s not going to apologize for not wanting to “try” for a girl.
Here’s Kate’s story…
It was January when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, Jake. My husband was on the roof of of his parent’s house removing holiday decorations, mere inches away from a life insurance claim that could have forever change my life.
“We have to talk!” I yelled up to him.
“Ugh. Are you PREGNANT!?” He yelled back, with the same inflection in his voice as when he looks over my Target receipts and questions what the fuck I just bought for $400.
I had no idea what was coming; I had spent my entire adult life desperately trying to NOT get a positive pregnancy test. When I first saw those two lines appear on the EPT pee strip, I had to remind myself this was actually a good thing—and not a reason to call my parents crying and apologizing (#CatholicGuilt).
For nine months, I ate peanut butter M&M’s and pushed the physical limits of every cotton maxi dress I owned. I wore flats and blamed being a massive asshole on hormones when really I just thought it was fun to spend the better part of a calendar year acting like (and resembling) Ursula the Sea Witch. At 36-weeks and after 36 hours of labor, Jake was born. He was—and is—perfect. We spent the first year of his life not sleeping and falling madly in love with him.
Having another baby hadn’t occurred to me—it was a far off idea, like, when you say, “someday I’m going to build a yurt and cultivate a commune.” (Oh wait, that’s just me?)
Sure, I hoped it would happen SOMEDAY, but I was also desperate to not to screw up this one kid, so the thought of adding anot her human to our existing dynamic was not a priority.
I found out I was pregnant with my second child on Jake’s first birthday.
My husband was traveling for business and/or visiting his secret family. I had decided to take Jake to Legoland to celebrate the milestone day and, as you can imagine, it was a shit storm. We were miserably hot, we both needed lots of snacks, and Jake’s walking was mediocre at best (sort of like me trying to stumble around in cheap heels after two glasses of Pinot Greeg. So, basically the entirety of my 20’s).
I was relegated to hauling all our shit around Legoland while exclaiming “YOU’RE AMAZING!!” to Jake as he performed unidentifiable skills. As I consumed my third icee of the day, it hit me that I hadn’t had my period in a while (it’s still unclear how my brain made this connection).
I confided this to Jake, and he stared at me blankly, as if I had lost my mind, and then shit his pants (which is exactly what I felt like doing). So then I did what any sane parent would do: I took a bunch of selfies and posted them all over Facebook with sweet comments before sending the exact same photos to my husband with comments like, “you’re such an asshole for not being here.” Totally normal, totally in denial stuff.
When Jake and I got home that night all I wanted was wine and Bravo TV. But I couldn’t really enjoy the bottle until I knew for sure (one more time for the cheap seats: #CatholicGuilt). I peed on the little white stick and…Yup. OHMYFUCKINGGODIMSOFUCKINGPREGNANT. Again.
With this second baby, I couldn’t enjoy pregnancy with the same sort ignorance is bliss as the first. I already knew what I was in for, and it made me want to laugh and cry at the same time.
Not to mention, I didn’t have any time to enjoy it! I spent my entire second pregnancy running after Jake (who could not have cared less that I had become a fatter, sleepier, more emotional version of myself). I didn’t prepare for our second son, because I never had the chance. The only thing that I could give any thought to was picking out a decent name that didn’t sound like a cholesterol medication. I think I got him a crib, some swaddles, and a prepaid phone (just in case he wanted to call CPS). Thankfully, Cole arrived just as perfect as his older brother and I couldn’t feel more blessed; he’s resilient and amazing and not at all judge-y about the fact that he spent his infancy with his head strapped to my sweaty chest.
About four days after Cole emerged from my uterus, people started asking me when I was going to have another child. Are you kidding me?! I had two children under two years old! But because both of them were boys, these people felt it appropriate to ask me if I wanted to “try for a girl.” Like they were being civil servants by allowing me the opportunity to share my desire to procreate a miniature version of myself.
Trying for a girl? That’s such a stupid phrase. Let’s be clear, I “try” to pull off referring to my Old Navy sweatpants as Athleisure Wear; I can’t “try” for a female human. Not to mention, at that point I’m pretty much committed to never having sex again. Someone just shot off a pipe bomb in my vagina. Do I want to “try” for a girl? Go play in traffic, would ya?
Shortly after Cole was born I told my husband to get snipped or neutered or have his balls cut off or whatever it is they do (I didn’t pay much attention during Heath class). About a month after that initial conversation, I dropped him off at his appointment (my husband is fine capping out at two as well).
Today, two years later, I can confidently say that my days of blaming being fat on pregnancy are behind me. I know myself and I know that I am more than happy with my two boys.
Sure…sometimes when they outgrow clothes I get a bit teary eyed about how I’ll never buy them 2T pants again, and some days I play with my niece’s hair and think about how much fun it would be fun to have a mini female emotional train wreck of my own (with unfortunate hair like her mama). But really, having children—whether one of 12—is a deeply personal decision.
I know myself, my limitations and when and how I’m at my best. If my husband and I had more than two kids, I would undoubtedly be sitting here, attempting to type this story, wondering where the fuck those extra kids are at (I last saw them 3 days ago?).
My point is: YOU DO YOU. I always saw myself with two boys. It was like I was living “The Secret” before it was cool. I have friends with one baby, friends with no babies, and friends with triplets who drive Sprinter vans and eat all their meals at Costco. What’s is right for you, is what’s right for your family. Kids are forever. Seriously…just ask my parents. They are like, “Kate, please stop coming to our house, eating our food and letting your kids shave our dog. You’re 34-years-old.”
Oh mom and Dad, you’re so funny. If you need me, I’ll be upstairs reclaiming my childhood room that you converted in to a nursery (after converting into a boot closet), because I’m not giving you another grandkid…ever.
So everyone can just DEAL WITH IT.