Things I want but can’t have until my children are older

To catch up in Big Bang Theory.

A full night’s sleep including sleeping in.  For a week or more!  (Two year molars, I shake my tiny fist at you.  COME IN FASTER.)

Expensive pretty breakable china.  Or at least moreso than Corelle.

Freshly painted walls that stay that way.

Clean carpets (that stay that way).

Unscuffed furniture.  Actually, scratch that one [see what I did there?].  We will still have cats.

Is there anything you can’t have until later, and why?

39 Responses to “Things I want but can’t have until my children are older”

  1. Miser Mom Says:

    Coming home early from work and collapsing. After I got divorced, but before I got remarried, there were three summers when my daughter spent the summers at her dad’s house and I was solo ALL SUMMER. I remember how completely different and liberating it felt to know I’d leave my office and go to a quiet house, one where I wasn’t automatically put on second-shift of mom duty.

    Also, a complete silverware set. My boys are probably getting to the stage where they won’t take/toss silverware in the garbage (?!?), but we’re living with an oddly matched and not great set until I have more confidence that I’ll get to hang onto all my spoons.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We have spoons wracked up from accidentally sitting in the garbage disposal when it was turned on. I have only myself to blame on that one. oops.

    • Leah Says:

      I save plastic spoons one gets from take-out, ice cream places, etc. We go to a serve-yourself fro yo place, and the spoons are pretty darn nice. I have enough amassed that those are what I take in my lunches, etc. That way, if one does get lost/broken, it’s no big issue.

      That said, I do try to avoid taking the spoon in the first place. When I was single, I was really good about keeping a reusable set of flatware in my bag, and I’d use that instead of taking a spoon at places. I’ve somehow fallen out of the habit. Maybe time to put some of those nice fro yo spoons in the diaper bag . . .

  2. Chelsea Says:

    To sit through an entire meal with my son without anything being thrown on the floor. “You can just say you’re all done…”

  3. Contingent Cassandra Says:

    That *is* a pretty set! We grew up eating off china (and helping to clear and set the table starting at about 4 or 5 ). Admittedly, it was my great-grandmother’s cast-off everyday china (common enough that it’s not too expensive these days on eBay), but we didn’t break (a lot of) it (nor did my parents make a big deal of it when we did; breaking a plate is, fortunately, dismaying enough in and of itself. Well, at least for me. Some kids might be delighted by the experience. I have never liked loud noises. Also, since we didn’t have a dishwasher, and did have a porcelain sink, I suspect my parents broke as much of it as we did.) There might be an argument that if kids learn early that plates, etc. don’t break when flung around, they get in the habit (we did have corelle-like children’s sets when toddlers/early preschoolers). We also used sterling silver every day (once again, family castoffs from a time when there were fewer alternatives). Some spoons did get lost, much to my grandmother’s consternation. We didn’t have a dispose-all, so that eliminated one danger (though one can at least recover most of the cost of mangled silver flatware, since the value is in the material). I’m not sure I’d risk that one; sterling silver is a lot more expensive than china.

    I have no kids, so my question is more “what can I have in a studio apartment?” I could have silver (I own it, thanks to inheriting it from the other grandmother, and almost certainly wouldn’t lose it), but I don’t. Not sure why; it just seems a bit silly (but owning it and not using it is a bit silly, too). I do have china I like (not terribly expensive though). And I’ve broken/chipped some of it (which is why I bought extra in the first place; it happens).

  4. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    Yes. I want a car without a bunch of crap constantly thrown on the floor. I want to sleep in past 7 on the weekends. I want my kid’s small “play room” to be something else that doesn’t look messy and awful all the time.

  5. hypatia cade Says:

    I want international travel. Kind of like the china, I could have it but…. I think that as an option will be better one the kids don’t need naps.

  6. Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) Says:

    I think “can’t” is a strong word. Often things are possible, I’m just choosing not to make the necessary trade offs. I could have nice china, but I don’t care enough about nice china to get a locked cupboard to display it in and then only pull it out when the kids are asleep or at the zoo or something. My husband recently took the kids to the beach with his family for a week and I slept when I wanted to sleep. It turns out that I still wake up pretty early!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You’re such a party pooper.

      Yes, “can’t” here means, “given our budget constraints and utility curves.”

      • Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) Says:

        Naturally! But I like the econ language better, even if it is the dismal science. “Can’t” takes the power out of one’s hands. Choosing not to, given various other aspects of one’s life, is a different matter.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Meh. I can see that with depressing posts, but this one is light-hearted. It doesn’t need a lecture on how we’re not optimizing our lives.

        (And some of these things really are “can’t” because we used to have breakable china. Now only a few scattered pieces remain. Having unbroken breakable china is not an absorbing state. It is always off the equilibrium path. Living with Corelle isn’t a big deal. But I’d like pretty breakable china one day that I can actually use without having to clean it up or re-buy it all the time. Or putting carpet in the kitchen.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      And, happiness (and productivity) research supports the idea that it’s sometimes better to go cold turkey on things, rather than keeping them in your choice set. So saying, “can’t” even if it isn’t true, actually increases happiness (and productivity) rather than decreases it in some cases.

      • Sarah @ Says:

        What an interesting point. I just supported the opposite idea at LV’s – that using “I choose not to…” instead of “I can’t…” would increase the feeling of control someone has over their situation, but I didn’t think about how limited options can sometimes have a positive effect as well. Nice.

  7. gwinne Says:

    Yes to the sleep one! I don’t think the molars are bothering Tiny Boy much but egads yes they have taken FOREVER to work their way in, and still not done.

    And perhaps you could watch BBT if you changed how you watched it…like 15 minutes at a time :) Personally I’m getting through a lot of shows that way.

    I’ve gotten a lot of kid-wall-scum removed with a “magic eraser”

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I can watch it by myself on the computer, but that’s no fun. :)

      Magic eraser is indeed magic, but we’ve really just given up for now. There’s only so much scrubbing a person can do…

      • gwinne Says:


        I’d like to watch TV with the volume on someday!!

        I do worry about what makes that magic eraser so effective :)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I think it’s just that it scrapes off the top layer of whatever you’re erasing. There’s internet information somewhere that I think I read once when DC1 was younger… Suppose I could look it up again… But I remember thinking it was ok and safe. (And DC1 is from the “everything from china has lead in it” cohort, so I was always on edge with hir stuff.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        teeny tiny sandpaper:

        though is what it’s made out of the stuff that was killing pets by showing up in pet food from China a few years back? Don’t eat them.

  8. Debbie M Says:

    My mom agrees with y’all–the spoons are the first to disappear for some reason.

    I never want pricy breakable china because I’ll always live with myself and I don’t like having to be careful. But I do have glass glasses–I’ve decided that so long as they are all clear, they match well enough for me. So whenever one breaks, I just get another one at the thrift store.

    I want more free time which I can’t have until I retire (next year).

    And I’m holding off on some things like some kinds of fancy organic food and like expensive vacations until I retire (my income will go up because I’m working only 30 hours per week now) and because my boyfriend just got laid off.

    I’m also holding off on wearing certain clothes until I get back to a size where they will fit me. I’ve actually lost 6 pounds this year, so it might not just be wishful thinking.

  9. Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

    I’ve never had expensive China. My nickname at the chemistry lab I worked at was “Sandra the Destroyer”. I get my wine glasses from tag sales and all my plates are white. When enough of them break or chip, I just buy more and everything still matches. Plus the foodie in me thinks dishes shouldn’t be competing with the plates for attention. I can’t blame my children for not wanting fine china because I’m horrible at being careful with dishes.

    I still choose to travel internationally and have nice things. Yes, milk gets spilled on our real oriental carpets, but we clean it up quickly and it still looks/smells fine. I’d argue that those kinds of rugs hide stains better too because of the patterns. The car on the other hand seems to instantly get gross and I just can’t ever keep the backseat clean. We don’t let the kids eat in the living room and they have to take their shoes off before they lounge on the furniture, so it all stays nice enough. Plus, it’s less work when the kids aren’t tracking shoe dirt all through the house.

    I hate having nice stuff that can’t be used. Either use your nice stuff or don’t have it cluttering up and complicating your life. We have lots of old furniture and it all gets used. Our couch maybe got sat on 100 times for the first 80 years of it’s life because it was the “parlor” couch. Now it’s been used everyday for the last 20 years.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Right now we’re doing the not cluttering or complicating option.

    • Leah Says:

      I’ve been working on putting my nice stuff into rotation. I used to always save my nice things, and then I realized that I never used them, and sometimes the things got ruined while being “saved” for a nice occasion.

      Now, it’s either use it or lose it. Of course, our new little one might “spoil” that someday, but at least I’ll still enjoy the nice stuff in the meantime.

      The only nice things we’re holding off on are nicer furniture. Our furniture works and looks okay enough — it’s just not my preference for what I like. For example, we have a hand-me-down leather couch. My husband points out that leather will be easy to clean when our kids hit the puking stage, so the couch stays.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We were just going to buy more of the same plates that we already had, but they’ve been discontinued! (And then I spent way too much time looking at pretty plates before realizing that no, we should just stick with difficult to break white for a while, which is what motivated this post. I was like, what was I *thinking*?– you don’t replace sturdy but still broken Target dishes with Wedgwood or Lenox!) So we’re also doing plain white Corelle for now, until the breakage settles down. When we were growing up my parents just bought mismatched pieces from garage sales because with the two of us kids washing the dishes there was no way that a single set would stay for any amount of time. After we left they got a nice complete set (from a department store post-holiday close-out sale).

      • Linda Says:

        I have no children, but I switched to all white Corelle a few years ago because I was sick of knicking and breaking plates on the porcelin sink. I’ve replaced that sink with a stainless steel one, but I don’t regret getting the all white Corelle. I love how easy it is to care for, how well it displays my food, and that it is very durable. :-)

  10. chacha1 Says:

    I want a flower and vegetable garden, which I can’t have until we move out of this apartment, which with any luck won’t be until we are leaving L.A. for good. Till then my placeholder is containers of shade – (and neglect -) loving plants.

  11. oil_garlic Says:

    1) Catch up on Mad Men, Big Bang Theory. Check out VEEP, Orange is the New Black, etc… etc.. This feels like a golden age of television and I’m missing it!
    2) International travel
    3) uncovered furniture
    4) vases
    5) Ditto on freshly painted walls and clean carpets!

  12. OMDG Says:

    Would love to watch some adult themed TV at 7 before the pumpkin goes to bed. (I go to bed at 8:45 these days so it’s not going to happen after). I really want to catch up on Orange is the New Black, and it just isn’t…. appropriate…. viewing for a 2 year old.

    International vacation. Yes, we *could* do it now, but a) we don’t have an extra $5000-$7000 to spend on airfare at the moment, nor do I have more than one week of vacation off at a time, and sorry, it just won’t work with those two ($ and time) constraints. We could dump the kid on nonna/nonno in Italy, but that would put us over the time constraint, and frankly with my schedule I need my vacation to catch up on sleep.

    A chair in the LR instead of an easel.

  13. Thisbe Says:

    I pretty much always want to be traveling internationally (I am in the small set of people who totally love airports because they mean I am on an adventure). But I am not going anywhere this year, and maybe not next year; even if I do figure out a trip next year, it won’t be for as long as I could want due to vacation limits. It is a little disconcerting – money used to be my limiting factor for travel, and now it is not. But I decided that it is more important to develop my career in a particular way, so I am doing that.

    Also of course in a general sense I would like to live in the same town as the spouse… But not with either of us underemployed, we tried that and all things considered we prefer to be temporarily and intermittently separated, so we have to wait until later when we can solve the problem effectively.

  14. undinenotofgeneralinterest Says:

    Can’t have: fabric shades without shreds and fur. Because: cats.

  15. Ana Says:

    Cooking “fancier” dinners (we are pretty utalitarian about food these days—cooking huge batches at a time and sticking to things all 4 of us will eat, which eliminates most experimenting)
    Growing anything other than herbs (until we either move somewhere with a real yard, or build a raised garden for our patio and some way to keep out the darn squirrels)
    Travel (not worth spending the time and money to listen to the same whining)

    I think that’s it….I seem to find plenty of time to keep up with books & TV (by sacrificing sleep, I’m sure, but I’m getting by)

  16. Steph Says:

    While living in NYC for grad school, I’m waiting for

    A kitchenaid stand mixer (no room in my apatment’s kitchen to store it. And $$)

    All of my books living with me (most are at my parents house for now)

    No one else living in my building…i.e. a house and not an apartment

  17. Revanche Says:

    Can’t agree hard enough with Debbie M’s “I never want pricy breakable china because I’ll always live with myself and I don’t like having to be careful.”

    Even when I’m being careful, I can’t be trusted. So I thank the heavens for our Corelle that I haven’t managed to break, chip or smash, or use to break, chip or smash other things. I love this stuff and want to use it forever. Bonus: lightweight enough even for my disease-ridden hands to handle.

    I find that for some things, I just prefer “can’t.” When I state “can’t” now, I’m putting it in the category of things I would have to try far too hard to achieve where it’s just not worth the exchange rate on other things. “Choose not to” feels like a challenge to my addled brain that STILL thinks it needs to be able to choose everything so “can’t” brings back some level of sanity.

    Can’t have a house with a yard yet, need oh, geez, 4x the income we make now to feel comfortable buying anything in the Bay Area. Renting’s not an option, I don’t want to deal with a LL’s restrictions on pets considering we have huge dogs. Nothing against renting in general, just not for us given what we want right now.

    Can’t have my enormous library because we need the house. Also I want to not be moving again for, well, forever, once that library happens.

    Huh. Can’t think of what else I wanted. Can’t have my functional brain back ’til some magical sciencey breakthroughs happen. Humph.

  18. Can’t vs. Won’t: A deliberately controversial post | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] There were many interesting and thought-provoking comments on LV’s post expanding on her complaints about wording choice but my favorite has to be this one from The Frugal […]

  19. How often do you have to buy new plates and glasses: Musings on breakage | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] actually tell you that because deciding to buy Corelle caused some internet drama when I realized it would be foolish to get a nice set of Lenox or Wedgewood to replace the brave floral plates that had fallen over the years.  That post was up […]

  20. I bought some plates | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] They’re the Lenox butterfly plates* I said I wasn’t going to get until my children were out of the house. […]

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