Adventure, Apartment, babies, Michael, Minnesota

Sweden or Spawn?

Monterey cohousing

Our household has been full of Deep Conversations for the last couple of months. Since we’re settled and working toward getting out of debt, we’ve been trying to figure out some capital-g Goals. Michael, who has researched other places to live as a hobby since he moved to Oklahoma in 1998, told me that he’d decided that he wanted to live in Europe¬†and that he wanted us to have babies.

I balked at this double bombshell, and freaked out quietly for a week or so. Eventually I came up for air and shared with him the conclusion that I would be willing to try for babies or move to Europe, but not both. My ability to cope with stress and change is somewhere below average, so either one will be a challenge, but the combo pack would certainly come with a ticket to madness.

I just don’t want to have kids without a solid community around us. Three years in, I feel like I have enough of a support system in Minnesota that it wouldn’t be out of the question. Michael’s Europe vision includes places like Denmark and Sweden; countries that are full of notoriously reticent citizens. I’m 36. I don’t have another six years to build up a network of friends before getting on the spawn train.

Michael was disappointed and I felt guilty, but we are, among other things, best friends, so we were eventually able to talk about things without my bursting into tears. (Eventually.) It’s a Big Deal, obviously, so there have been LOTS of conversations. Long ones, short ones, gchats and emails. Pro and con lists. Suggestions from friends. No conclusions have been reached, though I’m leaning toward staying in Minnesota and attempting to put my uterus to work. 60/40, though if Michael woke up tomorrow certain that he was meant to be an expat, I’d be able to get my head right with that, too.

Another factor has inserted itself into the equation, in the form of a very interesting apartment coming on to the market. Last night, we stayed over at the Monterey Cohousing Community to get a better feel for it – but more on that tomorrow.


  • Reply


    June 8, 2014

    For selfish reasons I vote kids

    • Reply


      June 9, 2014

      Well, duh.

      How about this: You guys buy the other top-floor apartment (with connecting door!), and I will 100% guarantee we’ll take the parenting path.

  • Reply


    June 9, 2014

    Ooh, tough question…though I think that part of the world would be a really interesting place to live, and you’ve already had a taste of how freakin’ cold winter could be…I would visit you! Would expat life with baby be any more supportive somewhere else like Britain or in Asia? My BIL just got an IT job that puts him 3 months in Germany, 2-3 months back home in MA. He’s just on the first leg of it, so it’s hard to tell anything about it, beyond Fun in Germany!!!

    For P and I, it was career or spawn? We had both just embarked upon our new careers, and were loving life as childless folk, when I was in my mid-30’s. Now, at 53, with the factory door firmly shut, I have some regrets, though they aren’t huge, but more the “who the hell is going to care for me in my old age?” kind. Kind of on the level of “I really need to save a whole lot more $$ for retirement…

    • Reply


      June 9, 2014

      Thank you for telling me that, Kim! I had wondered what your story was. I think I could be happy with kids or without kids; I’m just trying to be grateful for the opportunity to make a considered choice, even if it’s stressful.

      Since Michael’s vision of living in Europe is pretty well centered in one of a few countries, I hadn’t thought much about how the support system elsewhere would be…

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