I suppose I have become a woman of a certain age (mid-twenties) and when one becomes a woman of a certain age (mid-twenties) they begin to get asked a few questions repeatedly. Sometimes they involve a career path and what you want to do with the rest of your life. Sometimes they involve your current place in life and how you’re getting by. Many times, especially if you’re in a relationship, they involve marriage and children.
“When do you think you’ll get married?”…”When do you think you’ll have children?”…”Do you want children?”…”Ah, well, you’ll change your mind soon.”
I wrote about my desire (or lack thereof) for a wedding a few weeks ago. These days I find people are generally accepting of someone’s choice to not get married and live in sin for as long as they damn well please. Besides, the most sinful thing that has happened in this apartment is that two week period when we made cinnamon swirl coffee cake three times and hardly shared. Other than that, things have pretty well been on the up and up and everyone has been supportive.
But kids. Children. Babies. Whatever term you want to ascribe to them, I will say this: People have a hard time believing or understanding you when you say, “I’m not sure if I will ever have children.”
Partly I think this is because we are taught that we are supposed to grow up, get a job, and settle down with a family. This isn’t a bad thing and it isn’t a terrible part of society but it is the generally accepted ideal life. As women we are taught, be it by toys, babysitting, or our own mothers, that one day we will have our own children to take care of. We push dolls around in strollers and dress Barbies up for their day. Or, if you’re like me, you cut all their hair off and dye it green just to change things up a little bit.
It’s possible motherhood hasn’t always been my thing.
Beyond what we are told to be correct I think that there is a subconscious thought process that happens when a woman says she might never become a mother that says, “Well then what are you going to do?” It’s as if we need to have some fantastic, life-changing plan to make up for the loss of not fulfilling our biological duties. I don’t have a plan. I just know that as of right now, at this point in my life, there are many reasons why motherhood just isn’t my thing.
I only recently discovered that I enjoy the taste of red wine, something I have spent a very long time unaware of, and this is the most exciting thing in my world right now. It has opened up a world of possibilities when I am offered a drink at a dinner party, when I go to the store to get something for the weekend, or when I want to try something new. The idea that I can now choose not only between beer and white wine but also red wine is exhilerating. I cannot have a child putting a damper on this discovery. I just can’t.
I am also highly irresponsible when it comes to hot things. Sam is convinced I am trying to burn the apartment down and therefore I myself create incredibly unsafe environments for child-rearing. I enjoy leaving my hair straightener on for hours at a time. I have also been known to leave the oven going until one of us (Sam) notices. Just last night I was trying to light a candle and dropped the lit match on the couch when it surprised me that it actually caught fire. Am I going to drop my baby if it catches on fire unexpectedly? Or if it does any other, more normal thing unexpectedly? We would only know once it was too late.
Children involve time and selflessness and attention. I have all the time but none of the others to give. I want to go for a walk as I please and I certainly don’t want to clean up anyone else’s bodily fluids. Vomit makes me want to vomit and it wouldn’t be practical to have both a baby and an adult vomiting one right after the other. I also like a lot of attention, my own or anyone else’s. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s hard enough to share attention with the cat who spends most of her time entertaining herself sitting on the windowsill and staring into the street and demanding little attention during the day.
On top of all of this I am still of the fourteen year old opinion that the idea of something growing inside you is not only terrifying but unnatural (despite it being the most natural thing in the world) and that I never ever want to so blatantly tell my uterus I hate it in such a cruel way. I am perfectly content with our current system of letting our mutual hatred rear its head once a month while it tries to kill me but I always end up the victor.
One of my coworkers says he’s going to check back with me in five years and see if I’ve changed my mind which I suppose is always possible. Maybe in five years I’ll be posting about the mutiny I staged on my uterus and writing with a literal babe in arms.
I’m just not ready to be a mom and I’m not sure if I ever will be. I love babies, I love children. They are weird and fantastic and goofy and completely free to be themselves. It is refreshing to see a human be openly silly and fascinated by the world. I am a little jealous of them, to be honest. But I don’t want one all the time. And I don’t think I should have to if I don’t want to.