I awoke today to the sounds of arguing coming from the front of the house. Given that it’s Monday it took a minute to realize that these noises were not coming from the neighbors or outside but from the several tiny children who have taken up residence in my living room. As I type, they are watching YouTube videos and eating breakfast, and I am unable to concentrate on blogging because I am in mom-mode.
I think about people who are full time mothers and that sort of thing blows my mind. I love kids. I have worked with kids my entire life, and my kiddos are the apples of my eye, but full time, every day parenting eludes me. I’m 35, and still do not feel ready to have a child and honestly, I don’t think I ever will. I have never had the desire to procreate, even when I was a kid playing with my dolls. Barbie was always a jet-setting career girl to me, never barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen. Maybe it was the way that motherhood was portrayed to me-why would one want to spend their days cooking and cleaning for ungrateful small humans who constantly need you to cook and clean for them? No thank you. I will be the first to admit that I am too selfish for all that. Perhaps it was thirteen years as an only child. I think about Bernie, who is probably as close as I will get to fully raising a human being. In her case, mission accomplished. However, she was a fairly easy-going tyke, and did not present the challenges that, say, the kiddos do. Four kids are a lot, and for that alone their mother is a saint.
Of course, I adore them. I often tell K that I fell in love with her before her father, which is true. She was only one when I met her, and I knew I loved her months before I knew I loved Mark. M is growing into this amazing young man, who surprises me whenever I see him with some new knowledge or story. L is our resident comic, and probably the most genuine boy I’ve ever met. E is tough as nails and always willing to lend a hand. They are all so different and so alike and so wonderful, and I am sure that being a parent is rewarding, and this knowledge combined makes me think that maybe, someday…
See, I start to imagine a world with a baby but that becomes a world with a toddler, then a child, then a teenager, and that’s a little different. I’m still not sure that life is for me, and I’m not willing to give it a shot unless I’m sure. I don’t stand alone in this. Many women I know have chosen not to have kids, from reasons ranging from medical issues to concern for the planet’s population. It really doesn’t matter why you don’t have kids, but people need to stop shaming those that don’t. I recently told Mark that I am asked more if I have kids than any other question, and he was shocked. He rarely gets asked about his kids, and when he does it’s usually by women who have them. I am asked how many kids I have before I am asked what I do for a living. It is assumed, since I am a woman in her 30s, that I have children. I have seen people react with great surprise when they learn I do not.
What’s worse is asking why. People ask WHY we don’t have kids. Like it’s unheard of to decide you’re not suited to that lifestyle. Or worse, what if you have a medical reason for not having children? How dare strangers ask you about that? I have actually had women tell me that as a female, it is our responsibility to procreate. That is as offensive to the woman who can’t have a baby as it is to the woman who doesn’t want one. Sometimes I wonder if the women who get all up in arms about me not being a mother really wanted to be one in the first place. It all has a very “misery loves company” kind of vibe, and you don’t get to pull me down with your mistakes, lady.
In conclusion, parenthood isn’t for me. Step-parenthood, I’m pretty good at. I just never really wanted to create a child, I guess. I like to take care of the kids I work with. I like to take care of the kiddos. I liked taking care of Bernie. Still, I have no desire to procreate. And as the years keep passing, I don’t think that desire will manifest itself.
So today I will make a cup of tea and clean the house, and it will be nice because for once I won’t be doing it alone, and I will appreciate the kiddos for their love and help and every way they brighten my day. But I will also spend time by myself, because that’s how I recharge, and I will update my blog and go about my life, because I don’t have some small and helpless being to attend to. I don’t really care if other women think I am less than them because of it, because they don’t know my life. The decisions we make should be our own, and no one should tell us how to live our lives