This post inspired by Ooph and her Monday’s Mother post this week. I realized after leaving a too long comment there that perhaps I should put those thoughts together more completely here 🙂
Yes, I’m a mom. And a blogger. So I guess that makes me a mommy blogger though I thoroughly chafe at that label.
I honestly never wanted to be a mom.
I was not like all the other girls growing up who dreamed of having babies and who babysat other kids as soon as they were old enough. If anything, I cringed at the thought of taking care of one of those screaming, stinky, wiggly things.
In high school when they showed the infamous “birthing video” in science glass my “oh hell no” reaction was deep. I was very much into visualizing my future (Ok, let’s be real and say I was a day dreamer) and I visualized the hell out of me being a traveling business woman. A potential husband was tolerable, maybe even desirable, but kids NEVER entered those fantasies.
Then life said “HAAA HA!” (you really gotta think of the Pee Wee Herman laugh when reading that)
Motherhood was dropped on my lap at the age of 20. I like to think of it as the “ripping off the bandaid” method of starting off parenthood. I know at some point I thought to myself quite clearly “Well, fuck it, Let’s Do This!” as if I was going into battle. Of course, I was really. All those teenage visualizations vanished because I had to get through a nasty little thing called reality. And it was harsh.
Music Man’s dad was useless, no, he was detrimental to the process for the entire four years I was with him. And that’s all I need to say about that. Just trust me on that.
My parent’s did their best & were my only lifeline to sanity, but there was still only so much they could do. They couldn’t be there every day.
None of my friends were doing this of course. No, I always have to be the rebellious trailblazer (yippee!). They were all off to college & parties.
There was no internet. (gawd, can you imagine – no internet!)
Come to think of it. This wasn’t the “Ripping the bandaid off” method this was the “Let’s throw you head first *with* your new baby into the ocean complete with rip currents” method.
But it was good. I figured it out. WE – my son & I – figured it out. And well, it was not so bad. In fact when life had smoothed out a bit and I took a chance on a second marriage I actually *wanted* to do it again. Of course, I suck at the whole marriage thing & so I am back to doing things on my own but it’s nothing like before. His dad IS pulling his weight. I *do* have a community of moms in real life AND on the internet to walk the path with me.
And yet – I still don’t LOVE kids. Sometimes I don’t even like them. The older my youngest son gets, the less tolerant I am of other people’s kids younger than him. They don’t scare me. I don’t avoid them. But I am still not a natural with them by any means. Co-workers bring their new babies & I perform properly. Ooh. Aaah. But I sure as heck don’t reach out to hold the new little bundle.
I also don’t tell childless women that they NEED to be a mom to understand. That it’s the Best Thing Ever and they Have To Do It or they Wont Be Complete or some such nonsense. Bull shit! Nothing pisses me off more than to hear lines like that! After my second divorce and once I had started dating SP, the questions immediately started: “When are going to get married and have ANOTHER baby?” WTF? Seriously? WHY WHY and, um WHY? I was 36 and had been a mom since I was 20 and I needed to reset the clock again WHY? Because somehow my relationship with SP wouldn’t be whole unless we had kids together?? If I was 46 you wouldn’t even be asking me that question! Why, because I was still of child bearing age, did people – No, check that, not people – Other WOMEN – project that onto me? And it was never phrased as “Do you want to?” It was always “When are you going to?” Gah!!!
So this is my feminist, you don’t have to be a mother rant. I hope no one raises their daughter to think that their life wont be whole without a child. That they must reproduce to be a real woman. I hope our generation of moms is turning that tide. I know we’ve gotten better about not fighting the mommy wars. About supporting each other whether we work or not, whether we do it on our own or not.
Motherhood IS awesome and IS one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. To ME. I don’t have ego enough to project that proclamation on anyone else. If you want kids, have them. If you don’t, then don’t. If you are waffling & are not sure & think that your apprehension about being around kids means you shouldn’t have them, well, that’s not so cut & dried. I think it is completely possible to love your own kids & be a fantastic, dedicated mom, but still not necessarily like the rest of the planet’s progeny.
Oh, and yes, referring back to Ooph’s friend’s question: Poo is still poo 🙂
Bravo. AND. I totally relate to the early 20’s, only one having a kid, here we go- let’s do this, thing.
I have such mixed reactions about motherhood. I love it. Sometimes I want to do again and other times I’m SO glad I only have one. Being a parent is not for everyone. And I’m with you on other people’s kids!
Thank you for being a voice of reason. Sometimes it feels like a damn war between the mommies and those of us who chose not to have children. Like you, I never had the warm and fuzzies when it comes to kids. I didn’t have dolls, I had stuffed animals. I didn’t babysit. We didn’t have an extended family, so, since I was the youngest of 2 in our family, I never had to deal with babies, small children, etc. growing up. As an adult, I don’t have a lot of mommy friends. We just run in other circles. But, sometimes from the dialogue you see online, you would think we’re on different planets with no understanding whatsoever of each other. It’s frustrating and sad that women can’t be more supportive of other women and their choices.
I have such a mish mash of friends. Since I got involved in political blogging, I’ve particularly made a lot of ‘child free’ ones. Of course there is sometimes the typical fighting even there – getting called a ‘breeder’ is pretty darn offensive but hey, I made a choice too, right? I am sure it helps that my parents *were* pretty adamant about waiting until they were older & then also only having one. They knew their limits. We lived next door to a child free couple for many years & that seemed perfectly normal to me. It would never occur to me to give anyone a hard time about any of this!
I don’t think I wanted children either. Of course once my son was here I never wanted to be without him. I am so attracted to babies though. I can’t get enough of them. I love children and their innocence. My son is the light of my life. It’s hard to be seven states away from him. The apron strings have been severed though and we’re surviving.
“If you want kids, have them. If you don’t, then don’t. If you are waffling & are not sure & think that your apprehension about being around kids means you shouldn’t have them, well, that’s not so cut & dried.”
Exactly. This seems so obvious to me, too; it’s hard for me to understand why some people think it should be up to them to tell other people whether or not they should have children!
Unlike you, I did babysit, and I always liked children. But I had no intention of having kids of my own–or getting married–until I met the man who is now my husband. Basically, after we’d been together for a few years, we came to the conclusion that any kids we might give birth to would probably be pretty interesting, and it would be more convenient for all of us if we got married first. It was a great decision — FOR US.
I have numerous women friends who don’t have children, either because they didn’t want to or they couldn’t or the timing just didn’t work out for them. They are doctors, engineers, teachers, environmentalists, activists, musicians — all of them people who make the world a better place. Some of them like other people’s children a lot, some of them aren’t that interested. It doesn’t matter to me — I’m lucky that they’re my friends and that we have other things in common besides children. And I can’t imagine anyone trying to tell any of these women that their lives are somehow incomplete or lacking in meaning because they aren’t mothers.
Although I am a mother (as you know), I never pictured myself having children either. I was not the mommy type until I became a mother. And even then, I’m not all that mothering with other peoples children. For instance, I don’t rush to hold the baby when there is a baby to be held.
I have a mix of friends — some with children, some without. I love what you said:
“I hope no one raises their daughter to think that their life wont be whole without a child. That they must reproduce to be a real woman. I hope our generation of moms is turning that tide. I know we’ve gotten better about not fighting the mommy wars. About supporting each other whether we work or not, whether we do it on our own or not.”
Great post, I mean rant! 🙂
I have to quote you here, because it was just so, well perfect:
Motherhood IS awesome and IS one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. To ME. I don’t have ego enough to project that proclamation on anyone else. If you want kids, have them. If you don’t, then don’t.
Now if only we could apply that attitude to all those religious nutters out there 🙂