“No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life.”
~Dr. Shad Helmstetter
There I said it: I'm not, and will not be, a Mom. If that indeed make me less of a woman, then so be it. No I do not hate kids, I find whiny kids with no manners annoying. I love the sound of kids playing, I love to play with kids, I think I could be a good mother, and I think my husband would be a fantastic father. I have half convinced myself of the contrary because I know motherhood isn't in my future, so why torture myself?
You see, I married a man who has always been very clear from day one that kids were not part of his future. He doesn't want the stress and responsibilities that come with having kids. He even resisted to having a dog, for the same reason. He absolutely adores Grace, but he made it clear that once Grace is gone, another dog wasn't a priority. It's not like he surprised me on our wedding day with "Oh by the way we're not going to have kids". He's always been very clear and upfront about it and I decided when we first "got serious" that I could live with that.
Now in my late 30s, with the biological clock ticking loudly, I have my moments where I worry I might be passing on something big. I know I am, but I made the decision to accept it. I love my husband deeply, and would not dream of leaving him. I know what I was getting into from the get go, so it would be unfair of me to try and change his mind now. What's left? A friend of mind suggested "accidentally" getting pregnant on the idea that he would not walk if that happened. I know he wouldn't, but even the thought that it could be an option for anybody boggles the mind. It's so many kind of wrong, I can't even imagine doing something like that.
The thing is, I don't need to. Yeah I'm probably missing something, but it's my choice, and really I can live with it. It's everybody around me who seem to have a problem with it. I get very tired of the whole "You don't know what's you're missing" or "You're going to regret this one day", not to mention the little condescending looks and comments I get every time the subject of kids come up. I know in the mind of some people around me, I'm much less of a woman because I don't have kids. I sure loved the "You don't teach, you don't have kids, what good are you?"
I also get very tired of people explaining everything I do away with "Oh well, you don't have kids". As if that simple fact took all value out of every one of my achievements.
- I lost weight: Oh well, you didn't have to deal with a post-pregnancy body.
- I work out: You don't have kids in the way.
- I like to experiment with cooking: Yeah, but you don't have to deal with picky kids.
- I make lunchboxes: You wouldn't have time to do this if you had kids.
- I see a show: You didn't have to find a baby sitter.
- I blog: Without kids you have too much time on your hands.
Tell me, if kids are that much of a bother, why on earth are you trying so hard to convince me to have some? Truly I understand that there are things I will never experience. I will never have the joy of holding my newborn in my arms, to see the first smile, the first steps. I will never have the pride of my kid doing well at something. I will never have a "Thank you Mom" from a graduating son or daughter of mine. I am keenly aware of that, but not having kids also have advantages.
I talked about the joys I will miss, but what about the worries? I will never have a teenager wrap my car around a tree. I will never wake up at 3am to realize that my 14 years old hasn't made it home yet. I will never have the cops come to my door to explain that my kid did... I will never have to try to figure out a kid who doesn't understand himself/herself and keep them on the right track in the face of all the eye rolls, the "I hate you!" and the "Whatev!". I will never have to sit in front of a teacher to hear something like "Your kid is full of potential but is headed toward disaster". I will never have to explain to the love of my life that, yeah I know you worked hard to make the team, but we can't afford it just now. The list goes on, and on...
On a more selfish side of things, my apartment is mine. If I want to have sex on the kitchen counter at 2 in the afternoon, I can. I will not traumatize anyone for life by doing so. If I want to walk around naked, I can. All I have to do is close the blinds. If we want to sleep in, nobody is up at 5:30 wailing for breakfast (ok, the cats are, but they have learned to get lost and wait). If we want to go out, we crate the dog and go. It is illegal, immoral and just plain wrong to crate your kids.
On a practical standpoint, if we both lose our jobs, all we have to do is pack up and leave. We don't have to worry about schools, feeding kids, anything. It's just us we have to worry about, and we're both fully grown, educated and resourceful, thus we are both part of the solution rather than added baggage. Financial breakdown means the two of us have to start over, it doesn't mean that we just destroyed an offspring chance for the dreamed of future.
I do love kids, I do think I could have been a good mother and that my husband would have been a great father. We chose differently. It was our choice to make, and we are living with the pros and the cons of that decision. Yes, every time a friend has a baby and shares the pictures, joys, stories, I get a little sad, and I wonder for a moment if I made the right choice. When I play with my 3 years old nephew, or watch him play the guitar (that is freakin' hilarious!) on Skype, I wonder if a little crazy of my own would make my life richer.
Whatever I'm losing by not having kids, I'm gaining by having my husband in my life, by having time and freedom to do things that would be much harder to do if I had kids. I don't have the love of a little one, but I also don't have the worries, the responsibilities of someone's future other than my own.
Oh, and I think that being a woman is much more than popping out kids. At 37 years old I don't think I have to justify myself and yet somehow I am.
I'm not a Mom, that is true, but I'm all woman honey! So there!