Just another rambling fool at WordPress.com

Moms

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(Mom)

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I’m not a mom. By choice. I never woke up one day feeling like my life wouldn’t be complete unless I reproduced. I never once felt “maternal” instinct or drive or whatever it was that tripped that trigger that made people feel like they needed to go with the norm and have kids. I didn’t get it. Even though all my friends were getting married and having kids I never felt compelled to do the same. It wasn’t rebellion. Well, maybe at first it was, but sheer rebellion couldn’t compete with endless peer pressure and the ethnic expectation to make babies. No, it was something more. It was an innate knowledge that I just didn’t have what it took to hang in there for the long haul, to set aside my worries and fears that my own misspent youth would somehow transpose to whatever get I might create.

It’s ironic that someone so confident and self-assured would fear child-rearing. It’s not like it’s rocket science or anything. And it’s no reflection on my own mother and the job she did raising her family.  I had a great mom! Not perfect, but without a doubt she was a great mom! And the older I get the more I see all the things my mother did right instead of all the things I was afraid of doing wrong. I miss my mother. And sometimes I miss what might have been. But not enough to wish I could go back and change things.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those Moms out there who are trying to get that shit right. You rock.

6 responses

  1. That is a beautiful photo of your mother.

    May 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    • Thank you! My mother was a cute little girl. Interestingly enough, several decades later she knit the very same dress she’s wearing in this picture for my youngest sister! I think I still have the pattern in her old knitting basket. Thanks for stopping by!

      May 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM

  2. I’m right there with you. I never had that “oh my god, I’m nothing if I don’t have babies” instinct. Babysitting taught me what I needed to know about caring for infants, it also taught me that I never wanted children.I was lucky to have a wonderful mother who taught me ‘the facts of life’ at a very early age. I KNEW how babies were made.
    I never thought of ‘wanting babies’ as ‘innate knowledge’.. but you are so very right. I don’t have it. When someone brings a new baby into a gathering, I’m hanging back with the guys while the other women are all oohing and ahhing and wanting to cuddle the baby. Do I want to hold the baby? No thanks. The baby is noisy, it smells, it leaks from every orifice and you might not take it back.
    Does this make me wierd? Does this make me ‘strange”? If so…….I embrace it. No, I enjoy it. I am happily childless. I don’t hear it so often anymore, but I used to hear “If you don’t have children, who’s going to take care of you in your old age?” to which I answered, and still do…’the old folks home, just like 99% of all the rest of the old people.” (only now it’s called Senior Living.)

    May 12, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    • It really is a mixed bag, isn’t it? As a teenager I was terrified of infants and not particularly thrilled about toddlers. I was traumatized during a babysitting gig when the baby wouldn’t stop crying and I finally had to call my mother to come rescue me. I was afraid I might lose my cool and actually hurt the child. Mom showed up minutes later and I went home, never to babysit anyone again except my own siblings. (Ha! Proof that beating on your own siblings is not only Kosher, but perfectly acceptable when done as a babysitter!) That pretty much put me off thinking about having my own kids. That’s not to say I dislike children. I like them, I just feel horribly inept when it comes to caring for their needs. And since I considered myself a screwed up kid, I didn’t want to risk emotionally damaging some poor kid that didn’t ask to be born. Of course now I’m much older and I don’t feel nearly as inadequate or screwed up, but that ship has already sailed. I will have to admit I’ve been going to a lot of funerals lately and the one thing I’ve observed is how much comfort an adult child can be to a newly widowed parent. In that sense it does sort of make me go “hmmmm.” Not that every child is going to be there for their parents. I get that. But the ones who are can make life worth living for the surviving parent. Since we don’t have children I sometimes think about that. What’s the song say? “One is the loneliest number that you ever knew.” And then there’s the whole grandchildren thing. I’ve seen how much grandchildren can mean to the older generation. Again, while I don’t get that on a personal level, grand-kids can be priceless to them. I dunno. I know this sounds like the easy way out, but if I could have just snapped my fingers and known I would have that perfect child then maybe I would have signed up for it. But nobody gets off that easy. So call me lazy or call me chicken or call me whatever you want, but kudos to those who were (and are) willing to take that plunge.

      May 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      • Oh, and another thing. Not having a shred of maternal instinct is almost impossible to explain to those who have it. Everything I’ve ever said in an attempt to explain it comes out sounding like a pathetic excuse. But it’s not. Like you, when I held a baby or looked at children I didn’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling come over me. Again, that’s not to say I don’t like holding a baby (once I get over the fear and ineptness) or that it doesn’t feel neat interacting a with a child, but the experience is just that: holding a baby and interacting with a child. It never made me picture myself being a mom or made me think it was something I was born to do. Mostly, it just felt like anything else I’ve ever done: Gardening. Baking cookies. Riding a good horse. I know that sounds REALLY cold, but the point is that I was distinctly aware of the fact that being with children DIDN’T make me feel like it obviously felt to other women. I don’t know if that makes any sense or not, but it did to me and I chose to listen to that inner voice instead of barging ahead, then having to force a child (and me) to pay for that mistake for the rest of our lives.

        May 12, 2014 at 12:49 PM

  3. A big ditto to all of the above comments, plus, in my case, I felt daunted by the thought of never again just being yourself, but always responsible for someone else, fear of something going awfully wrong with or for a child which was beyond my ability to help – and then the prospect of all the necessary domesticity: meals, washing, childrens’ games, school stuff …… Contemporaries who were Mums in their 20s and 30s spent half their time persuading me I ought to join their number and the other half envying me my freedom! Yes, I may sound cold, uncaring and selfish, but actually I think I’m the opposite. I didn’t want to reproduce the frustrating relationship I had with my mother and I’ve saved some poor, potential human from having me as a mother! (Luckily my husband has never been inclined to parenthood either.)

    May 12, 2014 at 5:29 PM

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