There is an imaginary rule book, no, wait- an engraved stone out there that “they” wrote. Nobody knows who “they” are and nobody questions the rules on the imaginary stone tablet. Why not? And don’t you dare go and break one of these sacred rules, or you’ll be viewed as weird or different. After all, if we were meant to be different, we would have each popped out of our mothers’ bellies with our own individualized rule book in hand. I, for one, am declaring the need to throw out this archaic book and write a new one!
As young children, we are raised on great old stories of princesses, castles, Prince Charming, and happily-ever-after. There’s nothing wrong with this idea… I could be a princess, and even pretend as though I couldn’t survive without Prince Charming, if he was charming enough. I always had a problem with the happily-ever-after part. What does that mean? Society answered that question for me soon enough in life.
From the time I was in kindergarten, I knew I was different. At recess time my friends and I would go running off to the far reaches of the playground to play house. Everyone always fought over who got to play the mommy. I was the easiest to get along with because I was content to play one of the kids or perhaps the cool aunt coming to visit. My friends thought I was nuts and would occasionally offer up the sacrifice of the mommy role, but I refused the position. My need to play somebody’s “mommy” was as great as my need for an age-fighting facial cream at that time. I was five! I just wanted to be a kid. I had a great imagination and made an awesome horse, princess, singer, teacher, or space explorer. “Mommy,” however, was not on my resume.
Now that I am in my early thirties, “Mommy” is still not on my resume, and I am happy to leave it off.
Here are your possible reactions to that statement: you, the reader, either wish I was standing in front of you right now so you can throw the book at me; you are the intellectual type who feels I would make an interesting case study; you are tilting and shaking your sympathetic head to the side as you read this, thinking, “What a shame”; or a quiet voice in your head is whispering, “I know what you mean, but don’t tell anyone.” This blog is for the last type of person, though if you care to delve into my psyche to figure out what is wrong with me, go right ahead. We’re all a little crazy anyway, aren’t we?
One thing I have come to accept is that as you grow up, there are certain questions which others are required to ask. As soon as you get married, they line up to ask when you plan on having kids. My usual reply at first was, “I don’t really know. I guess when we’re ready.” To this, the most common responses were, “Well, Sweetie, you have plenty of time,” or the all-knowing, *insert giggle lead in here* “Nobody is ever really ready,” to which I would answer right back, *insert mocking giggle here* “Then I guess I won’t ever have any.” Usually the initial response to that is what I like to call “the fly trap.” You know, mouth agape, eyes the size of bowling balls. I could usually shock a person just long enough with that to walk away before he/she could come up with another well meaning, but unwanted response. How silly of me not to realize that perfect strangers are, of course, experts on my fertility and ability to raise a child.
I also love how through the passing of time, complete strangers, and new acquaintances become more pushy about non-newlyweds having babies. They feel I still have time… but not as much. These ones almost had me fooled, for a while. After all, it is the natural order of things, and it is one of our rights, no- one of our obligations in life to procreate, filling the world up with little images of ourselves. People begin to actually argue about it, trying to guilt me into baby submission. That is when I hold on stronger than ever and back up my stand with evidence.
One simple assault is the numbers game. The world is getting ever more populated and I don’t think with some women out there popping out up to seventeen kids that I need to add to that mass chaos.
Another great defense is the use of one of my favorite song lyrics ever from “Flagpole Sitter” by Harvey Danger. It says, “I’ve been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding.” The problem is, if I bring my own child into this mess, he/she will be contaminated by all the others!
One of the most charming none of your business questions I hear is, “How can you be a teacher if you don’t like kids?” I never said I didn’t like them- I just said I don’t want my own! Other people’s kids are great. Way to jump to conclusions and stereotypes!
The more I can shock or appall people, the easier I find I can get them to leave me alone. I’m not a bad person. My reasons for not wanting a child are legitimate… but they are MY REASONS, and they are not up for debate with others who are not… well… ME!
I’ve even been attacked with the accusation that because my husband and I are on the more attractive and intelligent side of the scale, we are selfish for NOT having kids. How can I express my view on this without offending anyone? Like ripping off a band-aid, I guess. Here goes. I feel people having kids are on the selfish side. Yep, I said it. There are somewhere around 132 million orphans in this world (#’s from UNICEF in 2008), so why are people still insisting on carbon copies of themselves? We could improve the lives of these kids who already exist if we could just reach out and love someone else’s kids.
This is what I want to do some day.