I have a friend from college that I keep up with on Facebook who recently made a post that has made me pause and think. She’s a well-educated, well traveled, attractive woman who comes from a good family, owns her own home and has two fur babies that she thinks the world of. But this lovely woman, who I’ll refer to in this post simply as C made a Facebook post recently about how she would like children, despite being childless and still single at 32 years of age. In typical fashion, I had to respond to her post with an uplifting message about how being childless isn’t necessarily a bad thing; being child-free, she has the opportunity to do what she wants, when she wants to do it and doesn’t have to worry about lugging her child/children with her along with bags filled with all of their accoutrements. She never has to worry about making arrangements for anyone to watch kids in order for her to be able to do anything, and best of all, she is free to travel unhindered whenever she likes.
But, I’ll admit, her post got me to thinking. Well, if I’m honest, it was her post and the fact that the weekend prior to reading it, I’d attended the wedding of a long time friend. I’m 31. I’m single, and seem to always fall into the pattern of single, not single, single, continue on ad nauseum. The truth of the matter is that at 31 years old, I’m not entirely certain what it is that I want. Of course, I’d like to meet someone who meshes well with me and who would be a good partner, but do I ever really want to get married again? And kids? Do I want kids?
In theory, I think marriage is a good idea. The main idea is that you meet someone who is your equal, your partner and your friend and you marry them to pair up and forever be linked. But I’ve done the marriage thing once, and it didn’t work out so good for me. Granted, I think when I got married, I had a skewed view of what marriage was going to be like. Which was weird because I’d been living with the guy that I married and I come from a family with two parents who are still married and, I believe, have set a good example of what marriage is. Also, I married a lying bastard and so maybe I should open my mind to the possibility of pairing up with someone who doesn’t possess that character flaw. The other aspect of marriage that makes me iffy is something that I’ve actually discussed with my dad. We as humans are still animals, and I think the concept of “forever” is tough for us to grasp. So, when we promise another person that we’ll be together forever, I think a lot of people don’t think about how hard being with someone until you die is actually going to be. Think about it: you go to bed with the same person every night and you wake up next to the same person every morning. That’s tough. That takes serious commitment.
When I allow myself to think about it, I struggle with the concept of having kids. I recently went away for a few days with one of my oldest friends and her little girl and it became evident that I simply don’t have the patience that having a child/children entails. Other reasons that parenthood might not be in the cards for me:
1) I value my sleep. And, if I don’t get enough of said sleep, I’m a real force to be reckoned with.
2) I have a rather short fuse when it comes to smart mouthed kids. I’m afraid I’d beat a kid mercilessly if I was put in the position.
3) I like to do what I want, when I want to do it. And I like being able to go where I want when the urge strikes. I like to do this unencumbered.
4) The idea of being responsible for anyone other than my self and my dog scares the hell out of me.
5) Kids are pretty gross. They pick their noses, spit out chewed food if they decided they don’t like it and are incapable of wiping their own bums for a good period of time.
6) I’m afraid my child would be either over fed or under fed. How does one know exactly how much to feed one’s child? There are no directions on the side of the food bag for this.
7) How does anyone ever know what size clothes their kid wears? My kid would perpetually wear ill-fitting clothes. Or trash bags.
8) Kids are expensive. They always need something.
9) I like peace and quiet and kids talk a lot. Like all the time. Kids are noisy, tiny little people who always can think of something to say.
10) I like to use colorful language. I like to say the words fuck, shit and goddamnit a lot. Some people believe that you can’t say any of my favorite words around kids because they’ll instantly repeat them in the most unfortunate circumstances.
11) Having a child requires having sex with someone who likes you. Or at least can tolerate you long enough to have sex with you. Or, if neither of those are an option, it requires having an expensive procedure. At this time, I don’t like anyone enough to have sex with them or have the money for said expensive procedure. This alone rules out having children.
Sure, sure, I know people say that when they have kids, things just come naturally. You’re able to magically know how much to feed them, what size clothes they wear and you develop this weird ability to totally tune out your noisy little gremlin while they mercilessly chatter away in the back seat on a long car drive. I’m told that somehow, some way, you’re able to afford said child once it arrives. I’m not really sure I actually believe any of this.
Now, with all of that said, I do actually turn into a pile of unrecognizable mush when I see a baby. I do love babies. I think I love them for a very few, select reasons:
1) They’re usually cute/pretty tiny little people who wear clothes that make them cuter/prettier.
2) They can’t talk back.
3) As long as they don’t have a load in their pants or have recently vomited all over themselves, I usually like the way babies smell.
4) When you hold someone else’s baby, you get to give it back.
Something in me says that if I ever meet “the right” guy, I’ll know whether or not I ever want to entertain the idea of marriage again, or the possibility of having children. But, the logical half of me says that I should have all of this figured out on my own before I meet anyone. Does everyone have this internal struggle on these issues, or is it just me? When someone asks me “Do you ever want to have kids?” or “Do you want to get married again?” should my response come from my gut; should it be an immediate, never hesitant, definitive yes or no? I’m not quite there yet, but I think with time and more thought, I’ll have a better idea of what exactly it is that I want when it comes to two of the biggest decisions of adulthood.