This is a post about how I don’t want children, and my reasons for that. And this is apparently a problem for society – as well as possibly my marriage. I have put this on here because I needed to get my thoughts out onto paper, so I can pick at them and reconsider them. It is rather heavy going, and I won’t blame you if you don’t read it.
I also ask anyone who is in a situation where this may be a sore point (e.g. if you want kids but are unable to have them for whatever reason) – Do not judge me for the content in this post. Please do not comment and tell me how horrible I am for having my views. I hear enough of that in real life, I do not need to hear it on here. If you feel that you will not be able to help yourself in commenting in a nasty/outraged way, please stop reading now. I will not think worse of you for it.
My personal opinion of children is that they are cute and all, but I have no desire for my own. None at all. I like going home to my child-free house, and spending time with Hubby and my cat. I will happily babysit and spoil all my nieces and nephews, and all my friends’ kids, and I love the kids, but I am pretty sure I love them more for being able to give them back at the end of the time.
I certainly am a long way from being a patient person, and I don’t think I have any maternal instincts in the slightest. I have a volatile temper (to put it lightly). I hate feeling smothered, I couldn’t STAND to have someone who needed me 24/7 (a clingy adult is enough to send me running for the hills) and that’s exactly what a baby needs. I can’t even begin to work out how I’ll cope with needing to be there to do everything for a small screaming human.
Everyone has said to me when I’ve said I don’t want kids that I’d change my mind by the time I’m in my mid-20s, and my “biological clock” kicks in. Well I’m here now and it hasn’t. I’m personally not particularly bothered by this fact.
But this is where we run into difficulties.
Hubby wants kids. He’s ALWAYS wanted kids. He’s great with them, and he as all the parental instincts that I seem to lack.
I am still not sure if he really has a concept of what he’d be getting himself into by having his own kids – he says he does because he was still living at home while his sister was there with her first kid.
I’M REASONABLY SURE HE HAS NO IDEA. He was not expected to do anything with the kid except for occasional babysitting. I don’t think he’s ever changed a nappy in his life, and he certainly hasn’t been the person in charge of such fun things as feeding, bathing, or dressing them. And he sleeps like the dead. He reckons Nephew never cried during the night – which is not true. I have it from his sister that Nephew did INDEED cry at night, a lot. He can’t even change the kitty litter without dry-retching – and the last time I had a vomiting bug, I had to clean up all the buckets myself because the first time he tried he also vomited, and refused to do it again after that.
A lot of you are probably asking how I could claim to know more than him if I haven’t had kids of my own either.
I am the oldest out of 5 kids, in a blended family (1 full sister, 2 stepbrothers, 1 half-sister). My half-sister is 15 years younger than me. I was in Grade 11 when she was born, and I had quite a large hand in her care, because I was the only one of my siblings who lived there full-time (the other 3 visited their respective parents about half the time). My Mum was quite unwell after she had HS, and I was the only one around to help her out (Stepfather was a douche. He is no longer my stepfather – if you get my drift). I fed, bathed, changed, you name it – I have done everything. I was woken in the middle of the night by a crying baby, because for whatever reason nothing would calm her down. She was clingy, she wanted to spend all her time with either me or Mum. I still got to get out of the house by going to school and work – Mum was a full-time SAHM. She was stuck at home, because 5 kids + a huge house + a clean freak = not a lot of free time.
For the entirety of Grade 11 & 12, I was one half of a parenting pair. And my experiences have not made me want to do it myself any more that I did before that point.
Maybe my personal experiences have influenced how I view ‘motherhood’ – they have been very much geared towards the ‘traditional’ roles, with the ‘father figures’ never actually having much to do with looking after the kids.
This is not what I want for my life. I am all for equality, and it frustrates the hell out of me when certain misogynistic people I know treat me as less knowledgable/intelligent/capable just because of what I have in my pants. Case in point – working on one of the cars the other day, one of the younger people in our team (read ‘newly joined, 18, MALE’) told me I should be over with the other girls painting the car, because I didn’t know anything about the mechanics of a vehicle. I call BS – I’ve been working on these cars for 7 years now, and I actually know more than he does. I told him where to shove it and stayed right where I was, much to his annoyance. He spent the rest of the day trying to ‘prove’ that I didn’t know anything – which only ended up proving that HE is a dick with no respect for women.
I am very intelligent. I am good at maths and science, and I enjoy them. I love cars (working on them and racing them). I also love all things sparkly & shiny, 50s rockabilly style dresses/skirts, polka dots, high heels, and making people’s hair pretty. I am blonde and a little ditzy & clumsy sometimes, but I know my shit. And don’t you ever tell me I don’t.
And because of all of this, I am now at a crossroads.
I know Hubby will be a better parent that I ever could. We have already had this conversation before, and our agreement is that he will be the stay-at-home parent. Because he actually wants to do that, and I couldn’t think of a worse hell. I will work, because as a doctor I will have a far greater earning capacity than he ever would, unless he goes out to the mines for work. But somehow, I still have this fear that I’m going to be left dealing with any kids that we may have on my own. I’m also insanely worried about PND (my history of depression means I’m much more likely to suffer from it). And what do I do if my feelings towards having kids DON’T change, like everyone says they will? (Everyone says “it’s different when it’s your own kids” when I express my lack of ability to deal with little ones for more than a few hours at a time.) What about my temper? Will I turn into my Dad when I get mad? (I definitely get my temper from his side of the family – and as a kid I was regularly hit if I did something wrong. Or even just when he was annoyed and I was playing too loudly. Or when I walked in front of the TV while he was watching the news.)
Hubby says that because I’m actually worried about these things, it means I won’t be like that because I’m aware of those things. From doing psychology, I know that it isn’t the case for some of them. There will be very little I can do if I end up with PND, and also if I still feel the same way about kids. Those are things I can’t change. I can pretend that none of it is happening, and hide behind a mask and act like I’m a ‘normal’ loving parent – but I couldn’t keep up the facade 24/7, even though I would have to, and that stress would probably make my temper even worse.
But somewhere along the way, despite all this, I’m leaning towards having kids anyway. Not because I want them myself, but because Hubby wants kids and I want him to be happy. Which seems to me to be a pretty stupid reason, but at the same time a really good reason. And then there’s the little voice that is questioning whether I would be doing that because I’m worried that he’d leave if we didn’t have kids. Which really IS a stupid reason to have kids – having kids doesn’t mean that divorce won’t happen. I know that for a fact. But not having kids doesn’t mean it will, either. Which all just leads back to the original thought – I don’t want kids. I have no desire for them. Hubby does. GUILT GUILT GUILT. Should I stick by my own views, or swallow my pride and do it for him? What will happen if I do one or the other? Rinse and repeat thought cycle.
I do have a little while yet to sort out my thoughts on the matter though – I have put my foot down and said that we will not be having kids until I’m finished at uni, unless there is some mitigating circumstances (e.g. we win the lottery and Hubby can quit his job). It’s going to be quite a while before I’m finished (along the lines of at least 5 years, maybe more) so I’ve got time to sort out my thoughts on the matter.