AND in my mid thirties.
I know! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! (and also, my womb!)
I love my life. I laugh a LOT. I’m happy. So why is this considered a FAIL?
Society screams it at me every day… I’m *supposed* to be with someone, and be raising a family, by now. SURELY! And because I’m not, there must be something wrong?
Funny thing is, I’m actually completely happy being single, and childless. (I can see you now, rolling your eyes in the ‘she doesn’t know what she’s missing’ type of way. And maybe I don’t, but I’m ok with that. Because I don’t know what I’m missing…)
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say I don’t like the idea of a cutesy dude by my side. (Especially one who brings me cups of tea.) And, I do like kids.
I love hanging with short people. Especially ones like this…
But I just don’t want any kids of my own. And that’s not a new thought for me, it’s just been something I’ve mostly left unspoken because of the (strong) reaction you get when you make a statement like that.
And before you throw your laptop across the room and rant about me to your partner, let me expand on this just a little…
I love kids. Truly. I do. If you know me, you’d know that. I’ve worked with kids since I can remember. I wanted to be a teacher from way back when I was in primary school, and I’ve worked on and off in various child care roles since I was fourteen. I’ve worked in after school care, I’ve taught, I’ve baby sat, I’ve nannied, I’ve worked with foster kids, and kids in crisis. I’ve been around.
At this point, I don’t want to be a parent.
It’s not a *weird* thing. And it’s not because of anything in particular that I’ve seen or done. It just is what it is. Sometimes, things are, just because they are. Because that’s me.
And yet, it is a massive tension to live with. And I vacillate. I try to make myself want it. And I swing between the two extremes. Of knowing that I don’t want it, and trying to live like I do want it. Because the expectation set before me is that of COURSE I’d WANT to be married. And of COURSE surely I’d be desperate for kids. You couldn’t possibly be whole and happy and complete without that.
Funny thing is, as marvellous and amazing as those things are(and I’m honestly happy for my friends and family who enjoy being married and having kids, and believe me, I LOVE being around them, and most of the time I do wish I wanted those things), I think you can be whole and happy and complete without that…
Maybe that’s just me… but I think I’m not completely alone.
These are the discussions I’ve been having with a number of friends these days. And as we’ve delved a little, we’ve discovered some of us are in similar situations, with similar thinking.
And yet, none of us say these things out loud. BECAUSE WHAT WOULD PEOPLE THINK? Society has pre-determined who we should be, and the roles we should fill, and there’s a massive unspoken(and sometimes spoken!) expectation on us to fulfil those roles appropriately.
And when we don’t, it couldn’t possibly mean that maybe we (as specific individuals) are not meant to fit that particular mould, but rather, it’s deducted that there must be something wrong with us. Instead of us just being people without kids, there’s a weird stigma attached.
One friend wrote “So yeah marriage, babies – not my thing. And I’m starting to voice more things that are not my thing. As none of us have that long to live, why not live true?”
And, as another friend wrote in an email last week, “Just imagine ‘So Aunty Doris, I hear your older sister died last week, must be your turn next hey?’, may not go down so well.” And so we smile and nod(and inwardly grimace) when ‘Aunty Doris’ says “don’t worry dear, you’ll be next” at our sibling’s wedding…
I was once again left worrying for women who do not have children – either by choice or by circumstance. How do they cope in the face of the overwhelming juggernaut of parenting PR? Anyone who has watched a friend or relative struggle with IVF or other fertility issues undoubtedly knows the answer to that question. And so this week I have been asking: where are the narratives about women and men who are not, and never will be, parents? Where is the happy ending which doesn’t have kids in it?
Happy endings CAN look different for all of us.
This is where I’m at. This is simply just a post about where I’m at.
Sometimes, things are, just because they are.