The other day, a blogger wrote a story for HuffPo about "borrowing" her fiance's sister's 2-year-old niece for the weekend. The newly engaged writer, Natacha Hildebrand, wasn't sure she wanted kids; her partner did, so they agreed on playing babysitter for the weekend to try the whole mommy-and-daddy situation out. Much hilarity and silliness ensued. And by the end of the weekend, the couple (luckily) agreed -- yayyyyyy kids! They BOTH want 'em -- just not for another 5 years or so.
After reading the story, I couldn't help but think "lucky bitch!" -- not because the writer got to "borrow" an adorable 2-year-old, but because at least now she KNOWS, one way or the other. See, I'm in the same boat she was in pre-baby-borrowing: I HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER I WANT KIDS, and I really never have.
Growing up, I never once longed for little ones. I'm just naturally not that maternal; I've never felt that primal nurturing Thing when it comes to small humans. (I have it with animals WAY more than kids). I can walk past children on the sidewalk (even infants!) without experiencing even the faintest shiver of a desire to smile or coo or make stupid faces. (Sometimes this makes me feel like a bit of a freak or a Bad Person, truthfully, but that's a different post.)
Another reason I've never been sure about kids: I've always been, well, kind of selfish (sad, true), and the concept of sharing not just my life but my BODY with a tiny, needy, wormy little parasite scared the crap out of me. So much pressure and expectation! YOU MEAN I HAVE TO USE MY MONEY TO DRESS THEM AND FEED THEM AND DRIVE THEM AROUND AND SEND THEM TO SCHOOL AND PRETEND TO CARE WHEN THEY FALL DOWN AND/OR CRY AND/OR SPILL THINGS? The horrorrrr!
Still, as I reached my twenties, my tune started changing a tiny bit. MAYBE I'd have kids one day, I thought ... but only if they were girls. (That was right around the time when two different psychics helpfully informed me that I'd eventually have twins. BOY twins. AHHHHHHH THE HORROR -- IT'S REAL.)
Of course, a bunch of my friends started having kids in their late twenties and early thirties. I hoped that witnessing their burgeoning maternal connections with their powdery little nuggets of bottomless need would help nudge me in one direction or the other, to spawn or not to spawn. The problem? I feel nudged in different directions on a daily -- sometimes hourly -- basis. When I hang out with my friend E, who has an adorable, smart, funny, well-behaved daughter, I feel like I'd be doing myself a massive disservice if I never had that crazy, beautiful, life-changing experience of being a parent. (Bonus: maybe being a mom would naturally help make me a bit less selfish, less consumed with dumb shit like when he's going to call and how to best clear up bouts of bacne). But when I hang out with another friend, J, I feel … the exact opposite. Her son's constant tantrums and tears and throwing and kicking? Do not want. (Though I do think I'd be better adept at handling my own kids' drama than other kids,' even if those kids belong to my close friends.)
I'd love to say I have oodles of time to figure it all out, but I don't. At 36, I fear my window is drying up; I might not be able to afford waiting a few more years to make a decision on this. Then again, I have no partner, so it's not like I have much of a choice -- I'm not sure I'm up for the whole single-mom situation. I used to think I'd try it if I got to age 38 or 39 with no dude in sight, but now that I'm creeping up on 37, the idea of going it alone when it comes to something as massive and monumental as parenthood completely freaks me out. Sure, my mom could help. But … still. So expensive, and so much WORK. (Of course, adoption is always an option, though I have mixed feelings about it, being adopted myself -- again, a complicated subject for another post). That said, the idea of definitively missing out on my chance to have kids also freaks me out, so I dunno; it's a bind.
Anyway, when/how did you know (IF you know) whether you wanted to have kids? Please discuss.