Sunday, April 01, 2007

Not for me, thanks

I am a Cancerian – supposedly the most maternal sign of the zodiac. I like the idea of astrology and agree that some of the traits do fit my vision of me: moody and emotional, a hard shell with a soft centre, a home lover. However, the maternal one leaves me cold.

I am not a mother and I have never wanted children. Perhaps that’s a white lie: when I was small I had a vague idea I would have a mini-me when I grew up – a small blonde-haired daughter who would adore me. But that wasn’t a phase that lasted long: I was a tomboy with no time for dolls.

Many of my friends have children. I am the godmother to one of them. When my friend told me that it meant if anything happened to her, I would have to take over the child, I blanched and almost backed out. Lucky, she is fit and well and the child will soon be old enough to stand on its own two feet.

My mother thinks I’m selfish for not wanting children. She says: “Who will look after you when you’re old?” I tell her I’ll look after myself, thank you, and it would be selfish to have a child simply to act as a carer. Knowing my luck, it would probably cart me off to a granny farm as soon as I started to dribble.

I am actually a lot better at relating to children than I used to be. In fact, I can deal very well with them by the time they reach nine or ten and can hold a conversation. However, I cannot cope with the screaming, tantruming, sick and smelly side of things.

I probably don’t have long to change my mind (which people always tell me I will), and the ticking clock is conspicuous by its absence. I shall stick to my cats and my horse, I think.

11 comments:

Sarnia said...

Your feelings are totally understandable. Not being an earth mother myself (mine have survived by benign neglect) I cannot get to grips with these Mummy angst types. Shudder.

Anonymous said...

sarnia - the benign neglect thing is probably good. my brother and i were just left to play, fight, and make up and 'it never did us any harm' etc.

eminem - swings and roundabouts - there are 6 billion people in the world, so for every person not having kids, someone else is having lots.

my sister has 4 which takes the pressure off somewhat. that said 'the biological clock' is more than the invention of lifestyle mags. In fact lifestyle mags are probably half the problem. if you haven't got a glamorous career, twenty plus boyfriends and a hectic social whirl you're a bit of a nobody.

Which is true from an advertiser's perspective, and hence capitalist mega corporations. If you are raising kids then you are not doing anything useful in their eyes as you not 'producing' and hence not going on expensive holidays, retail therapy weekends and spending huge amounts of wonga on looking 'ten years younger'.

Which is all very well, but for those that do want children, they find that Mother Nature designed it for youngish people.

But Gaia's revenge is to make sure that these over-consumers realise that they may have left it too late.

My personal view is that kids are great, 'but I couldn't eat a whole one'. This is mellowing into, 'Kids are fine, if you could take them back to Marks & Spencer if they weren't suitable'. Many of my nieces / nephews in the countryside are well educated, disciplined, considerate, intelligent and well-behaved. But what if one were to end up with one of the feral, ill disciplined little sh!ts that seem to inhabit the majority of our cities ?

Wife in the North should count herself lucky that she isn't bringing kids up in London.. Perhaps she would also do better sticking to cats and horses. Not sure, though, that you would be willing to swap places with her..

The Grocer said...

Ah, but you see when it's your own offspring producing the shit/puke/urine/mess/tantrum (insert as appropriate) it's not quite as bad, in fact it can be a little amusing.
I have a problem with other people's vomit but I can deal with the my own child's, at least long enough to put them outside till they've finished :)

Marianne said...

There's no one right way to live a life and whatever you choose will bring it's challenges. If you're happy as you are, why change it?

ziggi said...

the only trouble with not reproducing when you are an intelligent, healthy individual with a balanced mind and work ethic is that some dimwit is and in the end the lunatics will invariably take over the asylum!

Gill said...

I could never stand the horrible retching shrieking brats but suddenly it all changed when I was in my twenties. I really have no idea what happened.

mutterings and meanderings said...

How to alienate 80% of your readers in one easy step! :)

Seriously though, if everyone thought like me, there would be no children. If everyone didn't think like me, the land would sink into the sea...

Welcome along Marianne.

Ziggi - thanks for thinking I fall into the category of "intelligent, healthy individual with a balanced mind and work ethic". BTW, where's the witch gone? I liked her...

Anon, no, I wouldn't swap...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I have had children (mine only) poo in my hands and puke into my hands. I can understand why people don't want children.

I agree with most of what the Grocer said, but poo and puke in the hands...there's nothing amusing about that!

Gill said...

Karen crapping down the side of a disposable nappy into my boot was quite funny-but not at the time!

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

If that clock isn't ticking by now I doubt it ever will! So, you don't want children...so what? That's your decision and if it's right for you then that's great. I would never advise anyone to give something a try when the results could be so devastating for all concerned!

My mother is not naturally maternal and mummsy and although I do have younger siblings, I was the only one actually 'planned' for and then only under duress. She was in her late 20's when I arrived and this was in the 60's when there was much more pressure on women to produce, to produce early and to produce often. I think the only reason she did it was because of that pressure. Certainly I don't think she has enjoyed motherhood, suffered more like. That's not to say she hasn't been a good mother because she has and I do love her so but there have been tell tale signs down the years that this wasn't what she envisaged.

Me, I adore children and babies but that's the way I am. I was desperate to have children and had many problems along the way. However that doesn't mean that I think anyone who doesn't feel the same way is mad, bad or both. Thank goodness we are all different and want different things. I can't stand cats. Wouldn't hurt one but equally wouldn't have one in my house. Horses are OK though because they don't live in the house.

Vive le difference!

Karen said...

Sorry for pooping in your boot mum - I was such a skinny child! Ah how times have changed...

I am terrified of children. I think this is because I am an only child and all my younger cousins have been born in south Wales, Norway and Denmark - a long way away from Cumbria!

If someone comes into work or a friend has a baby I pray that they will not ask me to hold it! I always get baby stare when I am out though in supermarkets and such. They seem to be fascinated by me.

However, one summer I spent a lot of time with my little cousin Silke who was only a few months old at the time and she was a darling. I enjoyed playing with and holding her - although I was very glad that I could pass on to my mum, grandma, or mummy or daddy!

I used to say that I was going to be genetically modified so I could give birth to kittens instead of babies but now I am starting to come round to the idea of possibly having children. I myself don't feel properly grown up and ready for them though so not for at least another 5 years! I don't think the same fear would apply to my own children because hopefully the maternal bond would kick in...

I even have names!