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No Baby, No Baby, No!

Stuart Miles/freedigitalimages.net

The topic of me and children has been a sticky subject, even stickier as I started to approach 30.

Birthing and rearing children scares the ever-loving crap out of me.

Most people would think that I am a solid candidate for motherhood. I’ve got strong moral values, I’m loving and I have a job and can provide for the child.

Funny thing is, I don’t think so. Not so much the morals and the values, but the providing part.

I have a job, but honestly in these times, I’m just trying to hold it together. I’m having anxiety attacks thinking about how the heater on my car has officially konked out on me and that paying for it will attack the few extra dollars I would have had this pay period.

I’m fortunate that my car and I have the kind of relationship where it knows to start getting sick in time for the non-rent devoted pay check. (My blog “Riding Raggedy” addresses car repair woes and reckless behavior.)

A child, not so much.

I’m 30 and I can be reckless and trifling with my money and suffer the consequences of my choices by myself. (Those consequences result in what I call “The Week of Poverty.”)

With a child, that cannot happen.

I’m responsible to a certain extent, but that kind of pressure would probably make me unravel completely.

I know people who wouldn’t mind having more kids– two parent homes no less, and they’ve even said, “We just can’t afford it.”

Word up.

Tax season is approaching and I know single people claiming nieces and nephews and godchildren to get a few extra bucks in their refund.

I floated my new tax break idea to my friends last week:

“People get tax credits for having kids, why don’t single people get tax credits for NOT having kids!”

I stick by that. By making the choice to not procreate we aren’t helping to contribute to the clogging of the school systems, health care system or any other services that kids tend to need.

Why won’t people reward me for being responsible with my reproductive system and wanting to be prepared to raise a citizen with good morals and common sense who contributes positively to society?

I’m scared of throw up and poo.

I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a month on diapers. I certainly don’t want to do cloth diapers.

I love sleep too much.

I love sleeping in.

Kid germs are real. The folks with kids bring them in the office and we all end up feeling like total crap by the end of the week.

I hate strollers, I hate them being in my way when I’m shopping.

I love uninterrupted shopping. It’s my therapy. Children would ruin Target for me.

Kids are expensive.

They ruin your clothes and furniture and carpet.

I get up 30 minutes prior to having to leave my house for work in the mornings. I don’t want to get up any earlier.

My mom tells me that she used to be the most selfish person in the world, and that it magically went away when my sister and I were born. All of a sudden her mission in life was us. She was 19 and 29 when she had us.

When she was my age, wow, she had a 10-year-old and a one-year-old. I can’t even imagine that life. Thankfully she had my dad too, who is the best dad in the whole world backing her up.

As for me, I just always wondered if I had a motherly instinct. I was never one of those girls at church who always wanted to hold people’s babies.

My sister made fun of me for how awkward I looked whenever I held my nephew when he was a baby or my reactions when he’d start to cry. I would just look crazy and say, “we are going to find your mommy and you’ll be just fine, kid. ”

I once was in a serious relationship with a guy who had a young son. He told me one of the things keeping our relationship from being perfect was the fact I didn’t actively seek a relationship with the child. I didn’t feel I had to. I was in college for crying out loud. He had a mother. And I just felt uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to discipline the child or not discipline the child, it was just too hard. I didn’t want to fake love for a child I had no real connection to just to please a man who was cheating on me anyway. No buddy, the relationship would have been perfect if you weren’t a cheater!

I look at friends who are single mothers and I believe there is a God who performs miracles everyday through these women.

They love their children, but they are tired. They need help, they need support. Thankfully the mothers I know, they have great friends and family to help them when and if their partners in procreation have dropped the ball, but I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their voices, it’s haaard work. If they could do things differently, they would.

I’m always crying broke and I have a pretty decent job, I’d have no money whatsoever to even handle the basics if I had a kid right now. Period.

I don’t like putting time limits on anything, and that’s part of the reason I even started this blog. But honestly, right now, I feel a few things.

I refuse to be a single mother. I just can’t do it and I won’t.

I want to be married and in a stable relationship with two incomes.

I don’t want to have children after the age of 36. It’s hard on your body, and I don’t want to be an “older” parent. I want to be around for my kids and when they have kids.

People with kids always say, you will never truly be prepared for kids. They come and you adjust.

I totally feel that, but I also know that even at 30 and where I am in life right now I’m just not ready still, and I think that’s honest and it’s ok.

So do my feelings make me selfish? I don’t think so. I think I’m realistic with who I am, my limits and it makes me a better citizen. On mother’s day, me and my non-mom single friends congratulate one another for not having kids yet and toast to birth control.

I am not gung-ho about having children anytime soon and I’ve accepted that it may just be quite alright if I don’t have any at all.

I include this caveat. Things change. I may totally feel differently in three years, or maybe even next year. But for right now, I have no room in my life to bring any babies on board.

It’s Important to Me

So what’s really important?

Whatever the hell it is you are focusing on right now.

And then it will be the next thing.

If it’s work. It’s work.

If it’s loosing weight, it’s that.

Finding a date? It’s that too.

Your spirituality, your money or lack thereof. The list is infinite. You know what yours is.

Whatever it is that is nagging/propelling you to action in the morning, and laying down with you at night, that is what is most important to you at the moment. And frankly, all we have is today, tomorrow isn’t promised, so yes, whatever it is that is predominating your thoughts is what’s most important to you right now.

It could be anything. And don’t beat yourself up. Whatever it is, it’s not too shallow, or silly, or ridiculous, because it’s taking up way too much mental and emotional real estate for you to ignore, and you shouldn’t ignore it.

Like me, you may be juggling a number of pressing matters of importance. I like to give myself a break, work on one thing, then go back to something else.

For people in their late 20s and into their 30s- particularly single people, and especially single women- there is a mental battle raging between family and career and the guilt that comes with choosing one over the other, and the regret associated with whatever emptiness comes with the one you chose instead of the other. How can you win that? Either road is going to have wonderful advantages and difficult disadvantages. Have the choose your own adventure books as a kid taught us nothing?

It’s a battle I’m choosing not to fight.

When I was a kid, I was pretty sure I would have been married with a family and running my own magazine right now.

Not quite. But you know what? That’s really just fine until it won’t be fine anymore. Those thoughts float around, but they don’t dominate my mind right now.

These days, professional satisfaction, money, my spirituality, my creativity and getting myself to a place where I’m ready to and can comfortably accept the role of a wife and mom, are the things are front and center.

Over the last decade, I’ve seen three types of tracks unfold among the women I know personally and the ones I went to high school with as seen on Facebook.

The married moms, the unmarried moms, and the single, childless career women.

The married moms seem to have what we all thought we wanted. The loving husband and the family, but they seem tired all of the time and seem to not have very many other interests, let alone time for themselves. Their identities have been taken over. A lot of their wants and desires put on the back burner. Their kids and their man come first.

The unmarried moms seem to be struggling all of the time. They juggle work, their children and the voluntary and sometimes inconsistent or non-existent contributions from the men they had their child[ren] with. These women love their children and don’t regret them, but they know they would be at more of an advantage if they made different choices.

The single, childless career women kept their heads high, and killed em with the no, and kept climbing that ladder.

They have closets full of great clothes, shoes and bags, they travel when they please, but over bottles of pino, lament that they can’t find Mr. Right.

Each kind of woman wonders what life would be life if they chose the other two paths instead of the one they are on.

For me, I can poke holes in all three lifestyles. Maybe that kind of insight is helpful to me.

If there’s one thing I keep learning and relearning, is timing truly is everything.

Some would say I should panic because I’m turning 30 and there’s no man, no kids and I don’t own my own home.

I’ve learned that before I have those things, maybe there are more lessons for me to learn so that when I get them, I’ll be ready for them and it will be the best thing for me at that time.

Age is a number. Not a set deadline to accomplish some very important things that affect you and other people for a lifetime.

Maybe I’ll get married (I’d like to). Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have children (Still not sure about that one), maybe I won’t.

So what’s important? I’m a writer. I’ve been working on a book for probably four years now. I’d like to see it complete.

I have a business I’d like to launch. I want to see it happen.

I wrote a short, one woman play, I’d love to see it produced on a small local stage.

I want to make more money. I want to feel great about work three out of five days a week, if possible.

I want to always have enough money for emergencies and to travel when I need to get away.

I don’t want to lose what is important to me in exchange for a family right now. I have a certain degree of selfishness still in me. I know my priorities are going to have to change when I do have a family, but I’d like to achieve some happy medium. I have a grand fear of losing myself, my creativity in exchange for long days at the office and coming home to a house of ungrateful people eating up my food and my paycheck in health benefits. I’m afraid of coming home to a man who doesn’t find me sexy anymore and won’t wash a dish when I’m about to lose my mind.

Having it all is unrealistic, but my fears are very real and maybe that is why I am currently single and childless. But I think that’s ok.

I’ve revamped and reworded my prayers in terms of wanting a husband and family.

“Lord, prepare me properly to be ready for a family someday. I want to be mature enough and selfless enough to do it right and feel satisfaction in my service to them. No regret, no resentment. Give me the wisdom to pick the right man qualified to assist me in this and who will nurture my heart and my spirit.”

You have to grow and evolve into certain phases of life and everyone grows at different rates. Some folks are ready in their 20s, or have to be forced to be ready for their own good at early ages. I prefer not being forced to find out, and I’m thankful I haven’t been.

Nina Simone has a funny take on marriage and references some of my fears… Love this song.

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