Sunday, March 19, 2006

you win some, you lose some

am i the only woman my age
who doesn’t want baby?
i know that i am not.
i do have one friend who actually frequently
voices her lack of desire to have children.
i am grateful for that.
i feel like other people feel sorry for someone
who says they don’t want kids-
like they think they must have had
a bad childhood or something.

now i am not picking on my friends with babies
or who want babies.
i am not even saying that i don’t want kids.
but having kids has always been some day
some day i will get my phD
some day grub and i will live
in the house of our dreams.

i can’t actually imagine having kids.
i mean, i can barely handle it
when my cat spot is particularly needy
and follows me around the apartment.
i have so little time.
i know that a child will need all my time.
i feel like there is so much to do
before i can give up the time.

if you say that you are not ready for kids
to anyone who actually has kids,
they immediately say
that you are never really ready.
this seems as to imply that bot being ready
isn’t an excuse.
i may not know much about having children
but i do know
that you have to be ready to give up
a hell of a whole lot to have kids.
frankly i am too selfish
at this point in my life to do that.

having babies has been on my mind
for 3 reasons: seems that everyone is pregnant
or having kids…
okay, not everyone
but even my brother is about to become a dad.
i am at the age where people are in what i term
the third cycle.

cycle 1: marriage
cycle 2: home buying
cycle 3: kids
cycle 4: ?

this goes for straight and queer couples alike.
this is how i interpret these cycles:

now i know this perception
comes from a person who is not “married”
(domestic partnership doesn’t count, i suppose)
and doesn’t own a house
or have kids.
i also know that your perspective changes dramatically
once you actually have kids.

2. a great number of the craft blogs
that i read are by women
who are at home with their kids and
they all definitely find a community
in both craft and parenting.
i also know at some level
my approach to craft or art must be different.

3. i bought a kid’s toy for grub
for our monthly anniversary
because i thought it was cool.
grub had one of those expressions like
gee...great...what do i do with this?
why did i get this toy for grub?
what was i thinking?
was there some innate desire
to start nesting or something?
do i feel pressured to have kids
now that i am getting “old.”

why do we feel pressured
to get married and have kids?
why do others ask about marriage
when you have been together
for an amount of time deemed
real commitment.
you start getting the questions:
when are you going to get married…
or have a commitment ceremony?
do they need me to join the club
for some reason?
the same goes for the kids rigamorole…
once you have been married or committed
for set amount of time…
when are you going to have kids?
people don’t seem to ask you
about the house-buying
maybe that is because it’s a financial intrusion?

why when i say i don’t want kids,
i feel inclined to add
“right now”
“i really love kids” but…
from where does the pressure come?

this is certainly not a new question.
feminists have been talking
about this for a long time.

i don’t know the answer to this question.
i get terribly frustrated that society,
our families or our friends
seem to want us to follow some set pattern.
everyone does it.
is it because everyone does it?
is it because there is a need to repeat a pattern?
or because they know something i don’t.
i haven’t even touched the surface of this question.
because i am partnered up
i don’t get asked that other question...
you know, the one women
who are not in a relationship get asked...
is there is a “special someone” in your life?
i suppose the most obvious answer is
yeah, me.
i even catch myself asking it to my friends!
i ask and then i feel like an ass.

i study evolution
so i can’t help but wonder
this is our way of externalizing
our innate drive to reproduce.
to pass our genes on to the next generation.
is biology is driving society?
but i don’t want to be caught up
in the biology answer.
it has too often been used to justify
why women are baby-makers
men want to “spread their seed.”
or whatever hack biology
i have heard to justify
why women should give up their careers.
i am still trying to figure out
my stance on biology vs. society.
my mother knows well not to ask me
about marriage or babies.
she has one married child
with a baby on the way
so i hear the pressure is off of me...
for now.

on a completely different note…
i had a lousy value village friday.
you win some,you lose some.
maybe astrid is my good luck charm.

here are my finds for march 17:
1. pyrex casserole dish:

2. misc. wool/cashmere sweaters:

tomorrow …
the great monday give-away
obsessed with dada.


Ma'ai said...

I guess cycle 4 is the period after your kids have grown beyond the need for your constant attention.

I imagine that the time you are stuck with kids is probably very long while they are dependant, and far too short once they don't need you the same way anymore.

I'm not overeager to rear children. I say "rear" because I do not intend to bear or "have" children myself. I don't understand anymore why anyone would put their health at risk, and mess around with all the drama of an infant when there are older children and children with special needs in need of a home. Whether it be temporary or permanent.

Looking at it that way, I become especially annoyed with the people who fuss over infants and new mothers, showering them with gifts. You'd think there would be more fuss over someone who has lovingly opened their home to a helpless person in need (rather than simply creating one). Where's the fuss about that?


Anna said...

Well, I'm 34 & have no desire for children. Serendiptously, that was my morning post today!!

f. pea said...

I have the stomach flu and for a while was really worried that all the vomiting might have been a fetus saying hello. Goddesses be praised, it was just a virus. I'm in the "maybe someday" camp, and tend to agree with ma'ai, but there is also the driving force of biology to contend with. Right now I'm very happy knitting things for other people's kids. Mostly I am really tired of well-meaning but nosy people who keep asking, "when are you going to get married?" as if it's any of their business, and as if they are maybe a little bit worried. I am tired of making up answers like "when the bridal industry collapses" or "when we let queers do it," or "when men are required to change their names."

TrickyTricot said...

I'm totally with you on no kids. Maybe someday - but definitely not now.

Keep an eye out for another LeCreuset Tea kettle... I totally want one!

Tracykins said...

Miss bugheart - I've been having the same brain wanderings lately...with Steve-o moving in and the house getting put back together. babies, or no babies, or babie slater. marriage or maybe later marriage. and if later, then when? gosh - remember when you were 14 and life seemed so complicated! If we only knew!

Jenna said...

I've been thinking about this some lately as well, now that I'm also making an escalating level of commitment to may partner and find myself and others wondering "what it means." I've been puzzled by our endless cycle of family - people grow up, get married, have kids, raise the kids, watch them get married, have kids, etc ad infinitum - to me, it seems like an individuals's choices and particulalr life circumstances are all taken away and everyone is jsut expected to follow the same life pattern and nothing ever changes! That's a simplification but I feel like in the larger scheme, it sometimes feels like that. I never liked the idea of being like everyone else, so following that pattern makes me really uncomfortable.

I could go on a whole rant about how unplanned pregnancies, particularly for young women, are portrayed in the media but I'll leave that for another day.

Beta said...

I've also been very torn about this topic. Clearly you're not alone in your feelings among your friends.
I know I want kids, though I can't help but think that a lot of that drive is related to biology. The desire to have kids popped up in me rather suddenly about 2 years ago. I've had some near break-down moments thinking about how to juggle a career and a family when the hubby is on the doctor path.
Secondly, do you notice people questioning you more about domestic plans (marriage and children mostly) when you're particularly crafty? For instance, as a knitter and someone who loves cooking, and fix-it-up/DIY shows, I sometimes feel like people assume that all I must want to do is settle down and have babies. It's strange how one can love so-called "domestic" crafts and at the same time fight to reject imposed domestic roles. It might just be all in my head, but sometimes I feel like I need to prove myself by avoiding things that are viewed as very feminine or domestic/maternal so people don't lump me in with Future Homemakers of America.

bugheart said...

i must say i was a little scared to post this entry for fear that all moms with kids would hate me.
i am glad that this speakks to so many of us...
makes me feel that we all struggle with this idea...
even moms who are having or have had kids!

Eero said...

I completely agree with your rant. I will rant with you! I am getting the "when are you having kids?" questions because I'm 34, married 5 years and finished building our house. The general thought seems to be, 'now that the house is finished, where are the babies?' I've NEVER felt like I wanted children. My sis has a 1.5 yr. old and I LOVE HER beyond compare. My niece rocks my world....and I still don't want my own baby. I am definitely a nurturing type---plants, animals, friends, you name it, I love it and care for it. I'm, well, just not interested in being a mommy. I think the world is overpopulated, too...but that is another rant, entirely.
(And WHAT IS THIS about your bro being a daddy!?!)

Anonymous said...

Did this earlier today but must have been lost in space...

Anyway, empathatic feelings here --from one of those stay-at-home mommy crafty (or wishes she was) bloggers. We were married 10 years before having kids. Questions, questions. There's room enough in the world for people who don't want kids. Just spread the love in another way.

And when they say you are never ready... well, I guess that is actually true. When I finally admitted that I would never be ready then I could start considering the idea.

And why do we keep doing it. I mean, motherhood is a pain in the a** from beginning to end, right? Yes. But it is an amazing, earth-shattering, mind-blowing pain in the a** and humans are suckers for that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

As the wife of said brother expecting child, I’d like to chime in:

I can relate to a lot of what people here are saying. Why do people have kids? I don’t know.

But I will say, it takes balls to come out as a breeder. I spent months not telling anyone I was pregnant, not because of the customary waiting period, but because I was afraid of what my friends would think of me. Had I left the fold? Fallen into the "third cycle" of no return? There felt shame in breaking with my own murky feminist principles, where "mothering" was not modern, respectable or original. I'm trying to change my perspective on that.

I envy and respect those who remain child-free. There is unrecognized value in those who dedicate their lives to research, to art, to social work and political activism, especially women. Men tend to be given space to pursue their goals, children or not. Women seem to be less supported in this. All those females who have better things to do that have babies – You go girl! But give your child-laden friends a break. Kids make family Christmases more fun and are as much a cause for hope as grievance. And with that, can’t wait to see you Bugheart! Hopefully soon?

Anonymous said...

i didnt get a chance to read it all but hey, at least you KNOW what you want... i dont think everyone wants kids or should have them... to each his own... it IS a big challenge and DO have to be ready to a certain extent... the cycles are funny cuz we got married first and had a kid then bought the house... but over here everyone just has the kids... hey, its awesome that you know what you want and dont want and that is wonderful! (did i say that already)

Anonymous said...

Great post. And great comments too!
As a crafty mum of two, I wanted to chime in and say that I respect your outlook. It's not always easy standing up for your beliefs.

I don't think it's "wrong" to not want to have kids. We all make our own choices in life. The only thing that matters is that - at the end of it all - if you're happy with the choices you made. Right?

Peace out,


Anonymous said...

Found you via Sew Green and even though it's a year late, I had to voice my .02 cents' worth. I don't have kids and I probably never will, for many of the reasons other commenters have noted. As for the biology thing - if there is such a thing as a biological clock, mine must be defective, because I've simply never had the urge. While I realize that one person doesn't make a scientific study, I do think that this indicates that there's an equally strong social component to the desire to have kids. As I've watched my friends rear children, I've never felt the pressure to do so myself - but it's been quite nice to be able to enjoy the company of their kids. And then go home and spend time alone, when I want. That is, when my needy cat allows me my alone time!