It’s been about eight years now since I first publicly stated that I would never be a mother. I’ll admit, at the time it was an arrogant, childish statement that although I believed, I said for the shock value. I knew it would get my friends riled up. I knew people would instantly want to take up an argument against my choice and I was more than ready for battle. In fact, I loved the sparring matches that would ensue.
As I’ve aged, I’ve found that I no longer encourage these reactions. I’m not looking to make a statement about society or women not being breeding machines, etc. When this subject arises, I search for the one person in the group that just accepts my statement at face value—as another personal, human choice.
I’ve researched the topic of women who choose to be childless. I’ve done this in part to seek comfort, but mostly to arm myself with statistical defenses to prove I’m not crazy. What I’ve found is that the more I confirm that childlessness is a rising trend for educated women in first world countries, the more I’m moved to talk less about it. I don’t not want children because I want a career. Plenty of women who have careers want children. I don’t not want them because I hate them. I LOVE all my cousins who I’ve had the honor of watching grow up. (Although I am completely freaked out by the pregnancy aspect no matter how often I try to convince myself it isn’t skin-crawlingly awful.)
I don’t want children because I just don’t have an urge to. Simple. No other reason is necessary.
When I was about five years old and my parents asked me what I wanted to be, I said, “a bride.” Actually, I said, “a bwide,” but my cunning parents interpreted the statement for what it was. I wanted to be a bride—specifically married to my dad and ushered down the aisle by a puppy, and I still do! Minus the marrying my dad part, hopefully just a man similar to him (as the ole cliché goes). So, no, I’m not against traditional societal “growing up” rituals. I simply don’t believe in myself being a mom.
I love the idea of marriage and fun neighbors and dinner parties. I love the idea of retiring at 60 and being surrounded by family. I just also believe in living in at least ten different cities before finding my final home, in all-of-a-sudden-you-up-and-quit-your-life moments, six month adventures to South America and writing extremely embarrassing life memoirs in a fabulous loft in an undisclosed location.
Luckily for me I have a sister and cousins and friends who will have children and live less sporadic lives. I’ll get to be the cool aunt. I’ll whisk the kiddos away and stuff them with junk food and probably make them puke and then I’ll give them back to their parents with a devilish smile and I’ll be off again.
You see, I believe in putting children first. I don’t want to half-ass anything in my life and that includes parenting. I can’t and won’t commit to a lifetime responsibility when I’d have to be convincing myself to do so. That isn’t fair to the beautiful child who will be left wondering why mom is always gone. Or worse, why mom is always home but seems lost and resentful. I would want to be wonder-mom, the same way I see my mother. Right now (please do note, I say right now because I no longer use the term “never” in reference to the future), I don’t see myself wanting to fulfill a wonder-mom role.
Not wanting kids doesn’t make me any less of a woman. Women with children are not any less successful, adventurous or independent. When it comes to being a parent, I’ve adopted a motto said by the brilliant (mother of two), Amy Poehler. “Good for you, not for me.” That is what I’ll stick to for now.