I believe how people think about adulthood is changing. When I was growing up, I just assumed my life would play out a certain way: I’d graduate from college, get married, and have kids. That was the model I anticipated, but that very obviously hasn’t been how things have played out. As a result, the way I think about my future has changed.
I still want to someday get married. I want to meet someone, fall in love, and vow to do my best not to fuck it up. So while I still have that life-moment on my hopeful to-do list , my opinion on kids has definitely changed. I used to want three kids – I’d have a son and name him Patton because he’s my favorite WWII figure and have I mentioned the only thing I like more than writing is reading thick and dryly written history books? And my husband and my fictional children would be my life, because that’s the way I just assumed it would go.
The older I get, the less likely that fictional life plan seems. I have a catalog of reasons I don’t think kids are part of my life plan anymore. I give myself permission to be selfish. I am the most impatient person you’ll ever encounter. I’m lazy. I like being alone more than anything else in the world – including writing or reading dryly written history books. I don’t want to have to budget for little Patton’s orthodontic treatment: I want that money to be spent on boots and sweaters and dresses and student loan payments. I want my life to revolve around myself, and maybe a guy if he makes me laugh.
And then there’s the idea of actually having a child. I’m sorry, that’s a solid “FUCK NO.” People talk about the miracle and the bullshit of the process of being pregnant and giving birth, so I know both sides of the fence. And maybe it’s shortsighted, but again, FUCK NO. That’s really all there is to it, FUCK NO. Nothing is coming out of my vagina, I like it too much.
Something about modern dating that is related to this topic of children is how the older we get, the more important these conversations about what we want from life become. In your early twenties, you can date people who want different things than you because we all know most relationships in your early twenties are just training wheels. However, the older we get the more important these topics become. My most recent significant relationship ended primarily because he was gung-ho about children and I am whatever the opposite of gung-ho is.
I was recently at a family reunion of sorts, sitting and talking to aunts and cousins and distant relatives, and the topic of my love life and future came up. Being the eldest non-married non-babied relative in most family situations, it’s always a dreaded and inevitable conversation topic. And when I told them I didn’t want kids, they scoffed and told me I’d change my mind. Two things happened next that were surprising. My mother defended my stance and told them that I wasn’t interested in having kids and that was my life choice. I have only ever been so taken aback by a really good season finale cliffhanger. And also, I realized they could be right – maybe someday my mind will change again. But for now, I’m banking on my life revolving around myself and that’s perfectly wonderful by me.
I believe I’ve already mentioned how I used to have an anatomically correct baby doll when I was younger. We “adopted” them from the doll hospital, which at the time was a MAGICAL place, and is now a shop of horrors. Rows upon rows of dolls in various states… and the entire place smells like plastic trying to mimic baby powder.
Back to the point. I used to play house and family and dreamed of being a mom. My best friend and I would push our dolls around her house, stopping to change their diapers and feed them. I’m sure our parents rolled their eyes PLENTY of times after requesting a trip to the store to pick up another set of diapers. Cause you know, the other ones were “dirty”.
Now a days? Zero fucks given about having kids.
Sure, I love babies. I adore their tiny hands and how their entire face lights up over the smallest thing. And not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty decent faux-aunt to my friend’s babies. My heart definitely melts when I am referred to as Aunty C. Mama C… not so much.
The other day, my friend told me he was wary of women who didn’t want kids because it wasn’t natural. (Sorry J, had to call you out…) Of course, my gut reaction was to lunge across the table and throw down some serious feminist anger.
I just got up and walked away, and then we had a nice dialogue about it later. REAL ADULTHOOD, FOR THE WIN!
So J, this ones for you.
I don’t want to have kids because my life and value isn’t defined by marriage and pushing out a few babes. I have big dreams to kick ass at my job, bike across the country and hike the PCT (along with 10000 other plans). So no, nothing about my 5 (or 10) year plan involves children. That doesn’t make me selfish or unnatural, it means we live in a world now where women don’t have to settle down to be deemed important or successful. (listen to this whole TED talk, if you haven’t yet. And then listen to Beyonce… cause, duh.)
My worth is (and should be) based on how I’m moving through the world, not if I conform to societal norms that have been drilled into our brains for FAR too long. Sure, my body can create life and that’s AMAZING (science, am I right?!) but a women shouldn’t ever be defined by what her body can and can’t do. Let’s be real, we have a LONG way to go in regards to women’s rights (men still make 23% more for the same job, which is fucking stupid. And don’t get me started on men weighing in on reproductive rights…) BUT, if we are moving towards a world where I don’t have to have kids to be deemed a success, we’re becoming a more equal world. Thank goodness.
Sorry if seeing little kids swearing offends you, but I feel like it’s applicable because this IS what a feminist looks like. And it’s little ones swearing, and I don’t want babies… See how I made that connection?! BOOM.