Monday, May 11, 2015

Musings on Motherhood

As I'm sure we all know, Mother's Day was yesterday. Last year I shared a little about my relationship with my mom in an effort to celebrate how awesome she is from afar.

This year I decided to do something a little different and focus my Mother's Day post on my own thoughts on becoming a mother. (And before anyone reading this jumps to any conclusions, I need to say that I am not pregnant.)

 photo MusingsonMotherhood_zpsyvwwfxth.jpg
Image provided by Unsplash ( and edited by me.

I'm going to be completely honest and say that I've never really wanted children. As many of my friends talked about their hopes of finding a great guy to settle down and have kids with, I dreamed of having an interesting career, traveling the world, and writing and publishing novels. And, while I thought it might be nice to have someone to share my life with, I wasn't overly interested in getting married.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time (or even if you look at my "About Me" page), it's pretty obvious that I eventually decided I could do the whole marriage thing. I was terrified, though. I mean, marriage isn't something I took lightly ... It's a pretty big commitment.

However, marriage isn't the biggest commitment you can make. That honor goes to becoming a parent.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty wishy washy when it comes to having children. There are so many pros and cons, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed at the mere thought of having a person in my life who is completely dependent upon me for everything. Yes, I know they eventually get older and more self sufficient, but it's not like that happens overnight.

I can be a pretty selfish person. (See #9 here.) I like having time for myself to read or write or listen to music or watch something I enjoy on Netflix. I like traveling. I like my regular trips to the hair salon. I like treating myself to a nice meal out or new clothes or a concert.

Deep down I know that having a child doesn't mean you have to give everything up. My mom has always been awesome and has always put me first, but that didn't mean she didn't do things for herself as well. When I was growing up, we always had regular appointments at the hair salon. We'd go out to eat on a fairly regular basis (often with the rest of my incredibly small family). We went on some cool vacations, including a trip to Massachusetts (spending most of our time in Boston and Salem) when I was 9 and a trip to California that included stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco when I was 12. We enjoyed shopping trips together and she would typically buy things for both of us (unless we just couldn't find anything we liked).

We didn't do everything together, though. I spent time with friends or alone (I've always needed my alone time!), and my mom did the same. She also worked full time and managed our household alone for the majority of my life (my parents divorced when I was pretty young).

My mom obviously found a way to balance being a mother with being an individual with her own set of interests and hobbies. In doing this, I was also given the freedom to grow into my own person ... She wasn't hovering over me constantly or playing with me every second. I was able to learn to be more independent and more creative. This isn't to say that she didn't spend time with me or help me with things, but she gave me room to develop my own interests and skills and I think I've benefited from this tremendously.

But here's the thing ... Even though I had a great maternal role model, I'm scared to become a mother. I know absolutely nothing about kids. I don't even particularly like kids. I've never changed a diaper. I've never held a kid that was younger than 7 or 8 months. And pregnancy and childbirth? I fear that more than I fear death. (And no, I'm absolutely not kidding about that.)

Some days, though, I think it might be okay to have a kid. I'd have an opportunity to fill someone's life with great experiences. I'd be able to teach them to be understanding and open-minded (among other things). I could create an environment encouraging a love for learning and books and music. And I'd be lucky enough to do it with a great partner.

But I'm still scared. This isn't something you can just jump into without any real thought. Kids are expensive and time consuming (especially for the first few years of their lives!). As I said earlier, having a kid is probably the biggest commitment you can make. (And, unfortunately, I have an extreme fear of commitment.)

I often wonder, "What if I just don't like being a mom?" I mean, really ... What then? This is exactly why I think having a child is a bigger commitment than getting married. If you're unhappy in a marriage, you can get divorced. It's not ideal, obviously, but it's a solution if your problems are too great to be resolved. If you're unhappy as a parent, though, what can you do? You can't just dump your kid off onto the nearest relative and take off (well, you could but you really shouldn't if you don't want to fuck that kid up for life). You're kind of stuck (at least for 18 years).

I know this isn't something I'm going to figure out immediately. I don't anticipate waking up one morning with a sense of clarity that leads me to believe I'm going to be a great mom (or, conversely, a sense of clarity that makes me realize I should never be a mother). These are just my random thoughts on the subject.

It's something I do think about often because, as a woman rapidly approaching her 31st birthday, I can't afford to put it off forever. I know I'm still relatively young, but I also don't have the luxury of taking several years to figure it all out. When I was in my early 20s, the idea of getting married and having kids seemed like something I wouldn't even have to consider for a long time. And I was right ... I mean, I didn't get married until I was 29. I obviously had plenty of time to figure out if marriage was something I actually wanted. But now I don't have 8-10 years to decide if having kids is right for me.

This post is all over the place and longer than I anticipated. (And probably a little heavy for first thing on a Monday.) I guess the point is this: I'm still not sure how I feel when it comes to the idea of motherhood, but I need to figure it out pretty soon.

 If you read through my rambling, thank you. And if you have any advice or thoughts on this topic, please feel free to share in the comments (or in an email if you're not comfortable posting those thoughts here).

No comments:

Post a Comment