It seems everyone around me is either starting or expanding their families, and so babies are an ever-present topic these days. My best friend is about to have her first child, while another dear friend is trying to find a good preschool for her first daughter, and has a set a of twins about to celebrate their first birthday. Whenever it comes up, people ask me if I want kids, and I say no. They typically respond with "no?" when what they really want to say is "Why?"
This is always such a touchy subject, so let's start off with two points:
1. I do not hate babies. I'm not one of these "babies are gross and icky" people. Babies are adorable and funny.
2. I do not scoff at parents/parenthood. What you guys do is outright amazing. By no means am I making fun of or downplaying what you do every single day of your life. I'm merely pointing out why I can't do what you do.
1. Domestic delinquent: Back in the 1980s, Roseanne Barr coined the phrase "domestic goddess" to celebrate the moms and housewives and women who toil away in the home.
I am not one of these.
I can cook. I can clean. But as of late, my house looks like 12 boys and 14 dogs live here. There are always dishes in the sink, there's almost nothing in the fridge, and last night the big decision was whether to order onion rings or zucchini sticks with dinner.
We chose both.
My boyfriend left garbage on the stove because there was no bag in the trash can and you know what? I'd probably have done the same.
The point is, when it comes to chores, I do them, but I'm damn lazy sometimes. You can't do that with a baby around. You can't be lazy about these things. And you can't feed a baby onion rings.
2. Mobility: If I have to run an errand, all I do is wash my face, brush my teeth, throw my hair in a ponytail, and I go. I can be public-presentable in 10 minutes. Apparently, this ability goes away when you have a child. When my friends tell me what they go through just to get out of the house to go food shopping or to a doctor's appointment, I find it terrifying. I realize that as the children get older, this is obviously easier, but you're talking several years of these struggles.
3. "Tell me about your mother..." I am a perfectionist. Sometimes this is a virtue. Often, it is a flaw. I am absolutely certain that I would project that onto my child, and create such a maladjusted individual in the process, that college tuition would be replaced with psychotherapy bills. I know what it's like out there. I know what I see in my classroom. And I would be so worried that my kid would be that dumb. And you can all say that I wouldn't do that, and that everyone worries about this, but... I know me. I feel physical pain when my DOG misbehaves at the vet. He's "that dog." What if I had a problem kid? Or created one? No way, man. And to be responsible for another human being's well-being for the rest of my life? No. And don't tell me it's only until 18. My mother still worries about my well-being. I'm 34. My grandmother still worried about my mother's well-being. She was 90 and my mother...well, you get the idea. She'll punish me if I finish that sentence.
4. The force is not strong in this one: Ladies, you know how when you hold a baby, you get some sort of weird urge in your belly, your heart swells with an overwhelming emotion to create one of your own?
Yeah, me neither.
I don't get that urge or what they call maternal instinct. In fact, I'm 99 percent sure my ovaries literally shut down and steel barriers form in my uterus. I go into total lockdown. Whatever the opposite of maternal instinct is, that's what I have.
5. Me me me me meeeeeee: I really like my lifestyle. I don't want it to change. I have the freedom to not clean my house, to eat take out every night, to sleep late on my days off, to stay up and out all night, to go on vacation on a whim. It's as simple as that. I've done the domestic thing. I was married. I kept a house, I had matching curtains, and china, and all that stuff. It didn't fit right. I learned that the hard way. But the thing is, you can go to court and get rid of a husband pretty easily. I don't think it really works the same way with a kid.
And so, to all you parents out there, my own included: You are amazing people. What you endure the day you find out you're going to be parents until your last day is absolutely admirable. It goes above and beyond anything else I can think of. No other challenge of this magnitude is as permanent as parenthood. All others are likely temporary, and probably have far fewer consequences if you screw up. I appreciate all that you do share with those of us who are not parents. I've learned a great deal from you, and it's taught me that I absolutely never want to be in your shoes. That's not an insult. It's probably one of the best lessons I've ever learned.