Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Parenting . . . eh.

I am ambivalent about having children.

I've never made a secret of this. In fact, I've been stating this since I was in high school, if not earlier. As in, "I don't want to have kids."

Of course, in high school, no one believed me.

"Oh, you'll change your mind when you get married," adults and fellow teens alike would say, with that holier-than-thou-you-child-hating-mutant look on their face.

Who said anything about getting married? I didn't think much of that in high school, either.

But I've changed my mind on marriage. I'm engaged to a wonderful, smart, funny, hot-as-hell man and I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life. Yeah, I said it. In my life.

So that's why the statement "I don't want children" has changed to "I'm ambivalent about having children." After all, I didn't think I would ever get married (well, more like I never gave it much thought at all), so who's to say? Maybe I will change my mind.

But I don't think so.

After all, I'm thirty-five-freaking-years old. Wouldn't it make sense that my biological clock would have started by now? And this isn't like the stories you read in the magazines about those women who really do want kids but are putting it off for the sake of their careers, only to find out that they're barren by the time they're ready to do the deed.

I've never felt that desire. And it's not like I haven't been exposed. Many of my friends have children. I have some good looking photos on my fridge. I have bought some damn cute outfits. I like my friends' kids. Of course, save one, none of them have reached the "tweener" stage yet, so they could still turn out horrible. (Kidding! Love you all! Really!)

So it's not like I haven't been around children. Hell, I helped raise my baby brother. My parents have spent their whole lives working their asses off, so duh, of course I was pitching in at home. I learned how to clean, cook, yell at a kid to make the Kool-Aid (a classic fight in our home). That kind of stuff.

Some people have suggested that this may be why I have no inclination towards raising my own, but I have my doubts. Helping out with your kid brother is nothing like dealing with, say, a colicky baby screaming at the top of her lungs for hours at a time. Or how to deal with the first time you find your child, ahem, exploring themselves. These are real scenarios - people have to deal with that! And after that? Then there's: first love, going to college, learning how to become an individual without turning into an evil dope-dealing teenager, finding a job and even more, a purpose in life. You're supposed to deal with that, too. Me making fish sticks and canned peas for my brother isn't anything like that.

Back to the ambivalence. Let's just say I do change my mind. What if it really is too late by then? Another question: should people who are blasé about parenting even have kids? Then there's the fact that there are parts of me that won't mesh well with raising another human being without killing them somewhere along the way.

Articles that made me think about this:

Does Having Children Make You Happy? On

Why We Fear Parenting, on LiveScience

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