Mother monologue

pacifier

The job is a bitch. More and more tasks get added to an already insane schedule. Things you never signed up for, things you know beyond a doubt you’re not qualified to perform. This is not ‘on-the-job’ training. It’s just throw her to the lions, then make her clean up the carnage.

When I made my decision for a life without kids, it wasn’t because I was being selfish or self-centered. I knew I wanted a career that I could throw myself into entirely. That’s not fair to any sort of romantic partner, let alone a kid who needs constant love and attention.

I know my limits, and kids are it. I’m just not wired that way. I can’t even keep a plant alive, and you want me to be responsible for a little person? Ever wonder why I never had a pet?

You’re asking me to give up all that I’ve worked for so you can be a grandma three or four times a year, for what, a weekend? You live four states away, or am I supposed pull up stakes and move closer to you?

You were happy enough when all those hen friends of yours had daughters working toward an MRS while I was earning my MBA. You could brag about my accolades, my published papers, my summa cum laude. Now, that those debutantes are dropping babies you’re not so eager to compare stories of books I’ve written, or the times I’ve been interviewed on the news.

Nothing says success like living through 17 hours of hard labor, or surviving six months of a colicky infant. Being the firm’s youngest partner, ever, or being on the NYTimes best seller’s list with a non-fiction book, is nothing compared to that.

No, ma… I’m not bitter. I’m just not willing to give up all my dreams to satisfy yours.

The Trifecta challenge this week is: Bitch [noun \ˈbich\] 3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant

This week’s Studio30 Plus theme is “dreams,” and/or “without kids”

28 replies »

  1. Tara,
    The dialogue and conversation that your post incited is interesting and telling. We daughters all have messages to Mom, usually eft unspoken, if you are from my generation of respectful children. The subject of the message is almost irrelevant, taking second place to the candor with which it is expressed. It does give me pause in recognizing that my daughter has a perspective that I hope she aways feels free to express, candidly.
    A great piece.

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  2. i applaud women who don’t want children and stick by that. on the flipside, my life has never been more complete than with a child- BUT being mama was something i’ve always wanted. i PRAY that i won’t be the mom urging my kid to have kids just cuz *i* may want her to have one. ugh.

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  3. Ah, this is exactly how I feel about kids! Except I’m not famous or even well-off. I’m just not fit to be a mom. Cats, fish, and hermit crabs are my limit (:

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  4. It seems like the generation of women who had no choice at all, who were 100% expected to put marriage & kids above everything else, who told their little girls they could be whatever they wanted when they grew up, they are the hardest on the women who choose not to have kids right away. My mom was laid back and never expected anything of me (a bit to my own detriment) but my aunt was pushy about it–lots of pressure about not waiting too long etc.

    It sounds like your daughter is smart enough to take pressure & criticism with a grain of salt, hopefully it’s not too terrible on her ego tho.

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  5. Loved this! It’s not just about kids, but total lifestyle! My mom was “no pressure”, but delighted when the first came along. I support letting our kids live their lives, as they wish!

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  6. It’s still the same story world over for women-whatever choices we make,we are still made to feel guilty,pressurised-externally or internally- Hobson’s choice?Loved the way you highlighted this dilemma women face,everywhere,even today-great writing Tara:-)

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  7. My comment could be long …(like we could share tea on the porch long) but here’s what I’ll say…my mom NEVER EVER EVER pushed me to have kids or get married. She loves my husband, but she used to tell me, “Kirst, why don’t you just live with/date/ have a relationship with someone because you have a heart that loves a lot of people at once…I don’t know if marriage is for you.” Then when I did get married she and I only talked about babies if I brought them up. My mom is not that mom, she never said “when are you going to give me grandchildren” ..her fierce mama bear came out only after the 2nd intense year of my infertility and then her HELP began, but she was quick to remind me that I would be ok without children…

    Gio and jacob are the LOVE of her life, truly. She literally LIGHTS up when they are in the room, but I also know that if I looked at her, like my sister and brother (right now) and said, “Nope, not for me” she would be ok with that. A mom is only as happy as her unhappiest child..it is never more evident than here in your words.

    these women, who never feel the pull or tug on their ovaries? I sit in quiet awe of them…

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    • I have a few friends who are childfree by choice, and I support them completely, even when I too can’t understand their lack of biological clock urges. Being a mom has been such an amazing life journey.

      I have friends, like you, who struggled with infertility and witnessed the cruel (if unintentional) comments directed at their child-less status. My MIL was only vocal in her grandchild opinion when the Mister and I initially contemplated having a single child. As an only child herself, she recommended against it, but never put pressure on us either way.

      This was a fictionalized, sort of, response to some comments that have been directed at my daughter by other relatives about her seemingly lack of interest in ‘settling down’ with a husband and a bunch of babies. She has life plans that include that, but for now, she’s more interested in pursuing an independent life, and I am thrilled for her.

      I’m one of those moms, like yours, who only wants what will make my kids happy. If that means grandkids for me, fabulous! If not, that’s fine too. It’s her life, not mine.

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      • and that is why you are not only a phenomenal mom, but a wonderful person. I didn’t marry until I was 33…my mom, like you, was in no hurry for that either. She just wanted me to happy..just wanted to know that I was doing what I wanted for ME, not for her or anyone else. That’s true parent love…to let go and KNOW that your child will find their way. Your job is to love them along their way.

        YES.

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  8. Whoa! So… really, no don’t hold back – tell us how you really feel! ;) I’m so glad I have 3 sisters with enough kids to keep my mom busy so I can run off on a boat with my best friend in the world! The pressure is oh eff eff, ya know? As in off! But yeah, so about that summa cum laude…

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    • I’m well past the point of worrying about this, having two grown kids. But my daughter… she was graduated magna cum laude from FSU, was published as an undergraduate, is a 4.0 grad student, Graduate Assistant for her program, has presented at several professional conferences, and recently returned from a Study Abroad program in North Africa. She’s had relatives ask her ‘so, when are you settling down and getting married?’ She was totally gobsmacked. How can you respond to that?

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  9. Ohh, I really love this! “It’s just throw her to the lions, then make her clean up the carnage.” Great line! I know exactly how that feels! Just wow, so much about this piece really speaks to me! Thank you for sharing!

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  10. You ever wonder how many women wrote this in their diaries or notebooks over the past 100 or so years? I was reading a book about Jack London, the writer, whose heyday was 100 years ago. The lack of choices women had then, and think they don’t have now, is staggering.

    I like the punch and natural rage that’s in your words. well done.

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  11. Never happy. So true, especially when it has to do with women in society. So many roles we are expected to fill but looked down upon if we choose one way or another

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  12. Oh Ouch! Real life and great post. I understand where you are… I was there and fully accepting that we wouldn’t have children. But uhh, be prepared for the unexpected, because sometimes that happens too :)

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