Kids and not having them..
Last week I was talking about adventures I’ll never have, and I guess I omitted one.
I’m 41 and I think its official that this specific adventure won’t be happening for me. Biologically speaking. A combination of bad genes, health issues and a dearth of appropriate dudes means that ship has sailed.
Please.. don’t email me with your advice.
Yes, I know I could adopt, there are lots of ways to have kids (IVF, surrogacy), or I could just find a divorced guy with a couple and ‘ta da’ instant family. But here’s the dirty little secret I need to share..
I don’t know if I want them.
I did. I definitely had years where all I could dream about was cute little muffins, heading out the pre K with braids and lots to say. Chattering little kids with finger-painted artworks who screamed in the bathtub (keep it clean, people). From what I observe kids are tough, delightful, otherworldly, irreplaceable, unique, loving and the biggest adventure of all. A product (hopefully) of you and a partner’s love, and what really gives a family its name. I was never a baby person, but as I watch my friends around me and my nieces, I can’t but grin and mentally imagine the messes we could get into. Finally someone who would be as eager as myself to roll around in the dirt…and we probably would share the same IQ.
But then I never met the right guy. I married someone who immediately certified a ‘no kids’ sanction in my head and by the time I unpacked that.. I had too many health issues to even consider pushing my body through a pregnancy and my doctor frankly told me it would be a potential for tragedy either way. Friends urgently suggested that I put myself on adoption lists (before I hit the dreaded 40 cutoff), but I could barely take care of my own needs on my salary.. never mind a child. On my own. Add in a lack of family within 3,200 miles and the parental requirement ‘ an ocean of patience’, I can’t say that I ever thought it was something I could, or would, or even choose to do on my own. Who would? Really?
So I got a dog.
And I love on him.
Yes, I know dogs aren’t kids and they’re in no way a replacement. But he does prove an outlet for love, for companionship and for affection. Sure, he’ll never open his mouth, tell me stories about his friends or ‘grow up’, but then he’ll also never need to go to college, he won’t ever hate me and slam a door in my face and most of my ‘parenting’ mistakes can be corrected by some well timed treats and a bit of focused training. And while he might not have that new baby smell, his breath could be considered a WMD.. which could come in useful one day.
I’m past biological kids physically and I’m certainly not insane enough to want to do it on my own. And while I have the option to date men with kids, I try not to. Because I’ve never had kids and therefore I don’t miss having them. Just like you probably don’t miss owning a Great Dane. If you’ve never experienced it, you don’t yearn for it. Its just not really part of your life…And assuming the responsibility for someone else’s kids.. ? While that’s possible (I’m not completely dead inside and I do actually like kids), why would I want to spend my weekends driving to soccer games and ballet lessons, arguing about eating broccoli and never having the energy for sex? Face it, if you didn’t have kids yourself at the age of 41… would you?
As I dive into the Match.com pool and I find myself chatting with ‘dad’s’ I have to remind myself that no matter how lovely someone might be, its not just him I’m dating. It’s a family (or would be eventually).. and I already have one of those. Its not dating as I know it.. its something completely different. Its family time, family trips, family fun….Plus, scheduling a date every other weekend and working around baby sitters just isn’t a recipe for how I like to love. Spontaneously.
Yes, I am that selfish. But at least I own it.I don’t apologize for a body which couldn’t, men who don’t want to, and a sneaking suspicion that I might actually prefer my life without them. It doesn’t mean I’m dead inside or that I’m cold or weird. I just don’t have kids. Through circumstances beyond my control, and some choices that definitely were.
So on behalf of all people without kids I want to ask that the next time you run into us, don’t pity us, shame us, judge or assure us. We’re quite happy where we are.. however we got here. We don’t judge you and we’d ask that you do the same. After all, someone has to be the ‘fun’ aunt or uncle.