My biological clock knows my furry kids are enough.
We’re gettin’ serious today.
The older I get, the more I get confused as to why my biological clock isn’t yearning to procreate. After all, the boyfriend and I are in a stable relationship (stability is relative after 10 years). We’re far from rich but people raise children on far less; my mother did without taking any help (except child support, that’s a given). We’re not married, not because either of us are afraid of commitment (I think 10 years kinda proves that) but a) because neither of us are religious, therefore there’s no “living in sin” or any of that business, b) it’s cheaper to break up than get divorced and besides, it’s pretty clear that neither of us are going anywhere (right, honey?) and c) I adore being the center of attention so in light of A and B, the most fun part of getting married would be to have a wedding for ME, with a fancy dress and all sorts of selfish things, all of which are expensive, and I refuse to go into debt in order to do something that’s completely unnecessary.
But I don’t seem to want children. My best friend has a beautiful (not so little anymore, she’s almost taller than her mom now) girl, she was young and it was unexpected but from the moment she gave birth, she became this amazing mom whose world revolved around her baby. I’ve known her forever, so when I went to visit her and her newborn in the hospital for the first time, I saw the transformation. While I was awed that she made that little baby, I felt nothing more than aunty pride and love for my friend and her new addition. I don’t see babies and start cooing. In fact, I don’t even know how to treat babies, and for that matter, children. Do you talk to them like adults? Do you baby talk? Do you ignore them when they’re running underfoot? Do you pay attention to every single word they say? (If you’ve been around kids, you’ll know about that age when they never stop talking and asking questions regardless of anyone paying attention to them).
But cats. I see cats and I want to take them home with me. Cats I connect with.
I constantly wonder if I’m making a mistake. If one day I’m going to regret not having children. I’m 31 now. I expected that when I got older, more WANT would kick in. It’s not. Frankly, the idea of pregnancy alone scares the shit out of me. Nine months without a beer, even on a really bad day. Morning sickness. People touching my belly without asking. Swollen feet. And BIRTH. Gah.
And when THAT unpleasantness is over, you’re suddenly responsible for a LIFE. And it’s not just the responsibility of keeping them alive, although that’s rather important. You have to decide how to raise them. Worry about how the decisions you make will form them. I’m incredibly happy with the way I turned out, and I thank my parents for that, but I also know there’s a large genetic component there, one that I can’t control. What if my kids are nerdy and unpopular? I wasn’t the most popular kid in school, and I had my fair share of bullying, which I think most people do, but it made me stronger and I learned how to stand up for myself. I learned how to find friends that were like me and not worry about being popular. What if my kid doesn’t flourish?
I read an article this week written by a woman who regretted having children. She was incredibly open about it and although at some points I felt she was a little too callous and seemed to have a bit of a superiority complex, it made me feel better. Having a child doesn’t come with a 30-day trial. If after 9 months, I find that my “mommy instinct” doesn’t kick in, what then? It seems to me like an awfully big gamble.
Cats I can do. Cats fit with my own selfishness. They’re there when I need them (and often when I don’t) but can take care of themselves, and can do so as soon as they’re weaned. They don’t have to wait for me to take them outside to poop. They’ll go when they please.
People don’t understand this. They tell me I should want kids. That cats aren’t a substitute. Well you know what? Fuck you. Humans aren’t all they’ve cracked up to be. And there’s plenty of us out there. Too many, in fact. Kids are cute. I like them. But I also like giving them back. I love my “me” time. Cats don’t take much effort. Some food, some love, some play, and I can go about my day. I feel rewarded.
Sometimes I wish I wanted kids so I wouldn’t have to wonder about my future regret. But I can’t justify “giving it a go” only to find our that I was right in my own self-realization all along. It’s a life we’re talking about. Who wants to grow up feeling unwanted?
FINALLY! I have found someone who feels the same way I do on this matter! All my kids have paws, I am very content with that. I’ve had people tell me that I’m missing out because I won’t experience the bond of unconditional love between parent and child. I feel only unconditional love toward my cats, so I don’t think I am missing out on any type of bonding. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this post. Thanks for sharing! (and making me feel like I’m not crazy)
It’s good to know there’s more of us out there, we’re not crazy, we’re responsible. Not to say that all people who have children aren’t, but there ARE an awful lot of those who are. I’m sick of being told that being a kitty mom isn’t even close to being a real mom. It is to me. Just because others think so, it doesn’t make it any less of a reality for me and I am often disappointed in others’ ability to simply understand they don’t understand. Thank YOU for making ME feel not so crazy by sharing!
We need humans, so that’s fine 😉
Another excellent argument!
I think it is pretty likely that if you did have children, some of those mom genes would kick in. I had a friend who worked with me in a technical job who finally had some children and It was funny when walking through a mall with her and the baby how her head would pivot and follow every child in “Mom-dar” range at least long enough to lock on and give the baby a look. She never had even a passing hint at that before her children were born. Otherwise it didn’t change her much. My sisters were similar, and even my mother was never a ooey gooey type of person, so there’s no one answer there. So I’d put my money down that if you did have children, you’d do a good job. You obviously have the capacity to care for things, like your cats.
That said, I don’t think that just because you could means you should or must. You could always hint at dire problems that keep you from having children to shut up and embarrass anyone who bugs you on the matter.
I feel pretty confident that if at some point, my birth control failed and I became pregnant that yes, I would be a good mom. I have a lot of maternal instincts, just not toward children. However, I can’t in good conscious work toward something I’m pretty sure I would rather not do.
As for the dire problems suggestion, it’s actually never occurred to me, if you can believe that. I am a rather outspoken kind of girl so I’m partial to being direct, but it doesn’t always shut people up. Perhaps embarrassing them into silence would be more satisfactory.
You took the words right out of my mouth. We would so be friends if we lived near eachother.
Hahaha I needed to get it off my chest.
It’s too bad we don’t! Maybe we should have a crazy cat lady conference some day. If I was a better organizer, I would totally get on that. I bet there’d be quite an interesting room.
Please invite me to that conference. I feel exactly the same way. I’m a little bit older, so I am constantly being assaulted with all kinds of stupidity along the lines of your time is running out!!!/you need some baybeeeeess!!!!/you guys better get moving (wink, nudge)/why don’t you have kids?. It makes me crazy. I’m with you–I see cats, and I want them. I need them. I long to take them home and give them an amazing life. With kids, it’s a little more complicated for me.
Hell, maybe I SHOULD have a conference. The problem is, though, that I have this curse. Any time I organize something, whether it’s a party, get together, meetup, whatever…no one shows up. Everyone always has perfectly good reasons, so I don’t feel dumped or anything, it’s just one of those things. Maybe someone else should plan it and I’ll just help.
I kinda thought 31 was old enough that people would stop asking…how much longer is it gonna last?
Dude, I’m 35 and it has seriously ramped up in the last year.
Honestly, I would guess that more people have children without giving it much thought at all. It’s some kind of auto-pilot girls get on….meet boy, marry boy, have ‘grandchildren’. Is it orchestrated by over-zealous mom’s some times? Probably. Following your own path thru life doesn’t mean you need to reflect anyone else’s. Most of my gf’s got married right out of highschool and soon after had babies. It was never on my radar, and as I mentioned b4, when I finally got married at 28, I was divorced within two years. After that bitter pill, I only remarried at 39. I never did have people nag me about babies. Maybe they knew I was going to live a different life before I even knew it. For people who think their children will look after them when they’re older, I hope they won’t be disappointed but it doesn’t always work out that way. Some people are born to be mom’s, mine wasn’t. But luckily I had woman in my life that helped from the sidelines. Maybe that’s the roll for you? The cheerleader, supporter, shoulder to cry on, soft place to fall. It’s an important roll too, I couldn’t have managed without those helpers.
It’s interesting how we all walk different paths in our lives to get to where we are…as for being a sideline helper, I’m the girl who gives advice for everything…whether I am merely a pain in the ass or helpful, I’m not quite sure. I read people pretty well, so maybe that’s just my place. Thanks for passing that on, each story I read makes me a little happier.
I’m thoroughly convinced the only reason I wanted kids at all is because I have no siblings and wanted to see what my genes could actually produce. However, I will wholeheartedly admit I didn’t want to get knocked up before the age of twenty-five. You and I both know I didn’t exactly succeed in that timeline (losing my lunch at PCM repeatedly), but regardless, I’m convinced I wouldn’t have ever had kids if I wasn’t an only child. I love cats way more than children, and pretty much everyone knows it. I love my daughter, but she’s just not fuzzy and the most adorable animal on the planet, ya know? I still want to open a rescue eventually. It’s one of my far-fetched dreams. 😀