When I grow up, I Wanna Be a DINK (Dual-Income-No-Kids)
To start this entry off, I first feel I need to offer the sincerest apology to my mother. For whatever trauma I put her through in my childhood, and for however much that terrorizing of her life continues on in my adult years. Secondly, I need to apologize to her because as far as I am concerned, she is not going to be a grandmother.
When I tell people I am not having children, they feel it is their duty to convince me that my opinion is wrong, an work to persuade me otherwise. I’ve decided to stop sharing my disdain for children, and instead just know and understand the truth for myself; standing firm so as not be swayed by any cute dimples, or tiny toes, baby soft skin, or the smell of freshly bathed babies.
I’ve done my time with kids, from having three younger brothers of my own, to working in a day care center, nannying, to babysitting his, hers, ours, theirs, as often as he, she, and we saw fit. I even volunteered to do stuff with kids! Camp counselor, big day-long events involving hordes of screaming children, and just plain old charity babysitting. Because of this, I feel like the person who has not birthed just one or two, but hundreds of tiny tots and to be honest, I don’t think I have the capacity in me for any more.
This weekend, we watched my boyfriend’s adorable five-year old nephew. He is a really wonderful, polite, engaged, and well-behaved youngster, but despite that, I felt completely worn out by the end of the weekend. Typically, I like my weekends to focus on rest, rejuvenation, and relaxation after a stressful and very out-of-whack work schedule that I must maintain throughout the week. We did everything from go to the beach, took him to see the turtles at the garden supply store, attempted long mountain excursions, and indulged his every whim for M & M’s, gum, pizza, and any movie watching that he requested. I think he watched the same episode of Spy Kids 5 times. I found myself not wanting to say “No” to what he wanted, but at the same time, the more you say yes, the more drained you get! Is all this true for ACTUAL parents too? Or is it different when they’re your own?
Boys have always been a challenge for me, I want to understand them, but the superhero, knife, sword, gun thing is just so hard for me to engage my brain in. I need to educate myself more on these topics for next time, so that we can have a really deep and meaningful conversation about THOR and his distant, unsavory relative, Godzilla.
Kids have a love hate relationship with food it seems. They are hungry when they are hungry and will not let up letting you know that, until the tormenting monster within their stomachs has been sufficiently fed. It also seems like they also do not like any of the choices that you give them. I can’t imagine why a kid wouldn’t like side salads, plain, unflavored oatmeal, and bland toast, but our loaner miniature man was not interested in eating any of the things we usually eat. I suppose it’s because we eat to maintain our top-notch physiques, all the while feeding our emotional selves and kid’s eat because….well….they need a break from sword fighting. This particular superhero of a child rarely took a break from eating (toast, oatmeal, 2 bags of popcorn, a cookie…all before noon), yet still managed to maintain a rapid caloric burn and I found myself jealous of his toned muscles, fast metabolism, and exercise endurance. Unfortunately, our cabinets are empty now and it doesn’t look they’re going to replenished until my tax return of next year.
I thought I was emotional, dramatic, and overly needing of attention until I realize that a child takes those notions to the next level. I think it is their job to inform you of, and narrate each moment, complete with a question and answer period mostly involving the question, “Why?”. The chair is too hot, your breath smells, I don’t like this, are we there yet, where are we going, I want this, and that, and it’s hot, I’m thirsty, my legs are tired, you’re a doo doo head. If I took everything they said personally, I would not be feeling so great about myself and probably would never amount to the person I see myself as in my head as my every flaw is magnified by their every need that I am not immediately attending to. I’ll admit, my need to feel accepted by children is a rather obsessive one, and that is something I have to work on, and work out in my own time.
Although I have friends with kids who have rockin’ bods, I have a feeling I would not bounce back so easily and baby weight would turn into my developing into a behemoth. I think the stress of having a child would send me on a chip-eating, ice cream-scarfing frenzy that I would never be able to resurface from. Not to mention the number of cocktail hours would skyrocket as I sought to manage and grapple with my terrible parenting. Wanting to maintain my girlish figure (which is fading on it’s own regardless of being sans-child) is a large part of my reason for not having children. I also do not think there is anyway I could mentally, physically or emotionally handle the giant balloon that my stomach would grow into and the accompanying aches, pains, and downward spirals. I cry when I get stung by a bee and when I have gas, I don’t think labor is really for folks of such a feeble constitution.
Perhaps the overarching reason I have no desire to have kids is because I am a bit selfish, and just a bit too exhausted by own life. I’m becoming even more so in my old age. I’m just now learning to savor moments to myself, and to really develop a true, loving, honest, and committed relationship to someone. I have all of these personal challenges I want to strive for, and I think that for me, having a kid would just hold me back from the things I want most out of life. I want to learn more about how to feel child-like MYSELF and smile more, laugh more, enjoy more, rather than add to my wrinkle repertoire by overly concerning myself with every detail of a tiny beings life. I know the kind of person I am, and I would never want to instill my OCD attributes on someone else. I feel parenting is a huge responsibility, and while I know so many people that are good at it, I know so many people that are not so wonderful at it and their kids turn out crappy. I would never be able to live with myself if my child hated me, or resented me for the way I had raised them, or developed into some menace to society, who then resented me for the way I raised them. It’s so liberating to be able to live in a world in which children are actually something you can decide upon rather than just extra farm hands.
I guess, when it boils down to it, I want to be the one to say “YES” to everything kids want, and to give them love, without having to bear the actual little thing into this world. I’ll leave the task of making my mother a grandmother to my three loyal brothers, and I will stick to being “Auntie Em.”