For every bitter cranky old maid like me out here, there seem to be at least ten Happy Mommies blogging away. I have no problem with this. In fact, I am envious of the Happy Blogging Mommies. I'm nearly 40, and the likelihood that I will ever know what it's like to try to keep a toddler calm and happy or have need to shop for bulk diapers at Costco is fairly minimal. I have to admit that I (foolishly, apparently) always figured I would be married and have at least one kidlet in my life. However, the fact that I cannot keep a plant alive in my apartment (or stay employed or remember to grocery shop or do laundry or get a boyfriend) is pretty compelling evidence that I wasn't cut out for a parenting role. (One of my sisters once said our gay brother would make a much better mom that I ever would. Ouch. That's stayed with me for a long time now.)
Yet, when I read the Happy Mommy (or Daddy) blogs, I really feel that I'm missing something great. Something amazing. And, I suppose it's pretty normal for a woman of my age to feel that I've lost out on something I should have experienced.
There are blogs that catalogue the small, yet astounding discoveries made by tiny kidlets each and every day. There are photoblogs that kill me with gorgeous pics of saucer-eyed babies, covered in food and goop and sporting loopy grins. (I love loopy baby grins almost as much as I love giant, hearty baby chuckles - laughter that, if emitted by an adult might signify something evil or demented, but from a baby is pure delight.)
It's nice to see other people enjoying the normal patterns of life - love, marriage, family, etc. - but it does make me feel pretty empty sometimes. And while it's cool to see what my friends and family have produced, I wonder if they know just how jealous I really am. Maybe Happy Mommy blogs should come with a warning: Will make spinsters feel isolated, empty, unfulfilled, and unloved!
On the other hand, maybe I just need a dose of Daily Rotten or Fark to slap some sense into me. If I can't keep a fern alive for long, what would I do with a baby?
They don't make Jobe's Baby Food Spikes, do they?
And, dear god, just where would you stick them???
Liked your post. Married 10 years at one point, no children, and no have resigned pretty much ... on the other hand, you're not stuck home every night watching dvds...
This is most certainly true.
Of course, as I'm still among the wretchedly unemployed (except for the occasional radio commentary gig), I'm temporarily stuck at home watching reruns of Gilmore Girls...
This, too, shall pass...
And thanks for the nice comment, too, KOB. Mucho appreciated today. :-)
The modern world is full of so many ways to spend your time. Don't forget, having a child precludes exploring many of them. To oversimplify, children are both expensive and rewarding, time-suckers and energizers. Childlessness offers both freedom and loneliness, disposable income and lack of family as you age. So there are trade-offs no matter what you choose.
I know what you mean, though, that sometimes being single doesn't feel like a choice, it can feel like rejection. The only answer is to tamp those feelings down immediately--self-medicate with sex, shopping, food, alcohol, whatever you have to do to insist that the glass is half-full. Then, hopefully, at some point, you'll put down the bag of cookies and you'll see that it really is half-full. More than half-full. You can have a very fulfilling, important life without a family. Perhaps your life path will take you somewhere exciting--you can devote your life to a cause, or live abroad working for a non-profit, or start a company, or write a novel, or become a nun, or read the dictionary every day. There are so many wonderful things you can do with your time and energy.
You can also adopt and be a single parent, if that's what you feel your greatest contribution is.
If you think your missing something by not having those cute "kidlet" posts, borrow a niece or nephew or the child of a friend for a few hours a week. There's a definite advantage to being able to send them home. And they're never cute 24/7.
I have held off replying to this post because it felt rather hypocritical and hollow for me to offer comfort when I was married at 20 and had 2 children by 24.
But the more I thought about your post the more I felt compelled to let you know that people in my position OFTEN lay in bed at night and wonder what life would have been like if we had chosen the other path - singleness.
Who would I have become, if I had chosen differently? For me, my spouse and my offspring have become such a part of myself that I feel that the outline of my personal identity is rather blurred and vague. This lack of definition does not escape me and I mourn it's loss. I also miss the state of complete SILENCE... a rare occurrence in my everyday life.
What the "Baby Blogs" fail to impart to their readers is the profound impact that children have on your life. The responsibility is irretractable, the worry and fear is unrelenting... and it does not dissapate has the children age into adulthood. Truly, it is almost a cruel trick of nature that you NEVER retire from being a parent.
So while there ARE many beautiful, enchanting and magical moments involved in raising a child, there is also massive amounts of self-sacrifice that would tax the patience of the most righteous saint. Huge amounts of time and resources for an unpredictable outcome at best.
....and marriage - well, plenty of your readers know this: even the very "best marriage" is fallible given the right "catylst"... that is why an enduring marriage is so much work; it is constantly being mended and repaired and even then, it can be lost.
Okay, have I thoroughly depressed everybody? I just wanted to give the spin from the other side and point out that neither way of life is completely "ideal".
Life is a struggle... either way you live it!
Though I am young (24), and would be shocked to see my whole life pass without children (even if it means adoption or artificial insemination) I can't help but thing that some of those "happy mom blogs" are just a front. Obviously, these women love their children, but I telling the blogworld about how junior was sick and puked all over Mommy's bed at 4a.m. is not nearly as glorious as the tales of how junior said his first big word. For every up side to parenthood (and I believe there are many), there are downsides. I think part of the problem is society makes women feel so guilty if they don't have/want kids that it makes it hard for these women to take advantage of not having kids around.......
Well, I think one of my challenges is that I'm not only fast approaching 40 and childless, but I also lack the romantic attention of even one male, plus I haven't been able to get a suitable job in over four months now. So, I'm feeling fairly crappy on all levels.
Not sexy, not desirable (professionally or socially), and not certifiably womanly in all the most basic ways.
It'll get better. I'm confident.
It will get better. Right?
Y'know. There's days that I wish I were a spinster, myself. For each of those adorable moments, there are 99 difficult, stressful, trying, worrisome, exasperating, defeating, and difficult ones. They just don't make such good blog fodder.
Then there are days that I just wake up and I want to suck inside my own head, either in the name or artistic endeavor or naked selfishness, and I just don't get to. It's ok. I made the deal, and I stand by it, but there are days that I look around and say to myself, "I don't want to be the mamma today."
Check this out:
Being alone is the pits. Feeling alone is worse. Babies don't change that, and boyfriends are about as much trouble as babies most of the time.
You're in a fucking amazing city. I got to live there for a quarter in college, and I loved it. There was this great bookstore on Dupont Circle that had live jazz and everything. I would *so* be there, and any other countless shines of random geekery around there if I could. It's a blessing to have the freedom to indulge in such fancies, and I wish I could help you see it.
Like I said, feeling alone sucks like little else in life sucks. So, go not be alone and stuff.
yes, it will get better. but not because you become validated by a man's attention, a child, or a suitable job. it'll get better because you'll someday realize you've been carrying everything you need for a worthwhile life inside of you all along.
For every HappyMommy blog gushing over the wonderfulness of babies, there's no blog for the previous generation of HappyMommies whose gurgly little bundles of joy have turned into teenagers...
Don't get me wrong -- I love my kids and, as teenagers go, they're not a bad lot. But there's a huge difference between sleepless nights due to 2am feedings and sleepless nights due to it's 2am and they're not home yet and you keep hearing sirens going by.
And, as someone has already mentioned, during twenty years of stay-at-home-motherhood, I've certainly had my moments of doubt -- even moments of despair. There will always be a part of me that (who?) wonders what my life would look like if I hadn't gotten married and had kids (married at 23, got pregnant on my honeymoon like a (then) good little Cat'lik girl -- and not three blocks from St. Peter's Square, too, hee).
But if you really, really want kids, you can have mine. Seriously. All three are in private college right now, and we're paying 33K, 36K and 42K per year for them, respectively. Good fun, eh?
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