Rewind eight or nine years. While building my MySpace profile (remember MySpace?) I arrived on a question about children. One of the drop-down joptions was 'someday'. Presumably, now all those appealing potential Myspace suitors would have the knowledge that I didn't presently have excessive baggage, but was willing to consider acquiring some.
I didn't really hesitate before choosing the 'someday' option. But I felt very certain that this was not something that would happen soon (I was a mere child at 22 or 23). A couple years later, after breaking up with completely unsuitable boyfriend, a friend of mine (a guy, imagine that!) asked me if I wasn't now more concerned about my "ticking clock".
SIDENOTE: who the hell decided that women's genitals come equipped with a timepiece similar to a time-sensitive explosive? The analogy brings to mind the image of a sweaty SWAT team member hunched between a women's legs agonizing over whether to clip the red or the blue wire to disable her ticking clock and avoid a devastating blast of hormones and unrealized dreams of motherhood.
As for my concerned friend? There was no hesitation before laughing his face. I was barely 25 and light years away from considering stashing my eggs in a freezer. And, I most certainly wasn't going to waste my time dating a jackass just so I could procreate.
Being a mom with something that was always seem to be in the vague and distant future.
Even once I was married and my close friends begin to have children, being a mom still didn't seem like something that needed to be addressed immediately. If it weren't for my schedule-conscious husband who didn't want college tuitions to disturb his planned retirement date, I would probably still be childless and perfectly happy.
Oh, snap. Did a mother just admit that life would still be worth living if she'd not had babies?
Don't get me wrong, now that I actually *have* children, I have zero intentions of giving them away and would be devastated if they were suddenly gone. I'm only saying that had the opportunity passed me by, I would have surly found other ways to feel fulfilled.
So there's me: a woman who happily admits that life could be satisfying and enriched with or without small people who initially lack bowel control. And then there's also crazy people on both side of the baby-producing fence.
I once read a really beautiful blog entry about mothering a first, second and third child (Glenon Melton, follow her -- you won't regret it) Buried in the comments section, I stumbled upon this:
'I made sure that I will never be the biological father of a child. there are far too many people in this finite world already. if I get the feeling that I need to be a teacher, I will teach. otherwise, I would say, having children just to increase YOUR quality of life is a little* selfish.
NOTE: Nowhere in the blog entry, does it state or even imply that Ms Melton had children for the express purpose of increasing her quality of life.
In the book I'm reading (Sisterland, a pretty great read so far and set in good ol' St Louis! what what!), the protagonist's sister makes the claim that, "children are nothing but a problem people create then congratulate themselves on solving".
On the other side of the baby-fence, we find an un-ending war waging, Game of Thrones-style between the following camps: SAHMs vs working moms, vaccinate vs morons (guess which side I fight for?), organic food vs convenience, private vs public schools, breast vs formula, cloth vs disposable....the list is literally endless.
So apparently we can't all comfortably appreciate the virtues of *both* parenting and living a diaper-free life. And even once we make the decision, we still find ourselves dodging all sorts of mud-slinging.
I suppose some people feel the need to defend their life decisions to the death. Certainly, I don't think that being a parent or being childless needs to define your character or your value. Joy can be found on both sides. I love my mom and dad friends just as much as my child-free friends. The child-free ones are easier to nail down for a spontaneous drink on a weeknight and the mom-friends are better for commiserating over child-proofing and sleep-less nights.
As for me, my "someday" has arrived and I am loving it.
Sorry Myspace bachelors.