**DISCLAIMER. I AM NOT PREGNANT, NOR AM I TRYING TO BECOME PREGNANT, NOR DO I PLAN TO TRY TO BECOME PREGNANT ANY TIME IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE (AKA, NEXT 1-2 YRS). Just wanted to put that out there before anyone gets too excited & reads way too much into this post.
As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about having kids over the past year or so. It’s not something I want to do RIGHT NOW; it’s just something I THINK about often which is a huge step considering just two years ago I was pretty sure I never wanted children (though on some deeper level I think I always knew I would someday; I just thought that someday would be much further in the future). In any case, the recurring theme in my mind seems to be that despite my new-found desire to be a mom I’m not sure I’m really suited for parenthood. Here’s why.
1. First of all, I am truly an introvert at heart. I value my alone time very highly. Trust me, the idea of actually living alone scares me because I do crave human interaction, but at the same time I really value having alone time to listen to music, play my flute, read books & blogs, & generally just relax. It’s this alone time doing these types of activities that allows me to rest & recharge. Being an introvert does not necessarily mean that I’m shy or don’t like social interactions. It simply means that my ENERGY comes from my alone time, not from my time spent with others. Well, one of the most common themes I hear about motherhood is that you will NEVER BE ALONE AGAIN. Let me be clear & say that the idea of having a toddler follow me to the bathroom bothers me very little. But the idea that I might not regularly be able to allot a few hours of time to spend by myself reading & catching up on the things that keep me sane? That’s scary. I don’t know if I can handle that. I truly believe that in order to be an effective parent you have to keep your own sanity which means taking care of yourself as much as you take care of others. For me that means I need a certain amount of alone time every week . . . But how is that going to happen when I have children, especially since I don’t have any family in the immediate area? It will be a daunting challenge to put it mildly. Additionally there is the challenge of never again having alone time with my husband. That scares me greatly because it’s our alone time together that keeps our relationship strong . . .
2. Secondly, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be suited to being a mom because there is so much about life that I don’t know & that I’m quite sure I’ll never know. I’ve always had this idea that parents need to have a very firm set of beliefs to give to their children & I know that I will never have that to give to my children. There are just too many things in life that can never be fully answered. The world isn’t black & white, no matter how much we might sometimes want it to be because we (wrongly) think that would make life easier. Deep down I know that I do have a lot of values that I will try to instill in my children, values that are not based on strict rules or regulations but rather in the simple knowledge of doing what is right in this world. But the world is full of shades of grey & parents are tasked with teaching their children how to navigate such a terrifying yet wonderful place. And I am just not sure that I am up to the task.
3. Perhaps I should have started with this point but lastly I have never really liked babies & young children that much. I often hear moms say “I just wish they’d stay little forever” & I have to resist the urge to laugh & ask them if they are insane. You mean you LIKE the fact that your kids are completely dependent on you & don’t allow you even two seconds to think peacefully on your own? How is that fun?! When I think about having kids, I think about taking them on trips, going to the beach, hiking in the mountains, showing them how to cook, teaching them about life by analyzing everything from movies & TV shows to books & music, & most importantly of course showing them how much I love them every day. I think about how much fun it will be to watch my kids play sports or participate in band or graduate from college & find an exciting career. And the joy of becoming a grandparent someday. Basically most of the things that I think sound fun about parenting all involve kids who are at least 5, if not closer to 10. Indeed I’ve often said if kids could just arrive at age 5, that would suit me just fine. But the idea of having an infant who is completely & utterly dependent on me for EVERYTHING for every second of its existence? Wow, that is just incomprehensibly scary. I know most women look at babies & just see a bundle of joy. I see that too but I also see all the WORK that goes into those little bundles of joy: the long nights without sleep, the pain of trying to breastfeed, the upset tummies, the dirty diapers, & the never-ending fatigue from dealing with all of that. Sometimes I wish I weren’t so capable of visualizing the REALITY of motherhood because then maybe I’d doubt my ability to handle it a lot less. On the other hand, maybe realizing how difficult motherhood really is will make me less resentful of it when the day finally comes. I don’t know. I just know that I’ve never been one of those women who picks up a baby or a toddler & just knows exactly how to interact with them. I’ve always felt completely clueless & like I must be missing some “nurturing mommy” trait that other girls clearly inherited & I didn’t. I’m reassured when some moms tell me that they’ve never been particularly thrilled with other people’s children but they love their own to death. I believe them. I really do. Additionally, when I hear about someone else being pregnant, I fully believe that the moment they hold their child for the first time, their heart will be so full of love & suddenly they will find the strength to raise that child, no matter how scared they are. But then I see myself in that same situation & suddenly I am full of nothing but doubts & I find myself facing the horrible fear that I might give birth to a child & not feel that inherent connection that mothers are supposed to feel. That if I don’t know how to relate to other people’s children, I won’t know how to relate to my own either. Why do I have faith for other people but not for myself? Arghhhhh.
I don’t know why I’m writing all of this. I guess I’m just trying to vent my frustrations & make some sense out of what is obviously a very complicated topic. The reason these thoughts bother me so much is that when I have kids I really want to love them with every fiber of my being. I want to be the absolute best mom I can be. I am fully aware of the fact that this does NOT mean having a perfectly organized house all the time but rather spending TIME with my children & showing them love every day of their life. I know that being the best mom I can be does not mean my children will always have perfectly coordinated outfits or even perfectly CLEAN outfits every day of the week. Rather it means never forgetting to say “I love you,” always being there to kiss & hug them after a hard day, building up their self-confidence, & experiencing that love between mother & child that is like nothing else on Earth. In my heart I know that having the maturity to understand these things probably means I actually WILL be a good mom. But my heart is still full of so many doubts.
I feel like most girls grow up strongly visualizing themselves as mothers someday. But I just never thought of myself that way. So I have no idea if it’s normal to be full of so many doubts & questions regarding the subject of motherhood. If there are any moms out there reading this, I would be very appreciative to hear your thoughts.