Babysitting Reminded Me Why I Don’t Want Children
Really, they aren’t for everyone.
I thought I wanted to be a mom one day.
Growing up, I had fantasies of raising my own children, of cradling a little pink skinned baby in my arms and rocking it to sleep. I could feel it’s warm, chubby fingers reach out to grasp my own. I imagined the bond we would have, the undying devotion between mother and child.
I even had names picked out.
I wanted a big family once.
At least three children, ideally four along with an adoring, handsome husband to call my own.
My fantasy came abruptly crashing down in my 20’s.
The dream of having children quickly turned to a nightmare.
I saw the world that I was living in and decided that I couldn’t bring a helpless child into it.
War. Poverty. Climate change. Economic instability. Growing and vast inequalities. Wage stagnation.
As a grown adult, I couldn’t even manage to take care of myself without the help of my parents. I was struggling now, all on my own, and the prospect of having hungry mouths to feed was enough to send me into a tailspin of fear and anxiety.
The world I had once seen as so beautiful, so full of hope, turned dark. I had so little hope for a future that was safe and prosperous for such a little one. Instead it was dangerous and wrought with strife.
Would my children ever see the rainforests or the polar ice caps? Would they even know what those were or would they be forced to imagine what they were like from old pictures?
Would the polar bears still be around?
Would there be enough food and water to sustain them?
Would they grow up in the grips of war?
I couldn’t answer this questions and my predictions for the future were bleak.
It was not the type of world I would have wanted for my child and so I refused to bring them into it.
I was motherly enough to know that.
I don’t particularly consider myself motherly either.
It’s funny though, because my friends and family see me that way. I’m too kind and sensitive and sweet to not be a mother. I have a penchant for caring.
I think that’s just humanity, but somehow we’ve managed to mix that up with being motherly.
Motherly women love children. Motherly women put their children first. They’ll willingly care for another mother’s children. They can’t resist the cry of a helpless infaor the sweet faced innocence of a young child.You would not look at my mother and think she was motherly. She is a caring person, but she does not come across as gentle or sweet. She is loud and brash and speaks her mind.
Despite this, she is the most motherly person I know. She has sacrificed for my sisters and I and never once complained. She loves children. She never looks more at home then when she is cradling a baby in her arms.
If I was ever a mother I would hope to be her.
But I don’t. Want to be a mother that is.
I’m not particularly fond of children and a string of recent babysitting jobs has reminded me of that.
I do not find children to be sweet, irresistible creatures. I find them to be obnoxious and loud and messy and more than a little bit off putting.
At their worst, they are bossy and rude, if not downright cruel, with little thought given to others.
At the same time they are hopelessly needy, incapable of completing even the most basic of tasks without supervision or hand holding.
Most young children now will hardly engage in conversation with you. They don’t play or imagine. They are absorbed in the glowing screen they clutch in their hands, staring endlessly, for hours on end.
The things I once found endearing about children; their honesty, their innocence, their imagination seems to have been lost to me.
I don’t want to give up my own life for a child’s.
Adults are strangely obsessive about their children.
And I guess on an evolutionary level it makes sense. Our ancestors had to ensure the survival of the species after all and the best way to do that is by creating this almost laser like focus on our offspring.
We give up everything for our children.
Money, food, shelter. Perhaps even our own sanity and pleasure a lot of the time.
I don’t want that.
I don’t want to have children.
I want to be able to be selfish. I want to be able to care for my own needs. I want to get enough sleep. I want a house that isn’t strewn with toys and broken crayons.
Some women want this. Plenty of them do.
But it’s time to admit to ourselves that having children isn’t for everyone.
And that’s okay.