Lacking a Motherly Instinct

Moms are some of the hardest working people in the world. They provide comfort after skinned knees and nightmares. They are incredible multitaskers. Some work two jobs just to make sure their children have food on the table and a roof over their heads. Many take on the task of parenthood single-handedly.

Mom and BabyMoms seem to be able to do it all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Some have to.

I, however, am one of the few women who are not seeking to join the club.

I’ve been looked down on for not wanting children. I’ve received my share of disapproving looks as if womanhood is defined as being a mother or if parenting children was a duty owed to your husband/parents/society. Most of the disapproval comes from women themselves, which makes me more upset in a feministic way.

I think a woman’s right to choose doesn’t only have to mean keeping or terminating pregnancy.

Many people believe men or women who don’t want to be parents are selfish, which boils my blood. On the contrary, it’s selfish for someone who isn’t fit to be a parent have children simply because they want a son or daughter. It’s selfish for a person to purposefully bring a child into this world without considering their living or financial situation. Parents who disregard these important pieces of life and put their own desire above the child’s well-being itself is selfish.

But I’ve never felt a maternal instinct. As a child, my room was filled with stuffed animals instead of baby dolls. I didn’t enjoy playing “house” or being a parental figure in the skits my friends and I performed during sleepovers. Being a mom has never been on my bucket list. To be honest, I’ve never felt 100 percent comfortable around children of any age, even when they are members of my extended family.

Most of the time I consider children annoying at best. Granted, there are a select few who I definitely don’t mind being around at all, but they are the unusually quiet, happy babies or the polite, not overly crazed toddlers who can – surprisingly – understand reason at their age (thank you, mom friends!). I don’t even like babysitting, and learned that pretty quickly in my teens.

I have a couple of friends and relatives who were born to be mothers and are great parents. They are completely natural with children and love to spend hours on end in their presence. I even have one friend who has joked she wants 10, though I think if it happened she’d be perfectly happy with it.

I don’t believe I’m really cut out to be a mother.

It’s not all about the pain of childbirth (though that scares me to no end), diaper changing or even waking up to screams at 3 a.m. When I think of motherhood, I think of childhood alongside my older brother and what we put my mom through. Constant – yes, constant – fighting, testing her limits, refusing to do daily chores, stressing her out beyond belief. Our own relatives didn’t even want to babysit us. Obviously there were plenty of good times, but the negatives are outweighing the positives and making me less than confident I could handle it all.

When it comes to kids, I’m very impatient and awkward. I cannot be “on” all of the time. If I’m at the grocery store and hear a kid scream from the other side of the building I cringe, thankful I’m not the one pushing that child in the cart. I don’t like the thought of being utterly exhausted day after day before the cleaning gets done and the food is made. And have you seen the current shows geared toward youngsters? Just…no.

I bet I can count on less than five fingers how many times I’ve seriously thought about having children of my own – either through adoption or natural process. Even if I still wasn’t 100 percent on having kids, there have been some men I’ve dated who, after marriage, I could see myself saying “yes” to more easily than others.

For as long as I can remember, I‘ve been told, “you’ll change your mind when you get older.” But I haven’t yet, and I’m a couple of weeks away from my 29th birthday. When, exactly, is “older?”

Of course, I’m open to the idea that my opinion could change, and if it does, I guess everyone was right. Congrats to them, they told me so. If I don’t ever have children, I doubt I’ll regret that decision. Honestly, I’d rather be an aunt, but I don’t see my brother being a husband, let alone a father. I guess I will have to be an honorary aunt to the kids of my friends. I can do that just fine.

For now, I’ll experience the trial and error of motherhood vicariously through my former coworker, Whitney, who writes a charming, pointed and down-to-Earth parenting column.

As a non-parent with little desire for my own children, I enjoy reading it every week.

Which leads me to my next point. I’ve asked Whitney if she was interested in sharing her column with me in a guest post every so often. She’s agreed, so look for a guest post every now and again, and don’t be afraid to leave comments for her!

– K

About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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