So, I used to think I was a ‘maternal’ person. You know, that it would just be a matter of time before I would have a family, and I would be this wonderful earth-mother type figure, with a loving family and friends all sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to take my home-baked bread out of the oven. Complete with home-made chutneys, made from our homegrown vegetables. Yep, the whole shebang.
I never spoke about this other than to my ex, because I was a little ashamed. In our feisty-female, independent-woman generation, I think it is sometimes viewed as a bit of a cop-out to want to start a family so young. What, you’re not even going to try to save the world before you pop a baby out? Having children is secondary, like you have to get all the other much more important things out of the way first, because once that bebé comes along you ain’t gonna have time for anything else unless you fancy tackling it whilst elbow-deep in sick and baby poo. Which I guess is kind of accurate.
I guess I made myself want that lifestyle because I was in a long-term relationship, living with my then-boyfriend we’d been together for ages, etc etc - so it seemed the next logical step and, acting of course with my best interests at heart, my brain convinced me into wanting it. The whole package. It’s good at doing that. I think my (subconscious) rationale was: I’m settled, there’s little chance of me going off and having adventures, so I might as well throw myself into the life I have and make the most of it.
That was how I thought six months ago.
Now? No, thanks. I still love children (most especially my nieces and nephews), I enjoy spending time with them and their crazy minds – you can have better conversations with kids than you can with adults sometimes, and they look at things with a totally different mindset. I just don’t want any myself. Right now, and maybe not ever.
It’s taken me a lot of mulling over to realise this, and it takes a lot to admit it both here and to myself, because for so many years (ok, 5) my self-identity has been tied up with the image of being, at some point, a mother. Six months ago, I wanted children so much, the only thing stopping me (well, us, I thought) was financial stability.
Maybe I’ll change my mind. I do have a strong track record of doing that a lot. But now I’m single, I’m really appreciating having time, money and resources to spend on myself, and I just can’t imagine having children and giving up so much of my life, at least not for a very long time.
Until then, I’m saving my collection of Roald Dahl books for the first niece/nephew (tangent: why isn’t there a gender-neutral term for such relations?) who shows an interest in them. Or I’ll continue to read them myself, because, after all, they’re just awesome.