Motherhood

14 Mar

I have heard a lot of things about becoming a mother. Many people say that is the most rewarding experience in the world. I think that’s wonderful… for them.

I personally have no intention of ever having children. I’ve felt this way ever since I was a child myself and it hasn’t changed. The adults around me have constantly told me that I will feel differently eventually. I don’t have a problem with this because it could be true. Circumstances change. What I do find a bit insulting is the subtext behind it.

Most of the adults telling me this are not talking about finding someone who wants children and rethinking it. They aren’t talking about making an informed decision and deciding maybe children are, indeed, for me. No, they’re talking about the biological need as a woman to have children.

Society finds women who do not want children as strange and deviant. Women are meant to be mothers, right? That’s their job! Yeah… I don’t think so. Women do not NEED to have children. It must be a personal choice. Also, I feel that I know myself better than anyone else and so I would know what was best for me. I resent the idea that I will suddenly decide that I need children. It’s different for women who live their lives never really considering whether or not they want children. I’m firm in my decision. I do not think I am stable enough to take responsibility for another life.

The majority of the population gives me funny looks when I say I do not want children. Why is that strange? Again, it’s a personal choice and since I will be the one to take care of the child, it is my decision.

Children are a great responsibility and it’s important to think about the personal sacrifices you must make. American also does not help when they refuse to offer more maternity and paternity leave. The United States is so far behind in matters like these and it’s time for that to change.

I want to have a stable career before I even consider children. However, the business world makes it difficult for me to want children when they refuse to offer paid leave for expecting mothers. There are corporations, I’m sure, that do have better situations but those are far and in between. They think primarily of profit and women who cannot work are not useful.

Maternity leave usually does not offer a lot of time off. Women in the last month of their pregnancy need to take time off before childbirth and then they need time to recover afterwards. However, most businesses do not take this into account and so women often return to work immediately after their baby is born.

Fathers also do not get any sort of leave. They have a responsibility to the child too and they should have time off to take care of the mother. However, childcare is still primarily seen as a woman’s job and so men are not offered any leave.

Both parents have an obligation to their child. Mothers should not be the ones to shoulder most of the work.

6 Responses to “Motherhood”

  1. internationalcupcakebandit 03/14/2012 at 9:34 am #

    I completely agree here. I have made any decisions about children yet, but i’m sure it may be a consideration at some point in time. But i think it’s sad that there is such a pressure to have children, especially at such a young age. At least according to many of people i’m close with, the child bearing prime is like mid 20s? MID 20!? WHAT?!
    Especially in our current economic state, I couldn’t imagine not having a really stable job and having a child to care for..and who has that stable of a job at that age? I know i’m probably not.
    I also find it interesting that women who don’t have children are not only seen as different and not normal, but seen as cold and unloving, and generally too workaholics. I think the stereotypes there are hardly challenged

    • parklena 03/15/2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Thank you for your comment! I think it’s sad as well that there’s such pressure to have children. Many of my friends are getting married now and already pregnant and I can’t quite understand it. I would wait until I’m 30, at the earliest. By then, I would hope that I would at least a relatively stable job.

      Regarding women not having children, someone mentioned to me from an article that apparently women in the workplace who have children are seen as less warm and loving. I thought that was interesting in that apparently, women cannot work and be a loving mother at the same time, or at least that’s the inference I get from it.

  2. eszenyme 03/14/2012 at 10:06 pm #

    It’s funny that you wrote about this. I feel like every time I go home to see my mom and we talk about my boyfriend, one of her main series of questions is, do you ever talk about marriage? do you still not want children? etc. I don’t mind her asking me. Of course she wants to know. I am in a serious relationship and I am ok with getting married. It also shows that she is taking my relationship just as seriously as I am. But, it’s bothersome when I tell her I still don’t want children and her response is, “Just wait and see. You’ll change your mind someday.” I’ll admit it. Since I have been more vocal about being a feminist, these comments have shifted to, “You might change your mind one day.” But, for some reason, they still get to me.

    I love the idea of being that badass grandmother that buys their grandkids everything, lets them stay up late, you know, all the fun stuff. But, I don’t really see myself as a mother. I’ve had long (seriously, long) conversations with my boyfriend and other people about this and I just don’t know if I want to dedicated the time I feel I would want to dedicate to parenting. I know that now, more than ever, women are balancing careers and children and I am 100% in support of that. But, in the back of my head, I keep thinking, if I were to be a mom, would I personally want to do both. And I’m not sure what the answer is. It could just be that I am not ready for that responsibility now or it could be that I am never ready for it. Either way, I guess I just wish that I could get there when I get there without feeling bad if I chose to abstain from having kids. Besides, I’ve got a cat named Max who is entering the terrible 2s so kids are the last thing on my mind. I have never heard a being whine for attention so much in my life….

    • parklena 03/15/2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks for your comment and your personal little story! I find that’s typical of parents of daughters who have been in a long term relationship. Marriage and children tend to come up often.

      Whether you want to do both (work and raise children) or not, it’s your choice. You have plenty of time to decide, no matter who says otherwise. Women can balance careers and children, but it takes a lot of work and a strict balance of time. It’s hard to give your work and your children the time they deserve at the same time. I’m sure, however, if that’s what you choose to do in the end, you can manage it! If you don’t want children, then that’s fine too. Just dote on your friends’ children instead. Be that awesome fun aunt. That’s my plan!

  3. MK 03/16/2012 at 5:50 pm #

    I can completely relate to this. Whenever I tell anyone that I don’t want to get married or have kids, they look at me like I’m a psycho. And I get the same thing from my family- “You don’t know that yet. You’ll change your mind! I was the same way.” It’s basically saying “you don’t know what you really want… But I somehow do!”
    And you brought up some great points- I’d maybe consider having children if the government and our society would get rid of unnecessary difficulties that force a woman to choose between kids and a career. I’m a freshman and I’m already hearing girls talking about how they’re going to put their career on the back burner to have kids once they’re as young as 25. 25! I’m from a conservative, religious family (though I’m neither of those things) but even all of my relatives waited until their late, late 20′s/early 30′s to get married and have kids. You have your entire life ahead of you and are only young once- I don’t understand why they’re in such a hurry to grow up. I wish they’d realize that marriage + kids does not equal happiness.

  4. Wendelin W. 03/26/2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I feel the same way. I never thought about having children mainly because I don’t want to get married… I’m not an adult yet, but so far, I don’t want to have a boyfriend either, and my mom keeps saying: “It’s all until the right guy comes along.”

    I get really upset by that because she implies that my lack of desire of getting a boyfriend/marrying/having children is a flaw and the right guy will come along and fix it. It’s… Not like that at all. My choices are not flaws. I can change my mind one day, but, for now, I would like that my mom respected my decisions.

    This all brought me to feminism when I was a couple of years younger — until this date I can’t understand why everyone thinks that getting married and having children is the only way of being happy. It’s really not. I don’t like being around people, I don’t like children, and I need a lot of time on my own to function well… I am perfectly happy. Alone.

    The pressure society puts on girls to have boyfriends/getting married/having children is something that icks me to no end. Many of my friends want to get married and don’t have plans for career. And it’s fine. But a girl wanting another things should also be fine as well.
    Unfortunately, it’s not… I can only hope.

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