bitchet: road sign reading "hope next exit" (Default)
My Graceless Heart ([personal profile] bitchet) wrote2014-10-15 01:05 pm

I don't want to keep on hoping, forget what I had in mind

I really did not mean to stay away from LJ for over three months. Though if
you were going through withdrawal, I can be found on tumblr. Though I haven't been posting too
much on there either, mainly due to ongoing computer issues among other
things as described below.

So I've decided to be proactive and have my mid-life crisis early!
And not just of the "what am I doing with my life?" variety but of the
"what do I even want to do with my life?"

For example, I just turned 33 and I have no idea if I want to have kids or
not. Now, since women on both sides of my family (including my mother) were
popping out healthy kids until their early 40's, I have some time. But not
a lot. Especially since I'd like to be in a marriage before doing so. That
puts me right up against this deadline as I am not even currently in a

I realize a large part of it is that playing nursemaid/caregiver to my
parents from my mid-teens well into my late twenties put me off the idea of
making any similar big commitments. I literally hadn't had a moment to
myself until I was 27 - I had never lived alone or had any sort of
financial autonomy.

Usually, I'm quite resigned to this but sometimes it makes me rather bitter
that that's how I spent that time that I will never get back. I lost years
of building relationships and a career because unfortunately my mother's
schizophrenia and dementia meant she wasn't much for keeping schedules. If
she was up and running the neighborhood at 3am, then I was up running after
her. Not to mention she had a tendency to steal my checks and cash them
herself which kind of made working pointless. And what do I have to show
for that lost decade? I'm a single 33-year old temp with little savings and
a subpar credit score.

And then there's all the time I lost to depression and anxiety. Worse, are
the relationships that went to waste. I still keep in touch with my friends
but it's mostly just over Facebook. They've moved on with their lives, all
of them have children, most of them are married. If i'm lucky, I'll see
them a couple times a year. I'm friendly with the people at work, they're a
great bunch, but I've lost that skill of turning acquaintances into
friends. I'm much younger than all my cousins and the only one close in age
is the one I haven't spoken to in years. Also, most of them tend to be Tea
Party types. So meetups and church are my only real hopes there.

And again, I don't really know what I want so that makes it difficult to
work towards a goal. Now that I'm in a less crazy environment that does
promote growth from within, should I push forward in my career? The problem
with that is I can't guarantee where that will lead. While I'm confident
that I'll be hired (there are several of us temps and this place tends to
keep temps for about a year, trying to figure out where they will
ultimately place them) I don't know what department I will land in and that
can make a huge difference with how long I want to stay. I could feasibly
wind up working in contracts, making more money, or even apply for a job
overseas and end up in Dublin or Hamburg. Or, given the crossroads that
freight forwarding is at, I could also end up getting laid off as they
decide to consolidate all their jobs in Bumblefuck, Idaho. I won't know how
this plays out until Spring.

I know I want to get married, I want a life partner and that kind of
commitment. But, I don't know if i want kids and, understandably, most
people my age either want to work on the kids part asap or want promises
there will be no kids. I'm not 23, "I don't know," just isn't an acceptable
answer anymore.

So kids. My mental pros/cons list currently looks like this:


- I won't have children outside of marriage and I am currently not even in
a relationship. This is out of pragmatism, not morals. I've noticed that
all the successful single moms I've ever known have one thing in common -
moms and/or sisters willing and able to help them raise the child. I don't
have that so I need a committed partner. Or to have the sort of finances
that will allow me to hire a nanny or three. Sadly enough, I think the
partner is a surer bet.

- Other than wanting some support with my theoretical children, I'd also
like to be in a better place financially. Life sucks if you're poor and it
sucks even more for poor children.

- While the idea of surrendering my life to a tiny tyrant no longer sends
me into a panic attack, I still have things I want to do that having kids
will make difficult. I still want to travel and with kids, that's a
challenge. I want to spend months traveling and I can do that as a single
person but to even have a hope of doing that as a parent, I need serious
money or some job that moves me around. Even then, I'm not sure how fair
that is to children when they start school and want to start building lives
of their own.

- And speaking of independence, I don't want to become a pod person. I know
it doesn't happen to every woman but every single one of my female friends
and female relatives turned into people who only post about their kids and
start describing themselves as "Chief Mommy at [Kid's Name] Corp!" Every
post is about their kids, pictures of their kids, issues related to raising
their kids, and occasionally, the husband.

The fuck?

Their husbands sure as fuck don't do that - they still post about politics,
sports, work, going out, and yes, their kids and wife but it's a balance.
And I'm sure this is a mixture of performing femininity, a toxic side of
American parenting, and my friends just trying to keep a light tone on
Facebook but Christ it's depressing. I know there's still a person under
there! An interesting person who had ideas and interests before she became
a mother!

- I haven't had many good examples in parenting. My own parents were pretty
much dysfunctional, emotionally abusive, and neglectful. When they were
there. My closest friends have turned into the kind of hippie attachment
parenting weirdos that post anti-vaxx bs to Facebook and let their kidss
run around destroying other people's stuff with nothing more than a weak
"don't do that, please!" The rest of my family is better with discipline
but they're the type of people who have extravagant birthdays for their
one-year olds to show-off for the neighbors and to make sure everyone they
gave gifts to returns the favor. I don't want to be breastfeeding my kid
until he's in kindergarten and I don't want to be competing with other moms
for the best Pinterest-inspired birthday party. I'm not interested in a
child-centered life. I want an adult-centered life where I am raising my
children to be functioning adults who understand they're not the center of
the world.

- On that note, I don't care for babies. I'm not sure if this is why I've
never had a feeling of my biological clock going off but yeah, the younger
the baby, the less I like them. When they get to about 6 months to a year
they're fine but newborns are funny-looking and boring. I don't get the
appeal. I'd rather deal with a toddler or a teenager, tbh.

- Finally, it's cliched but, sometimes I don't even understand why people
have kids. The world has enough people in it and isn't that great. And
there's nothing special about my genes that the world needs another copy of
them running around.

Also, I know if anything bad every happened to my child, I would do
something crazy and most likely illegal. I have no idea how people put up
with that kind of worry.


A much shorter list.

- I like kids. I like babies once they start developing something
approaching a personality and the ability to support their own head. I get
along well with kids, I always have. I loved babysitting when I was
younger. I remember very well what it was like to be a child and I relate
to them. When my co-workers tell me stories about their own children, I
don't relate to my co-worker the parent but to the kid. This is actually
part of the reason why I think if I ever do write a proper novel, it will
likely be a children's book/coming-of-age novel.

Also kids are fucking hilarious.

- This sounds nuts and probably is but, my childhood was not that great and
the best way to "fix" that is to have kids of my own. I don't mean forcing
my kids to take piano, soccer, and two languages once they hit three but a
childhood that's supportive and functional. And more than that, the chance
to have the kind of family I've always wanted. I can't go back and undo
what's happened so the only real second choice I get is through being a

- It's very egotistical but I like the idea of a legacy. I want to bring
into the world kind, happy, functioning people who will bring some good to
it. I want something that will live on after I'm gone and I want a goal
bigger than myself to work towards while I'm alive.

So, yeah, that's where I am right now. The next post will have more
interesting fandom-related stuff, I promise.
in_the_blue: (are you sure that's not too much sugar?)

[personal profile] in_the_blue 2014-10-16 11:25 pm (UTC)(link)
This requires a thoughtful response. Hope you don't mind.

As a parent myself, I say that when you're ready for kids, that's the time to get them into your lives. No one else can tell us when the time is right. I can also tell you that if you like children who are a little older, the foster care system is filled with adoptable kids. No, we don't get that societally-perceived all-important first six months of bonding, but in a lot of cases I have to say I think that's a lot of hooey. Kids adapt. They adapt easily, and respond to love and affection and consistency no matter how old they are. Adopting won't provide you with a genetic legacy, but it will provide you with a family.

Of course, you want the stability of a partner first, so the rest of it is a little bit moot.

You've thought this through, you seem to know what order you want to your life, and I applaud you for that. I think every parent worth their salt wonders how they could possibly deal with anything bad happening to their kids. That's what brings out the mama bear in us. I know it has with me. No one's a stronger advocate for my child than I am, and for me that automatically goes with the territory.

I have been very aware of the things I liked and didn't like about my family and parents growing up, and have tried my damnedest not to repeat those same problems in my own little nuclear family. Just remember that to be a parent doesn't mean you have to be perfect. It only means you're willing to share your guidance, expertise, love, and property with a little flailing ball of underdeveloped emotion. But don't worry, usually after about eighteen years they can stand on their own. Promise.