Recently I've been thinking a lot about this whole motherhood thing. I'm not sure why -- maybe because we're coming up on quite a few changes (preschool, the little lady turning 1), but whatever the cause, quite a bit of my limited brain space has lately been taken up with thoughts about motherhood.
You see, I was extremely ambivalent about having children.
I've never particularly liked kids -- I love my nieces and nephews, obviously -- but I am not one of those women who sees a baby in a stroller and immediately wants to hold it or coo at it or, if we're being really honest, interact with it at all. It always kind of annoyed me when my friends would have kids and immediately stop being available to do anything or, worse, want to bring their children along.
For me, the only thing I cared about, and had a desire to pursue, was a career. Other women dream about the fairy-tale wedding and the pink or blue nursery while I dreamed about making an actual living doing something creative, and there was no room for a child in that equation. Which was fine, when I was 22 and 25 and even 29, but all of the sudden I was facing down the barrel of 35 with no career and no kid, and seriously examining my life choices.
And then I accidentally got pregnant.
I didn't want to be pregnant. It didn't fit into my life plans, and I was not at all ready to disembark from the career express and take a detour on the motherhood local. Financially we were barely able to afford a decent meal at a restaurant, let alone the expenses of raising a child.
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On the other hand, the window of my childbearing years was closing faster than the island clam shack after Labor Day, and the hubs didn't fancy fathering his first child when he should've been settling into retirement.
So the question I ended up asking myself was, "Would I regret not having a child more than I would regret having one?"
My answer was a resounding yes (which surprised me, honestly). I came to the conclusion that if I chose not to have a child I would always wonder just what it was that I'd missed.
Three years and two kids later, I'm glad that I decided to give the whole parenting thing a shot. But motherhood is not for everybody, and that's okay. Some days, when the kids won't nap, and I'm exhausted, and I haven't showered in almost a week, I wish that I could return my kids to Cedars-Sinai and go back in time to that weekend when I forgot to use my diaphragm.
Oh, man, I used to enjoy sleeping until 10 a.m. and reading the Times and drinking coffee that hadn't been microwaved six times. But no amount of sleep, or news, or even scalding caffeine can hold a candle to a sweet little boy voice whispering that he loves me ... or my baby Rose's unbridled excitement to see me every morning.
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And that career I was so worried about giving up? It looks pretty different these days -- no glamorous gigs in Elko, Nevada -- but it's going just fine. Better, in some ways, than when it was the singular focus of my existence. Nothing cures procrastination like knowing you've only got 45 minutes before your kid wakes up to ensure that you always make a project deadline.
It turns out that having a child means giving up much of the life you used to lead, but you gain so much more in return. Don't worry, though, I haven't changed too much; I still have no interest in holding some stranger's baby.