From the Blog

Pregnancy Rant Two: I Never Wanted To Be A Mom

No, really. I still don’t want to be a mom. I’m excited to be pregnant, and it wasn’t an accident. I’m looking forward to our lives with blobby little screamers, then later with kids, but I still don’t want to be a “mom.”

When I was in my twenties, especially in my early twenties, it never occurred to me that I might have kids. Babies seemed sort of cute, like somewhat interactive playthings that you get to dress up in funny hats. But then, babies sometimes smelled bad and sometimes they made horrible noises. Older kids, meaning ages three to teenagers, were outright loathsome. And me, being in my twenties, I could not imagine such things in my life. I got used to the idea that I’d never have kids. I wasn’t disappointed.

When I was that age though, I wasn’t thinking I’d ever get married, either. I wasn’t against the idea of marriage. I just couldn’t imagine finding someone I liked enough to want to spend the rest of my life with them. I didn’t even like myself enough to spend the rest of my life with me. Back then, it was less like a viable option and more like something I’d never attain. So then, naturally, I convinced myself it was my personal choice. “Not interested,” I sniffed.

For a good chunk of my life, I was thinking I had nothing but time. I was so young! At 20, I was so young! At 25, I was so young! At 30, I was so young! At 35, wait a minute, I was not so fucking young. I don’t know how it happened. At 35, I was in a city I no longer felt healthy in, I had a job with a deranged psycho boss, I was flailing with money issues, and I was not so young anymore.

So if you’ve followed me along at all, you have an idea how much has changed for me in the past five years. Honestly, it all happened so quickly, I sometimes wonder how real it all is. I don’t know if you’ve ever made a sharp trajectory turn in your life, but a little piece of me always sort of wonders if the new direction, so wildly different than my original, is really just a temporary aberration. I know I’m not going to make a physical return to my old life. But I am occasionally awed by the chasm between the old and the new. I wish sometimes they were not so distant from each other.

I just know that I have changed a hell of a lot. Now I’m fricken married, which I never thought would happen. And I’m fricken pregnant, which I never thought would happen. When you live your whole life convinced that some things would never happen, it sort of freaks your shit out when they do, actually happen.

Which brings me to this whole “Mom” thing. It does not feel like a fate that was predestined, and is now finally, gloriously happening to me. All the mass marketing directed at Moms never applied to me. That mythical, universal archetype of the Maternal figure never entered into my thinking. That familiar construct, the societal convention of “Mother,” never, ever fit in my brain. I always, actively, resisted it. And really, I came to dislike the idea. I still do.

But what I struggle with, is the convention of Motherhood. “You’re a Mom now, so you’re a completely different person.” Soon, I shall be buying anti bacterial soaps, a pile of plastic toys, and a library of DVDs to park my kids in front of so I can just get a second to think for myself. I’m going to buy jeans with a 9 inch fly. “You’re no longer a woman, you’re a Mom.”

Okay? I’m not just a psycho about this, I’m a psycho about anything that comes with a wagging societal finger that demands adherence to convention. It would be better for my mental health to brush off those expectations, as I know many parents do. I know hippie moms, I know thoughtful moms, I know there are plenty of people who become parents and don’t lose their fucking minds. But I detest the smug attitude that when you “cross over” to the other side, no matter how hard you may battle, you will eventually become a cliche. You become the vacant eyed, consumerist shell that retailers, media and politicians pander to and worship.

It’s not just a minor irritant that I ought to keep in perspective. It full-on pisses me off. And I can tell you, I block the hell out of people trying to market to me. We don’t have a TV. We don’t listen to radio. I have multiple ad blockers on all my web browsers. I don’t use free apps that have blinking ads in my face. So when I do see ads on TV, it’s like visiting a different culture. And all it takes is one stupid laundry detergent commercial to make me howl and froth at the mouth. But look at how it gets the grass stains out of little Timmy’s pants! It’s a miracle! This laundry detergent will make all my Mommy dreams come true!

I know. I know I’m a little nutty. But I’m not making this up. I can’t wait to have kids, and I can’t wait to wag my own big fat middle fucking finger at the idea of conventional Motherhood.

Comments

  1. YAY!

  2. My girlfriend is a mom of 4, and a grandma(!!) to one, and she’s the hottest woman I know. There’s no WAY she’d be caught dead in “mom jeans”. Which is my way of saying, “fight the power – it’s doable”. But yeah, the anti-bac and the DVDs, yeah, that’s going to happen.

  3. You do know, don’t you, that I’ve been out there blazing the trail for you on that whole ‘wagging my middle finger at conventional motherhood’ for years already – right? Am happy to welcome you to the fight, know I already have your back…!

  4. The anti-bac doesn’t have to happen, just wash “park hands” and “store hands” with soap & water.

    Maybe it would help to find like-minded moms who are a little farther down the path than you are to remind you that you’re not fighting against this crap alone? I have chosen (hopefully without freaking her out) @sarahgilbert. I knew I wanted to do the car-free thing – it’s one of the reasons we moved here – so it was a no-brainer when I “met” her on Twitter. There must be someone -(someones?) who is right here in pdx that you can get that kind of encouragement from!

  5. Thank you, trail blazers, for being real. I do need the reminder that the manufactured ideal of motherhood, like many things, is a giant crock of shit.

    I am extra sweary today.

  6. Love the visual! I used to think as you did, with one exception – where I once vaguely thought about having a family, I now know definitely feel the need to have a kid. I think it would be a huge regret for me not to at least try. The never married thing I am ok with. Even though two separate co-workers today just *had* to remind me that I’m SINGLE (eek) and live ALONE (double eek!) like it’s the worst punishment known to womankind to be independent and get to do pretty much what I want/when I want just no consulting anyone about it.

    ps – I am fascinated with how your life “trajectory” went because I have often thought about doing something similar – move somewhere else and then see what happens. If I could be guaranteed that I’d meet someone great, fall in love, get married, start a family… I’d do it tomorrow because that would be so awesome. Then I would make Lifetime do a fricken movie of the week about it! : )

    • Mary, I do recommend big life changes if you want them. Some people don’t need, or want, to change what they are doing and that is TOTALLY COOL. Nothing wrong with being happy where you are at.

      But if you do want to make a change, I wholeheartedly recommend it, regardless of results. I happened to be very, very lucky. Five years ago, I was not expecting to be where I am now. But you grow as a person no matter what. And for that, I think it’s worth pursuing.

  7. Ninfa Borth Altadonna says:

    do you want to go to mexico?

  8. I felt like as soon as I tried on maternity jeans, I had a mom butt. I would like to think I’m going to be smart about the choices I make being a mom. Or is it defiance again what I’m supposed to be. http://www.hulu.com/watch/10333/saturday-night-live-mom-jeans

  9. i just want to point out that salma hayek is a mom, as is heidi klum. both of them are hot hot hot, so you can be hot and be a mom. i think there is a back trend towards being not quite so frikkkin paranoid in the raising of children, as there was say, 5 years ago. i think anti bac soap sales are down. it is just common sense. and you know what? send them outside, onto t he porch, whatever, to play. you do not have to stick them in front of the tv. there are lots of resources out there… i’m sure you will find them. have to go now becuase a clietn is mindlessly yanking at the locking door, damnit. can you not read the sign, people??!! and how many times do i have to say “do not come to your appt 20 minutes early?”

  10. D should ready the post: I never wanted a minivan. It would be so … poignant coming from him.

  11. Have you heard of Simplicity Parenting? Sounds right up your alley. Basically, the idea is that “less is more” when it comes to toys, baby products, kid activities, media, etc. There is a book and a website, I would post a link but I am far too lazy right now…

  12. I have been fighting the whole “typical” mother persona, since my daughter has been born. She’s now over a year old, I’m feeling like myself again and have been doing lots of dancing as an outlet. It so important is keep exploring your passions and interests as a parent! I’m so glad that you won’t be a zombie parent, like so many other parents I know and give up your life for your kid. I’m so unhealthy and how can it be a good example for your child?

  13. Heather, I’m astouded at how much your essay reflects my own life… it’s like I could have written it, but I’m not as good a writer as you. So, thank you for writing this. I was searching for blogs on this topic today because I’ve been married a year and am so in love and I’ve just started tossing the idea around of having children (and I’m at the age of “now or never.”) Conventional mom-hood freaks me out too, but that is something I can control. Like you and the other commenters, I just will consciously refuse to conform! I think what I’m really afraid of is the drastic life change that having a baby would cause and how it would affect my marriage. My hubbie and I are happy, so why would I want to rock the boat with a baby? Honestly, I think that is my only hesitation and fear.

  14. OMG – Thank you for posting this. I’m 40, been married for 12 years, and found out I’m pregnant…and am really struggling with how much this is going to change things. It wasn’t an accident, but not “carefully orchestrated” either – and here we are. All my friends who have kids (which is just about all of them) would always tell me how lucky we were to be able to pick up and go do whatever wewant and where we want on a whim – and I knew it too. Hubby says he’s happy about it – but I feel as though he doesn’t feel life is going to change for him. My friends are telling how I’m gonna want to do this now…or this is he best way to do that now… And I’m starting to feel as if I’m being pushed into some kind of mommy mold. Sorry, had to vent…

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