In Defense Of Motherhood: Why I'm Proud To Say I Want To Have Kids
I’m just going to go out and say it: I want kids someday.
There’s been this trend lately of women talking publicly about their decision not to have kids, and it is encouraging to see so many women in my generation claiming their bodies and deciding what will and won't work for them.
We’re opening up a new era in what a woman's role can be, and with that comes the choice about whether or not kids are in your future.
Because we are human, choices mean you usually end up in either one group or another.
You are divided by the things you don’t understand about the people who made different choices than your own.
Nothing illustrates this more than the chatter that surrounds starting a family or not.
It’s no longer assumed that a woman will have kids “when she’s ready.” Now, conversations amongst friends include a lot of talk of maybe never having kids.
Regarding this, I fall in the wanting to have kids column, a column in which I’m quickly becoming a minority.
I find myself often having to explain why I see kids in my future, and usually end up having to answer one or all of the following questions:
“But what about your career?”;“Are you planning on becoming a stay-at-home mom?”; “Do you even like kids?”; “When?”; “How?”; “Why?”
These questions are mixed between questions/statements about population control, how much children cost and the state of our country’s ridiculous maternity laws.
I try not to get defensive. I'm usually irked the most by the question about my career and whether I plan to be a stay-at-home mom.
The way I feel about being a stay-at-home mom (even though it’s honestly none of your business) can easily be summarized by one of my favorite Amy Poehler quotes: “Good for her, not for me.”
It's not because I don’t see being a stay-at-home mom as a job; it’s a job I simply don’t want.
As far as the dated career vs. mom debate, I think we’ve all established that you can, in fact, have both.
Even more so if you have a partner and support team that makes that a possibility for you.
I didn’t always want kids.
I grew up mainly an only child, so I wasn’t naturally blessed with patience and selflessness.
When I was 16, my niece was born and my experience with her in her baby/toddler years did not bode well for wanting children of my own.
But then college came, and three years as camp counselor softened me to younger kids. Still, I wasn’t sold on babies.
After college, I found myself watching moms with their kids in stores, at parks and in restaurants.
I would smile when I saw dads pushing strollers and riding bikes with small mini bikes in tow.
I started to imagine kids in my life the way I imagined buying a home and getting married: as long-term goals I really wanted to experience at some unmarked time in the future.
However, the more I realized I wanted kids of my own, the more embarrassed I became to talk about it.
It didn’t help that I'm ambitious and driven, as are the female friends I surrounded myself with, so any talk of even potentially settling down was blasphemy.
I didn’t know how to explain that I wanted to a lot of things in my life, and being a mom was one of them.
What justification could I use for feeling like my career would never make me as happy or as whole as raising little people?
Why was it unacceptable to acknowledge that for some women, the physiological thing that makes us want to procreate was real, powerful and human.
I don’t have some idealized version of what motherhood is, either. I know it’s not all baby cuddles and hearing someone call you "mama."
My own mother never tried to pretend that being my mom wasn’t the hardest thing she ever had to do physically, financially, emotionally or mentally.
I grew up around enough honest women to know that being a mom is a selfless, mostly thankless job that on it’s best days is mildly chaotic and on it’s worst days a pure disaster.
I grew up knowing that being a mom meant your heart was outside of you, walking around and on many occasions, driving you completely bananas.
I know all that, and yet it doesn’t dissuade me from wanting it one bit.
I also know that having kids means you’ll always have a house full of both noise and conversation.
That experiencing everything for the first time with them is like experiencing it for yourself all over again, and it makes you appreciate life more.
I want that.
I want to have kids because even though I know my someday-future husband and I will create and enjoy lots of great things together, we won’t enjoy anything more than our family.
I want kids because I love adventures, challenges, reading bedtime stories, trips to the zoo and kissing boo boos.
I’m also just narcissistic enough to think that having little me’s around the world is just best for everyone.
I want kids because my career can’t love me back, and even though I’m young and selfish now, there’s no way I can care this much about myself forever.
Mostly, I want kids because I have so much love and happiness to share that it would be a waste if I used all that up on cats.
I’m glad that the role of women in society is changing.
I have friends who don’t want kids, and I support them (because seriously, population control is an issue) and am eager to continue to have open discussions about family and what the modern day family looks like.
I will listen to them and respect their decisions without judgments, as I hope they do with mine.
While I know motherhood is a ways away for now, I’m excited for that time to come and I’m not ashamed to admit it.