I’m a 63-year-old woman. I’ve had two children, both boys, now 34 and 37. I love them with all my heart. Of course I do, right? I’m a woman. I’m a mom. I love kids.
No. No, I don’t. I’m not fond of kids honestly. They brought me much joy but they also ran me ragged. They fought, they tormented each other and basically did what kids do. I get that. But looking at social media posts today could make me feel like the world’s worst mother. Ever.
Everyone is so happy. Moms post their kids playing joyfully together, talk of all the whimsy and wonder and if I didn’t know better, I’d believe it. That’s not real life. We all put our best foot and moments forward on social media because what if we didn’t? What would people think? They might think you’re not a perfect mother with perfect kids! GASP!
The truth of the matter is: There are lots of great moms out there. Lots of great kids out there. But motherhood is far from paradise and so damn hard sometimes you want to drop them off at a mall with some money and wish them well. “Here you go, boys. Spend it wisely. With this 50.00, you must find food, shelter and a perfect mom and family. Oh, and you have to share that money. Good luck and goodbye!”
My sons are grown now and I’m very close with them both. They know their childhood wasn’t idyllic. They don’t have access to countless videos and images of their every move, mood and the 1000 different faces they summoned to melt my heart. They know we struggled as a family many times. They know their mom was a screamer, not a hitter; but screaming isn’t the best choice either. How I’d love to have been the calm, demure, always-interested-in-every-little-thing-you-say-and-do mom but that wasn’t me. I sent them out to play, to the pool, to their friends’ houses when it wasn’t my turn to have the neighborhood kids at my place. I didn’t want to spend every second with them like the Instagram moms do.
Most of the time I felt as though I was suffocating under the weight of trying to raise them to be responsible, caring individuals. Their needs were overwhelming, and I scarcely had time to feel the breath in my body much less take them and film every second of a yoga class for tots!
They are both good men today. I’m proud of the individuals they’ve become.
But I’m astounded at the response I receive when people, especially women, hear me say I’m not fond of children. “Yeah, right!” they say, chuckling, certain I am joking. “No, I’m serious. I don’t care to be around kids, at least until they are at least 7 or 8.” They’re exhausting and to be honest, annoying. Really, really annoying at times. So, no, I do not choose to play the role of Madonna. Does that make me less of a woman? Apparently.
Now that I’m older as are my kids, the conversation has shifted to: “Are your boys married?” No! And I am thrilled. I don’t believe in marriage. It’s unnecessary in today’s society. Why tie yourself down to someone only to possibly divorce, (statistics say you’ve got a 50/50 chance) split your assets and endure one of the most horrible and heartbreaking experiences of your life, not to mention the lives of your children. I would never tell my children not to marry and in fact, would be there with bells on if they did, for it’s their life, not mine. But I don’t foresee this happening and I am happy about it.
Grandchildren? Don’t care about those either. Another mind-bending reality for other women to comprehend. “WHAT? You don’t want grandkids?” NO! My kids don’t want kids. They are wise to know they cannot afford children, nor do they want to worry every time they go to school if they will be coming home. They enjoy their freedom and finding women who share their attitude, thankfully, is getting easier.
Not all women want marriage. Not all women want children. Not all mothers want grandchildren.
I have to say I tire of the shocked response, the gaping, judgmental jaws of other women aghast I don’t cling to the old-school ideals of marriage and children and the apparent mortal sin I am committing in not wanting grandchildren. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll visit yours and get my fill but only when they’re older.
Expecting all women to embrace the traditional roles of mother and grandmother is stifling. We don’t expect men to be gaga for grandchildren or even children for that matter but women, the walking wombs of the world, that’s a different story.
Make no mistake, I love my kids and will support their decisions even if they are contrary to what I think. Isn’t that what we do as parents? We raise our kids to be independent thinkers, movers, and dreamers. They are entitled to their dreams and support from me when needed and I’ll be there all the way, no matter what path they choose. But I am truly grateful they understand that marriage and children are not always a recipe for happiness. There are many other paths to walk in this world and I will enjoy watching them take every step. But, no, you won’t see it on Instagram.
Other than writing about love, life and gratitude and finding the humor in it all, Mary’s passions are her family, friends and her deep ancestral roots to Scotland. She embraces the Peter Pan philosophy, “Never gonna grow up, not me”. Life is but a blink of an eye, cherish the fairy dust moments. Follow her blog at The Heart of Sassy Lassie and also at Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest