My friends are planners. They have every minute detail plotted on a timeline – marriage, kids, location, the works. This is quite intimidating for someone like me who still hasn’t pinpointed a career path. I have had one too many conversations about what their child’s middle name would be, or what hobby they should take up. All that makes me want to do is bury my head in the sand, because if I’m being honest – children scare me to death.
I’m young, so the concept of responsibility is daunting. Having a life that vulnerable in your hands is just about the scariest thing imaginable. The fear of screwing someone up with my eccentricity, or repeating my parents mistakes. It’s all a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, people change their minds on these things. They meet the right person who they want to settle down with, and naturally children are the next step. But, I just have a funny feeling that kids might not be for me.
I put my own dreams ahead of others and shed commitments as soon as possible, because I like to be my own boss. I love travelling, going out for meals, drinking expensive red wine and staying awake until 3 am. A style of freedom that you can only afford when you’re childless. I don’t want to be woken at 5 am by a screaming toddler, or drive anyone to soccer practise. Let alone pay for a private school education when I’ll probably still be paying off my own student loans.
What is perhaps the most interesting element of this whole thing are people’s reactions – there’s a significant shock factor to someone rejecting their reproductive functions. The aforementioned planners in my life are left stunned and often respond with the phrase “when you meet Mr Right, you’ll change your mind.” At other times they freak out and ask, “but who will you spend Christmas with?!” or “what will your legacy be?”
The truth is, I’m not mother material – and I don’t want to be. I want my legacy to be a career, and a long list of experiences that aren’t characterised PTA meetings, or family caravan trips. And you know what, that’s okay. We’re not all destined for parenthood.
I understand why people want kids, I’m not heartless and incapable of maternal instincts. The appeal of having someone you can love unconditionally is quite beautiful. Mothers are brave, resourceful, patient and talented people – able to juggle a career, whilst raising a little human being. I admire them to no end, but I don’t aspire to be them.