My precious niece celebrated her 4th birthday this past weekend. Where does the time go? There’s nothing like having a baby in the family to make you hyper conscious of how quickly time flies and yet how meaningful each moment is. She’s now at that incredibly fun stage where we can share secrets and jokes; she has curly hair like mine and I noticed she even makes a crooked smile like mine when she is uncomfortable in front of the camera. Thinking of her naturally leads to thoughts of my future children and they dance happily in my head, yet I feel staunchly that I am no where near ready to have kids. At 28, I feel so much like a giant child still discovering the world, asking questions incessantly and tripping over myself as I come into my own. I am selfish and finicky; moody and easily stressed. I become paralyzed at the thought of having a precious life depending on my own. How can people my age even have children in this economy? I’ve given up the ghost of who I thought I’d be by this age and the comforts I thought I’d have. That said, I haven’t yet accounted for what this means in terms of when I’d actually be a suitable parent. I don’t have a 401k. I hardly have any savings. I spent my entire childhood worried about money – knowing that my parents’ divorce left my mom and us kids in a precarious situation. I’ve done a good job at holding down as many jobs as possible, since 15, to ensure my own survival. But how could I handle the pressure of having these financial responsibilities for someone I’d want to give every single penny to, and more? I don’t want my children to ever have to worry about money. Is that a naive and impossible goal? Does money matter much if they have loving parents?
Equally scary – who would I become, as a mother? I feel like I have so many things I want to accomplish as a person before I could even think of another person calling me “mom.” Would I be one of those people who bemoans all the things she thinks she could have had/done personally or professionally before children? Will I crack under the stress of wanting to be the best mom and the best me? Are they one and the same? I want my children to see me as their role model and I don’t think I’d be a fit role model anytime soon. My blog is called Feed Me, I’m Cranky for dear sake.
When I’m in bed with my eyes closed, I transport myself to a vision of my future self as a mom, since it is such a beautiful idea. I hear laughter, smell pancakes, see bodies moving in play. I’m enveloped in the blurry fuzz that is my life when I dream of it – I see outlines of faces, crooked smiles, cute chiclet teeth, curly tresses and little feet hurrying past my own. I don’t know how much of this is really me and how much of this is my own Hollywood production of what I think life simply has to be as a mother. I can’t tell if this is a lie I’ve been fed – a dream that even I haven’t created but which I believe I have authorship.
There is fear. The fear that comes from having a biological timeline and the semblance of inevitability: do we all become our parents no matter how hard we try not to? Will I be able to even produce a child when I want to? Especially after all the shit I’ve put my body through…?
Always being a dissenter, I resist the desire to conform simply to conform. I question the conventions and work to create my own truth rather than the “truth” shoved down my throat in movies, magazines, and even those around me who feel strongly it’s time for me to give in.
Everyone from my inner circle to the freakin’ dry cleaner is asking me, “when are you going to get married?”"When are you going to have kids?”
Ask me, instead, when I’m going to write my book(s) or when I’m going to produce more songs. Because standing there in a sea of children at my niece’s 4th birthday party, all I could think was, “not ready. not ready. Awww so precious! Not ready. Not ready.”