Anonymous Mom: I Was Childfree By Choice, But Now I Want Kids
Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
After years of telling my friends that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a parent, I have changed my mind. I have read childfree blogs and I love STFU Parents (although, I see that as a parenting guide of what not to do) but now I find myself wanting a child.
At present, I don’t have a career that is optimal for having children. I am a teacher. I love my job. It fulfills me. I am super excited to go to work every day. I love everything about it. Except that it consumes my life.
When I am teaching, I put in at least nine hours at the school, come home do lesson plans for at least four hours and then fall asleep to do it all over again. On Friday, I usually stay until my marking is done, which takes me about four to six hours on top of the school day. Then, on the weekends, I am researching, gathering materials and planning lessons. I easily put in 80 hours a week. I just don’t know where my own kids would fit into that equation so I have put it out of mind. I keep waiting for the time commitment to decrease but it never does.
The other part of my career that makes it hard to have kids is that I’m laid off every year as they reshuffle the jobs. I will have a position by the end of September, but that instability makes me want to hold on to what stability I can. And children are a great big ball of instability. I know that there is no perfect time to have a baby, but I’m a planner, and I like stability.
For the most part, my friends have kids. They want to know when I might have some. I have told them “never” or “we are thinking about it” or “never.” But they understand.
I don’t have a strong support network for childrearing. And this is important to me. My support network growing up literally saved my life. My grandparents, aunts and uncles helped me through dark times with my mom’s mental illness. They made sure that we were fed, clothed, made it to school, etc. While my mom is better now, I don’t feel like I can lean on her for any support. My dad has been a rock throughout my life as well. But he didn’t understand mental illness and when things got tough with my mom, he didn’t know how to cope so he left for large parts of my childhood. My dad and I have patched things up but I still have issues with my mom. I know she is trying and she is on good medication now.
I have other mom figures in my life now, which I think has helped me to realize that maybe I do have enough people to help me raise a child. And now that my brother and his wife have a baby, I see how dedicated and excited my parents are. My mom is an amazing grandma. My dad just loves his granddaughter and is so dedicated to giving her a fantastic life.
Another large factor in the kids debate is my husband. We have been together since we were teenagers and he has said, “no kids.” He’s wavered back and forth about it. He’s said he wants some and then he doesn’t. But what I didn’t realize until recently was that he was joking around. He’d always say “Kids, not even once” and we’d laugh but I thought he was serious. He wants kids, but he’s nervous like I am. It took six months with nightmarish issues with my birth control for us to finally sit down and discuss kids in great detail.
I said, I’m prepared to have a hysterectomy if you don’t want kids. After much crying (all on my part because I am a big crier – I seriously cry at the beginning of Up every single time I see it and I used it in my classroom as an example of visual story telling), we decided that yes, we do want kids. So next summer, we are going to start trying. We have set a time limit for kids – five years – and if it doesn’t happen by then, well so be it.
We are excited and I have been mentioning my decision to some of my friends, who were like, “wait… you said that you didn’t want kids?” Whoops, my bad. I can change my mind, right?
So from here, I am planning to get my master’s degree so I can teach at a university (less physical hours in the classroom but more flexibility, I hope), we are socking away money and talking about parenting styles. I’m hoping that my friends understand that it was easier to say “never” than “maybe” and have it not happen at all.
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(photo: The Robinson House)