Defined

Many people assume that my having a child at nineteen was an accident. It wasn’t. It was deliberate. Not very well thought out, mind you, but deliberate and intentional. I couldn’t justify why I wanted to do it in any way that would translate to words on the screen, but I wanted. Needed something that I thought becoming a parent would give me. Maybe I thought if I was someones mom, my own life would have more meaning.  I would BE someone. Sort of. I would make someone, anyway.

We all know how that worked out.

Don’t get me wrong here. I absolutely love my children to death, but if I had to do it all over again.

Hmmn.

It’s tough to say, honestly. I’m supposed to say I would have waited. Until I was ready, and rich and stable.

But really, who is ever ready? I’m married and almost 30 and we own a house and I still don’t feel ready. And I have three kids already.

I’ve been catching up on my reading lately, and among posts and links, there was this anti-child article that pointed to some random study. This study claims that a strangely large percentage of people with kids, had they been given the option to redo, stated that they would rather not have had them.

(I can’t find the link because my computer reset itself in the wee hours of the morning apparently,  and I’m lazy, but I assure you it exists if you feel like giving it a Google.)

Something about this rubbed me the wrong way. I want to know exactly how they asked that question, for one. It’s SO hard to phrase something like that in a way that would yield the most accurate answers. It’s not a black or white thing, you see.

Would I have waited to have kids had I known then what I know now?

Yes-But only if I could be guaranteed the same exact kids later in life.

Do I wish my children, and the people they are, would have never existed?

Of course not. And I don’t think there are many mothers out there who could say that and not be lying.

As hard as everything was for me when I had the Kid, as much as it would have been easier for me to have NOT had her, I can’t even imagine my life without her.  I can’t imagine the world without her. And I could never in a million years regret the choice to keep her.

But, and this is a big one: If I could take my emotional attachment to my kids out of the debate, if I could pretend that they’d exist no matter what, even without me, would I want to go back, and live a child-free life? Be free to pursue things that didn’t involve diapers and soccer and custody battles?

I think today, in this moment, my answer would be no. Give me the kids and all the shit that comes with.

But had you asked me a few weeks ago? Or two months from now? I can’t say.

It’s not a simple thing, something you can grasp with some random poll.

~~

I have written before about how I feel about the idea that motherhood is somehow setting back the feminist movement and my thoughts on the issue some people seem to have with those of us who choose to have kids. But it’s been getting under my skin again, I think in part, because I am facing losing my identity to another child for another 4 years.

I’m not one of those moms, (usually) who can only talk about her kids. My life does not completely revolve around them, (though it feels like it does sometimes). I’m not 100% kid oriented. I struggle daily to retain my own sense of self in a world where you are increasingly expected to give your self up for your child, to martyr yourself even.

But, still, I am considered a “breeder” by some. I am, to an extent, defined by my children, no matter how much I struggle not to be.

I drive an SUV, purely to accommodate them. I live in the suburbs, instead of downtown, because of them. I chose a fenced in yard, over a larger unfenced yard, I  even wait until 8pm to watch my True Blood DVD’s. And I spend the first few years of their lives tending to their every need and whim. As most of us do.

Yes, once you become a parent, it becomes a part of you. You are no longer just a woman, you are a mother.

We are mothers. I can’t argue there. But that is not ALL we are. We are still women.  And even when we lose ourselves in motherhood for awhile, we generally come out the other side, with new insights and thoughts to offer the world.

And in the meantime we write long rambling disconnected blog posts about, well.. who knows?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Defined

  1. I couldn’t have said it better myself, also being a teen mom.

  2. I wasn’t a teen mom, but I can certainly relate to how much you give up those first four years. It’s so tough. And I was never “the perfect mommy” either. I like MY time too. 🙂

  3. I always new I wanted to be an “older mom”. Friends who had their kids in their 20’s would say, “I want to have kids and still be young enough to travel and such when they are grown up”, but my brain would say “once a mom, always a mom” and I chose to wait until after 30 to start having kids. For me, it was the right decision. But, now at 40ish, the idea of starting over with another baby scares me—-I’m not willing to be so giving of myself again—hopefully my husband’s vasectomy doesn’t do anything wonky.

    Great, thoughtful post.

  4. pandorican

    I did the opposite and fully planned on being one of those people who’s kids were grown by the time I was even close to 40. Er, didn’t work out that way. Now I can see the benefits to both sides though. I had more energy when I was younger but more patience now. Um, unless I am pregnant. Then, forget it!
    And yeah, once a Mom, always a Mom. Definitely.

  5. I noticed that also Eryn, the patience thing. I had Brittany & Jordan when I was 18 & 20; no patience, definitely was not a good mom (still working on that too as I approach the big 3-0), was still in my “selfish mode” so to speak.

    I had Conner, 2 months shy of turning 25; BIG DIFFERENCE, I enjoyed him more, I have TONS MORE patience with him, its been great.

    So if I could go back in time, and have the SAME KIDS later on down in my life; I would have waited.

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