To birth or not to birth, is there really any question?
Alright now, so let’s just hash it out; what exactly is wrong with me? For all intents and purposes, I appear a normal woman nearing her 30s – little (ok, no) savings, a graduate degree and steadily accumulating interest on Stafford loans, a growing obsession with the guilty pleasure that is TLC’s Trading Spaces (a sure sign I’m on the very verge of purchasing my own spacious home), with a decided interest in the finer things (read: generic tampons are now a thing of the past). Yet I stand aside my peers, looking right and left, and know that I’m out of place. It’s not the platinum wedding bands or top-of-the-line Passats that burrow under my skin. Admittedly, only occasionally is it the well-placed dormer windows or the 18-year-old’s Burberry bag that nudges me. But answer me this: am I the last woman breathing who has made the apparently unacceptable decision not to procreate?
Life is undoubtedly pretty good. I am becoming a great cook at my leisure. My grocery cart is free of Spaghetti-Os and juice boxes. On any given weeknight, I can meet for coffee or happy hour or a film at 7, or any random hour thereafter. My clothes are mostly free of vomit. I can return a movie to Blockbuster without having to unload a 20-pound bag of offspring so it won’t suffocate in the backseat. Better yet, I have never once had to pause in the family animation section of the store, contemplating the rental of the latest Veggie Tales addition, or its stellar alternative, The Wiggles on Wiggly Safari. Things are that easy.
Things most definitely do not appear easy for the moms in my everyday. To view these creatures in a natural habitat, one need only visit any aisle of a local Wal-Mart on a weekday of your choosing. (I do believe it has been scientifically proven that something in the mega mart air forces mothers to slap their wailing children repeatedly, followed by maternal screaming at an intensity better reserved for impending physical harm, or perhaps, Armageddon). These are mammals that appear haggard and unkempt, the black under the eyes nicely paired with the grey of their requisite athletic sweatshirts. The young members of their brood commandeer large shopping carts to ride up and down the aisles, tossing brightly-colored crap into their buggies despite repeated ass-kicking warnings from the matriarch. These are carriers not only filled with multiple demon spawn, but Hello Kitty paraphernalia, Lite Brites, and Huggies galore. Worse yet, I believe that the mother lode of all generic tampons can be found in the bowels of said carts, just beneath the industrial-sized tubes of Desitin. This is the stuff my twenty-something nightmares are made of.
To be fair, the plight of the working mother appears not much improved. Only these lucky women have the added bonus of having an associate peel dried, puréed carrots from their Jones New York blouses during a critical presentation for the firm. Water cooler conversation of Sex and the City has undoubtedly been replaced by a full recounting of Cassidy’s impressive first use of the plastic potty, perfectly resplendent with accompanying Polaroids. (How sweet it is, Kathie Lee!) Unencumbered friends from the office dodge both your phone calls and your supermarket hellos; don’t fool yourself, they know they can outrun even the fittest specimen who is weighed down by papoose or stroller. And anything more than the spelling of the word sex must be a distant memory; your time, your sleep, your cognitive clarity are never again your own. These moms are lucky to remember how they produced their genetic critters in the first place.
Please note that I am not a total loss for womankind. I am comforted by the fact that I do seem to retain some of my supposedly innate interest in miniature humans. I watch with a degree of envy as mothers and young daughters trade sweet kisses on the lips. I must admit to a certain longing when a mother and child share a wonderfully sinful chocolate-lathered concoction, eliciting a roll of giggles from both (still, I must confess that it’s unclear as to whether my envy is for the children or the chocolate). As of late, the word “family” at times produces a genuine smile. I too, not that hardened, would love to share a bond most certainly greater than anything I have ever experienced.
That said, I’m guessing my decision may be less than a firm one. It seems only fair to concede that someday the sight of my pregnant belly may bring me more joy than panic (and nausea, and despair). The sound of my toddler trying out a new psychomotor skill by slamming toys (or the family dog) on the hardwood may be music to my ears. For now, though, I’ll watch moms through their dormer windows, platinum wedding bands eclipsed by the sleeves of those oversized Redskins tees, while I recline on my clean sofa, savoring both a glass of wine and the sacred silence.
Labels: On kids and cats, Stuff that's wrong with me