I'd like to talk to you today about children. At the moment I don't seem able to turn around without bumping into a friend or colleague's vastly expanded tummy. Pregnant people are suddenly EVERYWHERE.
I think my 22 year old self would be a little disappointed that I'm 30 and still have no desire to procreate. Sure, there are times when I see a baby gurgle, or a toddler smile and I think "maybe..." but those moments are fleeting and are quickly replaced by the realisation that I am far too selfish to have children. I have finally reached a point in my life where my job has the potential to become more than just a job, and I have the opportunity to really develop a career.
I'm not saying that being a parent is not a wonderful and joyous thing, but I like to sleep when I like, get up when I like and be answerable only to myself. I can barely muster the effort required to keep my household running now, and there are only two adults and two dogs. I'll often go for two weeks without doing any washing (shocking eh! I can hear some of you fainting with disbelief and/or disgust right now!) and I'm not really sure if I've ever cleaned some of the windows in my house (which is slightly disconcerting given that we've lived here for over six years!)
The reason I was prompted to write about this issue is because a guy at work was perplexed at the notion that I didn't already have three sprogs because, as he put it, I'm "getting on a bit"! He even went as far as to point out how women's fertility declines as they get older, as if newspaper articles and helpful programmes such as The Sex Education Show haven't already done a good enough job of scare-mongering! I was quite offended when I was asked why I don't have children. It's a rude and insensitive question; what if I can't have children? What if I have been trying for the past ten years without success? People need to be more mindful before asking such personal and probing questions.
The fact is, I am just about managing to take care of myself; I have three baskets full of clothes waiting to be ironed (a sure sign that I'm not mother material!), I sometimes forget to feed myself at regular intervals and only yesterday I discovered three pairs of slippers under the bed with at least a years worth of dust. Ewww! How could I possibly bring up a child?! I've been told not to worry, that I'll quickly adapt and learn the tricks of the trade - I'll become less selfish, I'll become better at managing my time, I'll work out how to do six washing loads a day and still have time to bake cakes with little Johnny.
But the fact of the matter is I DON'T WANT CHILDREN! I have absolutely no desire to be a mother, and I wish other people would accept that. Despite what my ever multiplying grey hair suggests, 30 is not old! I am still young and there is plenty of time to have children, should I so desire them in the future. I see no point at all in having children only to end up resenting their existence (no matter how many parents will gasp in shock, there are people who resent becoming parents, just Google it if you don't believe me!)
I must admit though, I do have the odd maternal urge - and I find that the urge is satisfied completely with a few hugs from the dogs. Awww.