I was at a dinner party the other night with 6 lovely women, most of whom are either married, divorce or have kids. the dinner conversation invariably turned to their respective children as they updated one another about their children’s progress and their interactions with the little ones. I’m used to children talk so I just listened without prejudice. Everyone had their own child rearing styles and it was interesting to listen to it. in between all that, there were the usual male jibbing comments they made at their own husbands, and then at everyone else’s husbands as a joke.
one of the girls, whom I’ve only met briefly on 2 other occasions, politely asked if I were married or seeing anyone. then she asked if I were planning to have children. I said no, don’t think anytime soon. Then she said, “oh.. you’re one of those.” it was said like a passing remark, a faint fart that if you didn’t pay attention, you wouldn’t have heard it. but I did. I was more curious than anything else to know, what one of those might you be referring to?
I know in the single girls community, some of us mock mothers whose whole universe surround their children. Personally I don’t think there’s anything crucially wrong with that, to be absorbed by the very beings you brought to life, but you have to admit that mothers who sit at their office desks and watch video captures of their wee ones doing some cutesy thing and giggling to oneself, is a tad bit psychotic. when their every word is only about what Mary Jane of Lil’ Tom did yesterday isn’t it cute that he threw EVERYTHING on the floor? aww! positively drives me insane. so it now occurs to me that in the mommy world, they have a description of girls who are the anthesis of everything that they are; women who do not want children. I guess that could be what one of “those” are.
since it’s not my personality type to jump up in the middle of polite conversation and point an accusing finger at a person i barely know, demanding to know what she meant by “one of those”, I let the comment pass. It could also be a feeling of resignation where I’d spend the rest of my 30s having to defend my current choices in life. I say current coz God knows how i’d feel in a few years time. perhaps the biological clock will strike with a resounding BONG! and i’d have to rape my boyfriend to get the baby I want, I admit that people do change their minds yes. but until then it’s a constant battle of having to explain to people why I’m not leading the life they chose. or at least until I reach the age where doctors and society deem that it’s unsafe to have a child.
Yesterday at the salon, my hairdresser asked the when are you going to have children question. funny thing is that we had this conversation the last time I was there, but I guess he doesn’t remember every conversation we have the few times I visit his salon. He is what I call one of those reformed men, who married his long-time girlfriend because he got her pregnant. At the start, he was very apprehensive about having a child, considering that he just started his own salon, and was still living in a boy’s world; drinking, smoking and playing computer games every night. He knew he had to get his act together but he was reluctant to as he hadn’t planned it. when the child arrived, he miraculously turned into a devoted father who was amazed at what joy a child could bring into his life. Suddenly his goals changed to providing for his family and ensuring his daughter got the best he could offer. When I offered the truth that I didn’t like children that much, he felt that he had the right to assure me that all that would change once I had a baby crawl out of my womb. He described all the feelings of love of his child, where she would crawl into their bed in the morning and call out to them sleepily or run to him and hugged his legs. it was an endearing story to hear, but I couldn’t help feeling annoyed that he was trying to press all that onto me. In fact, I get really annoyed when everyone does that to me. When people start lecturing me on these things, I feel like shouting at them, what makes you think I will feel the same way? What if you’re wrong? is it too late to return the baby?
I’m not saying that I won’t, i’m not an unfeeling person. In fact, when it comes to the crunch, I do think I can handle bringing up a child to the best of my abilities. What I don’t like is the constant barrage from people to do “what should come naturally” so that they feel as if they’ve done their duty to ensure the world is right again. that being a woman should do her duty and create a family.
Reading someone’s comment on the backlash the movie/book Eat Pray Love received made me emphatise with people who make different life choices but are criticised for it. in Eat Pray Love, it’s a story of the author’s journey to re-discovering herself after walking out on a failed marriage. she went on to travel around the world, met people, had lovers and finally found joy within herself. there’s nothing wrong with that. but to some people, taking a different path in life was the biggest sin you could ever commit. to them, it was like “how dare you not settle down and have babies the way women should.” to me, it was, “how dare you try to tell me what to do?” it seemed like the great feminist movement is still stuck in a rut if women are still cast in typical childbearing roles and aren’t allowed to live out of such roles. It’s always been a question of how women balance work-home roles by being both career-minded yet still able to bring up their children, because here at least the feminists are pacified that women are allowed to hold careers matching men (despite the income disparity that still exists in some countries), but conservative society is still happy that women are still baby-churning machines. it’s what we call a compromise between 2 schools of thought. so my question here is, if society is allowed to accept women of one extreme who want to have babies and naught else, how about the other extreme where there are women who don’t?
I’m slowly running out of ammunition to fend myself with this constant barrage of “are you going to have kids? why not?”. so far those i have in my arsenal are:
1. I don’t like children
2. I don’t want to bear the responsibility of having to bring a child up coz if the child fucks up, it’s a huge thing.
3. I’m too selfish. I’d rather spend my time, effort and money on myself.
4. Children are expensive, i’d rather buy a house with a swimming pool and a gaming room.
5. I’d rather have 3 dogs, a cat, a rabbit and a pony.
all of which are true, but apparently it’s unacceptable. I’m trying to think of more outlandish replies to shock people into not asking me anymore. either that or bow down and say the acceptable thing that isn’t true but will at least get these people off my back. things like, “yes it’s in the plans but not yet.” NOTHING IS IN THE PLANS! my plans consist of where I’m going partying next weekend. it doesn’t say anything about bringing another life into this world. just because they’ve been there done that, doesn’t mean I would survive the experience. I don’t go round telling people I survived 2 tattoos and the pain is nothing, so WHY DON’T YOU GO FOR A TATTOO TOO??? perhaps the yellow ribboners could give ac speech on, it’s okay to commit crime and spend some time in jail coz i’ve survived it and now even the government has a program to give us a 2nd chance! i just wish people would understand, your life choices doesn’t make mine.