Hi, I'm Jessica, I'm 35, and I don't have kids, yet. Maybe never, I don't know.
I know what some people think, not you, but some people say things to my face like, "What are you waiting for?" "You aren't getting any younger" or "Clocks ticking." Rude and DUH.
Then, there are comments that are meant to sell me on the idea such as, "Oh it's such a miracle" or "You'll never know love until you have a kid of your own." For me, this elicits eye rolling. I can't help it, it's involuntary. I fully believe that happiness comes from within and while a bundle of joy can bring new dimensions to my life, a child, nor any person or thing, can fill a void or make me "happier."
There's also the occasional woman who silently sizes me up with a tilted head and furrowed brow when they hear I'm not with child. I can see their head spinning, "Selfish?" "Infertile?" "Lucky?" Sometimes, they don't know where to take the conversation and it is up to me to say something first. As the shared experience gap widens, the available topics of conversation narrows. I feel like I'm bragging if I share about my upcoming travel, the courses I've had time to study, or the fun events I go to with my other group of mostly non-parent friends. This is why I recently purchased the self-help book from my Audible account, "How to Talk to Anyone." Don't get me wrong, I'll engage in mom chat because it's educational and often very entertaining, but after a certain point, my eyes glaze over and honestly, nobody really even notices.
I know being a mom is hard.
At this point, yes, I'm a unicorn. The majority of women my age have kids if they've decided that's the path they want to take. So naturally, I'm friends with many moms and I've worked with moms now for over a decade. Motherhood is all around me, and from what I've seen it is hard. I've seen the joy, the sweat, the tears, the lack of sleep, the milestones, the wonderful moments, some devastating moments, the sacrifice, heartbreak, and a lot in between. It requires fierceness and a kind heart, patience and a sense of urgency, organization and the ability to flow. So basically everything. You have to BE everything.
Parenthood isn't what it used to be.
These days EVERY decision is important. There is room to over research, over-think, and over-judge it all. I can't think of any other job or piece of my life that would require such attention to detail tied to such large perceived consequences. I'm happy to see parenthood evolving but it sure appears to be going through some growing pains. I'm tired just thinking about the potential decisions I'd have to make.
Mom's are stressed AF.
As the non-mom I'm sometimes the go-to for good times. A dinner on the fly? I'm there. A weekend away? I'm in! In some ways it makes me feel like I'm part of the village. I'm there to support and listen and it makes me feel helpful. Although, I see what they go through daily and I wonder if I couldn't be doing more to support my friends at times. Then again, if I were willing to come over to your house at 7am on Saturdays to make your whole family pancakes, I'd probably have my own kids by now. So, there's that. But, you'll never really know because you are too busy to ask me.
Over the years, during said fun times, I've had more than a few slightly tipsy moms, look me straight in the eye, and say, "Don't have kids!" like a clip out of the movie Bridesmaids. They turn into the wild character Rita I'm the innocent Becca. I know, they were in the moment. They were feeling loose and they felt that could confide in me during a moment of exhaustion. We all vent. It isn't like they are going to call me in the midst of sweet nap-time snuggles or from the pumpkin patch to say, "Hey, this is magic. You should totally have kids!" So, at what point do I start taking this advice seriously? When these parents signed up for motherhood, I don't think they had any idea what they were getting themselves into. It's just what you did, and because babies are adorable. But now, at 35, I've seen so much, maybe too much.
Motherhood is not a fairytale.
Motherhood is hard and stressful. No matter how blissful you are as a mom, you have to agree it involves intricate facets of stress and sacrifice that a non-mom will never know. For this, I honor and respect you on a deep level. Remember, you really are more beautiful than Cinderella, and she didn't even have kids. I think there's a reason fairytales don't make child rearing a part of the script.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!