Friday, July 24, 2009

You say "child-less." I say "child-free."

"It is dangerous to confuse children with angels."
~~~~ David Fyfe

It's a well-known fact that I am not the most patient person in the world.
It may also be widely known that I can, in fact, err on the side of - gasp - bitchy.

But what might come as a surprise, especially considering I am a single woman who is past the age of 30, is that I am not a fan of children.

At all.

Sure, I've had good friends and coworkers who've had children and I've enjoyed watching those children grow up, but being a mom just isn't for me.

I often wonder, as I did this evening as I wandered through Target, how parents do it.
{Back story: Every single time I shop at Target I am surrounded by children screaming bloody murder. I don't know what the store does to them, especially since I am always pretty happy to be shopping there myself, but it's bloodcurdlingly ridiculous.}

"A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic."
~~~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was so horribly noisy on today's trip I almost wish I had a Xanax to take.
It got me to thinking.
What would I do if I were a parent?
Does that inner anger I felt today go away when it's your own kid?
I'd like to think that I sure as hell wouldn't let my kids carry on the way I've been appalled to see time and time again.

I've been told that the pixie version of Nikki threw a tantrum or two, but it was something Mommalah never tolerated for longer than a minute.
Granted, I grew up in the days you were allowed to spank kids - which you should still be allowed to do, given the jerk kids I've seen in my day - but my parents took my brother and I out to fancy dinners and we never, ever misbehaved.
Not out of fear, mind you, but out of respect.
{But there is a story where Mommalah infamously dropped trou on my brother right in the middle of the Wyoming Valley Mall back when there used to be fountains. She sat herself right on the side of one and let him have it for being bold. He he. Never mind that there was one instance the dropped trou offender was me. That's moot.}

That's how we were raised. To be humans. To behave in public. To speak when spoken to. And that's carried over into both of our adult lives.

When I was 14, my parents got me my beloved dog, Zakk. A boisterous and bold yellow Lab who could have used a few spankings himself.
He saved me from myself. He taught me how to love and care for something other than myself at a very crucial point in my development, and that too carried over into my adulthood.

I nurtured and cared for Zakk until the day he died 14 years after we got him, exactly half of my life at that point, and I've nurtured and cared for sick parents, boyfriends and friends, so it's not that I am a cold-hearted bitch - which I suppose is debatable depending on our relationship.

I admit I've heard that "tick-tock, tick-tock" bellow maybe once or twice - and even have had names picked out since I was 10 like any good girl - but it goes away right quick. And to be quite frank, I never imagined I would love a kid as much as I loved my Zakk. He was my kid and his death devastated my family and I.

Every time I see a parent with a bad child, or hear an "Ethan, no. ETHAN. Ethan NO!" or similar, I cringe. Would I be able to hold back the scream I, an innocently-shopping bystander, want to let out at that kid that's not mine?

Or would I be the one cooing "Shh" and looking around smugly like my child was made out of gold? I shudder to think.

I raise a toast to myself - and anyone else who doesn't really feel like they're missing out.
"If a child annoys you, quiet him by brushing his hair. If this doesn't work, use the other side of the brush on the other end of the child."
~~~~ Anonymous

1 comment:

Karla said...

I always say I was born without the tugging-need-to-be-a-mommy gene. I have never felt the need and have a difficult time understanding people who go through a lot of medical torture and money to make it happen when nature didn't have it in the cards for them. It's a good thing not everyone is like us though, isn't it?

I'm not about spanky though, I was raised that way and get very upset when I see someone doing that to a child or a dog or another adult. I prefer other ways to teach and deal with inappropriate behavior or your own frustration.

I'm glad we live in a time when the choice not to have children is seen as a personal one and not a societal disservice. Better not to take on that job if it's not your thing.