On Motherhood: My two cents and my last two eggs

grace

Yesterday Rachel shared her views on motherhood. Today Grace offers her two cents, and her last two eggs…

Like Rachel, I’m heading down the road to forty, sans children. It’s interesting to note people’s reactions when they hear that I’m almost forty and have no kids. It ranges from complete surprise – I even had one clown ask me if I was sure I didn’t have any – to pity. I’ve actually seen the “bless her heart” look wash over people’s faces when I tell them I don’t have children. When I hit them with the next line “…and I’m not sure I want any” you could knock them over with a feather. I usually get that reaction from much older men (and some women) who can’t believe that I haven’t fulfilled the one thing they believe women were put on this earth to do. I can almost hear them saying “what a waste!”

I didn’t always hold the opinion that I’d never have kids. In fact as a teenager I did my senior service at Holy Name Hospital’s day care just so I could get the practice. As an adult, I’m the one rolling on the floor with the kids, playing silly games with them and generally having a ball. For a little while. After about the 23rd “do that again!” I’m good with the kid thing for about a month. When it occurred to me that with my own children it wouldn’t be that easy (or legal) to walk away, I started wondering if I was really cut out for this parenting thing. Then I got a dog and realized (to my own shame) that when he tailed me through the house from room to room and sat staring in my face blankly for hours, it kinda got on my nerves (yeah, just call me Oscar the Grouch.) With the dog, I’d throw a bone in the back yard, close the door behind him, get my freedom back for the next few hours and then be glad for his company again. Apparently you shouldn’t do that with small children.

At 39 1/2 I’ve become accustomed to being responsible for myself and myself alone. Some people say that’s selfish. I think it’s actually the opposite. I think being realistic about your age, your situation and circumstances, your strengths and weaknesses, despite the chorus of voices in society telling you that you should have a child, you should be married at your age, is actually a smart thing to do. I think, like Rachel does, that deciding not to have a child until or unless you meet a man who you know will make a great father, is a tough decision, but a wise one. I’ve always said, a man can be a lousy husband/boyfriend and still be a great father, but a bad father will never make a good husband or boyfriend. If he ignores, neglects, abuses or abandons his children, he’ll ignore, neglect, abuse and/or abandon his wife or girlfriend. Isn’t choosing your mate and the father of your children one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life? Why then should you rush to do it just because you’re almost forty?

I think I probably have a couple of good eggs left. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet someone who’ll change my point of view about having children before the expiration date runs out (tick tock). But as my dog sits staring in my face for the cazillionth time today, willing me to do some Jedi dog mind reading tricks and understand his every need and desire, I’m thinking… eh, not so much.

You’ve come a long way baby: 20 things I’d tell you now

baby grace cropped 20 things you need to know – Hey you, standing over there looking tough and cute the way little girls often do, it’s me, well you – in about 36 years. Some things haven’t changed much. With the exception of the ribbon, your hair looked a lot like that this morning, and that stance, you still got that. You often have that same ‘four parts curiosity, one part ‘what the hell are you looking at”  look on your face even at this age – And the legs…well, like I said, some things haven’t changed much.

I wish I could protect you from, and prepare you for all that lies ahead, but I can’t. No one can really. But what I can do is share some things that only I’ll be able to. Some people think the past, present and future are all happening at once, so who knows. I know you won’t understand everything I’m saying, but take notes, you’ll need them.

  1. Some of the people in your life will disappoint you, lie to you, hurt you. Some of them are just stupid. Others are just evil. Forgive them all, stupid and evil alike, and move on. Remember what they did and learn from it. Don’t hold what they’ve done to you against anyone else.
  2. That thing you want to do with your hair in the eighties. Don’t. You leave dozens of grease spots up and down the east coast because of it, and Chris Rock will mock it mercilessly in a documentary he releases in 2009.
  3. Try to get that eating thing under control early – believe me, you’ll be fighting that battle for years. In the meantime, live your life and do the things you want to do, regardless of what the scale says.
  4. You’re going to have several really great ideas for businesses. Instead of talking yourself out of it, just do it. You are smarter, stronger and more resilient than you know.
  5. You know how they said it would be too difficult to be a successful, black, female journalist? Oprah’s like the richest person on the planet now. Seriously. Don’t listen to them. Continue reading You’ve come a long way baby: 20 things I’d tell you now