On Motherhood: My two cents and my last two eggs

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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.

On Motherhood : Does the Bell Toll for Me?

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Today Rachel touches on a topic that’s on the minds of many women at forty – motherhood. If you’re forty or almost there, and you’re not a mom, then people either want to know what’s wrong with you, or they want to know what’s really wrong with you. It seems as though it’s impossible for some people to wrap their minds around women who either choose to wait for the right man with whom to have children or decide that having children isn’t for them.  Rachel helps shed some light on the thinking behind those choices…

I’m nearing forty and I am unmarried and without children. It seems that almost daily I read about a 50+ aged woman who is pregnant or recently gave birth or I see toddlers with parents who look old enough to be their grandparents—which means the parents have to be at least 70 because with Botox, Restalyne and plastic surgery being so popular, only homeless people and hippies look their age anymore, right?

I always wanted to have children. From the moment I got my “Baby Alive” doll, fed her and changed her diaper, I felt maternal pangs and knew that I wanted to be called “Mommy” when I grew up. I became the neighborhood babysitter by 10 or 11 years old. Yes, I know that is illegal today, but back then children were allowed to be mature and independent so I helped with homework, heated up dinner and put younger kids to bed while their parents were out, for about $4 per hour.

I’m a somewhat traditional person and I believe in the institution of marriage and the idea of a two-parent household. No matter how good-looking, charming or successful a suitor was, I was always more concerned with what type of husband and father he would be. While looks, common interests and shared musical tastes may have gotten us to the point where he popped the question and offered the ring, only knowing that he would be a loving and responsible parent could seal the deal. More than one engagement was called-off once I saw a fiancé interact with a child.

My biological clock was on snooze for many, many years because I simply did not feel that any man I met or dated would make a suitable father. I had an idea of how tall he should be and what sort of physique and profession he should have, etc, but most important to me was what values he would instill in our children and how he would treat us as his family. Would he put our well-being ahead of a new 60-inch television? Would he be patient and kind with a confused little person? Would he refrain from screaming and cursing at me during heated moments because he knew he was setting an example for his children?

Continue reading On Motherhood : Does the Bell Toll for Me?

Are we lowering our standards or are people lowering them for us?

pink huffy bike As I was leaving the grocery store this morning, an old man approached me hollering “hey baby girl…can I maybe…” NO. NO. NO. If you’ve got me by at least 15 years, you should already know that no self respecting woman in her forties is going to respond to a “hey baby” hurled across a busy supermarket parking lot.  Or would she? Even on the rare occasion that she would, as Rachel alluded to a couple weeks ago, a neck is a desirable trait. And if a neck is desirable, then teeth are a necessity. My parking lot Casanova had neither.

Which brings me to the topic of the day. As we get older, do we “lower” our standards, or do people lower them for us? Of course there will always be men who think they can approach a woman of any age, with whatever game they happen to be playing on themselves at the moment. Years ago when I volunteered to prepare dinners at a homeless shelter, I remember a young guy coming up to me as I was serving meals and asking me if we could go out. My first thought was, you need to have a place to leave before you can go out. I know, it was harsh, but sarcasm is how I deal with uncomfortable moments. And that was so very uncomfortable. I hear arguments all the time that professional women need to broaden their horizons when looking for a mate, and I’m all for that. But, I think you should at least have a place to stay before you try to pick up a woman. Don’t you?

The other incident that stands out in my mind is once again leaving a grocery store, (what is it about groceries that give old, toothless men gumption) and hearing bike tires screech to a halt as a man I can only describe as being old enough to be my grandfather, slammed what I assume was his granddaughter’s pink huffy bike into the ground. He ran up to me (breathless) to ask me for my number. I wonder if when he borrowed his granddaughter’s bike, he told her that he’d be using it to troll for chicks. While he did get a laugh out of me, he did NOT get my number.

Ok, so in both those cases the answer was pretty obvious, but in every day situations when we’re approached by men who, years ago, would not have gotten a second glance from us, are we lowering our standards or broadening our horizons when we go out with them? And then there are those of us who hear the opposite, that we’re being too picky. But when it comes to love, life and our future, can we ever be too picky?

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