There are dozens of reasons why I never had children. At one point, I even convinced myself I didn't really like them. That was an excuse I indulged primarily in the company of a former friend. She called all children parasites.
But the fact is, there's only one reason. My Women Studies minor may get revoked but I don't give a flying cow patty. If I can't work from home, I'm not having a baby. Period. End of story.
I've hid behind money concerns. I even believed that excuse but now I believe those who look at me with pity and say, "You can't plan children." Money is just a threat used by fear.
I've punched invisible assailants with "I'm too selfish and don't want to give up my life." There could be a kernel of truth in that statement but the fact is, I've uprooted and rerouted my life on at least five occasions. I'm fearless in that arena.
It comes back to one important point. I have to work from home. People figure out how to do it all the time. Because I didn't, I took it to mean I didn't want children. So much for being fearless.
Working from home is desirable on its own merits but the real why is the crux of the story. At seven years old I hated my mother working. HATED IT. I had her for four years solid. She studied in the kitchen, finishing her college education by correspondence in the 1970s. Yes, my mom rocks.
I played quietly in the kitchen just to be near her. I was good at being quiet and self-entertained. It's this imagination thing. I played in my brain a lot as a kid. The playground was awesome. I could transform basement stairs into an RV and go anywhere.
Apparently, my mom was an aid in my kindergarten class. I've racked my brain and think she's making it up. There were two ladies, not three, and my mom wasn't one of them. But then again, maybe that's why kindergarten wasn't scary to the shyest child on the planet. That's when I began to draw. I remember flipping over my daily letter page, alphabet practice, and tracing the image from the back. Apple and a backwards 'A a.' Way more satisfying.
We walked to school together during first grade so again, maybe I didn't notice. But I noticed in second grade. My mother was replaced by a witch and I called on God to take away the mean old hag and bring back my mother. Over and over I pleaded because this stressed out teacher was a stranger.
Politics meant mom didn't work at a job while I was in fourth through sixth grade. But that doesn't mean she wasn't busy. I was independent enough that she could be, too. But she was home after school most days. One day I walked in, saw an ink stamp my dog chewed up and said, "Oh Shit!" A disembodied voice came from the dining room. "Oh what?"
The first job I remember her loving came during Junior High. It was corporate. She looked sharp and felt sharp. I didn't mind. It meant I could watch more TV and not get in trouble. But during my senior year, mom was home and bored out of her gourd. I forgot the cries of a seven year old girl and saw that staying home was killing my mom's spirit. Plus, I was deeply encouraged to put education first. I learned the message so well I didn't get married until 29. I didn't avoid being a stupid, selfish twenty-something, though.
Every time the baby talk loomed (long after the nightmares in high school about immaculate conception), I erected a barricade. "It's not the right time. We don't have the money. I like my life." But I spent hours in college daydreaming about my ideal life. And being home with my kids was my dirty little secret.
I could still be a mom. We've considered it. My life will change dramatically but frankly, my life is so freakin' LIVED that the selfish "my life" crutch is broken.
I'll be OLD when my child graduates high school. But that measurement has never freaked me out like it does some of my peers. Maybe because I'm the third child and my parents aged with grace and vitality. Old has never been old to me.
As usual, I do things when I damn well feel like it. I've never liked being told when or if. And I have one demand. I have to work from home before I'll have a child. For my child. For me. And if Gloria or Camille have a problem (or one of their drones), they can suck my left titty.