Day 126 – I’m not a mom

Before I was married, the question I would regularly get, which would send me into instant rage mode is “when are you getting married?” Once I finally tied the knot, I thought I was in the safe zone away from the awkward silence and pregnant pauses but it turns out, I was wrong. Before the ink was even dry on our marriage certificate, people (family, friends, virtual strangers) started asking “So, when are you having kids?”

Notice the question actually implies we will of course have children. I mean, what crazy person wouldn’t want to experience the wonders of bringing a child into this world?

It seems once you’re a mom, you’re invited into an exclusive sorority. They even have nice, friendly and endearing names such as “Mommy Group.” You even get a special mention by both Ann Romney and Michelle Obama in convention speeches.

But how about us women who don’t have or want children? There isn’t even a catchy word like “mom” to describe us. It’s as if you have no status unless you have children.

Like it or not, there’s still pressure to conform. Get married, change your name, and produce babies. Be normal. Go with the program. And if you don’t, you’re subject to comments like “But don’t you want to have a family?”

When people ask “are you married?” they really don’t care if you’re happily married, or if you love your spouse. As long as you can answer the question in the affirmative, you’ve passed the test. Similarly, no one questions if you actually like being a mom, if you’re sufficiently providing for your children, or if you’re a “good mom.” They just want you to be able to answer the question by saying “yes” when asked “do you have children?”

It’s as if being a wife/husband or mom/dad gives you a stamp of approval of being normal. Like you’re more worthy and can be trusted just by the virtue of that status.

Sometimes, women asks me why I don’t want children. Usually, I’ll respond by asking why they chose to have children. Frequently, the answer is something like “it just happened.” Meaning it was just a byproduct of having sex. Other times, the answer is something along the lines of “I always saw myself as a mom.”

I’ve thought a lot about the have/not have children debate. I’ve even made a list of pros/cons for and against having them. I read books on the subject. I scoured Google to give me the answer. But at the end of the day, I realized, there’s no magical answer. Some people always wanted babies. I didn’t. Some women fantasized about being a mom when they were 6 years old. I didn’t.

So, there you have it. I’m not a mom.

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