There, I said it.
With the exception of my boyfriend’s 4-year-old cousin, I don’t really bond with children. In retrospect, she’s pretty easy to get along with — instead of fairy tales, I read her US Weekly last year at the beach.
But usually, I’m a fish out of water. I can’t get a baby to stop crying to save my life — after the first sniffle, they’re back to mom and dad. And I don’t really know what to talk to kids about. Sure, I like the new Justin Bieber song, but I have no clue who iCarly is or why anyone would want to play with a fake hamster on wheels.
This weekend I attended a birthday party for a 7-year-old. The kids were screaming and running and bleeding everywhere (seriously, one kid lost a toenail on the bounce house slide). At one point I’m pretty sure my eye started to twitch.
To be honest, I’ve always been this way. When I was younger, my sister and I would always split up at summer barbecues and family parties.
I’d cling to my mom’s side; she would go off and play games with anyone younger than 2. Brittany would always have at least one kid on her hip, and I’d wrinkle my nose at the sight of the others bouncing and screaming at her feet.
And for a really long time I felt guilty about my whole lack of maternal instinct. Maybe I’d grow into it, I thought. And I still could — there’s time. But maybe I won’t and that’s OK, too. Even if no one really talks about the idea of not having kids.
Last week, I came across a Marie Claire article featuring Zooey Deschanel. In it, the adorkable star of “New Girl” said she doesn’t want to be a mom.
“That’s never been my focus … My sister (Emily) was always very motherly, babysitting and stuff. I like kids, and I like being around kids –- but it was never an ambition, something, like, I need … I like working. That’s what I like doing. I like to work,” she said in the article.
Wait … that’s not so bad. In fact, I can totally relate. I like my job, too. And I like grad school. And I like spontaneous weekend trips. And I like watching terrible reality TV. And drinking wine. And sometimes eating just cheese and crackers for dinner.
In short, I’m selfish right now. So selfish, in fact, that I don’t even think I could commit to a puppy, let alone a child. Heck, sometimes — OK a lot of times — I still act like a child myself. Yet there’s a lot of pressure on 20-somethings to get a job, get married, buy a house and procreate.
And while we’re not getting any younger, it’s also important to recognize that maybe — just maybe — that life path isn’t for everyone.
Who knows — someday my desire to be a mommy will suddenly kick in. But if it doesn’t, Deschanel’s interview reminded me that it’s also OK to just be a cool aunt.
After all, my sister’s been training for motherhood for a long time.
Do other 20-somethings also feel the pressure to settle down and have kids? How do you handle it? Were you born with parental instincts or do you also struggle a bit with the idea of child-rearing? Leave a note in the comments section.
Pregnant yet? How about now? Or now?