As women we are sold a dream from a young age. We should meet the man of our dreams who will provide for us, have the perfect wedding with our one true love, buy a house and start a family. As I approach my 30s in the next couple of years I can't help but feel that maybe that specific 'dream' isn't all its made out to be. This ideal became prevalent in a time where society was very different to what it is now and for most women at that time, this really would have been the dream.
Growing up I watched all of the classic Disney Princess movies which reaffirmed this ideal and set the expectation for life, it's only been over the last 5 years or so that I have really started to question societies expectations and ask myself if this life is something I actually want?
Times have undoubtedly changed and whilst the traditional expectations are certainly not as prominent as they once were - they are still there. As women we are no longer restricted from voting and quarantined to the kitchen as house wives - we now have the freedom to develop our own careers, travel, be a girl boss and choose our own path of happiness. Even with this in mind there is still that unwritten pressure looming over my head that "shouldn't I be starting a family soon?"
Today we have the option to do both - we can be mothers and hold down a career, whether you're a single parent, in a relationship or any other circumstances. Or if that isn't what you want and you are in a position to do so you can choose to be a stay at home mum and that's ok too. What I'm trying to say is we are now faced with several very plausible options that each come with pro's and cons. We can have it all if we so wish. But at what cost?
I have never been maternal - ever. I have never wanted children. I've always been told that one day I will just wake up and I will know. That as I get older I will change. As I get closer to 30 and continue to be bombarded with messages about my 'body clock' ticking, this issue has been in my thoughts more so than ever before. Now for the record I don't buy into the whole as soon as you reach 30 you basically wither up and it's a bad idea having kids . Thats a whole different conversation entirely and not one I'm going to go into in this post, but it would be foolish not to mention it and the pressure that it brings to many women.
On paper now would be a great time to start a family, yes I'm not married but I'm in a long term relationship, have a lovely home, stable job, the works. Why then is it the last thing I want right now? I will tell you why.
I'm so confused. Deeply, deeply confused by the whole thing. Yes I know that being a parent and having children is filled with a love, joy and happiness like no other. I obviously don't know this first hand but I have many friends both online and offline that are mothers and who say this and truly mean it. Their hearts are so full with love for their children and they wouldn't change it for the world. But I don't know what that feels like - and I never will until I have children of my own, so its very hard to relate to this and imagine what it will be like. All I can relate to are my own feelings and thoughts based on my instincts and what I see and hear.
Almost everything within me says I don't want to have children. Not only that but I am at an age now where many of my friends and family have young families of their own. I watch what they go through and think there is no way I would choose that life for me. I know Mothers who are in relationships, single mothers and parents who are separated but co parenting. I know some stay at home mums, some who work full time, others who work part time. Mums with babies, Mums with older children. I have direct experience of almost the whole spectrum of Motherhood.
In almost all of these scenarios I regularly see and hear how exhausted these Mother's are. Stressed, tired, busy, rushed off their feet. Juggling looking after children whilst holding down a job and running the house. Cleaning up shit and sick and running around trying desperately to keep it all together. Having schedules for their children's after school clubs and weekend activities. Trying to organise child care, nursery, school and baby sitters months and months in advance. Constantly putting themselves at the bottom of the pecking order, feeling guilty for having any time of their own that doesn't revolve around their children.
I feel like I need to stress that this is the picture I see from 99% of those scenarios above. Yes I am fully aware that of course it isn't like this for everyone but that isn't why I'm writing this post. I can only go from what I see. Not only do I see this in "real life" but I see it online all the time. Facebook and Twitter being the main area's. I see so many status updates and tweets that reflect the above. Now don't get me wrong this is by no means criticism of any kind and I want to make that clear. There is absolutely no judgement from me whatsoever and I respect and admire all of the mothers mentioned above with the upmost sincerity.
With all this in mind I can't think of anything I'd rather not do than all of the above. Life isn't always easy - children or no children, but I don't want to sign up for that. It would be foolish to think that life can ever be the same again after having children and to put it bluntly, right now I'm not sure if that is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Some would say I'm selfish and read this post whilst shaking their heads and I totally respect that, however I'm writing this post for two reasons.
1. Because I know in my heart of hearts that there are several other women out there in a similar position to me feeling the exact same pressures as I am.
2. Because I don't feel that this is talked about enough and by writing this down it somehow helps me work through these thoughts and feelings I am having.
I really think that the small part of me that thinks I should have children is driven by external expectations and what if's rather than me actually wanting to be a mother. The fear of regretting my decision is also a big driver. So I have this very small part of me (10%) that thinks I should think about starting a family over the next few years or whenever I'm ready. Then I have the rest of me (90%) that couldn't think of anything I would rather not do.
Who knows what the future holds, I guess only time will tell, but I can tell you one thing for certain. If I ever do decide to have children it will not be driven by external expectations and pressures telling me that I should be a Mother.
I would really welcome your thoughts on this either in the comments or over on Twitter.
Twitter . Facebook . Bloglovin . Instagram . Pinterest . Tumblr