Some little girls plan their weddings and dream of the day they get to be a mother. They play make-believe with their dolls, pretending to be a mom. They spend their whole childhood waiting and dreaming and planning for the day they become a mother. It’s their greatest aspiration in life — to be a mother.
But me? I was not one of those girls.
I remember playing with dolls as a child, but not in the sense of pretending they were my children.
I actually don’t remember having any sort of opinion on motherhood until I was in high school. And at that point, despite having picked out names for my future children (because growing up, getting married, and having kids is what you’re SUPPOSED to do, right?), I didn’t actually want children.
That’s the first memory I have of motherhood — a very strong desire to not want children. At all. Ever.
And I guess I came by that honestly. Growing up (and even now), I was never super close with my dad’s side of the family (where I do have younger cousins), and on my mom’s side of the family, I was the youngest cousin/grandchild until I was 19.
I was never around kids. I was always the youngest. I didn’t know how to handle kids/babies. So how would I have ever gotten the joy of being around them or the desire to have any of my own?
I recall a cousin (she’s like a second or third cousin, and she’s my parents age, but still a cousin non-the-less) asking me once while I was in college when I was going to get married and have kids. Mind you, I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time. But I told her that I didn’t want kids. And she looked at me like I’d grown five heads, as if saying I never wanted to be a mother was the worst thing I ever could’ve said.
But that’s how I felt. I shouldn’t have to defend myself on that or justify my reasoning. There are plenty of women/couples that choose to never have children. That’s perfectly okay. Being a parent isn’t for everyone.
Yet, all the while, somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew one day that I most likely would have kids, because that’s what I’m supposed to do. So I had names picked out for those hypothetical future children that I didn’t really want.
And oh my goodness, how twisted is that? To have names picked out for kids that you don’t actually want to have? Man. I was messed up.
Then. I got a little older. And I thought, well, maybe I kinda do maybe want to be a mom one day — as long as I can adopt a child that’s past the diaper phase so that I never have to be pregnant (aka, I wouldn’t have to get fat) and I don’t have to ever change a diaper (cause I’m almost 30 now, and I’ve still never changed a single diaper in my life and the idea of doing so grosses me out so bad!).
For a couple of years, I flipped-flopped between those two trains of thought — never wanting kids and maybe wanting to adopt.
Then I met DM. As mentioned in my Father’s Day post, DM has three children from his first marriage. THREE. Not just one kid. Not two. THREE!
And for someone who doesn’t want to have children, a guy with three kids is TERRIFYING!
It’s actually one of the reasons I turned him down multiple times when he first originally asked me out.
But I was lonely and bored, so I finally gave him. (Yes, I’m aware that sounds bad, but I’ve told DM that’s why I originally said yes, so it’s not like I’ve hidden the fact; besides, it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. 😀 )
When DM and I started dating, I was terrified to meet his children. TERRIFIED! But he was great. He didn’t push it. He let me meet them when I was ready. And by that point, he’d already talked about me TONS with his oldest daughter, and she already liked me. But it was still scary. Because, OMG! I had no idea how to act around kids or how to handle them or any of that stuff! I had zero maternal instincts!
However, the more serious my relationship with DM became, the more the idea of having step-children began to appeal to me. I could have kids — but only sometimes. Which means I could still be me and have me time and do what I wanted most of the time. Plus, if/when DM and I marry, I’d have an insta-family. Kids without ever having to be pregnant. It seemed like the perfect solution.
Those first couple of years were really hard though. REALLY hard. Even now, it’s still REALLY hard sometimes.
For the longest time, the youngest was very “my daddy, my daddy, my daddy, not yours, my daddy.” She didn’t want to share him with me. If we took the kids out to eat, I couldn’t sit next to DM, because she had to. She was very demanding and jealous and I hated her for it. I was selfish and jealous myself, and I didn’t like her one bit. Which, of course, made me feel like a horrible person. But it was tough, because I honestly felt like she wanted to come between DM and I and that she wanted me gone.
And DM’s son — the middle child. Even now, after almost four years, I still haven’t figured that one out. He’s so quiet and shy and bashful around me. Just getting him to talk is usually a miracle. And it’s only just within the last 6-9 months that I’ve even started getting hugs from him. But I’m fairly certain he likes me. I think.
Thank goodness that I’ve been lucky enough to have the oldest daughter on my side from the very beginning. She was a pre-teen when I met her. Not exactly a kid. She was much easier for me to know how to interact with and talk to.
But I digress. Let me back up.
Long before I was even okay with the idea of accepting the role of a step-mom to the children DM already had, he was talking about he and I having more children some day.
He’s already got three children, and he’s talking to me about MORE?!?! Are you kidding me?!?!
Again. Pretty terrifying stuff.
But I guess what people say is true. At some point, you get bit with the baby bug, and everything changes, and you want a child RIGHT THEN!
That’s what happened to me.
I’d say it was roughly three years ago when it happened to me.
I still had zero idea how to handle children. Even now, I have zero experience with babies.
But I’ve learned a lot.
If you show respect for a child, they will respect you.
And that’s what I try to do — whether it’s with DM’s children, my nephew, or DM’s roommate’s daughter. It’s passion and compassion and sincerity and respect.
I’m still not sure if I have very good motherly instincts or not. I feel like I fail more often than I get it right. But I do know this, I love those kids. All of them. The ones I may be a future-mother to, and the ones I won’t. I am very protective of all of them. I want to take away their pain, protect them from any harm, hurt, or bad, I want to make them smile and laugh and be happy. I want to be part of their lives.
I’m not a mother yet. Not officially. But there are three kids out there that I feel very motherly towards. And hopefully, someday, I’ll be a mother to them.
And if I’m really lucky, I’ll be a mother to them and some bless, future children of my own. Cause goodness knows that’s what I want.
I want to be a mom.
Where do you stand? Do you have kids, want kids, never want kids? Has your opinion on the matter changed over time?