Are you serious or just having fun?

The older I get, the more I think about my parenting decisions, or my lack thereof. Facebook offers me perspective as one after another of my friends from all parts of my life have children. I’m happy for them, but I do not want children of my own.

There are many reasons for this, but the most basic reason is that I don’t want them. And DP doesn’t want them. His reasons are a little more complex than mine. I don’t have the burning drive to have children that I have heard many people describe, and also I am afraid that if I had kids I’d never write again.

Many of you dear readers have children and write, and I salute you. Some of you have written after children. I salute you too. My recent writing residency was all about figuring out how to set up my daily life and psyche so that I am ready to write. It reminded me that I have made choices in my life that have helped me be in a place where I can write.

I have a job but not a career. Or maybe I have a career but no career ambitions. All my professional ambition and drive goes toward my writing. I have a friend who wants children very badly. But she quit her job and then had a hard time finding a new one. She was too busy job-searching to date and so she is still single. That was not setting up your life to have children, or a relationship.

I continue to try to make choices so that I can write. I have been making these choices for years. I’m privileged in many ways that I am in a position to make my own choices about my life. I began this post in my favorite bar/cafe, where DP and I were writing on a Sunday morning. I watched other people around us with children.

One woman held her daughter as she waited for a sandwich. Another couple drank beer and played games with their toddler. Another woman sat across from her seven-year-old daughter, staring at her iPhone while her daughter tried to make conversation. I was glad to be at my own little table littered with water glasses and MacBooks sitting across from DP, I did not want to be anywhere else.


11 responses to “Are you serious or just having fun?

  1. My desire to have or not have a baby plus stepmother-hood is pretty much my entire book. I could write 5 books on this topic, it’s so f-ing complex and wrought with tension.

    • Right? I managed not to write about how I don’t hate children (which I don’t) and that I feel good about working with students (which I do) and how I’m everyone’s cool aunt at my academic job (which I am). But then I felt like I had to write about it anyway.

  2. We all make our own choices, every day. Sometimes they’re difficult to see clearly and sometimes they shine.

    I played tooth fairy last night to a gappy, little six-year old. Wouldn’t trade that for a bestseller—then again, I’m not really trading, just maybe delaying it a little.

  3. I have told my daughters, they are in their mid to late twenties, (one is pregnant ya-hoo), that whatever their choices, they can have it all; they just can’t have it all at the same time.

    For ten years I didn’t just put writing on the back burner, I pushed it off the god-damned stove. Was it because of children or the new full-time job I took? Ah…probably both.

    Back then, I wanted to spend time with them, not in my office writing about them. When I stepped back I was just beginning to make a name for myself. Do I have regrets because of the delay, hell yes, do I have regrets that I was there for them, never. All I know is, if you put everything you have into one-thing, be it marriage, job, children or writing it makes for a very narrow existence.

    Life is an investment in time, diversify.

    Because the weather often sucks, don’t put all you cargo on one boat. Ha, I would have mentioned all your eggs in one basket but I was trying to avoid a cliche.

    You are smart to know what you want and not fall for the norms of society. Good for you.

  4. Choosing to write is great. Everyone chooses one thing over another. You’re just more consistent than most. I mean, by God, if I could just keep focusing my time on ONE THING I’d be great at that one thing, rather than “slightly above average” at a bunch of things. Keep doing what you love- what else is there?

    • (here I am again, because I can’t shut up today)

      I wrote my first story when my daughter had graduated college and my son was a junior in high school and never home. So there you go….

      Toni Morrison wrote her award-winning novels at 0’dark-30, before her kids got up for school and before she left for work. Bless that rare bird.

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