All my life all I was taught was that good girls sit up straight, keep their legs crossed (or closed as it would turn into during my teen years) are seen and not heard and keep their noses in the books. I was a tomboy so I never really followed any of this to the letter, but the gist of the lesson was clear. Books, not boys were to be my focus.
For the most part I heeded this sage advice. I went to really good schools, excelled in most classes (I hate math and still can’t count), made honor roll, Dean’s list and got involved in more organizations and committees than I could count. I only had one boyfriend that I dated from ninth grade until I went off to college and on and off thereafter. I spent nearly 4 years avoiding boys like the plague in college (I found a cutie the beginning of my senior year) and spent the majority of my time with friends and doing what ‘good girls’ do…studying.
This all made the family happy. They were delighted to see that I was thriving and that I would be getting my degree on time. My first year or two out of college all seemed well and they were happy with the young person they raised. I was a college graduate, working and making a decent life for myself. Yep, all was right with the world…then the dark clouds started rolling in.
All of a sudden I started getting asked questions like:
“When are you getting married?”
“When am I going to be a grandmother/grandfather/great grandmother, etc?”
“Why don’t you have a man yet?”
At first I ignored them, and then they started to turn up the heat. In addition to the aforementioned questions I started hearing this from my paternal grandmother:
“I would like to see some great-grand babies before I go home to see the Lord. I’m only holding on to see my first grand give me my first great grand.”
What?!! FOUL!! FOUL!! STOP THE FIGHT!! What kind of a low blow was that?!? How do you respond to your damn near eighty year old grandmother telling you something like that? The pressure got so heavy I started telling them I was a lesbian so they would stop asking me questions. It worked for a little while, but now they are back on the scent. What happened to keeping my legs closed and being a good girl? Do they not understand that having a baby, in wedlock like they want, isn’t that simple? I need to find the man for goodness sake! When did my degree and 401K become a green light for my legs to spread and the sperm to enter? Who said these things make me ready to be a mother?
It’s not that I don’t want to have kids. I’d actually rather the kid than the husband to tell you the truth, but I want to do it the ‘right way’. I want to see the world a bit first, have a good and stable career, maybe even a little savings. I want a man/husband that is in it for the long haul and has the same outlook and standards in life that I do, none of that baby daddy drama stuff. Achieving these things takes time, which if you ask my grandmother I’m running out of. Apparently after thirty you’re old and “men don’t want an old woman,” but I digress.
I guess I’m just a part of that new category of women who are waiting later in life to settle down and have families. Sure, it would be a bit better to have kids young while I can take advantage of the fading “snapback” a young body has and sure I would have more energy to run around with them, but I would also have less life experience to share. If I’m going to be responsible for molding and shaping another life then I need some points of reference. I need to experience life to the fullest and do some, if not all, the things I dream of so that I can back up those demands of “Go to school. It’s what’s best for you!” and “Stay away from that boy he’ll just break your heart.” Now I know I will never know and experience everything in life, but I want to still have something under my belt.
I also don’t want the wonderful experience of motherhood to be marred by daydreams of experiences lost and regrets. I don’t want to ever look at my child and think “What if…?” As I settle into motherhood and maybe even married life, I want to do so knowing that I lived a life that made me happy and did the things I wanted to do so that I can then focus on the new and even more exciting chapter that is in front of me.
So yes, I will be having babies, but when the time is right for me and not before. I’ll be doing things my way and no one else’s…now if I can just keep granny from “seeing the Lord” for just a little while longer, sheesh!
Has your family started pressuring you for children? How do you handle it? Why are you waiting?