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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?

 

 

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  • Candi83

    Thankfully my family doesn’t bug me about having kids and getting married too much. Although my step mom dropped a hint at my ex boyfriend that she would like to see us have a cute baby (thankfully that didn’t come to fruition). This is not 1950 when most women would have been married and had kids at 20 years old. I do understand the pressure that women feel these days. Sometimes I have random people asking me why I don’t have a boyfriend. I JUST got out of a relationship, I am not going to just rush and get married (I’ve seen the amount of bullish my mom and other family members have to put up with in their marrages). I’m 28 and some people think that I’m “getting up there”. No matter what my family/society says, I’m doing my own thing.

  • fuchsia

    I thought about it and decided to do my own thing. Yes, the pressure was on, but no matter what my “good girl” track record was I knew when I was ready to have a baby. My “good girl” track record actually served a good purpose. It allowed others to have confidence in my decision and happily support what I felt was right for me. They know I’m not dumb, and I’m usually the one they turn to for advice. Education and career have always been priority, I’ve been married before, and I’ve traveled and seen what I’ve wanted to see (and a few things I didn’t want to see). With life experience to boot, at 28 I decided to have a baby on my own terms, and I’m expecting my first baby on my 29th birthday in a few weeks. The father is supportive and happy, but we aren’t together and will never be. I’m free to find a husband at an age that I’ll be ready, which I estimate to be in my late 30s pushing 40. I learned that following the cookie cutter rule book doesn’t work for everyone. Once you are wise enough to navigate your own happiness you graduate from “good girl” to “the best you.” I don’t know about anybody else but that works for me.

  • binks

    Surprising no, my parents and family aren’t pressing my brothers and I about being parents and having some babies. Mainly because we aren’t married and my parents were extremely young when they had us that they just want us to take our time and do it right especially me since I am the baby and only girl. They love the fact we and mostly our cousins in their 20s like us don’t have kids running around out there or drama. My dad thinks our generation of the family is cleaning up and learning from the mistakes of our parents, aunts uncles etc.

  • My fail-safe response that works like a charm when anyone asks is I almost tear up telling them how much I want to get married and have kids. My other tactic is I jokingly accuse the person asking of not working hard enough to introduce me to someone eligible. LOL

  • SimplyComplex

    WOW! Been there, done that, have the key chain/t-shirt/baseball cap AND bumpersticker!! I get these questions ALL the time. On my father’s side I am the ONLY adult grandchild w/no children and for some reason they feel that I need to be reminded of it at every family function. On my mom’s side, all of the cousins have started bringing their “boo’s” around so then someone looks at me w/the ‘where’s your man, do you have a man, why don’t you have a man?’ face (and then asks aforementioned questions aloud). It’s frustrating!! When I wake up alone in my house every morning I am ACUTELY aware that I’m not married and that I don’t have children, why do they feel the need to keep reminding me of this like I’ve forgotten or something? And Lord, knows my mother knows how to beat a dead horse it until it resurrects itself and begs for mercy! She’s gone as far as to beg me IN PUBLIC for “please, just give me one grandbaby?!? it’s not too late yet, but it’s getting there! I’m just gonna keep praying and God’s going to give me a grandbaby!” LAWD!! It’s a lot of pressure and sometimes you do have feelings of failure because you see time slipping away. The one that hurt the most was when my Grandmother told me to “hurry up and have me another great grand before I leave this earth so that I can see you as a mom and see your dad as a granddad. I’ve seen all my grands have a baby except you…” and when she passed in 2010 without having seen my child it felt like a dagger in my soul. Everyone else’s child would have memories of her except mine, and that really hurt (still does). I don’t know if I’ll ever have children, but being badgered relentlessly about it only serves to make me resentful and defensive (“are you going to pay for daycare??? are you going to come over for 3 am feedings??? If not, then leave me alone about it! LOL)…I tell you, we just can’t win…