Tuesday, March 4, 2014

No Kids Allowed

When I decided I wanted to write a column I made the mistake of asking on Facebook if anyone would read a column about a single, childless woman in her 30’s. It was a mistake only because I offered a lousy, base description of what this blog would be all about.

One concern I received from my semi-public Facebook announcement was that I, as a swinging single, might be inclined to speak negatively on marriage or raising children. Sure, I could proudly state that I am secure being alone; that I don’t need a man rescue me; and bearing children in an overpopulated world is an act of ego and not of love. I’ve come across plenty of commentaries criticizing “breeders,”  “stage moms,” and the single parents who work long hours while others are left to raise their latch-key kids. In reality I don’t know shit about parenting or marriage and hope to avoid both for the immediate future. But the topic of family always creeps up; even in the minds of the most devoutly single.

Recently I was having lunch in downtown Bakersfield with a favored (and rather attractive) friend. His relationship stats are nearly identical to mine: 30-something; divorced; no children. After several years in a relationship he shared his experience of being fresh on the dating market.

“Since word got out that I’m single, I’m being hit on by nothing but baby mommas,” he told me. “Seriously, it’s been all baby mommas.

It’s not that he doesn’t like kids. He loves his nephews and is delighted to have another on the way. There is a great joy for single people which comes with their siblings bearing offspring. We love to spend time with our tiniest relatives and more than that, we love feeling relieved of the pressure to produce grandchildren for our aging parents.

“I don’t think I’m going to have kids,” he said. His slight shrug reflected a figurative weight that had been lifted from his shoulders.

I agreed that I had come to the same conclusion and together we exalted in our freedom to avoid reproduction without guilt. As I took a drink from my glass of beer I felt steeped in confidence that I could continue to enjoy alcoholic drinks for the foreseeable future. And that, dear readers, is when biological instinct dropped a tiny seed of remorse into my psyche. My enthusiasm tempered and I lowered my glass to look across the table at my friend.

“I want to clarify, I do think I would make a great mom,” I told him.

We looked at each other and I could tell that in his head he was now assessing his own potential for parenting. After a thoughtful moment of introspection he concluded:

“I think I’d be a really great dad.”