Friday, January 29, 2010

Thirties and Childless

The single, childless life of the 30-something female has been a romantic comedy focus since at least Bridget Jones Diary, perhaps earlier. As I get older and find myself in that category of women, I am pressed with a mixture of feelings. On one hand, I am secure in who I am, proud of the life I have established for myself, and content to never have to worry about a little grubber eating my cookies or getting into my porn. On the other hand, it's hard to deny the biochemistry of hormones and the strange fantasy of wanting a "little me." I have learned that I will only know many friends through the growth of their children, as our communication is more or less limited to the Christmas cards that only show the little grubbers, and as each one gives themselves over to the breeding lifestyle I know that is one less person I can call on a whim to have a cocktail and watch a rated-R movie.

I don't judge anyone's life or decisions to have children. It's a respectful and wonderful thing and I often wonder if I am selfless enough to raise them at all. But there is sometimes an attitude out there that those of us who have not begun to breed somehow have nothing to do and our lives and comittments are of lesser importance than those who have. Case in point: a rather snotty co-worker of mine and I were chatting one day and I was telling her about some of my life's activities outside of the office. Her reply was a very short, chippy "Well, you must not kids then." It wasn't so much the words as it was the tone. It was a tone that implied that if I had children, I would have better things to do than run distance and practice martial arts. A tone that implied I could have better things to do than enrich my own mind. A tone that implied it was silly for me to dip out at four when there was no smiling face for me to pick up from school, or dance, or hockey. A tone that carried a mixture of judgement and pity.

For what totally eludes me. Obviously, my choice to not have children has been rather deliberate. With my relationship experience, I could easily have made a baby by now, but the choice to the negative was because I am not willing to raise a child alone. And despite my hormones, child rearing is simply too much work to go at it solo. So why judge my ability to use birth control? I can't even reason out the pity, except to say perhaps someone like her who had a child at a very young age has never known her own life and maybe she thinks I'm lonely or something. I admit, sometimes the house is a bit quiet, but it's a quiet I enjoy.

This little rant is not to say I will never reproduce. If the right man came along and it felt right, I'll go for it. But in the meantime, I love my life.


  1. I've been known for counting down the years until my monsters are out of the house and the man and I can go traveling and have real lives. We've never had that because I got pregnant practically out of high school. Yet I'd like another baby (or two) and we're getting info from the adoption agency. But that's just me. I'm wacky that way.

    Keep enjoying right now that you're exhausted because of what YOU are doing, not because you're running around taking Janie to dance and Jonny to soccer. Not many women our age can claim their own exhaustion.

    And if the house is too quiet, get a puppy for the cats to play with!


  2. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this subject. As a teen I had determined that I would never have children. But a couple of years later I found myself pregnant and alone. Let me back up... I chose to be alone, because I didn't love the man with whom I had made this baby with. Yet, with my parents support on whatever decision I decided on, they would stand by me... and they did.

    By the time my son was 4, I was living on my own with the help of the welfare system. Not ideal, but it worked. Once he was of school age, I was able to find a job to support both of us. It was never easy, but we managed.

    Even after I married, I was still found myself doing all of the parenting. The idea of bringing another baby into the household was daydreamed about, but never seriously considered. Until eventually it became an impossibility.

    Single women can raise babies on their own. It's not an easy task, nor is it for the faint-hearted. And of course it would never take the place of a two parent household... but it's doable.

  3. I will be honest with you: one of the best parts of my divorce was my joint custody arrangement. I do believe, in my own humble opinion, that raising a child alone is simply too much for one person to endure. When I was married, even though I had a partner, I was essentially raising my daughter alone. He provided little to no help.

    When we separated, he had no choice but to take her to his place for his custody days. And I won't lie: I appreciate this break. I really do. I appreciate the silence, and I appreciate not having to share my cookies and I appreciate being able to have boys over and not hide my porn collection.

    I often feel lonelier when I am around a bunch of people than I do when I am truly alone.