You make your first bold anti-children announcement after a tragic babysitting experience. Tragic in the sense that it involves you cleaning both red Chanel lipstick and diarrhea out of a lovely silk bedspread. Neither come out. You are not invited back.
Upon recounting the events leading up to the announcement, your mother looks at you with a small but satisfied gleam in her eyes. The look says “karma is a bitch”, only your mother would never use that word. Not out loud. Not unless she has had several margaritas, which she refers to as lime juice. Instead, she tells you that she felt the same way when she was younger and you will change your mind when you are older. Become familiar with this phrase. You will hear it approximately 3,764 times over the next seventeen years.
For now, you assume she may be right. You return your focus to your cat, a dangerous little orange thing that loves only you. For this, you love her more. Eventually, you attempt to babysit again. You need money for life essentials, such as boy band CD’s and a papasan chair. The children do not bring out the best in you. You are bored and angry. You fall asleep on the couch watching movies and eat all of the chocolate chip cookies hidden on the top cabinet shelf. These actions make you feel slightly justified at the time wasted with unruly spawn for seven dollars an hour.
You go to college because, apparently, that is what you do in life. Your parents said so. All of your friends do. You enjoy several years of bad beer, bad vodka, and bad boyfriends. You even join a sorority and pretend to like pink and all things fluffy. This promptly ends when you study abroad, returning wearing all black and smoking cigarettes and desperately wishing you were Spanish. You believe you have become artistically enlightened overseas and are now even more convinced that children would only interrupt your plans to travel, write, and encounter a series of European lovers. Despite these new worldly plans, you slip easily back into your pattern of enjoying bad beer, a little better vodka, and even worse boyfriends.
You begin to realize a little too late that you should have enjoyed a little less of these things. You need a real job after college because, apparently, that is what you do in life. Your parents said so. All of your friends do. You discover that getting a job is the easy part. Enjoying it is much more difficult. In fact, enjoying life is difficult. You go on anti-depressants and you wonder why you would bring a child into a world that you do not entirely believe in.
Your friends begin to get married. You cannot imagine marrying your boyfriend. A life in the middle of a hurricane is distressing. You break up. People tell you that you will want children once you meet the right man, when you are older. You have a dog that you are convinced you will love more than any child, or any man for that matter.
Your friends begin to have babies. Some move to the suburbs. You see them on birthdays and weddings, at which they get drunk off of one glass of wine and repeat to you that they miss this life. The babies keep coming in rapid succession. You send presents and cards and call yourself Auntie LaLa. You learn about epidurals and vaginal stitches and raw nipples. You are truly terrified.
You most enjoy when strangers ask about plans for children. You tell them you need a husband first. Or that you like your vagina and nipples the way they are. Or that you are a lesbian. Your answer depends on how annoying you find them.
One day, against all odds, you do find the right man. People presume you will hurry to marry and start a family because, apparently, that is what you do in life. Your parents said so. All of your friends do. But you do not. You do, however, arrange for him to legally adopt the dog.
Once, twice, nine times a week you are asked about your desire for children. You say no. They have stopped saying that you will want them when you are older. You are older. They say instead what a good mother you would be. You tell them about the red Chanel lipstick and diarrhea. They take their child off your lap and begin to discuss Sophie the Giraffe as a transitional item through development phases. You begin to wonder if you should have children just to keep your friends. You also begin to believe you could use a Sophie the Giraffe.
Your two best drinking buddies get pregnant at the same time. You drink more to make up for their lack of consumption and eat gluten so you can all share maternity clothes. You feel left out. From society. It irritates you to not share the feelings of the rest of the world- life is most cherished, more significant by bringing a child into it. There are only two other cultural values that you feel so strongly disconnected from: Pinterest and lettuce. Children and Pinterest and lettuce: your three mental nemeses, as you do not understand a single one of them.
You turn thirty. You begin to worry what to fill your life with, if not children. You look for inspiration from other couples around you and find none. You search online and bother elderly couples on the bus for wisdom. You find nothing. You enroll in tennis lessons and art programs and writing classes. Any class that further develops your life in a way that watching Law and Order: SVU reruns will not. Not that you do not still do this once a week. Perhaps more.
You begin a homework assignment for a writing class. The assignment is to write an essay in the second person. You choose to write about having children, or, rather, not having children. You get as far as turning thirty but visions of the future allude you. So you stop writing…
But then you do an edit and realize you really need to write an amendment. There is a decent possibility that this essay could be misinterpreted by your friends. They could wrongly believe that you resent their children or, worse, despise time spent talking about or spending time with these children. Not true. You want all of your friends with children to know damn well that you love being Auntie LaLa. It is a proven fact that your friends are raising the world’s best children. You are eager to punch people in the baby-makers who dare to challenge this statement. Auntie LaLa is the greatest job in the world, you just do not want to be Momma LaLa. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not this year. Maybe when you’re older?
Written By: Laura Zorner from the blog What the LaLa? To see more blogs by Laura, click here