Baby peekaboo

Is this what sleep deprivation looks like?

It wasn’t so long ago that the thought of motherhood filled me with dread. Not only dread, but also a general disbelief that women would put themselves through so much physical pain and discomfort, sleep deprivation, and financial strain only to lose their identity and ability to be recklessly selfish.

Eight months ago, my little girl Miss P arrived into the world. The time since then has stretched ten-fold, so much so that I barely remember life before her. I blame sleep deprivation.

People often ask me how I’m enjoying motherhood. Most times, they are asking out of politeness, but I think those who knew me before Miss P are genuinely curious how a [self-described] fiercely independent woman is coping. I suspect they are hopeful that I’m loving it and that I can’t imagine a love greater than the love I have for my child, and thus proving that I was totally wrong about motherhood!

It’s true that the mother identity seems to have consumed my other identities. Most of my social interactions now are with the lovely ladies in my mothers group. With my friends who have children, we spend more than half of our conversation talking about our kids. And since I’m with Miss P for almost all of my waking hours, small talk with the strangers that we meet also revolves around children.

In all honesty, about 80% of the time with Miss P is tedious, monotonous and exhausting. I spend a lot of that time just willing her to sleep, or to sleep longer. I’m sick of singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm over and over (especially mind-numbing since I can only think of 8 animals). My favourite time of the day is when she wakes up in the morning, all happy and smiling in her cot, but then quickly I’m counting down the hours until her bedtime. Thankfully, Miss P doesn’t cry a lot, but when she does I often have absolutely no idea why and I despair at my own helplessness.

The other 20% of the time, I think that she is just the most gorgeous thing that I’ve ever laid eyes on. When she giggles, babbles, tries to eat my nose, or is sleeping peacefully, my heart feels like it will explode with so much love.

I guess this is what people rave on about.

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Why the thought of motherhood scares me

I previously wrote this post for my other blog Laugh Lots, Travel Often

Laugh Lots, Travel Often

It may seem crazy when we humans are biologically programmed to reproduce, but the idea of having children scares me. All those sleepless nights and sore boobs are definitely unappealing, as well as losing your figure, having your boobs droop down past to your belly, and the financial cost. Sometimes I think that the only real upside of motherhood is those 9 months when you can “eat for two” (although this is well offset by the ban on soft cheese, blue cheese, sushi, alcohol, rare steak, pâté and deli meats, raw shellfish, coffee, and the list goes on).

I know that I’m not alone here when it comes to denying our biological urges. A Pew Research Center study in the US from 2007 showed only 41% of couples thought that children were very important to a successful marriage, which was down from 65% in 1990.

Certainly there are many lifestyle…

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On having kids

I currently have three girlfriends at various stages of pregnancy.  They are the first wave of my friends to be pregnant, and despite holding on the idealised notion that we would forever remain the same fun-loving and free-spirited girls as we were back at uni, I guess there comes a time when one accepts that life moves on, and your friends and their circumstances change.

It’s a difficult thing for women to think about in my opinion.  As with marriage, but more so, females are conditioned to the idea of having kids at a young age.  Stroll down into any toy store and almost all toys aimed at young girls are dolls, with various babysitting accessories such as a milk bottles and baby potties that encourage girls to act like mothers.  Crazy!

Five years ago, there would have been absolutely no question as to whether I ever wanted a family.  It was just a question of eventually finding the man who was going to father my sprogs, but I definitely wanted kids at the age of 28.  I wanted to be a young, trendy mum.

Now that I actually am 28, having a family is probably the last thing on my mind.  Even though most parents would say that they love their children and wouldn’t change their situation for the world, I still can’t help but think that having kids would basically mean that the “fun” part of my life was over.  No more late nights out partying, no more packing up your life and traveling whenever you wanted, no more deciding that you were jack of your career and wanted a complete change, and no more money!

There are still so many things that I want to do and so many adventures that I want to have before I even want to think of settling down.  And even then, I’m not one of those women who get clucky around children.  More often than not, I find babies and children loud and obtrusive, and I have absolutely no patience or desire to hold them or play with them.  Last year when I was instructing at the snow, I had a rather large group of 3-6 year olds that just would not stop crying.  Once one starts, the rest follow like a chain reaction.  I couldn’t believe how much tolerance and self-restraint I had to stop myself from screaming at them.

The thing that worries me is that I could happily continue living my free-spirited and selfish life for the next 10 years, completely oblivious to the ticking of my biological clock, until I find myself at 38 suddenly desperate to start a family.  I can almost imagine it now – I’ll be one of those women who will just shack up with Mr Then-and-There, or if my ovaries are well and truly shriveled by then, I will adopt orphaned children from some remote town in Chad.

Lucky for men, they don’t have a problem with their bits being past their use-by date – just look at Rupert Murdoch.  Women have so many considerations to weigh up that it may just boil down to what we will find more fulfilling in the long-term.  And who knows, judging by my current lack of success in the relationship department, it may be all outside of my control anyway!

My poor parents…