The Maternal Instinct, or Lack Thereof

Guess what, guys? For the time ever in the history of this blog, I'm actually writing in Starbucks, as the title suggests! I'm sorry if you were under the impression that I had been doing that all along, Dorothy, but the truth is it was just a regular person behind the curtain all along. Did you get that Wizard of Oz reference? I hope so, otherwise we need to stop associating.

Writing this blog post in Starbucks is actually very interesting because not only does it make me feel like a real life important blogger, but today is also prime for eavesdropping. Call me rude or nosy all you want, but I can't help it: I love people-watching. Maybe it's the part of me that is so keen on writing and collecting stories, or maybe it's just the part of me that gages my life worth and degree of fucked-up by comparing the snippets I hear from other people's conversations...I'm not totally sure. The important thing here is that the three people sitting to my left are having the most riveting argument I've overheard as of late. I only sat down next to them to listen in to the tail-end of the exchange, but from what I can tell one married couple with kids is arguing with another woman with kids about their parenting styles and the appropriate way to raise their 15-year-old boys. The single woman has gotten up from the table threatening to leave about four times already, and she's pushed the other man to apologize for giving her a headache at least twenty.

Alright, the single woman just finally left in her last fit of rage, so now the married couple opposing her gets to talk shit about everything that just went down. Honestly, I do feel bad, because I've been there before: I've tried meeting up with people with the sole purpose of working out discrepancies only to find the conflict escalating and reaching the point of absolute frustration. I've been there, strangers to my left, I know how you feel! But honestly, there's one thing that could've been done years ago to avoid this entire exchange: you shouldn't have had children. I know that's incredibly harsh, but it brings me to the topic I actually wanted to discuss today; isn't it wonderful how I was able to conveniently work that into what I just observed? Anyway, I thought it'd be a good idea to discuss early-on one key insight into my makeup as a person: I do not possess any sort of maternal instinct, nor do I have any desire to have children by any means.

Ever since I can remember, I've always felt weird about children. I can specifically remember being four years old when my neighbor gave birth to her second child and brought the infant over to the house to show my parents. From what I recall, I was lingering around the corner looking at this swaddled up pink-skinned thing and feeling really on-edge as a result of the whole situation. I never had younger siblings and wasn't really that accustomed to babies at that point; Hell I never even wanted baby dolls to play with and the mere thought of playing "mommy" was not appealing to my toddler brain in the slightest. Well, you guys are smart people, what do you think happened next? The neighbor saw me hanging out at the outskirts of the room and of course said the most haunted words in the English language: "Lauren, do you want to hold the baby?" Of course by that she meant "sit on the couch and I'll support her head and rest her body on your arms", but either way the flashing red lights started sounding off in my inner being, blaring over and over again DO NOT HOLD CHILD...DO NOT HOLD CHILD...DO NOT HOLD CHILD! In a quick fit of anxiety, I spluttered out an awkward "no thank you", probably offending my neighbor in the process; though looking back on it now, she should thank me because at least this way none of my extreme oddness got imprinted on the kid. The baby in question is probably a genius beautiful head cheerleader now, and it's all thanks to me. You're welcome, ambiguous neighbor girl. Make sure to float me a check when you're undoubtedly hella successful.

From there, my interactions with children, even as a child myself, were strikingly similar; holiday get-togethers, block parties, and parental work functions all presented the opportunity to hold babies or play with the little kids, and every time these experiences threw me into a weird panic. The only time I came around and started convincing myself I liked kids was when I realized I was old enough to start babysitting. After all, you know what they say: if you're afraid or uncomfortable, get someone to pay you and you probably will be less afraid or uncomfortable.* Even then though, I got exhausted watching even the most angelic kids, and upon looking at the clock would find we'd only been playing for half an hour.

For the longest time, I thought all of this was just a result of my social anxiety and naturally high-strung disposition, but one fateful trip to Target a year ago made me realize hey, the common denominator here is kids; I like people, just not kids! I was shopping for a Secret Santa present for a classmate with a friend of mine when we took a stroll down the toy aisle. There sitting on the end of a shelf was a creepy looking baby doll boasting a large "Try Me!" sticker. I figured this'll probably be funny, why not? and pushed the button on the doll's right hand, only to find myself terrified as the thing chirped in a high-pitched voice "Mommy!" At first I didn't know why I was so taken aback by this, but since then I realized it's because I don't want to ever be called Mom, Mommy, Momma, Mum, or any variation thereof. I really don't feel that natural softness toward kids, now imagine me having any of my own: absolute chaos and a lifetime of regret.

I'm sure this is coming across as me being a horrible Satanic person, but hey, we all have our vices. Some people hate snakes, other people hate cats, I just happen to hate other humans under the age of 14. I say that because, if you recall from my first blog post, I want to be a high school English teacher; this isn't incongruent with my distaste for kids because said distaste only manifests in kids age 0-13. I think teenagers are cool, especially if they like you and you've tricked them into believing you're their leader. Anyway, now that we've got that out of the way we can continue on with my plan to live a barren life.

Let me just begin by saying that I know plenty of adults that have chosen not to have kids and are just as happy, if not happier, than those with the textbook definition of "family". Don't feel pity for me as I describe my ideal future, thinking I'll feel some sort of void. Anyway, phase one of the plan will most likely take the most time and effort, judging by my current success with boys, or rather lack thereof. See, I just have to find some dude that's cool and likes books and thinks I'm okay and also shares my desire to not have kids. That may be difficult, because a lot of these aforementioned cool dudes tend to want babies, but maybe I can trick imaginary dream guy into changing his mind with my feminine charm. Or, better yet, maybe once I land someone, I'll fake a pregnancy scare really early on, freaking him out beyond compare. This'll work in my favor because then once I tell him something along the lines of "lol jk not knocked up" his relief will be so immense that I'll be able to milk it forever and ever; if he ever wants to try for a baby further down the road I can whip out the "remember how happy you were when you found out I wasn't pregnant?" card. I'm a terrible person, but anyway that's phase one: find cool life partner that I can trick into hating kids too and marry him before he can change his mind.

Phase two is my personal favorite part of the plan: adopt some dogs. Dogs are enough work to make me feel responsible for another life, but they don't need diapers or money for field trips or college tuition. I'm hoping imaginary cool husband person will share my love for small lap dogs, because I refuse to get a dog any bigger than a Beagle. Then again if he wants a big dog, I can trick him out of that, too; I tricked him out of wanting kids, didn't I?! Anyway, we'll live in our cute impeccably decorated Pier 1 dreamhouse with 2-3 little dogs and it'll be awesome.

Phase three of the plan is pretty simple: do whatever the fuck we want because we don't have kids. For example: it's payday! Since we don't have kids to buy things for, let's spend our hard-earned money on new throw pillows for our adorable home and treat ourselves to a nice dinner. Another example: it's summertime! We're not responsible for kids, so let's get our neighbors to watch the 2-3 little dogs and go on vacation! Since we don't have to worry about pleasing small children and keeping them entertained, we don't even have to consider shitty vacations like Disney cruises and family-friendly resorts; let's go to the South of France and eat expensive cheese on a nude beach. Phase three of the plan goes on for the rest of our lives, until we get too old to travel; at that point we'll just order cool gadgets off the TV and bask in our retirement. Sounds pretty great if you ask me.

And thus concludes my feelings on children. My friends love to joke with me about how "no no Lauren just wait, you're gonna want kids once you settle down and get into your mid-twenties", so I hope they've read this and now understand my stance. I hope you're all well, and now you know if you ever have kids only invite me over to your house after they've gone to bed.



*Okay, so that's not even a saying, but it should be. I'll work on my cross-stitching skills and get in on a pillow. Then it'll catch on, just you watch.

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