Other People’s Kids

Spinsterhood clearly implies childlessness. As a modern spinster (or ModSpin for short. In fact, I ™ that. It’s mine now.) Where was I? Ah yes, as a modspin, I prefer the term childfree. As this denotes a choice in not having children. One can’t discuss spinsterdom without talking about children, or lack thereof.

I am fortunate, though, to have many friends with children. I can safely say that unlike many single women, I understand, advocate for and in some way, empathize with moms. Working moms, single moms, gay moms, new moms, old moms. I know them all. I have a shit ton of respect for them because being a mom is hard as hell. Being a mom in the United States in 2013 is hard as hell. 

But being a mom also rocks. 

Yet, I still don’t want to be one. I was talking with an ex of mine and we came to terms with the fact that the main reason we are no longer together is because I absolutely refuse to bear his children. 

Fair enough.

So that leaves me with other people’s kids. I dig other people’s kids. For the most part. Some of my friends’ kids are straight up assholes. They bring out the “backinmydaywedidn’t” in me. Which, of course, only emphasizes my spinsterness. Rather than dwell on those kids, I spend time fawning over the ones I like. They are precious things. Little people who remind me of the women I love and cherish. Tiny packages of awesome that make me marvel at genetics and nature and nurture and the universe every time I see them.

Babies are truly fascinating creatures. You just want everything for them. Even the big babies. The ones graduating and going off to college. I worry about them. I hope for the best. My heart swells at times when I think about Other People’s Kids. I can only imagine with it must feel like to be their mom. Because my mind works the way it does, I have spent hours thinking the worse and being afraid for Other People’s Kids. I think about what I’d do in a car accident or how I’d rush into a burning house. I have even thought about what I’d do if I had to choose between my friend and her child. I know she’d want me to choose her child, but…but…the agony of made up dangerous scenarios! So I filter this anxiety into over-orchestrated clothing purchases and baby shower fetes. I mean…if I get the right balloon bunch, nothing bad will ever happen, right?? Say, right, dammit. 

Despite this, there is comfort in loving Other People’s Kids. Something that says, I am still capable of feeling and adoration for things….beings outside of myself. I think my ability to love another child — one foreign to my biological fiber — speaks more to my capacity as a woman and potential mother than if I ever had babes of my own. 

So therein lies my issue with the discussion around singleness and childfreeness and that whole….shit stew of a discussion. I consider my decision to be a spinster somewhat political, but really it’s out of inevitability and an almost innate predilection for bowing to reality. However, when one asks ladies who desire a childfree lifestyle, they spew vomit about me time and high thread count sheets and trips to Provence.

I’m embarrassed for them. We lose the chance to have a decent conversation on choice. We could finally FOR ONCE have a discourse on the fact that pro-choice extends beyond abortion and that choice encompasses how and when to have a family. AND what life looks if you don’t create one. This really shouldn’t be about material sacrifice or protecting a lifestyle you love. It should be about supporting women in their pursuit of spinsterdom or motherhood or whatever existence lies in between. 

And what does this line in the sand do, really? Jack shit. It sets up a false dichotomy where one choice is supposedly better. Do I want to deal with your kid(s) while I’m eating my 2 for $20 special by myself? No, not really. However, I can also see that you’ve only had one bite of your meal and your husband is too busy looking at the game on the TV by the bar to notice. It makes me realize that the decision to eat out rather than cook in still resulted in you working your ass off. THAT is about working the “second shift” and that’s unfair to the whole family, especially Mom. 

Being a modpsin allows me the time to think about this crap. It’s what makes me buy my mom friends alcohol. I believe in surrounding myself with mothers because it keeps me balanced and informed and alive. Mothers give me perspective. 

If not this, then coin collecting.

He was sitting across from me Dangerous Minds style minus the backwards chair. I knew exactly what was going to come out of his mouth, but I glared defiantly at him daring him to – secretly desperate for – a different declaration.

“You expect the worse out of everyone and everything and I don’t know why you do this.”

Likewise, he knew this would elicit a dramatic eye roll coupled with crossed arms.

Dr. B and I have a relationship that has the sort of intimacy that comes when one person is sortakindacrazy and the other prescribes them medication. We have an understanding of sorts. He knows I know better and I know that he knows that I know better. He is this short, energetic man and I don’t know much else about him because I shouldn’t: he’s my psychiatrist. When I first met him, I expected a Fraiseresque experience, except I wasn’t calling in and I wouldn’t dare lay on the couch (the germs…from other people and all) but instead I got straight talk and a diagnosis +3. He laughs at me because sometimes he doesn’t know what else to do.

More importantly for me, he knows that in most situations I am right. The problem, he says, is that life doesn’t respect right and fairness. My indignation is pointless.

“Get a hobby. Something. Do you write?”

“No. It’s stupid and have nothing to say.”

“You need an outlet. Something that keeps you going. Needlepoint, canoeing, coin collecting. Something. Think about. Keep me posted.”

It was eerily empty in the hallway where he left me. It seemed as if the physical space was reflecting how I felt. Empty, but functioning.

So this is me keeping going. I will inevitably give up on this. You can place bets on how many posts or months before I let this wither away, forgetting my password. For now….for now it’s an attempt. When you have the mental state that I do, attempt is in itself a victory.

Alas, my first post.