Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Factoid: Parenthood

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you think you'd make a good parent?

The short answer is yes.

But y'all probably know by now that the short answer is never where I stop. ;)

I think I'd make a good parent because I'm a compassionate person who cares deeply for other people and I also love children and find them inspiring. I don't have a ton of childcare experience and I don't really like being in charge of kids (telling them what to do and watching out for their welfare rather than, you know, just entertaining them or playing with them), but as I understand it, that's where a lot of new parents come in, too. You learn by doing, and it's also way different when it's your own kid.

I love me some chunky babies!

But I have chosen not to become a parent--for many reasons--and I think if I became someone's mom, the overwhelming amount of time and energy and attention that gets shifted to parenting would result in at least a small amount of resentment or frustration for me. I'm sure the wonderful things about being a parent help cancel that out, but let's be realistic here: being a parent is freaking hard! Even if you love it, it's hard! And many of the other things I've devoted myself to are also very hard and take a lot out of me. I'm fairly certain I could not give my writing and other projects the time and attention and energy I do now if I was also a parent, and even though our culture romanticizes parenthood, I do not believe having a child would revolutionize my entire personality and delete all my other desires even though it would necessarily rearrange my priorities. (I'm aware your novel doesn't starve if you don't pay attention to it.)

Having a child can also be expensive, and considering I do not have a partner and don't want a partner, all of the details from the actual acquisition/creation of a child and the raising/supporting of that child would have to be less typical and more dependent on me. This is a situation I just don't intend to consciously invite. I do often hear people knee-jerk responding with BUT BEING A PARENT IS SO REWARDING and BUT WHEN YOU LOVE YOUR KIDS IT TAKES OVER YOUR WHOLE LIFE AND YOU DON'T *WANT* TO BE ANYWHERE ELSE DOING OTHER THINGS, but that's not true for even close to everyone and it's grossly oversimplified. I'm not claiming it's not rewarding or that I wouldn't love it just because I'm choosing not to do it in favor of prioritizing something else in my life. I think that's actually the least selfish thing to do here--to acknowledge that I have priorities that I don't want to change for a child's sake, so I don't create the situation where I have to choose in the first place.

Many of my friends who have children and also write in a professional capacity struggle to find time and energy to devote to their work. Many of them have figured out a way to make it work, either by structuring their time or by haphazardly stealing every moment they can after the kids are in bed. I can't think of any who are doing it single, though I know those exist too. But I'm content being the parent of a bunch of novels, and I do consider the creation of works to be just as much of a legacy as having children. You don't know what reception the books will have in the world or whether they'll ever be important or how they'll affect other people, but just like when you have children, you hope your creations change the world for the better.

I'm good with that, at least for the time being and the foreseeable future.

1 comment:

  1. Hah, it's so weird how quickly people think "I love children!" immediately and unquestionably translates to "I want to have children." It becomes almost a personal insult to others and they just have to change your mind about it. It's super frustrating >.>

    At the moment, I'm kind of in your position. I think I'd rather spend my life (in the now and the future) devoting all my time and attention to my writing, just because it's something that I've loved and wanted to do for ages. It's kind of sad when older people hear this and tell me, "oh you'll change your mind." Ghaaaaa. With the condescending tone and all--it makes me wanna slap something. I've heard that never stops, just alters slightly the older you get Dx