Sometimes I think I would like to be a mom. Like really like to be one. On the train, babies propped on Mama’s shoulder often gaze back at me, and a fuzzy feeling melts inside me that can only be described as Awww. Yesterday, I saw a woman in Walgreens slap her kid’s head as she told him to “shut his ass up,” and I realized I’d probably be a much better mother than a few that are out there. But motherhood is not my reality—not right now. Not only do I not have the means (or to be quite frank, the sperm), but I will admit the one thing that us women are not encouraged to say, be it the truth or not: I am selfish. I love my life. This life now, the one I’ve created for myself…
I love waking up in the morning, sunlight spilling on my face, with the option to go back to sleep if I like, or to get up and spontaneously plan out my day; maybe take a yoga class, or get a mani/pedi, or pick up some fruit from the farmer’s market. I never have to “arrange” for babysitter, or leave the house with a ten-pound diaper bag—just my ten-pound purse. Also, I’m a bit of a helpless romantic. I love date nights with the ruca, and discussing the profound nuances of everyday life that usually have nothing to do with Sponge Bob Square Pants. When we go out to eat, the first words out of the host’s mouth are not: “Kid’s menu with crayons?” And I’ve yet to experience sitting down to have our waiter crinkle their nose at the sight of a high chair in their section, as if our kid were a skunk.
Most importantly, the reason I am not ready for kids is because I am convinced that I am going to “make it” as a writer in this decade, my 30s. My teens were a rebellious mess filled with “dime” sacks and 40s; my 20s were about getting to know and like myself, lots of traveling, and getting dragged off the barstool after last-call. This era is going to be the decade that my books will be published and my dream of establishing myself as a writer will unravel like a magic carpet setting off to fly. Ideally, I don’t want “making it” to mean I can afford rent without having to bartend for a few weeks. Screw that. I want a shot of snagging that huge house on Russian Hill, rooms with a view, and extra rooms for Mom, Pop, and the in-laws. A separate work studio in the city sounds perfect, with prospects of setting up a writer’s workshop for young kids of color down the line. Sure, it may sound like a long shot, but I’m stubborn as hell and know exactly what I want. I also know I need to work really hard to get there—I need to have that time to myself to work really hard. It wouldn’t be fair to bring in another life knowing that they are not the focus of my most driven desire at that moment. On career day, I want to go to my kid’s school, proud of myself, and say: “My name is Mrs. Jiménez and I am a writer,” instead of “I am an aspiring writer, but for now I’m just a bartender. You kids know what a martini is?”
Aside from waiting for my career to blossom and loving my carefree independence, I confess yet another reason for not having kids: I am terrified. Does anyone else feel me here?! Raising children is a HUGE responsibility! There’s the usual stuff to worry about, like will I be too strict a parent, or not strict enough? What if my kid hates broccoli and fish and bananas and pretty much every single meal I prepare for them? What if little Juanito get his ass kicked at school everyday for having two moms, neither of whom taught him how to play football—or worst, what if Juanito is the school bully? But there are also the even bigger things in life: what if I don’t agree with their lifestyles? My children—whether adopted, or from my womb, or the ruca’s—will obviously be a blueprint of me, but children are not statues that parents are free to sculpt as they wish. While parents may be a child’s most influential impact, we all come wired with our own souls, our unique spirits. Still, how accepting a parent will I be if my kid grows up and decides they don’t want to be a radical revolutionary like Mommy wants, but are content enough to simply pass their life away a stoned-ass couch potato whose only motivation is slanging weed? (And no, Mommy won’t be thrilled about that discount on “dime” sacks!) Or even worst than that, what if they decide to become (gasp) a Republican?! Dear God! What a terrifying leap of faith parenthood seems to be!
If I could, I’d put motherhood off for another decade until I’m 40. But evolution seems a little sexist, and so far has not kept up with a woman’s career. If I don’t start cookin’ that bun in the oven by the time I’m 36, my eggs will probably go extinct. Or be as rare a species as the panda or the great blue whale. I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there. Because sitting here now, drinking my coffee spiked with Kahlua and wondering how to spend the rest of my day off, adoption in ten years is suddenly sounding like a no-brainer.
Whenever that time comes, and my house of cards is fully built, and the ruca and I have established a cozy nest for the esquincles to call home, maybe then motherhood will call to me with more than just a knock on my door. And I will answer that need, that desire. I will someday be so important to someone else that they will need me for nurture, acceptance, and unconditional love. I will be ready to take on that key role for the rest of my life. For now I have myself to take care of, and a fledgling dream of becoming something bigger than myself. I have my little nest, a cozy one bedroom in Bernal, the ruca to come home to, and a 20-lb cuddly cat who I am not afraid to say I adore. Until the day our mini family grows, and blossoms into bigger branches of life that extend from us, I will be more than happy with this amazing life I have now.
© Sarah C. Jiménez, All Rights Reserved 2011