Responsible Non-Parenting?

Biologically speaking I’ve not been dealt the winningest hand when it comes to reproduction. I’ve known for many years that children are most likely not in the cards for me. And even though it has, at times, been a bitter pill to swallow… I’m coming to terms with it as time goes by.

I’ve begun to think of myself as a non-parent, both now and for always. So it caught me by surprise to be recently asked by my physician whether or not I plan to have children anytime soon. Looking ahead to a wedding and a marriage, I suppose it was a perfectly reasonable question to answer.

But before I answered his question, I asked one of my own. “Look. I am staring straight down the barrel of 38.” I said very matter-of-factly as though he wasn’t already aware of my “advanced age” as he sat there staring at my crow’s feet with my chart and entire medical history in his lap. “At what age does it become irresponsible for me to have a child, Doc? How old is too old?”

He looked at me, slightly taken aback by my inquiry. After a brief, awkward pause he launched into a mini-sermon about how many “less than ideal” mothers are out there raising children. Some of which are very young, very immature or who lack the proper resources to care for a child. And if I am even questioning my age as a potential concern — then I am exactly the type of “responsible” person who should be having children if I wished to do so.

But you see that’s just it. I’m not sure whether or not I “wish to do so.” Biology aside, I’ve considered myself a non-parent for so long that I’ve become rather attached to the lifestyle. You know the one. It includes (but is not limited to) sleeping in, watching what I want on TV, eating meals that are not square, taking trips whenever and wherever I want to and having exorbitant amounts of “ME” time during which to ponder potential world domination.

I have watched as my friends disappear—one after the next—into the matrix of motherhood. I stand at the edge watching them dissolve into the mystical world of two a.m. feedings, car seats, play dates, Sippy cups, Cheerio containers, sleep deprivation and constant sitter hunting. And it scares the crap out of me.

My mother (along with just about everyone else) tells me that it is different when it’s your own and I’m sure that it is. But perhaps it is not only more “responsible” of me, but truly best for all concerned parties if I were to stay right where I am—on the outside of the Mommy Matrix—wrapped up in my down comforter with the remote, some travel guides and a really, really good bottle of wine.

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Vices

So I’m beginning to wonder how healthy my occasional formula for surviving-a-busy-day-while-still-being-able-to-enjoy-the-evening really is. Let’s see… I roll out of bed (usually exhausted), and drag my ass through the early morning routine of showering, eating, facebooking, blog-posting, news-watching, makeup, hair, heels, commute. And by the time I sit down in my office chair, I’m even more exhausted.

I reach for the faithful friend that is a big, fat, coffee mug and I head across the hall toward the office fuel pump… Or rather, the Keurig coffee maker in the break room. One cup starts to perk me up and makes me feel like perhaps I will NOT flop my forehead onto the keyboard and drool all over the space bar as initially feared.

Two cups make me feel like I can begin to pick up the pace. I can actually comprehend my email and voicemail messages. I can focus long enough on my tasks at hand and begin to feel like I am climbing on top of the To-Do list, rather than lying prostrate beneath the weight of it.

Three cups enable me to operate under the assumption that I can take on the world! I am returning emails, answering the phone and taking notes while performing Photoshop miracles. I can whip out an ad layout standing on my head with my hands tied behind my back. And I am greeting everyone who walks into my office with the loudest, cheeriest and most hyper “HELLO!” that they run scared in the opposite direction.

However, by the time I get home and it is finally time to unwind and relax… I wonder why I am so keyed up. Perhaps a nice glass of wine will calm me down and ease me into the evening so that I can eventually drift off to dreamland peacefully and soundly.

So… I reach for the faithful friend that is the corkscrew. I nearly shatter my sparkling-clean wine glasses as I reach for one since my hands are shaking like mad from all the caffeine I’ve ingested throughout the course of the day. One glass starts to enable me to take deeper breaths as warmth and calm gradually spread through my limbs. I think that perhaps I will NOT bite the head off of the first person that speaks to me as initially feared.

Two glasses allow me to feel like I can begin to cope with the reality that I will have to do this all over again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. I can relax and focus long enough on an exchange with my boyfriend / mother / father / sister / niece / nephew / neighbor / friend so that they will believe I am happy, engaged and perfectly willing to handle whatever it is they say to or ask of me without “losing it” because I am “overwhelmed” or “stressed.”

Three glasses enable me to operate under the assumption that I can take on the world! And just as I attempt to take on the world… my forehead flops onto the keyboard of my laptop and I begin to drool all over the space bar.