Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To Child or Not to Child

There are many divisions in our world. Race, religion, political beliefs, income, the list goes on. The more time I spend being an adult, the less I see these divisions matter. I can have a perfectly good, even wonderful, conversation with someone of a different race, someone of a different denomination or religion, someone with different political beliefs as me, someone in a higher or lower tax bracket than myself. But I find that there is another division that is becoming more and more prevalent each day. That division is whether or not you have children.

Think about it. Everyone who has children can talk about their children non-stop: good or bad. I see it everywhere. I hear it everywhere. I'm a scrapbooker, and as I peruse blogs and sites, everything scrapbooking has to do with children (or travel). Maybe it's just that it's that time of year: starting school, new beginnings, parents are realizing that their children are growing up, so they want to reminisce and hold on to what they currently have before their children turn into adults and, for sure, have children of their own. Maybe it's because my husband and I are now the only ones of his immediate family who are childless. But it seems everything always comes down to the and so did something cute, so and so was really trying my patience, try this on a page for your kid, how do you deal with this aspect of being a parent?, etc. Not that I exactly mind...I love kids! I want some of my own someday. But I think I really feel left out, because I can't relate. I joke that I don't have kids so I have to scrapbook my dog. And I do (scrapbook my dog, that is). But no matter how cute my dog is, there's really a limit to the variety of pages you can do about a dog. Playing ball...going for a walk...rubbing his belly...that's about it. (I refuse to scrapbook about his bathroom habits, even if they are endearing to me.)

No matter what else divides us, I think it's the kid factor that divides us most, maybe because that's one of the few things that actually affects our daily lives. You have to think about kids daily, if you have them. You don't necessarily think about your religion (even if you should), or your politics (except for right now), or your income (unless it's not high enough). And maybe it's that all of those life factors are thought of a taboo topics. What are you not supposed to bring up in polite conversation? Politics and religion. But kids are fair game. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And though I refrain from scrapbooking my dog's natural system, I know moms who don't refrain from the same about their kids!

And so I wonder if it really is something that changes in you, that moment that a child enters your life. I guess it's kind of obvious that it does. But is it a chemical change? Something physical? Because I've seen it happen to people who haven't actually given birth to the child, just embraced them into their lives.

And I wonder if the same will happen to me when I have kids. I have lots of friends who don't have children. Will my husband and I cross a bridge that separates us from all the other childless people of the world? And if that's an inevitable change, is it one I really want? And is it possible to prevent that change from totally consuming our lives?

Parent or not - what do you think?

1 comment:

DogBlogger said...

As a non-parent, it's something that I struggle with, too. I don't know if I want to join their club, but I know I'd better decide in the next few years if I'm going to. And if I do, I don't want to be defined by that role. Maddening.