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  1. #21
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    I think it has something to do, too, with the way you were brought up and your own relationship with your mother.

    My own relationship with my mom is pretty fragmented, and I've eventually come to the conclusion that cutting her out of my life is the best thing to do for my own emotional health. Now that I'm 24 and in a serious relationship, although not ready for kids just yet, I find myself thinking a lot about our relationship, how we got into this mess, and how I would try to avoid going down the same road with my kids. I'm well aware that I won't be able to be the perfect mom, but I would like to try and avoid the mistakes that my own mother made.

    Sometimes, honestly, looking back at those times, I'm not sure I would be a very good mother, and I don't think I would feel comfortable bringing children into this world unless I could be sure that I could provide unequivocal love and support for them, regardless of how they turned out. I don't want history to repeat itself.

  2. #22
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    When I was a little, I desperately wanted a baby sister. I liked playing with dolls (among other things) and I loved little kids. I babysat all the time.

    When I hit mid-teens, I decided I didn't want to get married or have kids and was quite vocal about it . Then I got married and gradually became ambivalent about having kids. My husband wanted four; I wasn't thrilled, but I finally thought, let's see what happens, and had one and then another, and then was told not to have any more, which suited me fine.

    I enjoy my kids and always have, but I think that if I hadn't had children, I would have been perfectly happy. I was perfectly happy before I had them and I don't think the longing for children would have eaten at me--but who knows?

    So, mom gene? I dunno. I'm certainly not the most nurturing mom in the world; OTOH, I loved it when the kids were little and required lots of care. I just don't miss it and have a been there, done that feeling about it.

    Dunno. Interesting question.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  3. #23

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    It's one of those nature/nurture things.

    I did a lot of mothering with my little sister (4+ years younger than I) and tons of babysitting, although I didn't really enjoy it and didn't (and still don't) have much of an instinct (or memory, I guess) of how kids' brains worked. I almost never fantasized about being a mom, maybe because I was one of 4 kids in 8 years and life was majorly chaotic.

    So I had mixed feelings about having kids when I met my husband, and he was OK with that. Part of the "problem," if you can call it that, is that you get what you get. You can't divorce your kid--much as I feel divorce should be a last resort, at least you have SOME clue of what you're getting into with marriage, as you know the person at least somewhat!--you have no idea what you're going to get. Health issues, psychological issues, a kid you just plain don't like, a kid who loves all the things you yourself hate (I swore my kid would NEVER like baseball or American football!), the next Ted Bundy. . . Then 29-30 hit and I started having this "OMG I HAVE TO HAVE A KID" which I imagine was a hormonal instinctual sort of thing. We talked and prayed a lot about it before having that conversation about tossing the birth control.

    We took the plunge and I'm glad we did. The first year or so was quite difficult--HUGE adjustment, I hated being at home (I was much happier when I returned to working part time), I hated all of a sudden being defined solely by the fact that I was a mother (HATE), and we had major tough stuff going on elsewhere in life--but now dd is 11 and she's a gem. Yes, a moody one but a gem. I wouldn't have minded having another (for the sake of dd having a sister or brother) but I don't think my body could have handled it, and I'm not sure I could have handled two emotionally.
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  4. #24

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    I was the oldest of four siblings -- two sisters and a "baby brother" who was 5 years younger than me. While my sisters and I had baby dolls and I liked playing with them OK, I was much more involved playing with my Ginny and Barbie dolls -- making up all sorts of adventures for them was much more fun that playing with the baby dolls -- which just was feeding, changing, dressing, and then putting them to bed. I also had a fair share of informal "baby sitting" duties minding my younger sisters and brother, so by the time I had a serious relationship in college, I was pretty sure that I didn't want to have kids. I couldn't see much of anything positive about being a mother (and I was very sure that I would make a terrible one).

    However, once my friends began to have children in their mid-late 20's -- and I did some babysitting as an adult -- I began to see more of the positive things about motherhood. While I never did have any children of my own, I think I have been a pretty good aunt to my niece and nephew and I have derived a lot of pleasure in teaching "Sunday school" to 5-7 year olds the past several years. I still don't really care much for infants (less than a year old), though, so it's probably best that I never had any of my own.
    Lady 2: there isn't anything about me on goooogle, I mean, I must take it off if there is.....
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  5. #25
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    I have the science gene.

    And I think this is another one of those poorly reported science stories. Generally, it is not considered that there is a "gene" for a particular trait. Science is much more complex.

    I do think there is a gene that causes people to respond to these kinds of stories by considering whether their personal experience matches the claims or not.
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  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    I do think there is a gene that causes people to respond to these kinds of stories by considering whether their personal experience matches the claims or not.
    I don't know about the existence of a "comparing" or "how to I measure up?" gene, but sharing one's personal experiences seems to be a trait that seems to be pretty common among humans. Everybody has a story to tell -- some more than others.
    Lady 2: there isn't anything about me on goooogle, I mean, I must take it off if there is.....
    Lady 3: The google is a terrible thing, I mean I don't want anything on there! (Overheard by millyskate on a London train.)

  7. #27
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    When I was a kid I had no interest in dolls, playing house or anything of the sort what so ever. I did, however, have an obsession with stuffed animals of any kind. I'm now 26, childless with no desire to have children at all, but my two 100lb dogs are my babies.

  8. #28
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    Someone somewhere is going to try to get massive amounts of grant money to prove that there is a "mommy" gene, but I'm not buying it until they include nurturing dogs & other assorted domestic or farmyard animals as well as nurturing dolls.

  9. #29
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    Interestingly, when my mom bought a baby doll with a bottle for Mini Ice, he liked it a lot and "fed" it, took care of it, etc. I was very curious to see how he'd respond and thought it was sweet.

    He also really likes real babies and is a lot more "maternal" than I ever was at his age or older. He told me he wants to have 3 kids, 2 boys and 1 girl.

    I never wanted a baby sister or brother. I was at the idea. But I've always wanted a .
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  10. #30

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    When I was five, I wanted a puppy. I got a little sister. Since then, I haven't wanted kids.

    (the two other things that sealed it were babysitting two babies who were 10 months apart and watching a film of a birth in 9th grade. )

  11. #31

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    I never wanted kids, and now find myself dating a man who has two! Dogs have been my children as well.

    All my life I've been asked why I don't want to have children. At first, I tried to explain, as if I needed to explain. Then I started thinking that the question of why someone WANTS to have kids is just as valid as the question of why someone DOESN'T WANT to have kids. So, I started asking that question. You can imagine the looks I got! In any event, I was asking because I never felt that way (maternally-inclined) and was genuinely curious. Unfortunately, people think you're being a smarta$$ if you ask them why they wants kids ... it never occurs to them that they started the dialogue by asking me why I never wanted kids!

    O-

  12. #32
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    I really loved babies until I had one I feel like I have no maternal instinct, but perhaps it's because everyone tells me I am incompetent.

    I never wanted to be a mother until I was older. (And I thought we'd have waited awhile longer. WHOOPS.) I always thought I'd have a career and a life and whatnot instead of being a stay at home mom as I am right now. I never wanted a sibling, but I loved babysitting. As an adult, oddly, I wish I had a sibling so I wasn't lonely or at least had someone to share the burden of taking care of my parents, which is probably the only reason I'd consider having another baby.

    I don't see why people fuss over those who don't want kids. What's the problem? Is it just because we're expected to have children? (I'm guessing that's it.)

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanie View Post
    I don't see why people fuss over those who don't want kids. What's the problem? Is it just because we're expected to have children? (I'm guessing that's it.)
    I don't know what it is, but I've already been called selfish for saying that I don't want kids (even though I'm still in college, single, and clearly at a point in my life where I shouldn't be having children anyway).

  14. #34
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    Yes, there seems to be a certain expectation that women will have children. Both the Republican and Democratic conventions were heavy on the children and family aspect of woman-hood. And every time I'm invited to one of those "women in ______" (fill in the blank, any type of job where women are a minority) groups, I roll my eyes, since I've been to my share and they are ALWAYS predominantly about "work-life balance". "Life" is always family, especially child-rearing. If you don't have a husband and kids, you don't have a life, or aren't a real woman or something.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasey View Post
    Never had it. But I'm a fantastic aunt!
    I'm with you

    As a child I wasn't too fond of dolls which was probably for the best as I was the youngest after two brothers and there was a lot more hot wheels and lego kicking around. As I got older, I'd always volunteer to help my dad with fixing stuff and "man work" over anything remotely domestic. Somehow, I've always ended up working with kids though which I thoroughly enjoy.
    "Beautiful things don't ask for attention." -The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I enjoy my kids and always have, but I think that if I hadn't had children, I would have been perfectly happy. I was perfectly happy before I had them and I don't think the longing for children would have eaten at me--but who knows?
    Exactly! I was never one who spent a lot of time dreaming about my future wedding, husband and/or kids. In fact, as a kid, I swore I wouldn't get married or, if I did, I'd wait until I was at least 35. Of course, everyone around me told me I'd change my mind when I discovered boys. Well, I was 32 when I got married ... is that changing your mind? And my kids are 7 years apart which tells you something about my ambivalence about having a second one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanie View Post
    I don't see why people fuss over those who don't want kids. What's the problem? Is it just because we're expected to have children? (I'm guessing that's it.)
    For some people, you making a different choice from them is threatening because it implies they could have made a different choice too.
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  17. #37
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    I wasn't the doll kid. When I was a teen and babysitting, I liked the preschool and up set and my best friend took the babies.

    I liked parenting MY babies but I don't feel warm and fuzzy with most other babies. They are a lot of work.

    As for the "mom gene", I'm not one of those women who claim their uterus flips when seeing a new baby so I must be lacking. I also need breaks from being "on". Motherhood is exhausting most of the time.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    I think, like with most things in life, mothering instincts happen on a continuum. There is no on/off switch in humans, IME. Plus, it's way more complicated than mother/not mother.

    But I'm 100% sure *that* is all about culture and environment and not about genetics at all. I do think genetics plays a lot into ones basic personality but things like how we define ourselves is a choice based on a combination of personality, experience and culture.
    ITA. There are certainly mothering instincts, but I don't accept that there is one gene that causes mothers to feed, care for and protect their young.

    That's just as preposterous as the "housekeeping" gene. Popular science put that one there some time ago to explain why men were no good at housekeeping. They were however good at yard work. They could see a weed that needed to be plucked, but couldn't see dust needed to be removed from the household because they lacked the "housekeeping" gene.

    I don't have much of a mothering nature at all. Have never had kids, nor been much around kids. I babysat exactly once as a teenager, and on that occasion concluded that the wailing baby had no interest in me but preferred his/his mother. End babysitting career.

    However, I was also the youngest child by seven years. So I had no little ones in my life as a child and even as a little kid, I didn't like little kids. My brother (seven years my senior) was my hero and I always sought out people older than me.

    So, maybe that's part of it. I haven't been around other people's kids growing up. My own nieces and nephews grew up elsewhere and while our nephew on Mr. Japanfan's side did grow up local, I was kind of excluded from their relationship as he was surrogate date to his single sister for some time.

    I do find I am quite motherly to my animals and that I am enjoying time spent with kids these days. So maybe I do have a mothering instinct to a certain extent, though I'd say for sure that I'm not at all the caregiver type.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    I do think there is a gene that causes people to respond to these kinds of stories by considering whether their personal experience matches the claims or not.
    Grump .

    Quote Originally Posted by Artistic Skaters View Post
    Someone somewhere is going to try to get massive amounts of grant money to prove that there is a "mommy" gene, but I'm not buying it until they include nurturing dogs & other assorted domestic or farmyard animals as well as nurturing dolls.
    Well, this study is about mice, not humans, and I don't think mice are too inclined to nurture barnyard animals .

    Quote Originally Posted by OliviaPug View Post
    Unfortunately, people think you're being a smarta$$ if you ask them why they wants kids ... it never occurs to them that they started the dialogue by asking me why I never wanted kids!
    I never ask people why they don't want kids, but I did have people ask me why I wanted kids--and why on earth did I do something so old-fashioned as to get married?

    It is kind of disconcerting . Uh,..........
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Well, this study is about mice, not humans, and I don't think mice are too inclined to nurture barnyard animals
    Or play with dolls.
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