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The Mom Gene--do you have it?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by IceAlisa, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

    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! :lol: 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!

  2. Lanie

    Lanie Well-Known Member

    I really loved babies until I had one :shuffle: 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.)
  3. RockTheTassel

    RockTheTassel Well-Known Member

    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). :rolleyes:
  4. susan6

    susan6 Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

    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.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  6. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    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? :p And my kids are 7 years apart which tells you something about my ambivalence about having a second one.

    For some people, you making a different choice from them is threatening because it implies they could have made a different choice too.
  7. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Prancer

    Prancer Slave to none, master to all Staff Member

    Grump :p.

    Well, this study is about mice, not humans, and I don't think mice are too inclined to nurture barnyard animals :lol:.

    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 :lol:. Uh,..........
  10. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    Or play with dolls. :shuffle:
  11. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    I don't really have any interest in having kids. Teaching them will probably suit me just fine. I suppose it depends upon whether or not I find myself in a serious relationship and what he thinks. If I do have kids, the idea of pregnancy in general isn't very appealing and I would prefer to adopt. That I feel pretty certain about.

    My first gynecologist was an asshole. I told him I didn't really see myself ever wanting kids, and he looked at me soooo patronizingly and said, "you're female. All females want babies."

    I was so pissed. It still makes me seethe when I think about it. I told the nurses they needed have a talk with him and that I was never going back there, and I didn't.
  12. TygerTyger

    TygerTyger Well-Known Member

    I had my first child last year at 35. Six months later we acquired a second child via a family adoption (SIL is a Meth Addict.) At the time, I was convinced that taking the baby was the right thing to do, and I have grown quite fond of the boy. But, frankly, it's Hell. We are a thousand miles from friends and family, and are having financial troubles. I would LOVE to get out of the house once in a while. But I did not finish college, and could never make enough money to keep the boys in day care.
    Yesterday, my husband got a vasectomy :) Not that it was really necessary - as every time he opens his mouth I want to murder him. :rofl:
    LilJen and (deleted member) like this.
  13. AnnieBgood

    AnnieBgood Active Member

    When the teacher, probably Kindergarten, asked me what I wanted to be, I replied, "A Mommy and Nurse." I think it was because I was a Mama's girl and I admired my Grandma who used to be a Nurse. Plus, I've always wanted to take care of people emotionally.
    I'm really looking forward to having children. I'm 30 and it feels like I've waited forever.
    I just got married. So, maybe I can get on that, soon. ;)

    Oh, and my sister was never maternal, until she had my niece. She's great with her and balances things pretty well. Her fiance takes up the other half of the load. They're so crazy about the first one that they went for a second, two years later.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  14. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

    Aww I'm sure you are doing fine. How old is your kid? I remember feeling like you. I found the first 18 months a mostly non magical experience. It gets better.
  15. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

    I think I have the mom gene. I always wanted to be a mom. I "mothered" my dolls, took care of my younger brothers, & babysat. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me either, & even though I'm in my 60's, it still hurts at times. And people say stupid, sometimes hurtful things.

    But people say stupid things when you buy a car. Even my family, knowing how I feel, have at times blurted out insensitive things. But you have to shrug it off unless you know it was said specifically to hurt. In that case, you avoid being around toxic people like that.

    But feeling like you do, why did you open this thread? Do you poke yourself with a sharp stick because it feels so good when you stop? I have a hard time understanding how you find all the horrid people in life. Do you know anyone who treats you well? You are probably a nice person but you come off as very bitter & not only is that not attractive, it's not a trait that will make you happy.
    genevieve, Norlite, Kasey and 3 others like this.
  16. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Wow. You just feel like attacking someone this morning or what? I'm not the only one who expressed some feelings about people's attitudes about the issue of having or not having children in this thread. Including you. In this very post I have quoted.

    And I didn't say that I considered that woman's comment intentionally hurtful. What I actually considered it was another case of women in our culture automatically making certain assumptions about those who do not have kids. The only reason I found it frustrating is that a lot of women make those assumptions--that if you don't have kids you are missing something besides a child, that you lack certain skill sets and even emotions. I have had comments thrown at me about it that I find hilarious actually. My favorite was when an old friend told me in an online chat conversation that I'm lucky that I don't have to do laundry since we don't have a child. I said, of course, because everyone knows childless people go to a special store that sells self-cleaning clothes and doesn't admit parents. She realized she had said something kind of dumb.

    I truly do think that people need to be more careful about making assumptions about why someone doesn't have kids. I have a relative who had six miscarriages before she stopped trying. The last one at 18 weeks which is a very emotionally painful experience. Some assumptions and comments that have been thrown at her by people who have no idea what she went through have hurt her very much. Just people moaning about how hard it is to have kids punched her in the gut for awhile after the last one.

    And I just have to say that you must be the one with nasty friends and family. I have never heard anyone I know make any sort of negative comment about someone's car purchase.
  17. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    I think Motherhood as we think of it today is a brand spanking new post WWII concept. We idolize days of yore as being one where the family, especially the mother, was the central institute of society. This is true, but our concept of family has changed drastically. It was considered duty and stability and a way to ensure a legacy or more help with the chores and extra workers. Feelings of love and companionship were there, but definitely secondary.

    We have this idea that stay at home mom=lots of time nurturing children, helping with homework, drying eyes, etc. But that's not true. On average, two working parents of today spend double the time with their children than the stay at home mom of the 1950s. Well to do wives and mothers had nannies and governesses who did the majority of rearing; children of non well-to-do wives and mothers went to work.

    For whatever reason, we looooove to romanticize the past to show how society today is going to hell in a handbasket instead of acknowledging that we live in a brave new world. Of course lots of women find they don't like motherhood; it's new. We've had maybe at most three generations of Motherhood. Women of yesteryear that had children did not grow up with the idea that they had to devote their lives to raising children. Begetting them yes--that was a woman's main function in most societies--but raising them, no.

    So it doesn't surprise me at all that women express in secret or only to their closest friends dissatisfaction with Motherhood. Of all my friends that have children, which is now most of them, I think only one is happier with children than without. Most are like Prancer, and it's more of a lateral movement. A few would much rather go back to where they were before, and one is miserable to the point that I sometimes worry she might go crazy and drown her kids and herself in the bathtub. Her mother--who, btw, is a horrible bitch and was beyond a lousy mother--makes her feel guilty and small and stupid for putting her oldest child in day care three days a week, which the doctor recommended as she's language delayed. She has three kids under two--none twins--and her husband is a good man and a good father but rather depressed himself and lacking in common sense.

    It's like we as women pressure the next generation into being what we imagine we should have been, when that should have been never existed.

    And personally, I don't put much stock into what kids wanted to do when they were five as indications of what we want to do as adults. As a child, I wanted to be a: squirrel, a mermaid princess, a rock star, a nurse, a lawyer, and a classical pianist. By the time I was 18, none of those had any appeal (except the mermaid princess). There was no indication that I would be a teacher, much less like it, or somewhat enjoy public relations. I wouldn't have thought that ten years ago.
  18. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

    Very wise post, Matry. I think you pretty much said it. There's a new book out by a feminist blogger, Jessica Valenti, that discusses this issue. It looks like a good read. I've got it on reserve at the library and am looking forward to reading it.
  19. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

    I didn't post to be mean. I sincerely feel that you come off on your posts as a bitter, unhappy person, & that is something that I hate to see. If that's not true, I'm happy to hear it.

    It's true that people make assumptions & say hurtful things. You can either dwell on all your slights, or you can ignore the idiots & go on.

    ETA: re stupid things when you buy a car: why did you buy that car, it's impractical, you paid too much, etc. People often open mouth, insert foot.
    PRlady and (deleted member) like this.
  20. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

    From everything I can see you are a great mom and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And he's seriously adorable too :)
  21. CantALoop

    CantALoop Well-Known Member

    I just had a great conversation about this with a female friend, and she said something along the lines of this:

    "Mom gene? Do they mean the instinct to nurture or to spawn? I'd gladly be a surrogate if you or another gay friend ever wanted babies, but I'd rather be an aunty than a mommy.

    If a mouse had my copies of the mom gene she'd probably eat her own babies after they annoyed her enough."
    Kasey and (deleted member) like this.
  22. Prancer

    Prancer Slave to none, master to all Staff Member

    That, and it wasn't like people had much choice about having or not having kids. My mom used to tell me all the time that she was glad she wasn't me for whom everything was a choice, because that placed demands on me that she never had to experience.

    Oh, hon, everyone knows how to raise your children better than you do and they all want to tell you how you are screwing it up.

    This will never end. In fact, I get more criticism now that my kids are 18 and 16 than I ever did before. If I think people have a point, I consider it. Otherwise, I just roll my eyes.

    When my bestest friend ever was pregnant with her first, she asked me all kinds of questions about labor. I told her not to worry about labor, because labor ends. One of the things she needed to be aware of was that she was going to be really angry at her husband for about three years and she needed to keep that in perspective.

    She told me later that that was the best advice I gave her :lol:.
  23. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    A friend once swore that she didn't want any children and could not stand children. When she got married and had kids, she couldn't leave them out of her sight! Couldn't holiday without the kids!
  24. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    In other words, PDilemma, taf is encouraging you to ignore the mean and assumptive things she has said to you in this thread and move on. It's the only thing she said to you that I agree with.
    skatefan and (deleted member) like this.
  25. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

    No one knows your child like you do. Your child loves *you* and will adolize *you* until they turn 5 if not before. ;) Ignore the know it alls as much as you can.

    I was a sahm and then I went back to work part time when my kids hit school. I could not abide yakking about my kids and nothing but my kids. Luckily, I had friends who were the same. We talked about the damndest things, drank coffee or alcohol, ditched our kids at the first opportunity or dragged them along. And damn they survived. My kids were not my whole life, nor am I theirs. Nor should it be like that. Wings and roots and all that.

    And I love them to pieces, I tell them so, and support them in what they do.
  26. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    I think taf was spot on. Not be be mean but assumptions can be drawn from PDilemma's posting history.
  27. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I think it means you have the fashion gene. :glamor:
  28. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    Speaking of, where's the latest fashion thread? I need to bitch about my shoe shopping! :drama:

    (((shout out to everyone who's had a tough time on anything related to topic)))
  29. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I've been looking for it myself--perhaps not hard enough.
  30. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member