I’m Not KIDding

If you’re a regular reader (or if you know me), then you understand that no one has ever called me Mom.  My kitty cats are cuter than some human babies I’ve seen, but their meows have never sounded like mommy.

Given that I’m a middle-aged chick who’s still married to her high-school sweetheart, most people who meet me for the first time assume that we’ve reproduced ourselves in miniature. 

The typical conversation goes like this…

Stranger:  Are you married?

Me:  Yep, for almost 15 years.

Stranger: Do you have any children?

Me:  Nope.

Short pause

Stranger: Oh!  I’m so sorry (with a head tilt, confused look, and body language suggesting that I should fully explain why the joy of motherhood has escaped my grasp).

You would be surprised how many people say “I’m Sorry” when they find out that I’ve never birthed a kid, adopted one, or acquired one by any legal means possible.  “I’m Sorry” is an expression of sympathy for a loss or failure.  It implies that I tried to have kids and failed.  Or, that in some way, I have defied all laws of nature and moral responsibility to repopulate. 

To tell the truth, we did want to have a family.  But, believing that God has a plan that we shouldn’t mess with, we didn’t seek alternative courses.  Also, neither of us had a raging desire to be parents.  As it turned out, we couldn’t be happier with our lives as they are today…happily married…and childless.

As much as I’d love to quip back at the “I’m Sorry” with an equally impolite response, I usually either ignore the person’s look of dread and concern, or smile and give a polite answer.  After all, when someone becomes a parent, I think it’s hard for them to imagine life any other way.  “I’m Sorry” is probably the first thing that comes to their mind and they don’t realize that this expression is inappropriate.  I asked my husband if he ever gets the “I‘m Sorry.”  He said no, and that the most frequent response to him is a joking “Aren’t You Lucky.”  Huh? 

There are many wonderful people in my circle of friends who are awesome parents.  And for those who allow me to borrow their kids so that I’m not embarrassed going to the playground alone…I thank you!

Being a parent can certainly affect your BACKBONE.  The question is…does it change who you are as a person?  Not being a parent, I can’t answer this.  So, I’ll leave it up to you to ponder in the comments area above.

Does being a parent (or not) affect a person’s personality?  Does it change who you are as a person? 

Next week on Monday (December 6) you will have the chance to win a free book!  The Chameleon’s Backbone will be featuring a book review on the subject of Adoption and will be hosting a drawing for a free copy.  Remember to check back!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t think it changes you as a person, but it changes your priorities…in the aspect that you have to put your children’s welfare above your own desires at times. I’m sure had I not had children, my life would be quite different. I would probably have done things that with children I’d never dared to do. I think you’re understanding to get that people probably don’t mean anything by their response and have no idea how awful it sounds. It is nice of you not to throw it back at them. I think men and women deal with parenting on different levels which is probably why your husband doesn’t get the same responses…women also tend to be more emotional and talk on deeper levels. That’s great to borrow kids for the playgound…now, that my kids are grown, I need more excuses to see those great kids movies!

    Reply

    • I see what you’re saying about the difference between men and women and how they relate to parenting. It certainly makes sense that my husband’s buddies arent expressing sorrow about our saving on grocery bills and college funds. Women do certainly approach it from a different level.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Shelby Pi Fierce on December 1, 2010 at 3:49 am

    This is interesting. I am glad you wrote it. Regarding your story, I believe you would have been an amazing mother as you are an amazing person, wife, friend, daughter and aunt. You are one of my favorite people and definitely on the top of my kids lists too! I have found that I have grieved for a couple of my friends who do don’t have children but only the ones who have grieved for themselves. I think I grieve more for the child who didn’t get to have them. I think of all those children born to people who aren’t capable of the great sacrifice it takes to be a good parent and think of those friends that are more than capable but are childless by destiny or choice.

    Regarding if being a parent changes a person’s personality, I think it depends on the person. I think most people’s personalities are multi-faceted and when a child comes into play they have to put on the face that can deal best with that circumstance. Just as our personalities change with other circumstances like being at work or going dancing with friends, it has to also change when guiding children through their various stages. The difference is that the parent has to put on that face more than any other for a good period of time since children require so much from their parents for so long. So it might appear that they have changed but really it is just that part of their personality shining through longer than the other parts.

    I agree with Suzicate that your priorities definitely change. I used to be such a dare-devil, I would jump off cliffs, ride motorcycles in the middle of nowhere, and God only knows the rest. But now, as much as I would love to jump out of an airplane, I won’t do it. My kids need their mother, at least until they are grown and if I made a personal choice to go “joyriding” and something BAD happened, well that would be plain selfish of me. My time will come again, and I might jump but for now my dare-devil days shall stay on the shelf.

    Reply

    • You’re so sweet!

      “The difference is that the parent has to put on that face more than any other for a good period of time….” Yes, I totally see what you’re saying. That’s a super good point.

      Reply

  3. Being a parent did change me in some ways, but not the core sense of what I believe, my interests, etc. And how annoying that people say how sorry they are for you. You’re happy with your life and that’s what matters.

    Reply

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