August 26, 2016 Leave a comment
Becoming puppy parents has brought a keener focus on the idea of being human parents.
Over recent weeks we’ve adapted and realised what it is to be a parent of sorts, to have responsibilities, to have a cute little dependant, to no longer be quite so free.
It’s hard not to apply this to thoughts about children. Yet still, we waver indecisively.
Are we capable? Are we strong enough? Both of us: physically, mentally, financially. Are we selfless enough? Being child-free until your mid-thirties means you’re comfortable having time, hobbies, relative freedom, being selfish.
I resent the amount of time it takes to do laundry. The monotonous drudgery of sifting clothes, washing, hanging stuff up to dry and putting stuff away: it takes so long it makes me angry. I suspect more advanced civilisations exist where they push material through some kind of tube and it is done in seconds, like a car wash.
Time dedicated to laundry now would pale in comparison to the amount of time and gargantuan imposition a small human would bring. That’s to say nothing of the additional laundry load. Would we want our lives changed so drastically forever?
Puppies have immediate rewards in cuteness and plain joy. As well as a lack of major additional laundry. (Old towels is about it). For all the hard work of training and cleaning up piss and shit and vomit, there is obvious pleasure to be had from quite early on. They also sleep for a good amount of time, letting you do other things. It is not constant.
Is this really the case with those alien baby things? No. Don’t think so.
[Read: Sorry Sperm]
Of course we might not be able to have children anyway. We’ve never tried. There could be all sorts of health complications. I might not be spunky enough after angrily frittering away my most potent stock over the course of my lonely twenties. She has a number of health complications meaning she takes regular medication. We are neither of us young young. There are no guarantees.
I also have concerns about her, for which I feel guilty but cannot escape. Is she physically and mentally strong enough for all that? She is easily drained on both counts, quickly fearful of any potential health issues. This is perhaps understandable given the early loss of both her parents. Would motherhood summon a total neurotic meltdown, a tsunami of postnatal depression? Do I deep down believe she is strong enough? A brutally hard and maybe impossible question to answer.
If we did it, would I feel greater financial pressure? Already I feel painfully inadequate about my puny earning power. I am impelled to constantly buy equipment in order to keep up and advance professionally. This doesn’t help. Even so, we get by ok month to month. We don’t really go without, except holidays. But if she’s off work and I’m stumbling along with my few hundred quid here and there way of earning, will that be enough?
Feeling even more inadequate and insecure about my earning will help nothing and nobody. Could I do anything else? Could I actually get a different job earning a more respectable wage? And if I did would I be totally miserable?
[Read: Pondering Parenthood]
If we don’t
It’s ok if we don’t, of course. That’s the liberated twenty-first century view. You can do what you want. You don’t have to make excuses to anyone and there are plenty of solid rational reasons not to. The biggest fear is probably what older versions of yourself will think. Will 40, 50 or 60 year-old versions of ourselves be wracked with painful regret about a life unlived, or unfair resentment of each other?
Can you coach yourself into being philosophical about it all? Spend time with nieces and nephews, try and volunteer doing something with young people without implicating yourself as a pervert.
Even then, will we have enough to keep ourselves occupied? Will there be a gaping hole that can’t be filled which ultimately separates us? There are far too many unanswerable questions in all this. You can’t ever know, one way or the other.
Scary clocks are ticking, not yet with major serious urgency, but they are ticking nonetheless.