A good net-friend commented on one of my baby lust posts:
I want to say this with love, knowing you’re clearly going to be writing about the topic of starting a family for a while now (a year, if you keep the soak time promise!). It’s difficult for me, as someone who does not plan to have children ever, to hear you equating starting a family with “growing up”. Certainly starting a family is part of how you will grow and change as a person but “growing up” implies that having children is somehow connected to the inevitable components of human development and maturity. As a lover of words, and a sensitive person, I just wanted you to know:-)
@Christine, Fair point, but not how it was intended.
I think growing up is defined differently for everyone, and I think you know me well enough to know that I’m terribly self-centered and write only from my own perspective. For me, “growing up” means suddenly seeing myself as an adult — and as a potential parent.
So I will write about starting to be okay with starting a family because for me, that’s evidence of my growing up. But I think — I hope — the idea of realizing that what your experience is IS what growing up means still resonates.
Starting a family is inevitably connected to MY development, but I understand and completely accept that that might not be true for other people.
I do sincerely appreciate the comment. Please keep making them. I love that this is an honest discussion (and I’m so glad you’re here!). Also, it makes me think: why is it so obvious that, for me, parenthood defines growing up? Why do I not feel grown up at the ripe old age of 30 (and having accomplished significantly both professionally and personally)? I suspect it’s just the next hurdle. For the last year, being a wife felt like “growing up.”
I’m going to be writing a lot about starting a family, this is true. I’m incapable of going through a life change without endless analysis and this is my venue. But the more I thought about her response, the more I wondered: what is growing up to you?
To me, obviously, it’s imagining myself as someone’s mother, and to a lesser extent, as someone’s boss. You know, being responsible to/ for another person. It took me years to be able to handle the burden of a dog’s needs (so needy, unlike cats, who could give a sh*t most of the time), then another couple to deal with being a wife, and now this: motherhood, which, for me, is the ultimate responsibility.
But I get not wanting kids. Totally. And I understand not wanting to read my endless waffling about when and how and whether. I was hoping, actually, that my endless angstiness was relate-able, if not because you’re angsting over kids, too, but because you angst over something.
So I’m curious: what does growing up mean to you? When do you look in the mirror and think, “I’m an adult”? And if you don’t feel like one yet (like I often don’t), what will clue you in that you’re getting there?