But I have a few years I guess. Or do I? Society has tagged us with a “best before date”. Yes, that horrid stamp that reads: “use before the age of 32 for best results or to avoid spoiling”. The last days of being effortlessly fertile.
Growing up, I was never really surrounded by younger kids. Being the youngest on both my mother and father’s side of the family, I also didn’t have to babysit annoying tyrant cousins, running around all over the place, begging me to play vroteier with them.
Now at the tender age of 31, I am recently married and very happy as a newlywed. However, for some reason I have recently begun to think about children. Like a lot. But to clarify: more in an I-don’t-think-I’ll-ever-be-ready-to-have-kids-way than an I-can’t-wait-to-have-kids-way.
I have a few years I guess. Or do I? That is the big question. Society has tagged us with a “best before date”. Yes, that horrid stamp that reads: “use before the age of 32 for best results or to avoid spoiling”. The last days of being effortlessly fertile. Oh gosh…
And yet, my mom had me at the age of 36; which I always pictured as a great age to start a family.
But as most parents would tell you, no matter what, you’re never ready. Not even when you are settled, have money and sufficient outsider help in the form of a nanny or a mother-in-law who lives nearby.
Many have explained it as a deer caught in headlights, only 24/7.
Surprisingly, I only have two close friends who have taken the leap and started popping out babies. Last night, the one I frequented Stellenbosch bars with (indulging in Robertson boksiewyn) as students, came for dinner and a sleepover, along with her 18-month-old daughter and her Dutch partner.
(It must be said at this point that we have a one bedroom flat).
All I can say is: the curiosity of a small child is unmatched and boy, does it take dedication. And I didn’t even have to do much.
I observed my quick-witted friend, whom I never, ever imagined to be the first in our circle of friends to be with child – mainly because of her high-maintenance tendencies – to be a fantastic mother. What I think makes her such a great mother is not just her newly developed multi-tasking skills and the pair of eyes she’s grown in the back of her head, but the fact that she hasn’t changed one bit.
Sure, she is a mom now, who can’t go out partying all night; yet her perspective, unique mannerisms, ability to joke around and enjoy a glass (or three) of wine with me on our stoep is still quintessentially, her.
She made the analogy that taking care of a child is much like brushing your teeth or eating every day: routine. She and her partner have created room in their life for the little one; and have not allowed her to take over and change them as people.
My friend has not become a droë drol (buzz kill) – something I often think one’s single friends fear when they first hear a friend announce: “I am pregnant!”
I’ve observed so many people who have allowed their child to rule the roost in their home. So people start going out less because “Shaun doesn’t like this or that”, they become over protective and start to lose contact with friends – ultimately isolating them from their former lives.
I don’t know when I’ll have kids, or if I’ll ever be ready. What I do know is that I don’t want to become a droë drol, nor do I want to completely change who I am for my future child.
I like my life and know that perhaps I’m worried about never being ready to have kids because I am too set in my ways. A bit selfish even if I have to say so myself.
Do I really have space for a baby when I can’t even seem to manage my schedule as is? I’m really hoping I’ll figure it out one day.