Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not ScoopWhoop.
If there was one thing that I did with all my heart, it was babysitting. I was that person at parties whom people left their kids with, while they went for a quick chat or to grab lunch, I plead with neighbours to watch over their kids, and eagerly waited for cousins to birth new ones.
I have wanted five of mine, at one point.
You get the gist.
Then reality began to dawn one little thing at a time. Someone I know got pregnant, making me come up front with what actually happened when a baby was due.
It made me look at motherhood in a whole different light. What all went into the making of those cute feet and chubby cheeks was a massive realisation. Pregnancy can be a brutal experience for many, not the fruit of it. It made me distance myself from the experience, because sometimes, for reasons you’d never have known otherwise, your body develops ailments that hadn’t been there before. People do have absolutely normal pregnancies, but being privy to the otherwise made me step away from motherhood, for the very first time.
I cannot imagine the patience that parents practice while dealing with a child’s tantrum. Kids can go to any length to get things done their way- they will lie in the middle of the mall floor, wailing, they’ll call you ugly names that god alone knows where they pick up from, and you will have to deal with the situation right there.
When you’ve given them ‘no’ as an answer for access to things around the house, you will be surprised at the ways they devise to get them. I had a three-year-old cousin live with me for an extended period of time, he broke my glasses, a very beautiful pen that was kept well out of his reach, and the remote of the TV was always missing batteries. I don’t know how they tell me that ‘It will be okay when you have yours.’ I don’t see how.
Just about last month, we had my friend’s little cousin stay with us for a day. It was the single most tiring day of our lives. There’s so much more than just food and shelter we need to be thankful to our parents for.
Our arrival would have been one of those big turning points in their lives, no matter how well-planned. When my flatmate’s cousin stayed with us, it changed the way we lived that day. We had to hide things, be careful about how we talk, make sure the child is not out of sight for too long, and there was the constant process of cooking so that she’s never hungry – that’s how a parent spends their day. It was the single most exhausting one for me.
It’s not easy to keep small people entertained. They change interests like the rich kids of social media change clothes. Or they might just get stuck with the most mundane things and keep doing it over and over again. You never know where you get stuck.
Let’s accept it, small are people not equipped enough to make a decent catch with an inflated, light, plastic ball, you’re left standing while they over gleefully chase the ball they’ve missed. And once a child’s bored, there’s no saying what might pique their interest, like the socket on the plug-point. There’s a reason it’s called a 24/7 job and I don’t think I could be on my toes enough to live up to it.
I have often heard my parents very casually put off trips and many adult, fun things they could do, trying to fit it all around my life for more than two decades. Knowing this made me realise that even though I might like kids, it’s the responsibility and emotions I won’t be able to manage.
I have repaid my parents with staying out late on birthdays because ‘things did not go as planned’. And I don’t think I can bear the thought of not being on my child’s priority list after all the things I might just have to put on hold so that their life is a smooth sail. Knowing how I have been as a kid, I can only imagine what all my offspring might unleash on me – not ready for that, don’t know if I’ll ever be.
The decision took years to reach to. We take the glorified motherhood lightly because it’s made to look so easy. What we see are merely moments of the long, gruelling years that go into making an individual capable of taking on the world.
And I am scared I would royally mess that up.