Is it wrong to want to be a mom? It seems like I’ve read lots of blog posts and magazine articles lately about young women fighting against the pressure to have kids. They just want society (especially their own mothers) to get off their backs and let them be who they want to be: sans children. But I know who I want to be too. I want to be a mom.
Let me give you some backstory. I have been very lucky in love. I’ve been married for five years to an amazing guy, and we have an excellent relationship. He wants to be a dad and is great with kids. We have no known health problems which might affect our fertility. So why are we child-less? Money.
So we’ve been working. We both hate our jobs. Not like a resigned Office Space kind of hate, but a weeping-and-rage hate. Still, we’re afraid to change. Neither of us has the kind of degree or work history that impresses HR managers; and we have heaps of student loans to pay off. The money we make now is enough. There is no extra, but there is enough. Enough to eat, and buy clothes, and pay bills, and if we’re careful—to put a little into savings. A full third of our current combined income goes right back out the door to the student loan lenders.
For the last five years I’ve dutifully taken my birth control pills. Back when I had to pay for them, I would remind myself that while $35 a month seemed like a lot, it was still quite a bit cheaper than clothing, feeding, and diapering a kid. (By the way, we live in the US. But I bet you’ve guessed that by now…)
Maybe a year ago, I decided to reevaluate this existence. There must be a way to make enough money to survive and not hate how I spend most of my day, right? And if I’m a “good feminist” I should have clear career goals—be ambitious and driven. The thing is, I don’t. Even after a year of thinking and over-thinking, there is nothing I’d rather do than staying home with a baby. I dream of the day when I will open diapers and clean up spilled juice for a wee one who doesn’t yet recognize that I’m a person, instead of opening mail and cleaning up spilled coffee for people who never will.
After hearing for the umpteenth time from parents I trust, “You will never have ‘enough’ money to have kids,” I took a closer look at our budget. I worked my already meticulous spreadsheet forward to July of 2015. To my amazement, I found that if everything continues as it has been without a major hitch, and if I can reduce or defer my loan payments, we can actually afford to have a kid. What’s more, I can afford to stay home for the first two years or so! We still can’t buy a car. We won’t be able to eat out, travel, or buy nice clothing. But it is possible.
This brings me back to the beginning: Is it wrong to want to be a mom? Is it wrong to ask my husband to go to work at a job he hates while I sit around breastfeeding? Is it wrong to bring a helpless person into a world where we can only eek by? Is it wrong even to want this instead of an impressive career?
If it is, I am so very wrong.