I love using the bathroom in private. There, I said it. I took peeing in private for granted until I began pet-sitting during my 20s. Cats and dogs missing their owners would follow me into the bathroom. Then there was nephew #1 who, at age three, followed me into the bathroom telling me he wanted to watch me pee. My resounding “No!” sent him fleeing to the hall closet, upset. I felt so bad. I gently explained to him that auntie wants her privacy when she pees. He ignored me for a good hour after that but eventually forgave me. Now, that nephew is 14 and mortified when I tease him about this story.
My late mother was a doting, stay-at-home mom. Her choice. Dad was able to earn a good income to support the family, if he had the freedom to do so. Mom wanted her children to have a present father, meaning he could work as much as he wanted as long as he was there for every music recital and important life event. And that’s how it was. My parents were there for everything I did. From a kid’s perspective, it was lovely. From my adult perspective, it sounds exhausting. But that’s because I don’t desire parenthood.
One of my favorite business bloggers just had her first child. I’ve been following her Instagram stories out of curiosity to see how she manages new mom life. Top brands send her baby gifts. Famous friends show up with opulent flower bouquets and champagne. She has a night nurse so she can get sleep. Afternoon strolls for coffee with her husband and baby in the fancy baby carriage. She mentions the pregnancy police and the mom-shaming she’s already received. Not having time to shower or read a book before noon. The hormones and physical side-effects of giving birth. Even with a glam squad and hired help, a new baby is all-consuming.
Every day I have a choice as to what I let consume me. I can choose to let my work consume me. My creativity. Negative thinking. The twisted state of the world. My own joy. I can’t control what happens around me but I do get to choose how I feel and let that be my guide. Through challenging life situations when things appear bleak, I’m not guided towards parenthood. When life is high-flying and easy-breezy, I’m not guided towards parenthood. In both scenarios, I am guided to personal space.
For years, I thought I was an extrovert who needed to be around a lot of people. I’m chatty and loud and love to entertain. Around the age of 30, I began to understand that I don’t gain energy from people. I recharge by being alone in my personal space. Someone else can be in the house but please don’t talk to me. And so, my domestic bliss involves living and traveling solo. It’s fabulous. It took time and life experiences to learn this about myself. Motherhood, to me, is smotherhood. Yes, I said smotherhood. Spell-check be damned. The thought is suffocating. My throat closes as I write this. I’m not saying that motherhood is bad. It’s just not right for me.