Wednesday, July 30, 2008
on how i am a hypocrite.
I have a confession: I don't really hate babies. I don't have a very strong maternal instinct to be sure, and I get much more excited about seeing a puppy than a baby out in public, but I do have a soft spot for kids. My five-year-old half-sister Caroline is such a firecracker and I would do absolutely anything for her. She can be so sweet and hilarious, but she can also be a monster, which I kinda love. I feel a certain kinship to her that I don't have towards my other two sisters, for various reasons. Part of it is the fact that I've seen her grow from newborn to mini-adult from my own adult perspective. Regardless, I love (and fear) the idea of being a mom one day.
What I DO hate is our baby-obsessed culture. I've never had a child of my own, so I don't know what happens, but I strongly dislike the idea that once a woman has a child, her only purpose is to raise it (or, even worse, the notion that all women should be mothers and wives, and that's it.) Obviously I'm not in favor of neglecting one's child by hiring a full-time nanny and hightailing it out of the country, but some women seem to lose their sense of self once they have kids. I'm fully supportive of stay-at-home moms. But every mother needs time to herself, hobbies and interests of her own, and (ideally) a partner (male or female) who is just as willing to help in the domestic department.
I don't know if I'll ever have kids because of some biiiig ole issues I have with my own parents, but here's where I'm a hypocrite. If I do decide to have a child, I'll be a teensy bit disappointed if my firstborn isn't a girl. I realized it today while reading this post on bits and bobbins. Tricia is about to have a baby, a little girl, and reading her "speak" to her just melted my heart.
I can't stand it when guys are all adamant about having a little boy to play sports with. But here I am, wanting the exact same female version. It's not that I want to dress her up like a doll, or worse, "to match mommy!", but I'd love to "raise her right", so to speak. The idea of raising a girl who knows her worth, understands feminism, and understands that societal ideals aren't the be all and end all makes me giddy.
Obviously you can do this with boys, too. But I don't know much about raising them: we've only had girls in my family (even with pets!) I'd like to raise a boy to respect women, not worry about an equally ridiculous masculine ideal, and not freak out over teh gayz, but I have less of an emotional reaction thinking about it.
Does this make me a terrible person?
(by the way, while searching flickr for a generic "girl" picture, I found this woman's photostream who takes great pictures of her daughter, like the one above. More below!)