Pressure from Unexpected Places

It’s supposed to be one of the most fulfilling and wonderful things you can do with your life, but if I’m honest, I’m sooo not ready for kids. And nor is my husband – I kid you not, I tried to have a talk to him about it and he literally hid!

My parents don’t seem to mind not having any grandchildren yet. They’d quite enjoy being grandparents, I think, but they’re happy for both they’re children to wait until they’re ready. My mum in law seems fine with it too; she’s already got three grandchildren from my hubby’s brother so there’s no worries there. The rest of the family have made occasional comments, but several of my older cousins are in similar positions (married or in stable relationships, but with no children yet) and so there’s no real pressure from the rest of my family either.

So, why do I feel like I need to justify not having children at the ripe old age of 28?

Peer pressure! It’s a very strange thing – I always thought that this was something that faded with your teenage years and by the time you’re nearly 30, it would be a distant memory. But apparently not, it seems that the pressures merely change from stuff being ‘gently encouraged’ to try smoking and drinking and rebellious teenage activities to being pressured to start a family.

It’s my friends of a similar age who bring it up in conversation, who are constantly asking us when we’re going to unleash a new little life onto the world. I know that they don’t mean to put pressure on – a few of my friends are expecting, or have just had babies – so naturally they are comparing notes, and I, as one of the childless ones in the group, am left to stand on the sidelines and go ‘awwww, isn’t that cute’ and similar sentiment with little to add to the conversation. But this leaves you feeling a bit left out; like they’ve got their own little club now.

And this is where the inadvertent pressure comes from: of course those with young families are going to share experiences, of course they want to show their little ones off to the world, and of course they want to know when their frends are going to have the same experiences to share – when they are going to join the baby club?

So, I’m going to deal with this the same way I dealt with peer pressure at school… which I call the ‘la la la, I’m not listening’ way of dealing with it! And I plan to stick to that until my husband and I are both prepared (as well as you ever can prepare!) to be parents.

By the way – Tim Minchin did a bit on a similar subject. He puts it better than I do – in a slightly random way!

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