Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Not Baby Crazy

 When I was 11 or 12 I bought a baby doll with my allowance. We were visiting my grandmother and for some reason that was the time to buy this particular doll. If you are of my generation you may remember this had a diaper that you took off and swirled in a bowl of warm water. The diaper melted away and you were left with a plastic packet telling you the gender of your baby---perhaps even a name, I can't precisely recall. Anyway, I had seen the commercials of the surprise gender reveal and the little girls having a joyful reaction. I was all for that. I realize now that I was pretty much only interested in the magic disappearing diaper.

When I got the doll back to my grandmother's house I borrowed a bowl and went into her bathroom. I filled the bowl with warm water and removed the baby from the packaging. I dutifully placed the paper diaper into the bowl of water. It didn't magically disappear, instead it kind of turned into wet paper pulp and from that pulp I was able to extract the certificate. It was a girl. I wonder if there were boys? This doll was marketed to little girls and I imagine the demand for girl dolls was pretty high. Anyway, I tried to play with the doll, but the interest wasn't really there. She found her way to a box in the closet at home and then eventually a new home. I just wasn't really that maternal I guess. I wasn't one of those kinds of kids.

I see those girls now that I am a mother. You know the type, usually a pre-teen girl. She spots a baby and her eyes glaze over, she coos from across the room and flutters over to a given baby, hoping that she might hold it for just a moment. I don't judge that, but I don't get it either.

Growing up I mothered my brothers. I couldn't help it. I was overbearing and ridiculously overprotective. In high school and college I had friends who needed mothering and often found myself, somewhat uncomfortably, in the position of mother. Oddly, or perhaps as a result, I never was that girl who swooned over the newly born. Babies were all good and well, but I never found myself eagerly anticipating the days when I would become a mother.

So it always confused me when people seemed to think I was just aching to become a mother, as though I held a secret calendar and quietly marked off the days until I could become a mother. I always figured that I would be a mother, but I didn't feel any rush. I was busy doing stuff and that mother version of me seemed to be living in a different world.

When I was ready for motherhood I did feel a gentle pull, but it wasn't urgent. I just kind of knew that it was time. I was very excited to be a mother, but I was never that baby crazy lady. Once I became pregnant I did begin to take note of other people's children, mostly from a scientific perspective. I was vaguely worried. Would I be a detached mother? Why wasn't I nuts about babies?

on the floor

Then I met my own kids and I realized that I was totally crazy about them specifically. I also really care about children that belong to my friends and children/babies in a general sense.I am  just not one of those baby crazy types. I enjoy other people's children. Sometimes I even feel the need to step in, but when I see a baby I don't feel like I need a piece of that sweetness. I celebrate the joys of others as they move into parenthood. I am thrilled to hear about the developments and milestones, but all from a warm distance. I am a mother, but I am not baby crazy.  Both types are fine and both make great mothers. What type are you?


Tammie said...

im definitely not baby crazy but i think this might come from the fact the for me, im done having babies. my kids are a little older and my most of my friends kids are older as well, so babies just arent a huge part of my life.

in general, i think kids get more interesting as they age and get personalities.

AKM said...

Maria, you wrote so much of this exactly how I would have written it. I never liked dolls except for my handmade Cabbage Patch Kid, and I also mothered my brother. I am always saying that "I like other people's children." I don't think I will have any of my own, but being an auntie, a stepmom, or a surrogate auntie would do me just fine, I believe.

Adrienne Boggs said...

You just described how I have always felt exactly! Good to know I'm not the only one.

Kirsteen Murray said...

This sounds just like me too! I don't remember those dolls, I don't think we had them here in the UK, but we did have plenty other baby dolls. I was the only one of my friends to pretend that mine was a boy doll. I think it was a sign of things to come! Actually, the name I gave my baby doll ended up being the name of my husband!

Anyway, growing up I was also never one of those girls who wanted to hold someone's baby or who was drawn to them. I always felt kind of awkward if one was thrust at me for a cuddle. Even now I'm not the sort of person who will go over to talk to a complete stranger just because they have a cute baby. In fact, I find it quite frustrating when you are half way round the food shop and someone comes over to talk to your baby, upsetting them and leaving you facing having to do the rest of the shopping with crying baby!

Like you say though, it doesn't make me non maternal - I've got four boys and another (although we don't plan to find out the gender) on the way!

Ok, so that was a long answer to your question!

Anne Marie said...

I'm like you in pretty much every way you wrote about. :o)

Mom said...

I wasn't much for playing with baby dolls. However, as you know, I think every crying baby needs me!

Michelle said...

While I was growing up, it seemed like there were always babies around--siblings and cousins to be specific. From the time I was just a little girl I knew I wanted to be a mother. I can remember fantasizing about having a little baby of my very own when I was in the second grade. My sister Grace and I, of five sisters, were the ones who loved dolls and playing house. I wanted to do some other things, certainly, but I couldn't envision life without becoming a mother. Nothing melts me like a new little baby! However, neither my daughter nor my granddaughter were doll girls and motherhood as a concept was not high on my daughter's list, though when she did take that option she became a wonderful mother. Granddaughter, still a teen, insists she doesn't like babies or little children, and never wants any! But, she's sort of a kid magnet and is good with them. The important part is being a loving, involved mother when you actually have children.

Victoria said...

Not baby crazy. Raised my sibs so thought I might forgo the baby thing...glad Sean convinced me otherwise xo

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