Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

What Are You, A Monster?

I shared some kind of sensitive info about myself in my last post and was a bit surprised when no one commented on it.  But then, as I’ve recently mentioned to a friend, I have no freaking clue what people will or won’t comment on or even which posts will be popular when I write them.  Sometimes I’ll write something in a hurry sure that very few people will find it interesting and I’ll get a huge response.  Other days I’ll spend lots of time on a topic that I’m sure will gets tons of hits and comments and it’s a dud.

I’m still learning.

Anyway, yesterday I mentioned that I’m not particularly interested in having kids.  That’s a pretty big deal to most of the people I know.  ‘Cause it’s kind of assumed that ALL women are just ticking time bombs/baby making machines and that at some point in our thirties we’re all going to become completely obsessed with having a kid.  Either that, or we’ll hit a point where we realize that we’ve waited too long, and then fall into a deep depression.

I refuse to participate in either of those rituals.  It’s not that I don’t understand where it all comes from, I do.  There are strong biological and societal forces behind them. And it’s not that I don’t love kids, either.  Not only do I love them, I’m really good with them.  Auntie SINgleGIRL is usually the one grown up in the room who can handle the out of control rugrats.

But as I entered my mid 30s I looked around and saw a lot of really miserable women, of both the single and married persuasion, who were completely obsessed with baby making.  The married ones were torturing themselves with treatments and the single ones were desperately seeking the future father of their children and then commencing to breed just moments after they walked down the aisle.  I’m not questioning the decisions they made, for them. I’m just saying that those decisions didn’t seem like ones I wanted to make for me.

Over the past few years, as I’ve told people that I might not to have kids, that it wasn’t my priority, I’ve gotten a lot of different responses.  Most of them bad or rude.  I’ve had several people tell me that I’d change my mind.  That that was just what I thought, now (as if it were a whim that I’d put little thought into).  That as I got closer to 40 I would realize that I’d made a horrible mistake.  I even had a family member lecture me (over dinner) about my horrible mistake and suggest that I rush out and fix it as soon as possible.  I had a woman (a friend of a friend) tell me that since I wasn’t, yet, a mother I couldn’t possibly know what I was missing and that if I didn’t smarten up I would miss out on my one true purpose in life.  And I had one guy, on a date (2nd or 3rd date, can’t remember which) say, “what are you, a monster?”.

I see a lot of guys online who have their own case of baby fever.  Some will say that they are looking for someone to start a family with.  Others are more subtle.  But, as I mentioned yesterday, I try to stay away from them.  I wouldn’t want to start a family with someone who I knew for less than a couple of years and by then I’d be into my forties and well… Let’s just say that I’m OK with being the cool aunt for the rest of my life.


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36 to “What Are You, A Monster?”


  1. Teifion says:

    Personally I’d like to have children one day though I could live without quite easily. I’m a Christian, I program for a hobby and I like Bacon. I don’t expect my friends to eat bacon, I don’t expect them to program for a hobby and I won’t force my faith on people either. Neither would I expect somebody else to share the same viewpoint in such a big issue as children.

    Thus I’m somewhat confused as to why anybody would try to force such a view as that on you, how does it affect them one way or the other if you have children (exception being that you are their partner but there’s no need for name calling).

    I do agree that having never had children you are unable to know what you are missing but that’s life, you don’t know what you are missing (good or bad) until you try it.

  2. FitDarcie says:

    I personally can’t wait to make babies, but I have tons of friends who don’t want them, who are GREAT wit kids. I think it’s cool either way, and screw people who think that all women should want them.

  3. CHFBrian says:

    I do want to have kids some day, and I’ve never had soemone not want to date me because of it. I completely understand the mindset of not wanting kids, and especially of not wanting to date anyone who wants kids. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I was rejected on those grounds, though. I also wonder what would happen if I met someone who I’d be willing to give up having children for. My guts tells me that’s just a bad idea and a recipe for serious issues down the line, but I suppose you never know. There was one girl who was almost worth becoming a vegan for.

    Almost.

  4. PiscesInPurple says:

    There’s nothing at all wrong with being the cool aunt. Lord knows we need as many of those as we can get.

    I did notice that you mentioned that in your last post, but I just didn’t find it particularly remarkable. Obviously lots of women want to have kids, tie their identity completely up with the fact (or lack thereof) of their motherhood, but I don’t find *that* particularly normal. It’s just one of the many ways one can choose to approach life. As far as I can determine, many of those women are just as unfulfilled as the single, childless ladies. AND they just get less sleep and peace and quiet.

    I lived on the UES for a while, and I saw a lot of what you’re describing. I think it might be a NYC-hipster-yuppie-rat-race thing. I have a kid, but I still want to puke every time I see one of those baby carriages that looks like it could be part of a mission to Mars. I also think – and this sounds rough, but it’s what I think – that if one can’t get pregnant by oneself, one has no business wasting tens of thousands of dollars in an attempt to have a child. A child is not, and should not be, a status symbol.

    Long story short – Don’t listen to what anyone says. This is a profoundly personal issue and if at your age you don’t feel the urge for kids, it’s entirely possible that you never will.

  5. Apink says:

    It’s your life I say. You are old enough to know what you want and don’t want. It does bother me that women are “supposed” to want/like children. I am on the same path with you — I am 26 yrs old and who knows I can change my mind later on but for now, no thanks.

  6. PiscesInPurple says:

    And for the record (because I just reread my comment and wow do I sound like a scroogy wench) motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me. Ever.

  7. lorilori17 says:

    If you’re a monster, so am I! LOL I have never had any urge to have children. I love the kids in my life dearly, and being around them is a ton of fun. However, that has never changed my feelings about having kids of my own. The “you’ll change your mind” line is always delivered in such a condescending fashion, and it drives me super-crazy. I don’t feel at all bad about not wanting children – my life is very full and happy already. This has always been a touchy issue for me, since even complete strangers think they have a right to say something about this aspect of my life. It’s less so now, but remains a giant peeve.

    Cool Aunts Unite!

  8. Tina T says:

    I personally applaud you. I have kids and it’s wonderful for me, but I have friends that I swear seemed to have kids because it was what they “should” want rather than what they “really” wanted. I think that as we see more women that are choosing not to have kids people won’t be so hard on these women. Of course I remember telling that to friends 10 years ago and it doesn’t look like it’s changed much.

  9. ZJapan says:

    When I told people that I didn’t want a child they always said no, no you want children. When I said really no, they basically looked at me like an alien. And I am a man! I can only imagine how awful it must be for your sometimes. I think a lot of people with children would rather not have children. So enjoy being single and the next time someone gives you shit just smile and say, “Fuck you.” Sometimes there just isn’t any response kinder than that.

  10. Shannia says:

    I was the 30 something female obsessed with baby making and couldn’t believe I had decided to get an education and a career before making babies. Then cancer happened and my whole life changed. I remember crying like a baby when my God son was born in December 2006 because I had just been diagnosed and was thinking I could never live without having children. Well we’re 2 years later and I am childless and very happy with my life. My priorities changed, I don’t believe we need to have children, it’s a choice we make and shouldn’t be rushed into because of age. There is so many wonderful things to experience that a lifetime is not enough. To me, having children is simply one of those things. I might adopt, I am considering it.. then again I love the liberty I have right now.
    I didn’t pick up on your comment because not wanting to have kids is legitimate to me and life can be full and great with or without them.

  11. starangel82 says:

    I want to have kids someday. I’ve always known I’m going to be a mom someday. I’m great with kids and I love them. Yes, sometimes I get around 6 months and under babies and my own clock starts ringing, but usually the baby will cry or give me 30 minutes and I’m over it. But I know I can’t handle a kid right now. Heck, I don’t even know if I could handle a husband right now! But certainly can’t handle a kid. I came to terms a long time ago that I’ll probably be in my 30s when I have kids. If I can’t have kids, I’ll adopt. And if I can’t adopt, then I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

    No one is a monster for knowing they don’t want kids. Responsible if you ask me… better to know you don’t want kids that to have one and hate it, you know? And there is nothing wrong with being the cool aunt. Spoil ‘em and then give ‘em back. :)

  12. recklessstudio says:

    I have a nephew who is turning 1 tomorrow. I am going to DC to celebrate his birthday with him. When my sister had him, that was the definite confirmation that I wanted kids. Don’t know how many, but at the very least 1. It’s not negotiable.

    Having said that, I think it’s totally fine that you do not want to have kids. Others should be fine with this too. Are you mean for filtering out those who wants kids? Absolutely not. Kids and marriage are higher levels of deal-breakers. If you feel a certain way about it, there isn’t much that will sway your position. It’s usually non-negotiable and that’s ok.

    I personally think that you’d be a great aunt.

    It’s a more sensitive topic than people truly talk about and to hear someone say they aren’t really interested in pursuing that part of life can take people aback and cause them to judge. So to hear that people haven’t received your position well isn’t surprising.

    But in the end, you’re you and I speak for many here when I say, “we like that.”

  13. Teifion says:

    But in the end, you’re you and I speak for many here when I say, “we like that.”
    Whoa there recklessstudio, you don’t speak for all of us when you say that. For a start there was the commenter in the previous post that does not, secondly there’s me. It’s all about the legs in the avatar for me (okay that was a joke).

    What I actually wanted to add to my comment was that if I really wanted children and found myself going out with somebody that really didn’t then I’d suggest we split up as our long term wishes are mutually exclusive. Note that doesn’t mean we need to stop being friends or anything, we just probably shouldn’t be going out unless one of us will change their wishes over it.

  14. bobbyjensen says:

    “Other days I’ll spend lots of time on a topic that I’m sure will gets tons of hits and comments and it’s a dud. ” This is the bloggers dilemma, or many of them anyway. I see that there were commenter’s on your previous post, including me. Maybe I have the wrong one. I think you should do as you believe and feel. On relationships, my basis framework is: Know what you want, know what they want and communicate honestly.

  15. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Teifion,
    You make 2 excellent points here (yes, sometimes you make excellent points – even when computers are not involved): 1) People should not force their views and beliefs onto others. 2) It’s really important that couples talk about this stuff relatively early on and that child wanters date child wanters, etc. I’ve seen people I care about hurt deeply because of this.
    -FitDarcie
    Yes. Screw ‘em would seem to be the appropriate response, if not always the socially acceptable one.
    -CHFBrian
    As I said to Teifion, I think it’s a horrible idea for someone to give up their wish for kids because their partner doesn’t want them, however life is complicated. I just think it’s a smart thing for people to talk about while they’re feeling each other out as prospective partners.

  16. Singlegal says:

    I think you are incredibly far from a monster. I, too, have ruled out kids – partly due to age, partly due to circumstance. I haven’t rule out the possibility of adoption somewhere down the road, but I already feel like that opportunity, in some respects, has past. I think the worse scenerio would be to force something you weren’t feeling. Thanks for being so honest!

  17. SINgleGIRL says:

    -PiscesinPurple,
    I feel the same way about those strollers. Some of them cost more than, well, let’s not go there. Some of what I didn’t say in my post is that I know (because of some chronic health issues I’ve had since childhood) that it would be absolutely impossible for me to conceive naturally. It would be IVF +. I actually had a long talk with my Dr a few years ago when I was trying to get my mind straight about this all and she was very positive about it all. It’s possible. I absolutely CAN do it. It’s just going to take a lot of work and planning. And well, I kind of feel similarly to you on that one. I have a couple of friends who’ve done the fertility dr thing and it was absolutely right for them and they have great kids. But knowing, in advance, what it would take for me to have a baby made it clear to me that it was just not a part of my path. My body was made for a lot of things, breeding isn’t one of them.
    -Apink
    I guess I’m part of a bigger minority than I realized. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about what you do/don’t want.
    -lorilori17
    It’s the tone that kills me more than anything else. As if they are wise and all knowing and I’m just a childless moron. Ugh.
    -Tina T
    First, welcome to the blog. And thank you. I can think of a few women I know who also seem to have kids because they were supposed to have them, and I’m pretty sure if they could blink them away, they would (I know, it sounds horrible, but being a good parent is hard work and not everyone: man or women – is cut out for it).
    -ZJapan,
    LOL – while I’d love to start saying fuck you to everyone who deserves it, I probably won’t. I hadn’t realized guys got the same shit. Damn, we really do have a messed up world.

  18. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Shannia
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with me/us. You brought out the true complexity of this issue. Each of us make our decisions based on serious, personal and usually DAMN HARD life experiences. Whatever those decisions, they need to be treated with respect.
    -Starangel82
    It really is all about each of us making our own choices, living with them, being happy with them and letting others be.
    -recklessstudio,
    Well that’s it. It’s a dealbreaker in that I don’t want a guy who’s rushing to be a daddy. But not a dealbreaker if I met a guy who wanted to explore adoption or foster kids sometime in the future. SO it’s complicated (as just about everything in relationships is). But just like with you, it’s not negotiable.
    -bobbyjensen
    Yes, it’s just another (hard) thing for people to communicate about.
    -Singlegal,
    Thank you darling, for chiming in. It’s nice to know, when I stick my neck out that it’s worth it. And it’ll always be worth it if it opens up a place for people to talk about stuff they usually keep to themselves.

  19. Anonymous says:

    A very interesting and honest post (as they all are)… and your Wanted post was especially enlightening as it really struck a familiar chord (and no, it’s not asking for too much!) As other posters have pointed out/highlighted, everybody’s viewpoints are different, have different expectations from a relationship and outlook for wanting children. I have friends and family that can’t disassociate LTR and marriage, for them it’s one and the same thing and having children is a natural progression of that.

    Similarly to ZJapan, I also get very strange reactions from people when I mention that I’m not assuming that I’ll get married and that I’m even less sure (erm, indifferent) about wanting kids, so yes, it happens to guys a lot.

    I suppose for many people, this is a pre-conception/expectation (perhaps due to their socialcultural upbringing) of what life entails. I remember I had a load of friends & family (male and female) all getting married before they hit 30 as they saw this as a milestone, and for many of them, partly because the concept of not being married by 30 was completely alien to them… as probably in their eyes, the next step was to have children. I now have a few female friends who are reaching 40 and hear the clock ticking as they have a great need to have their own kids.

    BTW, I take it that you didn’t see the guy who called you a monster again? :o) – What a completely stupid thing to say (even if it wasn’t a date). Aside from being completely gob-smacked, how do you react to something like that?

    On a lighter note, I’m not sure whether you’ve seen or even remember it, but there’s a superb monologue by Marisa Tomei in the film My Cousin Vinny which always makes me smile whenever I see it. I guess it’s a great charicature of how many women [probably] feel!

  20. SeanD says:

    Oops, not sure what went wrong there – I guess I must have forgotten to put my name in… that last post (Anonymous at 8:04pm) was from me.

  21. Melanie Notkin says:

    Like you said on Twitter – so weird that my nytimes.com post was right in line with you blog post! http://www.savvyauntie.com/l/NYT0226

    Savvy Aunties rock :)

  22. SINgleGIRL says:

    -SeanD (aka Anonymous)
    Thank you. And no I never did see the “monster” man again. There is this issue of life cycles – the time to get married and then the time to have kids. And those of us who either question the necessity of those choices or the timing are given a hard time, when really, we’re the ones who are just thinking the most deeply about what might make us happy and fulfilled.

    I did see that movie years ago, but don’t recall the monologue. I’ll have to netflix it. Thx for the hint.

  23. SpikeTheLobster says:

    I’ve never been particularly bothered either way, though now I’m with my lady I find I’m starting to feel the desire for fatherhood. Thankfully, I’ve not had too many comments in the past, though it does happen: my response is usually that I do want kids. On toast. They stop asking after that.

    One of my brothers has no kids and no desire for them. His wife is the same and, although my partner thinks they’re weird (she REALLY wants kids), I disagree: to each his/her own. Stand by your choice. No one can tell you what to do. And yeah, ‘monster’ guy deserved a very blunt dumping!!

  24. SINgleGIRL says:

    -SpikeTheLobster
    So nice to hear from you – it’s been a while. To each his/her own. If only everyone were so open minded. Perhaps something for us all to strive and push for?

  25. derek7272 says:

    i am late to this one …but jeez, what an ass. and yeah, like others I noticed what you said but didn’t find it remarkable. A few of my friends are adamantly against kids as well; you’re far from alone…

    Pisces, though, yes that does sound really harsh about what you said about fertility treatments. Why on earth shouldn’t someone who wants to have a kid spend money on it? As someone who knows women who have gone through IVF, I can assure you that not everyone (and probably very few people) look at kids as a “status symbol.” That is really a rude statement. Do you really think motherhood should be reserved for people, like yourself apparently, who are fortunate enough not to have any fertility problems? Eeesh.

  26. SINgleGIRL says:

    -derek7272
    While I can’t speak for Pisces, I felt like I knew what she meant. There is a whole class of woman in NYC (and other places, I’m sure) who tends to treat kids as status symbols. They have them, buy them the best of everything (the space age carriages) but don’t actually raise them or see them often. They have nannies and other household staff to do all the dirty work. When she mentioned the fancy strollers and the UES, those were the women I imagined. And so, I don’t think they should have kids in the first place. If you’re not going to: give birth, change diapers, put your kids to bed, cook, read to your children, bathe them, or really do anything else beyond make occasional ceremonial appearances with them then you’re not really a parent.

  27. derek7272 says:

    That wasn’t really the part of the comment that I was objecting too, though. (Although I don’t understand why she would be so judgmental about the strollers she sees on the street, which makes her want to “puke.” You’re going to make all these assumptions about someone based on their stroller? Again: Eesh.)

    The thing that really got me was her comment, ” I also think – and this sounds rough, but it’s what I think – that if one can’t get pregnant by oneself, one has no business wasting tens of thousands of dollars in an attempt to have a child..” WTF. Given all the silly material things most people squander their money away on, I find it frankly mind-boggling someone would castigate women who choose to try to have a baby through IVF as wasteful spenders. And the women I know who have done this certainly don’t fit this stereotype of the privileged UES absentee mother. (Whom I’ve never actually met and not sure really exists outside of the movies — do you know anyone who actually doesn’t read to their kids, bathe them or just makes ceremonial appearances in their lives??)

    Anyway, one of my friends is pregnant through IVF and she’s going to be a really great (single) mom. One wonders if Pisces knows anything at all about the sacrifices these women make to have kids … you know you have to learn to give yourself injections? From what I understand, it’s not easy. Somehow I think the women who try so hard to get pregnant are the LAST ones who take their kids for granted.

  28. PiscesInPurple says:

    I’m not castigating anyone. I have friends in that situation too, my heart goes out to them, and they have no clue whatsoever as to my real opinion. It’s actually kind of a religious thing. I think if you’re meant to have children, you’ll have children. But as I said originally, it’s just what I think. Something else I think? That everyone in this world should do whatever he/she want with his/her own life, body and money. I’m sorry that I offended you, Derek. I knew when I wrote that comment that it was harsh and frankly I’m surprised you’re the only one who reacted to it.

  29. PiscesInPurple says:

    Maybe this will humanize me a bit: When I wrote that comment, it was the day after my birthday, I was rather hungover, and I was upset because I hadn’t heard from someone I’d really wanted to hear from. That’s certainly no excuse, but I humbly offer that context regardless.

  30. derek7272 says:

    okay, fair enough…

  31. derek7272 says:

    So how about those Red Sox??

  32. PiscesInPurple says:

    :D

  33. Jessica from Texas says:

    Well, I have years of experience, since I am now 60 and do NOT have kids – by choice. Love other people’s kids and grandkids. Do NOT hate kids – honest! Just never had the yen to have one or more of my own. I suppose, if it would have accidentally happened when I was younger, I would have just gone ahead and maybe still have been happy. Who knows? Moot point, now. Family IS important to me, however, and my sis and I (she has kids and grandkids) are very close. You CAN be happy without kids, I feel.

  34. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Jessica from Texas,
    Thanks so much for joining the discussion. Your perspective on this is invaluable. I feel like printing out your comment and keeping it in my bag so that I can pull it out to hand to the next person who tells me I’ll live to regret my choices.
    -Pisces
    Now you know you never have to regret a thing you write on this blog. This is a no regrets community. :-)
    -derek7272
    Not that it matters and I am so happy to have this dropped but those absentee moms (and dads, the dads are no winners either) do indeed exist. I’ve known a few, REALLY. And yes I know for a fact that they do not feed or bathe or care for their own kids. And while I try to have a no judgments policy to life in general I kind of do judge them. They piss me off.

  35. Kelly@SHE-POWER says:

    I think your friend is correct in that no one knows what it feels like to be a parent until they become one. This is also why childless people can’t understand the rewards of parenting and the obsession women often have with their children because it really isn’t like any other experience. But that said, it’s not for everyone. We all have different needs, preferences and dreams, and there should be no pressure to procreate just because we’re a woman. Parenting is bloody hard work, full of compromises and sacrifice, especially in the early years. I completely understand why some people say, “No thanks.”

    And what’s with this “one true purpose” bullshit? I adore my son and he is the most important person in my world, but that doesn’t mean all I have to offer is being his mom. I’d like to think I have a lot more going for me than just that.

    And I can’t imagine why so many people believe a woman’s fertility, baby struggles or baby plans are their business. Why do they care about your womb and whether it’s open for business? It’s just ridiculous. I am always amazed that people are so forthright in their interrogation of me because I only have one child (he’s almost 5). There’s this assumption that I should be having more, and why aren’t I having more and don’t I know it’s hell on earth for an only child! Sometimes I feel like saying “I’ve been trying for 5 years and I can’t have any more kids” just to shut them up and make them reconsider their nosy, insensitive questioning. This is not my situation, but it could be. They don’t know.

    Anyway, rant finished. The whole point of being a free woman with choices is to exercise them, so you do that and tell all the rude ones to bugger off.

    Kelly@SHE-POWER

  36. Constance says:

    Another “monster” here. I was lucky in that I knew I didn’t want children from a young age. Even went so far as, in my late 20s, to ask my gyno to tie my tubes. She refused, said I’d probably change my mind. I’m 56 now and found menopause wonderful because it meant the end of birth control and all possibility of pregnancy.

    Do I feel like I’ve missed out? Absolutely not. Though kids seem to like me, and I like many of them, I acknowledge my lack of maternal instinct.

    As for being a “monster”, that never happened to me but someone did tell me I wasn’t a “real woman” if I didn’t have or desire children.