Liz Parker is a mom of none, and has something to say about the experience of living in a society where that’s just not well understood by parents!
For anyone debating the topic, I recommend going to a baby shower.
The first time I went was for my high school friend, about 17 years ago. People were playing games related to guessing the gender of the baby and the size of the baby and I found myself wanting to die with indifference. It was when “stretch mark oil” and “nipple chafing cream” came up for discussion that I excused myself, went outside and lit a cigarette.
I really did not identify with these women.
As everyone brought gifts like booties, swaddle blankets and soft toys, I showed up with 10 family-sized frozen entree chicken pot pies.
“You brought me… frozen food?” my preggo friend asked me uncertainly.
“Oh just you wait,” I said, confident in my practical gift-buying abilities. “When you have had no sleep for a month straight, and your husband is not home, the baby’s screaming, and the thought of making dinner makes you want to cry for an hour, you will THANK me for these pies, which contain veg, meat, and carbs all in one!”
Everyone laughed, but my friend thanked me later, as I knew she would. Years later, I felt the same wave of nausea hit me when shopping for a baby shower gift for my sister-in-law. When I was done, I headed over to Banana Republic to recalibrate and calm down.
I haven’t been hassled much re: my choice to be childfree, and while I remain relieved with this decision (especially when I see a toddler having a meltdown in public), that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally have a moment of reflection.
Being a mom means you’re automatically part of a club and you will meet people you can relate to. I realize lots of moms judge each other (“how can you resume your career and allow someone else to raise your baby?” vs. “how can you make it all about your kid?”) but nonetheless, there is no auto-club I can join as a woman in my 40s without kids. I also wonder what kind of child I would have had, and what kind of parent I would have been. I do have glimpses into that parallel universe – when I see my nephews and niece, and when I teach piano to children. I mentor these kids, and sometimes it’s thankless.
Sometimes I make googly eyes at babies, or see the joy in parents’ faces when they’re out with their children, and wonder if I could have done that. Then I hear the kid whine, the kid interrupt mommy’s conversation, the kid loses his mind and cries, and I know, I did the right thing for me. One hundred percent.
Liz Parker spent fifteen years in music PR before sashaying over to image consulting for classical musicians. This gig includes styling photo shoots, weeding out wardrobes, and editing website text. She teaches piano to kids on the side (which may have influenced her decision not to have any of her own).You’d think she was a food blogger based on all the food pics on her Instagram. She lives in Toronto with her fur baby Scully (a 90’s cat). lizpr.com