Dang! I forgot to have kids!

Mom as a young woman

Mom as a young woman

I don’t know how I did that. It was on my list. It was right after “get a good paying job” and right before “die with theatrics.”

My mother once asked me when I was young if I was going to have children. I told her I would have six. (I was raised Catholic, what do you expect?)

I even envisioned their careers – famous talented musician, teacher extraordinaire, maybe even a missionary or two. (This was the time before nerds took over the world or I would have wished for one or two of those too.)

One day I was thirteen suffering from my first menstrual cramps and the next day I was post menopausal with shriveled eggs. What happened to the years in between?

What happened to my eggs? What about my mother’s day gifts?

There was a delay or two because the relationship du jour didn’t render the correct father.

It was a different time. You didn’t have kids unless you planned to be married. Nowadays, that’s not a restriction although having a great Dad is still a good thing.

I blame part of this on my brother. His first and only child did not make you want to have children. This terror is a beloved pastor now fast approaching 50 but in his youth, yikes! Not an easy kid.

You can’t take them to the shelter to exchange for a puppy! You have to suck it up and hope they grow out of it. Most times they do.

That was counterbalanced by my niece (the daughter of another brother). She had wonderful kids that you just wanted to steal, every last one of them.

Mom (on left) and her sister Hilda being themselves!

Mom (on left) and her sister Hilda being themselves!

What a dilemma. My mother always said when you were unsure, don’t hurry into things but I don’t think she meant to wait 50 years.

The truth is that I do envy people’s relationships with their children. But as I look around, having that relationship is a crap shoot.

I know too many people who are estranged from their kids.

Life was different when I was young. My aunts and uncles all lived around me, most in walking distance. Now families are spread across the country or world limiting contact.

Families are also busier than they used to be. More stuff to do. Most Moms work outside the home.

Mom in her 70s.

Mom in her 70s.

My personal relationship with my mother was close and interesting.

In some ways I am like her but she was “more” of those traits that characterized her. I can be theatrical but I could never beat out my mother. She would say the darndest things then follow-up with “What? I’m just being honest!” or even worse “What? You were thinking that too!”

I also hated when she was right which she often was.

Since we were similar there was the occasional conflict but we “got” each other too. She was kind and supportive and fun to shop with (hmmm…that’s where that shopping gene came from!). She cared about how she looked (How does my hair look? Can you see my wrinkles?) but not more than she cared about her kids.

I was very fortunate to have experienced her as my Mom and wouldn’t trade that for the world. She’s been gone for 28 years and I still miss her.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom and to all you mothers out there!

47 thoughts on “Dang! I forgot to have kids!

  1. How lucky we were, Kate, to have loving mothers. While we lived on opposite ends of the country, we talked and wrote to each other often. But my visits were only once a year. That’s the downside of our generation. Unfortunately, jobs sometimes take us away from that close-knit family.

    Thanks for sharing your memories of your mother and those photos. They’re a hoot. 😉

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  2. From the things you’ve shared about your mom, and getting to know you and your sense of humor, I think you do have a lot of your mom’s characteristics, and that is just wonderful. I love the photo of the two sisters. 🙂 Their sense of fun certainly shines through. 🙂

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  3. Great line Kate – “You can’t take them to the shelter to exchange for a puppy!” There were times when I think I had that very idea tucked away just in case the shelters changed their policies. 🙂

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  4. This is terrific Kate, very funny and true. I went through a similar journey. My brother’s children were delightful but OMG sooo much work! And even though I was married to the right guy, I had a career to launch. Then I too was busy for 10 or 15 years and suddenly it was fish or cut bait time. What I believe is that people who want to have children go right ahead and have them. People who don’t really want children hang around talking about it for 15 years. I feel so lucky that my husband and I agreed on this, because there is no room for compromise!

    I admire all those moms out there and sit back and watch in wonder as they juggle 800 things at once. I appreciate them raising the generations that will hopefully be kind to me as I age.

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    • I think you are right. I did have a friend who was intent on being a mother and broke up with a really nice guy because he wasn’t ready. Her eggs were calling her and that’s what she was focused on.

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  5. Love your story. It was funny, caring, wise and sharing.

    However, I disagree that women without their own children can’t be moms. Apart from being a pet parent (cat mom, dog mom, etc.), some people in our environment sometimes appreciate us to the point that they consider us their second moms (sometimes even first moms). A few of my son’s ex-girlfriends still call me Mom, not because they have any thought of getting back with my son, but because that is the type of relationship we had forged. I find it humbling and kind of wonderful to have relationships like this beyond my own flesh-and-blood.

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    • No one calls me Mom nor do they send presents (which would be appreciated!). My nieces daughters have been fun and they are all grown so whatever small maternal instinct I had was probably spent on them and my cats.

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  6. I think not having had children of my own is possibly my greatest regret in life. For me too, it was a question of waiting till the right man came along for me to marry. By the time I realised that wasn’t going to happen, it was too late.

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    • I was in the wrong relationship during my childbearing years but ultimately I don’t regret where I am. Children change everything so it would have been a very different outcome.

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  7. You “forgot to have kids,” Kate. I forgot to have a career. You expected to have a child who was a talented musician. I planned to go back to teaching elementary school when my youngest started kindergarten. The trouble with having plans and expectations, I found, is that things don’t always turn out as you expect, and then it can be hard to switch gears. When we moved overseas, I couldn’t get a teaching job. For a long time I couldn’t stop thinking that I was a teacher, and nothing else would do.
    We all have different paths to follow. There are millions of ways to live a good life.

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  8. Lovely tribute to your mother, Kate…I love the photographs! I’m childless by choice and there’s never been a day that I regret my decision. I love children, but I didn’t feel the strong desire to have a child of my own. I never felt the pressure by society to take the next step and have kids. No doubt, there are people that might think, “what’s wrong with her” but I’m very happy with my life and don’t worry about what other people think.
    Have a great upcoming week!

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  9. I don’t have kids either. But this morning Teddy did bring me a flower he picked from one of the balcony pots…and he hacked up his first ever hairball. I was touched.

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  10. This touched me…and the pictures are amazing…I didn’t have kids either and my eggs wouldn’t hatch now with a gun to their shell. But you’re the mom to Morgan and company. Those maternal leanings are not wasted or shriveled to use your word. Your kindness resonated even from the page 🙂

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  11. Your mom sounds like mine, and also like the grandmother to my girls.”What a dilemma. My mother always said when you were unsure, don’t hurry into things…”

    I remember my cousin, the “perfect” mother, saying to me once “We had three. We wanted four. It just didn’t happen.” Still she accomplished a lot outside of motherhood. I remain in awe.

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  12. Lovely post. Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me. I love my mother more than anyone else in the world (sorry,Hubby, but it’s true). But my greatest regret in my life is that I did not have children of my own.

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  13. Love that shot of your mom and Hilda. Fabulous.

    As for kids, we are Child-Free by choice. That choice was right for us . . . even if I means I never get a Mother’s Day card.

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    • I have several friends who were child-free by choice. We hung together because we were free to do things and had similar interests. There is a point right after childbirth that young mothers are obsessed and then they are busy. It just happens.

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    • Obviously I didn’t have that gene either or I would have made it happen. In my extended family there were a few childless aunts and uncles. Back in the day you never talked about it so I don’t know if it was by choice or by chance.

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  14. I am not so sure that being a Mother means having to have had human off springs.  I think being a Mother means so much more!  Being a Mother is being a care taker.  Taking care of an others needs.  Offering support….on so many levels.  And being a Mother doesn’t end with a biological process…adoptive children need Mothers too!  Last but not least, your kitties!  They could not want for a better Mother. Their own specie Mother would never have given them what you do!  You rock Kate!

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  15. Love this Kate! I can’t tell you how the photo of your mother and her sister made my day…it’s classic for sure. No doubt your mother is looking down with approval on your decision to make her into a blog super star…well done indeed!

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