For Now, My Career is My Baby

forgotkids

I’m a 30 year old yoga teacher, and my career is my baby.

Sometimes I ask myself whether my wanting to have a career instead of a baby is a problem, like maybe that’s too selfish. The idea that it’s selfish to prefer my own personal development over motherhood has somehow been ingrained in me and many other women, but I truly don’t want children right now. I’m enjoying working on myself, and I have enough challenges without having to change diapers and wake up for 3 a.m. feedings.

For the first time in my life, I know I could handle being a mom. I know my husband and I could love and support a baby if we had one. I’m not opposed to being a mom one day, either. It’s just not at the top of my list right now. A lot of women seem to feel they have to make a firm decision and stick to it forever. Most women have at some point experienced a sincere change of heart on something, and been rewarded with derision and accusations of fickleness, one of many ways that misogyny thrives in our culture. But all I can say for sure is what’s true for me right now. I might want kids one day, but for now the answer is still no.

Plenty of my close friends have kids now, and while they seem to be happy, I don’t feel envious of them. If anything, I feel a little bit sad that the difference between moms and non-moms creates such a social gulf. I don’t feel left behind like they’re getting to experience some magical thing that’s unavailable to me. I’ve heard enough of their stories to believe that while parenthood is extremely fulfilling to many people, it’s no panacea. Nor do I think they’re missing out on something by being moms instead of pursuing careers.

It has taken me a long time to grasp that not wanting kids doesn’t make me selfish or weird. The popular characterization of childless women says if you don’t have a baby, it’s because you haven’t found the right person yet, you’re infertile, or you’re lesbian (and we just assume lesbians don’t have mothering instincts). If none of those things are true and you actually just don’t want babies, that’s when people start to look at you askance. Maybe you’re a cold person who can’t love and chooses a career to avoid the inevitable misery you would inflict on your young due to bad parenting instincts. Or maybe you’re just selfish and wanna spend your money on yourself instead of baby clothes. Or you’re just too young and stupid. People assume your priorities are screwed up or you didn’t get the memo about how to be a satisfied adult woman, in which it clearly states that now is about the time your ovaries are supposed to start aching. I actually had someone tell me I better get busy breeding before I turn 35 or else conceiving is going to be complicated. Apparently if you reach 40 and haven’t had a baby yet, adoption agencies become skeptical about whether you can even handle parenthood. Hooray for other people’s judgments!

In reality, I’m just really into what I’m doing right now. I’m married to my best friend. I teach yoga and write. I go out when I want to. I don’t change diapers. I travel when I can, sleep late, stay up late, and generally have a pretty good time of things. You can call that selfish if you like, but at least I know myself well enough not to have a baby when my priorities are simply elsewhere.

Based on the trends I’ve observed in my own life, I think that within 5 years I’ll switch from the “actively avoiding pregnancy” club to the “maybe we should plan a nursery in our next house” committee. But in the mean time, I’m pursuing my ambitions like a motherfucker (no pun intended), and I see nothing wrong with that.

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Welcome to the New Creativity Blog

Much of my life, people have said things to me like “wow, you’re so creative!” I always thought that seemed a little funny. Sure, I’m a writer and have always thought of myself as a writer, but I’m no more innately creative than anyone else. I just do what’s fun. I like things to be colorful, and I think life should be an adventure.

Recently, a friend of mine was telling me how all her friends are really creative except for her. She has friends who are painters, musicians, writers and all kinds of interesting folks. She is an up-and-coming attorney with big dreams and brains to spare, but she doesn’t think she’s creative. That, my friends, is nonsense.

Before quitting my day job to be a full time writer and yoga teacher, I spent my days in a cubical doing work that was not particularly fulfilling to me, but it paid the bills. During that time, I managed to keep my creativity alive in a variety of ways, but I noticed that many of my colleagues didn’t. Like my friend, they had decided that they just weren’t creative. That always just seemed really sad to me.

I’m starting this blog now for people like my friend who wish they could be more creative, and for people like myself a couple years ago, who know they need creativity in their lives in order to truly thrive.

Over the coming year, I’ll be sharing my own creative goals with you, posting weekly creativity-boosting assignments, and sharing musings from people who inspire me in every aspect of life.

For more on why I’ve started this blog, check out my mission statement, and don’t forget to come back soon to get started cultivating creativity and vitality with me.

Namaste!

Mary

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