So I was catching up with one of my mentors recently over drinks who is making her own life shift and we had a very insightful and empowering conversation.
We started talking about family and one thing that came up was the grief both our parents are giving us for not having kids (for them, grandchildren) yet. We started laughing because here were were, two very committed yet family oriented professionals with very good accomplishments…and all it seemed like was the level of grief we get about for not being parents yet is pretty overwhelming in those small moments when we choose to care about the subject.
Now, I’ve thought about being a parent myself, and my reasons for having not taken on that endeavor yet are pretty traditional…not having found the right person, not situated in life enough to want to look after another human in that way. But I think the grief my mentor and I get from our parents periodically isn’t about our ability to parent, but rather the fact that we’ve gone off script…the script they may have had for us.
Even though society has evolved in many ways, there’s still some expectation that you have a career, get a house, own a career and have children. Truthfully, in this time period for some income brackets, it is a real struggle to assume the mantle of parenthood in a viable and sustainable manner. It is also a different sort of struggle to hear folks, women in particular, who choose the career path and had foregone the idea of parenthood. And while our folks may mean well, my mentor was indeed correct when she said that occasionally whenever this subject comes up, “that shit hurts when they talk about it”.
That’s why I don’t mind the fact that I’ve gone somewhat off script by choosing to delay this idea of the eventual entry into the fraternity of fatherhood. I’ve seen too many people, including my mom, struggle to create the best possible outcomes for their kids. While they did OK with me, I’m just trying to ensure I can do better that they did. It’s hard to bring a child into the world knowing that they don’t have a good shot as you to find their own path.
So why do it if one is not fully committed?