Some ladies in the blogging world are feeling very anxious to produce children as of late, I’ve noticed. “It’s all I think about,” they write, “I can hardly stand seeing all the other pregnant ladies around me all day!” I am the polar opposite. When I wake up in the morning, it is to an alarm clock, not a screaming child–and I am aware of that. When I cook dinner, it is dinner for two. Made by one–not one mother and five whiny children–and I notice. My life is calm, for the most part. My time is mine. I am young. My biological clock is not ticking…at least not very loudly. I am not ready to have children.
Now, lest you think otherwise, please know: I am a good person. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue saying it until–should it ever happen–I no longer feel worthy of the sentiment.
I help people–I do. Okay, sometimes I don’t [I always feel bad in such instances], but usually I do. I like elderly citizens; I value their knowledge, wisdom and experience. I almost always put my shopping cart in the corral when I’m through buying groceries. I wipe down sinks in public restrooms with paper towels, and dad gummit, people like me!
But I don’t like children. Does that lower my rating on the goodpersonometer? Does it mean I might not make it into heaven? Listen–I would do anything for anyone in a pinch. One time I was at the Home Depot and there was this crazy woman who had seven children with her (two in wheelchairs) and she was trying to navigate them through the store with 20-foot lengths of crown molding and a cart full of pillars for a banister. I offered to push one of her carts, while herding four of the children to the checkout aisle, keeping them entertained all the while. She was in a pinch, and I helped her. Because I’m good. But if we had become friends and she called me up one day, asking me to babysit even one of her children while she went to get a manicure, I would flatly refuse. You know? I don’t like children.
And I’ve learned a little something about small-town people since moving to Mayberry: they have lots of children. For some reason, my status as a newly-married stay-at-home wife who isn’t legal to work or go to school *yet*, gives Mayberrians the idea that during all my free time, I’d fancy tending their little angels. Yes, I spent five months working as a nanny–but that was exotic. I lived in Europe. I ate, drove, learned French, and traveled the continent and got paid to do it, with two days off per week, and a Mercedes Benz at my disposal. Sure, I grew to love my charge, and hope to see them again someday soon. But a temporary nanny does not a child-lover make.
I’ve learned that when people here in Mayberry find out my time is actually my own, they automatically assume I don’t like it that way. People jump at the opportunity to fill my time for me, and more often than not, their “solutions” to my “woes” involve children. I’ve decided to get that one thing clear with people as soon as I meet them.
Lady in line ahead of me at the funeral viewing last week: So, Camille…are you working right now?
Me: No, I’m getting my paperwork filled out to become a permanent resident, which will allow me to work legally and attend University for half-price tuition. It’s actually a lot of fun! I’m spending loads of time around the house. I don’t babysit, though.
Lady (chuckling): Oh, really? Well, do you volunteer anywhere?
Me: Yeah, definitely. For sure. Since I’m such a good person, I’m always looking to get involved in the community. In fact, I’ve just started volunteering at the town museum and another one in Lethbridge. It’s really fun. Why, what do you have in mind?
Lady: Well, the reason I ask is because I run the Parent Link program at the elementary school, and we sure could use an extra set of hands on Fridays.
Me (my eyes reflecting, I’m sure, the sheer dread in my heart I felt at the mention of the words “elementary school”): Oh? Well that sounds…interesting. I’ve never heard of the Parent Link program. What does it involve?
Lady: Oh, you know…it’s really easy, and fun, too! You would basically just…hold babies…set out snacks…be there in case of emergencies…provide an extra set of eyes…get CPR certified…of course you’d need your flu shots and lots of hand sanitizer…some of those parents come with three or four children, and it’s our job to care for each and every child.
What part of “I don’t babysit” is so difficult to comprehend?
p.s. I think I might start boycotting any and all blogs with those nasty little “45 Days Until Baby” countdowns. Have you seen those? They have animated embryo bouncing around in what I assume is an e-womb. All balled up in the fetal position, the little buggers look every bit as much like a rat as they did in 9th Grade Biology. I’m very happy for people who are having children and fulfilling their life goals, but…can’t they count down to the blessed occasion with…just a number? Why do they have to flash alien-looking fetuses in my face? Good grief. Whoever thought that was a good idea…