I Love My Mom, But I Don’t Know If I Could Ever Be a Mom
The only reason I still have Snapchat is so that I can keep up my streak with my mom.
Yep, my mom knows how to use Snapchat. I taught her when I was in high school despite her reluctance because I knew she would like it. And low and behold, it’s been a way for us to see each other’s faces every day ever since I moved away. She also recently joined TikTok, much to the dismay of my dad and brother, but it’s another way we can share food reviews, babies doing silly things, and Queen Charlotte analysis from afar.
We talk every single day, through Facetime or text, and my relationship with my mom is something that I try not to take for granted. My mom has always been my biggest fan and supporter: celebrating and promoting my wins, comforting me through my low points, and reminding me of who I am when I’m in a rut.
I’ve always felt like I can ask and talk to her about anything and everything. Because in addition to being my mom (a loving, respected authority and familial figure), she’s also my friend. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that my mom is a person, not some divine, unflawed being who does everything perfectly. She was also in her 20s once, dating around and going to concerts and clubs. Taking girls’ trips, visiting friends in their new cities, and dreaming about the future.
However, one big difference between my mom in her 20s, and me at age 22, is that I don’t know if I want to have kids, ever, whereas she always seemed so certain. She told me that she had always loved kids, and she said that she told my dad that she wanted to have four children. She also envisioned having a big family of her own. (She then told me that, after I was born, she decided that she only wanted two kids. Enter my younger brother.)
I don’t know if I can be the mom that a child deserves—the mom I am so lucky enough to have. Because at this point in this society, who could know?
For as long as I’ve been able to think critically about birthing children and raising a family, I’ve been unsure. As someone that plans on working in the professional sphere for the foreseeable future, I struggle with wondering how I can have strong relationships with my children while building a career, maintaining other relationships, and taking care of myself. With child care in this country being a shit show, and my family not living that close to me, I don’t know how I would make a nurturing life for a child.
There’s also the maternal mortality rate to consider, which is bad in the U.S. no matter what but is even worse for Black women (yippee). Add in all of the stressful things that happen to bodies of birthing people during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and I don’t know if I could ever see myself being effortlessly pregnant. I know too much about the process to decide to have children on a whim.
There are economic factors to consider, too. Raising a child, until the day they turn 18, costs $310,605 dollars. To that I respond: Are you actually kidding me? And that’s probably just considering the essentials. If I want to give a kid experiences similar to the 2013 One Direction Where We Are Tour, college visits out of state, trips to Disney World, and space to explore their hobbies, we’re racking up even more money.
I watched my mom and dad work (sometimes multiple jobs) when I was growing up. Dead on her feet from an opening shift, my mom would come home and greet me and my brother with a smile on her face and her arms wide open for a running hug. She would listen to us talk about our days, make us dinner, and tuck us in every night. The sacrifices that she made for us so that we can have new opportunities is something I will probably never understand the full weight of.
When I was 17, I seriously considered selling my eggs to pay for undergrad. I am not that person anymore, and as I age, I’ve been in situations where the idea of having children has seemed less repulsive than usual. Watching small children toddle on the sidewalk hand-in-hand with their parent(s), hearing squeals from the neighborhood playground, talking to my elementary-school-aged cousins about their lives and their interests.
Figuring out if this newfound feeling is based or fleeting is sure to take up the remainder of my 20s, and I want to give the “children decision” all of the time and care that it deserves.
Every time my mom and I asynchronously watch Abbott Elementary and share our first reactions, when one of us talks about a crazy thing going on that makes the other person laugh so hard that tears form in their eyes, and whenever we say that we love each other, I’m reminded of how important our relationship is to me. I would never want to give anything less to my child(ren).