Putting Down Roots

some thoughts on nannying
October 18, 2011, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There was, in 7th-grade, a several-month period in which my inner tiny adolescent second-wave feminisit reared her head and declared that I would not, ever, under any circumstances, have children (patriarchy, etc., being held down by the man, etc., defining myself as a woman outside of the confines of motherhood, etc. etc.)

That phase lasted about as long as my equally-unlikely 7th grade phase of wearing sparkly blue eyeshadow (the former phase was inspired by my best friend Helen Rose; the latter by my other best friend Jillian. They were not, incidentally, best friends with one another).

This past summer, my non-verbal vocabulary stretched to include a sign that me and several friends would make to one another upon seeing a baby: we would place our hands low on our bellies between our hips and sigh wistfully, meaning, “my uterus is aching,” meaning, “I want one of those.”

For the past seven days, I have been the daily caretaker for two curly-haired babies (a nine month old whose main talents include flinging herself backwards out of her chair while being fed, and a twenty-three-month old who knows the whole alphabet but still hasn’t picked up on the fact that there is a duplicate to her favorite stuffed animal). I have been told that nannying is the best form of birth control; I have also been warned by friends that it will only make my uterus ache even more.

Thus far, neither of those things is quite true. Or, both of them are true. When Maddi is nestled up against my chest, patting my collarbones with her soft baby hands, I think about how much I want one of my own. Then again, when I’ve spent all day changing diapers and picking up blocks and reading the same book over and over and over again and only having conversations with a child who speaks–at best–in three word sentences, I realize just how unsuited I would be at staying home by myself with my children.

All in all, the whole experience has given me much time to think about what I want my life to look like. I know that I could never survive as a stay-at-home mom in the suburbs, and so instead of just being critical of someone else’s life, I’m taking notes about what sort of future I want to create for myself. I’ve been thinking about the folks I want to have living close by before I start having children; I’ve been thinking about the right blend of catering to a child’s needs and simply teaching her to tag along while you go on with the rest of your life; I’ve been realizing how important wide sidewalks and close city parks and groceries within walking distance are.

I am not, by any means, ready to hitch my life to someoen else’s and start popping out babies, so in the meantime, I’m taking notes, and doing alot of thinking, and enjoying the times when I’m holding a tiny hand in my own, and relishing that I get to swing my leg over my bike at the end of a long day and leave the babies behind.


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