"Happy Mother's Day!" Um... No thank you?

1:26 AM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I find myself at a unique stage of my life in which most people assume I have children.  Being that I am 29, this is not an unusual presumption.  The oddity is, is that the person in question assumes that I want or will have children.  Since I work in a nursing home, I am surrounded by elderly residents and nosy female coworkers, so the following conversation (or variations thereof) occur on a regular basis.
Me: "Happy Mother's Day!"
Them: "You, too!"
Me: "Oh, thank you, but I don't qualify."
Them: "You don't have kids?" in surprise.  "Oh, you will someday," reassuringly as I shake my head.
Me: "I don't think it's in the cards for my partner and I, but that's ok."  At this point, if the person in question feels that children are necessary in order to be complete, they usually drop the subject because the ambiguous phrasing could indicate fertility issues.  (For all I know, with my health problems, this could very well be true).
For some reason, there's a part of me that just won't smile and nod.  Perhaps it's because I refuse to kowtow to public opinion that all women of childbearing age desire offspring, perhaps it's because I am opinionated, or maybe it's because I don't know when to shut my mouth.  It's part of my charm.
I don't feel a need to justify my decision, but rather I feel that others need to justify why they project the stereotype of the nuclear family onto others.  One would think that we have reached the point where women, whether single or partnered, need not defend their decision to live childfree.  Having been adopted, I am firmly of the belief that every child should not only be wanted, but also planned.  While I was certainly wanted, my biological mother could barely take care of herself, let alone a baby.  
I suffer from much the same illness that plagued her, meaning that caring for myself can be a struggle at times.  I recognize that having a tiny, helpless person dependent upon me would be negative for both my and its well-being.  Not to mention that my partner does not wish to begin procreating in his early 40's.
By simply stating that I do not have, nor intend to have, children I feel I am doing my best to politely subvert the cultural paradigm without baring my soul for the scrutiny of strangers.  Perhaps next time they will ask someone if they have kids, rather than how many or how old they are.  Perhaps that person will realize that in assuming someone has or desires children they might be opening a whole can of emotional worms for other person.
Then again, I might just jump straight to grandmother considering the way my youngest cockatiel is chasing my eldest across the keyboard in an attempt to court her.  Although, judging by how she's avoiding his advances, she may just follow in my footsteps yet.

To all those who decided to make the wisest decision for themselves as an individual and their hypothetical offspring, Happy non-Mother's Day!

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