I am missing the "love babies/children"; gene

(85 Posts)
Twuntsrule Wed 20-Jan-16 17:34:06

I need some advice...long ago, I decided that motherhood was not for me, probably because of the home environment I grew up in. Babies and small children interest me for about 15 minutes, then I'm done. (When they grow into teens, the dynamic changes for the better.) Right now, I'm in my early 50s and both of my much younger cousins have had children. I try my best, but still lose interest quickly, then am bored and resentful while I have to continue to watch all the other adults fuss over them for the next couple of hours. The idea of babysitting horrifies me. I've bought them the right toys and a number of books that I loved as a child (Dr. Seuss/Richard Scarry), so I am trying to be a good cousin. Now, I know I have SOME maternal instinct, as I am the best "mother" ever to my two cats, but that's about where it ends. So I guess what I'm asking is if I'm a total wench and not fit to tie their bibs, or if there are others who are not totally bowled over by babies/children. (BTW, I had little use for the parents of these children until they were about 14 and we've been close ever since.)

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 20-Jan-16 17:37:08

I'm only really interested in my own child (and a particular close friends two) and am far from bowled over by the vast majority I see on a day today basis so...yanbu?

You do nice things for them and show interest, you don't have to be literally awed by them. Or indeed overly interested beyond politeness.

Oysterbabe Wed 20-Jan-16 17:41:17

I'm only interested in my baby and children I am in some way related to.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Wed 20-Jan-16 17:49:14

I'm only interested in my own child. Other people's may have the odd cute/funny moment but otherwise are mostly fantastically dull.

Awkward when new parents invite you round to 'see' they're new baby. Why? They don't do anything - put a photo on facebook FFS. And you can't really say no to that kind if invitation, can you?

You have to drag yourself away from GOT/The Sims/housework and look at a sleeping baby for a bit. Tedious.

Lockheart Wed 20-Jan-16 17:49:18

I am conflicted, which is what led me to mumsnet in the first place. I adore children. My friends, family and colleagues have children all of whom I love to look after and it makes my day seeing them. My boss bought his 17 month old granddaughter into work yesterday and I got nothing done for half an hour because I was having such fun playing with her. She's gorgeous!

However I still honestly can't say I want one for myself. I'm not sure I'm prepared to go through all the sleepless nights, the messy nappies and being thrown up on, the trauma and pain of labour and giving birth (which fucking terrifies me by the way - I can't even watch OBEM, though I did try).

I think I like the idea of children. And perhaps one day I'll meet someone who will suddenly make me realise that actually all the chaos and exhaustion of the reality is worth it and won't matter. But it hasn't happened yet, and for now I'm very content to babysit smile

SchnooSchnoo Wed 20-Jan-16 17:52:26

I never really was that interested in babies until I had my own. Now all babies make me go gooey. I think having your own can kick off some kind of hormonal reaction!

theycallmemellojello Wed 20-Jan-16 17:52:40

I don't really see the problem. How often do you have to see the kids? Just be nice when you do, but don't make any commitments you're not comfortable with. It doesn't really matter how anyone else sees children, since you're not anyone else!

Twuntsrule Wed 20-Jan-16 17:53:43

So far it sounds like IANBU...thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I've been reading MN for a couple of months, as I find many of the AIBU discussions thoroughly interesting. You guys rock!

Lottapianos Wed 20-Jan-16 17:54:14

Oh OP, please don't beat yourself up about this. You are most certainly not the only person who feels like this. I work with parents and children and I have met quite a few parents who give every impression of being bored to death by children, including their own!

I enjoy being around children but can COMPLETELY understand why someone would not enjoy the company of children at all. And not being a parent myself, I have every sympathy with your feeling of frustration when adults spend ages fussing over children. It can be an isolating place to be.

I know you say you feel you have some maternal instinct, but even if you didn't, it would be perfectly fine. Everyone is different. You sound like a very cool person to me!

Bunbaker Wed 20-Jan-16 17:55:59

I love DD to bits, but I was pretty ambivalent about having children. My life is not better or worse, just different.

I think I am missing the maternal gene because why anyone wants a large family (and all the drudgery that comes with it) is a complete mystery to me.

Heatherplant Wed 20-Jan-16 18:02:31

YANBU, I don't like being around children at all (apart from my own). After having DS 1 I went to a few baby groups, my word they are a special kind of hell!

Costacoffeeplease Wed 20-Jan-16 18:06:27

I'm missing the maternal gene too, babies and children do nothing for me at all - I just don't 'get' them at all - thankfully I don't have any grin

VashtaNerada Wed 20-Jan-16 18:08:09

YANBU at all and are certainly not the only one. Just do your best to avoid those situations and be aware that to a parent it can feel like a huge insult when someone else doesn't think their child is utterly adorable, so remember to be tactful when making excuses!

LittleLionMansMummy Wed 20-Jan-16 18:08:24

Never been bowled over by other people's children, no. Completely different with my own though. Ds is by far the most interesting child I've ever had the pleasure to know!

FaFoutis Wed 20-Jan-16 18:13:35

I have never been interested in children and wasn't bothered about having them. It just sort of happened (I have 3). I'm only interested in my children and a little bit interested in those related to me. 15 minutes is a good effort on your part.

Birdinthebush Wed 20-Jan-16 18:13:38

My biological also has no batteries in it , and at 42 I doubt that is going to chance . Some women adore kids and some don't, nothing wrong with not find them fascinating . From what I remember reading about 5 to 10 % of UK women don't want to be parents. You are not alone!

WilLiAmHerschel Wed 20-Jan-16 18:17:30

When my niece was born I hated visiting because I had no idea what to do with her and there was so much pressure to pick her up and interact with her. I genuinely did not know what I was supposed to do.

I am better with children as they get older because I can mess about and try and make them laugh. Plus they are a lot more sturdy!

Now I have my own dd and I love her and spend all my time with her. I still don't have much interest in other people's children. I still have no idea how to react when one of them comes running over to me at baby group. (I tend to wave and smile and say hello. Genuinely don't know what else to do).

I don't really think there is a maternal gene. Some people want children more than others. Some people are more confident around children than others. If you're not one of them there's nothing wrong with that.

PatricianOfAnkhMorpork Wed 20-Jan-16 18:24:30

I don't have it either so you aren't alone.

No interest whatsoever in babies and don't find them cute or squidgy. Small children are just irritating and loud. I'm much better though once you can have a conversation with them and teenagers I'm fine with.

A scary number of women seem to think that this is abnormal though and get very judgy, particularly if you don't want to hold the baby.

Funandgamesandfun Wed 20-Jan-16 18:31:35

I love my children and think that everything they do is fascinating and wonderful. Other children? No interest whatsoever

bornwithaplasticspoon Wed 20-Jan-16 18:34:40

YANBU. I'm the same with dogs. Don't see the appeal at all.

ComposHatComesBack Wed 20-Jan-16 18:34:47

I don't dislike babies or young children at all, but find sustained contact with them a lot bit of a chore. It doesn't come naturally to me and I begin to recoil with horror when someone thrusts a baby towards me.

I don't know what they think what the child or I will get out of it. I'm just nervous and anxious to give it back to its parents and the child themselves would far rather be with its parents. I find myself counting the seconds til I can give it back without appearing uninterested.

Like others, I don't think it is a 'gene' it is a product of my upbringing. I was 2 and a half when my sister was born and there were no other close family members having children. By and large my friends didn't start having children of their own until a few years ago, so until my mid-30s I'd had next to nothing to do with babies or young children. They just haven't featured in my life at all. It isn't surprising that I don't feel 100% at ease in their company.

notenoughbottle Wed 20-Jan-16 18:34:51

YANBU I don't particularly like children in general but I do love my own

Only1scoop Wed 20-Jan-16 18:35:49

Yanbu

Have a dd but I'm not very maternal never ever been broody.

Can't stand all the things you describe never have been able to. Love my own but even so need my adult convo.

Yanbu at all

ModreB Wed 20-Jan-16 18:44:05

I actively dislike children other than my own. They irritate me.

Mine though, I will go to the ends of the earth and back. It's good they are now grown or nearly grown, but I miss them as babies and young children so much. I wonder sometimes what I will be like when grandchildren come along.

Elfontheedge Wed 20-Jan-16 18:48:01

Gosh YANBU to feel the way you do. Men never worry that they are missing a "maternal gene" because it's a lot more down to social expectations of all women being desperate for squishy cuddly babies.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now