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Childless & Not working - opinions please

(618 Posts)
AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 17:38:31

Hello. I am 34 and don't have any children yet. Everytime I think about it I come to mumsnet and it gives me a dose of reality. Also this article
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6959880/site/newsweek/?GT1=6190
really makes me wonder:
==================================================
* Is there some consipiracy for mothers to convince other people that motherhood is the best joy in life while secretly hating every second of it?

* Is there a book someone can recommend on the 'realities' of parenthood - unspoken facts that may not be obvious.

* Mothers with teenage 19yr old or so & college age children, looking back if you simply could have traveled the world and spent time with your husband, would you have traded this for having kids? ***** be honest ****

I'm an American Expat living here in London and I don't currently work (I was previouslyin IT and had a career meltdown). I am actually not sure what todo. My husband and I are considering having kids but it scares me to death- the pain & nasty issues surrounding pregnancy that are not publicly discussed to the completely losing my mind doing baby babble all day and then to not having respect for myself because I gave up my purpose in the world, to self actualize (I haven't actualized yet for the record).

SO, I am seeking comments- whether to see if people just call me 'selfish' or say 'good for you' or whatever. Please help give me a dose of reality and what you would do if you were in my shoes!

Thanks!

beansprout Wed 16-Feb-05 17:42:00

AA - I really think that MN covers the reality of parenting (in my short experience so far). On here you get the full range of experiences. Any thoughts on a conspiracy are just rubbish I reckon!!! It is very hard and incredibly rewarding. If you dread the prospect, that's completely fine. I did for years and didn't have my son until I was nearly 35. Do what you want to. You are not a "better" or "worse" person for wanting or not wanting kids. Find yourself, be happy and then think about what you want to do.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 17:44:48

you can't give the kind of reality that parenthood brings .. you can't talk someone through it

you either want to be 50 and never have had children or you would think that might be your worst nightmare

if you feel ready to have children, then do it

if you don't then don't

the pain and nasty issues surrounding having kids is discussed ad nauseum in my view

nobody tries to hide anything

but until you have a child you will never know what its like .. by then its too late

just believe there must be something good about it or everybody in life would be an only child

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 17:45:47

Motherhood is like anything else in life..........a completely unique experience, the only way to truely know if you like it is to give it a go. Personally I love it.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 17:46:37

interestingly I had my first at 33 (almost 34) my second at 37, I was previously a career woman (very high up) .. I gave it all up to be a full time mother, I would love love to have many more children

there must be something fantastic about being a parent, mustn't there?

purpleturtle Wed 16-Feb-05 17:48:17

do you feel that you should have a baby, in order to justify the fact that you're not 'working'?

i love my children, and I honestly, honestly mean it when i say that I wouldn't be without them. But then, travelling the world wouldn't really be my scene at all.

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 17:52:32

Why would mothers want to conspire to convince others it was wonderful , whilst secretly hating it though? What would they gain?

Pinotmum Wed 16-Feb-05 17:54:21

I had my first baby at 34 and second at 36. Until then I had a very well paid position with a multi-national company. I can honestly say I am far more fulfilled in my role as mother and although it can be challenging it is also rewarding. I feel that until I had my children I wasn't complete and now I am, if that makes sense.

ggglimpopo Wed 16-Feb-05 17:55:49

Message withdrawn

collision Wed 16-Feb-05 17:56:28

There is such a huge life change when you do have children and at time it is overwhelming. I had ds2 13 weeks ago and have adapted much better this time round and am grateful to have 2 beautiful healthy boys. However, this isnt the case for lots of people and some suffer from PND and do have probs during PGy.


In answer to your questions, I love being a Mum and seeing my boys for the first time fell in love with them immediately. There are aspects I hate and the humdrum of it can get to me at times. I dont think many Mums would rather have travelled the world than had their children. Cant you do that now for a year or so and then have children?

At the end of the day do you really want children? Are you having them because you think you should? Are you worried by what people will say if you dont?

Dont let the thought of the pain put you off. It really isnt that bad (I had ds2 with no pain relief at all) and you can always have an epidural! Baby babble can be at a minimum if you make friends and go out and mix with other people.

Am not sure what self actualize means and Im not sure if I have ever self actualized so let me know what it is and I will let you know if I have.

For the record, having kids is the best thing ever.

posyhairdresser Wed 16-Feb-05 18:02:31

It is quite common to be childless by design nowadays and I think the general attitude is anything goes - motherhood has pros and cons as does being childless.

My advice is to stop spending your time agonising about it,and what others might think, just do what you want!

I personally think it is nice to make a contribution to the world through work that benefits others, whether paid or unpaid. But you should follow your own path. Nothing can really prepare you for parenthood but looking after someone else's children would give you some idea.

The question you ask here is too wide - it's like asking "should I work or not, what is the reality, will I like it?"

WideWebWitch Wed 16-Feb-05 18:04:23

I've only read the first page of that article but imo that woman made a classic first time parent mistake (I did it too!) of thinking she had to be 'on' and entertaining her child 100% of the time. IMO and E, children are just as happy mooching around a park with you or lolling about sometimes or just being with you: they don't need the 24/7 entertaining, all singing all dancing parent that many parents think they should be. So the author of that piece knocked herself out and says "I was proud of the fact that I could get in three full hours of high-intensity parenting before I left for work; prouder still that, when I came home in the evening, I could count on at least three more similarly intense hours to follow" Whaaaat? She was mad! We'd all lose it if we did that! No WONDER she didn't like it much! That sounds like stress and pressure, not fun and joy, which is what children can bring. I don't think I was a natural mother, I think a lot of people aren't and it can be shocking and hard and of course it's life changing. But I wouldn't change being a mother for anything, it's the best thing I've ever done. And I really do think my life was fairly meaningless before. I enjoyed myself sure and if you met me you wouldn't (I hope!) think I'm some sad sap with no interests or friends but my children have brought me so much joy and really are the most important things in my life. No-one can tell you what it'll be like though, Twiglett's right, and there's no going back once you've done it but most people don't want to go back. THere are days when I hanker after things about single childless life but I still wouldn't change it. And it's no good spending time with someone else's children either, it really is totally different when they're your own.

WideWebWitch Wed 16-Feb-05 18:05:55

Oh and the pregnancy and childbirth part aren't fun but they are SUCH a tiny, tiny part of the whole thing.

WideWebWitch Wed 16-Feb-05 18:12:20

And I've just read page 2 of the article, I don't think I can stand any more of it tbh and omg, she says "I heard of whole towns turning out for a spot in the right ballet class; of communities where the competition for the best camps, the best coaches and the best piano teachers rivaled that for admission to the best private schools and colleges." Well, I think if you turn parenting into a competition and schedule your children into activities ALL the time hey, guess what, it's going to be shite! And you will resent it. I don't think many mumsnetters will agree that this article reflects being a parent as they know it. (I will be corrected if I'm wrong, I'm sure!)

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 18:14:37

Thanks everyone for your response. Twiglett, neither having or not having kids is my worst nightmare - I grew out of having a baby doll by age 5 or 6 and never looked back or fantasized about being a mom.

I am in fact, scared because my mom was a stay-at-home mother until I was 15 and completely disrespected her and loathed that she didn't take time to improve herself/self actualize and be an inspiration to me in her line of work. If I somehow do not 'actualize' in the next year or so I am afraid I will blame my kids for my inability to achieve things in life and for me this means make a positive contribution to this world- I've told myself, anyone can reproduce it is an endeavor easilly forgotten and underappreciated, and I must do something so I am somehow remembered when I die (by ppl other than family). Maybe this is too tall of an order to fill..

I know I wouldn't be 'bothered' not having kids into my early to mid 40's but I would be possibly sad at 60-70 when I don't have any grandchildren or people to carry on my legacy (If I indeed had one!). I have discussed freezing some eggs and having kids mid 40's with my husband and he is very supportive (although he looks at children in such a longingly way it almost kills me!). I told him that before we had kids we'd a) have to get a 'real' house, b) create a parenting HR manual for reference to stop the kids from playing us off against one another and c) he would have to come home around 5pm. Now I'm thinking, maybe I could have the kids, work and he can take parental leave for 2-3 years due to lack of childcare (or we have to get a nanny)... hmmmm...

Whew! Do I sound really confused now?

As for the 'conspiracy', It is just that there are so many mixed signals. On one hand all of my friends with young kids say its wonderful and great and on the other hand, they let it out here & there about their depression, feeling lost, feeling lonely etc. I can honestly see dealing with kids aged up to 5 but having to undergo a psychological control battle with them at every turn makes me cringe especially as they enter their teens - I remember what I was like and the 'curse' scares me to death (ie. the one my mother gave me that my kids should do to me what I did to her)..

Thanks for more opinions....

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 18:19:25

Well if all I ever do that is worth while in my life is having dd I will feel I have done pretty well. So i suppose it is a case of different strokes for different folks. Hope you are able to find your answers and make the decision that makes you happiest

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 18:21:44

Collision

self-actualisation means doing what makes you feel fulfilled

it is at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs .. which if I remember have at the bottom things like food, shelter etc .. once these are fulfilled man moves on to a need for self-actualisation (ie fulfilling oneself)

must look up old textbooks .. I'm amazed at how much I'd forgotten I knew, or knew I'd forgotten

gothicmama Wed 16-Feb-05 18:23:38

Having been somewhat in your shoes - having a dd was teh best thing I ever did - hell no more parties until dawn but what the heck - a whole new lease of life openned up for me dh is a fab dad I have gone to uni dd is happy and bright we deal with things as tehy come along re teh battles of will but hey it keeps you on your toes as fro when she is a teenager she will be as bad as me adn her dad were no doubt so long as she has fun and knows right from wrong and how to keep safe tehn our job wll have been done
well. Also not everyone can reproduce so it is aspecial gift to be seized on as a special role in life how we raise our young determines teh future of our species- it is just very easy for society to forget that

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 18:26:33

AA .. I never played with dolls .. I was a cowboys and Indians kind of gal (I always had to be the cowboy)

I remember saying to my BIL once (in late 20's) that I didn't want children .. he said well its good you worked that out because there's enough unwanted kids in the world .. it shocked me really, I hadn't thought it through really I just said it for effect .. but if I pictured myself at 50 or 60 it was with a family (not without one)

when I got to 32 I felt the clock ticking

I think you need to sit down with DH (someone who looks longingly at kids) and be brutally honest about what you want in your future

other than that no-one can tell you what to do

just don't overthink it .. some things just happen .. some things are just fun .. and it really isn't a competitive sport .. that article is complete dross btw

Lonelymum Wed 16-Feb-05 18:26:50

IMO it doesn't come down to how much work is involved, or how much pain there is in labour or any other issue mentioned. For me, the choice to have children was purely biological. There was an urge there to reproduce which could not be ignored, just as you could not deny the urge to eat or breathe. In a crude biological way, I want my genes to continue. I can't understand why everybody doesn't feel that way but plainly some people don't. If you do not feel that way, I would recommend you don't have children and get on and enjoy your child free life!

iota Wed 16-Feb-05 18:32:12

You don't miss what you've never had - a cliche but true in my case.

I never wanted children and was in my late 30s before having the 'it's now or never' discussion with dh.

we decided to let nature decide and I am now the proud owner of 2 x ds's.

Having kids opened up a new dimension in my life that you just can't envisage from the outside looking in.

No regrets here

MummytoSteven Wed 16-Feb-05 18:35:36

just a quick one - I wonder if the whole actualisation issue is a red herring - i.e. whether it is more your problematic relationship with your mum that is causing you anxiety over having kids, rather than actualisation per se. having children does of course place time/financial constrains on self-actualisation, but it's not necessarily impossible - e.g. there are members on here doing things like writing novels, training in nursing/midwifery whilst having young children.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 18:42:21

why do you think "I must do something so I am somehow remembered when I die (by ppl other than family)."

what benefit will that bring to the rest of your life?

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 18:43:29

Twiglett... thinking about it, I would almost rather adopt one day then have kids myself due to the orphans etc. Growing up, my best friend had an adopted chinese sister and one of my closest friends in uni was an adopted Korean girl brought up by a British/American couple. I really respect adoption. Hubbie wants to pass his genes on hands down.

Lonelymum, I simply do not see how a person says, I am meant to reproduce so therefore I will and then forget about oneself and ones purpose & lifes risks (divorce, economics, kids psychological wellbeing) completely. I see so many angry messed up & violent 14-16 yr olds it is unbelievable and I would die if I helped create such a terror. Thankfully my marriage is rock-solid and I totally love my hubbie of 4 yrs.

snafu Wed 16-Feb-05 18:45:55

<<As for the 'conspiracy', It is just that there are so many mixed signals.>>

That's probably because it is mixed! Because it is wonderful and yet sometimes you do feel f££king miserable. Because it's the single most fulfilling thing I've ever done, and also the most brain-meltingly boring thing at times.

<<anyone can reproduce>> - umm, no they can't.

<<I must do something so I am somehow remembered when I die (by ppl other than family)>>

It is possible to have children and still respect yourself, you know. In fact, having children completely focused me on what I actually wanted to achieve in the world, careerwise, and I have far more respect for myself now than I ever did when I was arsing around wondering how to make my mark. Having a kid was my cue for 'self-actualisation', to borrow your phrase, and in ways that had absolutely nothing to do with nappies or mother & toddler groups.

Branster Wed 16-Feb-05 18:46:16

God AA it's like I hear myself thinking in quite a few of your comments!

Slinky Wed 16-Feb-05 18:47:57

I ALWAYS wanted children - I never envisaged a life without them and I am extremely lucky to have been blessed with 3 beautiful children.

There are people out there who assume that if you're not slogging your guts out in some high-powered career then you're not making a "contribution to society" - well I AM! I may have dropped out of the "rat race" to raise my kids - but in that I have produced 3 wonderful, caring, kind and confident little kids who will HOPEFULLY go on to be caring, kind and confident adults - that's my "contribution to Society"

I don't think there is a "Conspiracy" in Motherhood - everyone has "down" days, but these are far outweighed with the "good" ones.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 18:48:52

AA .. I am really not having a go .. I think its quite thought-provoking .. so please don't take offence .. and if you don't want to examine this any further please feel free to ignore my posts

that said I wonder

do you want to adopt because other people will say 'oh what a worthy thing she has done' ..that could link with your expressed need for other people's approval of your actions ... I am wondering whether you have a deep-seated need to be approved of and worry about being a mother (genetic mother) in case your children reflect badly on you?

Frizbe Wed 16-Feb-05 18:49:15

Sounds like you should go and read 'The Alchamist' By Paulo Cohelo, if you haven't already! Good for making you think?

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 18:51:45

Mummy to Steven... assuming a mothering role (nursing,childcare etc.) to me is not actualization.. I'm more into import/export, inventions, science and bringing home a humongous amount of $$ / pounds to allow me a financially stress free situation. Right now hubbie brings home the pounds & yes it is in huge quantities but I want to be able to say I contributed economically and to the success of our 'family' to a large degree. The past 2 yrs I've helped hubbie so that he's been in a few newspapers and interviewed by a major industry magazine and yes he is successful, I just want to ensure that I achieve some sort of success for myself don't I owe it to myself? So financially I have few constraints in my quest to actualize I just have to get off of my butt & do something about it and do it very soon or I fear I may never get a chance again if I am not successful (a successful inventor/entrepreneur) by the time I have kids (should I get the guts to make that leap one day).

Slinky Wed 16-Feb-05 18:52:28

"I must do something so I am somehow remembered when I die (by ppl other than family)."


Actually to pick up on that comment - my aunt died suddenly and unexpectedly at the end of January. She SLOGGED AND SLOGGED her guts out in her job, always relied on to do extra overtime and took a huge pride in her job.

Well, she died 23 January - and I can guarantee (in fact I KNOW) that life in her workplace has carried on without her. She's no doubt been replaced by someone else and everything's plodding along as usual.

Branster Wed 16-Feb-05 18:53:03

AA I'll get back to this thread later tonight and add a few of my thoughts if that's OK. Why are you on MN, BTW? Just being nosey. I'll be back later!

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 18:53:22

Frizbe I had to go look that up, because I'd never heard of it .. it sounds great .. any book that can be reviewed on a parr with Johnathon Livingston Seagull must be worth a read .. thanks

The alchemist on amazon

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 18:55:59

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 18:58:48

Twiglett, no problem & no offense - it was a good question for thought.

The funny thing is, I really am somewhat eccentric and do not seek others approval as a matter of habit. I wrote in this forum to get opinions & to provoke my thought.

The adoption thing is a bit out of feeling bad for the lonely kids in the world and (maybe) hoping that perhaps they would appreciate a mother whereas a genetic child might not. So perhaps the need for appreciation and to feel valued in my existence is what I seek (but doesn't everyone seek this on some level every day?) Also, my hubbie had 3 ppl die in his family from genetic problems and although he was recently told he is not a carrier I am scared i'll have a kid with medical problems. I dated him for 4 years, accepting early that we might not be able to have children for this very reason so it just sunk in.

Thanks.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 18:59:27

Even if I say so myself I used to be top of my field (board level) .. I created and ran some superb campaigns .. I developed new brands, won international awards .. I have a portfolio of brands to die for in my office upstairs

I left work in 2002 and there is barely a ripple on the surface of my very small work world

money is money, work is work

motherhood is amazing

but that's my take on it

You obviously feel the need to acheive something, so you don't want children

I think the most important thing for you to do is tell your DH that .. after all he looks 'longingly at children' .. that could be a problem in your relationship .. but hopefully not

Newyearmum Wed 16-Feb-05 19:02:41

The only way I can describe my experience of having a baby in a nutshell is to say that after my Dad died of cancer I woke up shocked and depressed every day for months.

Now I have my baby girl I wake up full of joy

And that's the truth - it doesn't matter how tired I am or how hard the night was

You can be exhausted and still full of joy

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 19:03:17

that last one wasn't in response to yours AA

if DH is not a carrier (assume he has been gene tested) then he can't pass it on to his children

adopted children are by no means 'grateful', it can actually be a much harder ride I would assume ..

I know one thing for sure few children 'value' or 'appreciate' its parent as a teenager, but hopefully they grow through that .. they are certainly full of love / adoration / appreciation at this age (mine are 4 and 9 months) though

fisil Wed 16-Feb-05 19:08:16

w.r.t. books, I want to have a baby? was very useful for me when I was going through the whether to have children debate.

I've only skim-read through this thread, but I can only say that having children has been the most wonderful experience of my life, but has also landed me with long periods off work and on ADs (it's the pregnancy that has done this to me, and as people have said, I know it is only for a short time and I'll be better once he's out!). It is a massive step to take and it's never going to "solve" anything, I think it's a decision you have to take for positive reasons only!

Tinker Wed 16-Feb-05 19:10:42

I think you only really learn to appreciate your own parents is when you become one yourself.

Sorry, might have missed it but, why are you not working now if work is very important to you?

coppertop Wed 16-Feb-05 19:10:58

I agree with WWW about the article. It's a completely unrealistic expectation to have about being a parent. I can't be bothered with competitive parenting. I do what I think is best for us as a family and have no interest in whether the Jones' take their little darlings to the 'best' schools/classes/activities.

I don't think you should let yourself be pressured into doing something you don't want just because it's something you think you should be doing. Not every woman wants children. I have an older sister who has always said that she definitely doesn't want a child. She asked if she could be sterilised but as she was still in her 20's the doctors told her that she should wait. She's now in her late 30's and still hasn't changed her mind and seems very happy with this decision.

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 19:11:03

Lockets,.. Self actualization is only brought about by freeing one from religious conditioning & pretenses so I am afraid this novel will not work for me. Especially even more so because I am atheist. Now if we only had a novel about successful women 'doing it all' & having kids... I grew up on the magazine "Working Woman" and thus was brainwashed that being a supermom is possible. Not so, according to the article in newsweek and hearing ppl on mumsnet...

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 19:12:40

I'd recommend The Mask of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother Changes Everything and Why We Pretend It Doesn't by Susan Maushart. This is the most honest account of motherhood I have ever read.

I personally agree with the poster who said something about waking up 50 and childless and thinking this is the worst of all outcomes.

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 19:13:06

Hey? what novel ? what do you mean?

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 19:16:20

Reading the MSN article you have quoted DOES make me wonder whether you might feel this way if you are always feeling in a bit of a 'melt down'... Babies won't fill the gap and give your life a purpose. For me, working part-time doing a job I really enjoy makes me feel grounded and in tune with the adult world. You will, after all, only be 'at home and not working' for 15 years or so... you still have a lot of life to live after that.

leglebegle Wed 16-Feb-05 19:24:16

AA, you talk of work as if it is the be all and end all of life, whereby each day is filled with joy, excitement, challenges, great money and interesting colleagues. Oh if only life were like that! You have talked of motherhood as having bad days and your friends letting it slip that they are sometimes lonely etc. Well yes, that's life isn't it? I had (and will be having again in July when ds2 is 1 and starting nursery) a great job, and an interesting one. But I had really bad days. Boring one's, scary one's, annoying colleagues, and sometimes I really questioned what on earth I was doing or why I was doing it. So I guess my point is, if you have a 100 percent fantastic time at work, and every day is filled with sunshine and happiness and leaves you with a feeling you have contributed to the world, they lucky you! I'm guessing not though if you are currently not working due to a 'melt down'. I'm not having a go at you I just think you have an idealised view of work v motherhood. They are both hard, they are both sometimes crap. But work doesn't love you, it really doesn't, your children do. The office will tick over with or without you, your family won't. I have to say in all honesty, it doesn't sound to me like you are in the right frame of mind to have a child, and I only say this because you asked when you started the thread. I don't think you are selfish, I just think you don't want them and that's fine!

Newyearmum Wed 16-Feb-05 19:25:01

'What Mothers Do' by Naomi Stadlen talks about the lack of self-esteem often felt by new mothers, especially those coming from a 'full-time working' role, and talks honestly about the mother-baby relationship. It is full of the personal thoughts and experiences of Mums.

I found it really clarified my thoughts during the last trimester of pregnancy (although a bit late by then to change my mind )

anchovies Wed 16-Feb-05 19:26:37

I used to think a career was everything but it's funny what a surprise baby can do to completely change your ideas. Completely changes your perspective on life and what's important. The emphasis on money has been entirely replaced by family. However having said that I am only 24 and am glad I finished my doctorate as I can also look forward to the challenges once as
morningpaper says these next 15 years are over.

motherinferior Wed 16-Feb-05 19:26:46

SHe doesn't really bring a political analysis to bear, does she, that writer? I mean where's the idea of shared parenting, or changing work structures - she nods to 'family friendly practices' but only insofar as they might make it possible to work 24/7 as opposed to parent 24/7.

Me, I frequently wonder what I've done with my life. I'm knackered, I spend rather a lot on childcare, and I haven't been to the movies in ages (and actually I'm a rather privileged middle-class mummy who works from home four days a week and has a partner who actively co-parents). But on balance, I would much much much rather my life had gone down this track than the one it was on when I rather unexpectedly conceived DD1. I like my little girls, they're beautiful and sweet and funny and nice to be with.

But I'd have had a fine life without them too. And I totally respect the friends who, like Coppertop's sister, are so clear they don't want kids that they've opted for sterilisation.

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 19:28:01

Twiglett- I understand though - you've done some great things and you can hold your head high and tell stories to your kids and they will be proud of their mom for years. You will know that you really contributed towards buying the home you live in and winning a few awards means that should you decide to reenter the field even in a few years, you have the network to do so.

I haven't reached my full potential - all I've done is build a few websites for large corps and have networked with recruiters & reporters & such in my hubbies line of work. The social roles I have in various local organizations don't really impress me, they just give me something to put down as ways I've 'contributed'. I've 'retired' from web dev and have considered recruitment as a field but it is not 'good enough' - I have a few ideas and want to explore modelmaking & manufacturing processes for my ideas, if I only get the courage up. Being an expat in England is a great excuse, I don't know too many people on a personal level and personal relationhips are what is needed to really assemble a company.

Right now I will keep discussing the baby route as a matter of curiosity and planning while finding a way to bring my desired reality into fruition.. thanks for your contribution btw...

My sister-in-law is at the top of her field and her kids age 4-6-8 really respect her whereas their father has been without work for years and is not respected by his wife. Respect is very important in a family and although my hubbie respects me I need to do a bit more to respect myself a bit more...



Of course when they hit 15 they'll want to see their mom in action doing what she does best.

I do believe they'll challenge you to grow & reinvent yourself.

leglebegle Wed 16-Feb-05 19:32:24

AA - I do understand where you are coming from by the way. It is true that if you are the sort of person whereby you want to have achieved something before you have children, then you absolutely should. You would only end up feeling bad about yourself if you didn't and that would impact on all the family. Why don't you give yourself a limit, say 2 years and work all out to get where you want to be and then re-evaluate your situation. In the mean time you could honestly assess whether you really want children and what it means to you. Just a thought.

anchovies Wed 16-Feb-05 19:36:06

Personally I find it strange that achievements can only be academic/work related?

My mum stayed at home with us and has never had any sort of a career yet I admire and respect her more than anyone for the achievements she made within her family. I think until parenthood is respected as an achievement in its own right it will never be the best choice for you.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 19:38:18

Oh I dunno though AA

I think by the time your children are old enough to care about what their parents are like they are extremely disinterested in what went before .. they will never know what I was (although its on their birth certificates) .. they will probably judge me based on what I am then .. whatever happens I will come up lacking .. such is the nature of teenagers .. as long as I can laugh at them, who cares? they'll grow through it hopefully

I don't think I'll ever go back into the business world though .. can't imagine caring enough about it any more .. I have thoughts of re-training eventually as a speech therapist but that's another life in a few years time and may not happen

I think you can be extremely proud of having a creative past in developing web sites ..

it sounds like your creative energies really need to go into something else for you to feel good about yourself (something that isn't a child that's for definite), but you might (just might) be building excuses already on why you may not acheive it .. what's that about then?

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 19:39:27

Frankly I don't give a toss about my parent's work/career achievements.

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 19:40:04

What novel american angie? am not sure what your post to me was about?

Tinker Wed 16-Feb-05 19:42:03

I'm confused about this respect business. Why is it only based upon being "top in your field"? Why not on how kind, thoughtful etc you were?

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 19:47:49

i adore my mum and respect her opinion above that of anyone ..........midwives hvs gps the lot. She was a sahm. I also like my dad alot , he was a directer of a massive merchant bank and was fairly instrumental in bringing stock exchange into computer age amongst other things but he was never there when I was growing up and so no matter what he acheived to be 'remembered by' he is no better or worthwhile a person than my mum.

WideWebWitch Wed 16-Feb-05 19:50:18

AA, you say "I want to be able to say I contributed economically and to the success of our 'family' to a large degree" - I think being a parent is contributing economically and to the success of one's family but parenthood in general and motherhood in particular isn't valued much in our society. And it doesn't sound as if you think it's an important contribution either. This isn't a criticism, just an observation based on what you've said about your own mother. If it's kudos you're after (maybe it's not, maybe it's 'self actualization') I don't think parenthood will provide it because parenthood alone (however well you do it) doesn't get you much kudos. But being a parent doesn't mean you can't do other things, have other interests, have a life. It's just a different life and a parent's priorities are different to those of a non parent. I think you do need to talk to your husband about this if he is longing for children. And I wouldn't worry about the genetics (Tamum? We have a mn geneticist), if he's been told it's unlikely to be passed on then it's not an issue, it's another obstacle and maybe you want them because of your ambivalence about this. I think it's fine to not have children btw, (ds was a happy accident, I thought I never wanted them until he happened, when I was 30) absolutely, so nothing I've said is meant to be critical.

Amanda3266 Wed 16-Feb-05 19:54:51

Hi AA,

I haven't read through all the replies you've had yet but I can tell you from my point of view that:

Motherhood feels the best joy in the world to me BUT if I'd not had my son I am sure I'd have achieved that joy with something else. It wouldn't be the same joy but just a different one. I don't hate every second of it but neither do I love every second of it. There are times when I just want five mins to myself but I can't always have them when I want them.

Mumsnet will give you some of the everyday facts about the reality of children.
They change your life completely - I can't remember when we last went to the cinema as a couple for example. However, these early years are not forever and we will do those things again.

I am not one of those people who think a woman strange for not wanting kids. We are in the most fortunate position of any period of time in that we can choose what we do - and whatever you do don't feel guilty and worry about it.

I have to confess to times of utter dispair when I thought I'd never have any "me time" again but the reality is that I do get plenty of "me time". My son is now 2 and sleeps 12-13 hours a night so I have every evening free.

Not alot of help really but if you do decide to become a Mum (it's Mom in USA isn't it?) you won't regret it - not all of it. Not saying that you won't have some regrets - that's normal - there's always times when a Mum thinks "if I didn't have kids I could ...."

What would I do in your shoes? I'd give myself a break and not worry about it. I know at 34 it must seem like you have to make a decision but there's plenty of us here who didn't have children until our late 30s for whatever reason.

It's a matter of looking at your life and thinking about what you want and what you'd like to do. If you have kids then life will change. Is there anything you'd like to do first? Travel the world for example. Most important thing is not to make any hasty decision.

Right - I'm rambling now so I'll go

Hope that helps a bit though

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 19:57:00

Twiglett.. not sure..re excuses

I used to think I could do everything myself and didn't want others to hold me back. Now I'm older and realize that other people are necessary to help me achieve what I want but I am still loathe to rely on unproven persons/companies out of fear they will bring me down or hinder my efforts or fail to live up to my expectations. It would certainly be much easier to just wipe out my emotional being and just get down to the business of 'doing' and risking failure thats for sure.

I've spoken with a neighbor whom I admire because she's invented a childs toy and just proceeded to have the various aspects outsourced (design, prototype, manufacturing) rather than get involved with the nitty gritty and a part of me thinks I should do the same & just get on with it.

Hubby wants me to take courses so that I have a better grasp on the technical aspects but I have not found classess available in things like using a 3d printer / working with a cnc machine / foundry mechanics. I will not pretend I am not interested in running my own in-house foundry for the prototype stage but it is indeed the basis for another 'excuse'.

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:01:39

Amanda3266, Thanks for your opinion.

Yup it is "mom" although I do get a kick out of saving the "MUM's day cards and sending them for Mother's day in May!)

I've had many people tell me that they waited until 36 to start having kids and that they either couldn't have kids (I would hate to have caused my own infertility- my husband would be crushed) or they could only have 1 and they all seemed distraught about having waited. I know I don't want kids and after having read some postings on this message board and some articles and having spoken with several people I told my hubbie I want to wait another 8 years but of course that is hardly realistic.

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 20:03:53

I'm not sure what you want AA, and I don't think you do either. Will creating a 'product' make you feel 'self-actualized'? What kind of dream are you following?

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 20:04:58

What would you achieve (in a dream situation) in 8 years? Have you tried putting it into a timeline and finding out what your 'dream milestones' are?

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:09:39

I've had many people tell me that they waited until 36 to start having kids and that they either couldn't have kids (I would hate to have caused my own infertility- my husband would be crushed)

Well unfortunately that's a fact you can't run away from .. it gets increasingly more difficult to conceive over 35 .. it just does

you keep going back to how much your husband wants children .. have you sat down and discussed this, thought about timescales?

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:10:09

Yes, creating a product (and I have a bookful of product ideas some better than others - I am a natural inventor) and successfully marketing it at trade fairs around the world would give me complete satisfaction. I would have contributed to the advancement of humanity, I would have traveled and even possibly brought home a decent amount of pounds.

I've had some time to think about it and most other (standard) career choices would not bring me the level of attention & money I desire and I see no point in getting a measly salary while making another co. money... I used to be in import/export and considered importing items into England most recently, but have decided that even if financially successful it would not allow me to self actualize... thus I've boiled it down to my above choice.

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:13:01

Twiglett.. yes we've discussed children many times. He is not gung-ho right now either and he'd be fine if we waited for another 2-4 years or so (pref 1-2 for him) because he isn't ready either.. even longer... BUT, he would be totally crushed if I could not have kids and while it is not a point of contention, he refuses to acknowledge that it might happen...

SoupDragon Wed 16-Feb-05 20:14:42

If you wait til you're ready, you'll probably never have them. I have 2 DSs (6 and 4) and I'm still not ready to be a parent...

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 20:16:50

AA: I assume you have a bit of money behind you but I am a bit cynical and wonder why you have waited so long to start on your dream? There are very few products that will add to the advancement of humanity. You sound (to be honest) pretty unhappy with yourself and what you call 'self-actualization' really sounds like "I need to prove that I am not a failure." You AREN'T a failure for not having achieved these things.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:20:28

hear hear morningpaper

you definitely are NOT a failure

FairyMum Wed 16-Feb-05 20:24:07

I think you worry too much about how you are going to live your life rather than living it. Not just when it comes to having children. You can't have a strategy for life to this extent, nor a strategy for how to bring children up or some kind of manual. I think the best thing about having kids weahther you work or not, is that it really is LIFE - chaotic, messy, exchausting, often out of control but fantastic!

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:24:15

No Morningpaper, I am not a failure. But in my book I am not successful either and people need to prove various things to themselves and achieve certain goals to feel fufilled. Sometimes these goals are not clear and it take a while (possibly a lifetime even) for a person to figure out what they want out of life and how to go about getting it. I see no point in just managing to exist.

Thus, it is only fairly recently (the past few months) that I figured out what would make me the happiest. Of course I have to now factor in the biological time restrictions & pros/cons of having kids (something I hadn't considered before).

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:28:22

Fairymum- um forgive me for asking but why can't I have a strategy for having kids? I rather liked my idea of creating a sort of HR manual with my hubbie becasuse then I'd parent consistently and desired behavior would be predetermined to an extent, thereby enabling a child to understand the consequences of their actions.

Maybe it is the folly of the childless but I don't understand the harm either and an HR parenting type manual could prove beneficial.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:29:01

being a parent does open a whole new world though .. its something that you just aren't aware of before you join the rank and file

also being pregnant can just make your creative juices flow .. there are many stories of people starting new businesses whilst pregnant

really if you do want to be a 'mom' there is nothing to hold you back, being one doesn't have to derail your life, although it does sound like a jolt could help at the stage you're in

that said you really really have to decide whether you want to have children .. and no amount of debate can decide that for you .. at least not online

your DH will have to come to terms that you are beginning to push it in terms of natural fertility .. it will not necessarily happen .. although it can and does for many people.

wheresmyfroggy Wed 16-Feb-05 20:30:43

Is this for real?

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:32:19

"I rather liked my idea of creating a sort of HR manual " .. excuse me whilst I

write one by all means, but I will bet that your baby won't have read it and will throw you a complete loop

you cannot pre-plan parenting, you can set parameters, but rules and regs don't work when you have to deal with your own kids .. go with the flow and its far more enjoyable (I am an anti-routine kind of mum, but have very strict behavioural guidelines)

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 20:32:33

I don't think you'd be on a mother's website asking for advice if you didn't want children.

We live in a society which has made mothering and parenting so unattractive in terms of its status and financial rewards, that it's no wonder that non-parents are mentally so hesitant about taking the plunge.

But luckily for the human race, our biology overrides our rational deduction!

Otherwise no-one in the Western World would have children ever again.

Good luck with your decision AA.

snafu Wed 16-Feb-05 20:32:53

A manual for childrearing?

Mwahahahahahahahahahaha.

FineFigureFio Wed 16-Feb-05 20:32:55

I think you are very sensible AA
if you dont want kids dont have them
lifes too short for what if's and regrets, do what you want to do

Clayhead Wed 16-Feb-05 20:33:47

I have written many an HR manual in my time but after 2 kids I wouldn't even begin to start one for them. It's just not the same, you need so much flexibility! For a start, both of mine are completely different and have changed drastically at different stages in their lives.

However, I can see how a non-parent might not 'get' this as I too was like this once...

FWIW I think there is rarely a 'right' time.

Clayhead Wed 16-Feb-05 20:34:55

'I am an anti-routine kind of mum, but have very strict behavioural guidelines'

Twiglett, thank you, you have described me in a far better way than I ever could, I'll remember that one

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:39:34

Well obviously babies won't read nor 'get' an HR manual but I have to say that even adults want and need to know 'the rules' so they can go on without being chided every second possibly without understanding why.

Everything I've been reading on mumsnet and elsewhere indicates that parenting is largely mood based - that if you have a bad day you'll be harder on your kids and possibly impose too harsh of a punishment.. wouldn't an HR type manual help moderate poor parenting? Even if it is just used as a reference for the parent?

I know it sounds like a silly idea but 20 years ago starcharts would have been laughed at too.

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 20:39:37

Twiglett, we all know your child-rearing methods are Bohemian!

Clayhead Wed 16-Feb-05 20:40:36

Which rules! Someone tell me!

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 20:41:01

"people need to prove various things to themselves and achieve certain goals to feel fufilled"

Not 'people' AA. I am massively confident in myself without 'proving' anything to anyone.

I have also had lots of psychotherapy which I think is a surer route to self-fulfillment than anything blue-sky dream I could wish to 'achieve'.

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 20:41:48

AA that's the point, there are no rules - it depends on your child, and what is right for one may be totally wrong for the other (my two are like chalk and cheese, and I'm sure I'll be accused of inconsistency when they're older - but they're different people, at different ages, and the best I can do for them is to treat them as individuals - no manual will do that).

wheresmyfroggy Wed 16-Feb-05 20:42:14

I think dw and I are fine without an hr manual , we are raising a family not running a workforce.

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 20:42:25

AA: You want to write one about marriage too?

I'm like morningpaper. Except I haven't had any psychotherapy.

Thinking about it, I always saw a research-based degree (which i don't have) as the thing that would prove myself. i may or may not do it now, but i don't need it. My "goal" now is to bring up the children and have a good time while i'm doing it.

Tinker Wed 16-Feb-05 20:44:10

Well AA, why don't you write the manual and get it published? Could that not be an "achievement" for you? Being a parent is not, I believe, a pre-requisite for writing a children's manual (GF?)

stupidgirl Wed 16-Feb-05 20:47:46

This is an interesting thread. Bear with me, my own post will probably be long and waffly...

I am 24, and throughout my childhood I never knew what I wanted to do with my life, the only thing that remained constant was my desire to be a Mum. I suffered from depression from the age of 11 upwards and as time went on my need to have children intensified. I went out at 17 with the intention of getting pregnant and by some miracle, fell pregnant at the first attempt. I had ds, and then 2 1/2 years later, dd. I've been on my own with them throughout.

I am happy with the choices I made and wouldn't change them. I am very depressed at the moment. I have opted to educate my children at home, I am with them nearly 24/7, ds has aspergers and it is tough. But I couldn't be without my kids. They are everything to me.

Having said all that, I can completely relate to your need to achieve something with your life and 'be remembered.' I feel that way too. I want to do something worthy with my life, although my approach to that is somewhat different to yours.

I had children very young, and didn't 'do' a huge amount with my life before having them - didn't have much of an education, never travelled, etc. But why does having children have to end my own life? I have plans to do a degree course, I want to travel with my kids when they are older, I want to do all kinds of things, and while my children are still young, and that puts certain restrictions on me, there's plenty of time when they are older.

It seems to me that confidence is a big issue for you (me too!). And I wonder whether you would be even considering having kids if your husband didn't want them, it doesn't seem to come high up on your agenda. That's fine, but I know people who have had kids just for their partners, and it rarely works out (ime). If you want to have kids great, if you don't great, but it needs to be your decision.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:49:37

But .. the rules you need to know as adults are not written down as such (not talking legalities but just the social mores and morals by which we live our lives)

.. they are society's rules and humanist rules that we follow without a rule-book .. they are what we intrinsincly know as a product of our upbringing and society

as such .. you really don't need a rule-book, you just need to be you

.. children are very forgiving of their parents just as parents are of their children .. thankfully they come to us as babies and we learn by trial and error so by the time they are sentient enough it looks like we know everything

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:51:31

Corporations have written & unwritten rules. People are happier knowing the rules & consequences - take the Army for example - who would join if they weren't after black & white structure?

I figured that writing down certain basic rules/consequences (ie. no swearing) that could be tweaked now an then would help a person parent regardless of their mood swings.

No the Manual wouldn't work for marriage.. although I do admit that my hubbie & I 'write down' our agreements and post them to the refridgerator because over time we forget what we've agreed to and it stops fights. (That and buying a GPS for the car!).

Fennel Wed 16-Feb-05 20:52:42

I agree with some other posters if you're not sure don't have them, there are many other ways of living life.

but, I am not sure reading mumsnet gives a true impression. we often only post with our problems not the successes. For example 2 of my 3 children slept brilliantly from newborn, but you can't post saying "all my children sleep so well, I'm so lucky". Nor can you post saying "my children eat well and are doing well at school", etc. So maybe reading mumsnet might make you think it's all problems and worries cos that's what gives us something to talk about.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:53:01

trust me AA .. any baby you have will not be able to swear before you've written your manual

snafu Wed 16-Feb-05 20:53:56

But a family is neither a corporation nor, god forbid, the Army, AA.

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 20:54:22

But children don't remember that rules exist when they WANT something. They just WANT it.

A tantrum, I have realised, is not a reflection on one's parenting, or on one's child's character, it is simply something children have to do when they're at a certain age, like masturbating or putting things in their mouths. No amount of rules will stop it.

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 20:54:46

Precisely snafu and wheresmyfroggy

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 20:55:28

You can write a manual - but when it comes to one of those "bad days when you are harder on your kids" you are more likely to throw it at them than read and inwardly digest. I've read lots of parenting books - I still shout and lose my rag on a regular basis.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:56:07

'like masturbating and putting things in their mouths' .. oh I can hear every adolescent male cry if only <snurk>

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:56:09

Twiglett- right on. But wouldn't it help to explore and thereby define ones humanist values in more depth rather than apply them situation by situation and thereby risk inconsistency? I really do believe (without having experimented) that maybe my life as a parent wouldn't be sooo difficult if I had happy children who understood our 'family values' and consequences/behavioral reinforcement for not abiding by them.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 20:56:39

I am very much enjoying this thread .. thanks for bringing some life back to MN AA

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 20:57:35

Me too even though it's taken me ages to read it.

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 20:57:49

AA: If your children are dreadful bores and have tantrums in the supermarket, will you feel like a failure as a mum?

Is motherhood just another thing you think you might be able to make a 'success' of?

Your goals all seem very geared to making YOU feel better about yourself. Not meant to be flippant, but if you really feel such a big hole in your self, I would really recommend psychotherapy.

Or gardening.

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 20:58:01

lol at Fennel's post - we could have a smug mum's section:

My DS does his homework before I tell him to
My DD irritates me by saying Please and Thank You at the drop of a hat
My DH had just vacuumed the whole house, done the laundry, cleaned the kitchen, put the shelves up, cooked a cordon bleu meal and rogered me senseless

Hmm - can you imagine the responses?

Yes, Mumsnet may give a false view of marriage and parenting

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 20:58:57

Children Masterbating??? OMG... I'm not ready at all for this sort of thing!

Slinky Wed 16-Feb-05 20:59:26

I have "family values" ie, no chocolate/sweets for breakfast and yes, you are to be in bed before 8pm - but it still doesn't stop my 5yo DD2 throwing a "hissy fit" because she DOES want chocolate for breakfast!

You can have all the rules/regulations posted around the house - but you will still have the kids pushing the boundaries.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 21:00:07

my life as a parent is extremely easy

it is the one time in your life when you have ultimate power over another individual, but when you would kill rather than exercise that power in any way other than for that child's good

it is black and white .. I love my children with a ferocious protective love, they entertain me and colour my view of the world .. any manual I would have written before having children would be thrown out of the window because I have changed so much by having them, knowing them and loving them

and if I could meet my 32 year old non-parental self I am not sure I would recognise myself .. having a child is life-changing

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 21:01:01

You sound so much of an idealist, AA, that perhaps you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. Having children is a very steep learning curve - and family life is never perfect, nor do children conform to all your ideals. They are individuals, and you learn to live together as a family by muddling through - not by having pre-determined ideas about what you will be like as a parent and what your child will be like. It's hard, it's harder than anything else you will ever do (if you choose to do it, and only you can decide that) - but the rewards are unimaginable.

snafu Wed 16-Feb-05 21:01:08

<<I really do believe (without having experimented) that maybe my life as a parent wouldn't be sooo difficult if I had happy children who understood our 'family values' and consequences/behavioral reinforcement for not abiding by them>>

In principle, I don't disagree. It's what the millions of parenting manuals already out there (yes, you've been beaten to it I'm afraid!) effectively say anyway. But there are a million of 'em precisely because you simply can't run a family like you run a company. You can have all the behavioural reinforcement you like and something will always come and bite you on the bum. That's half the fun of it.

You are putting the cart before the horse. Stop overthinking - and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

caligula! I was thinking of making that very post today actually, but I decided against it as it wouldn't be true.

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 21:03:19

Morningstar... just because you felt you needed psycotherapy doesn't mean everyone else does. And yes of course I'm talking about myself- I don't have to worry about anyone else (kids) right now and after all it IS my life so why should I not make goals for myself and my happiness? Anyway there is only so much you can control about others around you, it is best to concentrate on yourself and what makes you happy because if you are not happy your hubby/kids will see it and be affected. Just like a grumpy manager affects his coworkers, it is important to think about such things!!

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 21:04:25

I think you shouldn't have children AA

Gobbledigook Wed 16-Feb-05 21:04:52

This thread is one of the most bizarre I've ever read!

Worth it for Caligula's and Twiglett's words of wisdom though - as usual

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 21:05:09

(I have said that because I am wondering what response it will generate)

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 21:05:13

lol Twiglett

Tinker Wed 16-Feb-05 21:05:13

Agree with Twiglett

Slinky Wed 16-Feb-05 21:05:17

Twig - just turned to the TV (Life Begins just started!) and thought the exact same thing myself - but too scared to post it first

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 21:05:29

@ gobble

Gobbledigook Wed 16-Feb-05 21:05:29

Oh and marthamoo for using the term 'lose my rag' - one of my favourites too and I do it on a regular basis!

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 21:06:20

You seem to know an awful lot about having kids and what works best etc......................................

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 21:06:21

By the way I've started a Smug Mums thread if you would like to show off about anything this evening...

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 21:06:33

Off to watch Life Begins!

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 21:06:44

It's got us talking again though, hasn't it? Been very quiet on here of late.

snafu Wed 16-Feb-05 21:07:08

Yes, thanks for this. Going to watch C. Quentin and eat Toblerone.

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 21:08:25

Ooh ta, almost forgot!

prunegirl Wed 16-Feb-05 21:08:32

Message withdrawn

lockets Wed 16-Feb-05 21:08:37

.........in theory.

Fennel Wed 16-Feb-05 21:10:38

Happiness is a really funny thing to measure though. there's a Dutch social scientist who's been studying and trying to measure it for decades and he recently published research that "showed" that parents in their 30s and 40s are less happy than those of this age without children. but at age 85 the parents overtook the child-free in happiness! I was very interested in this research but it doesn't seem to tally with what I see when I look around me at friends with and withouth children - maybe we would be "happier" if we could have lovely long child-free holidays and excel in our careers and have great sex day and night etc. instead of endlessly looking after small screaming children. but even so I would choose the children even if the statistics show that my "happiness" is less. as some of the others said it's maybe a biological imperative.

AmericanAngle Wed 16-Feb-05 21:10:41

Okay, enough.. I don't need to be a platform for laughter. There are many pre-mom's out there who try to plan so I'm no different. If you need an outlet, you have obviously found on on this thread.

As for bragging, I thought all moms bragged about thier kids. Well American mom's do anyway and I hear it can get quite annoying.

Finally, as far as kids go I have 'practiced' on my niece, nephew and families kids all under age 8 so I do have some 'theories' all of which obviously can't be proven unless I have kids which is why I've resorted to bouncing ideas off of mumsnet.

Later.

stupidgirl Wed 16-Feb-05 21:13:45

Just having family rules doesn't mean children stick to them. As someone else said, parenting manuals are all very well, but the bad days (when you need them) are the precise times when you wont want to read them (IYSWIM). IMHO, having strict ideas about how children will react in certain situations, and strict ideas of how to deal with them is a sure way to set yourself up for trouble. Children are individuals and family life has, to a certain extent, to go with the flow. Anyone who starts out with ultra-structured expectations is going to be disappointed. And children growing up in that kind of high-pressure environment are likely to be miserable.

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 21:13:58

I don't think anyone's laughing at you AA .. maybe laughing in recognition of what we were like pre-children and how much we've changed

I'm sorry if you're affronted .. parenthood really is a kind of club .. you can't know what its really like until you're in it (and borrowing relations doesn't count I'm afraid)

hope you work out what you want to do before its too late for you

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 21:15:17

Fennel: All very fascinating and I totally agree with your thoughts.

However, 85?! I imagine I'll be so miserable with my decrepit body by then that a small iota of happiness about my family won't really make that much difference...

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 21:15:44

Yes good luck with your quest AA.

Fennel Wed 16-Feb-05 21:17:46

we are not all laughing at you AA, I have a few friends who have chosen not to have children and I think they are very sensible.

as for bragging, in the UK we have to do it in a more subtle way, pretending we are not doing it. i.e. my dd is SO stupid she can only speak 2 languages age 5...

stupidgirl Wed 16-Feb-05 21:19:12

Duh, it takes me so long te get into words what I am trying to say that everything has moved on by the time I post.

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 21:20:06

lol stupidgirl

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 21:20:32

stupidgirl your posts were worth waiting for!

Fennel Wed 16-Feb-05 21:20:36

morningpaper, yes 85 seems a long way off doesn't it? I'd have guessed about 5 years before you regained the level of happiness. but that's what I mean about how it's measured.

actually you get different answers if you ask people are they "happy", "content", "satisfied" with their life, children, work etc, which is what excites the social scientists among us...

anchovies Wed 16-Feb-05 21:21:32

I'm the same stupidgirl, I always cut then refresh and then paste just to make sure im not 20 posts behind!

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 21:21:33

Fennel: I can imagine. I would definitely describe myself as content and satisfied... happy is rather more elusive!

nappybaglady Wed 16-Feb-05 21:32:01

AA - great thread. I'm only sorry i found it when it was starting to cool off and everything's already been said.

Just wanted to add that having kids has truly filled a hole in my life which I truly didn't know was there.

They also make life so much simpler in many ways - there are enough real problems (food in fridge? clean Knickers for all? out of house on time?) to not really worry about the myriad things that I used to worry my pretty little head about.

Sure, today has been crap. I've been at home with the kids and I've shouted and thrown stuff. I'm at work for the next 2 days and, although I love my job, I'm just waiting for saturday and the chance to go through it all again because I'm tied to them more strongly than you will ever know unless you have kids.

Good luck with your future.

jollymum Wed 16-Feb-05 21:40:08

AA-respect to you for wanting more than just being a mum-you have big ideas and no doubt wll get them sorted. BUT that day when the ob/gyn says he's sorry, but no babies, or maybe a choice of NT/SN kids, where will you be? Does every decision have to be so sorted into compartments? Lighten up, ditch the manual and make cakes with your kids. Shout at them, wash them, take them to the park and just be proud that you are given the chance to be a mum. What if, god forbid DH loses his job and you go onto Social Security...are you not worthy to have kids then? I have, every day, a thought of how my day should/could develop.. I work and spend most of my life feeling torn between DH, work, kids, relatives and .....ME! In 20 years time, those kids will be away, off your hands and you can do other things.You sound like a very intelligent person, I had to concentrate on your posts and really listen to/read them carefully. Being a parent IS about plannng, but it's also about taking that one step at a time. EXAMPLE....I was dressed up for my one night out in the year, a Xmas bash and on hugging my DS1 (aged2) he threw up all over my dress. Should I a) go to the party in another outfit (hadn't really got anything and knew people would pass comment on my crappy dress sense) or b) go down the local pub, having settled DS with babysitter, get well giggly with DH, both of us dressed down and have a "romantic" night?

Answer, b} hence DS 2!!!!

Branster Wed 16-Feb-05 22:35:22

I can't believe how big this thread has got! I haven't got time to read all the posts.

I have never, ever had any inclination or desire towards baby things, kids, child rearing etc. Have never gone all soft over little babies or anything like that. Of course I like children and find them refreshing and amusing and very interesting but it's not something that I ever wanted to investigate closer. They're just like pretty, delicate and amazing flowers, which I do not wish to disturb because their parents/carers know how to look after them. And to tell you the truth I am a bit afraid of small children. And I've always treated children like adults, they seemed to like it, I was OK with that and didn't have to spend much time around them. At any rate I never wanted kids and never had any inward desire to have any.

And yes I also believe in going out to work in a job you enjoy in order preferably to earn money (all the women in my family always worked and my mum had a very high position in a very demanding environment which I admired about her).

Also, I knew for a fact that giving birth is just not very pleasant and that pregnancy & birth spoil your appearance. And I am vain like that: I don't want to suffer if I can avoid it and I care a lot about how I look and am a self-centred cow if you like. So another big reason for not wanting children.

Subconsciously I did sort of plan of adopting at a later date because I've seen a lot of orphaned children and it did affect me to such an extent that I thought 'well, it's actually selfish to have your own child when you could save an existing life'. The only problem being of course you don't know what you end up with and how could you cope. Nowadays I think those who adopt are to be admired, it must be harder in certain ways than bringing up your own child. So I take my hat off to them.

Anyway, DH came along, we got married and he did want children, I didn't really but I started reading about it etc and took an informed decision (also based on my love for DH, the fact that everyone seems to manage OK with kids around etc) to have a child. I sort of planned it in terms of healthy eating and so on and read all the books I could on the subject all the time being fully aware that it is not an easy job to do especially as it didn't come from the heart, but from my brain.

Pregnancy was a breeze, I enjoyed it 100%, birth was the most difficult event in my life to date. Unfortunately, I had this unreasoned idea that I would go for natural delivery. Wrong choice but I survived. It must have been the hormones because my normal self would have chosen an elective caesarean. I also decided to breastfeed DD which was very easy.

Above anything else I never put any pressure on myself at any point. I just thought: this is what I would like to do, if it works fine, if it doesn't I try something else. Even during pregnancy I was thinking if I miscarry that’s the way it is. Maybe it’s a sort of self-defence in not putting my hopes up too high so I don’t get too disappointed and then suffer.

I think of DD as being the most special and perfect being in this universe and I do all the silly mumsy things with her and miss her when she’s not by my side and so on.

But as with anything, if you don’t have it you won’t miss it. Unless you really want it before you have it.

Maybe you can identify yourself with some of my experiences but it ahs to be your very own decision. And it’s easier if it comes from the heart. If my DH wasn’t bothered about having children I wouldn’t have had any ever and I truly think it wouldn’t have bothered me.

expatinscotland Wed 16-Feb-05 22:41:01

If I didn't have to work (and do a law course part-time starting in September), I'd have loads of kids.

I'm American myself but I think 99% of my fellow countrymen and women analyse stuff too much.

Everyone's experience of life is different. I agree w/Twiglett's original response - want to have 'em, do it. Don't want to, don't.

It really is that simple.

stupidgirl Wed 16-Feb-05 22:45:04

Wel thank you MP

wordsmith Wed 16-Feb-05 23:10:44

What an interesting thread. Branster, agree with your last post. Kids are great, most of the time, but you can't miss what you don't have, and unless you have an overwhelming desire to have kids it's perfectly possible to build a brilliant, fulfilling and satisfying life without them. I'm sure that I would be doing some of the things I'd always dreamed of, career and travel-wise, if I hadn't had my kids, but on the other hand, I doubt if I would find something new every day to laugh at and wonder over as I do with them. But I doubt if I would have missed them if I didn't have them - how could I? You can't love abstract people, you can only love the ones you know, so all you would have is an idea, not a reality. Just like I miss my jetsetting creative top ranking billion dollar earning career - I never had one, just a reasonably satisfying, reasonably lucrative, reasonably enjoyable occupation which I still find interesting and distracting enough to keep up with (part time and freelance) while I bring up my boys.

The most revealing thing I ever heard as a new mum was from a friend of mine who had her child a few months before me and, like me, was happy to be a mum but had never longed for kids. She said the biggest shock for her was that she couldn't decide to 'switch off' at a certain time of the day from being a mum, ie at 6pm when she was used to getting back from work. The work was never-ending. And that is one hell of a shock!

The other thing I would say is that first time round, like many new mums, I tried to do it 'right', read the 'manuals', forced the sleep pattern, etc etc, and it wasn't until no 2 came along that I realised that he hadn't read the same manual as me! No 1 must just have been especially accommodating, I guess.

Good luck with your decision, AA, it's great that you're taking the potential responsibility seriously, but at 34 I think you can afford to loosen up a bit and not be so diary-driven. You're obviously not ready yet - neither was I (I was 37 before I had a child). And you can try and engineer your brilliant career so that you can combine it with bringing up a child - neither has to be totally at the expense of the other - you just need to accept a bit of compromise.

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 23:15:26

Been thinking about this thread while watching Life Begins and Desperate Housewives.

I remember when I was a child and was given my pocket money and I would be itching to spend it. I would stand in the toy-shop deliberating and my Dad always said "if you're not sure...then don't."

I think it holds true for spending money and having children. It's too life changing and momentous a decision to be entered into if you are not sure. You have to reach a point when you know it is right for you.

And I don't believe anyone is laughing at you, AA.

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 23:17:22

Embarrassingly, in these kind of discussions, I always think of something Nicole Kidman (of all people) said about having children on Desert Island Discs: "It opens up a part of your heart you didn't know was there".

You never need to know it was there and you won't miss it if you never had it.

But once you've had it, you miss it.

Like orgasms and heroin, I guess (I'm familiar with one, not the other). Not the best analogies, but same idea!

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 23:21:13

Which one, Caligula?

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 23:24:21

cackle cackle - I like to retain my air of mystery - you'll have to guess that one!

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 23:43:48

Damn. I've spilled my guts about my lesbian experiences on beety's thread - least you could do is confess all on here!

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 23:44:56

Oh all right then - I've never taken heroin!

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 23:49:43

Oh. I guessed wrong then

Caligula Wed 16-Feb-05 23:53:24

Cheeky mare!

AussieSim Wed 16-Feb-05 23:59:50

How about this AA: If you have any doubts about having kids don't do it. Obviously your biological clock isn't compelling you, nor your relationship with your husband.

Obviously you want your euology to read very differently then I would want mine to read, and each to their own. I have used the 'write your own eulogy' exercise in career planning workshops quite successfully to help people take a balanced perspective on their goals (along with other tools of course).

A death bed quote that struck home with me very strongly when I was studying econcomics was from Maynard Keynes: 'I wish I'd drunk more champagne' Here is a man who will never be forgotten who was a ground-breaking thinker, but who didn't have enough fun in life - or however you want to read it. I don't want that to be me, and for me having children is a big part of that fun and immensely rewarding and satisfying, despite any bad moments.

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 00:04:13

No one is laughing at you b/c in order to do so it would mean they took notice w/o your having drawn attention to it. I never met so many self-important folks as I did in America (reiterating once again that I am an American expat myself - married to a Scotsman). Teenagers think e/one is looking at and noticing them. But that's supposed to be s/thing we outgrow. Does everything need to be analysed and picked to death?

'Will I still be me after becoming a mother?' 'Will I still have self-respect?' 'Will I still have purpose?'

Um, yeah, if that's what you want. It's really a no-brainer.

skeptic Thu 17-Feb-05 06:25:11

Do you talk in psychobabble in everyday speech, AA?

The reason I am asking is that it seems to be coming from your head and not your heart, and having a baby is very much from the heart.

I've only read up till 7.30 but feel that you have other issues in your life to deal with. You don't seem to have any relationships with normal people (DH excepted), and it looks like you are hankering after the past and not the future.

There's a lot more to life than career, work, money and whatever other trophy you can think of. It's no wonder there's an emptiness in your life that's nagging away at you.

No one really gives a toss if AmericamAngle leaves a legacy, but if your really want to, donate some money to your old high school and they will name a gymnasium after you.

What's the worst thing that could happen if you had a child. That you wouldn't love it? Unlikely. That you wouldn't have the means to care for it? Unlikely. That it wouldn't be the answer to what's missing? Possibly. That you wouldn't feel fulfilled, oops,sorry self-actualized? My view, unlikely. Not if you look to the future and stop looking back at your failure to make it in web development.

Count your blessings, AA, and move on.

skeptic Thu 17-Feb-05 06:43:24

I'm up to the section on rules and manuals.

Of course we have "rules" in our households. I don't know anyone who would admit to having a free-for-all!

The key thing is that they are our rules specifically created for the mix of personalities they apply to. God forbid we go back to the days of Truby King or any other universal parenting expert.

Children learn the rules through their day-to-day activities. They become very clear on what the rules are because they are forever testing them. It is an instinctive thing.

We don't need rule books. What we need is real-live human support (incl. Mumsnet). A book is too one-way and impersonal. It's too crude, too simplistic.

By all means, write a book, and get numerical success. But also prepare to be ridiculed for it (a la GF, Baby Whisperer).

skeptic Thu 17-Feb-05 06:45:54

8:57 "Your goals all seem very geared to making YOU feel better about yourself."

She's a humanist - say no more

jabberwocky Thu 17-Feb-05 08:02:41

Oh, rats, I've missed out on another interesting thread!
Well, if anyone is still reading here's my take on it:
With dh1, I agonized/analyzed over having kids. Why? because he really wasn't the right person to have a baby with and deep down I knew it.
When single I considered adoption thinking that I might never meet anyone again and should really "get on with it". A very good friend gave me the best advice I've ever had. He said, "Having kids is wonderful, but it's also the hardest thing I've ever done. Don't go into it with your head, thinking it's time to do it, or you should do it. Have a baby because you just can't imaging not doing it."
Thus, I met dh2 and the rest is history .

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 08:48:48

Hi - I'm back but only for a second.. there are some pretty bitter people here on AA - take skeptic for example, talk about making wide assumptions & jumping for the jugular. It really makes you wonder if life has beaten them down and whether they had to resort to filling their own holes with reassurance that they weren't -meant- to do more than they have or be personally fulfilled. On the other hand, maybe its down to cultural differences.

As for web dev, I was at the top of my career the well paid in the USA, paid decently in the UK and ran a respectible user group. But every career can cause someone to burn out even if it started as a hobby. It is ok to say goodbye - 10 yrs is a lifetime in IT and is not where I want to live the rest of it. It is now time to reinvent myself (like Cher does hehehe- just think if she listened to people who told her to throw in the towel 30 yrs ago).

Being actualized isn't about 'making it' in your career, it is about reaching your full potential and fufiling your expectations for yourself as a human on this planet. Some never make it but applause to those who at least try. Rather than rally around in defensive gung-ho motherhood speech, I'd have expected some mothers here to say, hey yeah, I did sort of feel that way before I had kids & in fact still do! I'd also like to hear how moms on mumsnet are fufiling themselves & not just existing for their kids or otherwise. I appreciated the person who wrote about telling people to write their own epitaph as a career step - I would die if mine read - "AA, she lived, she loved, she died". If this were an acceptable path in life, there would be no progress & society would literally shut down. It is all of our responsibility to contribute positively to the world isn't it (or is it just to be left to entreprenurial men who only think about themselves? I don't get that attitude.

I do see myself with kids one day and I 'practice' naturally although having a nanny could seriously help at some stages I gather. I just can't picture kids if they'll get in the way of my own development.

And yes I am proud to live life for myself (right now) (and hopefully contribute to humanity). I can see where it might make me selfish if I had kids and still put myself & hubby first, but otherwise calling someone selfish for having personal goals & such seems rather silly.

Finally, I don't know about baby whispering or other parenting techniques, I've never read any parenting books and have only dreamt up a scenario that I might have thrived in better as a kid - aka - parenting manual.

Good luck and if you don't agree that's fine, but please attempt to contribute positively rather than dishing out cheap shots.

serenequeen Thu 17-Feb-05 08:56:05

AA, don't know why you are getting upset, imho you have had a very sympathetic audience here, given your views.

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 08:56:46

glad you came back AA

not sure why you're seeing so much bitterness here though and I find it sad how unfulfilled you feel at 34 despite having had a decade in a very succesful career and a partner who you love and who loves you .. I think your issues must lie deep and maybe you're just one of those people who will never be content

TBH I feel you wanted people to tell you its all a con this parenthood lark, we hate every mind-numbing day, it is as awful as you envisage .. well none of us can .. because it isn't like that .. there are ups and downs as with everything but the ups are so much higher than the frustrating humdrum downs it doesn't overall matter

I am sitting at home with 2 sick kids (temperatures / snot / vomiting) .. I'm still happy

If you see yourself with kids some day, you need to take a hard look at yourself .. over the age of 35 a THIRD of women have fertility problems, over 40 TWO THIRDS .. its just fact

But that said, remaining childless is a valid life choice .. and if that's the way you want to go then that's great

I hope you find out how to be happy with what you've got rather than striving for others' acclaim

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 09:18:10

Do you know when I learned to be happy? it was when DH was diagnosed with a progressively debilatating, life-long condition at 28

.. its amazing how a touch of heartache can make you so incredibly grateful and happy for everything else in your life .. I was different before: more egotistical, more selfish - I am better now

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 09:24:17

< I just can't picture kids if they'll get in the way of my own development.>

AA, they will, they will. Get in the way of your career development that is, but not your development as a fully rounded human being.

ghosty Thu 17-Feb-05 09:25:39

Jabberwocky, you aren't the only one that missed an interesting thread .... I always miss them on account of being on the other side of the world ...
I do want to contribute a little bit however
AA .... This is my take on your question(s) ....
I suffered from Post Natal Depression after my first child was born and to be honest there were a good few months where I felt that there had been a conspiracy ... when I was pregnant all the older ladies I worked with spent most of there time going all misty eyed when they looked at my bump and then after my son was born they all came out with their awful stories. I felt that everyone had lied to me about childbirth and motherhood and I would look around my and think "Why is everyone happy when I am in living hell here???" I will even go so far as to say that I hated nearly everyone I knew who had had kids for lying to me ....
BUT .... You talk about personal growth and your children getting in the way of that ....
Well, I can honestly truly say that it is since the birth of my son that I have grown as a person .... my 'personal growth' since becoming a mother has been phenomenal ... I sometimes can't believe how much I have changed for the better in the last 5 years. I never realised what a selfish, self obsessed person I was before I had children .... Nothing makes you wake up and understand what the world is about more than being a mother. We all want to make a difference in the world and make the world a better place but unless you are a millionnaire or someone very famous that can take a film crew to some orphanage in a poor country to raise money that is a hard thing to do. When you become a mother you have the responsibility of raising the future generation, of teaching your children to be better people than the generation before .... our children are the leaders of tomorrow and we have the chance to teach them right from wrong and show them the path to a better world. What greater, more important job is there?????
My children are the making of me .... because of them I am a better person, a better wife, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend .... I am a better human being.
I don't know who originally said this but ....
"In a hundred years time it won't matter how much money you had, what car you drove, what clothes you wore. It won't matter how big your house was or where you went on holiday. All that counts is that you made a difference in a child's life" ....
Being a parent is not about giving birth so if you want to adopt go for it .... god knows there are millions of children out there that need loving homes ....
Jackie Kennedy once said, "If you bungle raising your children, nothing else you do in your life matters .... "

Blimey ... went off on one there didn't I?

skeptic Thu 17-Feb-05 09:26:00

Oh, FFS, AA, get over yourself!

Life, humanity, whatever will go on with or without your contribution. What makes you think you are different to anyone else?

Stop being so self-obsessed and look around you. We are generally happy and content and joyful. This doesn't mean that life doesn't have its ups and downs, but those are what shape us into the people we are (gawd, I'm making myself feel sick now). A lot of us have turned our backs of meaningful careers - and this is often through choice. Motherhood opens fars more doors than it closes. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I look at some of my high-earning former colleagues who are childless or have maybe just one child, and I wouldn't trade their lives for mine - despite the £80k salaries.

I am not bitter; in fact I am full of joy; and I am very au fait with your culture. I am trying to shake you into reality. Glad you've at least noticed my posts, if not reacted positively to them. It's a seed I'm hoping to plant.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 09:26:06

PLus, AA, I don't think you've really had any negative comments on here, just some views which differ from your own, and some which agree. Which ones are negative?

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 09:26:46

Whoops, just read Skeptic's!

Clayhead Thu 17-Feb-05 09:26:55

AA, I too am surprised that you are upset, your thread title asked for opinions and you got plenty of well written, thoughtful views.

Clayhead Thu 17-Feb-05 09:28:14

BTW, my nan worked in factories all her life, she'll never be remembered for anything she did at work but I teach my dd how to bake cakes like my nan showed me; she is remembered and she made a difference.

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 09:28:31

Twiglett- ah! Well that makes sense... I could see myself 100% in your place if my hubby were diagnosed with a condition or disease.. tragedy really gives a new perspective in life. I can picture a natural urge to reproduce in the face of loss and concern for a loved one.

Despite my previous convo, when I picture myself at 85, I picture myself having had 4 kids but it is a non-sequitor at this point.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 09:28:50

Ghosty what a brilliant post.

RudyDudy Thu 17-Feb-05 09:30:04

I haven't read all of this thread so sorry if this is of the point...

I have 1 DS and am expecting my 2nd later this year. I am currently doing a part-time degree for a professional qualification for a new career. Combining the 2 things is, of course, challenging and at times seems too much but ultimately I am finding both very rewarding. Partly I am continuing with my course because I want to be qualified in my chosen profession when my kids go to school and I will want something for myself. Also, I believe that by carrying on I am being a good role model for my children. What I would say is that I would not be able to achieve both things (the course and successfully raising a family) without planning and a good support network. In the latter I include mumsnet and I think it is natural that a lot of the posts are people talking about childcare issues and parenting as that is the common bond of the site. I'm sure if you went on an IT consultants chatsite they would all talk about problems related to that.

I understand that it feels like a big decision to make all I would say on that is that you can never know what it will be like until you have your own kids, no matter how much reading and research you do and also that no time will ever feel like the right time. Perhaps part of the amazingness of it all is that it takes a leap of faith.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 09:32:28

< my purpose in the world, to self actualize (I haven't actualized yet for the record). >

(From AA's original post)

Can AA, or anyone, please explain what this means?

ghosty Thu 17-Feb-05 09:32:33

Wordsmith, tbh I am a bit shocked by it myself ...

Blackduck Thu 17-Feb-05 09:35:14

"I just can't picture kids if they'll get in the way of my own development" Then don't have any, they are human beings which have a habit of 'getting in the way' be they mothers, fathers, lovers, friends or..surprisingly, children....
I didn't want children, ds was not planned, I haven't turned into an earth mother, but I know I have changed and in many ways for the better.....

RudyDudy Thu 17-Feb-05 09:36:19

I do agree with AA <<ducks>> that self-actualisation is important. My interpretation of it being that it is how we get our sense of self worth from ourselves rather than from how we are perceived in the world. However, I don't think that it necessarily comes from a career - I think that is more likely to be external actualisation - ie others perception of your worth and success. I also don't think that it has to be mutually exclusive with motherhood - ie I can either be a mom or I can be self-actualised. I don't think I've achieved self-actualisation yet as I am still too concerned about what others think of me but I think I am on the way and I think I am closer to it because of being a mom.

Lonelymum Thu 17-Feb-05 09:39:23

I keep flitting in and out of this thread but I can't follow the whole of it (too many kid related things to do - does that mean my worth as a thinking adult human being is devalued? - maybe it is). I just feel I have to say one thing: if the decision to have or not have children is this agonising, I think the best solution is probably not to have them. As I said in my first post, to me, having kids was a biological fact of life. If everyone thought too long about what child rearing would be like and what consequences it would have on our other achievements, the world population would be a lot smaller. Either have them because you want them (for whatever reason) or don't have them and get on with your life. But if this much agonising has to take place first, I would suggest children were not the right thing for you.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 09:43:36

If self-actualisation means achieving your own potential, aren't there multiple ways of doing this - several "right" answers?

If there's only one right answer, then surely it's nigh impossible to achieve your own potential without being a parent. Parenthood reaches the other parts of your potential that other things can't. Parenthood isn't a substitute for career or good works. You can do it all. Focussing on career/moneymaking is a very narrow path, and it has to result in untapped potential.

batters Thu 17-Feb-05 09:43:48

AA - not read the bulk of this thread.

But to your original question - at 34 you'll need to make a decision reasonably soon about whether or not you want kids. You need to be aware of all the problems of conceiving in later life, which is what the health services will be seeing you as doing. I wouldn't dream of saying that chosing not to have children is selfish - it's not.

Pregnancy IMO is crap. But there you go. But 9 months of crap is nothing compared to the baby you end up with. I haven't forgotten the pain or generally yuckiness I felt through pregnancy but looking back it just isn't important anymore - I have a wonderful little girl out of it. Would I live my life again in the same way to get my daughter? Absoloutely.

I also think websites like this are a complete reality check. Have a look at some of the pregnancy and giving birth threads - no flowery language here, posters are saying what they are feeling and going through.

My primary purpose is now to make the best life possible for my little girl. Every thing I do I do after thinking about the impact on her. But I don't just live for her, I still live for me and for my partner. I have a good life work balance (which took a long time to achieve), I have good friends that I go out with and I am happy. Maybe then I have the self actualisation you talk about?

You can procrastinate, debate, think about having a baby for the next 5 years. But however much research you do, however much you look after other people's babies and children, nothing can prepare you for the love and feelings you will experience with your own child.

I don't see you as being selfish as I've said before, but neither do I think "good for you" as you don't seem that happy or fulfilled to me in your current life style. I hope that changes in whatever way you want it to.

Beansmum Thu 17-Feb-05 09:44:28

what?? I'm sorry, but what on earth does self-actualize mean and why can't people just get on with their lives without all this analysing.

AA, if you're not sure you want kids then don't have them, it doesn't make you selfish or a bad person.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 09:44:53

Lonelymum, that's what I've read into the thread too. That somehow my contribution to society is crap and that I am a lesser person because I've turned my back on my career.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 09:44:53

Lonelymum, that's what I've read into the thread too. That somehow my contribution to society is crap and that I am a lesser person because I've turned my back on my career.

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 09:46:57

AA .. don't get me wrong .. DH's diagnosis had abosultely NOTHING to do with our decision to have children ... you are right in that 'tragedy' (although this isn't tragic, just our lives) gives a new perspective in life .. it does

but so does having kids (without the tragedy)

I was trying to say (albeit clumsily) that I used to be more like you before DH's diagnosis, more out for external validation.. After the diagnosis I looked inwards a lot more and decided the only thing that counted was how I felt about myself and how DH felt about me

I didn't have my first child until 4 years after that realisation .. because I felt my biological clock start ticking at 32

You really don't have to have children

But I think deep down you want to be a mom.. its just you feel now is not the right time .. here's a heads-up .. there's never a right time to take that monumental leap into the unknown .. sometimes you've just got to hold your breath, shut your eyes and go for it and hope that you land somewhere amazing

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 09:48:28

ewwww you made me go all schmaltzy there (puke) .. sorry MNers

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 09:49:09

Ameriscot .. actually you're a far better person .. we know that and you know it too

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 09:50:31

Hee, hee, that's not how I feel personally . But somehow, I think AA is looking down on us all . Pesky mothers!

Caligula Thu 17-Feb-05 09:53:13

Hmm, yes, that's the impression I get Ameriscot. Perhaps that's why people have come back with a sometimes negative tone AA?

You seem to be denigrating anything that isn't either career or changing the world based. So unless we're Nicola Horlick or Che Guevara, we're wasting our lives?

I know that's probably not what you're saying, but that's how it's coming across (to me anyway).

stripey Thu 17-Feb-05 09:54:01

Not read the whole thread but my advise would be don't do it - you're definitely not ready. I think if you do have children then you have to be prepared to put their needs above your own. What would you do if you did have a child and it had special needs?

Good luck with your decision and for what its worth I originally decided I didn't want children and even told dh before we married but after travelling enjoying myself and doing several other things I decided I did want to after all and I was lucky enough to be able to conceive naturally and easily and have to beautiful healthy boys and I would do anything for them.

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 09:54:20

I don't think she is really Ameriscot .. I think she's just confused about where her life is going ..

The way I see it is I think she'd be incredibly surprised to realise her posts might be offensive to others, because she's examining herself not commenting on others ... we see it because there is a certain kind of 6th sense empathy you develop when you become a parent .. you don't have it before ..

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 09:55:52

Skeptic... forgive me but I'm not looking for an 80k salary or even a 200k salary... 200k won't buy me a detached house in this country (at least not in surrey hehehe) and I cannot even being to accept bringing up kids in anything else, I won't have it IMHO.

Why am I different? I don't understand the question. I suppose I create a vision of how I want my reality to be and then I go out and attempt make it happen. Sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes ppl get in my way, I do tend to bang heads with people who live by a program that does not make complete sense to me. My hubbie is like that too to a degree. For example, my hubbie was in Middle School (age 15) and wanted to take College (uni) classes. It was not 'the way' to allow middle school kids - what about the entrance exams etc ppl asked. What stupid rules. If a person can handle the class they'll do well, if not they'll do poorly and a lesson would have been learned. For the record, he took 5 uni classes before graduating High School and I took 2... some of us just exist to buck the system I suppose.


but sometimes I am genuinely surpised how well it all worked out.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 09:57:07

In truth, Twiglett, that wasn't my first impression. It was only when I went to analyse everything, that I saw that. It just goes to show that instinct is better than rationality sometimes.

Lonelymum Thu 17-Feb-05 09:57:45

If AA looks down on us because we are mums, then there is her answer: don't have children. Apart from child abusers, I can't think of anything worse than someone who has a child and then resents the impact that child has on their precious career. Yes I had a career I was quite proud of years ago. Yes I gave it up to have my children. Yes I miss having a career sometimes. But yes, I also believe I am doing the most important job anyone can do in the entire world. If all society collapses and we revert back to stone age culture, MUMS will still be important.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 09:58:47

Most people don't fund houses out of one year's salary.

Are you in Surrey, AA?

RudyDudy Thu 17-Feb-05 09:59:21

- are you for real AA??? I can't even begin to comment on the reasons why you don't need a detached house (even in Surrey) to raise a family but if that is really the sort of thing you think then I think you would get a real shock were you to have kids and that your priorities would be completely turned on their head.

Fennel Thu 17-Feb-05 09:59:52

I think people have been a bit unfair on AA - she is asking perfectly reasonable questions.

I really don't see why it's more selfish to want to be happy or leave worthwhile things behind you than to want children. you could argue that having children is the epitomy of selfishness - reproducing yourself in smug obsessive self-centredness.

sometimes I do feel (at the worst times) that I have ruined my life by having children in the sense that I could have been doing very worthwhile things which I just do not have the energy for with 3 small children. in a way it would have been nice not to have had the urge to have them and to be free to do all those meaningful things (working in refugee camps with aids victims, campaigning against war, working to reduce environmental damage, things my friends without children are doing).

so yes I think they can get in the way of many things but hopefully only for a short time and then you can get back to doing all the other things!

Mud Thu 17-Feb-05 10:00:32

God this is interesting

americanangle you really are no different from anyone else although you seem to feel you should be - different? better?

in my view you should NOT have children because it sounds like you will make their lives miserable with your expectations and how much you care about what other people think about you and yours

continue on your path for international recognition for some new widget that people could probably live without and don't particularly care about, because that would be a life worth living wouldn't it

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 10:02:39

AA I don't understand what your last comment to me refers to because this thread is moving too quickly

Please explain which of my comments got the response "In truth, Twiglett, that wasn't my first impression. It was only when I went to analyse everything, that I saw that. It just goes to show that instinct is better than rationality sometimes"

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:04:39

AA, have you thought about going back to American to raise a family?

I think that sometimes it can be easier to balance a career and family life there because there is a much stronger work ethic which is very accommodating to families (eg lots of good childcare options, after-school programs etc.). You could probably find a decent sized house for not a lot of money.

Where are from in the States?

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:05:53

That was me, Twiglett. My first impression was that AA was not looking down on us; it was only when I read, and re-read that I though perhaps she was. I'm sure she isn't really

tatt Thu 17-Feb-05 10:06:28

too long to read this thread but I don't mind if I repeat things. One of the things about having children is that it teaches you to repeat things endlessly

Until I had my children I was quite happy being childfree. I enjoyed playing with other people's children but was quite happy to give them back again. If my hormones had me feeling broody I'd go visit someone with a baby and decide I didn't want my life to be like that. Then for some reason - probably hormonal - I decided to go for it. As soon as I was pregnant I regretted it and throughour pregnancy I looked on the baby as a parasite. When she was born there was no overwhelming rush of love just a fierce need to protect.

Now I think she's the best thing I ever made, except perhaps for my son Having a child clearly turns normally well balanced (I hope ) people into something totally different. Are there days when I regret it - of course, no life is perfect - but far fewer than the others.

You wish to make something of your life and be rembered for it - you can still do that with a child but there is no doubt it is harder. You may lose the will to do it. At the moment that may seem terrible but if it happens you will wonder why you ever felt like that. But if you opt to continue the human race you ensure there is someone worth making things for. Probably not entirely true that no-one has on their tombstone "I wish I'd spent more time at the office" but if that's how you think you'll feel when you die make the choice that's right for you. There are probably website for child free people where you will find the opposite view - I tried visiting a club for childfree people once though and didn't like it.

lockets Thu 17-Feb-05 10:07:02

AA Do you honestly think that children ever look back at their upbringing and judge it's happiness on the size of house and whether it was detatched. SHALLOW . Good Lord !!!! We live in a flat and my little girl is happy, lively , well fed and she is learning .

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 10:13:18

Ameriscot, why do you care so much about whether I look down on you or not? Talk about defensiveness!
We're talking about whether I'd be happy with myself If I should have kids now, wait until I actualize, or don't have them. Everyone elses decisions here have already been made so it is a different conversation.

I'm exploring the risks/rewards & life balancing options of becomming a mother eventually and I do have a strong opinion about those who get pregnant without fully considering the impact it will have on their lives and being totally irresponsible about it. It is certainly a 1 way decision and who wants to resent having kids (and I am 100% sure people do - just look at the abusive (physical & emotional) family situations all around). I wonder also how many of you have teenagers on this thread vs really young kids as I can see myself handling the young kids but crumbling when a teen pushes the limits.

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 10:15:25

There are lots of people on this thread trying to take you seriously and answer your questions politely and intelligently, AA.

But you have to know that you will just end up pissing people off if you carry on with this ill-informed and frankly insulting rubbish about the size of the house you will 'need' to raise a child in.

FWIW< I don't think you are remotely ready to have children. I wish you well with your moneymaking schemes and inventions. Just be aware that it's life, not just kids that sometimes gets in the way.

beansontoast Thu 17-Feb-05 10:16:01

hi AA
this thread has been very thought provoking.and i am in awe of how eloquent some of the posters are.
too many to name

you said something about kids possibly getting in the way of personal dev/growth or something.
my experience is that having a son has been a FAST TRACK to personal growth.

x

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 10:16:29

I think most people here (not all) have young children

many of us have no idea how we will cope when they are broody, hormonal teens

I hope we will survive it .. but however much I plan now (which I don't .. at all) it is going to be horrendous I am sure .. but also will have its own rewards as you see your child strive for independence .. and humour as you watch them do stupid things

what fun .. looking forward to it

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 10:16:55

Lockets - it is a difference in lifestyle. I grew up in a large house on an acre of land. There is nothing special or posh about it, it is normal life in the USA... many ppl from my state would cringe about the concept of semi-detached homes (unless they're from NYC and call it a multi-million $$ brownstone). I don't put on airs, I live here b/c of hubby and like it, but have certain expectations/standards about my home. I am certainly not putting anyone down if they are happy with the home they live in, it is just my own cultural standards and is nothing haughty really.

Flossam Thu 17-Feb-05 10:18:51

I'm sorry I haven't had time to read all the posts here, but felt I wanted to add my two pence worth!

I had my DS about the same time as collision (14 weeks now). He was my first baby and was an unplanned pregnancy. Before I got pregnant I loved the idea of having a baby, couldn't wait to be a mum. Couldn't wait for all the lovely little baby things, clothes, toys, cuddles. All quite superficial stuff I know. When I got pregnant I got quite down about it all. I realised that this child isn't just going to be a baby, he is going to be a little boy, teenager rowing with me and finally an adult. That wasn't something I had really considered. I was worried that I was taking on too much, too young (although I'm not that young really, 24) and that I was always going to regret having my baby.

Well, I don't. Not at all. He is the best thing ever. I can't believe that he is mine. He is getting so big so fast and doing so much more stuff all the time. It is exciting and scary, I want him to slow down, not because I don't want him to be a spotty hormonal teenager, but because I want to savour every moment of him.

Your baby will become the most beautiful thing in the world to you (although probably not to everyone else ), you will delight in all that he does, and yes probably bore the pants off all your friends. But you won't care!

A baby is a huge responsibility, that is obvious. And every so often the thought of that I've never been travelling or that DP and me only had one holiday away together alone (well, whilest pregnant) will cross my mind and I will wish I did more. But in reality, I know I never really wanted to go travelling. DS is enjoyment in himself. All be it a different kind of enjoyment.

The fear of DS becoming a teenager is much less of a worry now. It is such a long time away now. Although time will fly past at amazing speed, and it probably won't seem like long at all, I now know that I do and will love DS enough for me to cope with almost anything he will throw at me.

I didn't enjoy pregnancy, didn't have a bad birth though really. And I want more! DP has agreed to another one at some point, but I don't even know that that will be enough. Yes it is tiring and hard work and lonely at times, but it is definately the most rewarding thing in the world. I don't even mind having huge chunks of my hair being pulled incredibly hard... He managed to get hold of it...clever baby!!!

I hope I might have said a few things here which will help make things clearer for you to make such an important decision. I hope you feel able to make your decision based on reality and what you really want. Good luck!

Caligula Thu 17-Feb-05 10:18:55

Oh God.

This thread is getting rather exhausting.

No-one looks forward to their children being teenagers, but when we get there, we'll deal with it.

Having a big house, lots of money, lots of status, or the acheivement of having "self-actualised" (whatever that means - I'm still not clear) will make not a blind bit of difference to whether we cope with the teenage tantrums any better than the toddler ones.

What will make a blind bit of difference, is if we have built up a solid foundation of love, respect and knowledge of those children.

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 10:19:01

Ok.. I've done enough damage.. I'm off and thank you everyone for your response, I really do value them all even the somewhat negative ones. Later.

Beansmum Thu 17-Feb-05 10:20:33

AA - I got pregnant without fully considering the impact it will have on my life, but that doesn't make me an irresponsible mother and I definitely dont resent ds. We don't live on a detached house and I don't care if he sits 5 uni courses before he finishes school or if he never goes to uni at all, but I love him and he has made me a much happier and much nicer person.

I think you are far too wrapped up in yourself and what people think of you to be a good mother, how would you deal with someone else coming first for the rest of your life?

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 10:21:19

I'm with skeptic on this one, 'GET OVER YOUSELF!'

Of course, I'll be labelled 'bitter' for that, but like I give a toss. I'm a glass half-full person, and I'm so incredibly happy and blessed with my British life. Mostly b/c here in the UK I don't have to encounter as many self-absorbed gits.

Shocked at the negative posts? Welcome to reality! One of the many things I love about Britain - you ask them for their opinion, and they'll give it to you.

jangly Thu 17-Feb-05 10:23:45

I just googled 'self-actualisation' here Quite interesting. Seems its an on-going thing. You don't just wake up one day and think "oh, I've self-actualised". It comes with time and different experiences in life, and being a parent could well be one of those experiences.

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 10:27:44

you've done no damage AA

at its heart nobody cares what you think of us as parents and nobody cares whether or not you have children .. that is your issue and your problem

we merely tried to help from our perspectives as parents, many of whom have had the career you aspire to, others have self-actualised (ridiculous term BTW) in other ways

I don't believe that you have offended people, this is just a website (it is our virtual water cooler )..

personally I think I empathise with the dilemna you are in at the moment

I think you are overthinking it all, I hope you find your own solution and find a way to be happy

must get back to my snot-gobblers now who have me trapped in the house with their illness but still make me giggle

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:29:41

<<Ameriscot, why do you care so much about whether I look down on you or not? Talk about defensiveness!>>

Who said I care? It was just an impression...Makes no difference to my life though

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 10:30:28

One more thing - exactly langly... the challenge is to ensure you can still actualize while being a parent... there is a fear based upon the sacrifice I've heard mom's make, that the path of actualization will get completely buried and I do not want to be derailed. I'd like to hear from mothers who are following their calling/vocation successfully.

ps. Nicola Horlick is certainly a model of motherhood

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 10:32:48

Nicola Horlick is a media-invention of the woman who has it all

if you really think she does have it all, then you've been taking in .. everybody makes compromises there is no such thing as 'it all' there is what makes you content and that's it

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 10:33:32

'taken in' not 'taking'

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:35:48

What you do with your life is up to you, and cannot be destroyed by kids, injury, finances or anything else unless you let it. Your path of 'actualisation' might change depending on what happens in your life but whether you make something of it or not is totally up to you. You can't screen out things you think will stop you like kids, because something unexpected might come along and change your life anyway. What if you always have financial bad luck and can never have a detached house? Will your life automatically mean nothing?

Don't ask other people whether children or anything else will stop you realising your dreams, ask yourself. If you can't work through obstacles to get to your dream, or find a way to change your dream to make you happy but still fit your circumstances then that's a character failing in you, not down to your choices ie having kids or not.

Issymum Thu 17-Feb-05 10:36:31

Should be working, but flicking through this thread I saw this comment:

"I just can't picture kids if they'll get in the way of my own development."

It's probably already been said but if by "development" you mean emotional and spiritual development - then go right ahead.

If by "development" you mean intellectual and career development, then stop right now. They will get "in the way". Children need enormous amounts of time and energy and that gets in the way of careers and just about every other pursuit. It may be politically incorrect to say so, but one of the parents will have to give a lot or (preferably in my view) both give some to meet those needs. And the most amazing thing is that it's not just about 'having to', when you have children you want them to 'get in the way', because you want to spend time with them and the cost of pursuing your career all the way suddenly seems just too high. It all comes down to a messy compromise. Like most of life.

If you are looking to earn over £200K per annum, then, unless you are in an exceptional business (think film/football/tv) it will be difficult to compromise, as for that kind of salary, a body and soul commitment is expected.

Interesting idea by the way to think about what you want on your epitaph. I think I'd like 'Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend and not a bad lawyer either.'

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 10:40:21

Nicola Horlick lost a child to leukaemia. I'd warrant that might have derailed even her for a while.

Issymum Thu 17-Feb-05 10:41:55

Sorry, just seen this.

"I'd like to hear from mothers who are following their calling/vocation successfully."

I'd say that I am (although not if I keep writing on Mumsnet threads) and there are lots of other mothers on Mnet who are doing so. But I have and I will continue to compromise my career to spend the time I want to with my family. And one other factor, I have been very, very lucky. So far.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 10:42:34

< We're talking about whether I'd be happy with myself If I should have kids now, wait until I actualize, or don't have them. >

So, let me get this right, 'actualisation' is an event, something that 'happens', and when it happens you know about it. Something like a car crash, or passing an exam, or having an orgasm?!

Well I guess when AA reaches that point, that blinding flash of self-realisation, she'll finally understand in an instant what the rest of us poor sad sops have been struggling through our whole lives to find, and tbh probably won't fully realise until that deathbed moment. Until then, AA.... good luck.

To go back to AA's post of 10:13, how on earth can you fully consider the impact that having a child will make on your life? You have no way of knowing until you have one! You can make an educated guess based on others' experience and your own observations, but you cannot begin to imagine. This doesn't mean that you can't prepare, but you cannot predict. My boys could grow up to be lifesaving surgeons, environmental campaigners, presidents or drug addicts, I really don't know. But trying my best to guide them in their journey to becoming worthwhile adults, moulding their expectations so they try their best to fulfill their potential, and influencing their attitudes so that they see kindness and respect for others being as worthwhile as their own achievements, will to me be an even more valuable contribution to society than inventing a widget.

Sorry AA I am trying to see your POV but you seem to have a remarkably closed mind for one brought up in wide open spaces!

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:44:16

It sounds like actualizing is something that you'd find in a sci-fi movie.

I'd have thought that it was a process too. Imagine if you actualize too soon. What would you do with the rest of your life? Might as well just top yourself

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:45:11

no, ameriscot, you'd have time to actualise AGAIN!! Then you could sneer down at the plebs who had kids instead and didn't bother to even actualise once!!!

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:46:03

Heck, if they grew up to be plumbers and hairdressers, they'd be making a valuable contribution. Much more so than writing a parenting manual that tells us all what we already know.

GRMUM Thu 17-Feb-05 10:46:21

I have been following this thread with great interest. It seems to be AA that for you this whole discussion on life before/after children , writing manuals ,handling young children but perhapss not being able to handle teenagers is a control thing. And in a way it is, because once you have children some aspects of life are uncontrollable, you can't always gauge the way your children will react in different situations as you can't predict your own reactions either. And on a day to day basis you will react differently to situations as they will do to. And when you feel you have everything 'under control' something will come along and change everything.But that is partof the fun of parethood IMO.
You asked if there are any parents of older children on this site well there are plenty of us. I personnally enjoy my children more and more as they get older (and I loved the baby/toddler stage) But if you are looking for control then forget it because as they get older that is not (again IMO) a viable approach with teenagers. But discussions (and sometimes arguments) get you through a lot. Sometimes you just have to hold your breathe and hope for the best.
One of my favorite pieces of writing which describes my attitude to having children is in The Prophet by Kahil Gibran. Have you read it?

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:46:25

Sounds painful to go through it twice, Wobbly!

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:47:06

God help us if all our kids grow up to have hoity toity jobs and we're knee deep in sh*t because there's no-one to clean the loos!!

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 10:47:32

Oh no, actualisation is beginning to sound like being multiply orgasmic......

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:47:53

GRMUM Thu 17-Feb-05 10:48:06

I took so long writing my post but it is in reply to AA'spost at 10.13!!

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:48:12

Lol, I wouldn't know, not expecting to do it even once. Am quite taken with improving my life but achieving 'actualisation' sounds like something I'd rather pass on in favour of changing nappies

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:48:29

No danger of that, Wordsmith!

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 10:48:52

I hope my boys do grow up to be plumbers, wobbly, have you seen what they charge?

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:50:12

I know wordsmith!! Just a sharp intake of breath costs you £40 these days!!!

FrenchGirl Thu 17-Feb-05 10:50:27

I do like 'actualising' my wardrobe once in a while. Is that what it's all about? Or is it more about being incredibly self-absorbed?

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 10:52:14

I had better 'actualise' this work I have been 'planning' to do for the last 2 hours!

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:52:47

Oh no, actualising your wardrobe is all about mixing and matching, isn't it? Actualising your life is about being good at only one thing, it appears.

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:52:56

Does actualising chocolate count?

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 10:53:22

And now for the £20,000 question: do that many of us sit around analysing ad nauseum a hypothetical scenario that may or may not happen in the future?

Gees, lighten up! You're on a board for mums and you don't even know if you're going to - or can have - children yet!

Having the time to waste to do that is surely a luxury which eludes me, as I'm too busy following my 'calling'/vocation' of being a human being.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:53:44

Wine is better. Actually, I recommend it to get rid of any notions about over-achieving

FrenchGirl Thu 17-Feb-05 10:53:52

aaahhhh I get it, so I need to do some introspection first then I guess. Now how would that work?.......

Gobbledigook Thu 17-Feb-05 10:54:03

PMSL - is this still going?!

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:54:14

ameriscot - if I actualise wine and chocolate together does that make me a guru?

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 10:54:49

I'm actualising my husband being able to see dirt . . .

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 10:55:23

If we're taling about multi-tasking, I can do wine AND chocolate together, no problem. Can I have a pay rise???

<Note to self - do some work or there won't be ANY pay!>

ggglimpopo Thu 17-Feb-05 10:56:48

Message withdrawn

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 10:56:59

Wordsmith,
There was a lady last night on '10 Years Younger' who could drink wine, eat chocolate AND smoke a ciggy at the same time! Now there's a high-achiever there. I was only ever able to accomplish two of those tasks at once, but I'm an under-achiever.

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 10:57:01

Lol wordsmith - well I could actualise chocolate, wine, Jaffa cakes and crisps together if asked, that must put me on a higher plane by now, or at least higher salary??

Blackduck Thu 17-Feb-05 10:58:55

I'm actualising that this bl**dy manual will get written......(but meanwhile ds is getting in the way....)

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:59:07

I just find that a good drink helps puts standards into perspective. No longer do I have to strive for a particular goal. You can actually reach actualisation very fast. Of course there are downsides to actualisation, and I guess that's where the double actualisation comes into it.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 10:59:50

You must have a big mouth, WK

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:00:44

I have found several times now that wine does lead to a higher salary.

It take nine months for the money to come through and it's worth about £12 extra a week.

posyhairdresser Thu 17-Feb-05 11:00:47

I think having kids will be a big shock to you! And I'm not confident that you will be happy as a mother.

Motherhood is not necessarily the "best" option in my view - all options are potentially the best. If you are a mother new doors open to you but other doors definitely close. And if you are childless the same is true. I think life is about appreciating what you have if you want to be happy.

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 11:01:07

ameriscot - if you actualise lots of wine and chocolate together fast enough you can actually un-actualise them again

Anyway, must go off and 'actualise' my dd with some toys and some lunch!!!

wobblyknicks Thu 17-Feb-05 11:01:40

ameriscot - i'll take that as a compliment!

Flossam Thu 17-Feb-05 11:01:54

OMG, just read all of the thread. I do think AA has said some quite offensive things actually. I didn't realise I was so irresponsible to get pregnant without thinking through all the responsibilities beforehand... I haven't had a manual published yet, nor have I brought any published by others. My salary is 1/10th of what she would like hers to be, but as a nurse, would hope that I was a little more worthwhile... Oh and I live in a flat in a deprived area of East london, because it is a nice flat and is the best we can afford. Oh, and its rented. Most mothers don't brag IMO, it is simply delighting in your childs devolpment. That is not wrong. AA you are coming from a very different world to me, and I suspect from many others. If you are feeling attacked, perhaps it is because we have struggled to understand where you are coming from, but no attempt has been made on your part to understand us.

Flossam Thu 17-Feb-05 11:03:47

Oh, didn't make clear that I'm not actually upset by aforementioned offensive things. I am happy with how we are and wouldn't change a thing/

beansontoast Thu 17-Feb-05 11:07:14

complete tangent,
this smacks of Brenda,in 'six feet under'to me.

cant take it seriously.

tarantula Thu 17-Feb-05 11:13:19

Phew jsut finished reading this Blimey what a saga. Need to actualise some of that wine now... totally agree with your comment flossam I am such a selfish mammy bringing up my kid in a2up2down How could I esp as I was brought up in a detached house in half an acre of land Must be letting my standards drop

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 11:14:09

I am actualising a bar of chocolate and a cup of tea right now. Oh! what a waste when I could be off writing manuals or flogging widgets at trade fairs in Milton Keynes.

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 11:15:02

Food for thought: It is easy to put down a concept which makes real sense. Ponder this and where you fit into the hierarchy.
===============================================

ABRAHAM MASLOW'S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS

We can begin with Maslow's now famous theory of basic needs, usually portrayed visually as needs layered within a pyramid drawing.

Abraham Maslow is known for establishing the theory of a hierarchy of needs, writing that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. The animal or physical needs were placed at the bottom, and the human needs at the top. This hierarchic theory can be seen as a pyramid, with the base occupied be people who are not focused on values, but just staying alive. A person who is starving dreams about food, thinks about food and nothing else. Each level of the pyramid is somewhat dependent on the previous level for most people. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs includes five levels:

1. Physiological Needs: Are very basic needs such as oxygen, food, water, sex, warmth/coolness, protection from storms and so forth. These needs are the strongest because if deprived, the person could or would die. When these are not satisfied we may feel sickness, irritation, pain, discomfort, etc. These feelings motivate us to alleviate them as soon as possible. Once they are alleviated, we may think about other things.

2. Safety Needs: Safety needs have to do with establishing stability and consistency in a chaotic world. These needs are mostly psychological in nature. We need the security of a home and family etc. Also felt by adults during emergencies, periods of disorganization in the social structure (such as widespread rioting). Felt more frequently by children who often display signs of insecurity and their need to be safe.

3. Love, Affection and Belongingness Needs: The needs to escape loneliness and alienation and give (and receive) love, affection and the sense of belonging. Humans have a desire to belong to groups: clubs, work groups, religious groups, family, gangs, etc. We need to feel loved (non-sexual) by others, to be accepted by others.

4. Esteem Needs: Need for a stable, firmly based, high level of self-respect, and respect from others in order to feel satisfied, self confident and valuable. If these needs are not met, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless. There are two types of esteem needs. First is self-esteem which results from competence or mastery of a task. Second, there's the attention and recognition that comes from others.

5. Self-actualization Needs: The need for self-actualization is "the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming." People who have everything can maximize their potential. They can seek knowledge, peace, aesthetic experiences, self-fulfilment, and oneness with God, etc. Maslow describes self-actualization as an ongoing process. Self-actualizing people are... involved in a cause outside their own skin. The are devoted, work at something, something very precious to them--some calling or vocation. When you select out of a careful study, very fine and healthy people, strong people, creative people, saintly people, sagacious people... you get a different view of mankind. You ask what a human being can become.

Maslow also describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which the person was born to do. It is his "calling". "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write." If these needs are not met, the person feels restlessness, on edge, tense, and lacking something. Lower needs may also produce a restless feeling, but here is it much easier to find the cause. If a person is hungry, unsafe, not loved or accepted, or lacking self-esteem the cause is apparent. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization. Maslow believes that the only reason that people would not move through the needs to self-actualization is because of the hindrances placed in their way by society.

Maslow deemed these needs to be species-wide, apparently unchanging, and genetic or instinctual in origin: needs both physiological and psychological.

Also, and this is an important point, Maslow said the pyramid represents a hierarchy of needs, with the strongest at the bottom moving toward the weakest at the top. Maslow said that as lower needs are met, the higher needs emerge, a process he called "meta-motivation", and which we can call growth, the self-actualization process, or movement toward "full humanness". (Parenthetically, we can note that much of the world's population has always been preoccupied with satisfying the basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid, and has not had the luxury of being concerned about the needs higher on the pyramid. When one is starving, there probably is little concern for self-actualization.)

It was Maslow's contention that we can learn the most about humans by studying exceptionally healthy, mature people -- the "growing top" of humanity. Such persons Maslow selected from his acquaintances and friends, public persons, living and dead, and selected college students. His initial definition of self-actualization was: "the full use and exploitation of talent, capacities, potentialities, etc. Such people seem to be fulfilling themselves and doing the best that they are capable of doing."

Maslow felt he saw such qualities in such notables as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, and Aldous Huxley.

Among the characteristics of self-actualized persons would be the following -- and these are quotations taken from Frank Soble's book, The Third Force: The Psychology Of Abraham Maslow: "The psychologically healthy individual is highly independent, yet at the same time, enjoys people."

"They are sometimes seen by others as being remote and detached because, while they enjoy the company of others, they do not need other people. They rely fully upon their own capacities."

"They are governed far more by inner directives, their own nature, and natural needs than by the society or the environment. Since they depend less on other people, they are less ambivalent about them, less anxious, and also less hostile, less needful of their praise and their affection. They are less anxious for honours, prestige and rewards."

"They tend to form deep, close personal friendships, deeper than those of the average adult."

"...self-actualizing people enjoy life more -- not that they don't have pain, sorrow, and troubles, just that they get more out of life. They appreciate it more; they have more interests; they are more aware of beauty in the world. They have less fear and anxiety, and more confidence and relaxation. They are far less bothered by feelings of boredom, despair, shame, or lack of purpose."

And the final quotation:

"They never tire of life. They have the capacity to appreciate the sunrise or sunset, or marriage, or nature, again and again."

A related area of study for Maslow was what he called "peak experiences" -- moments when individuals feel at their very best, moments of great awe, intense happiness, rapture, bliss, ecstasy. He would ask people to describe "the single most joyous happiest, most blissful moment of your whole life."

Maslow felt that persons having "peak experiences," or moments of self-actualization, typically feel better, stronger, and more unified -- the world looks better, more unified, and honest. He found peak experiences to have most of the characteristics traditionally ascribed to religious experiences from nearly every creed and faith. "Is it not meaningful also", he asked, "that the mystic experience has been described in almost identical words by people in every religion, every era, in almost every culture?" Such questions by Maslow set the stage for later expressions of transpersonal psychology.

The final theme area of Maslow's that I will mention was his study of values. An important aspect of his Third Force theory was the belief that there are values or moral principles common to the entire human species, cross culturally, which are biologically based and which can be scientifically confirmed and are exemplified by the best persons in every society. They are deemed to be part of the self-actualization needs. Maslow thought the one over-arching, ultimate value for mankind was the realization of human potentiality, becoming fully human, everything that each person can become.

He vigorously denied that everything is subject to cultural relativity, and he deplored science and especially psychology opting out of the study of values. He said, "humans need a philosophy of life, religion, or a value system, just as they need sunlight, calcium, and love."

Maslow coined the term, Eupsychia, to describe the implementation of self-actualization values, i.e., the creation of a society of maximal self-actualization for all persons. I think this quotation of Maslow's is a good note to close on: "That society is good which fosters the fullest development of human potentials, of the fullest degree of humanness."

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:15:29

That would be premature actualization, Tarantula. Any chance of holding back for 45 minutes?

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:16:36

You've actualized at C&P, AA!

Glad you're still with us.

RudyDudy Thu 17-Feb-05 11:17:25

Isn't part of the point of self-actualisation that it doesn't come from something external? Therefore having a fabulous career, or fabulous kids is incidental. Perhaps a demanding career would 'get in the way' of self-actualisation?

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 11:19:35

I'm not really still with you... the convo has gotten a bit 'too silly' for me and I'm sitting here on my bum writing instead of doing which makes me slightly pathetic given my goals... ciao.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:19:46

As for a legacy, I don't get the kudos of inner achievement vs doing stuff for other people (for love, not for getting something for yourself).

secur Thu 17-Feb-05 11:20:16

Message withdrawn

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:20:22

It's been silly from the start, AA. But it gives me something to do while I am nursing.

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 11:20:41

oh gawd .. you just threw me straight back into university with that maslow quote ... brrrrr <shiver>

I will need to now actualise a large glass of red, a roaring fire, children who aren't gobbling-snot and a bowl of vanilla haagen daazs just to get over the shock

PMSL

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 11:20:49

'Food for thought'

Hmm. Van Gough and Toulousse-Lautrec always used absinthe.

Note to self: Must give that a try!

AmericanAngle Thu 17-Feb-05 11:22:46

ps.. self actualization is PERSONAL. Everyone has different values & goals for achieving what is important TO THEM in life and continuing to achieve and grow throughout life - so if someone's goal is parenthood, that's fine, although i cannot even begin to accept that having kids is the be all and end all of existence... If my only value in life is manufacturing children, I might as well be bacteria - bacteria reproduces.

secur Thu 17-Feb-05 11:24:01

Message withdrawn

RudyDudy Thu 17-Feb-05 11:24:50

can't believe I'm carrying on with this...if you believe you are only 'manufacturing children' then no wonder you don't see it as something worthwhile. How about seeing it as raising a human being and helping them to understand the world around them and their place in it and supporting them in achieving their goals. Not sure bacteria would be too hot on that.

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 11:25:14

I might as well be bacteria - bacteria reproduces

Yes, and so do an alarmingly number of self-absorbed people, unfortunately. Sigh

tarantula Thu 17-Feb-05 11:27:01

AA people need to get silly about things I think that you need to take a bit of time out from thinking so deeply and have a bit of a laugh.

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 11:27:06

AA, no-one's putting down the concept. We are, however, not taking ourselves terribly seriously just for a moment. You might like to try it sometime...

The trouble is that your posts are increasingly giving the impression that you don't have a great deal of respect for the choices that any of us have made. A lot of us might feel that we are actually in the process of 's-a' as we live our lives, as we grow and learn and develop as humans, in our careers and with our families. But you ask for our experiences and opinions and then appear dismissive of them.

We are all living different lives. We are all striving to be the best we can be, most of the time . But most of us don't have the luxury to sit and pontificate about it all day. We are just getting on with the process of living and acheiving on whatever terms we feel suit us.

On my deathbed I won't need anyone's 'Hierachy of Needs' to tell me whether I've lived a successful life or not, and I feel sorry for anyone who knows themselves so little that they would.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:29:52

AA, how will you know when you've self-actualized? Is it a feeling you are going to get when you wake up one morning? Or do you sit down with a notebook and write down everything you've achieved in life and decide you've scored enough points?

Issymum Thu 17-Feb-05 11:30:36

D*mn! Didn't mean to write on this thread again but I've just noticed another comment:

"The adoption thing is a bit out of feeling bad for the lonely kids in the world and (maybe) hoping that perhaps they would appreciate a mother whereas a genetic child might not."

Sorry. I'm an adoptive parent and both theory and personal experience shows that this is not a good reason for adopting. The only reason for adopting a child is because you want to be a parent and to love them unconditionally and forever - what child wants to be placed in a family as an act of charity? Also adoptive children, as they work through the issues of loss and abandonment that made them available for adoption, are less likely to appreciate the adoptive mother who will be implicated in their minds with the hurt that they are experiencing. Tough but true. I live in absolute expectation that one or both of my children will turn round to me some day and declare "You're not my real mother and I wish you'd never adopted me"! I live in hope, of course, that we will work through it.

gothicmama Thu 17-Feb-05 11:33:13

if you don't want to have children don't - there permission given to self acutualise -
but when you have amounted to something you have flash car, house, holiday homes etcetc. when you are old will you wish you had a family even if it's just to compare grandchildren.

Lowryn Thu 17-Feb-05 11:33:16

Arghhhh! Not Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
I am sick to the back teeth of DH quoting this at me everytime we discuss the future and his career.
I think he would enjoy talking to you AA!
I am loving this thread though. Fascinating stuff! Makes me appreciate how lucky I am to be governed by my hormones. Had to have kids. Love them to death and think that I have done a damn fine job with them so far!
Also love it when the thread went "silly"

Most important things life are to be adaptable, be able to laugh at yourself and to have a positive mental attitude...IMHO
Don't give two hoots where you live, what you earn or what you "actualize"

gothicmama Thu 17-Feb-05 11:35:34

Maslow - slef a was about being the best you can be after you have met your basic needs- therefore being human we are meant to reproduce therefore having children is the ultimate self actulisation

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 11:36:58

Lowryn writes: 'Most important things life are to be adaptable, be able to laugh at yourself'

Laughs the American expatinscotland, many Americans are entirely incapable of this.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:38:24

But you are unusual for an bulletin board-visiting expat, EIS .

I'm wondering if you and I already "know" AA.

Lowryn Thu 17-Feb-05 11:39:34

True, probably why I love British comedy

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:39:42

That's what I would have though, Gothic - that you can't possibly reach your full potential without being a parent. You might have a great and fulfilling life, but it will always fall short.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 11:40:26

The Maslow thing took mee back to my Psychology studides 20 yrs ago.

Actually it was very interesting. The thing that kept going though my mind when you were talking about the 'peak experience' - and I quote - "moments when individuals feel at their very best, moments of great awe, intense happiness, rapture, bliss, ecstasy. He would ask people to describe "the single most joyous happiest, most blissful moment of your whole life." - was, isn't that exactly how parents feel when they look down on the face of their newborn baby - and if not at the moment of giving birth then shortly afterwards. If that's the case, then surely motherhood, can indeed, be described in many cases as the ULTIMATE point of self-actualisation.

Mud Thu 17-Feb-05 11:40:38

AA you really don't have it in you to be a mother if you believe that we're all bacteria

Please don't do it .. don't have children .. it would really be best for the whole world if you didn't perpetuate your genes or values

Self-absorption is fine in a teenager but in an adult it is just depressing

gothicmama Thu 17-Feb-05 11:40:38

It isn’t surprising, then, the world being as difficult as it is, that only a small percentage of the world’s population is truly, predominantly, self-actualizing. Maslow at one point suggested only about two percent!

So why not just do what you need to do

Can you tell I should be studying - this is much more interesting

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 11:44:16

Slightly OT, but has anyone read Alain de Botton's 'Status Anxiety'?

Gumdrop Thu 17-Feb-05 11:45:06

Probably well off track, but there used to be a series of adverts for a bank/life insurance co that had little snippets of poetry in them.

One of them, "Those who've grown and flown the nest" always made me cry - becsuse of the last 3 lines of the following:

We moan, we groan, but do our best
For those who've grown and flown the nest
Our blood and bone.
Our own.
Our best.

That's what having children means to me. Taking my sniffing damp-eyed self off to do some more work now. Bye

tarantula Thu 17-Feb-05 11:46:04

worsmith that is so true the most amazing moment of my life so far was seeing dd for the first time. there is absolutly nothing that can compare with it.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 11:46:06

Oh deer wots hapend to mi speling.

Going back to the competitive self-actualisation of about 30 mins ago, I could dink wine, eat choc and smoke, simultaneously, before I gave up smoking. Now I can eat chocolate, drink wine, eat kids leftovers, endlessly answer my 4 year old's questions along the lines of "What would happen if the world stopped spinning" incorporating a modicum of scientific fact as well as kid-friendly fantasy, answer the phone, pay the milkman, earn a living AND spend most of my so-called working time on Mumsnet.

I must be so self-actualised I am up my own actual a$%e.

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 11:46:49

I was actualising the same thing, Ameriscot. . .

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 11:46:53

Or maybe you're just Nicola Horlick

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 11:48:04

Mmm, Horlicks! Had some last night before drifting off to actualise nirvana.

tarantula Thu 17-Feb-05 11:48:13

Well I think AA should go read some Larkin. Whats the name of that poem that start "they f**k you up your mum and dad" I reccomend you read it AA.

It was Larkin wrote it wasnt it?

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 11:50:13

Here you go Jolly old Pip Larkin

jangly Thu 17-Feb-05 11:50:49

Regarding Maslow's pyramid, I am lucky enough to have stages 1, 2, and 3 a-plenty. I waver on numer 4, but, surprisingly (or not) I reckon I achieve a little bit of numer 5, the latter in part, *but not wholly*, due to having three children. And I bet that's pretty much the same for a lot of mums. And, unless you have a very definite calling in life, I think this is what most people achieve. AA, I think you need to identify your needs. (BTW the pyramid is much easier to read about on the link I gave (white writing on blue background, shorter lines))

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 11:50:52

They f**k you up your mum and dad
they do not mean to but they do
they fill you with the faults they had
and add some new ones just for you.

Yes it was Larkin.

Please don't have kids AA. Sorry I have tried to be charitable (spirit of mumsnet and all that) but you are so self absorbed it is painful to read.

tarantula Thu 17-Feb-05 11:51:42

thats teh one Snafu. Good old Larkin Nowt like a bit o'verse to cheer us all up eh!!!!

Mud Thu 17-Feb-05 11:52:51

oh thank god I'm not a lonely voice crying in the wilderness wordsmith

DONT have children AA

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 11:53:19

I was thinking refridgerators, EIS (if you can remember).

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 11:55:14

I've got a memory like a sieve for all the drink I used to take in my youth, Ameriscot. And I usually just skim over most of what other Americans write b/c it's always been like a foreign language to me - it's the gist that's important

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 12:01:30

OMG have just noticed the bit AA said about mothers = bacteria!!

At least we are generally friendly bacteria here on MN - like in the ad for Yakult (or is it Danone?)

repeat. DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN.

braid Thu 17-Feb-05 12:07:53

Think its really hard to have kids if you don't like yourself very much. They take you back to your own childhood and remind you of yourself and other family members so much. If those memories or traits don't make you happy I'm sure it's tough. One of the many gifts my dd has given me is the realisation that I'm happy in my own skin.

morningpaper Thu 17-Feb-05 12:11:20

What I've found really quite... odd about this thread is how SPECIAL AA feels that she is. All this talk of actualisation... calling... vocation... contributing to the world. It's like she feels she has the hand of God on her. I find it very depressing. She can only fail.

Part of growing up is surely realising that actually, none of us are particularly SPECIAL, and the people in the world that we think of as 'special' are just struggling humans like the rest of us.

I always think - bloody hell - me or DH could be struck down with cancer next month. I don't want to save the world. I just want to enjoy an afternoon painting with my daughter, or a cuddle in the night. I want to teach her to love herself and love her planet and love her feollow human beings. That's what it means to me to be fully human. If you can't appreciate the day-to-day, you will never be happy.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 12:12:49

Absolutely, MP.

Twiglett Thu 17-Feb-05 12:12:53

<round of applause> for morningpaper

hear hear

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 12:14:51

Also, what massive contribution to world history can you make as a ....web developer?

No offense, AA, but you aren't exactly in the same league as doctors who do amazing things in the Third World etc.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 12:15:57

While I think trying to reach your full potential is, in itself, a good thing, implicit within that is the fact that you will always be dissatisfied until you do. And when you do, how will you know? And when you get there, there will always be another goal, so the cycle of dissatisfaction starts all over again.

I don't want to live my life in a permanent state of dissatisfaction. Yes, I am pretty happy in my own skin. Sure, there are things I want to change, places I want to go, a person I would like to become, but life is a never-ending journey - you'll never get to your final destination (until you die, but that's a whole new thread, and AA has already told us she doesn't believe in religion, so presumably not in life after death)..... so just enjoy the ride!

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 12:18:34

Dropping the humanist agenda would be a good thing

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 12:19:00

Exactly, mp!

It's a very insecure person who has to go around attracting attention to herself.

paolosgirl Thu 17-Feb-05 12:23:18

I've just come onto this thread, but gather some woman is asking if she should have kids. Stifling a yawn here, I say go for it AA. If you don't like 'em, you can always employ a full time maternity nurse, followed by a nanny, followed by prep school, boarding school and then university.
It's as easy as that. If they don't fulfill you as much as you believe they should once you've had them, then there are other options open to you.

paolosgirl Thu 17-Feb-05 12:23:34

I've just come onto this thread, but gather some woman is asking if she should have kids. Stifling a yawn here, I say go for it AA. If you don't like 'em, you can always employ a full time maternity nurse, followed by a nanny, followed by prep school, boarding school and then university.
It's as easy as that. If they don't fulfill you as much as you believe they should once you've had them, then there are other options open to you.

Beansmum Thu 17-Feb-05 12:24:35

I might have missed something here, as I haven't read the whole thread, but what amazing contribution to the world are you making if you don't actually work? How would a baby get in the way of your development if all you are doing is sitting at home?

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 12:25:54

Precisely, beansmum. Getting off of your arse might be a start (says she, welded to the computer chair).

Gobbledigook Thu 17-Feb-05 12:26:02

JEEZ - hello Maslow, long time no see!!

AA, I do believe you have some serious issues and the last thing you should do is have any children. Please.

paolosgirl Thu 17-Feb-05 12:27:30

Beansmum - she's not self-actualising by not working. Or maybe she is, but by not having a baby she is actualising?
Oh, the laughs you get on MN!!!

Caligula Thu 17-Feb-05 12:29:41

Thomas Grey is always enlightening, AA.

I've dug this out just for you. It's all about valuing people just for their humanity alone, not necessarily for what they have "acheived".

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
by Thomas Gray



The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.


Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;


Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.


Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.


The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.


For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.


Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!


Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.


The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.


Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.


Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?


Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.


But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.


Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.


Some village-Hampden that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.


The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,


Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,


The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.


Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.


Yet even these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.


Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.


For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?


On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Even from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.


For thee who, mindful of the unhonoured dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,


Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
'Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.


'There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.


'Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.


'One morn I missed him on the customed hill,
Along the heath and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;


'The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.'


The Epitaph

Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy marked him for her own.


Large was his bounty and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend.


No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 12:31:49

Grey's Elegy - had to learn that in Higher English

paolosgirl Thu 17-Feb-05 12:32:04

Crikey. Well, I guess that more or less sums it up, so I'm off for a packet of crisps.

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 12:32:17

Ameriscot, web developers can make a huge contribution - esp the one who developed Mumsnet. 3 cheers! It's the best website I've ever found (along with BBC and Amazon).

However I suspect AA is developing websites for widget manufacturers. And as someone who occasionally writes the words for such websites, can I say - rocket science it ain't. I do not want them to be my legacy.

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 12:33:14

Thanks, Caligula. That was lovely.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 12:34:07

Funnily enough....I was thinking of Mumsnet and a role for AA earlier.

When she was dispensing advice on another thread about getting a night nanny, I was thinking perhaps she could co-present "Mums the Word" with Justine and Carrie.

hercules Thu 17-Feb-05 12:35:39

Only read some of this thread. I must say AA I really think you shouldnt have kids. That's not meant as an insult, just an observation. You said in an earlier post about putting yourself and dh first before kids if you had them. Please, don't bring children into the world with that kind of attitude.
There's nothing wrong with being selfish as such but don't have kids if you still feel that you cant put them first.

I am very happy in my life and am certainly fulfilled. My job is not in a the computer industry (sorry, but couldnt imagine getted satisfaction in an office environment). I am a secondary school teacher and I'm about to change schools hopefully to work in a school for kids with special needs.
I know I am contributing to society in a very worthwhile way and dont need to spend hours analysing myself and whether I have reached actualisation. I have two great kids and a brillian dh. We always put the kids first, it's simple and we do it without thinking about it.

I hate parenting manuals, I'm much more of a earth mother, attachment type parent.


I dont mean to be horrible, I dont know you. I will say though you seem to be very unhappy and I cant imagine living my life the way you do. Noone is perfect and to aim for this means you will always be unfulfilled


If you do decide to have kids, this is a great website for support.

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 12:36:02

Funnily enough, I was thinking of Catherine Zeta Jones and her infamous remark, 'A million pounds may be a lot to some people, but it's not to us.'

morningpaper Thu 17-Feb-05 12:37:09

Here we all are, poor fat mummies, reading Thomas Grey over our sandwiches. You can't say we've given up on ourselves yet!

wild Thu 17-Feb-05 12:39:42

anyone else think the 'T' word?
self actualisation
I used to think when I was about 13 that if I wasn't a famous painter by the time I was 30 I would kill myself

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 12:42:19

MP

expatinscotland Thu 17-Feb-05 12:42:32

I wanted to be Jeanne Moreau when I was 13. So chic.

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 12:42:36

Ah, wild, I used to think that about marrying John Taylor from Duran Duran, though...

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 12:43:23

Am I thick. What T word?

hercules Thu 17-Feb-05 12:43:27

I wanted to play the violen in the Albert Hall.....

Ameriscot2005 Thu 17-Feb-05 12:44:18

...lives under bridges

Good for a laff in any case

Caligula Thu 17-Feb-05 12:44:24

I thought it didn't matter if you sunbathed and got wrinkles, because by the time you got them at 30, you'd be too old to care what you looked like anyway!

wild Thu 17-Feb-05 12:44:48

snafu you're SO level 4

wild Thu 17-Feb-05 12:45:46

troll? (whispers)
What lives under bridges, AmScot?

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 12:51:59

Oh that word. At the risk of resuscitating 'Chav'-type disagreements, can someone explain to me exactly what a troll is. I would so love to use it in conversation and only know the billy goats gruff troll myself.

Marina Thu 17-Feb-05 12:55:44

A troll is someone who appears on a website fairly abruptly and starts a contentious discussion...sometimes flinging in insults for good measure. Does that help at all wordsmith?
Whatever their agenda, they can give rise to top quality debate amongst the website's usual clientele. Thanks especially to Caligula, AmeriScot and Hercules for making my week.
Must dash, I'm way behind on my self-actualisation points today. I've left my bacterial progeny in the care of their mutant strain grandparents in order to deal with my vital work of processing invoices for DVDs and telling students to pipe down...

Caligula Thu 17-Feb-05 12:56:50


cackle cackle cackle

wordsmith Thu 17-Feb-05 12:57:27

Oh! Right. So a troll is a good thing then, if it (he/she) generates good debate?

stripey Thu 17-Feb-05 12:57:35

AA you seem to be searching for some kind of happiness but are unable to allow yourself to find it. I believe that even if you lived in the biggest detached house with the biggest garden etc etc you would still be unhappy and would probably still not be able to commit to having a child. I think deep down you're afraid of having a child and if you really wanted to be a mother you would know it. At 35 you don't have too much time left to decide on whether or not you should become a mother so make a decision and go with it.

Marina Thu 17-Feb-05 12:59:09

It can go either way, IME, wordsmith. Usually they cause a lot of upset and damage but on this occasion we've all had a real larf, hurrah!

beansprout Thu 17-Feb-05 13:09:00

Fab thread!

Bacteria?! I've been called a few things in my time....!
AA - you clearly just wanted us to all say "actually it's bloody awful and we all regret it" so you could move it off your to-do list and do something else. That's fine. It's not for everyone. But please don't look down on us.

As for Nicola Horlick - yeah, great - but would you want to be her daughter? I wouldn't.

wild Thu 17-Feb-05 13:13:53

gosh I am slow 2day AMscot
went totally over my head
Must be my hormones

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 13:17:34

Wild, is being SO level 4 a good thing or a bad thing? I have tried pondering my place in the hierachy - at some length - as AA suggests, and I'm still not sure

gothicmama Thu 17-Feb-05 13:21:19

level 4 is a good place to be level 5 is virtually unattainable

Caligula Thu 17-Feb-05 13:23:49

Why is it not surprising that AA thinks Nicola Horlick is a particularly good role model for mothers?!
PMSL

wild Thu 17-Feb-05 13:24:35

I really have no idea! I find the whole concept a bit ridiculous, I suppose it's vaguely thought provoking but only in the way that one of those are you mainly a) b) or c) questionnaires in Jackie magazine were (giving my age away here)

beansprout Thu 17-Feb-05 13:26:30

Oh Wild, I always thought Blue Jeans questionnaires gave a much better analysis. Especially the actualisation ones.

snafu Thu 17-Feb-05 13:27:39

Thanks gm. I feel, like, todally validated.

wild Thu 17-Feb-05 13:29:52

that reply was to snafu btw
I think Kimberly Quinn is a better role model than NH in terms of 'not letting motherhood get in the way'

morningpaper Thu 17-Feb-05 13:32:28

Kimberley Quinn lol!

She didn't even let her husband's vasectomy get in the way of motherhood...

beansprout Thu 17-Feb-05 13:34:16

She didn't let anything get in the way - she saw an unattractive middle aged man and she WENT for it!!






(I know I am being bad now but please don't tell me off, I've had a difficult morning).

tarantula Thu 17-Feb-05 13:34:17

<<<level 5 is virtually unattainable >>>

you just need to pick a different type of mushroom GM