The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

My inner child should probably just grow up and get a job

baby-peek-a-booI’m 32, and so far I am completely unable to decide if I want to have children or not.  In fact, the older I get, the more uncertain I am.  I’m sure this is not how it is supposed to go – shouldn’t my biological clock be ticking or something?  I can’t decide if having a child would give me the sense of family I never had, or if the responsibility for another life would terrify me.  I have always been a bit awkward around children, and have often wondered how that relates to my own childhood, and my ‘elective orphan’ status.  Just how much of this unease around the little ankle-biters is due to my lack of childhood experience?  I was never really allowed to be kid, I was often stressed or living in fear of the next parental outburst or incident.  When I see kids being just ‘normal’ kids, I guess I can’t 100% relate.  I mean, I get it to some degree.  I study psychology and neuroscience, so I know how their brains work on a technical level.  I understand that small kids bump into my legs because they haven’t got strong visual depth perception yet.  And I understand why a baby is confused by ‘peek-a-boo’; because they don’t yet have any concept of object permanence (they think when you take a toy away, it ceases to exist).  But I suppose I never really had that sense of freedom and carelessness that ‘adult me’ observes in kids around me.

Yeah - I'm not great with kids either

Yeah – I’m not great with kids either

Yesterday I worked with about 200 school kids (not something I care to do very often – so noisy!), and it got me thinking.  What is it that I dislike the most about kids?  Well, I think it is the egocentrism.  Their misconception that there is little more in the world than their immediate reality.  That bugs me a lot, but it is completely unreasonable of me.  So why does it bug me?  I guess because I was not afforded the luxury of egocentrism, of living in my own little bubble.  Perhaps I am jealous.  As a child I was frequently reminded that I should be grateful for my existence, what my mother gave up to have me, and how much hassle I caused my parents.  Suffice to say, my biggest problem was not falling out with friends or having new trainers.  Far from it.  I was recently reminded that you cannot be kind to others until you can be kind to yourself – which might sound like hippie talk, but I do believe it to be true.  So how do I break out of this?  Should I take my inner child to Disney Land or something?

24-inner-childProbably not.  I think perhaps my inner child should grow up, get a job and find a therapist.  Until I truly move on and accept my past 100%, my inner child won’t be OK, so my relationship with other kids won’t be OK either.  Well, in theory anyway!

Today’s musings were brought to you by some soul searching, and about 200 noisy school kids.  For more musings, memoirs and psychology, check out my ebook on Amazon, or more ways to get it here


2 comments on “My inner child should probably just grow up and get a job

  1. Steve Morris
    January 1, 2014

    As a parent, I can say that other people’s kids are nothing like your own. Kids in the abstract are loud, annoying, smelly stupid creatures, but your own are different. However, you cannot give them back when you are tired or want to do something else. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.

    • sarahbgoode
      January 1, 2014

      Yes I guess it is swings and roundabouts. Since I wrote this, two of my friends have had their first babies, and I genuinely like them. But it is a reserved, guarded sort of liking, from a safe distance. No ticking from my biological clock yet. There is no way of knowing how I would feel about my own kids unless I actually had them. And then, as you said, I can’t give them back. I’m probably going to have to do a fair bit of babysitting and soul searching before I decide. And I might start small – maybe get a cat first!

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