None for me, thanks

A woman in my office today was making chit-chat during lunch. “What do you do here, how old are you, are you married, do you want to be, do you want kids?” She damn-near fell off the chair when I decidedly told her, “No, I don’t want children. I don’t like them.”

“Well, why not?” she asked, as if my gender means I am predisposed to the motherhood gene. I gathered my thoughts for a moment and told her “I’m just not sure that a future filled with diapers, late nights, PTA meetings, scraped knees, children’s homework, and play dates really appeal to me.” She promptly turned back to her iced tea and salad.

Does being a woman automatically make me a mother? I’m already a mother to a 2-year-old Maine Coon cat. Isn’t that enough? Later on, I started thinking about what might happen if my boyfriend and I do get our act together and settle down. I don’t know that I have the wife gene either. What if settling isn’t actually what I want? What if that’s just the lie I have been telling myself because it’s expected of me?

Even if the ring is never on the table, how do you know when you’re ready to trade in girlfriend for wife and mother?