Home > Parenting > Reach for the Stars, Not A Diaper Genie

Reach for the Stars, Not A Diaper Genie

My daughter is nesting.

She spends every spare moment surfing Bed, Bath and Beyond for new bed linens. She scours paint colour wheels for a new shade to compliment her walls. She’s chosen new light fixtures. I am finding scraps of paper doodled with lists of baby names.

I’m terrified. You’re twelve, I tell her. Go play outside.

Of course, attempts to intervene are rebuffed, and only intensify her longings for domesticity.

We discuss career paths, but she is only dreaming of motherhood. Inwardly, I’m aghast. Outwardly, I gently encourage her that motherhood will be there for her, but she should first go to university, explore the world, have some fun. What could be more fun than being a mother, she asks.

I bite my tongue.

There was a time in my life that I could have related with this maternal instinct of hers, but it was twelve years ago, when she was in utero. It lasted about a week. I’ve moved on. Her instinct, though, is more stubbornly rooted, despite the absence (thank God) of potential suitors.

When I was her age, I vividly remember doodling career options, not baby names. Dreaming of travel, not diaper bags. A pied-a-terre in New York, not a house in suburbia. Notwithstanding I ended up with the diaper bag and house in suburbia, but let it be known I never intended for this to happen. I certainly never dreamed about it.

It’s just a phase, my friends tell me. But I detect a look of horror in their eyes.

Every ounce of me wants to stage an intervention, but instead I keep my mouth shut, knowing when she picks up my disapproval she will run with it. It would be easier to deal with pink hair. Pierced eyebrows. Friendship drama. Boy trouble. I hadn’t counted on dreams of domesticity.

  1. January 26, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I vividly remember making long lists of all the items I would need for my home/apartment/pied-a-terre. I knew how many lamps, pots, teacups, chairs, I would need, and what colour the walls and the linens would be. I had my babies young-ish (me, not them. Well, they were young when they were born, too). My bliss wasn’t terribly domestic, as it turned out, but I still harbour dreams of that pied-a-terre…..somewhere….

    • January 27, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Well, you certainly turned out all right, so if Grace is anything like you, and a lifetime academic, I can live with that!

  2. January 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    She will find her way! Be honored that you have somehow modeled motherhood such that she wants to be what you are, what you have become. It’s the highest form of flattery. And ultimately motherhood is a wonderful calling. Allow her to explore. Congratulate her on her radical deviation from today’s norm. She’s forging her own way in a wilderness that calls for careers as the only option. She wants to be like you. How precious is that?

    • January 27, 2012 at 1:42 am

      I get your drift, but would love her to harbour a dream – any dream! – besides motherhood. Zookeeper, seamstress, humanitarian. It doesn’t need to be a university education, just something worthwhile. I’m not ready to be a Grandma!

  3. Joanne
    January 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Grace? …no! I don’t think you will have to worry about he pink hair or pierced eyebrows…but boy trouble could be in the not to distant future.

    • January 27, 2012 at 1:43 am

      I’m holding my breath!

  4. January 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I love Kathy’s comment. Clearly you are a stellar mom, so great that your girl wants that life for herself. I can understand the worry. I was never a girl who dreamed of babies or wedding day or surburbia, so that seems bizarre, but I also am NOTHING like I was at 12. She’ll grow out of it!

    • January 27, 2012 at 1:53 am

      I DO hope you’re right, Tori, and she will grow out of this!

  5. MaryBeth
    January 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I don’t think you have anything to worry about Deanna.Just continue to listen and not say much..Grace will find her way…guess we have to embrace our kids for who they are…its clear she admires the job you are doing!!!

    • January 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Do you remember thinking, “When I’m a mother, I’m going to be SO much better…” This might be a bid to one-up me; as she appears to NOT like me at all.

  6. February 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I love this:

    “There was a time in my life that I could have related with this maternal instinct of hers, but it was twelve years ago, when she was in utero. It lasted about a week. I’ve moved on.”

    Maybe biting your tongue really is the best thing. But I have a feeling you’ll know exactly how to handle this.

  7. February 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Ha! She’s 12! I’m laughing with my mouth wide open. You gotta love those 12-year olds. I had two once. (A girl and a boy.) I think the best advice we can give ourselves in those times it to Let it Be. That is a lesson of motherhood I’m still learning. Let the child be his/herself as much as possible. A million stages pass. There are times when we can gently guide, and sometimes fiercely tether, but mostly we should just allow. Allow our children…and allow our inner child to explore, play and get maternal when she wants to. Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

  8. February 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Wow! Astounding. I would not have seen that coming. Not that I know her. Seems like you have a lot of good advice up there 😉

    • February 17, 2012 at 2:18 am

      It WAS astounding – my feminist roots were tingling. I have since scattered my Naomi Wolf and G. Steinem literature haphazardly around our house, in the hopes she will peruse.

  1. March 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

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