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Mary Poppins Meets Birth Control

Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009, at 1:11 PM

At one point in my life, many moons ago, I considered myself a normal female with normal female instincts. I knew one day I wanted children -- five, to be exact-- and I had already thought of distinct and unique names for them. I finished high school and continued on to college, still under the impression that I, one day, would be ready for motherhood. I should have known that when my mother would smile vaguely at me and tell me it would be years, if ever, that I was ready for children, I should have asked her to elaborate.

One day, I woke up to the discovery that I do not like children. Not only do I not like them, but I completely lack the maternal instinct. This reverie came to me when I graduated from college and spent Easter with my brand new infant cousin who sneezed, snotted and drooled on me within the first thirty seconds of me holding him. Physically, holding a child is not difficult. It's the questions that pop into my mind afterward that I cannot deal with: "I'm holding him, now what?" "Why is he looking at me?" "Am I supposed to bounce him?" "How long before I can return him to his rightful owner without being considered rude?" It did not take long for my baby cousin to begin screaming in protest, and I was all-too-quick to hand him to someone who was a Baby Professional. As if family functions aren't enough to drive the thought of motherhood right out of my uterus, I signed on to substitute teach at the surrounding schools to pick up some extra cash before moving from Missouri for good. All of the applications asked me which grades I was available to teach. Trying to up the moneymaking ante, I decided against my better judgment of working with high school students only, and instead checked the box that said "Any grade." My temporary career as a substitute teacher began fairly well; for the first few weeks, I would get phone calls to fill in for high school teachers who would leave me a checklist of homework for each class to complete. For the most part, I handed out the homework, and settled into an online apartment hunt in New York City. This gig was easy.

Then, one day, a smite from God came that rocked my world and sent me into acute panic attacks. I was asked to fill in for a preschool teacher. After weighing my options (A: Do the work and get paid or B: Snub the offer and hope I don't hate myself for turning down a paycheck) I picked my jaw up off the floor and hung up the phone. After deciding wearing a dress and high heels to chase small toddlers was not an option, I donned a sensible pantsuit and even more sensible shoes, hopped into the car, and drove to what I can only describe as Birth Control.

After arriving at the school, I was given directions to the designated preschool room, along with pointers on how to relate to them. I've had boyfriends who had the mind set of a five year old, so I figured it couldn't be too difficult to get on their level.

My first duty of the day was to get the children from the room to the cafeteria for breakfast. This task seemed easy enough, until I opened the building doors to a monsoon relieving itself outside. Suddenly, getting fifteen children to the cafeteria seemed about as intimidating as walking into a burning building with only an ice cube for protection. By the way these small beings acted, I wasn't sure if they'd every seen rain before. And, after ten minutes of corralling them under the awning and away from mud puddles, I succeeded in getting them safely, if not dryly, to breakfast. Later, I would realize that transporting these little raindancers was just a warm up for what lay ahead. After breakfast, I was instructed to bring them back to the main building, where they would play in the multi-purpose room. As I lined them up and led them back toward the building, it occured to me that it had been raining for over a week straight, which means these kids had spent every recess indoors for days upon days. They were bound to be wound tightly with pent-up energy. I was no longer a teacher. I was their warden.

I opened the doors to the multi-purpose room to find that three other classes were already in there, screaming at the tops of their lungs and hurling anything not attached to the floor at each other. In my head, I cringed, but on my face, I smiled encouragingly for the children to join their fellow classmates and have fun. After all, recess was only thirty minutes, right? No biggie.

Within three minutes, I was under just as much supervision as the children were. It didn't take long for the other teachers to realize my maternal instincts were nonexistent, so my safety precautions and their safety precautions slightly differed. It all began when a handful of wet-dog-smelling children asked if I would hand them basketballs to play with. Glancing around the room, I noted the floor had lines for a basketball court, and it had basketball goals, so in my head basketballs seemed necessary. I passed each child a ball...almost. As I turned to hand the last ball out, one of the other teachers came running at me as if I had explosives under my shirt. She grabbed my wrist, and in a stern voice she said, "We do not give them basketballs in here!"

It wasn't like I gave the children live hand grenades and said, "Tick tock!" I assumed basketballs were harmless, recreational fun. Of course, as soon as I finished that thought, a basketball from an unknown assassin flew past my head and creamed the wall right next to my face. The other teacher, looking a bit smug, finished her reprimand by saying, "They're too hard for indoor use." I felt betrayed by these rugrats; I had gone out on a limb for them, and they got me in trouble. No more Miss Nice Children Hater. Finally, it was time to take them back to our room and finish their coloring assignments. I glanced at the clock and, to my horror, it was only 9 a.m. Within the first hour of my debut as a preschool teacher, I had aged fifteen years. Exhausted, I flopped into the my desk chair and closed my eyes for a second, praying for strength to finish the day.

"Ms. Maica! Ms. Maica!" I heard someone screaming. ("Jamaica" is too hard for preschoolers to pronounce.) "I need a tissue! I sneezed!"

My worst germaphobic nightmares were personified. I opened my eyes to see one

of the basketball throwing raindancers running full force at me with eyes wide and a green rope of snot stringing from his nose to underneath his chin. Forcing the bile back down my throat, I sprang for the box of tissue and all but launched it at him. He took a single tissue out--as if one lone tissue could clean THAT up-- and held it toward me.

"My mom always holds it for me while I blow," he explained. Blah. Of course she does.

Grabbing six more tissues, I closed my eyes and pictured myself in a snot-resistant suit of armor, then plugged the wad of booger cloth around his snot-blowing device. Cringing as only a non-mother would, I prayed no germs would skip the tissue and plop onto my hand, thus causing infections, fever, and inevitable death. He tapped my hand when it was over, and I buried the tissue in the trash can, pausing for a moment to consider setting it ablaze, then proceeded to douse myself in Germ-X as if it were Chanel No. 5.

When the day was over, I patted myself on the back. In the beginning of the day, my goal was to keep the children happy, upbeat, and busy. I had envisioned myself as a modern-day Mary Poppins who sang chipper songs to make the day tolerable. By the end of the day, my goal was reduced to just keeping them alive.

Seeing the look on my face when I crawled into the house, my mother finally broke it to me that I might just be too selfish to think about children right now, and it may be a permanent trait. All along, my mother knew that I didn't have the patience, the focus, nor the selfless attitude to bring another human life into the world, yet she allowed me to think for years that one day having a family was a goal of mine. She says it is because I have a long time to get rid of my selfish traits, and nowadays women are waiting until their forties to start families.

That means I have a little less than twenty years to decide if being selfish is a virtue or a vice. In the meantime, I hope my family stops trying to toss babies in my direction on Easter.

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You caught me, TyroneTyrone. I'm going after Cindy Hines. I'm taking no prisoners. Her blogging position is mine! Oh wait...I'm already a blogger, silly! :)

-- Posted by Jamaica Williams on Sun, Aug 23, 2009, at 5:35 PM

Hey girl that was GREAT. I've substituted and know what you are talking about, the first few classes are mortifying, but even though I have trouble with kids sometimes I do enjoy helping them learn. I'm just not "maternal" as you say, I don't hold people's kids. I like them when they can talk and walk, but babies? Forget it!

I've got scolded before for being on the playground with some kids (they thought I was one even though I was in slacks and a nice top). I don't feel any need to have kids, in fact just adopted a cat and have been telling my folks and inlaws that if you expect a grandchild from us it will be named either fido or feefee (but my cat's name is Max!).

Hey, did you go to Holcomb? I remember a girl one time w/ your name @ a Beta Convention that stayed down the hall, it was a school from the lovely bootheel...nphs 04.

-- Posted by kalli11 on Fri, Jun 12, 2009, at 8:07 PM


I can totally relate! I have 2 kids and have wiped my share of snotty noses been puked, peed (I had a boy), and POOPED on. When it comes to other peoples' children it absolutely grosses me out to the point of gagging. But the instinct does kick in for your own kids. It takes maturity to realized you don't want them. Good for you!

-- Posted by anoncampbellresident on Mon, Jun 8, 2009, at 1:21 PM

I love this article and reminds me of ME. This is SO FUNNY! Great job and Im looking forward to your next articles.

-- Posted by Rachel Crayne on Wed, Jun 3, 2009, at 7:43 AM

In the words of the somewhat misanthropic W.C. Fields, "I like my children well done".

-- Posted by SenathDavid on Fri, May 29, 2009, at 9:22 AM

Tomley3000, my response was in response to several other posts that were made, that had been since removed. It would have made more sense if the others were still there and then mine.

-- Posted by grizz1 on Fri, May 29, 2009, at 8:06 AM

I was the one in my class that was not going to have children. I did not want the responsibility nor the strain of hearing mommy 50,000 times a day. So as a responsible adult I went on birth control and set it on my alarm clock so I could wake every morning with the knowledge that I would not hear the words mommy. The doctor explained after my second son was born was that if my husband and I did not want any more children that he should not even look at me until he was fixed that I was VERY fertile. Now as my youngest is a senior I am looking forward to the day very far in the future of having g-kids to love and SEND HOME. It didn't take long for my motherly instincts to kick in basically as soon as they cried for the first time. But, through all the poo, puking on me and all the fun things that these two have brought into my life I WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING even though that now they are young men they are more trouble to me then when they were small.

-- Posted by bassman82 on Wed, May 27, 2009, at 8:22 PM

grizz1, how would anyone's feelings be expensed by this blog? good for jamaica to realize she doesn't want children, very mature realization. i myself know i wouldn't make a good dog father, let alone a father, at least not now. and as far as working as a sub and not liking kids, i'm sure many of us have worked retail and hated customers.

-- Posted by Tomley3000 on Wed, May 27, 2009, at 9:54 AM

I've been told many times how amazing it is to have children...I can definitely see how one's maternal instincts kick in when it's time for motherhood to begin. Thank you for your response to the article...it is always good to see how different we all are and how we change as we get older!

-- Posted by Jamaica Williams on Tue, May 26, 2009, at 9:54 PM

you would be amazed what you can do when you have your own child though. I didnt think I wanted one, because i was afraid I wouldn't know what to do, but when I had her, it all changed in an instant.

It's the best thing in the world, although shouldn't be an impromtu decision, like it was for me, it's just the best.

-- Posted by sj83 on Mon, May 25, 2009, at 11:24 AM

that just seems so stuck-up

-- Posted by sj83 on Mon, May 25, 2009, at 11:21 AM

As some of the previous visitors to this blog will notice, a number of comments have been removed. This was done at the request of those individuals whom originally posted them, and later contacted us to request they be removed. Replies to those comments were also removed, as they were in conjunction with that in which we were asked to remove. Just as a reminder, many of those comments were also borderline inappropriate, in regards to our long-standing policy. It is stated in the comment section that in order for your comments to be posted and remain on our site, they must be respectful of others and stay on topic. It is absolutely fine to disagree, or share your thoughts or opinions on various subjects discussed online, both in hard news and editorial pieces. However, we do request that you meet our guidelines and keep in mind that this is a public forum, where many, of all ages, will view the comments posted. If anyone has questions regarding our policy on posting online, please feel free to contact me to discuss these issues at dcoronado@dddnews.com. Thank you to all who participate in online discussions at our site. We continue to encourage participation among our readers and look forward to reading more exchanges of ideas, opinions, positions and etc., between visitors.

-- Posted by deannacoronado on Fri, May 22, 2009, at 1:12 PM

Brilliantly written! Absolutely love it... I'm a writer too, and I thought your piece was flawless. (and actually even better since there's a little bit of controvercy surrounding it) - Unnecessary controvercy... but controvercy none-the-less.

From a journalist's perspective, it's always difficult for people who might know you to read your work - because they'll become naturally defensive (with a hint of jealousy) but just remember to take it all in a stride. Big cities will especially love this!!!

My advice, get away from your hometown and then you at least won't have to listen to it.

Again, wonderful work. Excellent ENTERTAINMENT writing (that's the thing to remember readers - it wasn't written to be "hard news" but instead to provide light-hearted entertainment based on real life experience... the best kind of reporting!)

I look forward to reading your column in the future! Good luck to you. You're a rising star!

-- Posted by scarlettohara on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 2:46 PM

Jamaica: Very well said! As I anticipated, there would be a number of online visitors who would be able to relate to, and appreciate the humorous points in this story. Great job! Can't wait to read your next blog :)

-- Posted by deannacoronado on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 11:45 AM

Jamaica....I absolutely loved reading your story and laughed more than I have in a while. Like you, I don't have a fondness of children. I have nieces and nephews and while I think they're great, I'm always more than ready to see them go home. I don't like holding other people's babies as I don't seem to have that natural comfort zone most women seem to have. I don't go crazy when I see them either and go on and on......and on about how precious they are...that's just me. But I do realize they are very precious to someone. So, it might surprise you to hear I am a mother, and a good one I believe. My daughter is the love of my life; I could never have imagined loving and caring so much for another human being. I consider myself a pretty selfless individual and often put others needs above my own, but I just don't like little kids and babies other than from afar and in pictures (they make some really cute pictures!) So, I guess what I'm saying to you is, you don't have to adore the little snotty noses and squeally voices to be normal. And, if and when it's right for you to have a child, once the baby is here, all the motherly instincts you will need will kick in appropriately. That's the way God designed us. So, enjoy life, keep walking on that cloud as long as it lasts for you.

-- Posted by concerned on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 9:31 AM

Lighten up everyone. It was hilarious. I thought we all felt this way until we had our own!

-- Posted by nana05 on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 8:44 AM

Very good piece...I was crackin up after you talked about the pre-school experience...Kind of reminds me of the first time I stepped into a 5th Grade self-contained classroom; an experience that guided me into the more "civilized" setting of high school kids! HA!

As far as all the other comments; seriously, why hate somebody for something they've written? Although Jamaica handled it very professionally, I'm sure it's upsetting to see stuff like that. If you don't like what she wrote, here's a simple solution: don't read it.

A very good job Jamaica...Quite ironic that we've switched roles since the last time I saw you (you were sitting in a high school and I was writing for the DDD and now I'm sitting in a high school reading your blog). HA!

-- Posted by mskelton on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 8:15 AM

Thanks, Vickie! I appreciate the good humor... I have been told many times that one day my opinions will change, but if they don't, then it's okay, too. My whole point is that I've spent four and a half years on a college campus where young adults my age were career-minded, and family was for later. It was just a jolt to come home and realize how different things are...and that's not a bad thing! I'm just not cut out for it at this point and time.

Again, I appreciate the kind words.

-- Posted by Jamaica Williams on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 10:46 PM

Jamaica, I thought it was very funny. I could have written it myself a few....oh, say 30....years ago. I felt the same way. I did not like children, didn't want to hold someone else's, and didn't have a maternal bone in my body. I don't think I would have been offended if you had used my children as examples. I am sorry that you caught some crap about it.

It's okay to not like children, it's okay to not want to be a mother. It's okay to lighten up and laugh.

-- Posted by Vickie on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 10:36 PM

Yes, it seems funny, but you do have to be careful with what you say. Saying that you don't like kids will strike a nerve with a lot of people. Some may say, at least she is being honest! True, but why do it at the expense of other's feelings and why in the world would you continue to substitute teach if you don't like kids? Semi-funny article, but hopefully a lesson learned for the writer...We shall see in her next blog.

-- Posted by grizz1 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 11:28 AM

What a hoot!!!! I loved reading your article. Very funny and yeah true as well. GREAT!!! Thanks!

I had a similiar experience myself while I was working on my teaching credential. I decided I was best suited for 7-12 grades!

-- Posted by cbhine on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 2:45 PM

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The Fabulous Chronicles of an Average Bombshell
Jamaica Williams
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Follow the events of a young, single female who just graduated college and is looking for the next chapter to begin. The Fabulous Chronicles of an Average Bombshell looks at what life is like for a young woman in her 20's, living in a small town, who has nothing in common with her friends: she's not interested in marriage, she wants a taste of the city life, and dating is for fun not so much for finding The One.
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