I had a conversation with my mother the other day and she asked me if I was remotely close to being in a relationship that would lead towards marriage. I smiled, chuckled and told her that I feel like I’m on the cusp of knowing that it’s very likely the next woman I’m in a relationship with will be my wife. She had this look on her face that seemed as though she had reached a calm place. As a mother, she wants me to be happy but also she wants grandbabies.
I often talk to other men in my network about children: do we want them or are we in no rush because we think we’ll always be able to have kids? Then there’s the other side of the gender who has these biological clocks that change the conversation. They know that as they get older the chances of having children decreases and the chances of high-risk pregnancies increase. But the question is, do men share the same sentiments? Are we worried that if we don’t have children by a certain age we’ll be reduced to blue pills and expensive doctor’s visits?
The answer is no; we don’t think about it that way, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have an internal clock ticking every day. I was speaking to an old female friend of mine who I’ve known for more than ten years and I told her, “I need to find a wife pretty soon, I want babies!”
She looked at me and said, “Why do you want kids so bad?” My answer, “Because I want grandkids.” That’s when she told me that my desires were purely vain, and in a way she was correct. Men don’t have a biological clock that tells them that if they don’t have kids in the next couple years that they’ll lose the ability to have them later on in life. However, we do have a clock that tells us a few things about having children.
1) Men are obsessed with having someone in their likeness – It’s not about world denomination but it’s about the accomplishment that comes with, “I made that.” Men like to look in the eyes of a child and see themselves. Further on in that same conversation with my friend I admitted that, “I just want to have people in this world who look like me.”
2) Men are obsessed with fulfilling the dream of parenthood – Let’s just be honest, nobody wants to be raising a teenager in their fifties or forties. As a man, you imagine yourself throwing the football around with your son, or being that man who your daughter thinks is the strongest in the world.
3) Men have a very good idea that as a provider and protector, society is slipping – As the years go by, I’m more and more convinced that society is going to crap. I know that raising a child in today’s world would be much easier than in ten years. We think about all the things we did as children and we know that today’s times are even worse. While women, as nurturers, think about raising the child, men are obsessed with protecting the child. (The right type of men, that is.)
I’ll admit that while I don’t think it’s biological each year, “I’m too old for this” starts to encompass many things. I find the energy I had in my early twenties fleeting. In some ways, maybe that’s biological. In other ways, it’s timing and understanding that, as it pertains to my legacy, it’s important to get started soon.
As a Black man I need to say this, I do not desire a child before marriage. It may happen and we’ll deal with that in those circumstances, but I always respond to any criticisms about not having children with, “Would you rather a ring or a baby?” Therefore, I conclude that I’m more interested in finding the mother of my child than having my child. A woman might be more interested in having babies before her eggs “run dry.” (As if prenatal care in America hasn’t come a long way in the last 30 years, but I digress.) However, I’m thinking about marriage before children and because there is no biological clock associated with marriage, I can’t say I have one. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think about children and having them soon. Like many men, I can’t wait to put the basketball in the crib of my son or daughter.