The “No Thank You” Mom
Mariana Becerra has one child, a dog named Tartufo.
I feel like very few women are brave enough to say loudly and proudly that they don’t want kids. As long as I’ve known Mariana, she’s been adamant about this. She loves her body and she loves her independence. The closest she’s come to this is getting a dog, Tartufo. He is her son so she’s kinda got the best of both worlds—he loves her to death but she didn’t gain 40lbs to get him and he can’t talk back. Although my life is the complete opposite, we’re still BFF’s. I would also like to add that this interview was done on a Sunday evening in my parent’s kitchen. This was P.A. (pre-Antonio). Santiago and I had no help, the kids were acting horribly and their behavior probably deterred Mariana and Carlos more than ever. I’m pretty sure this one hour cemented their parenting future.
Here is our Q + A:
Q: Are you 100% sure you don’t want kids?
M: Yes I am 100% sure (she says with a laugh that’s reassuring but also a little nervous like someone might make her have a baby)
Q: How do you deal with or how do you feel when people randomly ask you when you’re going to start a family?
M: It’s annoying but it’s more annoying when I say I’m not having kids and people start questioning me and saying that’s so selfish of me. I feel like I have to defend myself.
M: Like yeah, that’s the most selfish thing you can do. Like, who is going to take care of you when you’re old?
A: Ok, I don’t think that’s selfish. I think I’m selfish. I can’t stop having kids and the world is over populated.
M: Someone asked me once “like you don’t want kids ever?” and when I said no she said “then why did you even get married?”
A: Well you get married and can do other things…
M: I’ve just never wanted kids.
A: I know. You’ve never waivered from that. If I died, and left you my kid in my will like in one of those movies, would you take them?
M: OMG I would have to…
And then we all did a nervous laugh. Her husband, Carlos included. Carlos is her husband. He owns Flour and Weirdoughs in Key Biscayne.
Q: How pissed off do you get when people can’t seem to “get” why you and Carlos both don’t want kids.
M: Carlos doesn’t care.
C: Yeah, I don’t care.
M: I get annoyed.
A: Do you get annoyed because you feel like you’re being attacked as a woman? Because a woman not wanting kids isn’t perceived the same was as a guy not wanting kids.
M: Yes–totally. My purpose in life isn’t to be a mother. I’m more than that. I’m more than a baby making machine.
A: Has anyone ever said, “oh, poor Carlos?”
M: No but people say “is he ok with that?” and that pisses me off. Because like he has a say–he’s my husband. I didn’t decide this for the both of us.
Q: Did you and Carlos ever have “the convo” or it has sort of just been known? Do you ever talk about it?
M: We did…before getting engaged.
A: Who initiated it?
M: Probably me. Carlos probably wouldn’t have said anything unless I asked him.
A: Carlos, if Mariana would have said “I absolutely need a child to fulfill my life purpose” what would you say?
C: No I mean, I’d talk about it. I wouldn’t say no because my goal is also to make her happy.
I died. They’re soulmates.
M: It wouldn’t be like “ok let’s have kids” but we’d definitely have a conversation about it.
C: Maybe we’d get another dog.
M: There has been a time where I’ve been like “maybe I should have a kid.”
A: “Maybe I should” isn’t a valid reason.
M: And that’s why I don’t have one! It’s a responsibility for ever.
Q: It’s still kind of taboo, I feel, for a woman to say freely that she doesn’t want kids—that she wants to put herself first always. Do you feel that way or not really?
M: I personally don’t feel it’s taboo but people make me feel like…sometimes I hear gasps..they think I’m going to change my mind.
A: I mean I think I even do it subconsciously. Maybe when you’re 40 you’ll want kids..
M: But you’re my friend–you know me. It’s different when it’s someone you don’t know making assumptions.
Q: Do you like kids? Do mine annoy you? Do my stories bore you?
C: I like kids..I just don’t like all kids. Also, at the end of the day I can give yours back.
A: I don’t like all kids. I like my kids and certain kids like my nieces and nephews but there are even some kids in Santi’s class that I’m like pleaseeeee don’t become friends with them they’re sooooo annoying.
M: Yeah no, I usually tend to not like kids. Your kids don’t annoy me because I don’t see them enough to get annoyed (lucky, lucky girl). Your stories don’t bore me–there are moments when I enjoy it because it’s funny and then there are moments when I enjoy it because I’m like thank God I’m not her.
Q: I mentioned that you’ve always known that you don’t want kids. Has there been a point in your life where it’s made a click. Like wow, I definitely 100% do not want kids and I know this now 100%?
M: We’ve had moments…
C: Like when we see kids and they’re so annoying
M: Or when we go to Carlos’ dad’s house and it’s such a mess (Carlos’ dad has 7 kids and the youngest one is 7 years old) and we come out and it’s like OMG.
C: Like when you see 4, 5 kids in action. One of them doesn’t want to eat, the other is hungry, they want different things.
We then went on a tangent about how I thought Joaquin would be different than Santi and a little terror. It never gets old to say I was right.
Q: Do you feel that having a dog is like having a child?
M: No I know that having a kid is a lot more.
A: It’s a lot more but it’s also the same. It’s just as expensive.
M: Tartufo is expensive. He has a sensitive stomach and sensitive skin…we take him to day care but I don’t think it compares to a child.
Obviously I’m kidding. Nothing in the entire world drains your bank account like a child. NOTHING.
A: So this is the other thing about Motherhood, or Parenthood. Once you come to the realization that you’re going to spend a lot of money, you get to decide what you’re going to spend money on. We don’t travel yet because the kids are too young and my parents said they can take care of one right now but not both, so we choose to spend it on help. All of the money Santiago and I save on certain things, all of it go to help. I can’t be a good mom by myself. I can’t.
M: And you’re lucky because you can go out on date nights but not everyone has that ability.
A: Well even now, as a couple we’ve grown together but our topics of conversation are totally different. Everything revolves around the kids. Even if we are talking about potentially traveling, we’re like “dammnit, Santi Is already two so we have to buy him a ticket. And I don’t want to spend $1,300 on him because he’s a midget.”
M: Yeah it’s a lot of pressure.
Q: So, the way I see it is: having children has brought me so much joy. It really has been, for me, something that I can’t even describe in words because the love and pride I feel is just so much. So, annoyingly enough, when I hear someone say they don’t want kids, my first instinct isn’t to ask why, but to feel sad because in my head, you’re going to be missing out on this happiness that can’t be described. My thought is not “oh I want you to have kids because that’s what you’re supposed to do,” but more like “you don’t really know what you’re going to experience.” I’ve always wanted kids and even now having them it’s so much more than what I thought it was. It’s all encompassing. Do you ever worry that what I feel is true, or it isn’t so black and white for you?
M: I mean, I’m sure if I ever had a kid I’d feel that way but right now the cons outweigh the pros…Like I’m thinking about it not with my heart but with my brain.
A: What are the pros and what are the cons? I need help.
M: The pros are what you said..having that like unconditional love. The cons are it’s expensive (true), they can be assholes (this is so true), you loose your sense of autonomy (also very, very true). I wouldn’t be able to travel and drink whenever I want. A dog, you take them out for a walk and you’re done. But this…this isn’t it.
Q: What would you say to the haters out there who say shit like “but you might regret it later. What happens when you’re 70 years old and have no one??”
M: I don’t care. That’s not a reason to have a kid.