Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Missing My Re-Education November 9, 2010

Last night my husband asked me, “What’s coal tar?”

I didn’t know exactly, so I did what I usually do, which is to piece together the bits of information I do know about coal and tar and try to fudge an answer. As is also common (and one of the things I love about my husband) this turned into a discussion about how coal and oil are formed and if all living things are carbon based. But it still didn’t answer the original question about coal tar.

I decided that I’d look it up when we got home, but something else came up and I got busy and so I never did get my answer, and neither did my husband. It occurred to me that if I had children, I’d have found an answer. I’d have done the research until I could give them a good explanation. So I wonder, am I missing an education because I don’t have kids? Or am I just missing my re-education?

I used to know about a lot of things. I could identify birds, knew the names of all the dinosaurs, and knew which color paints to mix to make the colors I didn’t have. I knew how to French knit, do a cat’s cradle, and build a model theatre out of cereal boxes. I also learned most of the periodic table and could list all the kings and queens of England in historical order. And I used to know the difference between how coal and oil are formed. But now I just can’t exactly remember. If I had kids, I’d have to learn all that stuff again and I’d be glad to.

I realize that this isn’t life-saving information I’m missing, but it would be nice to be able to pop out in conversation that Edward VI was Henry VIII’s son and heir, and that coal tar is a by-product of converting coal into coke.

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5 Responses to “Missing My Re-Education”

  1. Interesting idea Lisa, I think that I can see now that some of my personal desires to re-learn things might be a motivation of my own or a way to introduce things to my lost infertile self. Like a comforting element.

  2. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    “into coke”?! The soft drink or the party drug?

  3. Mali Says:

    I feel that way about maths. I’ve forgotten it all. I used to enjoy it. I have no reason now to relearn it, like I would have had to if I’d had kids.

  4. Kathryn Says:

    Kathleen – coke is older than either of those. It is a something they burn for heat/energy.

  5. happynenes Says:

    Oh, I don’t know about that. Maybe you’ve just redirected your attention towards other interests? I’ve forgotten calculus mostly, but I know a whole lot more about nursing. On the whole, I dare say we’re probably more well-read and well-informed than people who have kids. Think about your voting post, for instance. We did the same thing – researching all the issues and the candidates. I might not have bothered if I had to say, rush home from work and pick my kid up from the sitter.


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