Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Warning: Rant

Kid talk has become a sore spot for me. It’s not people’s fault, it’s mine alone. I read a post on a loop that just hit that sore spot.

Some mothers just go on and on about how kids are the best thing that ever happened to them and they’re a new person, and then they graciously say that it’s okay for those who don’t want kids to not have them.

They very kindly say that it would be worse for a parent to have kids when they didn’t want them, than to have no kids.

Well, gee. Thanks.

You know, sometimes it’s not much of a choice. You can’t just push a button and order up a kid, for crying out loud. There are TONS of people who would love to have kids, but can’t, for various reasons.

And what if it was a choice? The assumption of that statement is that if you choose not to have kids, you’re protecting the unborn kids from your would-be bad parenting.

You know, people that choose to NOT have kids (or are unable to have kids) would not be bad parents, if they had them. There are a ton of factors that go into such a decision. A whole lot of them would probably make just-as-good parents as most others. They’d be good, bad, and in-between, just like everyone else.

I really hate that assumption.

I have hereby decreed to myself that I will never talk about having or not having kids in those terms. If I’m lucky enough to have them, I will never say that they made me a whole new person, and that I’m such a better person for it, or that they completely gave my life meaning.

I’m sure it would be true, but I don’t need to rub it in anyone’s sore spot. You never know if the person you’re talking to is aching to have kids, but due to whatever circumstances, can’t.

And then they act as if their life is so much busier than yours, so much more important. Like you have TONS of time on your hands, considering you don’t have kids.

Yeah, right. Let’s see you run three businesses and tell me that your life is busier than mine. You, at least, get rewarding smiles and hugs and love from your kids. That makes it a hell of a lot more worthwhile than unstable paychecks and people who never pay at all.

On the other hand, I DO love to hold babies, look at the pictures of people’s kids, etc. I don’t mind at all hearing the endless discussion of diapers and bowel movements and baby food slopping everywhere.

*sigh* I’m sure I’ll get used to the best-thing-ever-happened-to-me talk, at some point. Maybe I’ll learn to joke about it, and say things like "Kids? Ick! Who wants the mess?" Maybe I’ll learn to shrug. Maybe I’ll learn just not to care.

11 bonus scribbles:

Liz Wolfe 6/26/2007 11:25:00 AM  

I know what you mean. There are some women who seem to think that if you don't have children, you are lacking. What, I don't know. But the attitude is annoying. I think the current child-bearing generation is the one making the really big breakout from the assumption that all women want to or should have children. My daughter is 28 and has never wanted children. On the other hand, she has a stepdaughter that she loves and is an excellent parent to.
One of my pet peeves is women who tell horror birth stories to women who are expecting their first child. WTF is up with that?

spyscribbler 6/26/2007 12:11:00 PM  

I think you're right about women in their twenties, but I think once you hit thirty, the pressure is on.

Being of almost the same generation as your daughter (five years older), I agree with you, but I think it's the age. There was no pressure in my twenties, but now?

Part of the pressure is internal, because I want kids. But those offhand remarks from moms just drive me nuts!

Rhonda Stapleton 6/26/2007 12:30:00 PM  

((hugs)) people just need to learn how to mind their own business. everyone moves through life at his/her own path.

Christa M. Miller 6/26/2007 12:57:00 PM  

Oh geez, I hope you're not talking about me/my blog! I don't think I've ever said anything like that, but maybe I have without thinking....

I didn't want kids for ages. Then I had one, and my writing took on a whole new dimension, largely in terms of my ability to characterize - to feel things rather than simply observe. That's mainly what I mean when I say my kids have enriched my life.

I literally don't understand people who choose not to have children. I mean, I do in a way. But I got over my ambivalence and now I can't imagine not having kids. Also, some of us come from families that didn't like children and probably shouldn't have had them, so it's easier for us to make certain assumptions. That said, I do know a couple of people who truly don't like kids, but I've never thought they would be bad parents.

At the same time I think having kids has "enriched" my life the same way that not having kids "enriches" others... it's not always good. I've had some very dark days with kids, just as childless women do without them. I sometimes think I would indeed be better off without them. That is even with having had a miscarriage, being fully aware of my blessings, and whatnot... mothering just doesn't come easily to me, not to the same extent it does for mothers who always wanted kids. Oh, and I DO know what it's like to have an unstable paycheck, even with kids! ;)

I'm sorry if I've been one of the moms to offend you!

spyscribbler 6/26/2007 01:08:00 PM  

You're so right, Rhonda!

I hadn't visited your blog yet this morning, so no worries, Christa! I don't, for a second, doubt that children enrich our lives. They sure do remind us to enjoy life's smaller pleasures, too!

Christa M. Miller 6/26/2007 01:33:00 PM  

Thanks, Spy. You know, here's another thought. Maybe we tell people our kids enrich our lives because we're trying to remind ourselves (out loud) why we shouldn't kill them! :D

spyscribbler 6/26/2007 07:33:00 PM  

LOL, Christa. I do that kind of talking all the time! Half my blog posts are to convince myself of something!

Susan Helene Gottfried 6/26/2007 10:38:00 PM  

I used to feel as you do, Spy. I even asked the Tour Manager to take me out back and shoot me if I turned into one of those moms who does nothing but talk about her kids.

Guess what? He refused to shoot me.

One reason so many of us talk about our kids incessantly is because they dominate our lives. They are THERE, in our faces and laps. It's intense, and there's very little escape, if there's any at all.

No matter what else happens to me during the day, I always talk about the kids first. Hell, I have friends in real life who don't know my blog exists!

However, I have friends who've been unable to have kids. I have a sister who chose not to have kids. As far as I'm concerned, you make your own choices in life and so long as they work for you, I can't be critical. Your choices -- made for whatever reason -- are YOURS, not mine. And as your friend, I'll support you as best as I can.

But that's me and I'm weird. We've established that about me.

Hang in there.

Bernita 6/27/2007 06:28:00 AM  

I'm with Liz on the birth-horror stories. What a bunch of sadists.
Kids should not be used as a status thingy to reproach those who don't have them.
To have or have not, providing the choice is there, is personal - and no one else's damn business.

Karen Olson 6/27/2007 10:05:00 AM  

Having children is a personal choice. If I meet someone who is married and childless, I NEVER ask whether he/she's planning on having children or why they don't have them. It's none of my damn business. My husband and I were not able to biologically have children and we chose to adopt our daughter from China. We chose not to go the science route. But many do. Many others adopt. Many just don't have kids. It's all choice and incredibly personal. And whatever anyone chooses is his/her own decision and none of us is in their shoes and should think that we know better.

As you can see, spyscribbler, I have very strong feelings about this, too :)

spyscribbler 6/27/2007 11:40:00 AM  

Susan, I don't mind people talking about their kids at all. (I like it, actually!) It's not the specific talk that bothers me, it's the judgment talk about people who don't have kids. Grrrrr!

Amen, Bernita! (To both, LOL.) And if I ever have kids, I'd like to skip that part, please.

I like and agree with your strong feelings, Karen!