attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,
attack_laurel
attack_laurel

Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a controversy out of my hat!

Oh, that trick never works.

I'm probably going to piss some people off, but I am bothered when people make statements like "you're not really a whole person until you have kids".  Especially when they then look smugly and pityingly at me or whomever they're addressing their superiority to.

I'm sorry, but that's simply not true, nor is it a nice thing to say.  You wouldn't say "you're not really a whole person until you have a job" to an unemployed person, would you?  No.  It would be rude.  Whether they're jobless by choice or circumstance, it would be at best an idiotic, and at worst an unkind, thing to say.

(And don't scream "that's different!".  The effect on the listener is exactly the same.)

Most of the world has children.  It isn't a particularly rare or amazing feat, but it seems to make people happy, and that's great.  I just wish that certain members of the parenting classes would knock it the fuck off with the holier-than-thou attitude; it just makes them look insecure.  Seriously; it's not like the childless minority is a huge threat, nor are we generally out there telling people to quit with the kid-having (except in private, or in extreme circumstances like when someone's kids have laid waste to one's entire house, and the parent in question is not only not doing anything, they're talking about having more kids).

I am not a child-hater; I like children as a whole, and they seem to respond well to me.  Despite this, my womb happily remains barren to the concept of fertility, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I just don't get why some people are so hostile to the idea that other people don't want to have children.  Do they see it as an indictment of their own choices?  A slam at them?  I'm honestly confused.  I respect people's choices, and hope that it all works out the way they want it to.  I have some strong political stances vis-a-vis birth control, sex education, and licenses for parents, but I tend to keep them to myself unless I'm in like-minded company, because I feel that politics and religion are two things that cannot be discussed rationally by most people, and so should be kept to oneself.  

I am confused as to why my choice to remain without children is so offensive to some people, though.  I mean, really, really offensive.  I've seen such anger over this - and been called selfish, childish, irresponsible, and other, less complimentary things (usually on-line; I tend not to socialize with rude people IRL).  I simply don't understand the hostility.  The idea of conscious childlessness seems so alien to them - even the friendly ones (like Bob's co-workers, who kept telling him "oh, she'll change her mind!" when they hadn't even met me).  I get told "you'll have no-one to take care of you in your old age!" (and I have to bite back the retort "yes?  And how well are you taking care of your parents?", because that would be rude).  I don't denigrate parenthood; I'm not usually that hostile, even under duress.

I'm really not.  I might be angry about many things, but not that, because I'm secure in my choices.  I'm just puzzled and tired and slightly annoyed by the attitude that I'm somehow inferior for choosing a child-free lifestyle.  My decisions have no effect whatsoever on anyone else's, and I cast no aspersions whatsoever on those who choose a different path.  Kids are not for me - I utilize my ability to create in other fields.  I even have retirement plans and insurance so I can take care of myself in my old age, since I won't have kids to take care of me.

But I keep coming back to this need for certain parents to impress on me how superior they are for having had kids.  That's great that having kids filled what was apparently a rather gaping hole in your psyche, but it's a bit insulting to assume that I am pathetically crippled without the experience of motherhood.  In my sojourns through the intarwebs and real life, I've seen people who are great parents, who really find fulfillment in their kids.  I've also seen parents who look and behave like their kids are an imposition, and they wish they'd never had them.  Clearly, these latter parents aren't made whole by having offspring.  One cannot assume that everyone is the same or will react the same way to parenthood.  If it works out well, great.  If it doesn't, then how much is societal pressure to have children at fault?  Perhaps if there wasn't such an expectation of having children, there would be fewer unwanted and neglected children going through the foster care systems.

Oops, politics.  Mustn't get me started.  :)  Let's talk about me again - that's fairly safe, right?

If I feel that my time is better spent in non-mothering pursuits, why then is that so threatening to certain people that they need to minimize and devalue my choice?  A person who tells me over and over again how selfish I am for spending my money on myself and how superior they are for sacrificing everything for their child comes across, frankly, as jealous.  And all the comments about how inferior my life must be because I lack progeny sounds like sour grapes.  Our lifestyles are just different, that's all - with corresponding advantages and disadvantages.

And I'm happily child-free; I can handle this silliness.  I get mad when it happens to someone who wants kids but can't have them.  What kind of crushing insecurity must someone be suffering from to pull that superiority bullshit on someone who would love to have kids if it were possible?  How low is that?!

Do men get these kinds of insults?  I don't hear about it, but maybe guys get this kind of irritating condescension, too.  Let me know.

I think if you're going to have kids, it's a good idea to teach them tolerance for differing points of view.  Start with me (because I'm special!!!!!  ...and it's my journal).  I'm quite whole, thank you, and don't need to have a child to understand what love is.  And until you can get inside my brain, you have no business making any kind of statement about my psychological completeness.  Remember; just because that's how you feel, doesn't mean everyone feels that way.

And that's okay.  Diversity is the seed of creativity, whether it's painting, poetry, music, literature, or Billy, Susan, and baby Sammy.
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