Kids. Do you have them or not? Plenty of nosy, bossy, superior-feeling, condescending busybodies with righteous fury say all women must have kids – if you physically can that is. What the hell business is it of theirs I ask you?
Lets back up and start at the beginning. When I was a child, teenager and even young adult, I thought I wanted children. Three, just like my momma and oldest sister. Then I grew up and realized a few things. Wait. Let’s back this up memory train up even farther.
I became an aunt when I was 5.5 years old, became an aunt for the second time 1 year later, and became an aunt for the third time when I was 10. Back then I did not fully realize what an aunt was supposed to be. My nieces felt like little sisters. My oldest sister and her husband and their three daughters all lived relatively close to my parents, middle sister and me for most of my nieces’ child and teenage years.
My nieces and I were literally growing up together. We had plenty of fun times together - riding horses, playing in the hayshed attached to my dad’s barn, walking through the horse pasture and woods and other farm related activities. And since there is 13 years difference between my oldest sister and me, and 6 years between my middle sister and me, my nieces did give me youngsters to play board games and Barbie dolls with. It was delightful having them around. And so, I thought it would be cool to have kids of my own to play with as well when I got to that point in my life.
Now, on with the story as implied by the title.
So, probably up until the age of 22, I believed I was going to have three children – all girls. You know following family tradition. ;-) Then as I was growing into a somewhat mature thoughtful adult, I started learning more about the world and myself. Through this learning and accompanying observations, I decided that two children would be easier for me to handle. A couple of years after dating my boyfriend, now husband, he thought having two children would work for us as well. He grew up in a family of three too, but he is the oldest of a brother and sister. Then a few more years went by, and we sort of debated about only having one child. Then as time went on, we realized that ‘no children’ was the way for us.
You see, after nearly 6 years of marriage (married in June 2009), we sincerely, without a flicker of doubt, truly enjoy our childless marriage. We like having time just for ourselves, being responsible for only ourselves (dog and fish being the exceptions here). It has gotten to the point where when someone (stranger or not) asks when we are having children, we may have to resort to LYING. We lie and say ‘they are not in the plans just now.’ When a society values honesty, they sure as hell are hypocrites when the truth is different than their opinion. Shame on us for trying to be honest and answer those terrible, personal inquiries with an honest answer by saying ‘we do not want children.’
I am of the mind that a person should do what makes them happy since we only get one shot at living in this big, opinion-filled, shame-you-for-being-different world. Not having children makes my husband and me happy. Do those interfering, patronizing people who say we should have children not care if it will make my husband and me happy? No. Absolutely not. You know why. Because they are selfish clowns who feel they must pressure couples, women in particular, to be just like them. Why would I want to be just like someone else and live a life similar to them?
Take children to dance recitals, music lessons, sportsball stuff, birthday parties of classmates, miss work because they are sick, plan summer vacations around them, and choose restaurants and movies because of them? What makes people who don’t know me (even some who do) think all of that will make me happy? Just because that works for them does NOT automatically mean it will work for me. In fact, that does not mean that kind of lifestyle works for all women. Yes, I specifically said women in that previous sentence, because it’s usually not the men who are pressured by society to create children.
The other day I was reading a blog on Facebook, Humans of New York, and in it a woman talked about a male co-worker saying she should have children “because [she is] a woman.” What the hell kind of reasoning is that? My immediate, internal reply to his dumbass excuse was “You are a man with sperm. Does that mean you are going to procreate? Because you know, having the resources to create life absolutely means you must have children.”
I have had arguments with people about this very subject. One was with a disrespectful, loud-mouth co-worker and the other close-minded, chauvinistic customer who felt he knew me well enough to have this kind of personal conversation with me. Let me first say a little something about the co-worker argument. Husband and I have a dog, had him since he was 8 weeks old, and for the first few months of having him, he slept in his bed on the floor at the foot of our bed. Then around 7 months old, he decided it would be great fun to get up at 5am to play. Hubby and I minded that decision quite a bit and would get him in to bed with us so we could all sleep another couple of hours before getting up and ready for work. Then getting him in bed with us at that un-godly hour, eventually turned into him jumping into bed of his own accord at the even un-godlier hour of 3am. This, as you can probably guess the natural progression of things, turned into him just getting into bed with us when we went to bed. When he was little, and before he really became the spoiled rotten dog that he is today, I said that I would never let a dog sleep in my bed. So because of this statement “I would never let a dog sleep in my bed,” my co-worker thought that was a logical reasoning to refute my stance of not ever having kids. “But Kacee,” he would say, “you said you never would let your dog sleep with but he does now. So that means by saying you never want kids means that someday you will want them.” Really??? How the hell does letting a dog sleep in my bed when I originally did not want him to in any small way compare to that of having children? People do realize that moving a dog’s sleeping place is vastly, unequivocally different than having children right? Is there something I am missing to this puzzle? Since when did having a dog sleep in my bed show that I am ready to have sleepless nights, make many trips to a pediatrician, prepare a child for school, help for 12 years with homework, attend PTAs and all the other responsibilities that come along with raising children? Since WHEN???? NEVER, is the appropriate answer.
The argument I had with the all-too-inquisitive, no-boundaries customer was kind of similar to that with my co-worker. He could not understand how I, and every other woman, have a CHOICE on whether or not we want to actually produce offspring. CHOICE. We have a CHOICE. Do I need to write it again? Do you need to read it again? CHOICE. We have a CHOICE. Having children is NOT a requirement to be a fulfilled woman or spouse. With the co-worker and customer, I finally had to tell them that this conversation topic was closed for further discussion, and that I was not arguing anymore with them about it.
Then recently, I had a former co-worker – female - tell me that ‘[my] clock is ticking and [I] better hurry.’ (as I write this, I will turn 34 yo this year). What the hell? Since her child was with her, I could not respond in the verbally profane way I wanted, so I just replied that my clock doesn’t work and moved the conversation along.
Who the fuck do these people think they are telling me that I should have children? Are they going to help me raise them? Are they going to support my children financially? Are they going to help me take the children to the doctor? The answers are No, No, and No. So in that case, they can shut their mouths and learn some respect.
As you can tell, this subject gets me extremely riled up and full of rage. Why why why does society and other moms think that all women MUST have children? If you listen to/read entertainment news, you will find that many times female celebrities are asked when they will have a child or another child. Or they are asked why they don’t want children. Check out this link of what I am talking about and the thoughtful, forthright answers. http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/08/25-famous-women-on-childlessness.html These ladies have a great, unabashed and confident handle on themselves and their life, and I particularly like Gloria Steinem’s “everybody does not have to live in the same way.” As best I can tell, male celebrities aren’t asked when they will have children. Or have someone stupidly and absurdly ask ‘if you do have children how will you balance work and family or will you quit work to raise your children.” If male celebrities are asked this, it is rarely reported on. So if the other half of our species, who has the other part of the required goods that helps make more of us, is not asked when they will make a child, why does the fairer half of our species seem to be the only ones nosy busybodies concentrate on when talking about children?????
Ok, rant over. I just hope that people will start being respectful of others, especially on this subject.
Today’s pun courtesy of the interwebs
I asked a librarian if she was free this afternoon, she said she was all booked up.