Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Will All The Childless People Please Report To The Headmaster's Office At Once

I read an interesting article in MacLean's: The Case Against Having Kids. Apparently childless couples feel like they're being attacked by society, labeled social misfits, and compared to terrorists on a plane for uttering the words "I don't want to have kids."


Maybe I'm blind to this because I fit into the neat box of women that did the career, marriage, baby thing so unthinkingly. I admit I'm one of those annoying mummies: I feel a surge of love when I hold a baby - even if it's not mine. And I'll be the one smiling like a maniac and making gooey sounds at the baby in front of me in the line up. And honestly, yes I am a little smug that I have kids.

I think I knew when I was fourteen, that I wanted to be a mother. A naive and unknowing prediction, but correct all the same. As I entered my twenties, the desire deepened. It was a very natural thing. As if internally a pact had been made that one day, one way or another, there would be children.

But while my "calling" absorbed a part of my being, I certainly didn't expect it to absorb every woman around me. I mean why would it? Practically every woman I know is a model of the strength, independence and individuality we encourage and celebrate in today's society. So why would we expect every person to want the same thing? In a time where we are filled with choice - from the politician we vote for, to the birth control we use, why wouldn't the choice of having children be equally valid?

I suppose some people believe the maternal instinct is wired into the female composition. If I'm completely truthful a part of me does suspect - based purely on the biological truth that female bodies are designed with highly efficient baby making apparatus and breasts that produce milk - that most women must at some point have felt some motherly inclination.

Maybe I'm wrong.

I've asked couples the dreaded question - "do you want kids?". Recently too. Not because I wanted to shake my condemning finger at them for saying the wrong answer. Actually because I'm incredibly nosy and have a tendency to blurt things I shouldn't. But did they think my question was judgemental? Frig I hope not.

Anyway my point is I don't mind. Honestly I don't. Because I like to think I'm open minded. I don't mind if you want kids or not. I don't mind if you're gay or straight, black or white, or believe in God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I don't mind if you want to dye your head green and paint yellow spots on it (well maybe a bit). And I won't mind when you're eighty five and eating Sunday lunch alone and I'm having dinner with my four grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Kidding!* (You'll probably be living it up with your still-perky breasts and bags of money.)

*Warning: taking yourself too seriously may cause constipation.
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Canadian Bald Guy said...

I never wanted to have kids. EVER.

My daughter was an AWESOME surprise. I didn't think so at the time and it's taken me the better part of 10 years to truly appreciate her since, but I couldn't be happier to be her dad.

And then I said I was done. NO MORE. That's it.

I was so adamant, in fact, that when The Ex (my spouse at the time) found out she was pregnant, she was REALLY scared to tell me.

But my son has brought me more joy than I could have possibly imagined.

Bottom line is that I can TOTALLY appreciate the thought of a couple NOT wanting children. But when it happens...those thoughts can completely change.

Expat mum said...

Great post! I think people who don't want kids should definitely not have kids and not have to explain anything. On the other hand nobody should feel guilty or anything else, whether they have kids or not. I disagree that childless people are made to feel bad or inferior - they must just be mixing with the wrong people.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Yeah, I think most of those people would love kids immensely and know it. It may be that they do not want to sacrifice as much of themselves as they know that they would, so decide it is better to not go down that road.

I was never particularly adament about it (hence 39 when the first came) but once he arrived it was the absolute best thing that ever happened in my life. I would never change that.

Paging Doctor Mommy said...

I used to think that I wouldn't have kids. And if I did decide to have kids, NO WAY would I have more than one. Well guess what... I've got my one and I wanted her so desperately that I ached for her. And I've got the aches again...

Momma Sunshine said...

I've always known that I've wanted kids (even when I was dating a man that couldn't have children and tried to deny my own desires).

However, I have to say that I completely respect anyone's desire NOT to have children at the same time. I mean, hell, I know how hard it is to have kids when they were very much WANTED -- I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be if you didn't want them.

I say to each their own. As long we end up happy with our own personal decisions, that's all that really counts. :)

That Girl said...

Great post! Its everyones right to choose and we should never sit in judgment. Family of mine take note! They Judge us for only having the one! Anyhoo... now that my mini rant is over - come on over to mine and play tag!

Chandra said...

First time post (thanks for stopping by my blog BTW)...

The absolute best part about being a Mom is having your children love you unconditionally! When I pick my littlest up from Daycare he comes running at me full speed, jumps into my arms and plants a big wet kiss on me...THAT'S what single, kidless couples are missing!

I sometimes think back to my kidless my husband and I seven years to have our oldest who is now seven. We had money, we went places, did things...but that doesn't compare to the love I get now!

roadrunner201 said...

Hmmm. They feel that way? I don't think that I felt that way when I didn't want kids. I didn't want kids for a long time and then one day, I just did.
Cute post:-)

Julie, Little One-of-a-Kind Design said...

i like your POV!!
hi vis SITS!

Chic Mama said...

I knew also at a really young age that I wanted children. I would never judge people for choosing not to have them, I'd admire them for being honest rather than try to conform and make terrible parents.

Gena said...

I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to have children, but I am aware that some don't.

I always wanted children. My naive part, I didn't care whether I had a spouse. Of course, I didn't have one long. We divorced when Cody was 2 1/2 years old.

Anyway, I don't judge them but I don't want to be judged by them either.

Happy VGNO

dood1ebugs said...

I always wanted children but my hubby didn't until we had kids. Now he can't imagine life without. BUt I agree poeple should have the right to do what they want and not have to answer questions. As long as your sig other agrees then it should be ok.

Happy VGNO!

Opus #6 said...

I think it's tough to raise kids, so folks really NEED to want them before doing it. I would never try to talk someone into having kids.

Happy VGNO.

robin said...

I heard about this article. Sometimes I think these places publish things just to be edgy and controversial. And of course it works, unfortunately.
Happy Friday and happy GNO!

rightonmom said...

I've got four and love every minute of it (mostly) though I can sure appreciate someone's decision not to. Some people just prefer to be alone/solitary, or maybe make better aunts, godparents, etc. But I do think that's preferable than having kids just to appease someone else. Really have to be on board with the whole thing.

Nicole said...

LOL, great post! I myself have 3 kids and want more (wont be happening unless i adopt) but thats just me. I know plenty of people that just arent ready for that and who knows if they ever will be. To each their own! Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend.

Wolf said...

great post. i think that only the person making the decision knows what will make them happy, and that we shouldn't judge. some people like the freedom that comes with not having kids. others, don't. everyone is different!

happy SITS saturday sharefest!

Mammatalk said...

Try being a single women in your thirties. It's worse.

Seems to me, if someone is comfortable in their choice to not have kids, they will not take offense to anything anyone has to say about it.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Excellent post! I know what you mean when you say you always knew you wanted to have kids, even at a very young age. I have been the same. More surprising though that my broodiness seems to have been satisfied with having little L.

Tatiana said...

I am currently at a place in life where I don't want kids, but I've gotta say, I've never felt discriminated against or put upon in any way.

I think people project their own issues onto friendly queries more than anything. Or they need better friends.

Why do I not want kids? Well, the short answer is I like my freedom for now, and I love my lifestyle. While many of my friends who had kids young were broke at home changing diapers (some still are), I got to travel, sleep in, lounge around, and indulge in all those things I hear are impossible once you have little ones.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Maria @BOREDmommy said...

You are going to be a great mommy to three!!! The bad days can easily be made better with chocolate!!!

Minky said...

This one cracked me up! I never thought I wanted babies. Then 22 months ago on my birthday I woke up and said to my husband "I have to have a baby" I was SO blessed that a mere 8 weeks later I was pregnant and now am fully obsessed with my 19 month old!!
I am definitely the gal who makes goofy silly faces at the babies all around me.
I am a baby addict now. A convert. Babies are the bestest.
Happy SITS day!