11 July 2006

Don't make me do this

Queen of Spain has challenged us to write about Something Important before BlogHer.
I challenge all of you Mommybloggers to use that power sometime before blogher to post something BIG on your blog. Write about postpartum. Write about child abuse. Write about adoption. Write about abortion. Write something other than those "bubblegum" posts. Just once. OR, write a bubblegum post you know will mean something to some other mom out there.
Of course, in that quote she is addressing MommyBloggers, so I don't even know if I qualify. So many mommyblogger venues, so few childless bitch sites.

My blogroll is mostly MomBloggers. I ended up reading so many MomBloggers by accident. I like to read women's writing and, well, most women are moms. Momhood gives women something definite to focus on and to write about.

But like I said, I am childless by choice. "Childfree," some people say, but that sounds a little too maxi-paddish and cutesy for me. So how can I write about issues around motherhood and children?

I guess I can write about my lack of children and how the whole having children thing baffles me.

I never wanted kids, not for a minute. The need just never arose. People say they look at pictures of babies and their hearts just melt. Not me. Sorry to disappoint, but babies are not cute to me. Sometimes specific photos of kids doing specific things are cute. But for the most part, children scare the crap out of me. They are so small and fragile and unpredictable. They require so much...watching. It makes me weary to think of it. I don't think I have it in me.

I try to tiptoe around it with friends who are parents, because obviously I am missing some crucial puzzle-piece in my soul that just snaps into place for those who want children. I don't want parents to think I am judging them, but I have absolutely no context for understanding why people want kids. The parent thing seems crazy to me, like taking up crack or something. When I hear of people going through fertility treatments, the first thought in my mind is "Dear God, why?"

I always find it a little hilarious and dismaying when people feel sorry for me because I DON'T have kids. To me, that would be like feeling sorry for me because I never got skin cancer. (I can hear the trolls marching now: "Precious kids are NOT equivalent to a deadly melanoma!" Yeah yeah. Ok, it would be more like I would be the skin cancer of a mother and the kids would be the ones suffering. Enough bad analogy. Down, trolls, down).

My Mexican "mom" Gloria told me, when I was 43, "You still have time to have one!" Given my limited Spanish skills and my lack of cultural context, I couldn't even begin to refute that. I would just sort of toss my hands up as if I was leaving the decision to God.

Which I never did. I have probably singlehandedly kept the Ortho corporation afloat with my lifelong support of their birth control products. Only a series of stubborn OB-GYNs and a lack of insurance coverage kept me from getting my tubes tied. And I was good at contraception, I must say. Zero unplanned pregnancies. I may be a dyed-in-the-wool Jezebel, but getting pregnant was not among my sins.

I don't really know what I am getting at. Other than to say that I am glad I don't have kids, and I have no idea why you like yours so much, but I hope we can still be friends somehow.

When you moan "My friends who aren't parents just don't understand!" it is me who you are referring to.

Maybe what I am wondering is: Is it ok for me not to GET what the whole kid thing is all about? Is there a "Why children are cool for dummies" book I can read?

Crap. It is bedtime and I don't think I have fulfilled Queen of Spain's assignment at all.


Lisa said...

There's nothing wrong with not having kids. I have a few friends that have decided not to do it. Just a different path. I don't know why other people have had children but I do know why I did. :-)

That's a good idea about writing something thought-provoking before Blogher. What about people who aren't going? Can we participate too?

Wish I was going. Would like to have met you. Have fun!

giddybug said...

Suebob, I actually think (from reading this entire blog, from the beginning, back when I first discovered it) that you're not the one we mommy-people are complaining about when we say, "My friends without children don't understand!" You seem to have a clue about just how much hard work kids are. About the fact that they're people, with their own needs and... well, it's late at night and I could ramble, but I need to sleep and I do not need to start a parasitic blog in your comments.

You have a clue. The clueless folks without children who don't understand are usually youngish folks who expect to have kids someday and have never been around them enough to know how much they change your life (no matter how much you swear they won't).

Kudos to you for knowing your mind on this subject.

Mocha said...

Of course it's ok for you not to have those feelings. Are those feelings natural to you? Then, YES.

I'm just going to come out and say it: I've said that statement before "She's not a mom, she doesn't understand" but can I defend myself?

It's always said when I am discussing other teachers who discipline a child or become exasperated by their "wild" behavior or don't give students the benefit of the doubt. And I think to myself, "If you had a child and could see this student as an individual and not someone who is here to make your life a living Hell, then you could be more compassionate."

But that's the only time I think of that. Even still, there are plenty of teachers who have children and those teachers are still assholes. So, my argument doesn't really have any weight.

All this was to say, excellent pre-BlogHer post. I'll look for you there.

Crissy said...

Having or not having kids is a very personal thing and it not our place to judge one's decision.

I have a friend who doesn't want kids and I trust her completely to watch Aiden. I also know certain moms who I wouldn't even ask to watch him. There are some moms out there who, in my opinion, should not have had any children. Then there are those like you who we all wish would have children to bring more intelligent people into the world.

Since it's your choice we respect your decision. You go girl!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I for one am glad you chose not to have kids. There are way too many people on our planet, and being a parent is way too hard of a job to do well even if you wanted them.

I have always known that I wanted children. I never felt like I had the option. I can't imagine not having them or wanting them, but the fact that you don't is what makes us all interesting to each other.

This was a great post. And it WAS a big thing. People don't talk about this much. Good for you.

super des said...

I don't have kids either. I have a cat. Someday, maybe human children will do the same things as my cat, but not for a while.

Eden said...

I totally understand why some people don't have kids. What I don't understand is people who have enough to make a hockey team.

mdog said...

THANK GOD. sometimes i think i'm the only one who feels like this.

TB said...

I think you raise some very important questions. As a woman who would like to have children, but is having problems conceiving, it gives me lots of time to ask myself: Do you REALLY want to do this? Most people don't have to ruminate on becoming a parent as much as those who deal with infertility. I ask myself many of the questions you have mentioned here every month.

ed bacchus said...

Hard to say this but once you have them, then you will trully know how special they are. Kinda like getting married. Everyone talks about how wonderful and you really don't know until you do it.

Laura said...

I think you already fulfilled your assignment! That was an awesome post.

My favorite quote from you that I have told my husband is "I am that woman NOT beating my child in Target." I wish there were more of you that weren't beating your child in my Wal-mart.

I have so much respect for you because you know yourself. My brother is the happiest childfree single person I know. He loves my babies.. but I don't see the daddy thing working for him either.

How many women had babies because they thought they should, or because their friends did?

As a teacher, I see kids all the time whose parents just don't have time for them anymore. They were cute babies, they had cute birthday parties... blah blah blah.. But when they started to have opinions and things, their parents just kind of go away. It makes me sad that they REALLY wanted a baby, and now they got stuck with a real person to shape and mold.

I hope that doesn't come across bitchy saying.. "thank you for not making another person for society to bring up"...

What I mean is thank you for being strong enough to know YOUR goals and life dreams. I wish there were more of you.

...sigh.... This is what makes blogging great!!

Chantal said...

Most definitely NOT bubblegum. Woohoo!

My friends who "don't understand"? What irks me most is that they think I gave up some fabulous jetsetting life to be here. When I met my husband I didn't want that fabulous jetsetting life. I still don't. They insist that I understand why they've chosen not o have kids, but refuse to understand why I've chosen to. KWIM?

You're one of the few people who's explained the childless by choice issue to me in a way that I can nod and say "Yeah, I get that."

Mommy off the Record said...

It's OK not to want kids. Better to be honest about your feelings about it upfront, then to have kids, and then be like, "uh, hmmmm..., can I return these? This isn't what I thought it'd be like." Cuz then it'd be too late.

Queen of Spain said...

YES! I'm so glad NonMoms and even NON blogher go-ers are playing.

As for what you wrote, I do think it's big. And I think you said it very well. It's just as important to be heard on the nonkid side of things as it is to be heard on the kidside.

I can't wait to meet you!

wordgirl said...

Yes, it is okay. If not having kids is what you want, then you should definitely get to make that choice.It's not childless folks who screw with my head. It's people who DON'T want kids and have them anyway who are the scourge of the earth.

julia said...

I think there are a lot of childless people out there who don't have the attitude you have - rather they have this dismissive, oh-so-superior "You are an idiot for having kids and I am a better person than you because I don't" attitude. And that's what gets under my skin and on my last nerve. You don't seem to be like that at all.

We all have reasons for the choices and decisions we make. Unless those decisions are harming others, don't belittle them.

VenturaMom said...

Well said, Suebob. And if you ever want a refresher course in why you are childless by choice, just come on over to our house (near Five Points!) and spend a couple hours with me & The Girl. I mean, she rocks, but in a totally life-draining way. Don't tell my other mom friends, OK?

SUEB0B said...

Thank you everyone, for being so kind and understanding. I thought I would wake up this morning to scorn and whippings, but you are all so nice.

I have to say I am trying to remedy this not getting kids thing. I have signed up to be an assistant Sunday school teacher. I am starting one Sunday a month. I have to start slow.

Ventura Mom!!! Awesome. I will be right over!

cameo said...

okay, i'm chiming in after the fact. i agree with julia about the attitude of SOME childless by choice people. any arrogance pisses me off.

but i have also noticed that SOME of the childless people i know have a real inability to think about anybody but themselves - probably because, for the most part, they don't have to. hell, a lot of parents i know have the same problem!

maybe that's what the 'my friends who don't have kids' line is all about. those words have passed my lips and that's what i was refering to. but by no means is that a blanket statement. if it was, then that's simply arrogance too. and well, that pisses me off.

Suzanne said...

As usual, I am on your wavelength.

lildb said...

Suebob, you're not missing anything. Well, that is, maybe you're missing something, and I'm missing it right along with you. I never wanted kids, either. My husband talked me into this. And yet -- I will never be more emotionally absorbed by anything than I am with my kid. I'm not gonna say I don't regret my choice a wee bit once in a while, but only in the abstract. Meanwhile, I say, if you're set the way you are (and I'm referring to anyone who is without offspring, not just you), why mess with it? Kids aren't something we *have* to have as women, thanks to birth control (for the little while longer that the fundies let us keep it, that is), and I think that's the way it should be. I support you fully, not that you require my support, but I give it, anyway. 'Cause I'm a nosy bi-atch like that.


Christina said...

I see nothing wrong with being child-free and wanting it to remain that way. At least you know yourself well enough to know that parenting isn't for you. I only wish many other people realized that parenting wasn't for them before they had kids. I've seen some poor parenting, and I always feed sorry for those kids.

I have several child-free friends, and they are more than happy to serve as aunts and uncles to their friends' children. Two have gone through surgery - one to have her tubes tied, the other for a complete hysterectomy. Both were forced to wait until they were in their 30's before they could have it done, because doctors don't seem to believe that they really don't want children.

Wandering Willow said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wandering Willow said...

I just found ya, from over at Blogcabin. Great find... I'll probably be back!

Regarding the kids thing, in my opinion, all that matters is knowing what you want and then sticking with that. The world is far more populated than it needs to be, so you and I are doing everyone else a favor by not having kids. I would rather have had them, myself, but since they never appeared, I congratulate myself for helping with keeping the population down.


Debra said...

Ok.. so maybe after BlogHer we can start a "childless bitch blogring??"...

I was the lucky one who realized if my body hates female hormones every day.. playing around with pregnancy was not a good thing (and this was before the news carried annual stories of post-partum psychosis mothers killing their kids). I also lived in a city with a woman's clinic that did tubal ligation under a local. Single and in the 20s.. they decided I knew myself well enough to let me go through it. One of the best steps I ever took.

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