Monday, November 29, 2010
One of the arguments against the childfree philosophy is this: "If everyone felt the way you do, the human race would die out."
True. And this is a bad thing, how?
Perhaps this makes me a nihilist, but unlike many people who operate on the assumption that it is of upmost importance that the human race continue in perpetuity, I do not share that assumption. Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist over this statement, let's take a rational look at what man has accomplished during his tenure on earth. Yes, he has made many advances and discoveries, but all of them have been in his own self-interest, not in the interest of the earth or its other inhabitants (unless you count advances he has made to undo his own damage). The planet and its inhabitants were just fine before man came along and didn't need any of his help. And to the larger universe, man is just a spect of dust, if that.
The problem with humankind is that our sense of self-importance is completely blown out of proportion. Just as we can bend over to look at an ant hill and marvel (and snicker) at the thousands of ants scurrying around with a great sense of purpose, so too are we just scurrying ants in the big picture. And like ants and all other living creatures, we eat, sleep and mindlessly breed, and then congratulate ourselves for doing so, as though it is some great, beneficial accomplishment.
The truth is that man is a scourge upon the earth. He has done more damage than good (again, unless you consider benefitting himself as a good, or undoing his own damage as a good). He has raped and polluted the earth, replicating himself and spreading like an agressive cancer. He abuses nature, animals, the environment and even others of his kind. Despite this, he is unwavering in his fundamental belief that replicating his kind is priority #1 and that people like me are deeply and fundamentally messed up.
Now, before anyone tosses the Bible at me and God's commandment to "be fruitful and multiply", you can spare yourself the effort. I believe in God, but not the manmade version most people believe in, and certainly not in the manmade writings that people pass off as the word of God.
The God I believe in would never order destructive beings like us to replicate uncontrollably, destroying all his other creations in the process.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
However, after 5 years I felt like we were just starting to get the hang of things. We had dealt with the biggest issues and I recognized we were going to be married for a long time. But we still weren’t ready for a family. We gave ourselves 5 more years. I had periods were I was sure that I did want kids (I actually enjoy children – as long as I can give them back) and periods when I wasn’t. I am more impetuous than my wife and I’d occasionally say, “Let’s just do it!” But it started to dawn on me that maybe she would never be ready. I’d prod her with statements like, “It gets harder to conceive as you get into your 30s...” At the end of another 5 years we had a discussion in which she stated that she just didn’t have the desire to have children. I think if either of us had been adamant about having them we could have convinced the other to acquiesce and we would be parents today. But we remained open-minded and thoughtful about the choice - yes we always saw it as a viable choice. But in the end there was just never a compelling argument for either of us. I immediately felt a sense of relief. We had a decision that we could make short- and long-term plans around. I began to feel like I will, in general, be comfortable financially for my entire adulthood. We’ll likely always have two incomes but never any child related expenses. We may even be able to retire early. I’d never be jealous of my own kids for my wife’s attention and affection. I’ll be able to enjoy the things in my life and not be consumed by the events in my children’s lives. We won’t have to sacrifice our sex life. We’ll have the freedom to travel whenever we’d like and to destinations that inspire us and not a 7 year-old. These were the things that preyed on my mind when contemplating parenthood and they were the weights that were lifted after our firm decision.
Up until the point when we solidified our decision we fielded only occasional questions from our families. Plenty of people wait longer than generations past to marry or have kids so I don’t think anyone thought much about it. After disclosing our decision to our families we were faced with their disappointment. We both come from good homes and supportive parents but it’s obvious that they would like grand-children (my brother, while not married, is also childfree). More important to me was this feeling that I was in unique territory. I knew that procreating is a choice but I had never heard or read anything about other people who had made this lifestyle choice and now I was very interested to hear what other childfree persons’ perspectives were. Do any regret their decision? Did they feel lonely later in life? How did they deal with the loss of friends as they have children and become inaccessible? How do they find like-minded people? How do they deal with the inevitable questions from those without the same perspectives? That’s how I fell into your blog and I feel very glad that I did. It really helped to center me and realize that it’s really not a risky choice. The risky choice is having kids.
I can safely say that a man suffers less judgment from society on this issue. For example, most of my male colleagues and friends have children (in fact all of the married ones and some of the unmarried ones) but they rarely discuss them at length. They may come up in passing but family seems more a matter of intimate detail and frankly I think most men realize that other guys don’t really care what your kid’s GPA is or if it has a propensity toward mechanics. Moreover, many men don’t really care what others think of ourselves so passing judgment is of no consequence - I certainly know I could care less what any individual beyond my family thinks of my choice to not have kids. I try to pass my ambivalence for societal judgment to my wife but she’s more affected by criticism – especially from other women, most notably her mother. On the other hand, no man has ever been critical of my choice nor have I ever sensed any judgment from a male. Several have even expressed envy and one has even confessed a growing resentment for his wife over his feeling that she bullied him into parenthood before he was ready.
In the end, we just realized that we didn’t want children. No noble motives… just the sense to take time to make a well-considered choice, the realization about what was right for us and the courage to disregard societal pressures.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Today, I am thankful for:
Maintaining my personal identity fully;
Having a home that is a serene and peaceful retreat;
Not having to sock away thousands of dollars for kids' college education;
Being able to set my own agenda;
Having the personal privacy I desire;
Not having to yell, fight, scream, correct, punish, scold anyone;
Being able to invest in a comfortable retirement;
Being a genuinely enthusiastic and engaged aunt (because I am not jaded from having kids);
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Thanks to CFVixen for forwarding me this blog post entitled, "I cannot handle being a mother anymore". The post itself is a heartwrenching expression of anxiety and grief (with an allusion to suicidality thrown in for good measure):
I have been tempted in the past, to throw up my hands, and walk away from it. From all of it. Times when it’s gotten so hard, too hard, worse than I ever imagined, I wanted to walk down the road, climb up onto the highway, and be gone. Never to be seen again. I thought it, many times.
Equally stirring are the comments from like-minded readers who share in this woman's pain with a resounding "DITTO". Many of the readers arrived at this discussion by googling "I hate being a mother".
A sampling of some of the comments this post received:
I felt that way, maybe still do. It started when Jackson was two and I couldn’t get far enough away from him……..I couldn’t escape the responsibility physically, mentally, emotionally….no way. Maybe it’s like a leather glove bought a size too small. It stretches to fit eventually.
Yup — I hear this. I love my boys but I don’t even feel like the same person I used to be. And I liked that person. I don’t like this mom-person I’ve become. She’s bossy and stressed and forgets to smile most days. Boy, do I hear this.___________________________________________________
Thank you for posting this reply. I am a stay-at-home mother to a 4yr. old and a 2yr. old….sometimes the dredgery, monotony and demands can send me bursting into tears, wanting my old life before children to come back. But at times I punish myself for my feelings because I WANTED this – I chose to have children, and now I must fulfill their needs because it would not be fair to them – they didn’t get to choose me as a mother. I don’t understand many times how I could love these children indescribably, yet want to run away and hide, leaving them behind – all in the same day….
I just spent an entire hour at the store buying school supplies with my 5 year old and 7 year old. The entire time we were at the store, the 7 year old was begging for me to buy him toys. Non-stop. What the hell do I do with that?!? By the time we pulled into the drive-way, I was a wreck. I made them go in the house while I sat in the driveway for 10 minutes crying my eyes out (and I’m on Zoloft). After dragging 10 bags in the house, my daughter was yelling for me. She was on the toilet having diarrhea and it was all over her, her clothes, my bathroom rug, and the toilet. Back to my son, I need to tell you that this begging (for Pokemon cards) has been going on for 2 days with him. All punishments have failed. I’m just exhausted by him! Today was the last straw. I had to “google” “I hate being a mother” and am so glad I’m not alone. Yes, I love my children. Yes, they were totally planned. I am a stay-at-home mother and sometimes think I should not be. And no, no one can prepare you for all this. I just hope it gets easier some day.
Gotta go. My daughter just flooded the bathroom.
I hope I will not be bashed for entering this discussion, however my wife is in the same exact boat. My heart breaks for her because she cannot cope with being a mother anymore. Our marriage is on the rocks because of it. She is a stay at home mom (full-time) and I work full-time. I do the best I can to give her a break, by cleaning up around the house (cooking,cleaning,laundry) and taking the kids to the park or just out back on the swingset. As a husband, father and a man, I am trying to the best I can. My Daughter just started Kindergarten (3hrs a day) and we are enrolling my son into daycare a couple days during the week. Im trying to put myself in her shoes and understand more of what she is feeling, so I can help her. It kills me when I am at work and she texts be messages how she can’t cope anymore and she hates being a mother. Again sooo sorry for hitting this forum, but I’m lost and wanted to see what other people think anda re saying.
...I feel SO out of it. Like a zombie, no where near my former self. A shadow, really. An angry, grumpy shadow. The worst part is, I’m still as ambitious as I was before kids. But now that ambition is succumbing to despair because I have no “me” time . . . no time to accomplish things for myself. I feel like my life has ended . . . and I’m only 27!
I found out I was pregnant 2 months after my honeymoon. I too, felt like I had no choice but to keep him, and I wasn’t happy about it. Everyone told me that my feelings would change once I saw his face for the 1st time. I do love him, but those “natural maternal feelings” never showed up. I resent being a mother even more now that he’s in the rebellious toddler phase. Most days I don’t think I can take one more minute with him and then he does or says something so sweet that makes me feel so guilty for feeling that way. I want to be a GOOD MOM, and I hate the anger/guilt cycle, I just don’t know how to break out of it. You’re not alone and I’m glad I’m not, either!_________________________________________________
Obviously, I googled the same thing as everyone else. Lately, I just really hate being a mother. I was so happy with my life before she came along, I was never wanting children to make me feel complete. She is so wonderful and can be so sweet and has a great sense of humor, but I just need some time away. My husband and I work opposite schedules, so I don’t have tons of support at night. No friends or family help–they are just as busy or live out of state. It is very lonely and draining and I feel a lot of guilt–even as I write these horrible things, she is poking my arm with a cardboard box on her head saying “yehaw”. I miss the old fun me. I am grumpy and tired and easily irritated and short-tempered. I think my husband is starting to think I’m a terrible mother, too. _________________________________________________
I should have NO complaints…afterall I’m living the dream, right? Right…the only problem is it was never MY dream. I knew my whole life I was not cut out for this dream. Now…I’ve proved it, and I don’t think anything will ever bring me out of this G-U-I-L-T. I knew better! I freakin knew better and I CHOSE to do it anyway. I never thought I was capable of such feelings of inadequacy. Holy cow do I feel inadequate. Across the board… I can’t think of a single thing I do well. Others assure me that’s not the case, but I honestly beleive it is out of respect of the skinny fun loving person I used to be. I will never regret giving my husband a son, but I think I will probably always regret creating and subjecting another sweet living being to the dissapointment of being my child. If your gut says no….listen. I wish I had, I really do, and I’ve got it pretty good. Damn.
If you take the time to read through the comments you will see that a lot of women didn't even want kids, but caved to the pressure put on them by others.
If you'd like to read more from regretful parents, click here.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Well, surprise of all surprises, she's now pregnant and not married. I found out a month or so ago. She's in her third month and sick as a dog. Almost every day she looks completely miserable. Yesterday, she came into my office looking not only miserable but on the verge of breaking into tears. I asked her how she is doing. "Not good" and her eyes began to well up. I invited her to close the door and sit down so we could talk.
She is completely overwhelmed with being pregnant. She is nauseous every day and nothing helps. She is having anxiety attacks and is sick with worry over being a mom, given the fact that she is unmarried and lives with her mother and grandmother. She is stressed about not being a good employee (because she's had to leave early frequently due to being so sick) and worried about my perception of her. I told her not to stress out as far as work is concerned - that we all have a generous bank of sick time to use. I was being extra compassionate because I truly feel sorry for this young woman. She has made a rough bed to lie in and it's clear she's having regrets.
Now of course I am now dealing with yet another scenario where I am going to have to find a replacement for an employee on maternity leave. It got me to thinking that perhaps I should stick to hiring men from now on, since it's pretty safe to assume I won't have to deal with these kinds of issues with them...
WHICH got me thinking about the glass ceiling and the reason women are paid less than men. I suspect it has less to do with general gender bias as it has to do with the fact that women are not as reliable as employees because most of them become moms and desert their jobs - or at the minimum become distracted and less invested in their jobs once they have kids. Many women leave the workforce altogether to raise kids and interrupt the progression of their careers and then return to find they are not making as much money as their male counterparts who have reliably remained on the job.
Later yesterday afternoon I was meeting with another director and filled her in on the situation with Charlene. At the end of the discussion I said, "God bless her" (in other words - glad it's not me) and the other director said, "Yeah. Better her than me". Hm, is there another childfree-by-choice person in the office that I didn't know about? I must investigate.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I liked the day in the life post so I’m going to post my day from last night til now lol. After dinner last night, that my 4 y/o took 3 bites of then said ‘I had enough’ and tossed it, i cleaned my kitchen for the 8th time that day and found greenbeans hiding in my miniblinds and in my cupboard. No one will confess to who did it. i put a movie on for the kids made them some popcorn and decided to sit and read for a bit until my hubbys aunt came over and hopped my kids up on cookies and hot chocolate right before bed (gee thanks) not only that but she stayed until 10 pm when my kids go to bed at 8. ok so now at 1:30 am i hear my daughter crying in her room she is burning up with a fever and complaining of a sore throat. She finally went back to sleep at 3am. I wanted to keep her home from school but she threw an epic temper tantrum. so now i am home getting ready to go out grocery shopping, bill paying and then to have lunch with my hubby with an expectation of my cell phone ringing and the omnious “this is the nurse from maple avenue school calling, we have katie here…” on top of all that one of my kids decided to that it would be a fantastic idea to paint syrup all over the other so now i have a ton of laundry to do on top of cleaning the house. pick the kids up at 2 pm just to have them come home argue about homework, snacks and cartoons. then dinner that again will be wasted in the trash or hidden in various spots around my kitchen, another mess, the bathtime battle and then the bedtime battle which I can say is like world war 3 every night while my husband kicks back in front of the computer with headphones on so he doesnt have to hear a damn thing because in his words: “I worked 9 hours on my feet all day. what exactly did you do?” mother f-er i am a stay at home mom and feel like the front lines of the war in iraq would weep if they had to do my job for one day. And to EVERYONE that says you should have thought about it, you’ll think twice next time…bite me. i am so sick and tired of people sitting on their high horses looking sown on those of us who are geniunely stressed and near the verge of a mental breakdown. at least we have the balls to admit that life is crappy and that we hate it while you sit in your bathroom crying wishing you had the strength to be as bold and strong as we are. to those who admit that hey motherhood blows, bravo! and the one thing we can lean on is that if we feel like we are all alone, then we are all in it together.
If you'd like to read more from regretful parents, click here.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Like when I am constantly being irritated by the noise emitted by other humans.
If I am to be objective, however, it's not only families with children who are disturbing the peace. I ride a train to work and every day I am on a quest to find a seat in a quiet area. When I enter the train, I strategically scan the aisle, looking at the passengers. I look for people who are talking to others and talking on cell phones and I sit someplace else. I try to sit myself next to sleeping passengers, to increase the odds I will have some peace and quiet, but inevitably my strategy fails because within a minute of settling into my seat, someone within earshot of me will start yammering on their phone full-blast, or break into a full-volume conversation with someone across the aisle with complete disregard for how they are annoying others.