We've all seen these types of proclamations posted on Facebook, usually by wrung-out moms who need to constantly announce themselves as martyrs for the greater good of humanity so they can feel better about the parental prison sentence they are serving.
I couldn't resist when an old friend of mine posted this on Facebook. My reply was, "I don't have kids and I put others before myself", to which she replied, "That is rare in this day and age!", which is true, but let's take a closer look at why it is true. I would argue that being oriented around others is so rare today in large part because today's PARENTS - by virtue of adopting the notion that once a person has kids they become the center of the universe - have created a bunch of coddled, narcissistic entitled monsters who expect the corner office on their first day of work and who spend their days angling their IPhone for the perfect selfie and then staring down it all day long to see how many "likes" they get.
Of course, it stands to reason that only parents can put others before themselves. How could someone like me - a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a colleague, a volunteer and a companion to 3 cats, even imagine putting someone before myself? We all know that only parents know how to do this,whereas people like me are completely self-centered and spend not a single moment thinking of another person (insert sarcasm here).
The proclamation posted above does capture one thing correctly. Parents must spend the rest of their lives putting that child before themselves, whereas a non-parent like me can simultaneously attend to the needs of others as well as to her own needs, without feeling resentment and without giving up her identity in the process. Yes, I am a devoted wife, friend, daughter, etc., but not one of those roles defines me or imprisons me. I don't have to neglect my own needs or put them on a shelf for 20 years because another being is sucking the life out of me. I can have my cake and eat it too.
Imagine if a childfree woman posted self-congratulatory posts on Facebook about being childfree. How do you think it would go over? Can you imagine the response I would get if I posted something like:
The moment you decided not to have children, was the moment you chose to truly live life and contribute to the world in meaningful ways.How many "likes" do you think I would get?