Saturday, February 27, 2010

Parental Prounoucements

As a childfree person, I know I am not alone in finding the judgements and pronouncements of some parents (about us) tiresome and moronic. I wonder sometimes if these people actually think about their pronouncements before they make them, because most of them are so stupid they make me want to send them right to the dunce chair.

Here's a judgement we childfree folks often hear (I sometimes hear this when a parent comes across my "100 Top Reasons not to have Children (and Remain Childfree" list):

"Well, it's a good thing your mom didn't think that way!"

This means, of course, that had my mom had the wisdom and independence of thought to come to the same conclusion as me that parenthood is an overglorified crock of B.S. drudgery to be avoided at all costs, I would never have been born.

So there. The smug parent has set me straight.

Except that, there are erroneous assumptions underlying this parental pronouncement:

1. that had I never been born, I would regret it. To that I ask: how can a person who does not exist be regretful?

2. that being born a human being on this earth is preferable to the alternative - which is....????? Who's to say this life on earth as a human being is the best thing going? Maybe I was happy as pie up in the heavens as a free-floating spirit, being spoon-fed Ben & Jerry's for breakfast, lunch and dinner by a leather-clad Elvis, and my mom and dad spoiled the party by conceiving me and ripping me away from the fun. We have no way of knowing, now do we?

3. that my mother giving birth to me was for my benefit and therefore I owe her my endless gratitude. Okay, moms. I know you all like to think of yourselves as the objects of undying devotion for simply reproducing, but it's time for a reality check. The fact is that moms have children for their own benefit - because they want to experience being a mom and all the perceived joys they believe they will obtain from having children. My mom didn't have me for my benefit - she had me for hers.

Perhaps I think too much about things, but I find thinking to be fun and rewarding don't you? After all, it is thinking that led me to make the decision not to have kids and I am happier and healthier (in all ways) as a result. I would not trade my life for the life of any one of my childed friends, and there is nothing about their life that makes the pain, misery, sacrifice, financial and marital strain and drudgery they undergo on a daily basis worth it.

So parents, feel free to make your pronouncements and judgements, but do us a favor and put a little thought into them first because there's no substance to the cliches you've been tossing our way.

And while you're at it, pass me the Ben & Jerry's.


Anonymous said...

Selfless parts: risking life to give birth, sacrificing taut waistline and breasts, sleep, sex, disposable income, time.

Of course, these things vary.

For the most part, parenting *is* pretty selfish. Here you have a little person, completely vulnerable, who thinks the sun rises and sets on your head. You can mold them into whatever you want them to be, and impede your twisted beliefs onto their young minds. Quite an ego boost when directed toward the wrong kind of person, huh? I think a lot of parents create these child armies so they can feel superior to someone. I notice how larger families are more prevalent in poorer communities, so the parents come home from their low-wage, soul-crushing jobs to rain down their limited authority on their defenseless offspring, to make up for their own personal feelings of inadequacy. It's pretty sad.

I do have a friend who's a mom of five and she is the rare kind of selfless mother that only exists in women's magazine profiles. I admire her, quite frankly.

Hannah said...

I heart this post. Tying right in with ""Well, it's a good thing..." is the "You were a child once, too, you know!" Both statements annoy the hell out of me. said...

I have not yet had someone throw the "it's a good thing your mom didn't feel that way" at me, but I have to concur that if my mom had decided not to have children, I would have been none the wiser. And frankly, even though I have an enviable life, most of the time I think it would have been so much easier not to have been born. I would love to answer one of these folks with, "Actually, I wish she had thought the way I do!"

The other (similar) cliche that tires me is, "But if everyone thought like you, then the human race would die out!" (a) You say that as if it were a bad thing. (b) What makes you think that my decision not to have children will have any influence on the rest of the world having children (or not)?

Childfreeeee said...

Hawk Mom, even things like risking life to give birth, sacrificing taut waistline, etc. are not really selfless because the person undertaking these is doing so for her own benefit, because she wants to have a child. She's not undertaking these things to benefit humanity. If a person really wants to be selfless and benefit humanity by becoming a parent, she should adopt., I've thought the same thing about the human race dying out. And this would be bad....WHY? Look what the human race has done to the earth, not to mention to each other. We're now investigating whether we can populate Mars because pretty soon we won't be able to live here any longer.

sara star said...

I just can't respond to people who pull the well what if everyone thought like you card!

That isn't even at risk. The world is so insanely over populated that I can't even imagine everyone thinking like me, and that is exactly one of the reasons I have to think like I do, to aid the rest of the human world in not imploding on itself.

I do know a lot of young people who don't plan to have children. And I think as a group we will make a small difference towards lowering the population. A lot less violent and sad way than war or starvation would.

Just think, we are helping lower the human population not by taking people out of the population, but by not bringing them into it. What a more conscious and peaceful act of world improvement!

CFVixen said...

These kind of comments (Bingos) are just so unoriginal in their thinking. If that's the best argument they can come up with, they certainly aren't going to convince me to have children!

Anonymous said...

@ Childfreeeee

Oh yeah, I meant to categorize those as "sacrifices", instead of examples of selflessness, since that word gets tossed around a lot.

I would agree that anyone who is truly interested in parenting for the sake of parenting would choose adoption above all else. The problem I have with holding it up as the most noble, selfless option (not implying that you are, by the way) is that adoptive parents are still getting something in return. A lot of agencies shy away from people who give off Save-A-Child vibes. Adoptees and foster children (and rescue animals for that matter) should never be viewed as charity cases. It creates an emotionally unhealthy environment rife with resentment, obligation, and penance. Sounds no different than those "I brought you into this world..." parents. I'm not saying all or most adoptive parents are opportunistic narcissists, but I need a lot of convincing before I commence the tongue-bathing.

I do think the closest to selfless parents aren't parents at all, but birth mothers (post 1973) and unpaid surrogates. Also parents-to-be who decide to abort a fetus/take a dying infant off of life support who will have a poor quality of life. Meh.

WhiteRaven Slade said...

Of course, for some of us...we can say, thanks goodness my Mom DID think that way! I would have been subject to the childrearing "skillz" of a 15 year old if she'd opted to keep me!

Course them MooomieDearest would run like hell because adoptees squick them out.

Ellie said...

Were I on the receiving end of that comment, I'd momentarily stare at the commenter as if she'd just pronounced the world flat, then excuse myself to refresh my drink.

There's nothing novel, challenging, or even interesting in that declaration. And, like you pointed out, it's a logical fallacy. People who make (boring) logical fallacies aren't worth the effort of correction. That statement is just the sounds "tsk, tsk, tsk!" put into a string of words.

Anonymous said...

OMG I love your writing. I just found your blog and am having a great time reading.

I honestly believe my mother made a poor choice in deciding to have a baby when she did and should not have had me. But I don't bother trying to explain this to people anymore. It "does not compute."

Unknown said...

I often find the people that make comments like that ("Its a good thing your mom didn't feel that way") are those that tend to be religious folks who are pro-life and have loads of kids b/c they believe good religious woman (Catholic,etc...)were put on the earth to bare children.

I'd like to take a moment to extend sincere thanks to the author of this blog! When I feel the pressures of family and friends about not having children and when I've had to hang out one to many times with friends who have kids (i.e. my friends with twins! -- argh just kill me!) I really find it comforting to read this blog knowing that there is someone out there who feels the same way I do! So many thanks!!

Temujin said...

There are a lot of flaws in this "your mom wasn't childfree" argument.

I sometimes go to the dark side with this bingo. If my mom didn't have me, then not only would I never exist, I would never die either. Thanks, mom, for giving me the gift of death.

Besides, according to this bingo logic, anyone incapable of having children is simply cursed, which I don't believe. By this same bingo logic, girls should get pregnant as young as they can, and boys should be getting girls pregnant as soon as they can. I mean, if you're really grateful for life you should repay the favor as soon as possible, right?

And that dang ol' ungrateful Mother Teresa. Shame on her for going childfree. What if everyone thought like she did???