Friday, July 01, 2011

Who Am I Trying to Convince?

Is there a more condescending statement out there? This hits a nerve because it was a sticking point in my relationship with friends I've since lost, but I'm going to indulge the Anonymous poster who insists I think about my childfreedom too much.

Is it self-indulgent to blog about the times I feel conflict? Sure, I suppose, but this is the stuff that, when I started this blog 6 years ago I wish was available. Back then I needed someone saying something that other "Fuck kids! Kids suck!" as their reason for not having children. I needed someone to counter the insistence from people I cared about that I was broken, that I should seek therapy because I didn't want kids. And I needed people who admitted that it's not always easy. I didn't find that in 2005.

Do I obsess over this? Hell no, but when it's on my mind I talk about it, sometimes at length. Lately, while my best friend is due (today, in fact) to have her first child and while nearly all my other friends are trying to conceive it is on my mind a lot. I'm at the age where this is something that I'm thinking about because if I am to change my mind that window is closing and that's a big emotional deal.

Am I trying to convince anyone? My readers? Myself? Dear Anonymous, you've made up your mind about me and my motives, but I assure you that's not what this blog is about.

This blog is about sharing my experiences, just like Mommy blogs are about sharing theirs. Do I go to their blogs and ask them, when they gush about how amazing their lives are, who they're trying to convince? When they spew "it's the toughest job you'll ever love", do I ask who they're trying to convince? Of course not. Because it would be condescending and insulting to do so.

I journal for myself, to think things through, and I share it because I get letters every week from people who are thankful someone understands the conflict they're going through. When I started the blog it's something I really needed, and over the years I come back to it a few times a year when it's on my mind.

You don't get worked up when someone questions your life choices, Anonymous? Good for you, and I mean that. I wish I could just brush it aside. Some of us are sensitive. Some of us do take to heart what others say and when someone implies we're defective we go out seeking answers and wonder seriously whether we are. People seek support and kinship and validation online. I've found it in my readers, and they find it in me, and there's value in that.

To those of you who've provided support and encouragement, thank you. And to those who suggest that talking about our childfreedom is uncalled for, or symptomatic of us being broken? Well, there are some things you don't say in polite company.


KP said...

Yay!!! I am elated that I found your blog! Your thoughts could very well be my own.

I'm nearly 32, am set to finally marry an amazing man that I've been dating for 6 years. I did not grow up dreaming about a perfect wedding and having a perfect family. But subconsciously, I probably thought I'd get married and have kids (cuz isn't that the standard for society?) the past couple years I've started to really panic that it is apparent that I actually do not want to have children and I thought I would've "felt" this motherly instinct by now! Luckily, I discussed early on with my fiance that I may not ever want to have kids, and he is on-board with me.

What is probably more puzzling to me/others is that I'm a freakin' PRIMARY school teacher!! How does a kindergarten/first grade teacher not want to have kids??!! I partially blame my occupation for this because I feel I've seen all of the "worst-case" scenerios: challenging kids (not by fault of the parents and of course some that are), the exhaustive attention that kids require, kids that have died, parents that have died, kids that were born with severe birth all just seems too much for me to take if it were my own, not to mention the toll having kids inevitably takes on your relationship (which is SO important to me!). May-be, just maybe, if I were gauranteed to have a healthy, well-adjusted child (and I would not die during childbirth-yes I'm that dramatic)that I knew would not get kidnapped or molested, then possibly... No probably not even then.......I am still too frightened to be a parent. It would make me feel like I had to really be "grown-up" and I have a bit of a Peter Pan complex where I don't ever want to grow up. Last year when my fiance was on his 3rd tour in Afghanistan, I bought a 1-way ticket to Australia to live and teach there for a year instead of sitting around waiting in Arizona. It was amazing! Anyway...

I think being a parent is a decision NOT to be taken lightly, and a massive responsibility that I don't believe is my life's intent. I am passionate about being a teacher, and I enjoy the challenge of meeting the needs of all of my students......but I love the weekends and changing classes and having my FREEDOM! (Can only imagine the teachers that would shudder to read this ).

Thank you for your blog. Seriously.

I don't think I've ever talked so candidly about this before-and to a stranger-how about that?

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog. I check it every other week for new posts and I've always loved your musings.

I'm a late 20's male, but I share a lot of the same experiences and feelings all be it from possibly a biologically different perspective ;)

Thank you for continuing to blog!

Jess said...

I love your blog too, I've commented before but not too often. Don't let anybody get you down about this blog. It's great and speaks to many of us CF women out there! Especially those of us (like me!) who go through a lot of emotions similar to yours about it.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. So good to learn that I'm not the Lone Ranger when it comes to the assumptions people make about those of us who choose to remain childless. My #1 pet peeve are those who assume that just because I don't want children of my own, that I don't like children and don't want them around me. THE NERVE!!! I have four nephews and seven step-grandchildren with whom I spend soooooo much time, and whom I love dearly. I feel that I have so much to offer them and to teach them---things that their parents may not have time for. I like to think that I have a special place and purpose in their lives and upbringing that no one else can fill. So, get over it people. "Childless" does not equate to "child hater."

Anonymous said...

I can relate to the teacher above. I have a childcare business and my husband and I are childfree.

I truly feel that all of my 'mommy energy' or instinct to nurture is used up at work.

By the time 6pm rolls around... I need it to be about ME and my Wonderful Husband for a few hours before we go to bed. I don't even care if anyone thinks that is selfish.

I can't imagine coming home to more kids! Agggh!