Despite dancing the maybe one day dance for a while, I think I’ve always known on some level that having kids wasn’t for me. But since it’s only been in the past year or so that I’ve been firm in stating openly that my choice is to remain childfree, I’ve never sought out other CFers or the CF community online until recently. Just like any otherwise random group of people that happen to share a certain trait, there are pleasant folks, and there are less pleasant folks. I know that some of the people I find to be off-putting would probably rub me the wrong way even if they had six kids, and it’s not necessarily a poor reflection on CFers in general. Just like bad parents aren’t necessarily indicative of all parents. You simply cannot generalize that way.
Still… I’ve been surprised at some of the vitriolic responses from some CF folks regarding Mother’s Day. This post is for those people. The ones who say things like:
It’s a joke. Like a participation trophy. Even the “losers” win.
Bitter much? Sometimes I wonder if the people who state this type of thing are the people who had shitty parents. Or are you afraid that someone else wishing “Happy Mother’s Day” to a not-s0-stellar mom somehow diminishes the good things your own mother did for you? If you don’t think your own mom is deserving of Happy Mother’s Day! that’s between you and her. You also aren’t obligated to acknowledge the holiday for anyone else.
Why reward people for using up our resources and killing our planet?
Please. Spare me. I’m no dummy. I know and acknowledge that this planet is overpopulated and we are using up our resources at a dangerous rate. But I’ve seen this zinger so many times from CFers, in response to so many things, it’s starting to become as irritating as all those bingos people with kids throw our way when we say we don’t want kids.
You are free to make your choice to be childfree, and if concern for the earth and the environment fuel your choice, good for you. But you know what, that doesn’t factor into all CF people’s decisions. Does that make them less than? And if you want to get all self-righteous about using up valuable resources, what kind of car do you drive? When was the last time you carpooled or took public transportation (or walked or rode a bike) when the options were available to you? What else do you do to support alternative energy research, or funding for efforts surrounding availability of birth control, sex education, fair access to abortion, supporting same-sex adoption, or other things that will help reduce unwanted pregnancies/births and help care for the children already in the system?
Keep the dialogue going about the issues. They are worthwhile. Just don’t pretend motherhood is theonly issue.
While we’re on the subject, one more thing. Stop celebrating your birthday while you’re at it. Why should your friends reward you with gifts for using up 0ur planet’s resources, especially after you were brought into this world against your will? (see next point) You can also stop celebrating birthdays of family members you think are jerks or bad people. Don’t want to reward that behavior, do you?
Someone brought me into this world against my will and now wants me to be grateful for it.
That’s a direct quote from someone. But the sentiment of babies being born “against their will” or that babies “aren’t asked to be born” is one I’ve seen a lot. Just like the response about overpopulation, this is getting to be a bingo on the childfree side. It’s meant to paint the parents as selfish.
First of all, you didn’t have a will until you were born. You really didn’t even have any sort of true free will until you could form rational thoughts. Your mother can’t have brought you into the world against your will before you had one. You couldn’t have asked to be born before you existed. These are the dumbest things I’ve ever heard from childfree people. Sorry, but it’s true. They’re empty statements that don’t mean anything.
You do have a will now, and if you don’t want to be here, well…
Harsh, perhaps, but don’t talk about what’s been done to you against your will without acknowledging that you now have the will necessary to get out of this life you never wanted, but you choose not to. When it comes down to it, does it matter whose will it is that you came to be? You’re here now, and you a rational adult human being. If you still have a chip on your shoulder about not getting a say in being born, that’s your issue. No one else’s.
Bottom line? We may not all choose to be mothers (or fathers) but we all have mothers. Is there a commercial aspect to Mother’s Day? Like any mainstream holiday, of course. But you don’t have to buy into it. Does that contribute to an unfair idolization of moms and motherhood that then contributes to the negative stereotypes surrounding the childfree choice? It’s possible. But I’m fairly certain you can have an honest, constructive discourse about these real issues without insulting your own or anyone else’s mother, and without resorting to idiotic zingers that make you sound as bad as some of the natalists that frustrate us all.
I bought my mom an orchid plant and a card and took them to her when I saw my parents this weekend. I wished my other mom happy Mother’s Day on Facebook. (Yes, this lucky gal has two moms.) I’m sure I’ll call my dad on Father’s Day to wish him well. I certainly didn’t have a Brady Bunch type of relationship with my parents, but it wasn’t awful either. At the very least, they brought me into this world, raised me, kept me safe, warm, and fed until I could provide these things for myself. And you know what? I like my life. I’m not sorry I was brought into it against some imaginary will I couldn’t have before I was actually born. I’m going make the best of my time here, and I couldn’t have done it without a mother to bring me into the world. So…
Happy Mother’s Day to my moms, and to all those who are raising productive members of society, whether they’re yours biologically, by marriage or adoption, or even just through a mentor relationship. Happy Mother’s Day.