I was floating around the socialmediaverse the other day when I came across a friend’s Facebook post. She’d linked to the article below about why one woman opted out of having children. Intrigued, I clicked and read.
In my friend’s post, she said she was glad she wasn’t the only woman out there who thought it was OK to opt out of having kids. As any grown-ass woman who isn’t raising kids can tell you, it’s always sort of awkward to not be raising kids when it’s the expectation of your existence.
Stop rolling your eyes. I’m not being melodramatic.
Who are we celebrating this weekend?
Who do we always celebrate as the single biggest influence on our young lives?
Why are women so special? Because they’re the propagators of the human race.
The act of having children is equated to womanhood. If that feels heavy handed, keep in mind that women are only widely regarded as “superwomen” if they are able to achieve career success in addition to successfully raising a child/family. Contrastingly, men don’t need so much as a sidekick to be considered “super.”
It should have gone without saying, but because people insist on believing only what they choose, instead of all the nasty little shit that just is, I had to say it with pictures. And in case you missed it, I’ll say it again. Women are supposed to be mothers. In fact, oftentimes we’re not seen as good or complete if we don’t end up becoming moms.
Look, you can tell me we’ve come a long way, but that’s not the whole picture. The whole picture includes assumptions of selfishness and a gnawing incompleteness, should a woman opt out of the Mommy Club. You can disagree all day long, but that’s reality. Just as an aging male bachelor is considered damaged goods, so too is a woman considered less than ideal if she’s older and childless. Don’t get too excited over this serendipitous balancing of the scales of Justice, ladies because even so, men are considered “bachelors” well into their 50s. They don’t have expiration dates. They don’t become crazy cat ladies like us.
Furthermore, it’s awkward to be a grown woman and not be part of the Mommy Club. Us non-mommys don’t get to be superheroes because most people are too busy wondering what’s wrong with us. It’s hard to deal with, but it’s reality, so deal with it we must. I will gladly admit, it’s a zillion times easier to deal when you start taking into consideration things like disposable income and sleeping in, but that doesn’t stop it from stinging every time someone looks at us as “less than.”
With that said, it’s a relief when a voice jumps out at us from the ether which echoes our life choices. It’s rare to connect with women on this point because so many of us are still convinced we only exist to mother someone, somewhere, somehow. When us ladies do connect though, it’s powerful. All of a sudden we’re not alone. For a second we feel like maybe the world isn’t conspiring against us in every conceivable way. For a moment we feel like the inequity isn’t that bad and we can make it, so long as we know we’re not alone and we’ve got our sisters. It’s just a second. It’s fleeting. It’s not forever, so why not let us childless hags have the damn moment?
Even Facebook refused to let me have my moment because the second I finished liking and commenting on my friend’s original post, I looked down at the suggested posts and saw this.
Why is it all or nothing? Is it because it’s still cool for women to be at each other’s throats? Is that it? Wait. Are chicks still calling one another bitches and whores all the time? I’m 38. I’m old. I don’t know how young women talk amongst themselves anymore. Last time I checked it was “bitch” this and “whore” that, and everyone would just giggle like it was normal and cute.
I never know on which side it’s socially acceptable to stand and with this particular subject matter, I’m extra confused. You see, I’m technically a mom, but I’m also a grown-ass woman who isn’t raising kids. That is, I have an awesome daughter, but she and I only make up one part of a pretty cool adoption story. Normally I hesitate to tell people this about my life because folks are generally quick to judge. The awful ones make hugely negative assumptions about my character when they learn that I’m not a real member of the Mommy Club. What’s worse, they don’t even care to take my reasoning into account before doing so. It’s insulting, but mostly it’s disheartening.
I have a daughter and she’s the best thing in this world, but I don’t get to raise her. And while it was my choice, it’s still hard to deal with every single time I say goodbye. I see and talk to her often and every time we hang up or turn away from each other, it hurts. It feels like a deep paper cut between the knuckles that refuses to heal because it keeps getting torn open. Still, I consider myself one of the luckiest people alive because my kid wants me to be a part of her life and her adoptive parents think that’s a great idea. I’m one of the lucky ones and it hurts like hell.
Ultimately, I suppose I have an unfair advantage when it comes to this whole childfree/Mommy Club thing. I understand what it’s like to have a child, but I also know how difficult it is to be a grown woman who isn’t raising kids. Having a kid and opting out of the Mommy Club are each huge, complicated decisions. Each one comes with its own set of consequences as well as long lists of advantages and disadvantages. No matter which path you take, it’s going to be tough. It will probably hurt. Life will be difficult regardless and the same is true for everybody else. Why choose sides? Why not respect everyone’s story? None of us are getting out of this alive, so why get hung up on the stuff that drives us apart? All we get are the connections we make, and life is entirely too short for backhanded compliments, frenemies and judgmental assholes.
If anyone would like to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, I’ll be outside.