Don't have kids? Apparently, you're an idiot.

I recently saw many of my friends post the following article on their facebook page. I couldn't open it to even read it for a week or two. The title alone made me too angry.

Why? Because the title is already implying that people without children are stupid and do not know better, and that motherhood is an exclusive club.

Bull. Shit.

Smug crap. It still to this day, raises my hackles. Yes, I am a mother, but I never, ever ever forget, that some can't. Some struggle. Some don't need this kinda stuff thrown about as a joke. Some just don't WANT to. Sure, motherhood can be hard work, but do we need to imply anyone who doesn't give it due credit is a moron? We're not heroes. We're not martyrs. Motherhood is NOT an exclusive club, and people who do not have children are not stupid or worthy of the eyeroll implied in this article. Their opinions on topics involving children are just as valid as those with children. Please, don't make a huge mistake and forget that.


Maura 17 October 2010 at 6:29 pm  

Ah yes, that column. I read it quite a while ago. Then, of course, felt exactly the way the author wanted me (a woman w/out a child) to feel: Like a fool for ever asking this question, even if only to myself.

I'd like to think I'm not as clueless as perhaps the letter-writer was in phrasing her question, but I think it's natural to wonder why things for some women with kids are radically different than for many women without kids, especially when you know women with kids who aren't as wrapped up in the moment-to-moment actions of their kids as others. (Not sure if that makes sense.)

I know that sometimes those of us without kids don't "get it." But most of us try. And sometimes that involves asking "stupid" questions.

I appreciate that the tone of the author's reply rankled you, too, and thank you for offering your thoughts on it. :-)

Anonymous 17 October 2010 at 7:10 pm  

Kel, I have to say I almost felt the opposite to you. I'm one of those who don't have children, but I would never question why my friends with children don't have time to be "free and easy" so to speak.

To me, it's obvious. You have children because having them is a priority to you. Something I'm sure all women, regardless of their life choices or fertility status, understand. So if they're your priority, of course that makes you less available.

I think women with half a brain can understand that's the reason their friends don't call them back. Not every child is easy to manage, just like not every partner, husband, day in the traffic, job stress etc, is easy. We all cope in our own way and, for some, that means they put their kids about all else and can only manage that.

I understood that was the sentiment of the article. I too think that anyone with half a brain can think through the machinations of having children and figure out why their friends are less (if at all) available, without asking. Hopefully I'm making sense!

Al_Pal 18 October 2010 at 6:31 am  

*hugs* Yeah, some people don't have clues. But. What Maura said rings true.

Anonymous 18 October 2010 at 7:53 am  

I think that since I was the initial one who posted it that I am then the smug, clueless one. :(

However, I would like the chance to speak about it before I get anymore labels.

I am absolutely devestated that I've upset people. I spent half the night awake and upset myself and came to the conclusion this morning that I wanted to speak out. This is my story:

I suffer PND. I was hospitalised for it earlier this year for just shy of a month. I was dealing with such darkness and dispair at the time and had to cope with a child who was also hospitalised with chronic reflux and a toddler who doesn't have an off button.

I also have my own business and some shambles of once was a social life.

That article resonated with me purely because my life is a whirlwind and a rollercoaster, both emotionally and physically... and yet I truly do have people in my life that tell me that I'm not the same person any more and giving the impression that I'm possibly lazy or rude for not being able to renew my 'old life'. They're not meaning to be rude I guess, they just lack empathy and this shows with how they ask.

I have no qualms with someone who asks what I do all day honestly, but it grates when someone adds obvious distain to the mix, like the question asker in the article.

When I've been down so low and had minimum support too, it really makes me sad that I am thought of poorly by people I considered friends. I had assumed they had more foresight than to do that.

In my eyes I didn't see the article as being levelled at single people in general, I saw the article as slanted in a way that the question asker (the single person) was lacking all empathy and much like what treatment I've received. I was hoping that it was more of an education into my life to those people rather than a dig at those who don't deserve it.

Never at all did it resonate that it was a mother vs TTC issue. My TTC friends have all the empathy in the world and would never ask such a question in such a rude way like the article was suggesting. If I had any idea that it would've been construne as such, I would never have posted it and I'm truly sorry for any hurt.

I was once TTC. I miscarried, had fertility treatment and at one time was unsure of my ability to fall pregnant after cancer. I get it totally. I can see the perspective now that it's been voiced, however I humbly ask that some can walk a mile in return.

I hope that I've been able to share my thoughts succinctly and well enough and that there can be some sort of healing rather than more labels. I guess this is as Kerry says, a case of perspective and there are many views that people can have on it.

I am so very, very sorry that anyone has been hurt. It was never my intention nor my wish and I am so sad that this has been the outcome.


FeistyKel 18 October 2010 at 7:56 am  

I appreciate all these comments. I think this is one of those emotive articles, that will affect readers in different ways, depending on their own individual backgrounds and circumstances. Gayle, I completely understand where you were coming from here, and I am aware that it is my own issues and background that led me to interpret this the way I did. (And MANY posted it, not only yourself!)

I think each opinion is valid. I am sorry if I caused upset or offence,

Cat Bensein 18 October 2010 at 5:16 pm  

I think this is a great example that depending on who you are and what challenges you are facing or have over come you will react accordingly.

From my point of view this post was certainly hurtful, in saying that I can understand why someone like Gayle who isn't getting the support she deserves feels that she should be able to repost it.

I hated, HATED seeing it over and over again. Though my pain doesn't cancel out Gayle's and others in her situation.

I read that post as one motherless person who is feeling neglected asking about what her friend entails, and while I could imagine being mortified if my friends all dropped off the planet after having a child, I would like to think I asked the question of WHY with a bit more tact.

I also read it as "you will never get it, because your not a mother" and I always was irritated by the lack of gratitude shown - we all know its a massive job, but the reward is worth it yes? - so point that out - without the "but"

I think the person who answered it took the question far too personally - it wasn't an attack on her, and she treated it like it was.

She could have simply said that each journey of motherhood is unique and it would be best to approach your friend directly to find out what could be the problem here, she could have given examples of how to broach the topic in such a way that that she could offer her support that she may need rather than making it about "why don't you have time for me"

It was an extremely poorly worded BIAS reply for someone who is a published writer.

Words can cut like knives and that article should never had made it to print.

People are hurt by this post (either directly or by reactions to it) in at least four different ways that I can tell so far - all of which I believe are entirely justified.

None of us... Gayle, Kell, etc should have to apologise for our reactions to this. We all feel, and we all have a right to express our feelings.