As we approach the holidays, I want to remind the childless not by choice community as well as those who have children, that we must consider each other. Recently, I heard commentary from someone who just allowed words to tumble out of their mouth because they are living a life they by all means expected to live.
They probably cannot understand those of us who by luck of the draw got none of it–no husband, no two and a half kids, no white picket fence. As I listened to this person I recalled thinking to myself, ‘keep your mouth shut girly, you can’t bat every ball.’ The comment from this mother was so generalized it was grievous.
Here’s the thing, if someone’s child is unruly in public, most of us would try to ignore the situation, or just move away. After all, children are typically afforded the space to be children. And I personally believe they should be children for as long as possible!
Unfortunately, some people do not know how to let kids be kids, so they verbalize their aggravation, and that of course, can make most parents upset. I believe even childless people know that children need room to grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.
If someone says something mean to a mother about her child, of course, that is never nice. Who knows what she may be going through with the child or in her life in general. Still, it should not be assumed that the person who verbalized their aggravation does not and should not have children. If that is the thought process, who is being mean now?
Look, I believe the reason society continues to propagate that mothers are more important than childless women is due to the innate need for humans to perpetuate the species. Perpetuating the species is a natural thing. This means though, that we will continue to hear mean spirited thoughts and belief systems spilling out of people’s mouths. They may not mean to be mean, in every instance. But the fact is, society tends to believe that once a woman has a child she is elevated to a special place, while childless women remain low on the totem pole. We are seen as society’s packing peanuts.
What use are you exactly? Why are you here? Those are the questions we as childless women and men will have to answer on our own; without any assistance from friends, family, or strangers. Because everyone has an opinion, and we definitely do not want to hear the opinion or beliefs of someone who is not living our type of life. The fact is, if we are here, we are indeed here for a reason, whether we have children or not. And like every other human, we will figure out our purpose.
After all, no human being should ever have to explain his or her existence. We belong here. And in fact, we childless women and men, expect to have our place at the table.
As I have said on the podcast, https://childlessnotbychoice.net/episode-105-my-interview-with-pamela-mahoney-tsigdinos/ we pay taxes too. We buy groceries, we go on vacation, and we enjoy our family and friends. We do indeed make beautiful, regular, normal contributions to society. We are wonderful aunts, caregivers, scientists, artists, siblings, bosses, guardians, employees, etc. Just like any other demographic in society. We should not have to explain this, but alas, we seem to have to. Regularly.
Let’s explain with our lives. With our decision to be happy. With our relevance. With our joy.
This holiday season, we will, as usual, attend the family get-togethers. We will attend the work parties. We will cook, bake, be a shoulder for our nieces and nephews, and whatever it is we find ourselves doing. But we will feel empowered to leave any gathering where we do not feel valued. We will create kind but firm boundaries, and exercise those boundaries with people who feel they have the right to speak to us in any manner they wish because our lives, the cards we have been dealt, do not meet their standards.
We will live the life we have been given to its fullest. As we all should. Because whether we got that family or not, life is very short, and we cannot afford to live in fear of society. Society will march on long after we are gone. And although by our very existence it is possible to change society’s apparent died in the wool opinions and expectations, that is not all we were placed on this earth to do. We are also here to live our best most relevant and joyful lives!
This holiday season, if you are a childless not by choice woman or man, remember you deserve to be here, there, or anywhere. Ignore the naysayers. Walk into that party or family gathering like you belong there. Because you do!