Let's get right to it: I'm a 33-year-old single and childless woman. There are all kinds of reasons a woman my age could be child-free, including:
- Not wanting children
- Not being able to have children/having trouble conceiving
- Being unmarried/single
- Wanting them eventually but not right now
- IT'S THEIR CHOICE AND THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN OR DEFEND IT TO YOU.
...oops, sorry. Got out of hand for a sec there.
I'm not getting into which category I fall into, because it doesn't matter for the purposes of this post, but there is something I want to say about being a woman who doesn't have kids: We often get treated like sh*t.
No, not all the time. Most days I'm unaffected by this aspect of my life and don't even really think about it much. But then... I'll see or hear something. An article on the internet, a meme floating around social media, a comment made by someone: all negative towards ladies like me whose uteruses (uteri?) are vacant and who don't bear the title of "mom."
I've touched on this in my writing before because it's a topic that I get pretty passionate about whenever it comes up. The FIRST time I wrote about it I was reacting (not well, obviously) to this meme circulating the web:
Ugh. If you want to read what I said about it back in January, click HERE and scroll to the bottom.
All of these articles got me thinking: How can I respond to this in a thoughtful, intelligent and inoffensive way? As much as I want to go off on the inconsiderate women who penned these articles, I think it's more important to be the voice of all the kid-free ladies out there and tell you a little about us and how we feel. Now obviously I don't speak for ALL women, but here are a few things I personally want you to know:
1. Those memes and articles I talked about in this post are hurtful and offensive. They depict child-free women as bumbling preachy idiots who dole out unsolicited parenting advice or have no right to ever say they're tired simply because a tiny human didn't exit their body. Just keep that in mind before you share them on your Facebook wall and Twitter feed, adding little quips and comments of your own. "THIS IS SO TRUE!" -- #ouch.
2. We are ALL tired and busy; it's not a contest. Moms are busy. Stay-at-home moms are busy. Working moms are busy. Women without kids who work long hours are busy. Women who juggle multiple jobs or work while going to school are busy. WE ALL NEED VACATIONS AND NAPS AND BREAKS. It's not a who's-more-exhausted competition, and it's really unfair to claim that just because you aren't a parent you don't get to use those words in your vernacular.
3. We admire and wholeheartedly respect your role as a mom. I've said this a lot in my writing, but I'm constantly in awe of all the moms in my life and all the sacrifices they make and selflessness that's required to do that job (and I truly do think it's a job). Whether I have/want kids or not, I will always support and defend mothers, their choices and their struggles.
4. I DO want to hear about your kid! My friends, while telling me a story or filling me in on the latest with their child/ren, will often say, "Sorry, I know this is boring." No, actually, it's not! If I love you, loving your kid is just an extension of that. If I care about you, caring about your kid comes with the territory. I want to hear about what's going on in your world, and that obviously includes your offspring.
5. We often feel ostracized. I've been in many scenarios where I'm around a bunch of moms who strictly talk about mom things, and yeah... that can be tough. I'm obviously not able to contribute to the conversation, and sometimes I feel like this weirdo loner/odd man out. In the blogging scene, I am friendly with a ton of women whose blogs I'd like to support, but they write solely about motherhood and topics that just aren't relevant to me. I'm on email chains with girlfriends who talk about methods to get babies to sleep through the night or the best formulas to use, and I just sit quietly in the shadows waiting for a subject change. It's not anyone's fault and I don't ever blame women for having these conversations, but it CAN make women like me feel a little left out.
Bottom line: Women without children shouldn't be looked at as rivals or opponents to those who do have them. Even with that huge difference in our lives, we're all still women who go through similar things and experience the same emotions: happiness, sadness, stress, inadequacy, pride, defeat, etc. I'm all about women supporting and empowering other women, and when it comes to this topic, I often feel a divide.
So let's put a stop to that, shall we?
What do you think? Are child-free women treated unfairly?