Monday, January 03, 2005

Why I am a Bad Person

Here's a post about another book I feel no desire whatsoever to read. Chez Miscarriage: We Don't Need Another Reason To Hate Sylvia Ann Hewlett, But Here's One Anyway

But I'm thinking about this whole childless thing. Right now that is my life and my future -- no kids, just pets. One of the commentors brought up the "parent/not parent" conflict -- people without kids resenting those who do for bringing babies into the office, needing time off work for a sick child, children in restaurants, etc. Rob at Darn Tootin' has gone over this one, and termed them "child-free babyhaters" (check his archives).

I don't mind children in a restaurant being kids. I do mind when they are running between tables, throwing food, or screaming relentlessly while their parents ignore them to continue their conversation. To me, a child who screams for more than 5 minutes requires attention, and restaurants that are not Chuck E Cheese are not intended for running around, especially under other people's tables. I don't have particular resentments over babies in the office or taking a day for a sick child. I do resent parents who demand my admiration and congratulations, or insist I echo their justifications (mostly because of the "demand" part). I like babies fine, and I will come admire on my own. I understand about responsibility for the lives of others and will not fault you for living up to yours.

I also resent being put under the blanket assumption that, because I do not have children, I have endless free time unfairly loaded into my life. My free time does not come from some huge storehouse where free time is taken from parents and given to me. I made my choices and I live with them. If I've chosen or accepted free time in exchange for having a child, that's how it is. If you've chosen to have a child, giving up your free time is part of it.

I'm sensitive on this issue. I didn't realize I wanted a child until I got pregnant and lost 3 possibilities to have children. Now there are no more. If I want a child, I must adopt and as yet that idea is still scary. My own trepidation -- that I'm not heading with bulldozer determination toward adopting at any cost -- makes me wonder if I'm suited for motherhood.

I don't know. I do know that many people who become parents didn't know they wanted to be parents until they became parents, and even now torment themselves with their inadequacies and failings. It's a tough job. And I think the world is big enough to have childless people as well, and that it is even positive to have childless people, so they may do the things parents can't or should not do (because of those responsibilities).

I am not a bad, incomplete, or ineffective person because I do not have a child. I suspect that good parents were good people before kids, and bad parents had problems before kids. I don't think this is a "one size fits all" world.

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