When I was a stay-at-home Mommy (do they even exist anymore?) there was a nasty undercurrent vibe with embers that were whipped into full force flames by the culture of the late 80’s and early 90’s. The competition was between stay at homer’s and mommies who held down full time jobs, and it was a nasty, subtle female bashing mind bender.
If you stayed at home, you must be a helicopter mom, a woman who was inept, boring, and living the life she wanted through her children. You were preoccupied with things like food additives and PTO meetings and were over indulgent, wore yoga pants way too much and your only intellectual conversations happened by chance on the playground as you pushed a swing next to another inept, boring helicopter mommy. You were the person no one wanted to sit next to at a party. You were the person who was asked in the kind of voice pretending to be interested but wrapped in sarcastic judgment, “So just what do you DO all day at home?”
If you worked, you were accused of putting your needs ahead of your child and were the woman who never baked cookies for her kid’s birthday at school, instead delivering perfectly frosted cupcakes in a plastic container that were hurriedly purchased that morning. When your child vomited, you called a stay-at-home mommy to get her at school until you could get out of work, you tended to wear heels and never volunteered to help out at the school fair. You were the person everyone wanted to sit next to at dinner, especially stay at home mommies. No one ever asked you what the hell you did all day, but instead marveled at your ability to work AND be a mom.
You depended on one another and hated each other.
You each thought the other had it better. You both felt guilty at times. Instead of holding hands and supporting one another, you lashed out, fearing your decision was being judged by the other.
It was a shit show of vitriol and I’m hearing it again, but this time it’s a nasty war between women having children and women who are not.
Ladies, this shit has just got to stop. Kids, no kids, one is not better than the other, and it’s not okay for anyone else to judge us. Period. It’s the way life has unfolded. It’s the choices we have made and the choices that were made for us.
My girls are in their 20’s now and though my marriage to their dad was an exercise in hell, being their mommy taught me about life and who I am and what I stand for and despite the years I lost in wages, retirement income, work experience and financial independence, years that caught up and bit me on the ass, hard, I would not change it for the world.
I’m guessing that most of my friends who have chosen a life without children wouldn’t change their decision for the world either.
One way is not better than the other. They are just different paths.
I have many friends in their 40’s who have either chosen not to have children or whose longing has not been supported yet by life circumstance. For those who have decided their lives cannot support kids for whatever reason, loving kudos to you for knowing yourself and what you desire in this universe. For those that want kiddos but cannot, I grieve with you. I cannot imagine how that feels.
The bottom line is that all the decisions we gals make in life are intensely personal. Ladies without children, when people make comments about your perceived selfishness or whatever, get real with whoever is sticking their foot in their mouth. Tell them it’s a tough subject for you if it is, or tell them it’s none of their damn business. We all endure thoughtless insensitive comments about our life choices, and it sucks, but stand firm and confident in the footprints you have made in this universe or that may have been made for you by mother nature. Like everything else in this life, we get to decide how we will muddle through it. And, I’m happy to hold your hand anytime, too.
It’s unrealistic for us to expect the world to applaud or understand everything we do, never mind appreciate our contributions to society whatever those gifts look like and to accept that we women are all doing the best we can.
Sometimes that means we fuck up. Shit, I got the stink eye at Macy’s when one of my kids had a temper tantrum and bit her sister and was often judged on my hands-off parenting style and it hurt, especially when it came from another woman. It breaks my heart to hear women dissing other women for their decisions on whether to have children or not.
And if you believe, really believe with all your heart, in sisterhood? Hold your sister’s hand. This shit has got to stop.