I have jumped out of the pot. It was making me dizzy. Stir all you want.
People are asking me what I think about the latest TIME magazine cover. The one with the gorgeous couple laying on the beach under the words, “The Childfree Life”.
I think I’m supposed to be upset by this link bait title and cover. I’m sure TIME wants it to be controversial because that’s the BEST WAY TO SELL magazines. Remember this one?
The recent child free article however, has left me with the feeling of “so what” and even a little “yay for them”. The article struck me mostly as a piece about couples choosing to follow a path that makes them happy even if it goes against what people around them expect or see as normal. I know mothers with upwards of five children in their home. I know couples who desperately wanted children, couldn’t have them, and are doing their best to be happy and enjoy the things they may not be able to enjoy if they had kids. Yes, I also know people who have deliberately chosen NOT to procreate because it’s not what they want.
The backlash on this (especially from mothers) is weird to me. Haven’t we gotten over this whole “your choice is bad because it’s not my choice” thing? Maybe we need to check our underwear before putting them on, because the trend lately seems to be to get our panties in a twist before we even start the day.
The media, of course, is not helping with headlines like, TIME Cover Draws Battle Line Between Childless Women and Mothers, and ‘TIME’ Magazine’s ‘Childfree’ Life Article Shows Moms What They Are Missing.
I went out last weekend with my husband for the first time alone in over a year.
Am I envious of “child free” people who lounge quietly on a beach without worrying if one of their kids is drowning? Yes.
Do I regret my decision to have a family? No way.
The article itself states that:
The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.
While I do find that an interesting statistic, I do not in any way feel that choosing not to have kids is doing a disservice to humankind. Trust me, there are people out there like the Duggars who are more than happy to make up for the loss in population. Besides, with the way we are treating our planet, there may not be enough resources to go around in the near future anyway.
Let’s not pit woman against woman. Instead, let’s allow (if not celebrate) women who make and stand by their own choices.
Also, I will die happy if I never hear the term “have it all” bandied about ever again.
There is no such thing.
Let’s just try to have what we ourselves want at the different times in life that we want them.
The real question is “can we be happy”?
Maybe if we get out of the pot…
Maybe if we stop judging others whose choices are not the same as ours…
Maybe if we give ourselves permission…
Maybe if we stop thinking other people should need ours…
I’d like to find out.