Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Incomplete

It's going to be hard to get through this without sounding like I have a giant chip on my shoulder. I don't, I'm amused and vaguely annoyed by this in equal measure. I think probably more because of the insensitivity and the "oooh, so that's what you really think" than anything else.

Twice this morning I've had the mother v non-mother thing in my face. One was one of those text about the beauty of motherhood alongside an unrelated picture of a rainbow infographics informing me that I have never been in love until I have looked into the eyes of my child. That confused me as Morrissey told me I had never been in love until I'd seen the stars reflect in the reservoirs. That was an eye roller as it was only indirectly poking the childfree and childless. Interestingly (or not) childfree has a red squiggly line under it here, childless doesn't.

Second thing was said in a message. I had dared to use the word, hang on to your hats here, it's pretty offensive, promise. I have been told in no uncertain terms that a parent or childcare professional would never use that word. I am an uncaring monster with no capacity for kindness or caring because I do not have a child of my own nor have I chosen to care for a group of children for money. 

It's ok, I know some of you believe that my friends have a point.

I say this - do as you see fit but don't impose that as the truth onto the rest of the world. If you had never appreciated what love meant until you had your child then brilliant, it must have been the most overwhelming experience for you, but it doesn't diminishes the feelings of others and it's kind of arrogant to put it out there as a fact. It's only a fact for you. And if you think that words have power then appreciate the potential power they have regardless of the age of the audience. 

13 comments:

  1. There are more ways to give and receive and feel love than by being a mother wonderful though that might be for some. It's your life and you should live it as you see fit and having children of your own is an entirely private matter whether it be through choice or fate. By not having your own children one could argue that you then have the time to work with and help more children anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      It's interesting to me how people talk about sensitivity without being aware of how sensitive their own words are, whether it be about this subject or anything else. It's pretty easy to see our way as being the right one I suppose.

      Delete
  2. It is so easy for words to be used thoughtlessly and hurt other people. I grew up with these wise words from the Bible"The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do" You are the second person I have encountered this week who has suffered with comments about "childless/childfree ".
    And as both a parent AND a teacher, I too must be SERIOUSLY in the wrong, because I use the word 'promise' occasionally. But I try to use it with care, not making promises I am unlikely to be able to keep. "I cannot promise this WILL happen, but I can promise to do my absolute best...."

    I try and avoid using the words 'always' and never' when attempting to make a point, because they are rarely accurate. Especially when sorting out a disagreement with one's beloved .Eg 'you NEVER replace the loo roll' or 'you ALWAYS leave dirty pots in the sink'. Saying 'SOMETIMES you do this and it upsets me' is a much better way towards improving the situation.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post!! blessings xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your insight.

      I really like your "sometimes x and it makes me feel y" approach rather than the accusatory "always" and "never". It leaves the conversation open which is a positive thing.

      Recently Dan and I have been choosing to say "and" rather than "but" so we're always adding something to the discussion, not cutting the other persons ideas down. It's lead some some very productive times and longer than average walks!

      Delete
  3. I'm a mother, but I don't understand other people's need to castigate those who are not. I have two children, and I love them very much, but I knew what love was before I looked into their eyes, because I love my husband. I didn't marry him so that he could be a sperm donor and then push him to one side whilst I devoted all my attention to my children. I'm loving my so-called ' empty nest' because after 33 years we are still very much in love, we like each other and we want to spend time together.That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy seeing my children, it just means that I've done my job as far as I'm concerned. I've raised them to be independent, kind, caring, well-adjusted women who can make their own way in the world, and at the same time I've maintained my loving relationship with their Dad.
    I'm viewed as strange because I have no desire for grandchildren. If they came along I would love them, but I'm not thinking ' I can't wait to have them'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      I appreciate your comments about becoming a grandparent. My parents didn't expect to ever become grandparents and as far as I know were fine with that. they certainly never said anything to any of us about having children.

      They are happy as Larry now my niece is here, now we're all over the shock (not least my brother). But they have had to deal with lots of comments from family and friends about how relieved they must be and that finally one of us has "got ourselves sorted" and provided a grandchild. My Mum especially has dealt with that very well and doesn't engage in that kind of chatter. Certain people seem to think there's something wrong with my other brother and I because there are no children and feel at liberty to say so without thinking it to be rude or unacceptable in the slightest. I am exceptionally glad they're not my parents!

      Delete
  4. I agree that some people are incredibly insensitive with regard to the remarks they make about whether or not you have children. Even when you have a child, and I have just one, you still receive comments referring to the fact you've only got one, as if there is something wrong with you not to produce more and how you don't know how easy your life is compared to those with more, or what a pity your child doesn't have any siblings to play with. It is astounding really. It does make one more sensitive to the feelings of others though, which is a good thing really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. That's really interesting, people making those comments about only having one child. I really think it's a lose-lose situation.

      You have none you're selfish or there must be something wrong with you

      Have one you/your child are missing out or they run the risk of being spoilt

      Two of the same sex people expect you'll try for another to try to get the one you haven't got (many people said this to my parents after two boys)

      You have one of each it's a shame they don't have a same sex sibling

      More than three "you need to buy a tv if you've nothing better to do" (my friend became a dad twice in a couple of years and people say that all the time). And might I add you'd better not flipping well be on benefits.

      Have I missed any out?

      Delete
    2. I think that just about covers it. I think as long I am happy with my life, then I just try to overlook the rudeness of others. Don't get me wrong, it annoys the hell out of me, but I'm not particularly good at replying with a quick and suitably witty and cutting riposte and I don't want to lower myself to their level of ill manners.

      Delete
    3. You've missed the age gap one. I have 7 years between my girls, so I got the ' only child' one for a while aswell. People don't stop and think before they make comments about why someone hasn't ' had another' or why there is an age gap. I've had 2 successful pregnancies, but also a miscarriage at 15 weeks, and an ectopic pregnancy which came close to costing me my life, and which also halved my chances of conceiving again.
      My MIL was hateful - apparently the miscarriage was my fault, I couldn't possibly only have one child, and then I didn't provide her with a grandson, but neither did my sisters-in-law or my niece so she has 7 grand-daughters and a great grand-daughter, a fact which makes me smile!

      Delete
    4. Goodness, how horrible that people made comments like that, especially from your MIL who was aware of the situation.

      I'll add age gap to the list.

      Delete
  5. You need to do what suits you. I have children that I think the sun shines out of but would probably bore you witless. If I never had children I would have had to adjust, that's life. At the theatre on Saturday the villain said imagine a world without children, just imagine it, and there was irony that ensued from the parents laughter! They are lovely but they are not tin gods, nor for some the life choice that others might choose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's as it should be, enjoying the company of those closest to us. We look for the good in those we know.

      A friend of mine has 4 children, she loves them and gets so much pleasure from being a sahm, but if we're out and other children are around she has no patience with them at all!

      Delete