A few years ago I read an article a few times, and I think it was this one:
“29 Famous Childfree Women on Why They Chose Not to Have Kids” https://www.slice.ca/family/photos/famous-childless-women-on-why-they-chose-not-to-have-kids/#!453efa40c108301c99ec42536109435d
And I noticed something interesting. Overall, the explanations fall into a few categories:
I mother in other ways.
My career means more.
I would have been a bad mother.
Only a few women say something like, “I don’t want to.”
There are some women who deeply desire to have children and/or to be a mother to children in other ways. That’s fine, but I don’t like this idea that if someone isn’t a mother, we need to find a way to cram them into that role.
Once, I was at church teaching Sunday School on Mother’s Day and someone came in to wish me a happy mother’s day. I smiled and told her I don’t have kids. She insisted that I was still a mother. Because I teach kids for one hour once a week. I felt like she was telling me I was a firefighter because I spit on a candle one time.
I’m okay not being a mother, lady, why are you not okay with me not being a mother?
And then there’s the pet-parent thing. I’m sure you love your fur-babies more deeply than I’ll ever know. But . . . having a pet is not the same as having a child. So, it’s weird to me to compare them.
Please note, “Career Woman” is a term, Career Man isn’t. “Family Man” is a term, and Family Woman isn’t.
I’ve never heard or heard of a man saying he didn’t become a father because of his career. I know that saying that invites all the examples you can think of or find in a Google search. But overall, this is a choice we put on women, but not on men.
It’s similar to how women, not men, get the question on how to balance work and family life.
Would I be a good mother? Sometimes I think, of course. I would love my children. I would work very hard to learn and grow and be a good parent.
Other times I think of my weaknesses, especially some of the ways my mental health issues manifest. My insecurities. My irrational thoughts and emotions.
And, worst of all, I have an excellent memory. But I remember every terrible thing my parents ever said or did to me more than I remember the good things. And I hate the thought of giving those thoughts to a child that I love.
My point is, I think women feel pressured to either be a mother or have a “good reason” not to be one.
I would like it to be okay for a woman to not choose motherhood, period. No caveats, excuses, or justifications. The same way a man is permitted to choose not to be a father without anyone questioning it.
Have people questioned your choice in whether to be a parent?