Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm Happy Being Me; But Thanks For Thinking You Know Me.

I read this article today on Slate that was in response to the taboo of women who don't want to have children.  It, itself, was actually in response to another Slate article on the subject of the child bearing vs. childless, and the overall tone implied somehow that we parents secretly envy our childless counter parts.  That, while we love our children and wouldn't trade them for the world, we wish, in the recesses of our hearts, that we could have our freedom back.  I wish they'd asked me.  My answer would be, if that's the case, you're doing something wrong.  You're doing something very, very wrong.  Over the past 2 and half years I've made an effort about half a dozen times to go out with friends as "an adult".  I always go out after the kids have gone to sleep and I'm pretty much only there because I feel obligated not to let friendships dissolve not because I want a break from my children.  And the majority of the time I'm checking my phone to make sure my kids are alright.  I wake up the following morning tired, agitated and wasteful of my time.  And you know why?  Because my kids are more fun then my friends - sorry friends, but it's true.  My children don't need alcohol to loosen up and laugh.  My kids don't talk crap on each other or BS their way through the night trying to impress whomever might be near.  To my children I'm the rock star; a hero; the greatest thing in the world.  They light up when they see me in a way that no one else on this planet ever has/will/should.  And I light up even brighter when I see them.  The other day I had to work late and I was furious, not because I was tired or frustrated by the work, but because I was missing the opportunity to take my girls swimming.  I've never been that upset by missing a night out with the boys.  Which is why I haven't done one in several months. You think I miss vacations?  First of all, we still go on vacations.  And what would a vacation be with out my children anyway?  We went to Cancun for a wedding a few years ago and, yes, it was fun.  But I would have rather my children where there on the beach with me.  I would rather my children were splashing in that water then me just sitting there board working on my tan.  I think we racked up a couple hundred dollars in international cell phone charges over the 4 days we were down there.  What I'm implying is, it's true that being a carefree adult is a lot of fun. ... but it's actually even more enjoyable with your children around.

At one point in the childless author admits that she doesn't see the miracle in child rearing.  Well listen sister, that's because it's not a miracle.  A miracle is bearded deity instantly turning plain water into wine to keep the party going.  The alternative is the tenacity of a simple farmer to take a crop of grapes and lovingly, diligently, painstakingly transforming it into a breathtakingly vivacious bottle of wine.  That's child rearing.  A blank little blob and the loving, mind blowingly hard work of the parent to transform that into something the world will wonder at.  Sit back at the end and say that's what I created.  Yes it's hard.  Yes, it's exhausting.  But do you think the vintner would prefer to pour his Chardonnay from the tap?  To get his Cabernet from the hose out back?  No.  There's beauty in the work.  There's love in the process.  There's joy in the product.  What we do as parents, we do out of love, not obligation.  And we wouldn't trade our world for yours under any circumstance for any amount of time.  It gets to a point that with out children what do you have?  Your job?  Your hobbies?  Your cat?  It's kind of a pointless, self gratifying experience. ... it's not really life.  You think we want to be you?  You think we envy you?  No; truthfully we pity you.  Not in the snotty, condescending form of pity, but in the fact that you have not yet had your eyes open to the wonder that we have.  It's like we have this secret to life but you don't want it.  And while we don't begrudge you your choices, we certainly hope you are fortunate to see our side of things.  Because it may be fun at 30.  It may be great at 40.  It may be divine at 50.  But there will be a point when those childless friends have moved on to kids.  When those that haven't, start to pass.  When you begin to find that you're all alone and the party just isn't that much fun anymore.  What will you do then?  Turn to the child rearing friends you admonished long ago?  Call up the nieces and nephews of the siblings you didn't have time to conform to?  The natural desire to procreate is animal instinct to keep the species alive.  But it's more for us humans.  Our social structure has developed the need to have children into more then a survival of the species; it's for the survival of you.  That's why we don't want to be you.  Because the things you fill your time with instead of children. ... they're just a waste of time.

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