Staying on the theme of you younger adults with dollops of childfree wisdom, I ran across this video by Courtney. While she could use a tripod, she is “fired up” about exchange between a mother and her 13 year daughter. Check it out-
She reads the exchange, and after the daughter suggests she might not have kids, the mom clearly objects and says “real women are mothers.”
I love how Courtney pushes back on this and talks about what she thinks what a “real woman” means…
She also pushes back on the mother’s comment that women who don’t have kids are a “drain on society.” Courtney comes back with the idea that those who do have kids can be considered the ones who are a drain on society–they are bringing more people into an already crowded world, and bringing “another consumer into the world.”
She also comments about how important it is to accept, not judge, others’ choices when it comes to having children. Seems to me the mother she is referring to is the one who should be listening to Courtney!
She also asks listeners to write in regarding whether mothers are more valuable to society because they are mothers. Our overly child-focused culture may think so, but in reality those who do not have children are just as valuable to society. We contribute to our families, loved ones, communities and our world in all kinds of ways. The only difference is we don’t contribute in one way–parenthood. But like my post on PANKs, as aunties and mentors we can play a signficant support role to children and their parents.
This mother’s outlook is not only limited, but sends the wrong message to her daughter–that the only way you will have a valuable life is to have a child. Becoming a mother is one way to feel of value, but certainly not the only way. Motherhood may have been what made her feel valuable, but to demand it be the same for her daughter, that she be like her, reflects more selfish parenting than “selfless” parenting.
Kudos to Courtney, for putting herself and her thoughts right out there. If you were going to do the same, to put yourself out there on the topic of childfreedom and parenting, what would you have to say?
There are many ways to fulfill your life. Parenting is just one of them. It is the fear of not having children that makes parents say irrational comments about those that have made the choice to be child free. I believe times have changed and it is not often I hear statements these days like the one that was exchanged between the mother and her daughter. It could also be a cultural thing. I am Australian and live in a capital city with many opportunites. Some women don’t have these choices and child rearing is a way for them to give their life a purpose. Nothing wrong with that either. In regards to me, I was always just so busy doing so many things, it simply never crossed my mind. It is only when I hear others (with children of course) pointing it out and feeling sorry for me that I think about it – for maybe 10 seconds.
Hi–I agree that the exchange between mother and daughter these days may not as often go exactly as “direct” as Courtney reports, but the value of mother still looms large. The message that becoming a mother is “the” way to do your life as an adult comes in a myriad of forms, from indirect to very direct verbal pressure, from family, friends, and from what a lot of folks tell me, from strangers more often than you would think. Sara’s comment on my previous post, Who Pressures Us Most to have Kids, has to do with her ex-gyn. She has quite a story about how her gynocologist read her the riot act about how her choice not to have kids was down right UnAmerican –while she her feet were in the stirrups! More and more women realize they have more choices in life, and having kids is just one of them, but making that choice still so often comes with judgement and attempts to persuade otherwise, across economic status levles and cultures. Past research does tend to suggest that more childfree are in larger metropolitan cities but from the e-waves I hear from people all over the place so I’d like to see omre data on this. And the feeling sorry for us thing–wish parents would just get over that! ~L