Ahh ladies, we’re a complicated breed. We really are. I don’t know what it is or why we do it, but it seems we often have wars going on with each other. As if the every day trials and tribulations of this roller coaster estrogen-fest we’re on isn’t hard enough, apparently, we feel the need to throw a few spanners around and complicate it for each other. Nowhere has this been more evident to me of late than with the mother vs non-mother divide. There are weird vibes man and I’m not entirely sure what it’s all about, but I’m here to see if we can’t all align our chakras and calm the hell down.
I’m a non-mother. Don’t have kids, don’t plan to have kids. I’m not anti-children, it’s just not something I ever pictured really having in my life. I don’t believe it is a prerequisite of being a woman, I do not feel it should be expected of me, or demanded and most importantly, I do not feel I am missing out or that my life is somehow incomplete by not having children.
This, I have noticed, seems to be a problem for mothers. Mothers cannot understand this choice and are rather vocal about it. I can fully understand the love a mother has for a child (because I have a mother who loves me very much) and so I get the appeal of having that in your life, I just happen to have made a different choice. Oddly, I often feel that mothers take offense to that. When I say I don’t want children, mothers will usually reply ‘never say never’ or ‘you say that now…’ which is a rather patronising response – as though my choice isn’t a valid one, because we’re women and as a woman I should naturally want to have a child. It’s the equivalent of me saying ‘are you sure you don’t wanna give that thing back?’ while you’re cooing over your baby (which, for the record, I wouldn’t say, because that’s clearly very rude). Let’s hope you’re not dropping the ‘never say never’ line to a woman who is unable to have children.
I’ve spoken to other non-mothers around my age and whether they’ve chosen to not have children or haven’t conceived yet, pretty much all have said they’ve felt this vibe from mothers. A kind of superiority – as though their womanhood has been validated by giving birth. They are now part of a club that us non-mothers are not welcome to. Phrases like ‘such and such made no sense to me….until I became a mother’ are bandied around, as though we cannot fully understand the meaning of life until we’ve procreated.
It renders my life useless and invalid.
But equally, there’s seems to be this competition between mothers too. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about an insane amount of judging that goes on, mother-to-mother, that just boggles my mind. Who’s losing baby weight quicker? Which nursery does she take her kid to? How much did they spend on their kid’s birthday party? I’ve heard tales of mothers telling new mothers they’re not doing certain things right (I can’t imagine anything more out of line), they shouldn’t be feeding them that baby food (that the mother is putting in their child’s mouth at that exact moment), the list goes on.
It’s a sort of one-upmanship, a competition in which no one is actually the winner. We have all made choices. Very personal, individual choices. We’re all just living our lives in our own way. What the next person has chosen to do with theirs is really none of my business. It seems very obvious to simply state ‘live and let live’, yet often seems to be the hardest thing to do – to not (intentionally or otherwise) force your ideals and beliefs onto someone.
Ladies, this is life we’re talking about and major life decisions – there are no finish lines. You don’t get a special badge for hitting an imaginary marker first or for making someone else feel crappy. A lot of this seems like more advanced versions of what happens in the school playground. Let’s just leave all that where it belongs and get on with the business of supporting one another and celebrating womanhood, child or no child. We’re meant to all be in this together.