Apr 5, 2011

Get Out of the Toychest

Listening to different witchy podcasts, I found out that they talk about "comming out of the broomcloset". The first time it was funny, because it's like when people talk about gay people "coming out of the closet", as in meaning they stop hiding who they are and let it out to the world, whether their surroundings like it or not. Well, in our current society, sadly a lot of people is locked in different closets. Gay people have their own closet, pagans of all sorts have their own closet (called "broomcloset", by those who are on the Path), so then reading an article by Stefanie Iris Weiss, I realized that the childfree are also in a closet. A broomcloset? Well, no, being childfree isn't the same as being Pagan. A plain closet? So we like share it with the gay people because our condition is the same? So I was looking for the closet we were hiding in - I wasn't going to poke Harry Potter's cupboard - when it came to me, that we are hiding in the toychest. Yes we are.

You see, when childfree and hiding it, we actually bow to childish things. We come up with excuses about why "we still have no children", or lie about "why are we waiting for" and make all these faces when people come up with their moronic lines like "well, you ain't getting younger! You gara hurry!" and say stuff like "yeah, I better do! hahahaha!" but we are like "yeah, I better stay clear away from you and your imp-breeding ideas". Then, sadly, whenever we try to give a reply that stirs off the unwanted question, people actually think we are immature. Well, we are when we are not assuming who we are and make up excuses for others. Or plain when we make up excuses to explain out behavior to others in ways that clearly seek their approval. Often our wish to hide our perceived "abnormality" leads us to really awkward situations like being left with kids so that our "parental self stirs up". Dude, you know what that does? I mean, I'm fairly resolute in not having children, but anytime the "bug" gets to me - so to say - and I think about reproducing my kind (specially when looking at Matt Bomer, yes), and breed evil little economists that will walk the Earth with Karl Marx under their arm, and Keynes in their hearts, I come across children, and the thought is spirited away. Children are not mini-you's, they are not pet-projects, they are people and they have their things.

Deal with their shrieking, try to keep up with their endless energy, their constant demand for attention, talk them into eating, into washing their teeth, into going to bed... And this is the good part! It never fails to amuse me - and sure one day if rubbed the wrong way I'll bring it up - how the very people who go around telling you "ah, you are gonna change your mind", or "children are a great blessing" and stuff like that are the one's that ACTUALLY plan to take vacations AWAY FROM THEIR KIDS! They try to look all cool when they go to the movies to watch some kiddy flick like Cars, and pretend not to mind they haven't seen Black Swan, or any of the last 10 movies you've seen, because "you know, I have kids, and really, I don't have time for such things, but I don't mind because kids make me happy". Sure, that's why they want vacations away from them. They scream at their children, get more grey hair than people of their same age with no kids, and suddenly say things like "when are they going to grow up and leave the house" or "when's summer vacations ending" or "I just can't stand them anymore!". As a childfree, when you witness something like that, your head reels back and say "wait, but aren't these your... blessings?".

As a childfree, you know that the "threats" thrown you way are mostly bogus. No, it's not true you are going to regret not having children, because you know yourself, you don't need someone of your own flesh and blood to scream at and emotionally scar with your bullshit. No, your financial future do not depend on whether you have kids or not. Dude, that was like in the medieval ages, when the only way you could access some sort of fortune was by having your kids marrying well. In these days we work for it, and there's a thing called "retirement pension" or "retirement nest" and you can invest and plan for your elderly days. Now you have other choices than becoming the elderly leech your kids have to keep, whom they can't wait to get rid off, by sending to an elderly home, or murdering in any unsustitious way. The speech of "well, that depends of how you raise them" does give me the giggles. Dude, are you serious? Here you are complaining to me about your children, how much you have to struggle to keep them behaved and you talk about raising them to take care of you? You can't make them eat their diner but you will teach them to pay for yours? You yell at them, punish them, and you will teach them to respect you when you are older, vulnerable and clumsy? Okay, let me sit well, calm my giggling down, and can you tell me all that again? Please, from the begining. Can I record it? I so love live comedy stand ups!

The other day in yet another article I don't precise right now, read about how "Proud Moms" (you know, the "Yes! I'm so fulfilled being a mom" types that can say "fulfilled" with so much anger, almost hatred, it really makes you want to never feel that fulfilled in your life) were pissed because 45% of their female friends couldn't stand their continual babbling about their kids, and their practical spamming about their children and their improper behavior all covered up "because they are moms". There was a quoting of the sort, like "don't hate me because I'm a mom", which I felt kinda out of place. We - whether childfree or not - don't hate them because they are moms, we don't hate them: we find them either boring or annoying, and well, who wouldn't? They are like a one track tune: all the time the same. No imput of their own thing, their own lives, it's all about the motherhood. Really, as if the moment they became parents, their whole personhood would have been transfered to the child and they are nothing but a carcass, an empty shell, the shell being parenthood. There's absolutely nothing there, nothing, only parenthood and the matters of the child. Once you get over the boredom or the annoyance, you realize how sad the situation is. However, be calm, be glad, there are well balanced parents too, who keep their personhood inspite of the offspring. There is hope. (Encountered the case in a Pagan household and a Dutch household, so maybe the Bible Belt is hopeless, no-man land, but we can always hope against hope.)

Anyway, on the same arwhole icle - the one I can't recall - a mom tried to explain herself saying that, well, her whole life was now about their kids. Take them to school, pick them up, do homework with them, play with them, cook for them, dress them, go to Parent Meetings, go to their games... so yes, when she was posting about her life, her life was that she had with her kids. Oh man, and she didn't really see it! Let me put it this way. You have a friend who's deep, and I mean deeeeeeeeeeep in Internet. Speaks of nothing but the internet, is all day sitting on the internet, goes to sleep next to the computer, wakes up and goes up to the Internet. A month into this and you pull your friend aside and tell them: "Dude, you should really get a life. Would you like to go out with me for the movies?". So, why is it ok with children to lose even your identity, lose your whole life, but it's not with anything else?

I never get tired of reminding parents that kids are people, not pets, not toys, not blessings, not badges of success, not trophees, but people. That's one advantage us childfree have: we are not hazed, we have not come across a threshold such where the parent-person separates themselves from the child-person and entirely forgets what it was like to be a child. (Could this be also part of the personhood transfer some do?)

As childfree, we have a different look at children. We don't hate them like a lot of people say - people who are not childfree, but have children and often hate their children, or other people's children and find it so easy to transfer their feelings to us and say we hate children -, but relate to them as what they are: people who are younger. We don't give them special concessions, like think it's okay for them to throw temper tantrums or break things, but we don't expect them either to sit down with us and discuss the Stoic philosophy from Seneca's point of view. Ironically, a lot of kids actually love us more, like us more and relate to us more, because we actually treat them as equals, not because we are "so immature", but because we don't think ourselves their superiors and we respect them as people, and demand respect the same way.

The childfree would hardly ever reply to a child's question by saying "because I say so", or "I'll tell you when you are older". Okay, we do say "go ask your parents" or sometimes "ask your folks if it's okay I tell you about this". Yeah, yeah, it's "easy for us to say so" because we "don't have to deal with their questions all the time". Oh, okay, let me go back a tad here: didn't you say that kids were a blessing? The joy of your life? Because if that's the case, what's so bad about dealing with their questions all the time? Honestly, how many of you, my fellow childfree, have conspired with the child of a friend or family member, or acquintance and answered a question they really wanted answered and you told them "but you promise not to say a word about this and specially not to tell mom and dad I told you?". And the sad thing is that they often ask things they should be allowed to know, such as were babies come from, are people from other religions bad, or is it true that the world is going to end, or what is "conservative" and are "democrats" bad, or why you don't have kids (this is a bad one for some parents because they are genuinely afraid we will turn their kids!).

I explained Halloween to the children of an outrageously religious couple, who wouldn't let their children read Harry Potter, because that was evil. Of course I made them swear not to breath a word of it, mainly for their safety. As a childfree, you can always fend the angry parent by saying: "they asked I answered, I don't see anything wrong in it", or "like they wouldn't google it eventually". So yes, we are cool. Damned, imagine that. Which, well, could also leave the impression on kids that we are cool, they wanna be like us, and so they end up childfree like us. It happens, trust me.

The childfree, when by choice, hardly has any regrets. The one or twice "the bug" may come around - if ever - goes away rather fast, compared with the regrets parents often have, which you can hear of. Didn't go to this place, didn't do this, didn't finish that, never got the business they wanted, couldn't work on that dream... Often that brings parents to put everything into their kids, kinda like the alcoholic drinks to forget, which then is bad to the children, who has to grow up as a host body for the old, feeding demands and expectations of the "fulfilled" parents. The childfree has all the oportunities and can takes those they choose to take, discard those they choose to discard. I don't say all of us are balanced, but often we are more prepared to shoulder the responsability of our decisions, than parents, who always have that wildcard, that get-out-of-jail card and say "they didn't have a choice, they had to do it for the children".

Do we mind mind being alone? Well, are we? We have our friends, we have our family, we can have our partners, and yes, we can enjoy the blessed solitude when we can be alone with ourselves and enjoy the full extent of ourselves without being interrupted. It might be offensive for some, to witness in us all they gave up for diapers and rebel teenagers, but it's their choice, not ours. 

Perhaps for us getting out of the toychest is harder than for others to get out of their closets, but we should consider doing so wisely. Often we are of a mainstream religion, straight, so we should be joining the ranks of the pro-family people, but we derail, and that brings the heat. It's not that we are seen as "weird", but often as "traitors", particularly women. Oh dude! Like it doesn't matter what we think, we MUST give our womb for child making. Oh, and if we don't, we are selfish because we are denying so many men in the world, and the society in general, of children. Riiiiiiiight, wanna accuse me and all my female coworkers also of being selfish for not being at home cooking, cleaning and bearing children, but out working and earning money? 

You don't need to broadcast your Childfreedom, but you can assume it, stop feeling ashamed of it, and stop defending your choice in front of people hell bent on changing you. I blog, but I hardly get into discussions on the matter. I don't need tales about the matter of children, and honestly I'm not afraid to leave the person alone talking. No need to rub it under their noses, but no need to take their bile for it either. Like one of my fave podcasters said: just because you are no longer in the (closet) it doesn't mean you can't be private about it. Think about it, you have sex, but you don't go telling everybody you had some and you did this and that. So, it's okay to be private, and it's okay to be Proud of being Childfree too.

So really, next time someone brings the matter up, you smile and change the conversation or say "It's my personal decision. I don't see how's that of your concern". ^_^

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