Author Topic: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her  (Read 20255 times)

Offline Monika

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2011, 09:08:50 pm »
Are you talking about equal pay for equal work, or somethingm else that I'm not understanding?
I believe she means the work women do at home. Clean, wash etc

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #51 on: March 08, 2011, 09:38:11 pm »
I believe she means the work women do at home. Clean, wash etc

Yep.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #52 on: March 08, 2011, 10:11:44 pm »
Agree.  The word selfish is so often cast at those who are child-free, but never back at parents because it's assumed parents are 'selfless'.  As you pointed out, a great many are not, not really.  

Thanks Del.  I think it really is an interesting way to look at things... to think of the ways that people decide to have children for selfish reasons and to satisfy their own ideas about how their lives should be... separate from any real consideration for the child.  Like I said in my earlier post, I think a lot of it boils down to ego and a desire to have someone to take care of them when they're elderly.

My Mom is not subtle about putting pressure on me about my choice not to have kids (at least so far) and I'm 35 and a lesbian... so the odds are very slim really.  I've never particularly enjoyed being around kids for extended amounts of time.  Babysitting used to freak me out so I rarely did it at a teenager.  And, in general children just make me nervous. I have no particular personal urge to have a kid.  But, if I had a partner who really wanted a kid, or if she already had a kid... I would be willing to give raising a kid a try for the sake of the relationship.  My desire to have a strong relationship with a partner is 100x stronger than any personal desire to have a child.  I would not press the issue of kids myself in a relationship.  

When my Mom talks about wanting grandkids... it kind of becomes clear to me that that's all about her desires to step into a "grandmother" role that she has pictured in her head.  It's not about me and it's not about the hypothetical kid.  So, it's a form of selfishness IMO... even if it's a relatively benevolent type of selfishness (the pressures it puts on me aside).

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #53 on: March 08, 2011, 10:45:33 pm »
I totally agree that "selfish" seems like the wrong word to describe people who don't want to have kids -- whatever their reasons. Even if those reasons have to do with keeping their own interests a top priority. Maybe they want to focus on their careers, maybe they want to come home from work and have time to themselves, maybe they want to be free to go where they want, when they want, unencumbered ... and so on. Those reasons are self-oriented, I guess, but I don't consider them "selfish" in the pejorative sense we usually use that word, meaning "greedy" and "uncharitable."

I think part of the problem is that our culture so frowns on placing a priority on one's own interests that there's no neutral word for that.



I'm speaking here of people who opt not to have kids. People who've already had kids and then decide they don't want them ... well, that becomes trickier. I don't know what the right word is to describe them -- it depends on their individual circumstances -- but they've certainly made a big mistake.

But I haven't read the original article yet. Are we talking about a mother who wants nothing to do with her kids? That's problematic. Or is this a mother who simply doesn't want live-in custody of them -- which is a totally different thing? I've written about mothers in the latter situation. Most of them make the decision for their kids' sake. Some regret it; some don't. But it's very hard on them because they're so harshly judged for something that fathers do all the time.




Marge_Innavera

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #54 on: March 08, 2011, 11:02:36 pm »
Agree.  The word selfish is so often cast at those who are child-free, but never back at parents because it's assumed parents are 'selfless'.  As you pointed out, a great many are not, not really.  

As someone who's childless by choice, I've concluded that some use 'I'm too selfish to be a good parent' because it ends the conversation right there.  It plays into the notion that if someone doesn't have kids, it must be some kind of disfunction.  After a few conversations where you field stinkbombs like "then how do you know you're a woman?" telling people what they want to hear can be a temptation.

And I agree with Katherine's comment that the selfishness can work both ways.  Selfish people who want children, for whatever reasons they may want them, rarely if ever let their own selfishness stand in their way.  If you're essentially selfish, then it's in character to make selfish decisions.  Or to put it from the other perspective, 'I'd love to have children but I'm so selfish I'm making an unselfish decision' wouldn't exactly make sense.

My Mom is not subtle about putting pressure on me about my choice not to have kids

My mom used to ask me what if I found out later in life I'd make the wrong choice. (I'm in my 60s now so she hasn't asked that lately)  The first few times I didn't have an answer but when I thought about it, I concluded that if I did regret it, at least I would be the only one who suffered the consequences.  If it were reversed, having a child and then realizing you'd made a mistake could have a lot of other consequences. 

Marge_Innavera

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #55 on: March 08, 2011, 11:10:23 pm »
I already said that..


Thank you for sharing.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #56 on: March 08, 2011, 11:17:04 pm »
Yeah, it's what I was trying to say in my earlier post... that there can be and probably are selfish motivations in both scenarios... having children and not having children.  There are infinite individual nuances, but neither one is free from the taint of "selfishness".  But, IMO looking out for one's own personal best interest should not necessarily be met with disdain either (as long as it isn't hurting someone else).

I think this question of selfishness is interesting.  This word has come up in a variety of ways here... pertaining to both men and women and also apparently to the decision not to have children.

There are clearly a lot of people who have no interest in having or raising children for a variety of reasons.  And, maybe in some cases the reasons are selfish.  Maybe some people just have no interest in it.  Maybe some people don't feel it's the best idea to perpetuate the human race. Etc.  Or, maybe some people are self-aware enough to know that they wouldn't be a great parent and are, in an unselfish way, not having children to spare a child from being dragged into a situation like that.

But, I think it can also be said that many people who do have children are also doing it for selfish reasons.  Reasons that have little to do with the child itself... They may want an heir.  They may want to pass on their genes (I had a friend in college who was strangely obsessed with this idea), they may want someone to love them (the parents), they may want to have children so that someone will feel compelled to take care of them when they are elderly.  They may have children because they want to feel fulfilled.  And, maybe some people want to have children to further some kind of theological/religiously felf mission.  IMO, none of the things I just listed are centered on the interests of the actual child. There are tons of reasons to have children that are centered on the parent's ego and the parent's personal desired.


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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #57 on: March 08, 2011, 11:18:10 pm »

But I haven't read the original article yet. Are we talking about a mother who wants nothing to do with her kids? That's problematic. Or is this a mother who simply doesn't want live-in custody of them -- which is a totally different thing? I've written about mothers in the latter situation. Most of them make the decision for their kids' sake. Some regret it; some don't. But it's very hard on them because they're so harshly judged for something that fathers do all the time.

Hi crayon.  She just didn't want full custody.  And she did it for her own sake.  She apparently couldn't function as the person she wanted to be if she had to be a full-time mom at the same time.

Quote
And I agree with Katherine's comment that the selfishness can work both ways.  Selfish people who want children, for whatever reasons they may want them, rarely if ever let that stand in their way.  Why should it?  Or to put it another way, 'I'd love to have children but I'm so selfish I'm making an unselfish decision' wouldn't exactly make sense.

I've seen this quite a bit.  I work where I can read reports on families with children who have genetic problems.  These children suffer horribly, will probably die before they're adults and the doctors simply shake their heads - outside from where the parents can see them, of course - and wonder why these people continue to have children even though they know the risks to their offspring.  Because you see, if you cast any kind of aspersion on someone's desire to have children - no matter how misguided their reasons will be - you will likely get verbally stoned by society.

They love children!  It's an inalienable right!  How dare you criticize them for having children?!?!  And the kids suffer and suffer and suffer and I cannot imagine why these parents can't be locked up for child abuse.

People continue to have children even when they cannot feed their children because it's a mark of their manhood or womanhood.  And they'd rather sacrifice the children they have - their lives sometimes - than go against their status in their society.

I find myself thinking that whenever I see those "Save the Children" commercials.  You see this tiny child living in appalling conditions and I wonder why her mother and father even thought to bring a child into their world.

Offline louisev

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #58 on: March 08, 2011, 11:27:06 pm »
As a female who has raised other people's children, I have had the responsibility of parenthood without the dubious 'benefit' of passing on my mutant diseased genes... I never wanted to have children, and have been treated as some sort of freak for not doing it, that is for sure, regardless of my step-parenthood and foster parenthood - those just don't 'count'.
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Offline milomorris

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #59 on: March 08, 2011, 11:52:45 pm »
I believe she means the work women do at home. Clean, wash etc


Yep.

But nobody gets  a paycheck for work-product that is consumerd only by themselves and their own families. If that were the case, men would be paid for fixing the roofs of their own homes, caulking their own windows, changing their own oil, etc.

Makes no sense.
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