I love the childfree by choice. I admire anyone who has strong convictions about what they want out of life and if that doesn’t include kids, I respect and appreciate that personal decision. But something I have noticed lately is that some people who adamantly don’t want kids also really don’t want those of us who want kids, or who have kids, to talk about how much we love being parents. I have never gone to a childfree by choice website and told those who don’t want kids they are wrong for feeling that way. I have never told the childfree by choice that they are missing out on something because they chose not to breed. But one thing I have noticed is that when we discuss mothering, or parenthood, on occasion the childfree will come along and drop some mommyhood hate on the discussion. And that sucks.
Recently, I was reading an article on the decision to become a parent, and it seemed like the comments were filled with a lot of vitriol towards breeders. I think part of the problem is maybe the childfree have felt so ostracized and judged for the decision not to have kids that when they see an opportunity to share their stories they take it. Fair enough. But I have also noticed that on occasion I have shied away from discussing my own found bliss in parenting because if I do so, I will be seen as being a sanctimommy, or worse. It’s almost as if I personally feel like I am betraying the childfree by admitting a fundamental truth of my own identity – that I really love being a mom.
I don’t sugarcoat parenting. There truly are days that suck, that are hard, that are frustrating, that make me wonder why I ever had kids in the first place. But for me, for the most part, it’s the best thing in the entire world. At my very core, it’s who I am and who I want to be – a mom. If I can accept the fact some people never want to be parents why can’t I be accepted for this being the favorite part of who I am? I don’t shove my motherhood down the throats of others. I don’t mention my kids to the childfree unless they ask. But even then I have a hard time fully expressing what it’s like for me, the love I have, the utter joy I find in parenting because I worry that to do so will make me seem less than, that people will think I’m stupid because I take so much joy from the fact I have kids.
It’s not just the childfree by choice who make me feel this way. I know plenty of parents who have kids who act like admitting to loving their kids, or being in love with parenting, or loving the whole idea of family is to admit some sort of defeat. Cool people don’t like their kids. It’s almost as if we have become this generation of people who hold parenting at arm’s length, because to admit to loving it is seen as being an idiot. We can only parent with a healthy dose of irony.
Some days I want to be that mom that bitches about being a mom, the homework, the endless piles of laundry, the fact I still rarely have my bed to myself and my spouse, but other days I want to talk about how cool or smart or amazing my kids are, and I want that to be OK too. But when you do talk about the awesome things about your kids or motherhood you run the risk of being seen as a humble-bragger. We can’t win. We either need to shut up or only talk about these things with grandma.
I don’t know exactly when loving being a mom started to be so vastly uncool. I don’t know when admitting to feeling like it was the best thing in the world was something to be ashamed of. I admit that I’m guilty of cringing at the gloating mommy bliss Facebook status updates we see on STFU Parents. I love that. I admit that I get all sorts of creeped out by the Twitter hashtags lauding mommyhood we have seen. I like to make fun of the mommy braggers as much as everyone, but deep down in my heart I sort of know I feel the same way. I just wish I had the nerve to admit it a bit more.