Mothers and others

Time for the obligatory Mothers Day post.  I actually had a pretty good one yesterday.  I spent the first part of the day at my sister's place with my family, having brunch and mimosas.  My parents remembered that it was Hubs's and my 5th wedding anniversary the day before, and brought us the same little mini rose bush they got for my sister and SIL (both moms), so I didn't feel left out.  It was a nice time.  The second part of the day was spent with Hubs's family at his uncle's pool.  That was a nice time too, except the part where Hubs's aunt made the rounds giving all the moms these cute little beachy sarongs and the ONLY two women who didn't get one were me and my MIL's cousin.  I have to admit that stung a bit.  I have half a mind to email her all nonchalantly and ask where she got them so I can get one too, but I'm not that passive-aggressive.

I did have a nice moment with my MIL's cousin, the other non-mom at the party, about the choice whether to have kids.  She's in her 50's and single.  She told me she'd always expected to have a family of her own and it just never worked out that way, but that she loves her life.  Clearly she's not bitter about how things turned out at all, and I admire her for that.  We talked about how parenthood isn't always all it's cracked up to be.  It's hard work 24/7, and although it's apparently rewarding as hell, who's to say those parents wouldn't have found something they felt was equally rewarding had they not had kids?  I don't think it's fair to compare parenthood to a childfree life.  In order to fully appreciate the rewards of having children, a person has to actually have a child, and vice versa.  You can't experience both a childfree life AND the life of a parent, so how can anyone say one option is better or more rewarding than the other? 

I have a good friend whose MIL has been not-so-subtly hinting to her since right after my friend got married that she really, really, really wants to be a grandma.  My friend and her husband go back and forth between thinking they might one day want kids and that they definitely do not ever want kids, much to her MIL's dismay.  And her MIL tries to convince her that deep down she and her son really do want kids and that they'll regret it if they don't have them.  I do not envy my friend's situation.  Of course, all MIL wants is for her son and my friend to be happy, but she doesn't understand that it's possible for them to be happy without kids because she didn't have the childfree experience.  What is unfortunate for my friend is that her MIL can't even imagine being happy without kids in the picture.  Hopefully getting MIL to stop harping on the subject will just be a matter of my friend and her husband communicating to her their hopes and dreams for their life.

Who knows why there's such a divide between those with children and those without them?  I suspect it has something to do with our Western society.  The nuclear family reigns supreme and there's very little respect or attention tossed to people whose lifestyles don't fit that mold.  And there's a lot of pressure to fit into it.  (That's a topic for a whole separate post.  Or maybe even a book!)  Granted, I've set up my own walls between myself and those with kids, thanks to infertility.  I'm a little more sensitive than most to what I perceive as a sense of superiority some parents seem to wield over childless people.  But I'm working on that.  I think the solution to closing the divide is about being understanding and compassionate.  We're all different and we all make choices based on our unique personalities, histories, and circumstances.  I hope that's the attitude I'm putting out these days!  To each their own, I say.

So this post wasn't really about Mothers Day after all, but I rather enjoyed my little tangent!  Until next time...


Emily said...

Great post! I totally agree, none of us (in any situation, not just in not having or having children) knows what it's like to be in someone else's situation. We are each unique and have different paths, which is what makes the world go round! Hope you are doing well!

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