The other day I ran headlong into someone who is highly annoyed by "mommies". I am always amazed when I see divisiveness in certain groups of women, the "us vs. them" syndrome. One of these cases that I recently got into was Childfree-by-Choice Lady vs. Scrapbooking Soccer Mom Lady. It ain't always pretty.
Many years ago, before I had two kids, I lived a very carefree lifestyle in the city. I could do anything, go anywhere. I was completely unfettered, self-employed, nomadic and pretty proud of it. That was my life and I had no intention of altering it.
My boyfriend-at-the-time and I went over to the home of friends. They were professional people with two boys. I was never that comfortable with children and didn't like being bothered in public by other people's screaming children. After our visit with our friends, my BF was talking to his pal and I was talking to the wife. She asked me if I was planning to have children. I told her definitely not. She smiled a very annoying "knowing" smile and said, "Oh, you'll change your mind. It's so fulfilling. It's the most amazing thing in the world having kids."
Yeah, right, lady. What's amazing and fulfilling is making a spontaneous trip to a fancy hotel in San Francisco and getting room service while I'm looking out over the ocean after sleeping in until 9 a.m. Top that, would ya? I was annoyed that she would imply that somehow, simply because I was childless, that my life was less fulfilling, less satisfying, and that I was less than whole as a woman. Frankly, I was insulted and perturbed.
So, fast forward a gazillion years and now I've met Mr. Right. We discussed having children and were ambivalent about it because of our busy lifestyle. We were getting older and could easily see the pros and cons of both sides: to have kids, to not have kids. We waited and did nothing.
To make a very long (and unfortunately dramatic) story short, two kids have come into our lives who needed something we had. We've become a great little family and I've turned into one of those women who writes silly stories about her kids on her blog. I don't go to fancy hotels and get room service. I'm not unfettered. Sometimes I can't even go to the bathroom without planning it ahead of time. The other day I had one last bite of cookie balanced on my leg while I was fixing something and suddenly a little pair of nibbling lips sneaked up and ate it while my head was turned. So I don't even get to have the last bit of cookie in the house without a little cookie thief stealing it.
But not only is it okay, it's WAY better than okay. It's, let's see, what was that? Amazing and fulfilling!
Here's the thing... it doesn't matter if you're childfree or "childful". I agonized for a long time about the fork in my road, but here is the secret about forks -- once you take the path you've chosen it's like someone comes behind you with a big metaphysical eraser and swipes away the other fork in the road as if it never existed. Once we were committed and had gone down the path a while I tried to imagine our life had we not done it this way. I couldn't. It was so far removed from me that it was like imagining what someone else's intimate life might be like. It was idle speculation, an amusing little time waster.
I have been on both sides of the "childfree vs. childful" debate and I can tell you with absolute certainty that the debate is irrelevant. Once you pick a side, the other ceases to exist. One is not better, more satisfying, more worthy. It's like asking which is better... pizza or a burger, apple or orange, mayo or mustard?
So instead, let's do what we women really should be doing -- sticking together in order to accomplish the task at hand... total world domination and the subjugation of men.