the so-called glamorous childfree life

childfree lifePerhaps it was the pictures which bothered me the most. The title alone got my blood boiling, but after turning to the article inside, it was the sublime beach scene that threw me over an edge.

I’m referring to a recent Time magazine cover story, The Childfree Life. Inside, the magazine features a photo of a couple sharing a cocktail together under a shady umbrella — while a frumpy family with small children struggles to tote beach toys across the barren sand.

“When having it all means not having children”  As a mother of four, I took offense to this tagline, and to most of the text, quite frankly. Time magazine was trying to equate the childfree life with somehow “having it all”.

Having what?
Are children things to be had?
On the contrary, they are human beings, remember? Not SUVs.

And then there were other details. The so-called content couple on the beach in the magazine’s photo did not have wedding rings.

We don’t get to find out if the “bogged down” couple in the background are married. We just know that the glass clinking, comfortable ones with well-coiffed hair (chest and head) aren’t.

They seem connected, just not by marriage or children. After all, that would surely lead to a lack of freedom in their lifestyle — and time to brush their hair.

I also found it fascinating such a liberal, feminist magazine as Time chose to only highlight famous women who chose to not have children. Not men. Whoops! Caught ‘ya!

Sadly, it’s true that it’s only a woman’s “choice” to bear children — but certainly not to create them. Not all the women they featured chose not to get pregnant, by the way. That makes too much sense.

For example, let’s take Time‘s pick for a “Notable Non-Mom,” Oprah Winfrey.

She is a mother—to a deceased child. She viewed the death of her newborn child at the age of 14 as her “second chance”. The implication being that if her child had lived, she would not have been able to have the life she does today.

Ask any mother who has lost a child and they will tell you that their lives have not been “child-free”, rather “child…taken”.  How about the brave ones who mercifully carried, delivered and gave their children away to loving families for adoption? I’m certain they never forget that they’re mothers.

This is evidence of how our culture views children as commodities and burdens.

It’s not very often that we hear, “what a blessing” in regard to a woman becoming pregnant and giving birth. It’s usually prefaced with such asinine questions as, “Wow. You’re life is going to change.” (in a sympathetic tone.) or “Oh, how did this happen? Were you expecting this?”

Well, the short answer is……..yes.

Sex = Babies, at least a small portion of the time. Otherwise, none of us would be here. It seems like a logical equation. But our current culture, wants – no, demands — that the two be either be completely removed from one another or at least manipulated whenever and however we choose.

Our society somehow removes the responsibility associated with sexual behavior by removing the procreative aspect of it ASAP.

That’s not God’s design. That’s all ours, folks. Congratulations. Look where it’s gotten us.

We would never say, “I should be able to go swimming whenever and however I want to. I have the right to never get wet or learn how to swim. It should not define me as a swimmer! “

That’s ridiculous. Yet, we want to suspend every natural law of biology, embryology, and anthropology to say the same about our very,very sexual selves.

Again, not God’s design. That’s all on us, too. We sure do think a lot of ourselves, don’t we?

A childfree life? Why would it be glamorous? Because we would have no commitments and complete freedom.

Sure, if that’s all you want from life.

For those of us who have chosen to be mothers, we know that we certainly did commit. Some over and over again.

We committed to setting free the most beautiful creation God made. Us.

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About Kathy

Kathy mothers four kids ranging in age from late teens to early elementary years. With three boys and one girl, she has tackled many issues confronting moms – from breastfeeding to prom. She started out as an English teacher after graduating from Florida State University, moved through various other jobs and landed in her current one as a freelance writer from home.

She is also a Monthly Contributor to More To Be, a mentoring site for mothers and teen girls. Kathy and Melinda are co-authors of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family. It will be released by Bethany House Publishers in January 2015.

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  1. I am childless by choice. I was never a woman who felt the need or urge to me a mother. I have had many experiences with women who act as though choosing to be a mother is akin to being a saint or a martyr. Choosing to have children is as much as a choice as choosing to not have children. Nothing more, nothing less. Neither is better or worse. I am a daughter, aunt, step-mom, and mama to animals. I am working diligently toward a career in the medical field, and can say with great honesty (and observation), that the majority of patients living in nursing homes or who are spending their last days in hospitals, alone, have children. Being a parent in no way guarantees you company in the end. Do I, like a lot of us, enjoy the company of our partners alone (beach or otherwise)? Absolutely. It’s so nice to connect, without the presence of children, work, or other responsibilities. In fact, it has been my experience that many people have children because that’s the socially accepted course of life or because they no longer feel a connection with their husband, wife, partner, etc. and when the children have grown they separate/divorce because they no longer feel the need to stay together. Having children, should one or a couple choose, is a just that, a choice. Just as it is for choosing not to. We should honor the life choices of others rather than hold ourselves at a higher echelon of honor/status for having or not having children.

  2. Angela W. says:

    I’m late to the party on this, but I just found the post. It seems that with children/without children comments have been covered in several different ways. I have just two comments to add to the conversation:

    1. Being angry/offended by the tagline: “When having it all means not having children”. I truly didn’t understand what the issue was. I read the sentence as: Here are people who believe having it all doesn’t include kids – for them. I didn’t read it as a slight to people with children or people who want children. I just read it as “our ideal life doesn’t include kids”. The first part of the article supports that thought process. (Full disclosure, I didn’t read the whole article as I didn’t want to sign up to another website.)

    2. Your statement: “The so-called content couple on the beach in the magazine’s photo did not have wedding rings. We don’t get to find out if the “bogged down” couple in the background are married. We just know that the glass clinking, comfortable ones with well-coiffed hair (chest and head) aren’t.”
    How do you KNOW they aren’t suppose to be married? (Let’s get really real for a second – it was a photo-shoot. More than likely, none of the couple were married to each other and the kids aren’t theirs. It’s also likely at least one of the adults was gay, but that’s a whole other post.)
    This “couple” are at the beach. When I go to the beach, especially beach vacation outside the country, I tend not to wear a ring. I don’t want it lost, stolen or covered in sand and sunscreen. It’s my preference. Right now I don’t wear a ring due to significant weight loss after illness. My ring falls off when I do try to wear it. A ring doesn’t need to tell me I’m married. My husband doesn’t wear a ring. Never has. He doesn’t even have one – the exchange of rings in a marriage ceremony isn’t legally required and we removed it from our vows. He doesn’t wear one for two reasons. One: He doesn’t wear any jewelery, not even a watch. He fidgets too much and it restricts him while he works. Two: He’s had surgery on his hand/fingers and he has significant scar tissue on his ring finger. To fit over the scar tissue the ring would be WAY too big on his finger.

    That’s all I wanted to add to the conversation. – AW

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} I really appreciate your honest commentary on this post Angela. The wedding ring issue has been resolved. It seems that I didn’t realize that there are a GREAT portion of married folks who don’t wear rings. Who knew? Some for reasons like your husband’s. Of course I realize that it was a photoshoot, however the impressions that the marketing team are very reflective of our culture at large — especially with it being a TIME magazine article. Again, I really enjoyed your attention to detail and rebuttal. Thank you.

  3. Wow, what a jealous blogger you are! The childfree life is amazing, and you wish you had a piece of our pie. Kids are obnoxious, stupid and loud. Most parents don’t discipline and both parent and child feel like they’re entitled. How about you spend a little less time displaying your jealousy and go spend more time with those precious snowflakes of yours….

    • And here I was thinking this post had attracted as much random hate from the anti-family crowd as it was going to get. I think at root the “childfree” fad is part and parcel of the ideology stream that flows out of humanity’s death wish. There’s a death wish in humanity, Nietzsche would’ve called it the “will to die” or something, crazy old codger. It’s evident enough in suicide statistics but there are other more convoluted social expressions of it, just as there are various expressions of self-abnegation with individuals.

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} For the record, I’m not jealous. Trust me. It sounds as if you are as pleased with your life as I am mine. Our society’s problems of under-disciplined, obnoxious entitled people will not be solved by partaking in kind of proverbial “pie”. Every life is precious, by the way– including yours.

  4. Truthfully, I found this through a child-free page so yes, I will be speaking for the defense for just a moment, if I may
    I am child free. Not to waste my time focusing on me, me, me. Not so that I can throw myself into a career. Simply because I do not wish to have children. Nothing more, nothing less. I respect the decisions of those who decide they want children. I celebrate with friends who are having the children they always dreamed of. I just, never wanted to have them and only ask the same respect be given to me. I understand that it is a blessing to most, but I am already blessed abundantly and am grateful for the life I have.
    I am the niece of a most amazing woman who never married nor had children. She passed away two years ago and allow me to assure you, she did not spend her last years, days, moments alone. I dislike how people assume that that’s the only natural ending to a childfree OR childless life: sadness and loneliness. I can’t speak for her; I don’t know her thoughts so I won’t say whether or not she was content. I will say though, that she ministered with love and patience to anyone and everyone who crossed her path and the world was far and away a better place for her being in it, so I take great offense to those who suggest that it’s selfish to live a life without producing a child. It most certainly is not; it’s all in how you live the life you have.
    So sorry to take up so much space! I’ve been thinking about my aunt a lot lately, and I guess this just struck a chord and got me carried away.

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      Carrie, your response is a beautiful one. Your Aunt sounds like a woman who truly lived her life as one without regret and selfishness. Thank you for sharing your point of view. Clearly, the world is a better place for her walking it. Your inspired life is proof. God bless you.

  5. karen
    Twitter: mrs_KarenC
    says:

    as much as I complain and whine about free time or the pains of motherhood…I would never want to live without my son… If I could not have been a mom, I would not be functioning right now. If IVF did not work I would never consider all the things I could do…I would NEVER get out of bed…life would not seem worth living…at least to me.
    karen recently posted..Ten is NOT EnoughMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} You are very blessed to have your son. He surely knows how much you treasure him, Karen. Thank you for visiting.

  6. Julie Moore
    Twitter: NaturalFreeBlog
    says:

    I have known people who choose not to have children, those who tried and tried and could not, those who tried and tried to finally after several years have their cherished child, those who have miscarried, those who have tons of children, those who adore being parents and those who hate it. I honestly think that life can be glamorous for anyone in any state…even with children. It is wrong for someone to assume that someone with children is miserable the same way it is wrong for someone to assume someone without children is happy. It all depends on the person. No one knows your story but you. No one knows your heart but you.

    I wish, too, that articles would stop only portraying one side and bashing the other. That’s just wrong…but that’s how people are. Whether we like to admit it or not we are all biased, we all have preconceived notions and we all judge. If I had read the article, I probably would have a thing or 2 to tell the author about the flip side and where he/she was wrong, however, there are maybe parts that I could agree with for a friend or family member of mine that is either single or doesn’t have children. Would I agree with it all? No. Would I hate it all? No. Would I set them straight where they assumed and bashed? Absolutely. :)

    Articles like this are coming out of the need to bash families after the success of shows that are centered around family and family values. People who choose career or the single life are feeling bad or like they are being left out in some cases (at least the people who wrote this article or were interviewed for it) and they need something to make them feel better – this type of media is it.

    As my mother would say, “Do not be surprised when the world acts like the world.” They are not meant to have compassion or understand the want to have kids or even to be married because that is not part of their upbringing or lifestyle. They do what they do because that is what their nature is. Don’t be surprised by it, but don’t forget to stand up for what is right either. Just because they are ignorant doesn’t mean they should stay that way.

    I am glad I didn’t read the article, and I am hopeful that they will consider writing a piece that is about successful people with successful families. That would be a nice change. :)
    Julie Moore recently posted..Easy Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Soy, Nut, Egg and Fish-Free, Can Be Milk-Free)My Profile

  7. This article provides a shining example of why it’s great to be childfree: so we don’t end up angry, bitter, and jealous like this obviously insecure and troubled author. I can only hope she seeks help for her issues.

    • thistlewhistle says:

      word

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} I am angry. I am bitter. And I am a bit jealous. However, probably toward nothing you are referencing. I am angry at the state of our society’s pitiful view on children. I am bitter toward the feminist movement for duping women with the Kool-Aid of believing that our femininity is a liability. Jealousy? Ok. I would like a shaded umbrella on a beach with my husband. Oh wait. I can still do that. Scratch that one.

      • Well said Kathy!

      • Why don’t leave parenting to the people who want to do it and don’t worry about others who don’t? Not everyone needs to have kids. Get over it.

        • Mothering From Scratch says:

          {Kathy} I do worry about those who view children in a negative light. It is a reflection of where humanity is headed when we don’t value parenthood and children. I probably will never get over these thoughts. They are too important.

    • You yourself and most of the other little haters here provide a wonderful example of liberal intolerance. Your ability to hate and despise so blindly and closed-mindedly is almost as impressive as your capacity for denial.

  8. I don’t think you understood the article. Childfree refers to those who don’t want kids and don’t have them. Obviously someone who wanted their child but lost them isn’t childfree. And in my opinion, someone who doesn’t want kids, but accidentally gets pregnant and decides to give them up for adoption instead of getting an abortion, can still call themselves childfree if they identify that way.

    What do you think the rules of anthropology are? What does it have to do with not having kids? Do you even know what anthropology is? I’m studying for my bachelors in anthropology and that comment made no sense to me. Did you know that abortion has always existed for as long as man has? And birth control came not far after that. The first form of birth control, that I know of, was sea sponges. They worked quite well.

    • How do you know abortion has existed as long as man has? Were you there or did your anthropology prof tell you that?

      She didn’t say “rules of anthropology”, she said “natural laws of biology, embryology and anthropology” and what she’s talking about should be pretty obvious. It’s the same logic and science as that used in “reverse engineering”: namely that purpose can be discerned from design. Something with a handle on it was obviously meant to be held in someone’s hand for instance. A person with a uterus was obviously designed to host ova, someone with testicles to produce sperm and so on and so forth and sheesh do I really have to spell it out?

      • …yes you do.

      • Google is your friend. If I were to try to explain that to you I would have to write a whole essay. They found archaeological evidence for it. They used herbs, poisons, sharp sticks and abdominal pressure. That should start you off.

        I was curious about her bringing up anthropology, not biology. I never mentioned biology. But since you want to talk biology, okay, I’ll bite. I agree that we have those organs for a reason and anyone should be free to use them. I’m not anti having babies. But I’m also free to NOT use those organs. The uterus isn’t like the stomach or liver. I don’t need to birth a child by it to survive. I also don’t need to use my vagina by having sex. If you disagree with that, then that’s fine, and I have nothing else to say to you as we would then just be going around in circles.

        I didn’t want to bring up the biology topic with her, because I understand and respect her position on it (that we shouldn’t have sex and then prevent pregnancy), even though I don’t agree with it myself. And no, I’m not going to argue with you about that. Again, we would be going around in circles, since I’m not religious.

        I brought up anthropology because I don’t understand why she’s using it in this context. Anthropology is the study of human culture. That’s it. There are no “natural laws” of anthropology. And since abortion and birth control have been around awhile now, I really don’t get what her point is and why she’s using anthropology to argue against it. It seems like a random word she threw in there. I could be mistaken, and she might comment to clarify what she meant, which I hope so, because that’s why I commented on it in the first place.

        • Mothering From Scratch says:

          {Kathy} However, if we are discussing the likelihood of “survival” for a woman, it is important to note the role that pregnancy, childbirth and lactation have on our health. We are indeed more likely to survive. Here is an interesting study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog/8603533. Again, thank you for the discussion.

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} First, I really appreciate your insight. And no, I am not an anthropologist. However, since you mention that anthropology studies human culture, how do you feel our current human culture has changed it’s attitude toward having children?
      I didn’t know that about sea sponges. Wouldn’t they be considered artificial devices of contraception rather than a family planning method? I do realize that avoiding pregnancy, but a variety of means, has been going on since our existence. I’m a Natural Family Planning fan myself.

      • I think it’s great that society is becoming more accepting towards women who don’t have children. I’m not having any myself and wouldn’t like to feel pressured into it or forced to. My parents were pressured to have kids, even though they didn’t want any either. That didn’t go to well. For them or for me. I’m glad we don’t live in those times anymore. Hopefully with this new acceptance, there will be less unwanted children, and therefore less abused/neglected children and also less children in the orphanages.

        Yes, I think the sponges are considered to be artificial contraception. But I’m not sure what a natural family planning method is, so I can’t compare the two.

        • Mothering From Scratch says:

          {Kathy} Rhoswhen, I’m sorry to hear about your experience with your parents. Natural Family Planning is a method of either achieving or avoiding pregnancy using our body’s fertility symptoms. It doesn’t rely on any outside measures — either way. A link: http://www.thebillingsovulationmethod.org/how-effective-is-the-billings-ovulation-method™.html. Artificial measures to achieve or avoid pregnancy go against some common faith practices, including The Roman Catholic Church. Note: this is not the Rhythm Method, which was like throwing darts blind folded. It is based on pure science. Lovely, really.
          I’ve got to get the thought of sea sponges out of my head. Ewww.

  9. This is amazing Kathy!!! You have said powerful things here and i totally understand where you are coming from!! I KNOW your heart, and I know you have a deep passion for people with and AND without children… it’s the message that those who choose to have children are the ‘lucky ones’ that is wrong. I wish people would not measure their lives either way, honestly. My guess is God sees our worth in a totally different light…
    I pity those that think a fun drink on the beach is the bounty of life’s blessings. I really do. Not in anger- but compassion. What an empty life it must be. And I pray for those that write articles that focus on such things… our culture is devastatingly distant from what truly matters and where our hearts should be.
    Chris Carter recently posted..Things That Make You Go NO!My Profile

  10. I don’t want children. I also volunteer at an animal shelter every week. I even spent two hours volunteering there on my day off work.

    I am not selfish. Instead of devoting my time to raising children, I will instead devote my life to volunteer work.

    • You have to understand that to a parent, comparing “two hours volunteering” at an animal shelter on your day off to the 24/7 sacrifices that parenting demands is a bit ignorant.

      • I don’t think she was comparing the amount of volunteer work to the amount of work it takes to raise a child. She was arguing against the myth that the childfree are selfish and don’t contribute to society.

        • Well just because you call it a myth doesn’t make the observation any less accurate or true. Choosing to live one’s life without the sacrifice and work involved in forging a lasting relationship with a spouse and then raising the children you conceive together is choosing to live it selfishly. By selfishly I mean that you are choosing to reserve all parenting resources you naturally possess (given by your Creator) to satisfying your own life instead. One might equally say that choosing to put all your earned wealth into your car or house or stock portfolio instead of giving at least some of it to the needy is selfish. Not sure how you can argue that it’s not. At best maybe you can argue that there’s a good reason for choosing selfishness over selflessness but good luck with that.

          • If someone wants a child, and then has one, that’s also selfish. It may be hard work, but you get something out of it (just read the comments from parents on this blog post if you don’t believe me), and you brought someone into existence because YOU WANTED TO! The need to take care of someone is only there because you created it.

            I’m not being selfish to a non existent person. Now if we’re talking adoption, then that’s a different story. I admit that I’m selfish for not adopting and giving a home to children (that actually exist!) that need it, but so is everyone else that has biological children and doesn’t adopt.

            So your comparison to not spending money on a car but instead giving it to the needy doesn’t make sense if you’re talking about biological kids. Saying it’s my responsibility to create children would be like saying I’m responsible for the needy. But I’m not. It would be nice if people would help out (which I do, through volunteer work, can’t afford to give money.), but it’s not morally necessary because I didn’t make them loose their jobs, become homeless, or disabled. I didn’t cause the neediness. I’m also not causing neediness by not creating more people that need to be taken care of. Now if you actually have adopted (which I doubt, you seem too selfish and closed minded for that), then I commend you and I’ll admit that you’re less selfish than me.

            Also you’re making more assumptions. I have no “natural parenting resources”. Well I’m not sure what you mean by that. But I would be a horrible parent. Actually, I change my mind. Adopting wouldn’t be selfless of me at all. It’s best that any existent children not have me as a mom. I’m not capable, but not because I’m selfish. I’m actually one of the least selfish person I know.

          • Mothering From Scratch says:

            {Kathy} I think you are right regarding that we are all a bit selfish if we are not adopting unwanted children. “The poor will always be with us”. Thank you for that observation.

        • Mothering From Scratch says:

          {Kathy} Agreed. Let’s look at those who choose religious life, for example. How many children have they ministered to over the centuries?

  11. Time Magazine… Why is that rag still being published at all? It’s never really had anything important to say and whenever it tackles an important topic, it always manages to get it all wrong.

    “Having it all” Yeah, having it all up to about the halfway mark, if that. The article should have talked about how in order to live so selfishly and egocentrically and childishly, one must stunt one’s own emotional and spiritual development (also a pre-requisite for selling one’s soul to any of our “Fortune 500″ multinational corporations and their accounting and law firms). The best is if you can manage to regress yourself back into an emotional three year-old and then blind yourself to anything that might cause you to consider the eternal destination of your soul. Then you can wear Prada and sip cocktails and mock parenthood until you make the Hollywood A List and become a national sex-symbol.

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} Well stated, Steve. Time seems to have regressed in its journalistic integrity over the years. You might find one of my favorite commentaries on this article enlightening. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1buybmnQ0nQ. I found his connection between this article and a central theme of selfishness spot on.
      Thanks for the robust comment! And, man, am I glad I don’t own any Prada!

      • In the background while I was writing, Hoda and Kathy Lee were talking about how KimYe in France at Paris fashion week, ditched their child weeks ago and have been cavorting childlessly in ridiculously scant outfits (on Kim’s part anyway) and generally promoting their own brand of self-centeredness and shallow materialism. What a world we live in.

        • Mothering From Scratch says:

          {Kathy} The “luxury” of ditching your kids and cavorting is a national passtime. I’m all for a babysitter every now and then but it can go over the top.

  12. I know that having kids has made our lives richer and more fulfilling. But I also know a few couples who don’t have kids and they can also have fulfilling lives…just depends on where the priorities lie. I do know that children are an amazing gift and have helped me to grow and change and learn so much about God, the world, myself. I can’t imagine not having those experiences. And after losing a child, I’ve really learned to appreciate how wild and precious those little lives are.
    I also think that when you can go kidless -to the beach, dinner, a shower -it is a much more amazing getaway than any before-kids getaway. You really appreciate what relaxation is in a way you never could if you didn’t have kids. It’s kind of like going camping…you live without the comfort for a while and when you get them back, wow, do you realize how amazing hot running water can be! So maybe not the best analogy, but at least I mentioned camping. ;)
    meghan recently posted..206My Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} Leave it to you to find a place to encourage camping. I agree that once we have had a little childless getaway it reminds us of how “rich” and busy our lives are.

  13. Tamara
    Twitter: TamaraCamPhoto
    says:

    Child-taken. That is powerful.
    This is my blessing-filled life. If I had chosen the route without kids, well, I’d probably still be working to the bone and barely brushing my hair! (sad but true)
    The article made my blood boil. I think it’s ok to have kids, or not have kids, but we all have our own sacrifices and obstacles. And even with kids, there are such things as babysitters and grandparents so we can still go on our tropical vacations. We can!
    Tamara recently posted..This Is Big, People! Big!My Profile

  14. HappyMomSusan
    Twitter: happymomsusan
    says:

    Love this. Well stated.
    My husband and I didn’t meet until I was 34. We had our first son shortly after my 38th birthday. In many respects, I got to live “the childless life.” We had enough time as DINKS (remember that one? dual income, no kids) to explore it fully. Expensive dinners, dream vacations, drinks by the beach, self centered spending… we got a good sampling off that buffet line. You know what we realized?

    Ecclesiastes is still spot on! ” I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.” (Ecc 2:1) was a pretty good description of “the childless life” for me.

    My life with kids has been so much richer, so much more filled with meaning, so much more satisfying. When I’m schlepping bags across the beach, I look over at the childless couple and feel SORRY for them – they can’t possibly know the richness and significance of my life. My heart HURTS for those women who have not been blessed with children. I know that the work I do as a mom is exactly what God has called me to do (at least for this season of my life). Fulfilling my calling from God is so much more amazing and wonderful and fabulous than anything society might offer me.

    I had a career. I traded it in for happiness. I do NOT regret it.
    HappyMomSusan recently posted..Joy is a choice we makeMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} Wow, Susan. What a testimony. God’s word is forever a faithful resource for wisdom and reflection. I didn’t think of that verse when it comes to our lives before we had children.

      • HappyMomSusan
        Twitter: happymomsusan
        says:

        I was blessed to be older when I finally became a mom. It gives me a unique perspective that I’m only too happy to share.
        HappyMomSusan recently posted..Days of Anger – The BeginningMy Profile

        • Mothering From Scratch says:

          {Kathy} I think we have just found a great “niche” post for you. This is a perspective that is really quite common, yet so little is written about it. What about “Late Motherhood? My Party Started Right On Time, Thank You Very Much”.

    • Please don’t waste any time feeling sorry for me. My life is rich with meaning and satisfaction as well. I am devoted to my relationship with my husband, with my friends and family. I have a meaningful career during the day and still get to enrich peoples’ lives teaching yoga classes on the side. I make a impact to a number of charities. And I have the *choice* to fill my life with whatever *I* determine will give it meaning and significance.

      Do I believe that children have provided your life with meaning and significance? Absolutely. Do I believe that is the ONLY way to find meaning and significance in life? Heck no. And I say that not only from my own experience, but also having known some very lovely older ladies without children who also lead or are leading rich and satisfying lives.

      • HappyMomSusan
        Twitter: happymomsusan
        says:

        Perhaps I should have been more clear – I feel sorry for the childless couple on the beach who is caught up in “vanities.” It’s a reference to the pursuits of King Solomon as chronicled in the book of Ecclesiastes. The king expended vast amounts of money and time pursuing every pleasure and distraction imaginable. He indulged in the finest that money could buy. And in the end, he looked around and said “it’s just… stuff! None of it means a thing!” (Obviously, that’s a paraphrase.) I pity those who are caught up in that cycle because their life has no significance. There is no deeper purpose or meaning.

        I should know. My husband and I spent quite a few years in the cycle of insignificance.

        We also spent time being significant and purposeful without children.

        I agree with you. It is possible to live a rich and fulfilling life without children. It is possible to gain significance and purpose apart from parenting. Since I still gain a great deal of my own significance and purpose from my non-mom activities, that’s a given.

        Having spent some time in both camps, I’ll choose motherhood.

        I certainly understand that not every adult needs to end up being a parent. For a whole host of reasons, sometimes it’s just the right choice to remain childless or childfree. Personally, I chose to delay parenthood until I was 38, well past the norm. As one who has lived both the childless and childfree life, I certainly “get” that part.

        As a mom, I’m weary of my choices being trivialized. I’m sensitive to all the little ways popular media seems to say that my life is of a diminished value because I chose to put my family first. I’m equally sensitive to all the little ways that many mom blogs seem to say that motherhood and happiness don’t coexist, or that my value is tied to how clean my house is.

        But I remember being childless. I remember feeling like every time I walked into a church or read family centered media. At the time, I felt sensitive to all the little ways THAT media seemed to say that my life was of diminished value because I chose not to have kids. I can imagine that you might feel the same way. My intention was not to trivialize your choices, and I apologize.

        Ultimately, significance and purpose in our lives isn’t an external thing. It isn’t something that Time magazine can take from me. Mine comes from knowing that I am living the life that God called me to live and being who I was created to be. I know that God has a plan and a purpose for my life. He has a plan and purpose for your life too.

        Peace?
        HappyMomSusan recently posted..But I’m NOT an angry woman!My Profile

  15. Well said! What’s so glamorous about having everything on the outside but nothing on the inside? Maybe having your whole life to focus on yourself is a draw to some people, but what about when you get old? My husband treats people every week who have no one left in their lives….and there is nothing glamorous about being alone!

    • Mothering From Scratch says:

      {Kathy} Michelle, I agree. One of the things I look forward to the most in life is being a grandmother (at the right time, of course). Loneliness is a symptom of a greater problem—-discontentment.

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