Metal Yarmulke
Thursday, October 30, 2003
 

Angry Letter no. 2682




To: howiecarr@wrko.com


I am a 36-year-old childfree woman. No, not "childless." ChildFREE. I do not have any interest in children. I do not enjoy being around them for more than a short while. I have no maternal instinct to speak of. That, Howie, is why I do not have children.


A few years ago, I was dating a guy who really, really wants children someday. Because I liked him very much, I pretended I did, too. It cost me far too much energy psychologically in the long run; I actually cried a great deal over the thought that I'd have to raise kids in order to keep him. Fortunately for both of us, it turned out that the relationship was not a "good fit." (We remain friends, and he's found a very nice woman with whom he'll hopefully have kids someday.)


To be perfectly frank, it made me spitting mad to listen to all the broads who were calling you up and lamenting how "selfish" the 20- and 30-somethings of today are not to have kids.


Excuse me? As far as I'm concerned, "selfish" is:



So 40% of women aren't having babies. That leaves the other 60% who are. According to my high-school math teachers, sixty percent is a majority. Then, of course, we have a plethora of immigrants who are taking up the slack. Unless, of course, some of your listeners are unsettled by the thought that more white women aren't having babies...


More importantly to me, though, why should everybody, and especially every woman, have to follow "the script"? You know, get job at This Age, get married at This Age, have first kid at This Age... I never really fit into that whole mold, nor had all that much interest in doing so. I look at amazement at all the women who get so upset because they're not walking down the aisle or reproducing at whatever their magic age is. Hey, know what? Life doesn't always work out the way you want it to.


Or, perhaps more accurately, the way your parents want your life to. Nothing more aggravating than an aging woman with "baby rabies" who's trying to bully her daughter — or, worse, her daughter-in-law — into having [more] kids because she wants to relive parenthood vicariously. Of course, Grandma isn't the one who has to wipe the snotty noses, change the stinky diapers, or, most importantly, say "no."


And, let's face it, we no longer live in a culture that supports saying "no" to your kids. Try to administer a little discipline to them in the supermarket sometime. Some yupmommy whose two carpet apes (probably with "creative" names like Bratneigh and Tragedeigh) are knocking things off every shelf is going to dial 911 on her cell phone and report you for "child abuse."


Oh, and about that old and tired canard, "who will take care of you in your old age?" Been to a nursing home lately, Howie? I have...my grandmother died of cancer in '01. There were a fair number of residents at that home with kids who never visited them. Sad for the most part, although you wonder if maybe some of the kids had good reasons.


Then there's that other canard, "What are you going to do after 50?" Um...join a religious order, if that's what appeals to you? Get active in politics or charities? Volunteer in other ways? Start a new business venture? Take up a new hobby? Take classes? Make friends? Trust me, some people with grown kids are going to have to resort to these things, too, because the kids aren't going to visit them before they go to the old-age home, either.


There are a lot of ways to live one's life. Having kids is one of them. If the women who called your show want to have more, and they feel they can take care of them physically, financially, and emotionally, I couldn't care less. But don't tell me I'm "selfish" because I'm not following "the script." 
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