Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Untruths parents believe about non-parents"

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Gateway Women, for posting this link from Schmutzie on Facebook.... you totally made my day:   "Untruths parents believe about non-parents." 

So much great stuff here (including some thoughtful comments).  Sampled wisdom:
When a parent sighs and says to a non-parent It must be so nice to be able to sleep in or I wish I could afford that thing you just got or You have no idea what my body looks like under this, [added for clarity: these are types of statements that cast judgement based on assumptions about the listener's life without children rather than simply being about the parent], it is beyond insulting. There are so many assumptions and prejudices wrapped up in such statements that unravelling them to explain just how much they have diminished a non-parent's life experience would take at least a book or two.

My usual response is to smile and say with faked humour "Well, that's what you think", because it is their choice to cut off connection with me, and I am too tired after 15 years of this to have to initiate several of these conversations a week with everyone from grocery clerks to close friends. It is their choice to tell me that I cannot fathom who they are, that my life experience cannot connect with theirs, that those who have similar outcomes due to their own major life shifts are somehow intrinsically blocked from that connection due to not having offspring. The assumption that my life is so easy that it would deny me the ability to understand another's experience tells me that the parent in question does not value my history or my experience. I am not valued or valuable.

Believe me, I sometimes wish all these assumptions about non-parents were true, because then I would be a wealthy, physically gorgeous, globe-trotting, sexual dynamo who had a clean house, great clothes, and was surrounded by all my old friends. This isn't how life goes for most of us, though, once we graduate from that magically unburdened post-high school youth we all imagine we came from. Take me, for example. I have weathered cancer, my husband's broken back, the loss of loved ones, addiction, depression and anxiety, and a few other hurdles. We all grow up, we change, and we experience things that are hard.

We may not be parents, but we are also not unburdened youth anymore, the ones we imagine as frivolous and selfish and disconnected, and I wish that the parents who make these assumptions about us would stop behaving as though we still are.
Go, read it yourself. : )

7 comments:

  1. That was really great, thanks for sharing :) I don't understand the prejudice. Before we had V, people were always pointing out how nice it must be to not have kids, being able to sleep in, being able to spend money, blah blah blah. Yeah, because that was such an accurate depiction of things. I don't understand why people even think that way.

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  2. I loved that! I especially liked the fact that she pointed out that parents look at non-parents, and assume that we have the lives they had when they were non-parents, which was probably when they were in their 20s.

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  3. I sometimes just wish that those things are what really are in real life. That I have lots of money, having a good time and all because I don't have kids. But it's not so I really feel bad every time I hear those comments. It sucks to be in third world country and childless

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  4. I haven't known Schmutzie before. Great article! Perfect article! I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this article. It helped me have more compassion for parents, non-parents, everyone, and myself. We all have such different lives and everyone has struggles so it's easy to assume that someone else's grass is greener, when really it is so very hard to understand what another persons life is like based on the information they provide.

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  6. I'd love to confide in another to a non parent in a way, if for no other reason so that I wouldn't have to hear those stupid platitudes about how kids make everything worth it and they're a better person now they have kids, blah, blah. Really people talk about how nice it is to be able to sleep in, etc because they are envious and they miss it. We all just have different lives, and you just can't make assumptions about other people's lives. We are all deserving of compassion.

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