Live and let struggle

This, today, on Jezebel.

This, a while ago, on Stuff.

Who are these people? Who are the parents who assume non-parents don’t have meaningful, joyous, valuable lives? They sound irritating and lacking in imagination. And who the hell are the non-parents who write these op-eds, brazenly condescending, pleading for understanding yet not demonstrating any in turn? They make my blood boil.

I’m especially annoyed at Jezebel’s piece, because the gripe “I wish we could stop idolising motherhood” displays, in the context of her rant, a level of ignorance that is inexcusable in a supposedly feminist magazine. Dude: the idolisation of motherhood is a major problem for mothers! Wake up and smell the patriarchy. The pervasive idea that mothers are all-giving and naturally selfless, and that motherhood is totally rewarding and the source of all life’s wonder, directly fucks with my life. As much as I love peek-a-boo, I want to do other things too. We’re stuck under the same rock, and you’re telling me off for taking up too much room.

I wish that not having children was considered the default. People who don’t want kids wouldn’t have to defend that choice, which would be better for them; and maybe that way, it would be clear that parents are doing something above and beyond, and would be properly appreciated and recognised. Not put on a pedestal, which is just a lonely place from which you can fall, but actually given credit for the day to day hard work of childcare. Looking after kidlies is not the only way to contribute to the world, but it is definitely an essential task. And an invisible, underappreciated one. If your sister-in-law is posting on Facebook about how only mothers know what true selflessness is, try empathy for a second: maybe it means things are hard for her at the moment, maybe it’s an outlet and a coping strategy. Don’t yell at her on the internet. Offer to look after your nieces and/or nephews and let her have some time to herself.