Disclaimer: I’m about to whine about fatigue and I have no children. If this is going to bother you, please cease and desist from reading on.
Also, you should know that when I’m tired my layer of human polish thins out quite a bit and this creates a short in my honesty-filter. So I apologize for everything in advance.
When I was around 16 years old I first verbalized my desire never to have children. I know, I know, a child-free life is common the world over and many women and couples choose to live this way. But I live in the middle of a rather small, very conservative province and despite the advanced year, I’m still considered freakishly otherwise.
When people ask me why I don’t want kids, I usually reply with some attempt at comedy to make light of a heavy subject. But allow me to be honest here: I don’t want children because my youth was shit. I constantly had to worry about my parents, hide secrets, keep up appearances and deal with puffy morning eyes after crying myself to sleep. I was emotionally and sexually abused and when I tried to tell an adult, her response was: This will rip the family apart.
Back in the secret box it went.
So yes, Karen, I’m selfish. I don’t want children. I’ve worried enough and I’m going to be a happy adult. Having children is the single biggest challenge and most important human act you will ever have the privilege of engaging in. If you are going to do it, you must want to. You must desire it with all that you are. I fucking don’t.
Let me start at the beginning. I was in a meeting with a few colleagues when one asked if I was okay, I seem a bit down. I explained I was hunky dory, just a bit tired, I haven’t been sleeping and I have a bit of flu.
I thought it was very nice and considerate of my colleague to ask.
But crap on a cracker, I was not ready for another colleague’s response. Let’s call her Karen, she deserves the reference. (I’m deeply sorry to everyone really called ‘Karen’. You have a lovely name and should carry it proudly. Thank you for lending it to us to describe the sort of twat-waffle that trolls everyone. And to all the American readers: I’m sorry about the ‘twat-waffle’ reference, but in my country it’s not so bad…).
You have three children, then we talk about tired! was Karen’s response. She followed it up sarcastically with: I always love it when childless people complain about being tired.
I’m sorry I’m tired, Karen. I’m also deeply sorry that the Dark Association of Forcing Pregnancy got to you and forced you to have so many children that you have become depleted of your faculties.
You know what’s funny? Men don’t normally have anything to say about me not wanting children. Child-free women generally leave me alone. It’s mothers who are most vicious. I’ve been called all sorts of interesting things…by moms. Well, some moms, not all moms, please don’t write me letters. Moms have asked me if I don’t feel like half a woman because I have not borne children. Moms have told me that God has wasted a healthy uterus on me.
You have such an easy life.
What do you even do all day?
What purpose does your life then fulfil?
Perhaps some mothers feel fundamentally unappreciated. I can understand that, I hear how children speak to mothers and how adults just assume they’re always fine. Perhaps some mothers lash out because they are made to feel identity-less. And you know how some people can go on and on about the negative impact of the large populations on planet Earth. I can just imagine a hard-working mother thinking: well fuck, I’m sorry my desire to share my life has made the snow melt.
Anyway, I’m sorry, I’m getting down from my soap box now.
I tell you what: I am going to take a nap, get over myself and then direct all my anger and frustration at destroying every fucking leaf-blower on Earth.
Because who thought THAT shit was a good idea?!