Updated: May 16, 2019
We just celebrated Mother's Day this last weekend - and I think it's a lovely way to honor the mom's in our lives!
I'm not a mom... and I have no plans to be one, and most of the time this is 100% a-ok by me! But... on this day, more than any other, I felt a little pang of something that I'm not sure I can fully articulate - but I'll try.
As a woman 'of a certain age' without children, I felt weird...a little odd as I scrolled through social media on Sunday and encountered all kinds of "Happy Mother's Day" messaging everywhere I went. It wasn't that the sentiment was negative in any way, in fact they were all of love and gratitude. It was something else.
I don't think the feeling is one of being left out really... I chose my child-free life, but it was almost like I was being included in a club by default, simply because I'm female, that I never paid the dues for and one that I didn't choose to join in the first place.
It may be self inflicted judgement, or societal judgement that I'm feeling, but it's there. I had lunch with a new friend today who is also a non-mom by choice and she confirmed that she too had some interesting feelings on mother's day. She was even offered a free dessert at lunch that day, to wish her a happy Mother's Day; the waiter assumed woman = mom.
I've heard countless new mom's exclaim (in books, tv interviews, etc.) that becoming a mom had somehow checked off the last required box of being a woman... that now that they've had a kid they feel like a real woman. I don't know that every mom feels this way, but that's the message I've received.
Am I not a real woman too?
Did I go against the woman code when I consciously made the decision not to be a mother?
Have I somehow committed treason to womankind?
The answer is a resounding, No! And if you're in the same boat, you haven't either! If you're a woman who made the choice to not have kids, I want to take the opportunity to recognize you! It's possible that you feel that your decision was (or is) judged and unpopular to either your parents, your in-laws, your friends, or society in general. But guess what, it's your life, and your choice!
To make the choice to not have kids is not always easy, and it takes bravery to make that decision, just like it takes bravery to become a parent!
Being childfree by choice does not make us heartless, selfish people that hate kids. It means we made different choices for our lives.
Being childless might mean that you have more freedom to be of service to family members who need an extra hand, whether it's picking up their kids, or taking a parent to a doctor's appointment. You might be the favorite aunt and play a big part in the tribe that raises your nieces and nephews! You are still an integral part of the family unit!
Whatever the reason's, they're yours. When it comes to your reasons, you are not required to accept the judgment of others ... or your own!
To my mom friends out there - thank you! After reading the above, I don't want you to feel that I am judging you for your choices either!! I don't - I think the choice to be a parent is a noble endeavor and one I know you didn't take lightly. Thank you for raising the next generation of humans! You deserve all the praise and honoring that you receive... on Mother's Day and beyond! You are loved and appreciated!!
To my Non-Moms - if you're silently judging yourself, stop. If you're feeling less than a real woman, stop. If you're hiding from your mom friends because you're not one, stop. You are valuable. To your family, to your friends, to your community, and to yourself!