Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And a Nice Garnish on the Side

All I want to do is re-frame the discussion [about wanting or not wanting children], because I think that it has been so mired in stereotypes and just, you know, glib, flippant statements [...].
Meghan Daum, The Brian Lehrer Show, "On Not Having Kids"
Here I have to plead guilty to being glib and flippant about being "childless by choice." Mainly because wisecracking about how I love children: stir fried and over rice, is easier than trying to argue people's stereotypes and firmly-held beliefs with them. It's like any other faith-based understanding. Anyone who is willing to walk up to a stranger and confidently state they understand certain personality traits about them based on a combination of external traits and assumptions is unlikely to take a stranger's word for it that they might be misjudging. (And family members are even worse.)

There are any number of different flavors of "You're different, and that's bad," and, to borrow from the title of Ms. Daum's book, the idea that the intentionally childless are "selfish, shallow and self-absorbed" is merely one of them. For me, being glib and flippant about not being a parent had become a guard against answering what I understood was a charge of being a bad person with a charge that the person making the accusation was themselves the bad person. Fortunately, I've mellowed with and now I'm glib and flippant out of a combination of habit and snarkiness.

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