I’ve been a SAHW(riter) for a few years. I’m also an introvert who’s made a regular practice of avoiding groups whenever possible. Aside from the unpleasant necessity of distancing from my husband (he travels & interacts in close-ish quarters with others) and avoiding people now not because I don’t want to be around them but because they’re all potential contaminants, my movements haven’t felt notably restricted. But even with little change in that regard, there have been some differences since self-isolation / social distancing began that I’m really enjoying.
The other day, someone commented on my Instagram about never knowing the greatest love ‘until you have children.’
I think the nicest mean thing I have been called is “selfish.”
When I tell people that I don’t want to have children, they usually look at me with disapproval before asking, “Why?” — with more disbelief than curiosity. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, they will tell me how and why all childfree people are wrong. They won’t refer to me specifically, as in why I (Isabel) am wrong. No, instead they will generalize. It’s more polite that way.
One thing that makes me crazy is reading criticisms of other people’s choices when the critics are forming their opinions as if they live in a world of their own creation, and not the one we’re all stuck with.
I recently got back on the dating horse. After 4 or 5 months of “Please leave me the fuck alone. I am really, really not interested. Really,” I decided to slowly open the doors to emotional availability again.
As soon as the door was ajar, I felt overwhelmed.
I wasn’t too vocal about my choice of living a childfree lifestyle up until a couple of years ago. I will admit that part of the reason I was so quiet about it was that I felt ashamed. I thought there had to be something very wrong with me that led me to believe that I didn’t want to become a mother, so I was denying that part of myself the right to let loose and express freely.
I love using the bathroom in private. There, I said it. I took peeing in private for granted until I began pet-sitting during my 20s. Cats and dogs missing their owners would follow me into the bathroom. Then there was nephew #1 who, at age three, followed me into the bathroom telling me he wanted to watch me pee. My resounding “No!” sent him fleeing to the hall closet, upset. I felt so bad. I gently explained to him that auntie wants her privacy when she pees. He ignored me for a good hour after that but eventually forgave me. Now, that nephew is 14 and mortified when I tease him about this story.
Whenever someone says something like, “My grandparents have been married 68 years,” my first question–and sometimes I’m stupid enough to say it out loud–is, “Happily?”
“I think the author is a bit defensive about her choice to not have children.”
“The author sounds so bitter, like she needs to defend herself for being childfree.”
“Why is the author so angry? There is no need to be SO defensive!”
I’ve had a relative say — not about me, of course, she assured me — that every person she knows who chose not to have children is selfish.