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AAAHHH!!!!! - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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AAAHHH!!!!! [Sep. 22nd, 2005|08:47 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |crazycrazy]

I've written the same thing again and again, and it's easier to just do it here once and for all.

In my last post I apparently gave the impression that I was hurt by susitna's statement that she doesn't want to have kids. Nothing could be further from the truth. I would never want her - or anyone - to have kids unless they were ready and willing to dedicate their lives to parenting. As I said in response to her entry, "You're not even 20 years old. Thank the Maker that you aren't jonesing for kids now! I'm not even jonesing to be a Gramma yet!" and "If you don't want to have children I support you in your decision. Instead of Christmas vacations at DisneyWorld, we'll spend them skiing in the Alps!"

She triggered a reaction I have to the basic selfishness I hear from a lot of people who act like children are some sort of nasty burden that they'd never deign to undertake, but I said myself that it was a flawed reaction on my part.

It simply reminded me of an incident with my dad, and I wanted to write about that. I am not bemoaning the loss of a next generation, I am not closing a little emotional casket over the unborn bones of my abstract grandchildren from the nebulous future. Nothing like that. You don't need to come to Erin's defense anymore. She's her own person, and I can promise right now that the words, "so when are you gonna have a baby?" will never cross my lips.

I apologize for doing such a botch job of writing the entry. I hope this straightens things out. Had there been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed what journal to turn to.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: interactiveleaf
2005-09-23 01:04 am (UTC)
Actually, I understood you perfectly the first time. I didn't understand the logic being used by people who were sniping at you, and at least one of them was just actin' all crazy-like.

You were clear. Remember, though--it's not what you said, it's what they heard that they responded to, and they filtered it through their own emotional contexts first.
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[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2005-09-23 01:07 am (UTC)
Here here! Precisely what (I think?) I was saying. :)

I got ya.
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[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2005-09-23 01:07 am (UTC)
Btw--I just called your place. :)
Where are ya?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 01:54 am (UTC)
We went for a walk. Crazy exercisey peoples that we are/
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[User Picture]From: trianakvetch
2005-09-23 01:30 am (UTC)
same here, i got what she was saying right away
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[User Picture]From: yndy
2005-09-23 01:22 am (UTC)
Actually, I thought you wrote it quite well.

I think it's just that the whole child-wanting v. child-free issue is never without primitive emotions tangled up in it.

Up until I was 34 years old, I was about 99.99% certain that I a) never wanted a child, and b) really shouldn't have them. What changed that? Well, more than anything, I'd say being married to polityx, whom I knew would make a great father - and I figured might temper my weak spots! But there was also something about age involved in that equation. For one, I had done many of the things in life that having a child would've compromised or negated... For another, I kept seeing myself sharing parts of life's journey with a daughter (no, it wasn't a son, so sue me - fortunately for me, it came out the way I wanted it to!! ;)) and telling her things and hearing things from her.

That said - my own parents should never have married and should never have had my brother and I - I'm just glad they messed that one up and did have us.

Having spent many, many more years in the "nope... don't want kids" camp than in the "well, actually, yes I do - and hey, it seems like I'm actually good at this" camp - I really understand my childfree friends.
From the first day we were married, my Dad started in on polityx and me to produce a grandchild. It used to really piss me off. There's no reason to take on the burden (and yes, while a joy, it is also a burden and shouldn't be taken lightly in my book) of raising a child because it would make *anyone* else happy, other than yourself.

You seem to have a great grip on it yourself. Erin's lucky. She's also twenty - so there's a *ton* of time in life for her to decide where she really stands. If she ends up childfree - well, she'll still be your daughter!! If she ends up having a child or two - well, hopefully she'll do it when it's right for her and is actually a choice rather than a mistake.

You really didn't botch the entry, you know - you're just like I am in that we start with the "backstory" and move on to the entry, and then get mystified when people get stuck on the backstory.

There is no way that having a parent tell you, even off-handedly, that you shouldn't have been born is not going to be an arrow to your heart whose wound never really heals.

I think you've done an excellent job processing all of it.

*hugs*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 02:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, sweetie. It was sort of weird to write about a painful memory and then get attacked for being selfish. That backstory thing is an odd duck.
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2005-09-23 01:25 am (UTC)
What? Now you have something against Disney World?

:)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 02:34 am (UTC)
Actually I love Disney World. But not as much as Erin loves snowboarding. [g]
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2005-09-23 03:04 am (UTC)
I kind of figured that, but I thought that since at least one person has to give you grief over every post, I would be the one for this one.

Personally, I want to live in the Disney World area when I get rich and famous...but of course I would spend most of the tourist season else-where and only go there when the locals know to go.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 03:06 am (UTC)
Oh, people have managed to still tell me that I'm selfish and wrong. But thank you for covering it just in case.

Re: Disney, our friends intend to do the same, so I'm looking forward to imposing upon them in retirement.
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[User Picture]From: letoile82
2005-09-23 01:34 am (UTC)
When I read your entry, not once did I think you were in any way making a statement regarding your daughter's post. It seemed just to remind you of something that your father once said. I honestly don't see in your post anything that attacked her decisions. And certainly, you have two daughters, so one making a decision to not have children does not entirely rule out the grandchildren possibility.

I think it was a very well-written post. :)
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[User Picture]From: sneakingyoda
2005-09-23 01:49 am (UTC)
Ever feel like your in a glass bottle?

No seriously, I don't know what I would do if my mother, and step father wrote in a online journal and regularly read mine.

And then, even if your family understands each other but the outside audience misunderstands...

Just. Oy.

I think your weathering it well.

And know that I couldn't ever achieve that same internet freedom and honesty. Or audience. Sometimes it must be great- but I think this is a fine example about how sometimes- it just blows up in your face.

Thre three of you make me smile. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 02:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's exhausting to be misinterpreted, but the risk of writing. I am mostly amused.
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[User Picture]From: roniliquidity
2005-09-23 02:02 am (UTC)
I think it's because just as you have a knee jerk reaction to hearing someone wanted children, many people have a knee jerk reaction to your reaction.

Whether or not to have children is a very personal choice, so much so that some people take another's declaration not to have kids very personally. If I say I don't want kids, people not infrequently take it as I've just said they are stupid or crazy for having them. Since they're feeling attacked they may respond with the attitude that I'm immature or selfish for making such a choice. That it's about me, not them doesn't seem to enter into it. It's such a major decision, I think all parties bring some baggage with them, making it a rather loaded topic. I'm curious, do you have any idea why you have such an immediate strong reaction?

For my part, my current plan not to have kids comes from watching far too many of my irresponsible friends have kids far too young with the wrong people. This leads to single motherhood, poverty, and emotionally disturbed grade schoolers. It's not terribly enticing.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 02:39 am (UTC)
Utterly agree with you. My final attempt to clarify is here.

I think that not choosing kids is a perfectly valid and responsible decision - goddess knows the world doesn't actually need more of them.
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[User Picture]From: cathubodva
2005-09-23 02:15 am (UTC)
I think something that had occurred to me while reading it, and responding to it, was that Erin is going to see that post. You're on her friends list. Those things you didn't want to say to her because you were afraid they'd sound snarky? She's going to be able to see them anyway.

I understand and respect that it sequed to a memory of yours, and that was what you were writing about. But... well, I don't know Erin, so I don't know how she'd take it. But if my mother were to say anything like that in a public post about me, I'd be upset. And hurt. And wondering why, instead of coming to me directly with her feelings, she would take it to a public forum and let it be discussed and debated whether or not my not wanting to have children, because that's a commitment I don't feel capable of making, makes me a bad daughter.

Just my two cents. Or ten, more like.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 02:40 am (UTC)
I think Erin will understand. We have a very good relationship, and she's found herself written about on my journal more than once.

If she doesn't, I will apologize and try to explain. It won't be the first time for that, either. [g]
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2005-09-23 02:59 am (UTC)
I understood you the first time. I didn't understand some of the comments you got, though.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 03:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was pretty perplexed myself.
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2005-09-23 03:32 am (UTC)
It wasn't you.

People were obviously seeing words that weren't on the screen. Go figure.

I got it the first time.
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[User Picture]From: cieo
2005-09-23 05:05 am (UTC)
I'm in total accord with the comments in this round. You were clear the first time around, and 95% of your entry was about your own memories anyway. And it's your journal, and your daughter. As long as she doesn't misinterpret your words, it really doesn't matter what the bystanders think :)

I also think it's so great that you're not pressuring Erin to start pumping out kids right away. My parents have some sort of mental block against me dating anyone but at the same time always talk to me about the future and all the truckloads of kids I'll have. It's almost like they're guilt-tripping me into it. I personally haven't decided either way, but having the parental units breathing down one's neck is never a help.
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[User Picture]From: guttaperk
2005-09-23 07:54 am (UTC)
It looks to me as if it is significantly about people judging your emotions, which is common and understandable- though such judging is also pointless and inappropriate.

And then they bounced into judging emotions that they figured you also had. Which was just freaking surreal.

It's all an education.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 09:06 am (UTC)
Indeed, and a risk every time one opens one's mouth in front of an audience.
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2005-09-23 12:00 pm (UTC)
Your entry looked pretty clear and honest to me. Sorry you caught a load of other folks' projected shyte for it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 12:37 pm (UTC)
It happens. 'Tis an imperfect form of communication, this internet thang.
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[User Picture]From: brujah
2005-09-23 12:12 pm (UTC)
I love you. *nod*
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[User Picture]From: aehallh
2005-09-23 02:16 pm (UTC)
I understood you perfectly. Possibly better than I'd like. My father consistantly wished (out loud) that he hadn't had me (though not the same for my younger brother). And my daughter (only 13) has already started saying that she doesn't want to have children. I understand her decision perfectly, but I sometimes have that same knee-jerk reaction. Though, overall, I'm very much the "people shouldn't have children if they don't want them" type. It just seems to have become a delicate issue in recent years...so its always tough posting anything, from any particular view, in a public setting on the internet. Seems that someone is always going to misunderstand.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 02:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Love the icon!
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[User Picture]From: donkey_hokey
2005-09-23 02:35 pm (UTC)
I have a strong feeling I was an unwanted child, although I've never directly (or indirectly) asked my mother about this. I probably never will, since our relationship is non-existent.

It may be one of the underlying reasons I've never really wanted children myself. I've been able to come up with all sorts of justifications and reasons that SOUND good, because, well, I don't want children and never have. But those justifications and reasons never really seemed to touch on the REAL reasons why I've never had children (and don't plan on it). I don't know what the real reasons are, and why the thought of having children is so terrifying to me, but I've just kinda accepted that I'm happy without them, for whatever reason.

The issue of child-free vs. having kids is divisive. I've left several childfree communities because of the blind unreasoning hatred and vitriol against *any* children and their parents (and the not-very-cute terms they use, like "moo" and "breeder" and "crotch-dropping", make me cringe). I don't hate kids - I just don't want to raise them.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 03:01 pm (UTC)
That's the attitude that fries me - what, you sprang fully developed from the forehead of Zeus? I sometimes think they doth protest too much.
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[User Picture]From: apostate_96
2005-09-23 06:12 pm (UTC)
Based on what I saw of your mother that one time, I'd guess you might well be right about that. Then again, she didn't seem much interested in connection with anyone, so I also don't know that it was a personal kind of thing. *shrug*

I don't mind people who have their values/views/opinions for how they're going to live their lives. However, anyone who's firmly convinced they know what's right for EVERYBODY both frighten and anger me. It doesn't matter if it's the issue about having kids or religion or political leaning or what. That kind of zealotry just freaks me out and makes me want to have either me or them be very, very elsewhere....
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[User Picture]From: batshua
2005-09-23 05:13 pm (UTC)
I just wish my mom was as okay with it.

I have to placate her with possible surrogacy or adoption. Granted, I DO want kids, but I don't appreciate the subtle pressure.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-23 06:43 pm (UTC)
It's inappropriate, in my humble opinion.
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[User Picture]From: batshua
2005-09-26 04:03 am (UTC)
I don't think my mother is doing it on purpose. I think it is cultural and possible an unconcious act. I also think that if she for one moment thought that I would be horribly unhappy as a mother, she would not want me to have kids.

She also is good enough to balance it with the fact that I am not in a relationship with a Nice Jewish Boy, which obviously is a prerequisite for me having kids.
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[User Picture]From: apostate_96
2005-09-23 06:08 pm (UTC)
Hunh. Reading over that previous entry, I didn't really see anything in there that was some kind of shot at your daughter. I understand the initial response you had, and focus mainly on how that's not what you went with. Good on you.

I didn't see anything in the last post that said you were hurt/angry/upset she diesn't want to have kids. At least, not to the extent it sounds like folks responded.
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[User Picture]From: violacat
2005-09-26 04:25 pm (UTC)
I think there was a lot of projection going on in those comments...it's not uncommon for people who don't want children to be told by their parents how much it's hurting them not to be given grandchildren, etc. And I think your phrasing of your knee-jerk reaction is something childfree people actually hear out loud on a fairly regular basis, so while Erin's post inadvertently triggered you, your post inadvertently triggered others and so on into the weirdness.

I'm glad you support Erin's choice, whatever it ultimately ends up being. My parents and I have never really talked about this (because we don't DO that sort of thing), so I'm not sure how they'd feel, but I'm 33 and in a same-sex relationsip so if we do have kids, they'll be adopted anyway.

I'm rambling, and I need chai.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-09-26 05:10 pm (UTC)
I can see that. The vehemence of the response surprised me, particularly when I was saying that it was inappropriate.
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