Thoughts

On vitriol and motherhood

You seem to have a LOT of vitriol about motherhood and women with children now. Is this about loss-reduction because you are past child-bearing age, loss-reduction because of COVID/racist cops/Biden is our man and he’s not that strong (therefore it’s likely a terrible time to have a kid), or something else? I have read and loved your work for years, and your tone about motherhood is not what is was. It stands out to me. I don’t disapprove. I just notice it. What happened?

I’m not past child-bearing age, and if there’s any vitriol it’s about the cultural expectations of motherhood, certainly not women with children. I can’t be bothered to cite my own references, but I’ve been saying the same shit for over a decade. If the tone has changed, it’s because world has changed, and everything is a bit more serious now.

You might also want to be more careful with your underlying assumption that not having children is some kind of inherent loss that requires reduction. It’s not, especially in 2020.

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10 thoughts on “On vitriol and motherhood

  1. Charlotte says:

    You have always been SO clear about your stance on children. I have found it empowering, as I’ve navigated my 20s and now early 30s and realising that I don’t particularly want children, to read your perfect articulations on the subject. I think this question says a lot about the one asking it, not about your answers.

  2. Desiree says:

    I just want to concur with the other comments. I find it is this particular issue where Coke is the most consistent. So it is weird that it would seem to stand out. And I never read it as “vitriol.” I always admire women that know they don’t want kids and can just enjoy their lives and not wrestle with the decision.

  3. Mona says:

    Motherhood IS traumatizing (anyone who knows about trauma would agree) and it IS a waking nightmare (the part about never being able to escape the cycle of caring for them morning to night, like in a nightmare; and the nightmare of fearing anything bad ever happening to them). Yes, it’s a lot of great things too, but to ignore the negative elements when making the decision to have kids is immature, irresponsible, bad parenting. You must look the negative in the eye and make sure you have the skills to withstand those things so you don’t unconsciously take your frustration out on your kids. Number one – if you don’t love yourself, don’t have kids. Or better yet, learn how to love yourself, and then do or don’t have kids. If you already have them – stop everything and learn how to love yourself. Your kids’ well-being depends on how well you love yourself, not on how well you love them.

  4. H says:

    The tone and the phrasing reminds me of a girl I used to be friends with, and her sametype insufferable, backhanded bullshit. Whatever onto something funny, a little throwback on the topic, from nine years ago…
    “I love this news item (on a Canadian couple refusing to reveal their baby’s gender), mainly because I have a tendency to call babies “it,” as in “What’s its name?” That doesn’t tend to go over very well at high school reunions. Some bitch I haven’t seen since cheerleading camp gets all huffy and replies, “She’s a girl, and her name is Madison.” And I’m all like, “Whatever. It’s a human larva strapped to a sack of its own shit.” And she’s all like, “Excuse me? Would you mind putting out that cigarette around my baby?” And I’m all like, “Would you mind not bringing your baby to a fucking bar?” And she’s all like, “It’s a restaurant.” And I’m all like, “I’ll bet you this Jack and Coke I’m drinking that it’s a goddamned bar.” And then the bartender says, “M’am, I’m sorry, but you can’t smoke in the bar.” And I’m all like, “Why, because of the baby?” And he’s all like, “No, the city passed a law banning smoking in establishments that also serve food.” And the bitch is like, “I told you it’s a restaurant.” And I’m all like, “Mark Twain would have something clever to say about this.”

    So yeah, I have a tendency to call babies “it.”” – CQ

  5. C says:

    I get asked multiple times a week why I don’t have kids/do I not like them etc. I’m fairly sure that I’m not the only person in the world who cannot physically have kids and who doesn’t have $100,000 (minimum) to spend on in vitro and surrogacy since I would be doing this on my own. To your point,
    no one seems to get the fact that everyone’s circumstances are different and the people asking about this particular subject clearly aren’t as woke as they keep telling themselves. Now I just ask them if they’re interested in being my surrogate. It ends the conversation immediately. Glad your back on your blog. CB

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