“Are you worried you will regret not having babies?” a woman who does not know me well enough to have this conversation, asks me anyway. I take a quick panorama. Her runny-nosed seven-year-old is sinking his teeth into the shoulder of her screaming and full-diapered toddler. “Are YOU worried YOU regr—“. I cut myself off. Reproduction sensitivity is a one way street. Singles: Yield.
Alright, alright. Let me step away from my cats and turn down the crazy. To be perfectly honest, I love my mom friends and their kids. I love their kids… in doses. I enjoy hanging-out with and imparting my feminism on their progeny. I also like when I get to hand the kids back to moms for tantrum time. My dose of baby is a perfect one for me. I recognize that, for many, popping out minis then chasing them is super important. Canada, and Canadian Moms, must similarly recognize that for some, kid-free living is just as valid a choice.
We have lots of people on this little planet. A few too many, in fact. We get to choose to be a lone wolf or create our own wolf pack. As a non-birther, I support adding a cute little Mimi to the human race, who very well may grow-up to cure cancer. I am even happy to meet kind-of-ugly little Fred who may grow-up to watch lots of movies and not do much else. I am not the only one who supports baby-making. In Canada, employers allow for parental leave, our government gives baby bonuses and tax breaks, our social circles band together for baby showers, birthday parties, Halloween, parades, etc. If you want to have a child or if you want to have five you are financially, socially and fiscally encouraged to do so. Heck, I encourage you. Make some more Deep Riverites!
In the unspoken reproduction debate, nobody grinds my gears quite like SmugMom. SmugMom is the term I use for any parent, male or female, who has decided that their life has become more valuable than anyone else’s by virtue of procreation. I cringe when SmugMom waxes on about how smart/wise/mindful/psychic they have become since their little Whatshisname entered the picture. SmugMom loves to talk about other parents behind their back, rolling their eyes dramatically as they critique someone’s bottle-use. SmugMom hates any suggestion that their kid is anything but a prodigy. SmugMom loves to critique Cup of Jo articles (see what I did there?).
Families with kids have lots to deal with, of course. However, it would be nice for anyone who chooses not to have kids, who cannot have kids, or who are waiting to have kids, to have a few societal no-kid-boosts. I would love to get a one person “family discount” on anything. It would be great if I got time off to NOT take kids to the dentist. I’ll leave work for a couple of hours to enjoy the choice I made not to populate. I could even go to the dentist’s office, enjoy the laughing gas and play with the toys in the waiting room. I want to get a “thanks for not having a baby” bonus. A solid $50 a month for not putting a little junior feminist loudmouth into grades 1-12. You’re welcome, teachers of the future.
Have I offended everyone yet? Ok let me take it back a bit. Your kids are cool and we are all genuinely happy you had them. Even the loudest one. None of you guys are SmugMom. I am clearly referring to that other parent we were gossiping about over wine the other day. If I have offended you, let me make it up to you with a dinner at Kelsey’s – bring your kids for the discount.