It occurred to me this year that while mother’s day is widely celebrated, there is no equivalent occasion for all the wonderful women who choose not to have children. I’m not even going to bother being fair and balanced. I’ll just make this as selfish and subjective as I possibly can. Maybe you can relate, maybe not.
Who am I kidding: I can’t make it completely subjective – it’s just not in my nature. Now, if you are one of those people who believe that a childless (by nature, or by choice) woman is somehow defective, less valuable, or otherwise inferior to one who isn’t, then you should think about that notion very carefully. It means that you believe that people like…
- Jane Austen – author
- Frida Kahlo – painter
- Florence Nightingale – social reformer, founder of modern nursing
- Anais Nin – essayist, memoirist
- Rosa Parks – civil rights activist
- Ayn Rand – novelist, philosopher
- Virginia Woolf – writer, modernist
…are somehow inferior to a teen who got knocked up while drunk. To me, that notion is laughable. Being a mother is easy, assuming you got pregnant and had no access to (or willingness to use) abortion. Being a good mother is moderately difficult, but quite a few manage. Contributing to the collective wealth of human knowledge and experience is fucking hard, and very few are able to do so. Yes, all of the women above had mothers. That doesn’t mean we can’t respect and admire their decision or circumstances for not being mothers in their own right and choosing to pursue other interests instead. As a brief aside, I’d like to mention a few non-fathers…
- Francis Bacon - father of empiricism
- Copernicus - astronomer, discoverer of heliocentrism
- Isaac Newton – mathematician (laid foundations of classical mathematics, co-invented calculus), physicist, one of the most influential scientists of all time
- Nikola Tesla – inventor (A/C current), engineer, physicist, futurist
- Haruki Murakami - surrealist author
…that I am a big fan of. Naturally, there are many people who have accomplished just as much and managed to be a parent at the same time. This fact doesn’t devalue the contribution of nonmons and nondads to our collective knowledge. In my opinion, this contribution is likely more substantial than any child they could have given to the world. Furthermore, their choice is their own – it’s not their obligation to give the world anything at all.
Having a child can offer a fresh perspective on life, and open up new possibilities and experiences. However, not having children can also do that very thing in any number of ways, depending on how you choose to use the free time instead. Let’s make a simple estimate: 90 minutes daily for 18 years. That works out to around 10,000 hours. That is the approximate amount of time it would take to become world-class at almost any skill of your choosing.
Anyway, enough of this bullshit. I just wanted to take this opportunity to be thankful for some of the nonmoms in my life. When I say that, I don’t mean women who haven’t had children yet. I speak of women who have no plans to have children. These are not directed at one person, or different people necessarily. It’s a collection of thoughts about a number of people.
Thank you for:
- Pursuing amazing research, and contributing to our understanding of ourselves
- Having the time, and resources, to be there for me when I need you
- Knowing yourself well enough to see that you are too selfish to have children
- Pushing yourself to be the best you can be in a wide variety of ways
- Learning things that are weird that others overlook
- Having the courage to be different from most of your friends and family
- Not falling in line with society’s expectations about how you ought to live your life and what constitutes success
- Willing to seek your own path to happiness instead of following someone else’s
- Having a personality that makes having solitude when you need it non-negotiable
- Being strong, driven, and unmotherly
- Being more loyal and dedicated to being a friends as opposed to your hypothetical offspring
- Having a career, and being more economically successful and independent
- Facing the unique challenges life has thrown your way in ways that I admire and respect
- Having goals and dreams most people don’t dare to aspire to
- Not settling
Motherly things don’t really interest me, so thank you so much for not engaging in them. I can’t imagine someone who is a mother ever replacing you in my life in any way, shape, or form. It just doesn’t seem feasible to me, or is not something that I would want to happen. You are incredibly unique, and special. There are so few out there who can come close. I think it would be incredibly difficult for someone who is a mother to match you on all the other levels in which you excel.