Hello! My Name is Childless.

 This weekend I was reading on Facebook a friend whose children had been reprimanded by a stranger in public. I don't know the details, so I am not really writing about the incident. What I am writing about is something that I have not been able to let go of since I read the responses to her post yesterday.

Someone (Okay. It was her husband. I was not going to mention it, but it got pretty ugly and at this point I am so disappointed in everything that played out that I do not give poo.) had responded that the reprimander, an older woman, was "a bitter, old, childless woman". Anger coursed through me and it would not stop. Has not stop.

To use childless as an insult?

To suggest that anyone without children must be bitter? My life is less fulfilling than someone who has children? I don't even understand this.

Not every woman has to have children to feel complete. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

Not every woman should be a parent. There are plenty of examples of these women in the news. After my accidental "trip" on prescription meds, I doubt my own parenting abilities. I fear I am a little nutty.

In addition, what about the women who have had children and lost them? The women who want to have (or wanted to have) children but could not? To them I imagine that being called childless is a slap in the face. The cruelest of comments.

I responded politely but with an obvious dislike of using the word childless as an insult. The response? That I think too much and that obviously any woman that would reprimand children that were not hers in public could NOT have children of her own (I mean, OBVIOUSLY).

Because all you parents raise your children in the same way? Because parents take an oath to never speak up in public when another person's children misbehave? Was there a secret handshake involved? Man, I am NOT pissed about being childless, but I AM pissed that I missed the secret handshake. I LOVE secret handshakes.

 I responded just as politely as I had the first time but this time suggested that perhaps the woman had indeed raised children of her own, but simply did not agree with the parenting style that she was witnessing. Was she in the right? Maybe not. But again? You are still being insulting. And to assume that everyone thinks you are the most awesome parent and that you never make mistakes and everyone wants to parent just.like.you?

Is just wrong.

Regardless of how you look at it - calling someone bitter and childless is defensive and insulting. It's a shame that some of us can't just say "Whoops. I did not mean to offend anyone."

Instead the response back was this: Is calling someone dogless if they don't have a dog insulting?

No, and neither is just saying that someone without child is childless. It's an insult when you pair it with all those other words.

At this point, he decided that I was a bitter woman (I would like to point out that if Jeremiah EVER called any of my friends names or made insulting remarks it would get ugly. Not that he ever would.) and I was just jealous. And that I was what was wrong with the entire world - people that made everyone else walk on eggshells. It was a shame that this value of respecting other people's privacy was not taught anymore. I should not read her posts any more and next time her name pops up on my screen, I should just keep scrolling and mind my own business.

I responded by saying that if you post something on Facebook, you lose your right to tell me to mind my own business. And then I told him I would work on minding my own business though, if he would work on being less insulting and stop name calling. It was a shame that no one taught their children that anymore, I said, because it would make my job a lot easier. I also told him it was a shame that two adults could not disagree without one of them making it ugly.

And then I unfriended my friend. Because seriously? Even if a friend of mine was completely out of line (which I was not) and rude (again, I was not) I would still have Jeremiah lay off or delete the post. But she just let her husband call me jealous and bitter and everything else.

He also said he wished he had been there to give that woman a piece of her mind. Like, in the woman's room?  My thought to this (which I did not say) was, Can she (my friend) not stand up for herself? And why do you need to yell at a woman? Too afraid to stand up to a man who might beat the shit out of your wimpy ass? So you go after women instead? That right there is a tough guy. Oh, wait. I mean an asshole.


So he can have my friend from high school who apparently does NOT think too much and does not speak up for herself and her friends.

P.S. Edited to add: All the while he was attacking me, he and his wife posted about an adult bible study they were hosting at their house that weekend. That's really all I have to say about that. 


Stephanie said...

All I have to say is m curiosity is piqued.

Christen said...

I just found your blog through "blog hoppping" and I absolutely LOVE it. You are such a funny, amazing writer. Case in point, I kept reading back logged entries until I got to this one. "Childless" as an insult is completely shitty, so I whole-heartedly agree with your de-friending decision! My husband and I have been hoping for a baby for two years (one miscarriage) and if someone called me "bitter' or "childless", I would defriend them (and then blog about it) too!

Look forward to following you!

Emily said...

Steph - Ah, yes. It was not my finest hour.

Christen - Thanks for checking out my blog, it's always nice to know that someone besides my mom is reading. I am sorry to hear what you and your husband have been going through for the past years. I can't even imagine how hard that would be. Sending you happy wishes for the new year. Good luck!