This Blog Is Awesome

Child free people are constantly bombarded with questions about when they will create their own genetic masterpieces and comments about how very wonderful children are and what amazing joy they bring to your life simply by being born. Then, in the very same breath, the questions and comments turn bitter. “How can you afford to fly to Vegas/go out drinking/go shoe shopping so often?” and “You’re so luck you get to do so many awesome things.” A friend of mine, faced with this phenomenon recently, posted on Facebook, “No, it’s not “lucky” that I get to go do awesome things…It’s because I chose not to have kids.”

Of course parents, including myself, jumped on that immediately, but I understand it in the spirit it was intended. It subtly (unintentionally) implied that being a parent somehow made life less awesome, but he only meant to defend his own awesomeness. It is easy for him to do the things he enjoys because having children is not on that list right now. And that’s cool, too. We seriously need to lay off people who do not want kids, whether they just aren’t ready yet or don’t plan to ever be ready. It’s not like we have a human shortage. There are plenty of people mass producing children. No one should have to defend their choice or how much they enjoy their child free lifestyle

Image
What kind of marketing tactic is it to tell someone how beautiful and amazing an experience is while simultaneously blaming it for sucking the fun out of your life, anyway?

I’ve been a parent my entire adult life. I have wondered from time to time over the last 18 years how my life would have been different if had not had children. (You know those people at the bar that are always there, usually a hot buttered mess slipping off their bar stool and slurring in your ear? I sort of fear I might be one of those without kids.) I’ve never wondered if my life would be better. I have an awesome life. I’ve gone to many of my dream concerts and I plan to go to more and dream up even more. I take the kids to some of them, but prefer to go to most of them alone or with friends. We travel with the kids because it’s something we both enjoy. I went on a road trip across the southwest with my family and can’t wait for the next one. We also travel alone and with friends. And more than once I have stood in a room full of my favorite musicians, both “famous” and local, and experienced a spine tingling performance, the kind that makes you close your eyes and listen, thankful to be there for that spontaneous moment and realize, “my life is awesome.”

Image

On A Pale Horse at Wooly’s

Maybe that’s not your thing. Maybe you’re thinking, “Meh, music. The southwest is hot. Boo roadtrips.” One man’s trash is another’s treasure. One man’s hobby is another man’s hell. You’d rather fly to Italy or get your master’s degree. I know those parents, too.  I’m not wealthy, I have a small home daycare. My friends aren’t loaded, either. We’re just normal people with normal jobs who choose to continue being awesome, even with children.

Parenthood gets a bad reputation because it is exhausting, expensive and time consuming. So is anything else worth doing! Immersing yourself in your hobbies, pursuing your career, following your dreams, all of it is mind boggling difficult if you are doing it right.  If you commit yourself to one thing it will make the other things more complicated, but not impossible. I have a friend going back to school right now so he doesn’t have much money left for going out as much as he used to and often doesn’t feel like it after hours of studying complex math. (I’m so with him on that.) That doesn’t make continuing education less worthwhile and it doesn’t have to make his life less awesome. If you are doing what you want to be doing then your life is awesome. If you are measuring your life against someone else’s idea of awesome it will never be awesome.

Image

My awesome family (before Little S) at the Grand Canyon

If you feel like having kids has made your life less enjoyable you may need to shift your priorities before you lecture your friends on all the reasons they, too, should reproduce. Logically you know your kids aren’t the problem, or you wouldn’t be trying to get others to join you in parenthood. The problem is that you are not doing the things that excite you and make you feel fulfilled. Don’t blame your kids for that and don’t be jealous of your child free friends. Find a way to make it happen. Create your own awesome.

Advertisements

Your Baby Is Ugly And So Is Your Dinner

Recently The New York Times published this article about the unbaby.me web tool. Unbaby.me is a Google Chrome extension that will replace pictures of babies in your Facebook news feed with pictures of cats or something you find more pleasant. The article annoys me for a number of reasons and none of them the ones you would probably assume. I don’t care if you want to replace my kids’ pictures with pictures of sunsets and bacon but I’d prefer you just unfriend me and go meet people that post pictures of bacon. I over share but I rarely share pictures of bacon.

I don’t like the notion that parents are the only ones who over share. Dinner, music videos, concert announcements, sports, politics, viral videos, memes, ecards, sports scores, quotes that don’t even have pretty pictures as backgrounds, cars, sports updates, pets and more sports crap all take up equal space with children on my news feed. My personal news feed also has a lot of geeky stuff, Big Bang  Theory quotes, science jokes and Zombies but that is because I am a dork. If your news feed is dominated by baby pictures maybe what you need is not an app that replaces them, but a more diverse group of friends.

I don’t like the focus on hipsters and hipster parents. A lot of 20 and 30 something people choose to be child free without choosing skinny jeans and nerd glasses. A lot of parents choose to take their children out in public, even less family oriented areas, without being aging hipsters. And I really don’t like the quote that equates becoming a parent with getting old and boring. I hope that if you are child free and you read my blog that you are already coming to understand that that is a misconception.  I hope that if you have children and you feel boring that I am helping you realize it is time to dust off your impractical shoes and get out of the house.

I am also annoyed that they refer to one of my favorite sites without mentioning it by name. They even use the tagline from the blog without citing it as a source. The blog I am referring to is STFU, Parents. Apparantly the acronym “STFU” is too hardcore for the The New York Times. The blog is dedicated to outing parents for our parental over shares and while I don’t always agree with everything they post I do find it hilarious and possibly a good lesson for us. I do think a good number of us post too much information too often. I am including myself in this chastising. (Of course I over share, Why do you think I write a blog?) Parents aren’t the only ones who over share, though. Have you seen Instagram? Child free hipsters know how to overshare, too.

We are all still learning the rules of the internet. Social media is still in it’s toddler stage. Ya know, tantrums, hitting, not using words properly. Many of us will learn what is accepted and what is frowned upon as we grow simply through conversations and other people’s passive aggressive updates whining about what we do wrong. I suspect there will be far more of these articles as social media grows into it’s teen angst years. We will annoy each other and storm off to our rooms many more times and maybe never reach a full state of peace but at least a peace-like atmosphere between parents and the childfree, foodies and non-foodies, pet-owners and puppy kickers, sports fans and… people like me. I think it starts with realizing that the minute you create your Facebook page you become one of us, an over sharer. You may turn your nose up and claim you don’t over share, but, c’mon, you made a Facebook page.

(You may have noticed this blog post features more photos than usual. These beautiful baby pictures are in honor of baby haters. They can suck it.)