I’m OK, You’re OK

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about people who don’t have kids who go on and on about how they don’t want to have kids and how awful kids are. And she said I should write a blog post about it, and I said, “You’re right, I should.” Except, I also want to write about people who have kids and who say “What a shame they don’t have kids, they’re wasting their life” about people who don’t have kids. Or married people who say “You need to find a life partner, it’s not good to be alone” to single people. Or single people who say “How dumb are you to give up your freedom” to married people.

In short, I am writing today about people who think everyone should live like they do, who think their choices are the ONLY right ones. That anyone who chooses differently must be stupid. These people are assholes.

My dad has a saying, “Everyone ELSE’s hobby is crazy.” What he means is, we all have our own thing that makes us happy, and to other people that thing is completely unappealing. My local BFF loves running. My dad likes to write computer programs that calculate all the prime numbers up to one million. My mom makes cross stitch Christmas ornaments by the dozens. The Hubs has Dungeons and Dragons play dates with his work buddies. None of those things sounds like fun to me. Their hobbies are crazy…to me. But so what? So what if I find my joy in a different way than someone else? Wouldn’t the world be boring if we all liked the same things?

It’s easy to shrug off the “wow, that is crazy” talk when we’re talking about hobbies. But when we’re talking about more major life choices, it’s a lot harder. It feels like a very personal attack when it’s about your choice to have kids, or your choice to get married, or not.

I think where this all comes from is that a lot of people who make the asshole comments feel they have to justify their choices because some Judgy McJudgerson is gonna shit on them for that choice. So the childless person talks about how kids are such a burden all the time, because they feel like the couple with kids is going to think less of them for choosing not to have kids. Or the married and divorced and remarried person feels like they have to justify choosing marriage over singlehood, so they go on and on to the single person about how bad it is to be alone. Like, just own your choices, asshole–they work for you, and that’s OK. We are not all sitting around judging you for them, so stop trying to make yourself feel more secure about your choices by shitting on ours.

I also think people just too often don’t stop and think about how their words are going to be received. I mean, think of how the couple who is secretly struggling with infertility are gonna feel when that mom goes on and on about how kids complete your life. Or think how a person who wants to find love but hasn’t is going to feel when you tell them to hurry up because they’re not getting any younger. It’s not really helpful, is it? Sometimes we don’t actually have the ability to make the choices we want in our lives. Sometimes that choice to have a kid, or not, isn’t really a choice.

What I am trying to say to these assholes is, you’re being an asshole. Your choices are great for you, and mine are great for me, so stop trying to convince me that everyone should do what you do. I’m OK, you’re OK.