Stepping Back on “Looking Down On” Rants

Laura Carroll, childfree choice

In case you have not seen it, Amy Glass’ post on Thought Catalog had the digital waves smoking this week. Her post, “I Look Down on Young Women With Husbands And Kids and I’m Not Sorry” got Chris Jeub going to the point where he took on the whole childfree movement with his post, “We Look Down on the Child Free Ideology and We’re Not Sorry.” Instead of joining the slew of responses picking apart both posts and comments that followed, let’s step back.

I read Glass’ piece and can see why it would spark a defensive reaction. Now I am all for talking about outmoded thinking about parenthood and why society needs to stop putting parenthood on a pronatalist pedestal. But I am for doing it in such a way that it encourages respectful discourse. Accusing mothers’ domestic lives as not being “real work” sure doesn’t do it, and in a word, is just mean.

However, Jeub sticking it to a “child free ideology” that is “anti-people” and accusing the “child free” choice as illogical, insane, and one that will be met with regret at the end of life is just as disrespectful of a lash back.

Why do we see rant like this? To provoke and get gobs of comment traffic? To be “right” -which means having to make someone else wrong?

Laura Carroll, childfree

Whatever the motive, this sort of ranting – which I have talked about here a number of times before – just results in continued clash between parents and the childfree, and does nothing to help them better understand each other and their life choices.

It also seems to promote the idea that those with kids and those without just don’t get along. Parent and childfree friendships can have their challenges, but I have to say there are more of these friendships than not that don’t make kids a wedge issue or allow them to destroy a friendship. And it certainly does not include “looking down on” the other person’s choice.

Instead of Looking Down On or Making the Other Wrong posts, how about more open and dignified discussion on why we can feel compelled to have to feel superior to someone else in this realm or any realm for that matter. How about more discourse about the insights that come from pointing the finger at ourselves – and the ways in which we can get in the way of real mutual understanding.

There are many books about motherhood, fatherhood and childfree lives. There slews of books about friendship too. These kinds of posts and the banter that follows makes me look for books that highlight amazing friendships between those with kids and those without – relationships that aren’t driven by whether there are children in the mix or not.

If you find one, let me know. Want to collect those stories – I’ll join you as editor. In fact, Hmm…maybe I’ll do it myself!

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