As always, I read last week's issue of Time right away. But I forgot to blog about it until today when I just remembered. It's been lying on my nightstand for a couple of days now and I still find myself thinking about the cover story, "The Childfree Life."
For those of you who don't know me that well, I'm a little hesitant when it comes to the whole kids thing. My kid Pinterest board is named "For the children I never want to have." I guess I am just really pessimistic, but I just don't see how women can "have it all" meaning both a family and success in the workplace. Now, I'm not saying all mothers are on the bottom of the totem pole at their workplace because there are some women who really can juggle it all. But as a personal choice for me, I prioritize my work over children.
When some of my college friends and I were discussing this, many admitted that they'd choose raising a family over a job any day. I was absolutely flabbergasted and proceeded to ask them if they'd feel like their life was meaningless if all they did was raise children. They countered by asking me if I'd feel my life was completely meaningless if all I did was work hour after hour.
Lauren Sandler, author of the article, delved into the controversy between these two types of women.
Our culture equates womanhood with motherhood. Look at Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In. While the book focuses on encouraging women's professional development, a large chunk provides advice on balancing work and family, presuming that, like its author, ambitious women will have both. But that's the problem. Some women just don't want both.
With fertility treatment options more available now than ever, the ones who choose to not have children are judged even more for their choice.
"In the past we assumed it was out of a woman's control whether or not she had a child," said Amy Richards, author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself. "Now we think it's her choice, so we can blame her."
Sandler went on in the article to explain that women who simply refuse to have children are known as early adopters. These are girls who feel from a young age that they're not mother material. They often don't play house or with dolls. They also usually have an extra 15 IQ points, interestingly enough.
Another point Sandler addressed is the label these women are slapped with: the childless. Childless has a connotation that implies someone wants a child but lacks the ability. The early adopters usually prefer the term child free because they're not bogged down with the contingencies that come with children.
Child free numbers are steadily increasing. In 1976, only one in ten women were childless. In 2010, it was one in every five women.
If you have time, it's an interesting read no matter what side of the issue you agree with.
As for me, I'm still trying to determine if I'm an early adopter. I've never really seen myself as mother material. But I did play my fair share of dolls growing up....