15 May 2012

30, single, childless. One-upmanship part 2



This post may offend some people. But what's a writer's purpose when they don't move their readers in some way? Perhaps this post is too tit-for-tat, but whatevs. I need to get it off my chest.

Being 30, single and childless is not a sore point for me. My uterus doesn't ache for children. I find babies cute, but I haven't given much thought to having any of my own. I haven't been in a proper relationship since 2005. I'd love to find love, to be held at night, and to have somebody to share everything with. But right now, it's not happening. My situation is not a sore point until someone judges me for it.

There have been a lot of mummy-wars perpetuated by the media recently, Pitting mothers against each other before they've even been to ante-natal classes. Mothers judging other mothers about the way they raise their children. Too posh to push. Breast vs bottle. Public vs private. Stay at home vs working mum. Enough! Some actual mothers have written about the mummy-wars - read opinions from Megan and Annie. They write about the judgment of mothers in a better informed way than I could.


Years ago when I was getting bullied at work, a colleague who seemingly meant well told me that perhaps I had too little to think about, given that I didn't have a mortgage, husband or children. Perhaps I had too little in my life, and I was overreacting to the bullying. Yep.


And another friend compares her busyness to mine, and always tells me "well at least you have freedom". Parenting is a choice. And so is what I do in my life. I don't complain.


Last night I got into a Facebook argument. I'm not proud of it - the internet is forever. But I'll be damned if I didn't stand up for myself. It started off with a discussion about disability benefits. I asked the original poster about work, and whether there is a reason they don't work. I wrote about the success I've had with work, and that I do not get disability benefits. I stated that I was not being judgmental, and was curious and also encouraging her to give job-seeking a go. (As a way of background information, I learnt a lot about the international disability support schemes and job markets, and was reminded that not all types of ichthyosis are the same. I even wrote to the original poster with an apology and clarification that I was not being judgemental.)


Then there was a question from the original poster's friend. "Do you have children Carly?". She went there.


I replied: "I don't have children. But I do work full time, freelance write, volunteer as a TV presenter, keep a successful blog, study for my masters and have ichthyosis". I forgot to add that I live alone, 300 km away from family support.


And then the clanger reply: "Being a mother and a wife is a lot different to studying Carly, and you cannot compare your circumstances with anyone who isn't in the same situation...". Yep, They played the "you're not a wife and mother card". What?! And the final statement from them was "The point is, you have no idea what it's like to be a mother and work, which I do".


I replied, that these words were judgmental, that I put a lot into my life, and that I am fiercely proud of it. And stated "I really hate the whole 'you haven't experienced life until you're a parent' thing".


While I understand everyone is different and has different capabilities, there was no need to make judgement on my life experience or understanding because I am not a wife or a mother. Not being a mother or a wife is more of a situation than a choice for me. Perhaps if circumstances were different, I would be one of both. But I am not. And that's ok. Some women don't want children. Others can't have them. They are no less worthwhile or experienced.

No, I haven't pushed a baby through my cervix. I haven't breastfed. I haven't even changed a nappy. I don't know what it's like to be a mother. But I've seen mothers - I know what they do. I see how hard it is. I know that being a mother is a very important job - shaping young impressionable minds and teaching them to be good people. My mother worked from when I was five years old, and my Dad has worked full time since I was around two. They raised me well. My friends and colleagues are beautiful mothers - loving and nurturing their children in ways I could only hope to do some day, should the chance arise.


And that question "Do you have children?", with the added assumption judgment that because there are no children, you couldn't possibly know what it's like... could be like a knife through a heart to some. The women who are trying for a baby, desperately wanting to be mothers, don't need to hear that. I have friends who are or have been in that situation of struggling to conceive and it breaks my heart. The thought of them being devalued for being childless is also heartbreaking. I don't even know if I can have children - I certainly have never tried to get pregnant on purpose, but if I ever find conception or pregnancy difficult, that's not the sort of judgment I'd want to receive.

Being single and childless does not mean you are less compassionate. It does not mean you have less life experience, insight or wisdom. Just as being a parent doesn't automatically make you all these things. I am not going to judge you for your choices, and you shouldn't judge me for my situation.

Mummy-wars have got to stop. It is competitive, resentful and sad. Nobody wins.

I was joking on Twitter today with two lovely mothers. We were comparing who's "worse off" and who has the most talented child. There were stories of laziness and early enrolments and organic food.They told me, jokingly, that perhaps I should be doing more - volunteer to give those mothers a rest. Ha! It was very funny. I ended the conversation with "My child is only an egg and can recite the complete works of Shakespeare and dance like Beyonce. Already. Ner." And then after some playful one-upmanship from the girls, I said "Ummm my child is actually a Faberge egg".


48 comments:

  1. I feel you!! I am a wife, but not a mother. Or, to be more specific, I am a stepmother. So even if I do have an opinion, it's automatically wrong.

    Nobody wins when we put each other down. Why can't we just support each other?

    God, I feel like I'm in Mean Girls and should suggest baking a cake full of rainbows and smiles, but you know what I mean.

    It has to stop.

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    1. Being a step-mother would be such a challenge - they're always depicted as evil on screen. Hang in there - I hope it gets better for you. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  2. I've had a few people tell me, with a baby in their arms, the good old, "You'll understand when you have children". What those people don't realise is that had circumstances been kinder, I'd have a five-year-old. I miscarried five years ago on the eighth of May and this is the first year that I didn't remember on the exact day that it happened.

    I'd love to tell all these people to stop wasting time judging each other and appreciate the time that they get with their children. We are all making the most of our circumstances, and we shouldn't begrudge others for making different choices, or having experienced different life events to the ones we have.

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss and the hurt you must feel when people say those things to you.x

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    2. Stacey, I am so sorry for your loss. How terribly sad for you. It must hurt when people make judgements and assumptions. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

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  3. Yes this one-upmanship in all areas needs to stop.We are all women and should be supporting each other and respecting eachothers choices and circumstances.
    I also get the "oh you dont know what its like,you have it easy as you only have one child" How do they know those words dont hurt.Do they know that I have miscarried and gone through my own private hell to get my one child.How do they know if I have one child by choice or by circumstance.Enough.
    Bullying in the schools is at the highest rate it has ever been.Is it any wonder when adults behave the way they do to eachother.Children must observe some of this disrespect that seems to be increasingly dished out these days by the grown ups around them.
    Hopefully with each judgemental event we read about we can counteract it by sticking together and supporting eachother more than ever.Little by little by example maybe we can make a difference together.xx

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  4. I am going to have a little rant, so bear with me. Before I start, I am not saying all mothers are like this - but there is a portion that really make my blood boil.

    The attitudes of these women who behave like they have invented the wheel by having children. Sorry ladies, but a good portion of our female population have children. It's hardly a remarkable phenomenon. Some of these women are so caught up in their children - it makes me concerned. These women don't seem to have hobbies or outside interests aside from their children. Don't get me wrong - I understand motherhood is time consuming and finding the time is a difficult task.

    While I was studying, I worked in a department store I often had to serve these types of women. They let their feral children run wild and make noise without repremanding them. Saying to their children, 'That lady is going to be angry with you if you keep doing that'. If I ever behaved in that manner in public when I was a child, I would have been smacked or told off by my mother (probably both). These types also felt like they could make a mess and talk to you like you were shit because they were 'too busy' and 'stressed' - No exuse, common decency is not optional for mothers, they have to behave like everybody else.

    Also I have noticed women (who have a partner) who explaim that motherhood is a full-time job and they could not possibly work are generally in the low socio-economic bracket. Plenty of mothers work. My mother always worked (part-time and casually), she always had after-hours jobs.

    Having said all these negative things, there are some truly amazing mothers out there. Mothers or wonderwomen (I think the latter is more appropriate)who are certainly not perfect but seem to be able to do it all.

    There definitely has been a rising 'mummy' culture. With all the mummy bloggers and forums dedicated to motherhood. No mother is going to be perfect all the time. There is no manual on how to raise children. As long as they are not causing harm to the child, or making it difficult for others, who cares?
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  5. I feel like I don't have the full story here. You think it is judgemental for someone to say you don't know what it is like to be a mother? How are they saying you don't live a full enough life by saying that? The truth is you don't know what it's like. Walk a mile Carly...

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    1. She's not saying that people say she's not living a full enough life by someone telling her doesn't know what it's like to be a mother, if you read what she wrote, that's been said to her as well, as it has to myself.

      I've tried to have a baby for over 15 years and have 12 miscarriages to show for it. Women all the time imply that I have NO idea what it's like to look after children and be a mother (despite the fact that I used to be a nanny with sole charge of several young children which isn't the same as being a mother but it's pretty darn close), they also imply that I'm less of a person and less of a woman because I haven't managed to squeeze a baby out of my vagina.

      If you're brave enough to tell Carly to walk a mile, perhaps you'd be brave enough to put a real name to your posts, rather than hide behind the Anonymous moniker, just a thought.

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    2. I'm with r-r, I think Carly's point is that we can't walk a mile in anyone's shoes, so we shouldn't taunt them with what we do / don't believe about their lives.

      Do non-parents know what it's like to be a parent... maybe not. Do non-blondes know what it's like to be blonde... well, with some hair colour, yes. Do people not named Jane know what it's like to be named Jane? etc

      I think Carly's point is that we shouldn't judge anyone for what they have or haven't done. If we want to sit there and smugly think it, then that's fine, but telling someone they don't know what it's like to be stressed or busy or tired etc because their life is different just isn't fair on anyone.

      No one knows what it's like to be us and we don't know what it's like to be them... so we should be more supportive and play 'who's-the-biggest-victim' less!

      Sorry, rant over. PS. I play the victim VERY well!

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    3. I totally agree with r-r.
      Also whatever happened to if you cant say something nice then dont say anything at all.

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    4. Back off r-r. And Deby. Read my comment again. I was asking for the full story on the facebook argument again. It appeared to me that the original poster had felt defensive about Carly's comments about working with a disability, and questioned the demonising of someone who says "but you don't have children" in a moment of defense.

      "I even wrote to the original poster with an apology and clarification that I was not being judgemental.)


      Then there was a question from the original poster's friend. "Do you have children Carly?". She went there.


      I replied: "I don't have children. But I do work full time, freelance write, volunteer as a TV presenter, keep a successful blog, study for my masters and have ichthyosis". I forgot to add that I live alone, 300 km away from family support.


      And then the clanger reply: "Being a mother and a wife is a lot different to studying Carly, and you cannot compare your circumstances with anyone who isn't in the same situation...". Yep, They played the "you're not a wife and mother card". What?! And the final statement from them was "The point is, you have no idea what it's like to be a mother and work, which I do".


      I replied, that these words were judgmental, that I put a lot into my life, and that I am fiercely proud of it. And stated "I really hate the whole 'you haven't experienced life until you're a parent' thing"."



      All I am saying is that in this particular case, the words "being a mother is different to studying" is not so much judgemental as it is being used as a line of defense because she is a non-working mother.

      Do I have children? No. I work with them everyday, 8hrs a day and it is full on. But it doesn't mean I really understand what having my own is like. Actually it can be really hard trying to find work to fit around children's needs especially if you are single or have other issues (I don't know what this womans disability was)

      It is sad if parents have made you feel like you haven't done enough in your life because you don't have kids, but I don't think enough has been disclosed about the facebook lady for it to be categorically a case of "one-upmanship" I'd like to know more.

      And questioning Carly's opinion doesn't automatically mean that I'm not being nice. I'm asking for more information.

      And Deb you are right, we shouldn't judge each other for what we've done or not done. But I do wonder if the other person felt judged by Carlys big list of everything she does with her illness, because she doesn't have a list that long. Telling someone you don't know that they don't know what it's liked to be stressed due to different circumstances is COMPLETELY different to stating that someone doesn't know what it is like to have children, when in fact they DON'T. That is all I am saying.

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    5. Thank you for your comment Anon.

      I apologised to my friend (the original poster) for turning the Facebook discussion into an argument.

      As for the woman who questioned whether I had children - while I quoted some of what she said, I didn't state everything she said. I provided the background context here. Her question about whether I am a mother had little to do with the original topic, and her replies got harsher and harsher. It wasn't only me who picked up on this tone.

      I never actually said I am stressed because of the things I do in life. I enjoy everything I do and don't complain.

      You're right - I don't know what it's like to be a mother. And I said wrote that too. But for someone to judge/assume something because I am not a mother is not fair.

      Discussions like the one I had on Facebook has given me food for thought - for writing - and I am glad they happen. Thanks for contributing to this conversation too - it's good to get different POVs.

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    6. Sorry Anonymous but I cant see where you ask Carly for the full story before you tell her to walk a mile.

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    7. R-R - thank you for sharing your very personal struggle with me. I am so sorry for your losses. What heartbreak you have been through. I wish you all the very best. Lots of love cx

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  6. I think the thing that is really silly in all of this is that you can only become a wife and mother if your life circumstances have turned out that way. It's not necessarily an active choice to have kids and a spouse or not, it's a combination of circumstances, events and choices. So when someone says something like that they're also saying 'I can't believe you didn't have the exact same life as me' which is the height of arrogance and completely inane.

    Luckily I've never had anyone say anything judgey like that to me, but I move in circles where largely, people my age don't have kids yet.

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    1. That's right - you can only become a wife and a mother if your life circumstances turned out that way. Thanks Melissa!

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  7. Carly, love what you said. I didn't marry or have children to later in my life. I spent my entire 20's single and came across the exact scenarios and conversations that you were sadly exposed to last night. The implication was that my wisdom or opinions were not legitimate until I got married/had kids. It's hurtful and plain rude. Let's support and respect each other as sisters on this planet, man! x

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    1. Thank you Deb. I wonder if women in other cultures judge each other so much?

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  8. Yes this rise of 'mummy culture' is quite concerning.
    It's usually pushed by those who have 'acheived' nothing else but having a child or two. Hence having to call it an 'acheivment'.
    -Natalie

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    1. Yes, it's like all other achievements are disregarded if there is no ring on the finger, or child in tow. That's how I perceived the judgment on FB the other night, anyway.

      Do you think the internet/blogs/media perpetuates it more though?

      Thank you for your comment.

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  9. I really like this "Not being a mother or a wife is more of a situation than a choice for me." There's an assumption that we 'make choices' when sometimes our choices are dictated by circumstance rather than what we want. And making the best of the hand we've been dealt beats pining over what could have been.

    I'm 50, single & childless. My life ended up that way. I could go into details about what I perceive as my failings but that would be beside the point.

    The fact is I have a disability (ichthyosis) that qualifies me for SSI benefits but I choose to work. I've always worked. It's just what I do. If people spent as much time taking care of their own business as they do making comments about mine, I think we'd all be better off.

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    1. Carolyn, if i didn't work, I think my outlook on life may be different. And I'd certainly not have the independence to lead a fulfilled life. The attitude towards working is a whole other topic that I'd love to write about one day. I do believe there is a job/flexible work environment for everyone.

      Thank you for your comment.

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  10. I totally get. I often say to those struggling, who turn around and denegrate themselves by saying they know others are in a worse position, that you just can't compare. The worst that has happened in your life is always the worst that has happened. You are dealing with what is in your life not what is in someone elses and for you at that time it is 100% just as the struggle to survive for another is 100%. We each need to strive to be glass half full people and for some even that is easier said than done because of our genetic makeup. Empathy is trying to put yourself in the other person's shoes not making them wear yours. Cherrie

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    1. Thanks for your comment Cherrie. I think that is what the commenter on FB was trying to say to me - which I completely agree with, but I didn't see her question about me having children, and then telling me I just don't understand what things are like was relevant to the original point. I think there are definitely ways of saying things to people!

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  11. I feel all the angst.
    We need to stop turning against other women and turn against the enemies of women who are probably inwardly cheering about the mummy wars.
    Think tony Abbott.

    Cilla

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  12. My wise father once said to me: "Don't ever compare yourself to others. Just do what's right for you." Only now do I understand just what he meant. I love your honesty Carly. It should be applauded. xo

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  13. It seems to be ingrained into society that women aren't worth much until they're married with children. I've been with my partner 6 years and we get the wedding questions a lot. Once you're married, it's the kids question. I always used to get hassled by family when I didn't have a boyfriend, yet my brother got nothing.

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  14. I've read this a couple of times today trying to get my thoughts together (still don't know if I have as it's a migraine day). In a sense this kind of issue makes me sad. Why are we intent on comparing our lives to see who can claim an imagined title? I am a mum of two, married and living with chronic illness. My experience is my experience, no one else's. If I met another woman with the exact same marital, health, family status, her experience would be similar to mine but also vastly different. What she finds challenging I may find easy. What she finds easy may be my biggest challenge. Comparison achieves nothing. How about accepting that we all come different backgrounds and different life circumstances. Sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance.

    I have an insight into your life through your writing, but I don't know everything or what it is like to live your life day in and day out, because it is not my experience. I have an idea, but no matter how much we share with the world, we all carry burdens that we don't necessarily share with everyone. No one knows all aspects of anyone's life, challenges, joys, general day to day and how that all impacts on you internally. Children or no children, married or single, does it really matter in the big scheme of things? It's not a competition and difference doesn't mean 'wrong'.

    As women, actually as a society, we need to move away from this competition mindset, especially in circumstances like these. People. Live your own life. Make your own choices. Understand that everyone you meet is dealing with their own battles, whether you can see them or not. Just because someone doesn't have the same life (or opinions) doesn't instantly invalidate or negate their experience. Nor does their experience affect your own. I know it's very Pollyanna, but I do wish we'd concentrate more on supporting others rather than comparing and judging. (Sorry that's really wordy. I shouldn't get near a keyboard after migraine meds ;) ).

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  15. Michelle - thank you. I think from this whole experience - the original FB conversation saw me asking why someone with ichthyosis dies not work and I wondered about their reasons given I push myself so hard - I have learnt that everyone's situation is different. Even if someone has the same illness as you, it doesn't mean their experience, health, confidence, ability, humour or life is going to be remotely similar.

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    1. I read the thread in question and didn't think you were being judgemental, just genuinely asking a question. I think one of the difficulties is that we all come to these issues with our own baggage and sometimes certain issues make us react more harshly than we would if we had time to process them. It's the joy of the instantaneous and toneless communication of FB. I don't like when other women pull the mum card for the reasons I mentioned above. I also think it's a cheap shot meant to dismiss the other person (not just in this particular instance, but in general). Kids, or the lack of, don't define us. I love mine and would go all Rambo on anyone who did them wrong, but having them doesn't instantly give me the win in the hard stakes. Often people get so devoured by their own particular issues they simply don't have the reserves to be able to see that others may also have challenges and that those issues may be as stressful as their own. Add in the things you mention like confidence and humour, even how long they've been ill, and people simply don't have the same amount of resilience. I don't mean that in a critical way, it is a complex issue dependent on so many factors both internal and external. Can make it really hard at times to have a calm conversation on FB or Twitter particularly on a touchy topic.

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  16. I am 27, single, childless and actually plan on staying this way for... Ever! I know, I know, I cannot predict the future but for now, this is how I forsee things and it shocks people senseless that I like my ambitions of total independence!

    I cop it all the time, but mine is by choice, much the same as the choice made by the people who decided to bring children into the world. With all due respect (I have seen first hand how much work being a mother is, and I empathise with most hardships to some degree), please do not complain to me about how hard done by you are or harp about the exhorbitant costs of raising kids. Yes, it is expensive, time-consuming, and a monumental emotional roller-coaster however these are the sacrifices you have chosen to make in order to go down the path of what you yearn for in life. So be positive about the joy your children bring, rather than snark to those who are not making the same sacrifices, whether that be their wish or otherwise.

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  17. I think it's ridiculous to assume a woman without children can't understand what it's like to be a mother. It doesn't take all that much time thinking to be able to get it. It's because of this insight that I've been able to make an informed decision to never have kids. Saying that we can't possibly understand is just another way for them to be condescending.

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  18. I think you all have your right to your own opinions and we should not judge what others are going though in there lives.
    We could all sit there and say i have it worst because i have this or this but in the end we all have our personal battles and we should not take it our on people that could support us.The person you are talking about is a true kind soul and did not want for a debate they just wanted to inform people about the changes in disability benefits and their views which everyone is allowed, just like your doing on here.

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    1. Absolutely anon. As I said in my post and my comments, I was not judging the disability benefit situation, and even emailed my friend to clarify and apologisee for Creating an argumentt.
      But the question about me being a mother was not relevant and that commenter turned quite judgemental. It's that which I won't stand for.
      I believe I've taken this conversation to address a wider issue - Ive mentioned other experiences too.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  19. From what I have read, it sounds like the comment was just said in defence because you were being a bit pushy and the poor woman probably felt like she couldn't win and you were making comments about her going back to work etc.

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    1. Anonymous, clearly we didn't read the same thread, because I'm not sure where you get words like "pushy" and "poor woman." The "poor woman" who attacked Ms. Findlay certainly hadn't walked a mile in HER shoes.

      Bottom line: if you're defending someone's right to completely invalidate a woman's experiences and contribution just because she doesn't have offspring, you're part of the problem.

      Dear Authoress: I am a 42-year-old American with three children, two of whom I raised to adolescence mostly by myself, one of whom has a learning disability... and I would rather do this any day, every day, than have to cope with ichthyosis. You do so with more grace than I did raising my daughters.

      Raising children is work in the purest sense of the word - hoping to achieve a purpose or goal - but I'm tired of seeing it turned into a trump card and a reason to avoid self-growth in other areas. I'm also tired of hearing how "hard" it is. Yes, it can be challenging or heartbreaking - just as anything else in life can be challenging or heartbreaking. Motherhood has no monopoly on human experience.

      As a mother and former professional woman, I interpreted your comments as an invitation to find power and self-confidence that might offset the frustration of dealing with social disability programs. I didn't think you were implying anything except that changing one's life style can have impressive consequences. I agree with you - whenever possible, it's good to have some sort of sense of independence, but especially if you're coping with a disability. You feel frustrated and helpless all the time (and in my case, as if the universe was out to get me - I was young and raged a lot); having a trade or career often makes it easier to bear. I know that going to work every day gave me a sense of accomplishment that I desperately needed in my darkest hours.

      I thought it was good advice, and you don't need to be a mother to offer the benefit of your experience to someone who is. She can decide for herself whether it's right for her.

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    2. Thank you Katannah - absolutely - for me having a job is a sense of achievement and self reliance.
      I encourage confidence in people and perhaps that's why I come across as brash?

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    3. You come across to me as refusing to be either a victim or noble martyr, and since many of us are conditioned from birth to be one or the other, your desire that people join you in emancipation may be scary and off-putting to them.

      Being strong and self-reliant is hard. Coming up with reasons not to be is easy. Deflecting attention away from one's fear by getting angry and angsty at the bad woman who scared you, well - that's high theatre of the Internet kind! ;-)

      Keep being you. The integrity of your psyche is more important than the popularity of your opinions. For what it's worth, you have my respect and admiration.

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    4. Thank you. You are right - I am not a victim or a martyr. Life is what you make it and I'm
      Up for any opportunity that comes my way.
      Being a role model doesn't sit well with me if it means I have to be perfect and unipinionated.

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  20. Hi Carly,
    I just wanted to clarify what I think those mothers who say you don't understand because you are not a mother are trying to say. I used to share your opinion that it was a choice and why do they complain? Well the simple answer is they need to vent. Like I said I used to feel the way you do but then I got into a long term relationship and moved in with him ( I have no children). My single friends complain that I don't go out as much and don't talk on the phone as much, it's true but I do make an effort. The point is when you are a wife and a mother your time is no longer your own. You are a very busy person however you don't have to be considerate to anyone else within your own home, plan your day around anyone else, clean up cook for, or any of the other tasks and responsibilities that come with being a wife and mother. I love my husband to be with all my heart but sometimes I really wish I could think only of me, and only have to take care of myself. That is what mothers and wives mean is that their ife is no longer their own and even though we love our house mates, whether it be children or a husband we need to vent sometimes and be honest with yourself, you don't have to consider or plan around anyone else and that is a tiring feat. We just need to blow of steam sometimes and people who aren't in the situation don't understand, so cut them a break. The best piece of advice I ever received was don't belittle someone else's problems, whatever problem is going on in their life at the point in time whether trivial or not to us is real to them, there is always someone out there who has worse that you, and someone who has it better. respect each person for who they are and let the mother's anwives vent because you come accross as bitter.

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  21. That was my post above, I wanted to add that I also suffer from ichthyosis, and don't use it to gain pity and I am a trained professional who is gainfully employed, as well as dealing with the stresses that come from being a wife.

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  22. Patronising is patronising in any language. I do think there are things you don't understand til they happen to you - for me I like to think of it as like travelling,and everyone says 'why are you going by yourself? won't you get lonely? no one will speak english' etc - then you have the day when all those things happen and you get it a bit more...people can tell you what it's like, but you don't really walk in the shoes until you do. But it's not limited to mother hood, it's divorce, cancer, climbing mount Everest - it's everything.

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  23. I think there's a little bit of 'the grass is always greener...' in all of us, and perhaps that's where some of the oneupmanship comes from - needing to justify to ourselves that our lives are harder (and therefore 'better' or more fulfilling) than those we secretly envy. I know I dream of having a full night's sleep and being able to pee without small people hunting me down! But at the same time, we have to take responsibility for our own circumstances, I made the choice to have children (and five of them!), so I need to own that choice and quit trying to make others feel inferior because I perceive that my life is infinitely more difficult that theirs and I'm a hero for managing it all. We all have our burdens, our challenges and our joys regardless of the choices we make and the lifestyles we live.

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  24. I have 3 children and I also have Asperger's and many issues that go with it. I choose not to work outside the home because I know that I personally wouldn't cope with having a job in addition to everything that goes with looking after a home and children. I'm sure some people, including members of my own family judge me for this at times.

    I have various friends who are all different. Some are working Mum's, some are SAHM's. Some would love to have kids and can't and others choose not to.

    Everybody is different and we shouldn't judge others. Sigh.

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  25. I'm sorry you've been subject to this Carly. I really wish we would all stop comparing ourselves to each other and judging and valuing people on our perception of their experiences alone. This reminds me of all the criticism and snide comments that Julia Gillard received as PM because she is childless and therefore couldn't possibly understand what battling families were going through. She is in fact a very compassionate woman who doesn't need to be a mother to be a "whole" woman. In some ways I really wish people would just get over themselves and get on with living their own lives as best they can. Thanks for re-sharing this today Carly!

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  26. At 37 and single, I have come to the realisation that maybe I won't get to have children. Like you, it's just how it is. That doesn't mean I don't look at women who are mothers and wives any differently. In fact, I look at them with admiration and praise. Above all, only each woman can know whether they feel fulfilled or not. We all have something to offer, whether we are married or with child.

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