I recently saw this article that was composed of twelve actresses/icons that were talking about why they do not have kids and why they aren’t in any rush to do so. I found this very interesting because throughout my life I have always been told that women need to get married and start having kids right away and now that I think about it, having kids is something that is so far from my mind and when thought about, its usually something that terrifies me. I guess in a way I go against gender norms because although I am open to the idea of marriage, I’m not sure if I ever want to have kids. Honestly, there are a lot of other things I would rather do than have kids. I also go against the norms when I say that I know for a fact that I am a workaholic and I most likely always will be. I will see my career as one of the most important things to me and although I may be looked down upon because of that, I now know I am not the only one that feels this way. The things these women said in this article really struck home with me.
“I want to have kids when there’s nothing else I want more, and I can make them my world.”
Being sensitive and caring is something that comes with growing up feminine. This means that most women feel like they HAVE to be nice, helpful, nurturing and the mothering type. Also, girls learn that being outspoken about the fact that they are not nurturing and they do not want to have kids is looked down upon.
So why is? Why are women scrutinized for not having kids when able to? Is it something that we HAVE to do or we are shamed?
One of my best friends in high school once told me that she never wanted to have kids. I was surprised because I thought she would make a great mother, but she was adamant about not having kids. This is not an idea I share with her. However, I would never think less of her for not wanting children. Society puts down those women who chose not to be mothers. When really motherhood is a lifetime commitment that is not for everyone. It doesn’t make you less of a woman, to pursue a different type of life. I think the stigma will eventually recede and the choice of not having children will not be frowned upon quite so often.
It is so funny you posted this article because the same article came across my Facebook newsfeed and I was going to write a post about it as well! This article really resonated with me when I read it. I too am conflicted with the topic of having children one day. As we have seen throughout our course of study this semester, people look up to celebrities to form their social identities and form their ideas of gender norms. It is nice to see these iconic women speaking out on the topic of not having children by choice. Maybe as the media shed light on diverse lifestyles such as choosing not to have children, women will not feel so much pressure by society to have children.
This is a topic I can relate to very well. As a kid I knew that I was destined to be a mother. I wanted to have at least four kids. It may have been the lack of younger siblings and lack of siblings closer my age that made me want to have a large family. My sister married and has decided to never have children which my family really took to heart. They said it ‘saddened’ them that she would not bless them with grand children. After them discovering my sister would never have children they expect their only other child, me, to have their grandchildren. So for a while I accepted that. Then I realized that I almost felt pressured by my own family to eventually have children. I think apart of that drove me away from wanting to have kids as much as I did. As I’ve grown I went from definitely wanting kids to if it happens, it happens. My mother was a stay at home mom and she always seemed bored which is when I decided that I will not be a stay at home mom. Maybe for a short period of time but not one part of me expects me to be a stay at home mom forever. I wonder if its the pressure of families that make some of us want children more than we actually do.
I have always felt the opposite way on this issue. While I am pursuing a degree in hopes of obtaining a job after graduation, I have always dreamed of being a housewife. I think one of the main reasons for this is because society pressures us to want to be the ideal “supermom.” Growing up, my mother always worked part-time and never went to college. Her main responsibility has always been to take care of my brother and I with very little help from my father, who lives and works in another state. I do agree with you that society and the media constantly reinforces the idea that women are meant to be mothers and it is frowned upon if a woman chooses her career before motherhood, though.