The grape jelly stains on my shirt are my own.
I do enough laundry to clothe several children.
But most people would still say my life is easier than that of a mother’s.
There is some truth to that: children are major financial responsibilities, emotional stressors and occupy nearly every thought in the mind of a parent.
But please don’t say my life is easier because I don’t have children.
After attending BlogHer last year, the focus was obvious – Mommy bloggers are winners. Vendors catered to parents, and blogs written by parents are given a lot of attention.
Sure there were products for anyone, but being a not-mommy blogger felt as rare and as out of place as a woman at a tech conference. (You laugh, but read this sobering blog post before you say anything.)
The overwhelming sentiment – mommies’ lives are ridiculously stressful and since they hold the purse strings, we must cater to their every whim.
The resources available to families is astounding, even overwhelming. There’s a lot of information to sift through and that just adds on to the stress.
But the lack of resources for couples who aren’t parents tends to make life a bit hard too.
We don’t have kids, but it doesn’t mean we live glamorous, stress-free lives.
I’ll take having kids versus suffering from anxiety or depression any day. I’d much rather spend nights of no sleep taking care of a baby than trying to overcome obsessive worry.
Mental illness lies to you every minute of every day and takes comfort in your suffering. Hopefully a child won’t do that!
The medical resources available for children and parents eclipse those who have mental illness.
The anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications I’m on are horrible to use while I’m pregnant. But being off them is unthinkable. This is a primary reason why we may not have kids: I’ve tried not being on my medication, and I’m a zombie. Add hormones to that, and life would be a living hell.
Depression won’t take care of you in your golden years nor do they make very likeable Facebook posts.
To those who have mental illness and children – I salute you. You’re heroes.
Then there are the perks people assume childless couples have: time and freedom. Unfortunately, when you’re a grown-up, free time gets taken up by a lot of things that aren’t really fun.
I stay up past 8:30 or 9 p.m. maybe once a week, as my husband’s odd work schedule means getting up at 2:30 in the morning.
We live out in the middle of nowhere, so nights on the town just don’t happen all the time.
We go out to eat a couple times a week, but we still have to watch our pennies and rely on our families for major financial support. We can’t blow money because, oh yeah, we need a house should we have children LOL!
And, yes, newlyweds are busy and have to schedule date nights too.
I’m eternally grateful that I don’t need to use an alarm every day, I have more than one moment of peace and quiet in the bathroom and I can stay up late playing computer games with my husband.
(The last time I stayed up to play games, I felt horrible for the next few days. Adulting is hard.)
But life isn’t a bed of roses for anyone, so we really shouldn’t compare sob stories.
Not every single woman is a stylish fashion blogger, either. That’s another segment of the market that gets a lot of attention. I don’t obsess about shoes or colors or clothing.
It almost feels like sexism. Every female blogger out there must be a mom or a trendsetter. Anything else gets lost in the shuffle.
What about bloggers who live very average lives with no little ones. Geeky girl bloggers who don’t cosplay frequently or chat about geeky style?
I suppose that’s not as interesting as fashion or babies.
Average isn’t blog-worthy. Childless isn’t very interesting.
A few things we can do to change:
1) Never assume that because a woman is a blogger, she is writing about parenting or fashion.
It really is a blow to the ego, and I’m trying to thicken my skin. This was especially tough when blogging as a single woman.
2) Other bloggers: be mindful of the things you say. Try not to make non-parents feel like they’ve done nothing in their lives and don’t understand what pain or stress feels like. We know. We just know in other ways.
Also, don’t assume that not being a parent means I know absolutely nothing about good parenting. I was a child once (duh!) and I helped raise my niece.
If you’re a style blogger, try to incorporate simple and inexpensive tips for people with no fashion sense. There seems to be a false correlation between success and how stylish you are.
So also try to focus on inner beauty. We still want to read and learn from your blogs too!
What do you guys think? Hope I don’t sound mean, but this is something I face all the time.