This morning I woke up and saw an article titled, “Major airline launches child-free zones on flights- and a lot of parents are furious.” You can read the full article [here.]
I instantly felt angry and defensive and my mind was flooded with thoughts and ideas. I started pondering the concept of choosing to not have children, choosing to not care for children and punishing them for living in a society that has moved away from a child’s natural environment and worships isolation.
Before I go any further, let me tell you that I support anyone who chooses to not have their own biological child(ren). I am all for bodily autonomy and what you do with your body should be up to you. This post isn’t really so much about choosing to not have your own child as it is about choosing to not take part in the care of children altogether.
You see, in today’s society women and men get to choose to not have children. Which I am all for. But let’s take it a step further, and not only that, but they can also choose to not be a part of the child caring and raising at all because we live more isolated than we once did, so now that is a possibility. Let’s face it, though. Children have to be taken care of, nurtured, loved, given attention (oh so much attention), respected and appreciated. In our culture, with few exceptions, this falls onto the shoulders of the people who chose to conceive and give birth to the child. In other cultures, tribes and ancient groups of people, the children were everyone’s responsibility. They were seen as a significant and important part of society and not taking care of the children meant hardship or disintegration for your people and your future.
Now, I know things are different here. We no longer live in tribes (womp womp). I know how populated the world is. I am not suggesting everyone has babies to keep the human species alive. What I am doing is bringing up the idea that a society that does not accommodate to children or see them just as legitimate as an adult, or an individual who chooses to not partake in raising a child is, in fact, a “privilege” of our culture. It’s a choice that everyone gets to make, whereas, at one time, people didn’t see raising children or not as a choice. It was simply a part of the being alive process.
In other cultures, everyone cared for the children because they knew how deeply tied it was to the well-being of their society. In our culture, we are completely ignorant to how the health of the mother and child effects us all. Currently, children are mostly seen as a burden or a distraction from “adult” things and places. As a mother, I have seen first hand how nonchild-friendly our culture is. Many places don’t allow kids and if they do there is no childcare or child-friendly areas for the child to be. I have searched high and low for a changing station in an airport. We now have to designate places for children to go (parks, children’s museums, etc) rather than having a society that they naturally fit into because they are just as much a part of it as you and me. (Don’t get me wrong, parks are great and fun, too.)
People often look at people with children and based off of what they see they decide to opt out of having children of their own. Understandable. I am sure they see a lot of stress and time consumed caring for the child. The thing is, it isn’t children that are the problem, it is the way our current society is set up and the fact that only a couple of people are responsible for the one or more children. I have a friend who told me the other day that she believes children should be interacting with forty different adults a day. Forty! That’s a lot of perspective, which given the current world view of many people, perspective isn’t such a bad idea. Growing up with the ideas and beliefs of only one or two other people creates minds that are not often willing to expand and see past those perspectives.
Let’s take a look at how only one or two people caring for one or two (or more!) children alone has an effect on ALL of society:
Work and resources falls on one person, therefore caring for the child falls on the other person. If you’re a single person, all of it falls on you. In a culture where everyone cared for the children and lived in close proximity, the workload and childcare load was so divided I hesitate to even call it work.
So one person has to do all the resource gathering and the other person has to watch the child all day, everyday. This creates stress, inevitably. We are not meant to do this alone. Stress creates bad relationships which we carry with us into our day to day lives and with the people we interact with. Not only that, but the whole load being on only two people is a recipe for burnout. Humans are not supposed to be chronically tired and overwhelmed. Granted, many of us are able to find a loophole and a way out of this way of life.
If a woman is stressed and tired then she probably isn’t having good sex, and don’t even get me started on all of the bad shit that happens to a society where the women are not sexually satisfied. Not to mention, if the women are sexually dissatisfied then so are the men.
Tiredness and overwhelm is what causes parents to make bad parental choices out of desperation.
“Here, kid. Take the fucking cookie and shut up,” because oh my god I need a millisecond of quietness or my brain is going to explode.
Do I even need to mention the epidemic where we throw the kids in front of the television so we can get dinner made or make a phone call or have some “me” time?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not totally excusing these parenting behaviors. Nuclear parenting is hard, and we make it harder than it has to be in many ways (another blog post), but what I am saying is that I get how this stuff is tempting for many people.
Or maybe we send our child to public school all day despite our instinct that it isn’t the highest choice because hey, free childcare all day after non-stop caretaking for the last five years is tempting, indeed.
“But hey now,” you say. “Isn’t that sort of perfect? Didn’t you want other people helping out and watching your kid for free? It seems like public school is the answer. A bunch of adults caring for all the children. Sounds like your dream come true.”
Well, not exactly, and for a few reasons. First of all, I’m talking about a community of people all caring for one another because it benefits EVERYONE, not just the system that breeds isolation and separation to begin with. Which is what “schooling” does. It perpetuates the system that created the problems that I am talking about here. Because it produces adults that make decisions like the ones that currently stand. Not to mention, it is an unnatural environment for children of whom have developing minds and natural tendencies to move and explore. I don’t want to make this post about all the problems with the education system, though. Maybe another time.
So let’s recap.
Why does it harm us all when we leave it only up to the biological parents to care for the children?
All living, resource, and caretaking responsibilities fall onto the laps of one or two people.
——->Parents get stressed, burnt out and overwhelmed due to so much responsibility and not enough time to care for themselves.
——->They aren’t having good sex because they are tired and depleted and not pursuing their own passions because…no time.
——->No sex=all sorts of issues….
——->Out of desperation they stick their kids in front of the TV all day with cookies and other crap “food.”
——->Coupled with the stress of nuclear parenting and lack of skills to remedy, they now have an unmanageable, overstimulated child suffering from a sugar high, gluten overdose and mercury poisoning.
——->Even more desperate now they send the kids off to public school where he is indoctrinated into the system. Rather than being empowered to change it, she simply becomes a part of it.
——->Kid becomes an adult with attachment issues because they didn’t get the biological love and nurturing required because their parents were too busy trying to do it all alone.
——->Adult has health issues because they grew up on frozen TV dinners and fast food because convenience was all their parents had time for.
——->Adult is close minded because all he knows is one point of view he adopted from his parents and only learned a few subjects for 15 years in the school system.
——->Adult is depressed and angry because of this unnatural way of life and spews hate and takes it out on everyone around him.
And what do you get?
You get this guy as an acceptable candidate for president of your country^^^^^.
Moral of the story: If you don’t want someone like Donald Trump as president then adopt a community mindset and help out with the caretaking of the children.
Ok ok, OBVIOUSLY this is all an exaggeration. #notallkids #notalladults #notallparents
Yes, yes, of course. I am only having a little fun here.
With that said, I think there is some truth to be found in it if you dig a little deeper. I wonder if we created a society not suitable for children in many ways because children are a difficult distraction OR have children become difficult because of the way we view them and set up the world around them? Are they only reflecting back to us our need for connection? Food for thought, I think.
I am also not suggesting everyone stop what they are doing to help the struggling mother at the grocery store (but hey, we appreciate it). As a matter of fact, I don’t know what I am suggesting. I don’t have all the answers. This is my stream of consciousness speaking right now. I’d love to hear what you think!