It’s Women’s Day this week. Not to be confused with Mother’s Day at all, but also a little tricky to explain to your kids who may wonder what it’s all about (apart from having a welcome day off school). For many kids, their primary experience of womanhood is that which is reflected in their moms, but it’s also worth celebrating women who aren’t parents too.
A recent Time Magazine article carried the provocative headline, “Childfree Adults Are Not Selfish
”. Most of us would nod our heads until we realise just why the author felt that she was lumped into the category of “selfish”. As much as we parents get our heads down and tackle the grimy (and often fun) tasks of raising kids, it certainly does not complete us as adults. Of COURSE it’s possible to be a functioning member of society and not have kids.
The fact remains, if you’re a woman of a certain age, say over 30 (just for argument’s sake!), and you haven’t had children, there’s a good chance that you’ve had to endure many assaults from friends and relatives about whether or not you “ever want children”. And if you’re brave enough to say that you don’t, you either get insults or head-shakes of disbelief.
It’s not even about trading the ideal of family for career, an argument which will be thrown in your face. Believe it or not, child-free individuals
and couples can have amazing relationships with their families, and they may not always have meteoric rises to the tops of corporate ladders!
The point I’m trying to make, if a little clumsily, is that we can help our sons and daughters to appreciate the values of women outside of the context of motherhood. Women are not just moms, babysitters or even pre-school teachers, but women are to be honoured as equals to men.
My own brothers sometimes laughingly call me the “breeder Dunlop”, since I am the only one who has ever had children. That’s okay. There were many choices which led to me becoming a father, and I’m grateful to have the experience. Sometimes I feel a twinge of envy as I see them dashing off on international holidays unencumbered by prams or nappy bags, but I don’t regard them as selfish.
Parenthood isn’t for everyone. A child-free couple may not jump at your offers for them to babysit your kids because they’re just not that keen on children. Sometimes your child-free friends may drift away (or you from them) as you become immersed in sport days, school runs and parties unattended because you were tired or you simply preferred to spend time with your kids.
You don’t have to make your child-free friends godparents
or give them the slightly uncomfortable title of aunt or uncle. You can just be friends with them. It’s actually quite freeing to be with friends who don’t have kids. It’s a reminder that we, as parents, need to keep nurturing our own passions and interests beyond parenting.
So this Women’s Day, let’s celebrate all women and their place in our lives, and help our kids to appreciate them, too.
Why not tell us about a woman who has impressed you recently- mom or not- and why she’d be a good role model for your kids. Send your letters to email@example.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.