A friend posted the following as her Facebook status this week, and it really gave me pause. This is a direct quote:
There comes a point in life when “FUN” no longer means BAR hopping, drinking TOO MUCH & staying up ALL night. It means board games, trips to the park, & bedtime stories. Sleeping in means maybe 8 am. Becoming a parent doesnt change you, ITS REALIZING THAT THE LITTLE PEOPLE YOU MADE DESERVE THE BEST OF YOU! Re post if you are PROUD…..to be a “boring” responsable parent! There isnt enough in todays world!
First of all, I’ll never understand why parents assume they have the market cornered on maturity. Because that is what we are really talking about here. Tastes evolve and over time adults no longer find barhopping, drinking too much and staying out all night appealing. It’s called growing up.
And do people really need to have children to figure this out? YOU deserve the best of you, not just your offspring.
Not surprisingly, this type of post implicitly reinforces some of the assumptions about the childfree. It says that parents don’t “change,” but then describes how they shift into a whole new lifestyle when they have kids. Conversely, the childfree must be stunted because they are missing the necessary catalyst of children.
As a childfree woman, I know these stereotypes exist. I’ve had parents tell me that I don’t have any responsibilities, and allude to my so-called carefree life sans kids. But I argue that parents and nonparents share many of the same responsibilities despite one obvious differentiator. And are just as likely to behave irresponsibly.
While this Facebook message gives a collective pat on the back to a certain type of parent, it also carries a mild sense of regret for taking the path of boring responsibility. But let’s not forget that this lifestyle was freely chosen. There aren’t any victims here.
On a lighter note, I agree wholeheartedly that there aren’t many responsible parents and that sleeping in is a thing of the past once children arrive on the scene. Although I wouldn’t count it as a reason for skipping parenthood, it’s definitely an advantage to living in a childfree household.