Monday, December 5, 2016

Adele on her Motherhood Moments: "I F*ckin' Hate This!"

In the December issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Singer/Songwriter Adele speaks frankly about her experience of motherhood. When the Vanity Fair contributor Lisa Robinson commented that she thought it was brave of Adele to have a child in the midst of such a big, successful career, Adele responded:
"Actually, I think it's the bravest thing not to have a child; all my friends and I felt pressurized into having kids, because that's what adults do. I love my son more than anything, but on a daily basis, if I have a minute or two, I wish I could do whatever the fuck I wanted, whenever I want. Every single day I feel like that."
Adele admits she suffered from postpartum depression, a feeling of being very inadequate, but was afraid to talk about it until she had a vulnerable, quiet moment with a friend who was also a new mom.
"One day I said to a friend, 'I fuckin' hate this,' and she just burst into tears and said, 'I fuckin' hate this too.' And it was done.  [The depression] lifted."
When asked if she'll have another child, she said she didn't think so. Her boyfriend Simon, the father of her child, has a daughter from a previous marriage, so Adele's son already has a stepsister who is a big part of their family.

She understands that her friends without kids really don't want to sit around listening to her "chat absolute mush" about her kid, so she seeks out the company of other mothers who don't pretend child rearing is a never-ending River of Joy and who won't judge her for taking the time she needs for herself--an afternoon a week--when her son Angelo stays with the nanny, and she gets to do whatever the heck she wants!

I have to say it was refreshing to see a woman speaking honestly about her experience of motherhood. Adele is at a place in her life where she really doesn't care what you think. In the hubbub of motherhood and 43 city world tour, she often forgets to shave her legs and shaves only when she thinks the people in the front row might notice the leg stubble as she runs up the stairs to the stage. When asked if her boyfriend minds that she sometimes that neglects her personal grooming, Adele retorts, "I'll have no man telling me to shave my fuckin' legs. Shave yours!"

This rebel energy reminds me of the type of energy childfree women bring when someone suggests  they should just fall in the line and have a kid, like everybody else. It takes a certain amount of courage, and a dose of "f*ck you" attitude, to stray from the conventional. Nothing about Adele is conventional and that's why we love her!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mothers Speak Out about Regret

The Guardian recently published this article titled Love and Regret about mothers who wished they had never had children. The comments that follow this article reflect gratitude that we can finally talk honestly about the hardships of motherhood without trying to paper over the pain and draw a happy face.

If women can talk about post-partum depression or abortion regret without stigma, why can't women talk about regret around motherhood? These women do love their children but they don't love the role of mother. Motherhood comes wrapped up in glittery paper and a bow but often the gift of a child comes with thwarted dreams, gendered roles, health and wellness challenges, and unanticipated burdens and outcomes of all kinds.

 Orna Donath, a sociologist from Israel who was decidedly childfree interviewed 23 mothers who regret having children and published her findings in which she noted that while motherhood “may be a font of personal fulfillment, pleasure, love, pride, contentment and joy”, it “may simultaneously be a realm of distress, helplessness, frustration, hostility and disappointment, as well as an arena of oppression and subordination”. The women she interviewed had expressed “the wish to undo motherhood” and Donath, being a childfree social scientist, did not judge them for it but instead described their stories as the “unexplored maternal experience”.

Kudos to Donath and her study participants for their bravery and honesty!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

An Australian Politician Advocates for the Childless/Childfree

This is my speech on childlessness; it's gone 'viral', as they say. I delivered it in the period leading up to passage of the government's 'No Jab No Pay' legislation. In it, I point out just how much taxpayers' money parents of children receive, money they ought not expect. I go on to thank the childless, who pay more tax, receive less welfare, and worse, get no thanks for their generosity.
Posted by David Leyonhjelm - Liberal Democrats Senator NSW on Sunday, November 22, 2015
David Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democrats Senator from New South Wales, Australia took the opportunity to speak in support of the "No Jab, No pay" (legislation that would deny government family support payments to those parents who refuse to immunize their children) to say a hearty thank you to the childfree/childless persons in Australia who generously support families through their taxes and get "No thanks for their generosity.

When it was first released this video went viral, and I trust this video will open a dialog around appropriate uses of taxpayer dollars, and shed light on the many ways that the childless and childfree contribute to the common good.

What would you say if you had the lectern for a few minutes and could speak to the law and policy makers in your country?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Making a Case for Flex Time for All

It annoys me that many companies offer flex time for mommies but when a childless person asks for it they resist. The assumption being that if you don't have kids you are out partying or in your basement hosting swinger parties. Let me share with you what the childfree people I interviewed for Two is Enough were doing when they are not at work covering for all the parents that can't work a 12 hour day.

1) Elder care. It's no surprise the childless siblings bear the bulk of the elder care responsibilities in the U.S.A. The exception is when parents invite Mom to move in so she can babysit and do the laundry.

2) Volunteering. The majority of the folks I interviewed had volunteered for at least one non-profit, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, animal shelters, equine therapy programs, youth advocacy, volunteer coaching and mentoring, and other charities they were passionate about.

3) Second jobs. Contrary to popular belief some childfree folks need to work a second job to pay school debt or just plain pay the rent. Others are entrepreneurs with start ups or artists or writers and their creative or entrepreneurial pursuits can't pay all the bills.

4) Childcare. Yes, some childfree persons actually help care for other people's kids. I interviewed folks that were temporary guardians for kids whose parents couldn't handle them or care for them. Some took nieces and nephews on vacations and college search trips because the parents couldn't afford to travel or take off work.

5) Recuperating from illness or injury, or caring for pets. Many childfree people complain that when parents ask for time off for a school recital or a snow day they are quickly granted the time off but when a childfree person asks for time off to go to physical therapy or a vet appointment they are denied. This is wrong!

Jenny Noyes, a writer from Australia, make a strong case for equal opportunity for Flex Time in her article titled "The childfree deserve workplace flexibility too" with the astute observation that "having it all" means different things to different people.

I know from my interviews with childfree folks that they have many interests, pursuits, obligations,and responsibilities outside of work and a flexible schedule would be a welcome benefit for every working person. Flex time is a benefit that everyone appreciates and it should be offered to all. Ideally, everyone should be expected to work the number of hours they are paid for, on a schedule that allows for a life outside of work. What you do outside of your work is your own business, unless the cops or social services are knocking on your door.