Stephen King once said that if you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society will be numbered.
And I’m finding his point reassuring as I watch my 5 Points I Want the Childfree to Consider article get shredded across the childfree subreddit community.
I’ve never spent much time on Reddit, to be honest. It’s the virtual Mos Eisley Cantina: a wretched hive of scum and villainy where hacked-off limbs barely rate second glances, a den of anonymous hostility and unbridled trolling…
Still, you can’t help being curious when people are talking about you. It’s gratifying to have written anything interesting enough to warrant its own discussion threads, even if those threads mostly consist of people wanting to kill it with fire.
You need thick skin to speak your truth. But in my case, constantly wondering whether my critics even read the article softened the blow. Defeating my logic might’ve been devastating, yet my critics seemed far more interested in contradicting points I never actually made.
The two most common complaints were that I:
- Think everyone should have children because anyone who doesn’t is a bad person, and
- Didn’t convince them that parenting is wonderful enough to make them change their minds.
It’s actually quite baffling, since I directly said that choosing not to have children is a reasonable, respectable choice that society should accept.
And if I’d wanted to talk people into the glories of parenting, I definitely wouldn’t have used public tantrums and the lack of American leave benefits as major selling points…
I’ve always tried to be very honest in my blog, never pretending that every aspect of raising kids is wonderful or that it doesn’t sometimes challenge you to the very limits of your emotional and physical well-being. Yet despite the entire nature of my article being the need for greater empathy on both sides, I’m just left feeling as though I’d sold out the whole parenting experience.
Apparently unable to grasp the idea of neither side being “wrong,” these critical subreddit members seemed more interested in either having their own choices validated or being convinced to change their minds.
And since they don’t understand why anyone would want children, they can’t be talked into reconciliation.
So maybe a different approach would help. In my next article, I’ll try explaining why so many of us believe parenting is worth the hardships.