My husband hates yelling. Up until a few years ago, he would give me a look or chastise me whenever I chose TALKING LOUDLY from somewhere in the house over getting up and talking in person. I received a similar reaction when I’d get upset at the children (or him) and raise my voice.
Unfortunately for him, we moved to a two-story house six years ago. We did so when I was pregnant and exhausted. I therefore failed to see the benefit of climbing seventeen stairs to engage him face-to-face. I also left piles of socks, toys, and children at the top or bottom of said stairs to consolidate trips, so why not consolidate conversation as well?
I reverted back to calling to him from wherever I was (usually the couch), including times when I knew he could intervene much more quickly than I could in children’s fights (because getting off the couch is tricky).
But that baby grew up. He became six years older and I became 30 pounds lighter. I had few excuses to yell, even when the boys attempted fratricide. Coincidentally, talks and pointed looks from the husband increased when my volume also increased.
Fortunately for me, I’m now pregnant again and even more exhausted than before…
Photo Credit: Stock Photography
©2019 Chelsea Owens
Why don’t you put the toilet seat
Why do you sit and glare and
It’s not that I am out to
About the toilet, water,
I’m simply trying to raise you
So future spouse won’t give you
A hard time.
Photo Credit: Filios Sazeides
©2019 Chelsea Owens
What would the world be like without children? Quieter, I imagine. Less messy. Less chaotic. No rules about censoring swearing on the radio, maybe. Toy departments geared toward 20-somethings. An absence of miniature items, everywhere. An absence of parks and children’s museums.
In a world such as that, how would the odd, pregnant woman be treated? Stared at, I imagine. Whispered about. Talked about. Shunned. Insulted, perhaps? Watched closely when she tries to purchase clothing to fit her expanding size. A general doctor explaining how he rarely sees this sort of thing anymore -wouldn’t she prefer to abort?
And then, how would others react to marriage and families? Strangely, I imagine. With wariness or confusion. With raised eyebrows and intrusive questions about life choices. Without tax benefits. Without special Family Days, Kids Meals, or Half-Price Admissions.
You might think such scenarios to be far-fetched. Surely we will never reach the point of a world without children! Of course pregnant women will be accepted and supported! When will couples and their families be ostracized?!
I tell you: sooner than you think.
Over a decade ago, a good friend told me she lived in Germany as part of being in the Air Force. She said she received openly hostile looks for bringing her baby son to a restaurant, yet a woman with a dog was accepted.
When I’ve walked around, heaving my heavy stomach in a waddling fashion, I’ve gotten a judgmental vibe in the downtown areas. Where youth, vigor, liberal views and pro-choice abound in a college crowd; there is no love for pregnancy in the air. There are almost tangible questions of, “Why would you choose that?” amongst the stares.
And, outside of our state, we’ve experienced impatience, judgmental looks, and ignorance regarding our children. At a children’s museum on free children’s admission day nearly 8 years ago, a woman in the gift shop told her coworker she’d “shut that baby up” -in reference to our 2-year-old making interesting sounds in the echoing entryway.
I understand. I do.
I understand that some women do not want to birth children.
I understand that quite a few couples don’t want to raise children.
I understand that many people do not want to deal with children at all.
But, I know that an anti-family social norm is killing us. I know a world without children is not sustainable. I know we need pregnancy. I know we need marriage and families.
And, I know that we can’t just assume someone else will take care of that responsibility. We need, instead, a return to the social assumption that families are the norm. We need love and support for those trying to raise their offspring to not be sociopaths. We need acceptance, appreciation, approval, and attention.
We need families.
If you’ve the time, here’s my week in review:
Sunday, September 29: “9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!),” in which I listed my favorite Halloween movies for kids and families.
Monday, September 30: Wrote a poem titled, “The Morning Menagerie.”
Tuesday, October 1: Shared a quote about families from Fathers in the Home.
Wednesday, October 2: Recommended saving money by buying in bulk.
Thursday, October 3: “Naptime Isn’t Just for Kids,” a snippet about how great naps are -for parents.
Friday, October 4: Wondered about people’s evening mealtimes in “How Do You Dinner?”
Saturday, October 5: Shared Scary Mommy‘s tweet about hypocritical in-laws.
Sunday, October 6: That’s today!
Photo Credit: Tyler Nix
©2019 Chelsea Owens
What my children don’t seem to realize
is that naptime isn’t necessarily for them.
Photo Credit: Vladislav Muslakov