Slaves to Our Kids -- or Other Moms?

A friend from Columbus, Ohio, called me to vent about a woman who was proudly proclaiming -- in print and on television -- that she was bored by her children. Don't know how I missed her myself (maybe because her original piece ran in a British newspaper while I was frantically packing for our vacation) but here it is: Sorry, but my children bore me to death!.

I read Helen Kirwan-Taylor's piece in The Daily Mail expecting to hate her myself. To my surprise, I did not.

Here are a few tidbits of what Kirwan-Taylor, a 42-year-old American working mom who lives in Britain with her husband and two sons, wrote:

"I know this is one of the last taboos of modern society. To admit that you, a mother of the new millenium, don't find your offspring thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable at all times is a state of affairs very few women are prepared to admit. We feel ashamed, and unfit to be mothers. ... Kids have become careers, often the Last Career, for millions of women who have previously trained for years to enter professional fields. ... Women [who] have spent years studying and then working so that we would not have to do a job as menial as full-time motherhood."

After admitting her "secret, guarded, if not until death, then until someone else confesses first" to a small circle of friends, other moms shared the same sentiment:

"Looking after children makes women depressed," one said.

"Bringing up children is among the most boring and exhaustive things you can do," another said.

Kirwan-Taylor went on to present the shocking idea that it is good for children to accept their mothers' limitations and their own ordinariness.

And to my shock, at first blush, what I felt was admiration that another mom was brave enough to tell this dark truth of motherhood, this secret I have never heard another woman proclaim publicly or proudly. At second blush I felt downright pathetic: Is this what post-feminist womanhood has come to, that acknowledging the "monotony, loneliness and relentless domesticity" of motherhood counts as COURAGE? What about facing down a rapist, prosecuting a child molestor, leaving an abusive husband, riding the Tower of Terror at Disney World?

Even more pathetic than my own reaction is the instantaneous media firestorm over Helen and her views. She (and her children) have appeared on radio and television in Europe and the U.S. to defend herself, saying the backlash from other moms has made her feel like "the most vilified woman in England," a class that I thought was reserved for moms who do things like put their kids' heads in a vise or forget to feed them, not moms who admit to being bored by them occasionally.

We moms are making fools of ourselves with our microscopic self-scrutiny and name-calling. We need to stop this particular form of witch-hunting -- the need to judge other moms and ourselves so incredibly harshly. Why are moms so threatened by the bald, innocuous reality that raising kids can be boring? Kirwan-Taylor's sons are clearly safe and well cared for; who cares how she feels about them? How can one mom's views make us expend something as precious as anger, a resource better saved for corrupt politicians, criminals, cheats and liars? What is wrong with our society that moms today choose to scapegoat someone who tells the truth, instead of doing something truly worthy of courage?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 23, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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"Why are moms so threatened by the bald, innocuous reality that raising kids can be boring?"

That's not what Kirwan-Taylor said. She said her kids bore her. It's one thing to find Candy Land and Little House books boring; it's another thing to say that you find your kids themselves intrinsically dull and uninteresting.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 23, 2006 7:35 AM

I'm sorry, Leslie. I usually respect what you have to say, but when I read your statement that "We moms are making fools of ourselves with our microscopic self-scrutiny and name-calling...", I spit water at the screen. Isn't self-scrutiny and name-calling exactly what you peddle in your book and, to a lesser extent, in this blog?

As to the point of your post, in bemoaning the fact that Ms. Kirwan-Taylor has come under criticism, you have glossed over the fact that much of that crticism comes not from some general admission that her kids bore her, but from specific statements she makes that indicate that her own amusement and interest are always more important that her kids' needs.

Here's what you left out: "...I spent much of the early years of my children's lives in a workaholic frenzy because the thought of spending time with them was more stressful than any journalistic assignment I could imagine."

"While all my girlfriends were dropping important careers and occupying their afternoons with cake baking, I was begging the nanny to stay on, at least until she had read my two a bedtime story. What kind of mother hates reading bedtime stories? A bad mother, that's who, and a mother who is bored rigid by her children."

This is a woman who wouldn't even attend one birthday party with her 10-month old son, and whose kids now know better than even to ask her to play a board game with them.

Look, I don't think every person should love parenting. We're all different, and of course some people will love spending time with kids while others would rather eat glass. But once those kids are there, don't you think every parent (dads, too!) has an obligation to put those kids' needs before their own wants, at least once in a while? She doesn't need to spend all day with her kids, but I don't think an hour or two of kid-centered time a week has actually ever killed anyone.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 23, 2006 7:39 AM

Wow. Not sure what to say. Echo NewSAHM's post about HK-T's self-revelations. Parenting is hard and often boring. So is work. So is exercise. So is walking the dog. Mowing the lawn. Doing taxes.

Part of the problem here is that self-revelation is often better in private: spouse, trusted friend, family member, priest/rabbi/pastor/guru/iman (did I miss anyone?), therapist, life coach.

The Oprah-ing of society? Kiss and Tell. Not kiss the kiddies and tell?

I guess the masked interaction here on the ON BALANCE blog is also confessional.

We tell here. Some castigate. Some rant. Others are mean and rude.

How will digitized communication and digitized social networking shapes community? Verdict is out there. Evidence being written daily, including here on this blog.

After reading HKT, my honest reaction is: HKT needs a very patient friend and perhaps an attitude adjustment.

Wonder how her tone might change if she contemplated motherhood on any day in a slum in Bangladesh.

What about the formerly middle-class neighborhods in Beirut?

She could take a page from all the world's religions:

+be grateful for what you have
+work to ease suffering for others
+when life is boring, look inside youself to understand your reaction
+when life is hard, hunker down and move forward

Buddhism, ancient and sufficiently cool, might help HKT adjust her boredom dial.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 23, 2006 7:52 AM

what a bunch of nonsense. I refused to get sucked into this.

Posted by: experienced mom | August 23, 2006 7:54 AM

Are you kidding me? Isn't the true revelation here that maybe she wasn't cut-out to have kids in the first place?

I understand having a job that you do not because you have a passion for it but because you need to feed yourself and your family. Many of us never find our optimal occupations. But procreation and child-rearing is much more significant. If you don't find children fascinating and aren't willing to make them your first priority especially over your own needs and desires, why have them? Because you can? Because they are another check box on your own personal life list? Pathetic.

If she finds her kids boring and is willing to publicly admit it, I can only pity her children who will grow up knowing that they will never hold their mother's interest.

Posted by: FatherOfTwo | August 23, 2006 8:25 AM

Why did she bother having children to begin with? There are some things you don't know about until you actually have children, but come on, going to the park, playing a board game, reading stories, school functions, etc.

Did she really think that children pop out 16 and want to go get their hair done? Sorry, I have none of these feelings. Wait, maybe there is something wrong with me and we are all supposed to pick highlights over school functions and trips to the park. I'm not saying you can't get your hair done, but her whole world focuses on her, her, her?

Also, she was bored during Pirates of the Caribbean? Is she also blind? Johnny Depp is hot!

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 8:30 AM

I'm sorry, but I couldn't get past the sentence "Women [who] have spent years studying and then working so that we would not have to do a job as menial as full-time motherhood."

How could there be any other job more important than raising children? And what is so menial about the position? It seems to me similar financial, logistical, human relations and administrative challenges come with parenting as well as with jobs in "professional fields" that "millions of women...have previously trained for years to enter." So why does 'post feminist womanhood' find it menial?

Saying your kids bore you isn't courageous. Raising them and keeping your mouth shut about it is.

Posted by: unbeliever | August 23, 2006 8:33 AM

Personally, I liked the article. Whenever I visit friends with young kids who stay home, I always wonder what they do all day and who do they talk to. I always thought it must get extremely boring.

And yes, work can be boring, but I knew that going into it. There's plenty of societal chatter to tell you you're not alone when bored or frustrated at work.

In that sense it's nice to have writing from the likes of HKT informing me that my suspicion that child-rearing can be boring is accurate. At least I can know that I'm not the only person out there who worries about the monotony of it all.

There's nothing wrong with cyberspace chatter (as long as it doesn't replace real life chatter, IMHO). We're all obviously reading it and the purpose of all writing and talking is to share experiences and realize we're not alone.

Posted by: young&childless | August 23, 2006 8:36 AM

It has been my experience that children often reflect the personalities of their parents. I think uninteresting people have uninteresting children. But I feel pretty bad for her sons, could you imagine your mother broadcasting her feelings that you're a bore in a national forum?

I definitely do not subscribe to the "child-centered" lifestyle that many of my friends do, but I don't think I would announce my displeasure on national tv or print.

Posted by: Alexandria Mom | August 23, 2006 8:37 AM

I can understand, and almost agree. Maternity leave was so boring - the only person I had to be with all day was not the best conversationalist :-)

It's one reason that I enjoy working - the time I spend with my son is quality time, and we are much less likely to get bored of each other!

Posted by: NewMom | August 23, 2006 8:38 AM

Johnny Depp is hot!

Now that is a topic worth discussing!

Posted by: experienced mom | August 23, 2006 8:39 AM

I think the writer's position is extreme, maybe for literary effect (maybe not!), but she does raise some fair points (it's not exciting to drive your kids around all day, or read Hop on Pop for the fourth time in a row) and she effectively demonstrates the opposite side of the spectrum of parents. She certainly doesn't represent all working moms, but then again she does acknowledge some things we've probably all felt at some point.

I disagree that "if you aren't willing to make them your first priority especially over your own needs and desires" you shouldn't have them. I think there is a middle ground and it is important to acknowledge that parents are people who are entitled to have lives and interests outside of their children. Yes, raising the kids and participating in their lives and being interested in them is important. But it's not the only thing.

Posted by: Arlmom | August 23, 2006 8:45 AM

You got that right experienced mom! No one is saying that sitting at home with a new born can't be boring, I watched a lot of daytime TV and wrote stories, but this lady is self centered and acts like her own children are someone else's kids who are being pawned off on her. I'd like to hear from her husband and see how he is treated and how he treats the children.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 8:45 AM

She doesn't put her kids first anytime! There is a difference.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 8:51 AM

You wrote: "How could there be any other job more important than raising children?"

Spend 8 years getting a Ph.D. then you can make that statement. Raising a child is important but it isn't the only thing.

Posted by: To Unbeliever | August 23, 2006 8:52 AM

Wow, this article really did it. Personally, I disagree with most of the posters. I think it's okay to be bored by your kids. I think it's okay not to put your kids first all the time. Parents should have their own interests, and I think it is healthy and good for children to learn that. When they grow up, it will be no different. You can certainly take umbrage at the way that thought is presented, but I see nothing wrong with the thought as it is. I assumed many people, parents, thought that way. I guess I was wrong. But wasn't that the way it used to be? Weren't our parents that way? Maybe that's what we're trying to change.

Posted by: Didi | August 23, 2006 8:52 AM

Umm, Ph.D person, no one said your Ph.D wasn't important, but the topic was "my child bores me," not "My Ph.D is better than children."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 8:55 AM

>>She doesn't put her kids first anytime! There is a difference.>>

Agreed. She certainly presents it in the most self-centered way. But I've never met anyone in real life that was like this. Well, maybe some of the super-rich people who send their kids to boarding school when they are 6 and the sleepaway camp for 8 weeks in the summer. But there aren't too many of those people in this country. Don't forget the writer is in Britain, where it is traditional to have nannies keep the kids in the nursery and out of the parents' sight and then send them to boarding school quite young.

Posted by: Arlmom | August 23, 2006 8:57 AM

Before I read the article I thought my main point would be the one made by Alexandria Mom. It's normal to be bored with parenting, but pity the poor children whose mother openly admits it. Regardless of whether she admits it to the world, think about how they would feel if she just admitted it to them. One time, when I was particularly stressed, I made the mistake of saying I just wanted to go somewhere by myself for 24 hours. My daughter started crying because that meant I didn't want to be with her. Imagine the reaction if I said I was bored with her and everything she did.

Other than that, however, I was anticipating liking this woman and admiring her for her views. But I came away from the article feeling the exact opposite. If she were a SAHM spending her days doing artsy crafty things with the kids or discussing potty-training with the other moms, I could empathize. But she doesn't even want to read her kids bed-time stories at night, after being away from them all day. Doesn't she have any feelings for them? Any desire to want to sit and cuddle with them? And yes, maybe we're wrong to villify. But she put herself out there. It's like making comments on this blog. It would be nice some days if we were more civil with one another, but when you make a controversial statement, albeit diplomatically, you have to know that you're opening yourself up for someone to slam you.

All that being said, I agree with the need to be less child-centric. I've even, gasp, listened to music I like rather than the sound track to High School Musical the past few days in the car. But following your own interests and making sure your children are independent and not micro-managed is different than the complete lack of interest this woman claims to have.

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2006 9:00 AM

Morgan Steiner does not understand Kirwan-Taylor's article. Kirwan-Taylor is not a mom "who admit(s) to being bored by them occasionally." The point of Kirwan Taylor's deplorable article is not that some aspects of raising kids are boring. It was that the entire process of raising kid, and kids themselves, are boring.

Posted by: Rockville Dad | August 23, 2006 9:00 AM

I read this and thought "I bet tons of women feel that way, at least at some point during childrearing." Why not? No one will argue that raising kids is scintillating all the time.

However, her speaking out is not really courageous. Because I think that most mothers feel this way at some time, it's not really groundbreaking to admit it. And she must have known the backlash was coming. I mean, it's been drilled into our heads that motherhood is the most important job you can have (in fact, someone repeated that very sentiment here), so of course people will think she's selfish.

What I thought the point of the story, and the most interesting part, was this idea:
"Kirwan-Taylor went on to present the shocking idea that it is good for children to accept their mothers' limitations and their own ordinariness."

This is a revelation as far as I'm concerned. In my experience teaching and counseling kids, I learned that they want to be treated like adults. It's not appropriate at very young ages (obviously), but the sooner they know your personality, the sooner they can learn to adjust to different types of people. For example, a kid who always gets his or her own way will be spoiled and expect things in life to go a certain way. People who disappoint him or her or disagree are "mean" or "unfair." But kids who grow up knowing that people have limitations and flaws will be ready to deal with other adults as they get older.

I think Mrs. Kirwan-Taylor's kids accept their mother for who she is and will therefore accept other people with their limitations. And when pushy grandparents annoy her kids, I bet they will understand and think "oh, that's just how grandpa is" instead of "why is he not acting like mommy?!?"

I mean, don't you want your kids to know the real you and not some archetypical mom with a plastered-on smile? Wouldn't you be happier if, every once in a while, you told your kids, "I hate that game, so you can play by yourself or find one that I like too" or "I really don't want to come to the game, but when you get back I want to hear all about what you did?" Another good thing about sharing your own likes and dislikes is that the kids learn to give back to you. You give them the opportunity to be unselfish and think about your needs.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2006 9:04 AM

Your PhD will not set the stage for the next generation of people who will be running our country. Raising the children properly (not as an additional duty or afterthought) will.

Education for one's self is a good thing, but it dies with you. Doing a good job educating your children is creating a legacy.

Posted by: unbeliever | August 23, 2006 9:08 AM

8 years to get a PhD? I guess when you take that long you get an overblown sense of your accomplishment.

Posted by: To Unbeliever | August 23, 2006 9:09 AM

laundry is boring. my children are fascinating.

Posted by: experienced mom | August 23, 2006 9:10 AM

Why has the discussion around this article not included the possibility that maybe motherhood (and fatherhood, for that matter) doesn't need to look the same for everyone. I cannot stand board games and playing "light sabers" with my sons. What I do enjoy is taking them places, to the park, the grocery store, a museum and talking to them about the people and things we see. So we spend a LOT of time out of the house, doing the things I enjoy about being a mother. I can't stand kids music so I let them listen to my favorite music on my i-pod. Maybe this woman is not bored by her kids, but by what she sees as the prescribed way in which she must interact with them. She's a journalist...what are the things she loves about that and how can she share those things with her kids? She might even learn a little something more about her feild, looking at it through her kids eyes. Motherhood does not have to mean baking, board games and a sparkling kitchen floor. Or carpooling for that matter. The most wonderful thing about it is that YOU get to decide what it will look like for you and your kids. That's a freedom not many other jobs can offer.

Posted by: Mom of two | August 23, 2006 9:13 AM

I can completely relate to this blog. I recently returned to work after staying home with my two children for 4 years, and let me tell you, the blinders have been taken off. I love my kids but we are all MUCH better off now that it's not Mama 24/7. They behave better for the nanny, behave better for my husband and I when we're home. We are all much happier. I feel sane for the first time in years.

Posted by: Hmmm | August 23, 2006 9:17 AM

"The point of Kirwan Taylor's deplorable article is not that some aspects of raising kids are boring. It was that the entire process of raising kid, and kids themselves, are boring."

Excuse me, Rockville Dad, but it's "deplorable" that children are starving in Africa, and it's "deplorable" that children are beaten and killed right here in the U.S. It is NOT deplorable to think that kids are boring. It's an opinion that you don't agree with, but it's not deplorable, or even wrong. She's caring for her kids the only way she knows how. She's not abusing her children or sending them out into the street. These children will be fed and educated and will not have to worry about where they are sleeping at the end of the day. In my opinion, more deplorable mothers are ones who have children in poverty knowing that they can't feed them.

There are much worse mothers out there who deserve your scorn, so have a little perspective.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2006 9:18 AM

I'm failing to see why there can't be some kind of a middle ground here. I work and have a 2-year-old, and I enjoy both. I love spending time with her, doing things as "menial" as giving her baths or reading a bedtime, and I also enjoy my profession. There are Saturdays when I spend the afternoon taking her to a birthday party or the park, and there are Saturdays when I bring her to the mall to go shopping for myself, or the grocery store. I think the thing that frustrates me the most about the "Mommy Wars" (and this article clearly is at one extreme) is that there is so little common sense deployed by the mothers frenetically arguing (or defending) their extreme position. So little common sense, and so little tolerance. Then again, I suppose that's why I read and comment on this column so infrequently as well.

Posted by: PLS | August 23, 2006 9:19 AM

Thank you, meesh, the parenting style you describe is almost exactly the one my parents employed and it worked! Yes, they were supportive and attentive when I was very young, but as I grew older they urged me and my brother to entertain ourselves. I can recall being about 5 years old and asking my dad to read the Sunday comics to me. Instead, he suggested (kindly) that I read them myself, while he read the news. Over time it became clear that my parents were rather bored by a lot of the kid stuff (films, books, games), but it wasn't a devastating realization. They made it clear that I was free to engage in those pursuits, but that they would be otherwise occupied. Not surprisingly, that impelled me to follow their interests and by the time I was a pre-teen, we were sharing books and having some fairly engaging discussions about current events and the like.

Posted by: slk | August 23, 2006 9:19 AM

I agree with those above who feel the article, the writer, was extreme. It's ok to admit that there are boring moments. Especially when kids are babies (poop, eat, sleep, repeat). And who hasn't been bored reading Horton hears a Who for the 50th time, but it's a part of being a caring parent. But as babies become people, they do become more interesting. I can't believe that this women finds NOTHING interesting about her children. Sure I'm a working mother who enjoys her work a lot, but I do look forward to being with my children too. And while I would be bored to tears being at home all the time and with my kids 24/7, I would never put my hair above my kid's happiness. Actually, why does a 10 month old need to go to a birthday party anyway? This woman could have said no to the party if she didn't want to go.

I'm guessing that Leslie posted this so that the SAH and WOH parents would all be on the same side on this issue. Or just to incite lots of posts.

Posted by: working mother | August 23, 2006 9:19 AM

I'm fairly repulsed by this woman's article. Some of the other comments wondered why she had kids. I just wonder why she had a second child when she didn't seem to want to do anything with the first. I don't disagree that there are many aspects of parenting that can be boring or monotonous but there are many other things in life like that as well. Sometimes you just have to suck it up. I don't think a parent has to be completely selfless (giving her all for the children at the expense of herself) but this seems to fall to the other extreme of giving almost nothing of herself to her children. And she seemed to pride herself on not being that involved. For instance, she said she usually couldn't even remember the names of her children's teachers. That's pretty sad.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | August 23, 2006 9:22 AM

I think one of the author's more buried messages is, "if you're educated to work outside the home, you're more likely to be bored staying home with your kids." The PhD commenter above kind of reinforces it.

I think it's bollocks. If you're sitting at home with your kids thinking, "I should be in the boardroom, (or the lab or whatever)," then you're probably not doing your kids any favors by staying home with them.

Boring people are going to get bored. I feel sorry for her kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 9:23 AM

I think if you really read the article, her point isn't that her children are boring, it's that raising them can often be.

Honestly, I agree. Most of the tasks associated with motherhood are repatative and dull. Go ahead and think that being a mom, particularly a SAHM makes you an HR administrator or an expert in conflict resolution, but the fact of the matter is, few HR administrators spend their day whiping bottoms and cleaning up spills, and conflict resolution experts would have a short career if they solved issues with time-outs and a loss of TV privledges.

Parenting is important, no doubt about that, but in addition to love, kids need limits, and this includes limits on their access to their parents. Growing up, my mother often told us that we couldn't participate in certain teams or other activities because they conflicted with her interests. She did a great job teaching me that I was not the center of the universe. Further, to the poster who said she wanted to be alone for 24 hours, making her child cry--my mother said something similar to me, and what a great lesson it was. The message I got was that my behavior has consequences, and when I don't behave as I should, people won't want to be with me.

Parenting can be boring. Kids can be boring: they want to do everything over and over again, and while it's fun to watch them develop, it's tough to wait 5, 10 or 15 years to have a real, meaningful, stimulating conversation. Not that the wait isn't worth it, but the wait's boring just the same.

Posted by: Reston | August 23, 2006 9:23 AM

"There are much worse mothers out there who deserve your scorn, so have a little perspective."

So she doesn't abuse them physically, but it seems to me she is not giving her children what they need emotionally. And RockvilleDad is entitled to believe this is deplorable. How many people have been messed up by a "cold" mother? I would call her emotionally neglectful. Think about how you would feel if you realized your mother did not find you interesting, that you were not as important as her nail appointment, that she regreted that you were born? There's more to parenthood than clean clothes and being sent off to school.

Posted by: To Meesh | August 23, 2006 9:25 AM

FYI, people with Ph.D.s are educating your children in college. So some people's education is actually not going to die with them. And most Ph.D.s publish their research. Those will outlive your kids.

And you educate yourself so that you can educate other people too. I don't have kids, but my knowledge has been passed to other children in daycare and school.

Being a mom is very important; however, there are other very important jobs out there. I'd like to see you argue that your kids' teacher is not one of the most influencial people in their lives.

Posted by: To unbeliever | August 23, 2006 9:25 AM

Your PhD will not set the stage for the next generation of people who will be running our country.

Really? Because I teach the next generation....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 9:26 AM

The author should have thought about how much of a sacrifice motherhood is before having children. Researched, interviewed other parents with lifestyles and careers like hers. As a single mother of 2, I didn't do that and as a result have made and will continue to make alot of sacrifices, including setting aside owning and running a business (started but couldnt continue because of unresolvable conflicts with raising my babies). After running it successfully for almost 2 years and now going back to the daily 9-5 grind in order to give my children the time and financial stability they need from me, I find myself regretting not doing a whole heck of alot more thinking before I had children but that's not their fault and they shouldn't be made to suffer because of lack of planning on my part. I've come to accept I very well may have to wait until my children graduate and leave home before again pursuing self-employment but I refuse to make my children pay for that.

Posted by: Perspective | August 23, 2006 9:30 AM

I agree with M02 that there's no one "right" definition of motherhood. I'd never in a million years assert that parents have an obligation to attend every game or to cater to their children's every whim. Of course there is a middle ground, but what Kirwan-Taylor describes isn't it. All I'm saying is that being a parent sometimes means putting the needs of your kids over your own wants. Not always, but sometimes.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 23, 2006 9:43 AM

I'm with FatherofTwo here.

She shouldn't have had them (certainly shouldn't have had more than one since she had the benefit of hindsight) if they bore her. If she wanted the companionship and adulation of a young adult, adopt a teen.

Having said that, I applaud anyone who is honest about stating their feelings. Things never get dealt with if people are embarrassed and quiet about their feelings. However, in the marketplace of ideas (first amendment central) others feel free to critique, and you have to explain yourself and not be stunned at the feedback. Basically, she's entitled to feel that way, and we're entitled to critique that.

As a tangent, I am sometimes surprised that folks on the board feel personally attacked when they put their beliefs/actions/anecdotes out there and then others critique them. That's part of the notion of a marketplace of ideas, which is consistent with a community of bloggers....

Posted by: Proud Papa | August 23, 2006 9:43 AM

I didn't think Kirwan-Taylor was saying she found her kids themselves boring - I think the title of the article exaggerated her claims. In any case, a psychotherapist spoke up and said a lot of women feel the way Kirwan-Taylor does. I did think Kirwan-Taylor displayed some negative attitude: the reason moms at parties sit around and talk about potty training and other child-related stuff is to get advice to make it easier on them and therefore less boring. I think if she gave in and participated more she would have gotten advice that would make it easier. I think access to this network of advice is not a bad reason to keep working, actually. Now that I am home, I really miss it.

I agree with parts of the article: in general, moms are not allowed to admit that they are ever bored by child-raising. In part, I think this is reasonable, because, as people pointed out, do you really want your kids to know how you feel about this? Even if your position is normal, they don't have the context to see it that way, because they're just kids. Maybe when they grow up to be adults and have their own kids and are complainig about how boring it is you can say, "yup, now you know how I felt!" But for now, part of your job as a parent is to bottle it up.

In any case, I think that finding NOTHING about your kids interesting shows a lack of creativity or insight. Even when your kid has thrown seven tantrums in the last seven minutes, you have to stand back and marvel at how persistent they are. You can do things like read your infant that bodice-ripper that you wouldn't dare let your toddler see you reading. It's not like your infant understands it. She just likes to be held and read to. That said, yeah, parts of child-rearing can be mind-numbing. Not necessarily in the moment: you can always find a slightly new way to sing :Itsy-bitsy spider". But in its totality, if you are at home with your kids, you can certainly look back on your day (or week or month) and think, "Did I have anything just for myself even once?" It's true, kids shouldn't always be the center of the universe, but they think they should, and part of the struggle is figuring out how to take time for yourself without negating the benefit by having to wade through continuous tantrums or misbehavior during the entire course of your "mommy time".

I think one issue this article didn't address is that dads are sometimes the ones who stand in the way of moms being able to admit that childrearing can be boring. I've never met a dad who didn't react with shock when a woman admitted to finding any of it boring. If it's so scintillating, why don't these dads offer to stay home fulltime with their kids?

Posted by: m | August 23, 2006 9:45 AM

A conversation between HKT and her kids:

HKT: Kids, I'm sorry, I love you, but you are boring.

Kids (yawning): Hey, Mom, you know what? You're boring too. Now can we go play?Because merely conversing with you is putting us to sleep.

Imagine a family holiday dinner with this family.

I don't know what's worse. Moms who write articles who try to shock and sensationalize (isn't that what HKT is trying to do, really), or moms who tear each other down, such as those took the bait and responded to HKT's "revelation."

I admit I didn't click on the link to the HKT's article. The prospect of doing so bored me.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 23, 2006 9:45 AM

There was a time even in the US when children were to be seen and not heard. In the wealthy classes, a wet nurse fed the infants, a governess managed her charges, and boarding schools educated the young minds to succeed and propagate their elite blood lines.

The parents of these progeny were detached from all aspects of what most consider the joys of parenthood today.

Modern British society is still very stratified by class - far more than in the United States - and mother helpers/nannies are more prevalent, more accepted and more reasonably priced than here in the US, and in many ways children are segregated and lead much more structured upbringings than their relatively uninhibited American counterparts.

If the authors was raised as a member of the moneyed leisure class in the UK I am not surprised that parenthood is "boring." Its cool to bored by those things the "little people have to do." Constant supervision, discipline, structure, manners - what a drag compared to intellectually stimulating pursuits. The labor of home management: food service, housekeeping, laundry, gardening, maintenance - don't even come into the equation for the entitled.

As such in America where culture worships youth, summers off, little league baseball, DisneyWorld and the American Girl Phenomenon - even the rich elites are not shunned for regressing and enjoying parenthood. But if you find Disney pedestrian, kitsch, crass and oh so boring dahling - you'd love living in the UK.

I moved our family back from the UK to the US. I am glad I did.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 9:51 AM

I think there are many types of mothers. My mom was similar to this woman but she was a SAHM. She didn't go to my softball games often nor swim meets. She rarely hugged or kissed me. But I think it really would have hurt my feelings had she written an article like this.

Yes, parenthood can be boring most people freely admit this but to openly write about it (and then appear on tv) just seems rather insensitive to her children.

Posted by: Alexandria Mom | August 23, 2006 9:51 AM

I love my kid but I really don't understand the contention that raising a child is the most important thing ever. Obviously it's highly important, but MOST important? Can't we all come up with scenarios where it shouldn't be most important? Suppose you're President and the country is at war but Timmy has a school play? Suppose you are about to find a cure for Cancer, but the baby is crying and wants to be picked up? etc., etc., bla bla bla.

Just putting it out there. It sounds very nice, but it's not realistic to say raising your child is absolutely the #1 most important thing you can do.

Posted by: ?Question? | August 23, 2006 9:51 AM

Admitting that you feel negative things about your children sometimes can be a positive thing. I have benefitted enormously from women who are willing to write about the emotional pitfalls of motherhood. I am grateful that our culture is more open to the idea that motherhood is not enough for many women.

However, calling your children boring in the title of an article is just mean. The author is blaming her children for feelings that are not their responsibility. No child deserves to be insulted publicly.

Posted by: Chrissy | August 23, 2006 9:55 AM

Going to work evreyday is soooo boring. I deserve a more rewarding fulfilling activity to fill my day. Gahd, if I just had a trust fund or swiss bank account, I could write articles about how everybody's pedestrian life is so much more boring than mine. I think big picture, outside the box fascinating thoughts. Children are loud, undisciplined, messy, dont listen, inarticulate, uncoordinated, unintelligent and frighteningly violent. I was never a child, thank Gahd. Mumsy sent me away to boarding school at the age of three. Poppy is always at the club, and only associates with his public school chums.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 9:55 AM

I have always worked mostly with men, and this kind of admission is pretty common for fathers, talking to each other. Not all of them feel that way, certainly, but a guy can get away with complaining about having to be home with the kids and get a knowing laugh. No big deal for a mother to feel that way too. I am not sure I would share such sentiments with everybody in the world if I were her but this is not so shocking really.

I love my kids tons but was bored stiff staying home with an infant the first couple of months. The way I felt about it was, it takes up all your time but not all your attention and faculties. About the only thing you can do while feeding a baby is watch TV or listen to the radio and that got old. But at the same time I was indeed fascinated by my babies. Just wasn't quite enough to keep me from wishing for a break from time to time or an interesting problem to solve.

And I have never had a problem with menial tasks per se, that is not the issue with me. When I work in a lab, if you look at most of the things I do in isolation they are pretty menial. It's the meaning of a task that makes it interesting. So I didn't mind doing things for my babies. It was just that I could get impatient with the pace of things. But generally I found ways to improve things that were good for all of us. Like, I got sick of reading the same kiddie books over and over at bedtime so I graduated to reading chapters of longer books like Little House on the Prairie or Chronicles of Narnia. My daughter loved it and progressed in her comprehension too. When I got sick of the insipid kid movies I started renting old movies with better plots but without violence or bad language. Stuff like that. There are usually ways to compromise that are good for the kids and me too.

Posted by: Catherine | August 23, 2006 9:56 AM

Careful Catherine. ?Question? will accuse you have hating white men or even worse will correct a typo. Most of us are tolerant but there are a few who will twist your words. Remember:

Men are perfect
White men are better
Fathers are heroes

Posted by: To Catherine | August 23, 2006 9:59 AM

Ms. Steiner:

Now I know what little spoiled brats grow up to become... you.

Posted by: Dolores | August 23, 2006 10:02 AM

Your PhD will not set the stage for the next generation of people who will be running our country. Raising the children properly (not as an additional duty or afterthought) will.

Education for one's self is a good thing, but it dies with you. Doing a good job educating your children is creating a legacy.
------------------------------------

And Mother Theresa left no legacy because she was childless? It is possible to do more "good" at your job than you might as a parent. There is the constant debate of whether priests can give enough to the job if the also have families - and there are certainly other vocations where putting your family first could impact others. And on the flip side it is possible (though hopefully unusual) to have children for very selfish reasons.

Posted by: ouch | August 23, 2006 10:04 AM

One thing that I don't understand is the fact that a lot of women feel that society has pushed motherhood on them. I don't feel that I was pushed to have children, and if you feel that way, you can always exercise your rights as an American citizen to say no thanks to kids through a nice little thing called birth control or even adoption, abortion whatever. (I just threw the other two in because someone will say birth control doesn't work all the time.)

In the same vein, I don't understand this idea that it is wrong for mothers to believe that their children are the most important thing in the world to them and their families. I like work, its okay, it feeds my daughter and buys things, it will not be there when I am old and dying and I am not leaving a legacy by doing it. I'm not saying that everyone has to be a mother to be fulfilled, but if some mothers like going to every game and cheering their kid on or choose to go to a birthday party instead of getting highlights, why is that seen as something abnormal? Me time is just that, time, not the entire time of your kids lives.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 10:04 AM

Unbeliever. Stop being jealous of other peoples' accomplishments. Just go about your boring life and hover over your kids until you die. I'm sure that will make you happy while you fight for respect from your loved ones that have moved on with their lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 10:07 AM

I'm a stay at home dad so i guess its a bit diff. I enjoy being with my kids and watching them grow. You say "who cares about how Helen Kirwin feels about her kids ?" That is the main point in a relationship "how you feel about the other person" Helen's kids may get food and shelter but a resentful mom will hold back something far more precious. Yes , maybe we all are not cut out to be moms, but at the very least, dont embarass yr kids for many years to come with an article that will leave your kids secound guessing there relationship with there mom.

Posted by: Tommy | August 23, 2006 10:12 AM

Suppose you're President and the country is at war but Timmy has a school play? Suppose you are about to find a cure for Cancer, but the baby is crying and wants to be picked up? etc., etc., bla bla bla.

bad example, we are at war and our president is always on vacation.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 10:13 AM

What I find surprising about Kirwan-Taylor's article is that she did not list a single activity that she enjoys doing with her kids: birthday parties, park, museum, board games, reading, school activities, movies etc., all bore her. This from a woman who seems to be saying that having her highlights done is much more interesting (now, that is boring). Doesn't that strike you all as odd? It pretty much sounds like she does not enjoy being with her kids doing anything. All we get is the negative. And while being at home with a newborn can be at times a thankless task, I can't believe that she finds her boys 10 and 12 so boring. My oldest daughter is 9 and she is a lot of fun to be with. We have great conversations about God, friendship, trust, poverty etc. I don't partake in all of her activities because some of them (such as collecting Pokemon cards) hold no interest to me, but there are many other things that we both enjoy doing together.
Not everybody is meant to be a parent, just like not everybody is meant to be a doctor. The author clearly should not have become a mother because she just does not enjoy anything about it. Raising children should be more then just keeping them fed and sheltered. They should not dictate our lives. But once we choose to have them, we have to honor our end of the bargain and take an active interest in them and in their lives.
As for the criticism, I agree with all of those who have said that if you choose to write this article, appear on TV etc. it is incredibly disingeneous to pretend to be surprised by people's reactions.

Posted by: FCmom | August 23, 2006 10:16 AM

To To:Catherine

(1) Never corrected anyone's grammar on the board. Look it up.
(2) Not a white male. Never said (or would say) white men are perfect. Again, look it up.
(3) I don't twist. I quote your text right back to you and ?Question? your premises.

Catherine I take no issue with you expressing your opinion. Notice the poster had nothing insightful or even useful to say.

It is transparently obvious who To:Catherine is. Her debate skills remain pathetic. Open head. Remove rocks.

Posted by: ?Question? | August 23, 2006 10:16 AM

I commend this woman for being honest about child rearing. However most people have completely missed the point - despite child rearing being boring and tedious it needs to be done with love, patience and caring.
There are many times when my job is mindlessly boring but because I need to do it and its is my responsibility to do it, I push on! Not everything we do in life is supposed to be exciting and engaging. The lesson here as I see it is despite child rearing being a huge bore it needs to be done!

Posted by: Ana | August 23, 2006 10:21 AM

I find my kids interesting, although I do find some of the 4 year old's chosen games boring. What really bores me is the unshared housework that comes with being a SAHM. Clean dishes and laundry are important, but not fulfilling and keeping up with a senile 18+ year old cat that has more potty training issues than my kid and a dog that sheds enough for 3 could try anyone's patience.

I caught myself gazing wistfully out the window this morning as my neighbor's cleaning crew came. Oh well, time to start the washer!

Posted by: Robin | August 23, 2006 10:25 AM

One thing that I don't understand is the fact that a lot of women feel that society has pushed motherhood on them.

--------------------------------

Listen to the political campaigns next season! Read the comments on this board about the only route to maturity being through motherhood. Think hard about whether single friends of yours in their thirties had to field questions about why they weren't following along from (well-meaning) mothers. Just as SAHMs feel looked down upon by WOHMs, and WOHMs feel looked down upon by SAHMs, non-Moms get the same feelings from Moms.

sidenote... As someone in a technical field I find it interesting I only ever get these questions /pressure from female friends.

Posted by: ouch | August 23, 2006 10:25 AM

I mean, isn't it natural to get bored from time to time if you do the same thing all the time. I get bored every single day at my job, and I mean every single day. I have no kids and I still get bored with what I do. To me that just means that I'm challenged to find a way to make my job/career/life more interesting. And that's exactly what I do- look for opportunities to spice things up. Same for motherhood. It doesn't mean that she dislikes her kids or that she dislikes raising them or that society has programmed her to feel like she needs to be out of the house with an exciting career in order to be fulfilled. It just means that she has to challenge herself to find ways to make every day not so routine. It has nothing to do with the fact that she's raising kids instead of working. ( I am really not kidding- I need to get out of this boring job.)

Posted by: dcp | August 23, 2006 10:27 AM

I would caution that WOHP's or SAHP's who are detached from their children or choose to be otherwise uninvolved or disinterested, may find the relationship stays distant in the future when you may find the relationship more valuable.

The title of the piece, "Sorry, but my children bore me to death!" is tough to swallow but the content: "Because I have categorically said: 'I am not a waitress, a driver or a cleaner,' my children have learned to put away their plates and tidy up their rooms. They've become brilliant planners..." is somewhat redeeming. Yet I wonder if the nanny is more to credit for the resilience of the kids? I agree that kids can be over coddled wusses these days.

But you could look at the redeemeing comment another way: In the author's geriatric years I hope she doesnt mind if her offspring wont wait on her, drive for her or clean up after her. She had best hope she can still afford servants.

What comes around goes around.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 10:28 AM

One phrase from the column about letting children know of their 'ordinaryness' (or something to that effect) struck me as very true. I love kids, and lord knows there are many kids in this world that need to be shown their 'specialness'. But, the average middle to upper class kid these days is coddled and fawned over from birth until they graduate from college. As a manager, I have noticed that this translates into young workers who simply can't cope very well with the rigours of the real world. Nobody here is going to tell them they are special if they are doing what is expected. Anyway, all parents, but particularly the mothers would serve themself and their children if they would go ahead and live their lives more fully while not slave-ishly indulging their childrn so much.

Posted by: 40 yo male | August 23, 2006 10:32 AM

Tommy - in fact I find Leslie's comment "who cares how she feels about her kids?" to be the most disturbing line of all, even more disturbing than the attention seeker's article. Of course her kids care how she feels about them. Parents' love is what gives children a sense of self worth and faith in the world around them. Take that away and you take away a precious thing that no one can replicate. Even Kirwan-Taylor said she loves her children although they bore her. I really think she took an extreme position just to get media attention and I feel bad for her children that she did that. I'm sure most parents agree that there are boring aspects to childraising but to just say everything about children is boring and you don't find anything fascinating about your children is beyond belief.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | August 23, 2006 10:33 AM

I think alot of commenters have missed another point, as well. Has society become "slaves to our kids"? It's one thing to read stories to them at bedtime, go to the park with them, etc., but it's another thing completely to live your life around them. Look at some of the quotes from the article:

"Research increasingly shows that child-centred parenting is creating a generation of narcissistic children who cannot function independently."...

"Child experts are increasingly begging parents to let their kids be."...

"Sometimes, apparently, the best thing parents can do for their children is to let them be bored."...

It seems that certain parts of society equate boredom with child abuse. If kids have to: amuse themselves, play a softball/soccer game without a parent in attendance, eat the food that's put in front of them at dinnertime or not eat at all... WHY is that a bad thing?

Posted by: Just a thought... | August 23, 2006 10:37 AM

Ana said: "There are many times when my job is mindlessly boring but because I need to do it and its is my responsibility to do it, I push on! Not everything we do in life is supposed to be exciting and engaging."

I have heard concern expressed in recent years that between increased TV viewing, video games, DVDs (in the car now too!), etc. we are instilling in our kids the need to be constantly entertained and teaching them to have a short attention span.

Whether or not this is true, I find it fascinating, ironic, and not a little sad that HK-T, as an adult, seems to have that same need (indeed, entitlement) and is complaining that it isn't being fulfilled by her kids.

Plus, there is a difference between saying kids ARE boring and saying kids CAN BE boring. Totally agree with the latter, can't disagree more with the former.

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 10:39 AM

My point was that you can't blame society for how you feel about your children or yourself. If you don't want kids don't have them, don't say well so and so had one and I feel pressured so I better get to it.

We as a society need to get over the, I felt pressured or so and so told me to attitude. Do what's best for you and ignore the people who say stuff to you or tell then to mind their own business.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 10:39 AM

OK, I do not have the time to read all of your posts and I need to read her article in detail. But I don't think it is so shocking to say I find child rearing boring. Now to say, I actually find my individual children boring, is pretty harsh. But a lot of day to day child rearing activities are boring. I swear we spent 50 minutes of last night watching Barney's Christmas star (in August-no less). Did I find that boring? Your darn right I found that mind blowing boring for the 50,000 time I watched that video. What I did not find boring was watching my daughter's reaction to the tree lighting part. Her eyes gleamed, she smiled between sucking her thumb and she made that forever delightful glee of "ooh ahh, light twee." I don't think I would like parenting 24/7 and very few, even SAHPs, actually parent 24/7. Everyone needs a break every now and then. But what I find stimulating is watching my daughter grow. Watching her show signs of understanding different things, watching her show happiness, and just the joy of knowing what a wonderful little person that I was blessed to have in my family. I have actually had about 30% of my GF admit, to only adults, that if they had to do it all over again, they would not choose to parent. Not that they don't love them to death and take good care of them, it is just they realize that it is a huge burden and some what unfullfilling to them personally. I found less then 20% of my GF were absolutely enthralled with their child's existence. Kind of sad statistics if you think about it. But kids do not come on a test run basis, contrary to what CAL might think. So who knows how they are going to feel after having a kid. What is sad is this women went and had a second kid. My guess is she felt if I have kid #2, then kid #1 and kid #2 can entertain each other and I can do squat. Sad, really sad. If I felt totally bored with my child's existence, I sure as heck would never tell my child that. I think it is one thing to tell other adults that you regret certain life decisions but kids do not need to know everything you think and feel.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 10:43 AM

On the "why did she have a second child issue," maybe she was hoping that parenting would be less boring to her as her children got older, so she didn't want the tediousness of being a mother of a two-year-old deprive her older child of having a sibling when, hopefully down the road, she would find the whole parenthood thing more fulfilling. But it just didn't end up that way.

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2006 10:49 AM

i find this whole debate interesting. there are those with heaving busoms who talk about motherhood as if it were the most important thing in the world. there are those talk about motherhood with a yawn. i think there is a middle ground. it is interesting to me that if h t-k's husband had posted that he found his kids boring the heaving busom set wouldn't be quite so irrate. is it ok for a mom to admit that she finds her children boring, ever? is it ok for a father to admit the same thing? is it ok for me to admit that i find taking my son to the park boring? he runs around & i get to sit on the bench and watch. i don't know about you but that gets old fast. birthday parties? i drop him off and then run. he doesn't need/want me hovering while he plays with his friends. like a previous poster stated, i am growing increasing more willing to tell my child no, i won't play with you. you need to learn how to play by yourself or find somebody else to play with. i don't put down what he wants to do and i'm willing to do other things that do interest me with him like biking. am i a bad mom because i won't play pokemon with him?

Posted by: quark | August 23, 2006 10:51 AM

very good distinction: Aimily | August 23, 2006 10:39 AM

Existential debate still pertinent to 21st century America. That's not boring at all.

Depends of what the definition of "is" is.

To be, or not to be. That is the question.

Blues Clues is waaaaay less boring than Barney. Choices choices...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 10:51 AM

Wow you are such a wonderful person even if you are not a white male. What an a**hole you are, truly. You go crawl back under your rock jerkoff

Posted by: To ?question? | August 23, 2006 10:53 AM

really great discussion. thanks everyone. what i love about this blog is the great range of opinions, unvarnished and without a care for political correctness.

don't agree with everyone obviously, based on what i wrote. i personally would like to be a guest at helen k-t's family dinner. and i think no man or woman should be attacked for admitting that parts of raising kids is boring. a dose of reality can be very comforting to moms who are thinking "am i the only one? is there something wrong with me?"

Posted by: Leslie | August 23, 2006 10:53 AM

My wife and I are considering having kids, and so I check out this blog from time to time (with trepidation, admittedly) as one of many means to gain some insight. This last post confuses me- not the article she references (though I have no idea whether the woman is bored by some aspects of parenting or the kids themselves either, it's a pretty odd piece), but Leslie's take. A few months back there was a post on how much mothers should be paid for all the different jobs they do. Now, we get an admission that it's boring a lot of the time, something I can hardly imagine someone who was actually holding down all those jobs at once would say. I personally am a child psychologist, just one of the jobs mothers supposedly do, and I feel pretty challenged day in and day out, definitely not bored.

So which is it? If it's both, then these mothers are doing an impossibly challenging job and simultaneously hopelessly bored by the whole thing. Obviously, given my career choice, I don't really expect to be bored by my children personally, even if some of the repetitive requirements can get a little dull, so this doesn't really worry me (or my wife, who also works with kids professionally). But these bored, super-mothers, if that's actually true, maybe shouldn't have kids- not because they're not good mothers, but because it would free up more of their time to be the superheroines they apparently are.

Posted by: non-parent | August 23, 2006 10:54 AM

You are a good parent for refusing to play such a boring pedestrain game as Pokemon.

Time to introduce the tyke to No Limit Texas Hold'em. I bet you can fleece junior of all hi/her loose change too! All in!

At least crazy eights... Hearts, Diamonds, Trees, Black Hearts.

Turn off the TV... play catch, play a guitar, play cards, draw - or even better play "fold the laundry!" TV only for desperate measures.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 10:54 AM

OMG, I just read her article. Did anyone notice she states her kids are like 10 and 12 years old. But the picture clearly shows really young kids. Maybe 4 or 6. I guess she was too bored to get a photograph of her kid in 6 years. I actually found her self centered. Unwilling to sacrifice being bored a bit, to spend time in something her kids like to do. Sure, the US and maybe Europe, and Canada have become really child centered. To a point of insanity. I fall into that trap myself sometimes. But having a relationship is a give and a take. By her complete unwillingness to do something her kid would rather do for umm, 20 minutes, is selfish IMO. I mean, I hate action movies. I am bored stiff watching them. But I go with DH to all the latest action films because it is give an take. You know what, he thinks the theatre is over priced boredom but he GOES with me because he loves me. I would hate to raise my kid to think we can only do things that interest me and not her. But I do think it is cool she can admit to being that bored by her kids. I don't know why getting your hair cut is anymore interesting then going to a kid birthday party. If you ask me both events are boring. Now if she was reading a good book, analyzing a theme in a dance production, or keeping up with world politics that would be interesting.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 10:55 AM

"bad example, we are at war and our president is always on vacation"

But, is he on vacation because he is attending a school play or there are margaritas to drink? I understand that those in Iraq are there for nine months at a time; he should have to stay in the White House, and away from HIS loved ones for that duration, without the need for regular vacations. Sorry, but the cushy White House doesn't compare to a tent in the desert with no AC and food from cans and MREs.

...sorry, I got lost on a tangent.

Posted by: Stacey | August 23, 2006 10:56 AM

>>In the same vein, I don't understand this idea that it is wrong for mothers to believe that their children are the most important thing in the world to them and their families.>>

It's not, and I don't know that anyone said it is. But it is wrong for someone who believes that to tell ME I'm a bad mom because I don't think that--or because, even if I agree, I implement that concept differently.

My kid is very important to me, I could say he's the most important thing in my life. At some level, I can say I would do anything to protect him, help him, etc. But he is basically healthy, happy, growing up...do I need to spend 24/7 with him? No. He can play trains by himself for a while. Some days he needs to sit on my lap for a long time, so I forget about getting the laundry done and hold him. But sometimes I have to go to work and he has to suck it up and go to school. Just because he's important doesn't mean he's the only thing or the most important thing every minute of the day.

Posted by: to Scarry | August 23, 2006 10:58 AM

Why so much anger at this mom? Who cares how she feels about her kids? Why do people feel that all parents have to love every second with their children, or love parenting equally? Isn't it more important that she is a good mom? There's nothing in her story to indicate she isn't. If missing a birthday party and not playing board games are the worst she's done, then heck, more kids should be so lucky. Those who condemn her should go get a life.

Posted by: chicagomom | August 23, 2006 10:58 AM

dcp wrote: "I get bored every single day at my job, and I mean every single day. I have no kids and I still get bored with what I do. To me that just means that I'm challenged to find a way to make my job/career/life more interesting. And that's exactly what I do- look for opportunities to spice things up."

clapclapclap

That's what our parents taught us to do, right? If you're bored, find some way to entertain yourself, find some way to not be bored. Read a child development book, for example -- not only will it help you understand what's going on with your kid (and know some of the reasons behind their "inane babbling"), it will also add a more cerebral, adult level to your interactions. There are some amazing things going on in terms of brain development, just in the first five years. I mean, first language acquisition alone...

Okay, so that's just an example and not for everybody. But our advice to ourselves has got to mirror our advice to our kids -- if you're bored, do something about it! Your intellectual stimulation and the amount of interesting things in your life are your responsibility, not your kids'.

(Disclaimer: Yes, there are some aspects of motherhood that are just flat-out boring. No amount of study or effort will make diaper changing fun. I am talking more about the idea of finding the entire notion of raising/having/interacting with children intrinsically boring.)

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 10:59 AM

"i think no man or woman should be attacked for admitting that parts of raising kids is boring"

I think everyone can agree with what that. Lots of us admit that there are boring moments. However, it seems that this writer has taken the discussion to an extreme. She has said that her kids are boring and apprears to cede most of the childrearing to another person. Nannies and childcare are fine, but she doesn't seem to want to interact at all with her children. Surely a mother could find something about her children she likes.

Posted by: To Leslie | August 23, 2006 11:00 AM

Non-parent,

Parenthood is what you make of it -- no more, no less. If you treat it like just another job and focus on the menial -- you will be bored. If you treat it like a professional career it tends to be extremely rewarding.

There's no positive spin that I can put on some of the tasks [I agree with the earlier poster who indicated Blue's Clues over Barney -- my advice is to move them to Looney Tunes as quickly as possible]. That said, I was just as psyched as the kids when we did the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment...

Posted by: A Dad | August 23, 2006 11:02 AM

"Why so much anger at this mom? Who cares how she feels about her kids? Why do people feel that all parents have to love every second with their children, or love parenting equally? Isn't it more important that she is a good mom? There's nothing in her story to indicate she isn't."

There also isn't anything in her story to indicate that she IS a good mom.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 11:02 AM

Growing up, my mom was bored with me and my brother and we both knew it. Doesn't mean she didn't love us and raise us properly. Just means that she isn't the kind of person to sit there and sing nursery rhymes all day or attend another kid's birthday party or watch a bunch of kids on a field trying to play soccer. We knew that she loved us, she just didn't find our choice of acitivties all that intersting. Now, as adults, she finds us immensely interesting. We talk at least once a day on the phone; we vacation with her and my dad at least once a year; and we're at each others' house at least twice a month.

She even asked me the other day, as I was dancing around with my two year old singing a nursery rhyme, "Are you enjoying that?" I smiled and told her, "I know. You don't like this kind of thing, but, it's not so bad." She just smiled.

By the way, my husband thinks that I'm wrong for not enjoying going to Chuck-E-Cheese's with our sons. Why am I wrong? I find that to be boring. Different strokes, people.

Folks need to stop glamorizing parenthood. It's like everything else in life, people have different approaches. The problem is that you most often don't know how you will react to being a parent until you are one.

Posted by: BEN | August 23, 2006 11:02 AM

Extremes are never a good thing. Neither smothering nor neglect is good for a child. I'd dare say smothering is better than neglect though.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | August 23, 2006 11:03 AM

Again, it all goes back to balance. It looks like the article states she has no balance in her life as mother. She is unwilling to bend in anyway to accomodate her children's EMOTIONAL needs. I don't think anyone, here at least, is suggesting it is wrong for a parent to feel a bit bored with some of the more menial and redunant tasks of being a mother. I don't know anyone who thinks it is wrong for a mother to not place her child in the number one position 24/7. But the idea is to have some balance between your needs, your family's needs, your child's needs, and your employers needs.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 11:04 AM

Why so much anger at this mom?

because
the Title sets a horrible tone
she is rich
has servants - and still complains
seems arrogant
its mean to call your own kids boring and not accept resposibility for the condition

Hard to capture tone of voice in the written word, but the lack of humor in the article grates on even me.


Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 11:06 AM

Well said Lieu. That's what I think most of us are trying to articulate.

Posted by: working mother | August 23, 2006 11:07 AM

I really appreciate this post for its honesty, and I agree with the premise that it is not, in fact, the most important thing in the world to revolve your life around your children. Love them, take care of them, educate them, certainly. But the oft repeated cliche of raising the next generation so they can change the world is infuriating to those of us who have trained and studied and prepared to do just that.

Mother nature's (and society's) expectation that women need to reproduce just at the same time as they are hitting their career stride is a problem Leslie has addressed repeatedly on here.

I'm infuriated by the suggestion that raising children is the greatest thing anyone can do and therefore parents should make eager sacrifice of their own fulfillment and independent societal contributions in order to fawn over their children's every move.

Why should it be a surprise that plenty of women are frustrated that the time-limited activity of child bearing and rearing is not a greater source of satisfaction than the vast spectrum of world-changing possibilities open to a 30 year old with an education?

Posted by: YWA | August 23, 2006 11:10 AM

I think it's a good step towards removing the cooing romanticism people have about "having a baby" and screening people so that the people who actually choose to have babies are the ones who are truly called towards that way of life.

Posted by: Liz | August 23, 2006 11:12 AM

smothering better than neglet??? i don't know about that. talk to the son/daughter who was never allowed to grow up and who is 40, still lives at home, can't hold a job and who can't accept responsibility for their actions because mommy & daddy bail them out of everything. talk to the sibling of said, manchild or whatever term you can use for a daughter, you know, the one who watched their sib get everything denied them. while the pain is there who is the one who is bette off?

Posted by: quark | August 23, 2006 11:12 AM

I'm infuriated by the suggestion that raising children is the greatest thing anyone can do and therefore parents should make eager sacrifice of their own fulfillment and independent societal contributions in order to fawn over their children's every move

no no one on this blog says things like this at all.

Posted by: to to scarry | August 23, 2006 11:14 AM

Chuck E Cheese's - that's one place where we draw the line. Not because I'm bored, but the lights and noise really get to me. Not to mention trying to keep track of the kids. We have gone three times - once because we didn't know better, and twice after that because of birthday parties. We have since been asked by our children to go a number of time. The answer is always an unequivocal "NO!" Not "maybe later this summer," or "we'll see." Why build up false expectations? NO!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2006 11:15 AM

>>No amount of study or effort will make diaper changing fun.>>

What did Mary Poppins say? Find the fun, and then it's not work? Husband is from tornado country so we entertain ourselves during diaper changes by assigning them values based on the tornado force scale:

F1--ordinary diaper, requires maybe one or two swipes with the wipe
F2--a little worse, maybe requires two wipes to get it all
F3--pretty bad, needs several wipes, special attention to tricky areas and you might get a little poop on your hand or wrist in the process
F4--bad. May require assistance from the other parent, a big stack of wipes, and new pants/onesie. Often accompanied by a horrendous odor. Most really bad poos fell into this category, although we often debated whether certain F4's were actually an:
F5--monster poo. Only a handful of diapers made it into this category over the years, including the one where DS sat down and poo came flying out of the waistband and cuffs of his pants. Requires not just a complete change of clothes but an immediate load of laundry. Definitely involves both parents. Hazmat suit would come in handy.

Posted by: ToAimily | August 23, 2006 11:17 AM

I agree with what you are saying somewhat.
I think people do not like the extreme view of the writer. I am someone who values my career almost as much as my children and I see nothing wrong with that (just like you). I too believe that children's needs/desires should not supercede the parent's needs/desires all the time. However, this women seems to be admitting that she cannot find anything interesting about her children. Sure, there are a number of boring things about parenting just as there are boring things about any job. Personally I would be concerned about the emotional harm to children of a mother who could only meet the physical needs of her children and none of the emotional needs. It really is sad for her entire family.

Posted by: To YWA | August 23, 2006 11:18 AM

YWA writes: "Why should it be a surprise that plenty of women are frustrated that the time-limited activity of child bearing and rearing is not a greater source of satisfaction than the vast spectrum of world-changing possibilities open to a 30 year old with an education?"

Nor should we automatically consider it a lesser source of satisfaction. It all boils down to choices. I seem to remember Gloria Steinem (?) saying that the idea that everyone with a womb is cut out to be a mother is like saying everyone with a voicebox is cut out to be an opera singer. You have to know yourself and then make conscious choices based on that self-knowledge. Obviously this is no help in the case of unplanned pregnancy, but as far as I could tell from the article, both of those kids were born on purpose.

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 11:20 AM

YMA what makes "high potential" mothers frustrated is not childraising. It is:
1) A social culture that makes a mother who still feels the need to contribute to society feel bad that she is a working mother
2) A work culture that makes a mother who feels that it is important that she spend time with her children feel bad that she only wants to wants to work reasonable hours
3) Family and friends who are judmental of her choice and don't hesitate to say so

God made it so that we bear children in our prime because that is when we can give our best to our children. Too young and we don't have the maturity we need to raise kids and too old and we don't have the energy we need to raise kids. God has it right, it's society that has it all wrong!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 11:20 AM

I haven't read the British writer's comments, but I will say that my neighbor was complaining to me yesterday about how bored she is staying home and how she's applied for a part-time job. I felt very sympathetic and assured her that motherhood is incredibly boring. Because it is. Anything that must be done over and over again day after day fits that bill, and that is what taking care of kids represents. Acknowledging that cooking, laundry, driving kids around, and often eating dinner alone with them while a spouse puts in long hours is boring isn't a sin. It's just honest. It doesn't mean we don't love our kids, either. It has nothing to do with that. That said, I don't find my children per se boring, but too much time ministering to them is boring, at least for me.

Posted by: Ann | August 23, 2006 11:21 AM

I too dislike Chuck E. Cheese.
I hate Disney World too. My husband was trying to make me out to be a bad mother for refusing to go this summer. It's overpriced, cheesy, unhealthy (the food) and well cheesy. Oh, I said that.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 11:22 AM

'Wow you are such a wonderful person even if you are not a white male. What an a**hole you are, truly. You go crawl back under your rock jerkoff'

shouldn't this one be removed? Hello? anyone there at the washington post?

Posted by: experienced mom | August 23, 2006 11:24 AM

ToAimily:

Bravo!! I stand corrected. Thanks for the chuckles. :)

And you made the point better than I ever could have -- all it takes is some effort and creativity!

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 11:25 AM

To: To ?question?

Sensitive much?

Love, me.

Posted by: ?Question? | August 23, 2006 11:28 AM

I'm infuriated by the suggestion that raising children is the greatest thing anyone can do and therefore parents should make eager sacrifice of their own fulfillment and independent societal contributions in order to fawn over their children's every move

no no one on this blog says things like this at all.
----------------------------

earlier today... from unbeliever

How could there be any other job more important than raising children?

Posted by: to to to scarry | August 23, 2006 11:30 AM

I just read the original article, and frankly, it could have been written by my mother. All this lady is saying is that she isn't interested in child-centric activities. Newsflash to my generation: not everybody is! People shouldn't be made to feel badly because they aren't into such things. The author's kids have figured out their mom just as my brother and I did years ago. She loves them, they love her.

Posted by: BEN | August 23, 2006 11:34 AM

It's sad that we villify people who are honest about their opinions. If motherhood is the end-all, be-all for you, congratulations. If it's not, and you're willing to admit it, congratulations.

Raising children is tough--we all get that. Some of us love it. Some of us don't. And that's o.k. American women are trying so hard to justify their existence that we get into petty wars about anything that questions our dedication to whatever we dedicate ourselves to.

It wasn't long ago that children weren't more than an extension of your farm labor. You didn't coddle them, meet their every emotional need and create a fantasy world for them where they're perfect. In many countries today that still holds true.

Most of them grew up to do just fine in the world, without helicopter parents or overblown self-esteems. Life was tough, and it wasn't a shock when they grew up. Mommy wasn't there to fix every little booboo and that lesson was learned early on. These are the lessons that her children are learning.

Children are a blessing. How you define the blessing is up to you. Personally I'm glad there are others out there willing to admit that they are not perfect mothers. I appreciate the desire to redefine perfect. I do not appreciate the desire to villify people for expressing their opinions.

Posted by: Patricia | August 23, 2006 11:34 AM

I'll admit it. I HATED the Toddler years! HATED THEM. I was Bored out of my mind, lonely and going through a messy divorce & custody battle.
I also lived in a rather pretentious DC suburb that didn't look too kindly upon the young divorced mom....
I hated Nick Jr. Hated barney. hated Mom Groups. Hated Gymboree hated afternoon teas. Ohhh, how they hated me, too. I tried. Tried to play with the big players, but simply couldn't stomach trying to "fit in" and get my child caught up in that over scheduled lifestyle of constant competition.
So, i said screw it and started raising my child the way *I* wanted to, not the way society believed I should. And suddenly, It became Fun. realllly fun. When I became a room mom for the Kindergarten, I realized the teacher wasn't much older then myself and we had a lot in common. Instead of soccer which happened to be a disaster all around, I enrolled her in Tae Kwon Do and she is one belt away from being an A$$ kickin' black belt after five years of intense study.
As she got older, we started doing things together. I always had a love for cartoons and I turned my daughter onto the ones I grew up on. She fell in love with my love for Japanese Anime. She gave up on the Disney chanel manufactured boy & girl bands for The Smiths and The Dandy Warhols, because I listned to them.
Sure, all my interests are not appropriate for her and we deny access to that, but we do give her the choice on many levels. She can listen to Kelly Clarkson or Fugazi, her decision. My new husband and I empowered her to talk with us, discuss anything and make her own decisions. She now has her own pay as you go cell phone which she pays for herself out of her allowance, has her own house key, walks on her own to her friends houses and has become an extremely smart critical thinker. I decided to approach parenting the way I approach my life: I don't give a damn about what anyone else thinks.
I agree with the article that parents today are overscheduling, overprotective and concerned more with how others view their parenting styles then anything else. My own cousin was appalled by my decision to allow my 12 year old to become a latchkey kid. I said, "Uhm, do you remember what age we were when our parents let us stay home by ourselves? We were 9." Discussion was over after that.

Posted by: MomOfAPreteen | August 23, 2006 11:37 AM

Leslie's comments on the Kirwan-Taylor article are right on target. Especially her last paragraph.

It occurred to me, reading that paragraph, that the problem with "mommyhood" nowadays is that, unlike their predecessors, middle- and upper-class women today view child-raising as an achievement-oriented activity -- something to excell at. Like succeeding at a high-powered job.

So, then, mommies see other mommies as competitors and rivals who challenge their drive to be the best. In effect, these women haven't left the boardroom or the courtroom or the trading floor; they've simply transferred the setting to their home base. Now, instead of fighting to win a case or bring in an account, they're fighting to be the best mommy.

Interesting that it takes a writer -- someone who works in solitude -- to be honest about her feelings and her motivations regarding her kids. She's likely not competitive, by nature or profession. No wonder she feels intimidated by all the mommies who are part of the contest. The Mommy-of-the-Year Tournament.

Anyone want to comment on this?

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 11:40 AM

What a refreshing read! Kirwan-Taylor sounds like an imperfect but honest and (dare I say it) interesting woman. Much more interesting than the robots I know who talk about parenting like they're reading off a script. I've long suspected there's a boring side to parenting that my friends are loath to fess up to.

Yes, the position she states is extreme (I'm sure she aiming to shock and more than willing to take her words with a grain of salt). But it DOES open the door to a much more interesting conversation about parenting. Don't you think?

Posted by: Friend | August 23, 2006 11:40 AM

Leslie wrote: "and i think no man or woman should be attacked for admitting that parts of raising kids is boring. a dose of reality can be very comforting to moms who are thinking 'am i the only one? is there something wrong with me?'"

I think most Moms are pretty open about the pros and CONS of parenting. I don't think everyone on this blog is attacking her for admitting that parts of parenthood are boring. From my POV, she isn't being very fair to her children by doing so in a public forum. I realize her job is in journalism but maybe she should switch to *real news* instead of airing her less than admirable feelings about her children.

Posted by: Alexandria Mom | August 23, 2006 11:44 AM

Alexandria Mom: Her kids already know. And, guess what, they've already adjusted. They'll be fine.

Posted by: BEN | August 23, 2006 11:48 AM

You made an effort to connect with your daughter that the writer of the article doesn't seem to want to do. Good for you. And personally good for you for bucking the mommy competition. I don't think anyone should criticise others for how they bring up their children, but as this women seems to say she is doing, emotionally freezing out her kids. Hmmm....

Posted by: To Momofapreteen | August 23, 2006 11:49 AM

MomOfAPreteen

An essay from you would have been much better received than the snobby "my kids bore me so" treatise form Notting Hill.

More please! Sounds like you have the balancing act as an art.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 11:52 AM

"who cares how she feels about them?"

They do. And that should make it important to her (though none of our business unless her behavior were to rise to the level of child neglect).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 11:54 AM

To BEN, Oh, thanks for clearing that up. Glad you are here to provide such insightful commenting.

To Momofpreteen: I agree with Fo3, you need to write an essay for this blog. It would be a welcomed breath of fresh air.

Posted by: Alexandria Mom | August 23, 2006 11:55 AM

"Helen's kids may get food and shelter but a resentful mom will hold back something far more precious"

But Tommy, the point is that she'd not resentful! She's honest and she has her personal time. She's loving them the way she knows how, not how other people tell her to.

A resentful mom would be one who grins and bears it while spending every minute with her kids while she's secretly going crazy inside. Bitter and resentful moms are the ones who are lying to thenselves and everyone else.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2006 11:57 AM

Would H K-T's article have been received differently if it were written by a father complaining about being bored with his kids? For example, if a father complained that he was tired of tutu's, fingernail painting, playing dress-up, Bratz-themed birthday parties, watching High School Musical?

Posted by: BEN | August 23, 2006 11:58 AM

To Momofapreteen,
I didn't perceive Kirwan-Taylor as emotionally freezing out her kids at all. She's just used strong language to make a point that's intended to be shocking or disruptive of the status quo. She sounds like a contrarian to me. Not an ice queen.

Posted by: Friend | August 23, 2006 11:58 AM

I've stated before that I know I am not cut out to be a SAHM (and given that I am the only parent, it's a moot point), but I was saddened by Helen's article. Clearly this is a woman who should not have had children. She didn't indicate that she found joy in ANY part of her children's lives. I have a career that I very much enjoy, but I cherish the time I have with my daughter. Even small things like curling up on the couch and watching some dreadful Amanda Bynes movie with my 10-year-old is comforting...maybe not exciting, but I enjoy her company.

There is a difference between wanting outside stimulation and a career and not enjoying your children at all.

Posted by: single western mom | August 23, 2006 11:59 AM

Not everyone enjoys parenting. We have been conditioned to believe that it will be rewarding, fulfilling, exciting. But it is not that way for everyone. I was born in 1958 and most moms of small children did not work outside the home. But they didn't make their children a career either. Kids were expected to entertain themselves, play outside and this was while Mom was doing housework, playing cards with the neighbor women or watching game shows and soap operas. Moms did not sit and play with the kids or drive them to activities to the extent that today's moms do. I think for the most part women of that generation saw their children as important, but not the center of the mother's universe. I was a young mom in the early 1980's and things were much different, but today's moms are even more involved and intense than I was.

Posted by: Suzy | August 23, 2006 12:00 PM

Ouch, AlexandriaMom, can't take the heat?

Posted by: BEN | August 23, 2006 12:00 PM

My wife and I know we didn't want kids and took steps to make sure it never happens. Why? Because we see all of our friends with kids and how little they get to experience life anymore. Iv'e had the same conversation with too may guys when they're drunk enough for honesty, it goes like this: "Don't get me wrong, I love my wive and kids, but if I had it all to do over again..." They never finish that sentance, but they don't have to. There is too much pressure from society to pretend parenthood is great for people to just admit they made a mistake. If I had to spend all day with a child, everyday, I'd hang myself with a lamp cord. Look around at the adults around you. What percentage of them do you hope your kids don't end up like. 75%? 90%? Chances are you kids will grow to be a disappointment, anyway.

Posted by: Richard Knickson | August 23, 2006 12:03 PM

The author's kids have figured out their mom just as my brother and I did years ago. She loves them, they love her.

Posted by: BEN | August 23, 2006 11:34 AM

Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong - shame, insult, neglect, low self esteem, oedipus, electra, deep seeded Freudian issues that condemn these poor children to a lifetime of therapy! Its all her fault! If you cant see - you're blind. Its nurture not nature.

These innocents are doomed to a life of upper class British snobbery and priveledge instead of low brow American Hawaiian shirts, Chuck E Cheese and Space Mountain!

God Save the Queen!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 12:04 PM

"I too dislike Chuck E. Cheese.
I hate Disney World too. My husband was trying to make me out to be a bad mother for refusing to go this summer. It's overpriced, cheesy, unhealthy (the food) and well cheesy. Oh, I said that."

Can't the same be said for Vegas/casinos? Obviously geared for adults versus children, but I can't stand that noise, lights and unhealthy cheesiness of that either. The entire concept makes me think of the butter slimed floor of a movie theatre. YUCK

Posted by: Stacey | August 23, 2006 12:04 PM

The myth of the Madonna goes way back, probably to the cave man days.

For some reason, after WWI, Americans starting hyping up this notion to an all time high.

Examples-

Being a mother is the most important job you will ever have - If true, wouldn't society set mothers & kids as one of the highest priorities in prestige? Wouldn't it be one of the top budget items and wouldn't the government fully support all kinds of programs to keep families together at a decent standard of living?

No one can love a child the way a mother can - I'm not asking anyone to love my kid, I'm asking & paying you to wipe my kid's ass when s/he needs it.

A mother should be with the child for those "precious first moments" - A real hoot since the kid won't remember most of these "milestones".

All of the love that a mother has invested in her children will pay off in her old age (the old what goes around, comes around theory)- This theory is hotly disputed by the number of seniors who are warehoused or tossed aside in this country.

I'm sure there is more to debunk...
I often wonder if some of the posters on this blog live in the same country that I do.

Posted by: Marlo | August 23, 2006 12:05 PM

"Would H K-T's article have been received differently if it were written by a father complaining about being bored with his kids?"

Not by me. I remember very vividly one time when a guy I knew started blathering on about how boring his son was, how much he hated spending time with him, how all his interests were tedious and dull, blah blah blah. I was horrified that he would say that to someone. He's free to think whatever he wants, but to go around telling people that you hate spending time with your kid? What the hell?

Posted by: Lizzie | August 23, 2006 12:05 PM

Oh Oh Oh! Raising my hand jumping up and down...Can I ask a question? PLEASE?

And this nasty, back biting, name calling, horrible behavior toward each other over 'I am a better parent then you..nah nah nah' is because of what? Results in what? And we are all better for this?

In 20 years there will be no winter, water will be fought over by nations (using nuclear options), incurable disease will be common as the cold, winter and polar ice caps can you say history, and all of you trying to stand on other parents boasting your skills at breeding and the propagation of an entitled urchin class are superior to someone else.

Posted by: Marko | August 23, 2006 12:06 PM

From her article it appears she is not spending anytime with her kids, so I don't understand the every minute of the day argument. Does anyone here spend every minute of the day with their children? Is doing things for and with them perceived as hovering?

I just don't' understand the argument that she is doing what's best for the kids by admitting she ignores them and finds not one, but all of their activities boring. Maybe her kids should go get some highlights with her so they can bond with mom.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 12:07 PM

Thanks, all.

I have a BUNCH of Stories from the "trenches". I'm a Working/Commuting Mom from Baltimore to DC in a professional job who:
1. had my daughter at age 20
2. Survived Domestic Violence (yes, I even been poor)
3. Busted my butt to get educated and get a better life for her & myself
4. Met my current husband on the 'net, fell in love, stood up to my oppresive ex and now my Hubby will be adopting my daughter
5. Realized that I made my choice and my daughter---who is smart, ambitious, creative, imaginative and strongwilled has only LEARNED THIS FROM MY EXAMPLES!!!!! I decided long ago that parenting was my choice, not Disneys, Viacoms or anyone elses. I could put the efforting into raising a child who is ready for all the real world challenges or I can protect her from everything and send her into a world that will eat her up and spit her out.
I'm sorry, I'm taking the road that seems less traveled today and opting for teaching logic, creativity, independence and critical thought.

And you know what, after those agonizing first years, It wasn't so boring after all. It still isn't..and I honestly do not believe it ever will be. Even when she is a teenager!

Posted by: MomofApreTeen | August 23, 2006 12:08 PM

Some more wonderful excerpts:
"They know better than to expect me to sit through a cricket match, and they've completely given up on expecting me to spend school holidays taking them to museums or enjoying the latest cinema block-boster alongside them. (I spent two hours texting friends throughout a screening of Pirates Of The Caribbean the other day).

Am I a lazy, superficial person because I don't enjoy packing up their sports kit, or making their lunch, or sitting through coffee mornings with other mothers discussing how Mr Science (I can't remember most of the teachers' names) said such and such to Little Johnny and should we all complain to the headmaster.

At this point in the conversation, my mind drifts to thoughts of my own lunch and which shoes I plan to wear with what skirt.

Frankly, as long as you've fed them, sheltered them and told them they are loved, children will be fine. Mine are -- at the risk of sounding smug -- well-adjusted, creative children who respect the concept of work. They also accept my limitations.

They stopped asking me to take them to the park (how tedious) years ago. But now when I try to entertain them and say: 'Why don't we get out the Monopoly board?' they simply look at me woefully and sigh: 'Don't bother, Mum, you'll just get bored.'"

While I agree that many aspects of parenting can be boring and tedious, I think Kirwan takes it too far, and I would be inclinded to say that she probably should never have had kids. She is just too selfish to be an engaged mom.

Some benign neglect for kids is good. You don't always have to be on the floor playing with them. Kids do not have to be the center of the universe. But they should feel that they are important at least to their parents. And I disagree that providing for them and telling them they are loved is enough. It's not. It is interesting, and telling to me at least, how Kirwan phrases this-- told them "they are loved." It sounds so passive, as if some unknown person is the one who loves them. I think if you refuse to engage your children at their level, play legos with them, take them to the park or movies, play games with them, talk to them, then you are neglecting them in a way that is as profound as not providing them with food or shelter. You don't have to partake in every single activity, and you have the power to engage your children in ways that are palatable to you. I for example, don't love sports, so I go to soccer practice armed with a camp chair and something to read. But my son sees me there, and I look up and wave occasionally. I love the movies, however, and we see every kids film that comes out. My son is not afraid to ask me to play with him. He knows sometimes I won't because I'm busy or tired, and he respects that. But he also knows that I love to play with him because I love him. Same for his dad. Sometimes, actions speak louder than words. Kirwan's actions are not courageous. Selfishness is not a virtue. And I do feel sorry for those kids, who seem to have missed out on having an engaged mother. I ask myself, why did she even bother to have kids?

Posted by: Rockville | August 23, 2006 12:09 PM

In her article she states:
"Frankly, as long as you've fed them, sheltered them and told them they are loved, children will be fine."

I think it's possible to be engaged in your child's life beyond the basics above without becoming some uber child-focused parent.

[I'm just imagining an article written in the same style by a husband entitled 'Sorry, but my wife bores me to death' -- I'm skeptical that many of the posters here would be praising it for it's honesty and openness and the willingness of the author to challenge societal norms.]

Posted by: A Dad | August 23, 2006 12:11 PM

My God, my typing is horrible!
may should be many
wive should be wife
sentance should be sentence
you kids should be your kids

Posted by: Richard Knickson | August 23, 2006 12:15 PM

To Rockville: you are so right. Also why has no one picked up what she seems to occupy her mind is just a stupid and boring as the child centered activities she claims are so boring. Getting your hair done, what she is going to wear is interesting? Now really. The only difference is the activities she occupies her mind with are SHE centered rather then child centered. So the real lesson she is teaching her kids is the only thing of value and interest are things YOU are interested in or the person in power is interested in. If she was an award winning scientist or humanitarian worker, her thoughts could be justified as more interesting. It would still be robbing her children of the mother they EMOTIONALLY need but at least it is a valid claim that her thoughts are interesting. It seems to me to say you love your child but show no interest in their interests is a shallow claim. I don't know how anyone could claim they will adjust. She might as well send them to boarding school. At least the staff are paid to spend engaging time with the kids.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 12:21 PM

In 20 years there will be no winter, water will be fought over by nations (using nuclear options), incurable disease will be common as the cold, winter and polar ice caps can you say history, and all of you trying to stand on other parents boasting your skills at breeding and the propagation of an entitled urchin class are superior to someone else.

And the solution to this problem is?


Posted by: ? | August 23, 2006 12:21 PM

Answer: Invent a time machine. Go back and elect Al Gore. Silly you.

Posted by: ? | August 23, 2006 12:24 PM

A Dad: The article about the spouse, it's written everyday, just look at the divorce rate. The unfortunate part about parenting is that you don't know how you will feel about it until it happens to you. Also, you don't get to pick your kids; presumably, you do get to pick your spouse.

I still don't understand what is so wrong with not being interested in the same activities that kids are interested in.

Posted by: BEN | August 23, 2006 12:28 PM

I'll bet that HK-T is probably a lot of fun as a mom. From the voice of her article you can tell that she has a lot of flair and is unapologetic about doing what she wants but also realizes her flaws and limitations. She expects the boys to come up to her level; she is not interested in coming down to their level and won't "fake it". Her main point seems to be that things have changed a lot since the days when kids were in charge of the kids stuff and adults did adult stuff that may or may not have included the kids. She doesn't think the change is good for either the parents or the kids. When I was a kid, no parent would have accompanied their kid to another kid's birthday party, let alone specifically invite a 10-month old!

Posted by: AB | August 23, 2006 12:31 PM

I'll take Pittypat's challenge to comment on "competitive parenting."

Since I became pregnant, I've heard oh so much about how professional women who become moms simply transfer all of their drive and competitive instincts to parenting, and start competing to be the best mommy ever. And I'm sure that there are people who act that way (or, at least, are perceived by others to act that way). But I have to say that I haven't seen any of that where I live.

I belong to a playgroup of about 15 moms, some of whom work and some of whom don't. Nearly all of us were professionals (and will be again). In the nine months I've known these women, I haven't noticed any particularly competitive behavior; to the contrary, playgroup is a place where we can all get support, advice, and different perspectives. When one kid started crawling at 6 months, the other moms were there cheering him on, and we've continued to cheer as every kid reaches his/her milestones at their own paces. Now, maybe we all went home that night and tried to get our own kids to crawl, but I sure didn't see any jealousy or competition at playgroup.

Clearly, my one experience isn't reflective of the entire world, but I do suspect that the spectre of the "hypercompetitive mommy" is just another stereotype foisted upon us by a society that seems to find great joy in excoriating women for any and all choices that they make.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 23, 2006 12:32 PM

"Your PhD will not set the stage for the next generation of people who will be running our country. Raising the children properly (not as an additional duty or afterthought) will."

Hogwash. What if her PhD is in something like AIDS research or pharmacology?

This child-centered view of the world completely astounds me. 100 years ago, people had kids for the sole reason of putting them to work in the fields or carrying on the family name. But lo and behold, our grandparents didn't whine about "feeling bad" that mommy and daddy wanted them for their contribution to the family, and not so they could be the center of attention and devotion. And this was the Greatest Generation that won WWII -- they didn't just sit back like some of my contemporaries and expect "someone other chump" to join the armed forces, etc. I think a lot of the reason for that is children's selfishness nowadays because of views like yours that they come into the world as precious centerpiece's of our existence, rather than as a small member of a world that is much, much larger and more important than they are.

Be careful what kinds of lessons like this you are bestowing on your children by making them the center of your life: you might be teaching them to be too self-centered to care about what happens to you in your old age.

Posted by: Mom2be2007 | August 23, 2006 12:33 PM

Pittypat, interesting comments on competitive mommies jockeying for position in the whose best contest. I agree that tearing each other down for our choices is part of that competition. But I also think it's a symptom of a larger societal issue of competition in general. Everybody has to compete for everything it seems -- jobs, motherhood, kids' activities, material possessions. It's like you can't just have and be happy; you have to compare yourself with someone else and question, question, question. It's not just mommies, but some married but childless women (whose hubby is the most wonderful?), career people (I do more substantive work, I get paid more), school kids (clothes, popularity, etc.) and so on.

It doesn't have to be feminist v. non-feminist/traditional. Every woman can be a feminist if you define that word as a person who espouses women's freedom to make her own choices and be comfortable with them and not face backlash." Certainly, the definition of feminism should be evolving.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 23, 2006 12:39 PM

Re Rockville's claim:

"Mine are -- at the risk of sounding smug -- well-adjusted, creative children who respect the concept of work. They also accept my limitations." --

You do sound smug, and you can't possibly know if your children are well-adjusted. The proof won't show up for many years.

All parents want to think that their kids are creative, and, in fact, all kids ARE creative until their their parents stifle their attempts at self-expression.

As to accepting your limitations, shrinks' offices are filled with patients trying to come to terms with the reality of their parents' limitations and how these deficits affected their development.

So, just a suggestion, but I'd watch out for the smug thing, 'cause it can turn and bite you -- or break your heart -- when you least expect it.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 12:41 PM

Ben:

I'm not interested in all of the activities of my children -- but I am engaged in their lives. I've attended the soccer games, the school plays and concerts. Some are blah and others are surprisingly interesting.

As I said, I think it is possible to be engaged without being so child-focused that you lose your identity. There is a big difference between occassional self-sacrifice and constant self-neglect.

Posted by: A Dad | August 23, 2006 12:42 PM

"Education for one's self is a good thing, but it dies with you. Doing a good job educating your children is creating a legacy."

LOL ... so Einstein, Newton, Hawking, their education was wasted b/c they learned for the sake of learning and not to become teachers?

Oh sorry I forgot, they are men and therefore you hold them at a different standard than us women.

(Do some of you people actually even read what you write before you post? Or know what 'critical thinking' means? Posts like the above are such complete drivel it really makes me wonder).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 12:44 PM

Your imagined article 'Sorry, but my wife bores me to death' would not be taken the same way as this one, nor should it be. Your wife is your partner and intellectual equal. Ideally, you should enjoy the same sorts of activities.

Your kids are not your partners or intellectual equals. If you have kids and you think this, that's just scary.

And, to point out the obvious, you can get a divorce from your wife to escape the boredom. You could also adopt your kids out. The difference is that you did not create your wife--it's not your fault that she's there--it was a joint decision. But you created the kids, so they are your responsilbility, and you owe it to them to raise them.

Big differences.

Posted by: To A Dad | August 23, 2006 12:48 PM

oh for God's sake, Rockville can say what she wants about her children. What about your children pittypat?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 12:49 PM

To pittypat: Rockville was quoting the article. Those were not her own thoughts about her own children.
To Ben: OK, it is like this. It is not a crime that she is not interested in her kids activities. It is sad and kind of pathetic that she will not participate in any of her children's activities because she is personally not interested in them. It sends the message I only do an care about ME. And that my friend is the wrong message to send to anyone.
I don't know some of you see it as all child or all adult centered world. Certainly there is a large middle ground and most of us have found it. The author of the article is the most ME/Parent centered person that I have heard of. But that doesn't mean that everyone who disagrees with her is totally CHILD centered. Again guys, it is all about balance. Also just because they did things that way in the olden days didn't make it right.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 12:50 PM

"Doing a good job educating your children is creating a legacy."

Apparently not, since their education will invariably die with them.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 23, 2006 12:51 PM

"What if this were written by a man"

Hello? Did anyone read the guest column a while back by the young mother whose husband "had no interest" in the new baby?

I remember quite a few people chuckling "Oh he's just a guy" and "it's a huge adjustment" and "telling him to suck it up won't matter" to excuse the guy from being a dad. It's all very one sided if you ask me.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2006 12:52 PM

Hear, hear, Mom2be2007!

Wonderful to know that at least one prospective new mommy has her head on straight!

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 12:53 PM

Mom2be2007: I've never washed a hog, but point taken re the PhD. I should hope that it's a worthy degree since the commenter spent so long in its pursuit.

If you're not making the raising of your children central to your life, though, what's the alternative? I believe that there are problems with so many kids precisely because they don't get the attention they need. Granted, all kids are different -- some need more parenting than others. But less attention because one's bored with it isn't the answer.

As far as my kids caring about what happens to me in my old age -- I gave up on that notion long ago. ;-) It doesn't seem to be the way we do things now. Witness the explosion of 'assisted living centers', 'communities for active older adults' etc in the past 40 years or so. What used to be an accepted (and expected) amily duty may now have become a dreaded burden to avoid.

Posted by: unbeliever | August 23, 2006 12:53 PM

Agree with: "Why should it be a surprise that plenty of women are frustrated that the time-limited activity of child bearing and rearing is not a greater source of satisfaction than the vast spectrum of world-changing possibilities open to a 30 year old with an education?"

I'm not sure anyone has answered this previously (apologies if it's been asked & answered), but if parenthood were so great and not boring, why don't more men do it?

Posted by: JAT | August 23, 2006 12:55 PM

All right this author took it too far but I would love to hear what bores all of you. And do your kids know how you feel.

I am driven to distraction by Children's Music. My kids know this and they live with it.Lucky for my kids my husband does not mind it so when he drives they can listen.

I really cannot stand performance of some cartoon come to life. Dora LIVE! Blue's Clues LIVE. Not if I had any say. I hated the ice capades when I went with my Browniwe troop at age 7. I cannot imagine I would feel differently now. Love the granparents and my husband for helping out with this.

I am bored by doing workbooks with my 5 year old. But she loves them and clearly it is great to encourage this love of learning so I do not let on the watching her write letters is not a thrill for me.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | August 23, 2006 12:55 PM

Hear, hear, theoriginalmomof2!

Yes, competition has poisoned our society. Nobody can just "be" anymore; everyone has to "do." That is, do better than anyone else.

For the record, I'm childless by choice. Neither my husband nor I wanted children, and we feel we've done the world a service by not having them and bringing them up badly.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 12:58 PM

"Your wife is your partner and intellectual equal."

I am actually much more intelligent than my wife -- I was smart enough to marry her, while she was only smart enough to marry me :-)

"Your kids are not your partners or intellectual equals. If you have kids and you think this, that's just scary."

Have three kids. My goal is to help them become independent adults each of which is my intellectual superior.

My primary point in the analogy was that as a husband I have a moral obligation to be engaged with and supportive of my wife wife. Likewise, as a paremt I have a moral obligation to be engaged with and supportive of my children. It's certainly acceptable to complain about the occassional self-sacrifice this entails, but to celebrate your dismissal of this self-sacrifice as the author does seems entirely self-centered.

Posted by: A Dad | August 23, 2006 1:00 PM

Rockville - I completely agree with this:

"Kids do not have to be the center of the universe. But they should feel that they are important at least to their parents. And I disagree that providing for them and telling them they are loved is enough. It's not.... I think if you refuse to engage your children at their level, play legos with them, take them to the park or movies, play games with them, talk to them, then you are neglecting them in a way that is as profound as not providing them with food or shelter. You don't have to partake in every single activity, and you have the power to engage your children in ways that are palatable to you."

My one year old is in the middle of the boring years - I don't find other people's newborns or toddlers all that fascinating, and there is a lot of drudgery that goes with these stages. But he is a delight to me simply because he's him. My husband is not endlessly fascinating every moment of every day either, but he's a delight to me too.

I can't judge whether Kirwan-Taylor was exaggerating for the purposes of her article or not, but I did find the lack of distinction between what her kids do, and her kids disturbing.

I do think though that some people do need things that are easier to get in a workplace than working as a stay at home mother - chat with other people, external rewards, and in the cases of the lucky, work that really engages them. I need some of those things and so I work part-time.

At the same time, someone who doesn't work for whatever reason can find those things in other areas too - a group of friends, volunteering, or exercising creativity in the work of supervising and teaching kids and maintaining a home.

I think the issue of boredom really does speak much more to individual tastes than it does to whether staying at home is balanced or not. Some people are horrendously bored at work and opt to stay home with their kids.

Posted by: Shandra | August 23, 2006 1:02 PM

"I'm not sure anyone has answered this previously (apologies if it's been asked & answered), but if parenthood were so great and not boring, why don't more men do it?"

I'm assuming you mean stay at home parenthood since men have been parents... forever. :-)

As men are getting freer to chose and not be seen as emasculated if their wives "support them" more are.

But I also think that the confusion about boredom has to do a lot with a) the fact that raising kids has been put together with housework and b) working brings economic power.

If your work didn't pay you, would you do it? Because raising kids is something people chose to do for no pay whatsoever. There are jobs I would (and do) do for no pay, but the one I'm paid for is not necessarily one of them.

Posted by: Shandra | August 23, 2006 1:07 PM

>>"What if this were written by a man"

Hello? Did anyone read the guest column a while back by the young mother whose husband "had no interest" in the new baby?
I remember quite a few people chuckling "Oh he's just a guy" and "it's a huge adjustment" and "telling him to suck it up won't matter" to excuse the guy from being a dad. It's all very one sided if you ask me. >>

Exactly! That was my whole beef with the blog that day! I knew that if the roles were reversed, people would be horrified. Obiovusly, this woman is way worse than that dad (partly because her kids are so much older and she hasn't come around.) But still, people were totally giving that guy a pass.

Posted by: Yay Meesh! | August 23, 2006 1:08 PM

I guess I find the following boring:
1) watching the same DVD over and over and over again
2) Reading only the first line of each page and skipping every fourth page because the picture on every third page seems to engage them.
3) Endless playing with certain toys
4) almost all toys that require batteries

PS I am taking my DD to Sesame Street Live: Elmo makes music. I thought it was funny you think that is boring. But then again I love live theater.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 1:08 PM

"Witness the explosion of 'assisted living centers', 'communities for active older adults' etc in the past 40 years or so. What used to be an accepted (and expected) amily duty may now have become a dreaded burden to avoid."

I can understand that to a degree, but people are living longer than ever. In previous generations, it wasn't as common for people to live long enough for dementia, Alzheimer's, and the like to be a problem. A lot of the extremely elderly need the kind of constant, professional care that their families would be unable to provide, even in a live-in situation. My husband's grandfather has Alzheimer's and would be a danger to himself and others if he were not in a ward specifically designed for Alzheimer's patients.

And as for assisted living facilities, my great-aunt and great-uncle have a one-bedroom apartment in one, and I don't think they've been this happy in years. I love going to visit them there because it's a cheerful, uplifting place with a social life that reminds me of nothing more than a college dorm.

This isn't to say that there aren't really crappy facilities and that there aren't families that just dump their parents/grandparents in institutions and then blow them off, but I also think eldercare has improved substantially in the last few decades, and it's great that there are so many more options.

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 1:09 PM

I want to stand up and applaud HKT. Her article summarizes nearly every reason I don't want children.

It's because I want to live my own life. Nowadays, people have children and they start living the child's life. When a friend tells me she's preganant, I congratulate her, but am thinking "great, there goes another friend."

Because once the baby's born, that's it. Her life is the child's life. They have no time to see you, unless you come to the park or some other kids birthday party and get, at best, 50% of her attention. But she would be some kind of horrific mother if she dropped the kid off at the birthday party and met me at Starbucks for an adult conversation. If my life revovled around watching Dora and going to the park, I would be screaming with boredom also.

I'm tired of you people with your sanctimonious "my life revolves around my children and I'm superior" attitude. Choosing to spend all your time entertaining yoru children does not make you better than people who choose to pursue their own interests.

I'm sure all you mother-of-the-year types are about to call me selfish. How about this: list the reasons why you wanted to have children. How many of them start with "I want"? Now who's selfish?

Posted by: child free and happy | August 23, 2006 1:09 PM

I liked the blog that pointed out that motherhood is a job that you can define yourself. Children aren't born knowing that mom's are supposed to be at their school organizing, driving them to activities or reading them bedtime stories. Children want us, a real relationship, not one dictated by the current culture. How you find you way in that journey with your child is a most exciting and rewarding experience.

Posted by: old mom | August 23, 2006 1:11 PM

I guess I meant sah-dadhood, but kindof more generally, why don't we get as offended when dad's aren't engaged as when mom's aren't? Meesh made a great point about last week's post with the dad, and it wasn't that 26 might be young to be a dad comments bothered me, but the "he's a guy, he hasn't adjusted, etc." comments. If being part-time to raise your kid were so great, why don't men do it?

Posted by: JAT | August 23, 2006 1:11 PM

Thanks, ToAimily, for a great chuckle. My husband and I still laugh over the few, but quite memorable, F5 diapers from our two sons (now adults). Laughing about such things beats feeling martyred and put-upon.

Yes, some parts of parenting can be boring or tedious, if not downright unpleasant, but I would not have missed it for the world--even though I had some hesitation before we had the kids (I taught in junior high school and was not sure I wanted to face the challenge). Parenthood is not for everyone. Those who know that they don't want to have children should not have them--and no apologies or explanations should be required. Those who want children should have them and not feel that they are superior to those who don't want to have them. One size does not fit all.

Posted by: gaithersburgmom | August 23, 2006 1:13 PM

I refuse to comment on this story.

Posted by: No Way | August 23, 2006 1:17 PM

I am tremendously bored of the job I perform. Staying at home for me was never an option. Because I actually like my place of employment and my coworkers, i make the best of what I do. I'd much rather be putting my Fine art education to good use then counting beans on a daily basis. Accounting is boring. ZzzzZzzzzzz...

Okay, problem...So, I solved it. My husband and I(he's a photographer as well) by pure kismet found a home in Baltimore (*gasp*) with a built in Darkroom. Now I am able to continue with my Fine Art photography while getting my daughter interested in the craft of Print media. She has her own camera and is interested in this dying craft. With the digital revolution taking over photography, I feel like I am passing something very special to her.
I look forward to those weekends we spend in the darkroom, too. By getting her involved in stuff like this I conquor both chances of boredem--Both hers and mine. Preteens get notoriously bored and often whine about it. I still get the stink eye when I tell her not to complain when she's bored. The stink eye is a teen standard.

Even if I didn't buy a home with a darkroom in it, we would have built one ourselves. It was always in the cards, but as luck would have it we didn't have to.

Posted by: MomOfAPreteen | August 23, 2006 1:18 PM

"Those who know that they don't want to have children should not have them--and no apologies or explanations should be required."

I wish that were true! I have often had to explain my decision not to have children, even to my gynecologist! (Please, stop trying to convert me to parenthood! I am old enough to know my own mind.) I see what other parents go through and it's not the life I want. I like kids and I enjoy my friends' kids, but I know myself well enough to know I'd be bored and annoyed most of the time with young children. Too bad Helen K-T didn't give this much thought before she had hers.

Posted by: Lori | August 23, 2006 1:23 PM

"For the record, I'm childless by choice. Neither my husband nor I wanted children, and we feel we've done the world a service by not having them and bringing them up badly."

Now this would be an interesting discussion. I have childless friends who actually seem like they'd be great moms, but it's their (valid) choice. They dote on other kids and they're happy.

Has there been a blog article here addressing childless by choice women (or men) who still feel the need to balance their families (including elderly parents, etc.)?

If not, I'd like to see one. Pittypat, what do you think (as she thinks, "Thanks a lot!")?

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 23, 2006 1:27 PM

" want to stand up and applaud HKT. Her article summarizes nearly every reason I don't want children."

The difference between HKT and you, however, is that she DID have children. Not only did she have one, but she had two.

"I'm tired of you people with your sanctimonious "my life revolves around my children and I'm superior" attitude. Choosing to spend all your time entertaining yoru children does not make you better than people who choose to pursue their own interests."

Maybe not. But choosing to have children - two of them - and then choosing to spend all your time pursuing your own interests DOES make you "less better" than someone who has children and spends at least some time with them and doesn't simply proclaim them as "boring".

"I'm sure all you mother-of-the-year types are about to call me selfish."

Nope. Choosing to not have children for the reasons you're listing is admirable. Choosing to have them and still have your attitude is disgusting.

Posted by: to childfreeandhappy | August 23, 2006 1:28 PM

To theoriginalmomof2: I suggested a blog about childfree couples once and I got my head bit off. Something to the affect that is not the point of this blog. I think it would be an interesting topic. I am starting to wonder if Leslie really reads the comments on this blog. Because there is a number of suggestions about future blogs and I have yet to see any of them materialize. I wish there was a more efficient way to send Leslie a message about possible blog topics. I do understand it would be difficult to read through 400+ posts for a possible blog suggestion.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 1:31 PM

Ok, I hate Las Vegas too. Wait, I've never been there. But I imagine it is Disney World for adults.

I hate children themed restaurants. I hate children's menus--so unhealthy. I dislike children themed haircutting places.

I like when I go on vacation and they have activities for the kids. Being with them 24/7 is unnerving for both them and the parents. I think time off from the kids reinvigorates the relationship. This woman's argument would have been better received if it wasn't so extreme.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 1:38 PM

You can e-mail Leslie about possible blog topics. Her e-mail address is on this site somewhere. I think it's to her website, lesliemorgansteiner.com or something. You can probably get to it by clicking "About Leslie."

Besides, she SHOULD read all the posts, given that her job IS this blog!

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2006 1:40 PM

"I do understand it would be difficult to read through 400+ posts for a possible blog suggestion."

You'd think she'd read them because it's her blog.

I've rarely seen her participate in the discussions though. Odd.

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 1:40 PM

I want to stand up and applaud HKT. Her article summarizes nearly every reason I don't want children.

Applaud away. But that dichotomy is what has irked many posters on this blog to jeer instead.

Funny to applaud a parent author who espouses views that make a compelling argument to not be a parent.

Logic escaping. What is that giant sucking sound?

Posted by: If A then not B... | August 23, 2006 1:41 PM

To Lieu:

Child-free couples are, indeed, families, and it would be terrific to have a column on that subject.

Also, we may not be raising children, but we are balancing the families we have (as you said, older parents, siblings, non-family members, animals, neighbors, work schedules, etc.). And, as we share a society, pay taxes, and and deal with other people's children in pretty much every venue excepting our own homes, we have an interest in how other people are raising those kids.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 1:41 PM

Hmm, I seem to be one of very few people who read the article as hyperbole, as exaggerating matters as a rhetorical device to make her story "catchier" than, "gee, I love my kids, but boy, some of the things they like to do are kinda dull." Not to mention the very dry humor (very British). I thought it was a great article (along the lines of a book I was given, "The Three-Martini Playdate").

I liked what an earlier poster said: "Maybe this woman is not bored by her kids, but by what she sees as the prescribed way in which she must interact with them." I absolutely hate the stereotypes that are tossed at us about all of the things that we are "expected" to do to qualify as a good mom. As if, if you're not thrilled to be with your kids every minute of the day, if taking care of your kids isn't completely fulfilling, if you don't spend all of your free time ferrying them back and forth to various "enrichment" activities, there's something wrong with you. I love my kids more than anything on God's green earth, and they are the most important thing in my life, but they are not the only thing in my life. My daughter is unbelievably adorable and precocious and unbelievably exhausting. My son is a big ol' bundle o' joy and a big ol' bundle o' poop and chores at the same time.

For me, the key to parenting while retaining sanity has been to just pitch any kind of expectations/external pressures/idealized views of motherhood or being a "perfect" mom; instead, I do enough of the "boring" stuff to meet your kids' needs (different for every kid) without driving yourself nuts, find things to do together that we both enjoy, and then pitch the rest with no guilt. My daughter does one activity outside of school, because I refuse to let the whole weekend be converted into kidland. I sing her a song every night, but it's a song I like. My husband suffers through the occasional Chuck E. Cheese visit (if I have to go ever again my head will explode). I'll sit through SpongeBob with her, but I'll be reading the paper or a magazine. And most importantly, we found a neighborhood with sidewalks and safe streets, so when the kids get a little older, mommy won't have to be the perpetual taxi driver (funny, my husband didn't really understand that when we were house-hunting, but humored me anyway; now that the lessons and sports and such have started, he gets it).

Posted by: Laura | August 23, 2006 1:42 PM

To pittypat: I know you are families and in deed you face balance issues. But like I said, I suggested a blog on childfree and balance and got my head bit off.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 1:42 PM

Yup. I agree w/ pittypat. I may be childfree at home, but when I'm at a restaurant (an "adult" restaurant, if you will), and I'm having to deal with a kid's "creative spirit", I do have an interest in those kids.

Or when an in-law's child pulls a wad of fur off my cat and he gets a little pissed off and hisses at her, I have an interest, especially when I'm told my cat is "violent" and "should be put down".

Posted by: Just a thought... | August 23, 2006 1:43 PM

"Education for one's self is a good thing, but it dies with you. Doing a good job educating your children is creating a legacy."

Isn't that a false dichotomy? What about people who get educations for themselves to do other trades and professions that help both adults and children? Don't the farmers, doctors, plumbers, etc. who contribute to your children's health and hygiene help create a legacy too?

"Some of the other comments wondered why she had kids."

Me too.

"I just wonder why she had a second child when she didn't seem to want to do anything with the first."

Good point. It's dumb enough that she had one, but she really should have known better by the second time!

"FYI, people with Ph.D.s are educating your children in college."

...if the children go to college. What about children who don't go to college, or continue to get homeschooled after high school?

"Read the comments on this board about the only route to maturity being through motherhood."

Does anyobody here really believe that? Isn't it like calling the father of a woman's first child a pedophile by definition (if she wasn't an adult until she was a mother, then he must have been having sex with a child right before the first time his sperm met her egg...)?

"smothering better than neglet??? i don't know about that. talk to the son/daughter who was never allowed to grow up...."

Yeah, it depends on how much smothering and how much neglect.

"...It wasn't long ago that children weren't more than an extension of your farm labor. You didn't coddle them, meet their every emotional need and create a fantasy world for them where they're perfect. In many countries today that still holds true.

Most of them grew up to do just fine in the world, without helicopter parents or overblown self-esteems..."

Sure, being already pregnant with your in-laws' potential future farm labor in your teens or left with nothing to eat frommorning until late evening at age 1 isn't being coddled, but it isn't just fine either:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4962880.stm

""Witness the explosion of 'assisted living centers', 'communities for active older adults' etc in the past 40 years or so. What used to be an accepted (and expected) amily duty may now have become a dreaded burden to avoid."

"I can understand that to a degree, but people are living longer than ever."

And more are moving further than ever? What used to be a feasible family duty when the whole extended family lived in the same village all their lives becomes less realistic when some adults move to other states, countries, etc. for work and family reasons (relocating for a better job, marrying a college sweetheart instead of a high school sweetheart, etc.).

Posted by: Maria | August 23, 2006 1:43 PM

"Unbeliever. Stop being jealous of other peoples' accomplishments. Just go about your boring life and hover over your kids until you die. I'm sure that will make you happy while you fight for respect from your loved ones that have moved on with their lives."

My mother stayed at home with my sister and me, and (25 years after I left home) I still have a great deal of respect for her. I'd be interested to hear from people who may hae "moved on with their lives" and lost "respect" for their moms - for whatever reason, whether they were stay at home or not. What would make that happen?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 1:47 PM

To Sam: Mucho gusto. Que fabulosa! something something Quieres bailar? Mirame.

I drove into work early today and had no one to talk to so had to listen to something. I need some early morning friends!

The thing about x is that it isn't always fun. Sometimes you are just x because it is expected, or easier than finding someone else to do it. Sometimes you get obsessed with x and bore everyone around you shyteless. Then again, at some point, you will find yourself without the need, desire or even opportunity for x. You may decide to consult, or try your hand at something else.
Things come in waves, dontcha think?

Lady from Britain is a whackjob. There have been moments when I have HATED working/parenting/xing, but luckily, they are few and far between. Remember before you had kids, all the free time you had? What did you DO with it? I can't remember either.

Posted by: parttimer | August 23, 2006 1:48 PM

I am divorced and childfree by choice. I do like kids, just never wanted any of my own...but I do feel I contribute! I love my nieces and nephews, am helping to put my oldest niece through college and offer to baby sit the little ones so their parents can get out on their own. I also have been available to watch friend's children when they have rush one to the Dr. There is a single mom in my condo complex who I occasionally babysit for just so she can get to the grocery story (or hairdresser) by herself. Maybe it is because I don't have kids on a day to day basis I don't mind filling in to give others a break. I like to think even as a childfree woman I can serve a purpose in raising kids!

Posted by: Missicat | August 23, 2006 1:49 PM

SAM: I emailed her once and got no response.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 1:51 PM

"smothering better than neglet??? i don't know about that. talk to the son/daughter who was never allowed to grow up and who is 40, still lives at home, can't hold a job and who can't accept responsibility for their actions because mommy & daddy bail them out of everything. talk to the sibling of said, manchild or whatever term you can use for a daughter, you know, the one who watched their sib get everything denied them. while the pain is there who is the one who is bette off?"

Parenting shouldn't be a "so what that I'm in the left ditch - at least I stayed out of the right ditch" enterprise. Many, many parents do a pretty good job of providing love and support without emotionally smothering their kids. So sure - smothering is bad. That's no reason to minimize the harm of emotional neglect. (And at least the smothered child doesn't doubt that their parents love them.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 1:51 PM

To theoriginalmomof2

I'm childless and have often offered opinions on balancing on this blog. However, most of them were met with "If you want to talk about your voluteer work or your animals, find another blog." So I'd say you're in the minority in wanting to hear our opinions.

My biggest issues with finding balance is the assumption that our family (my husband's and mine) is more flexible and more willing to pick up slack. This happens at work ("I've got to pick up my kid, would you please stay late to finish this?") at church ("You must have time to run the moon bounce at the picnic; you don't have anyone to watch!") and in our families ("I know you flew up here for the last 5 holidays, but your brother and step-brother can't drag their kids to see you.") While it's true that we have more free time, it doesn't mean that we should be taken advantage of and made to feel guilty when we choose to spend our free time how we like instead of bending over backwards for everyone else.

But just like parents juggling day care and work, it's our lot in life to be understanding and flexible so that we can be with our friends and families.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2006 1:52 PM

I speculate that part of her boredom is she went into parenthood with an idea of having a mini-me daughter. She probably day-dreamed of doing "girly" things with a daughter.

With her sons she finds she has few interests in common. However I think as a parent it is her job to find a common ground and occasionally accept a little boredom to humor her kids. I think she also missed an opportunity when they were younger to introduce some of her interests. Nail painting might not work well. With a little bit of effort she could have found something that could engage both her and her sonds.

However I think the major issue is that the writer is very self-centered. A parent not going to many Cricket games is ok. A parent NEVER going to cricket games is telling the kid that their sport is not important.

Posted by: EFC dad | August 23, 2006 1:52 PM

"Mine are -- at the risk of sounding smug -- well-adjusted, creative children who respect the concept of work. They also accept my limitations." --

You do sound smug, and you can't possibly know if your children are well-adjusted. The proof won't show up for many years.

Pittypat, that was not my claim. It was an excerpt from Helen Kirwan's article.

Posted by: Rockville | August 23, 2006 1:53 PM

Child Free Couples Need to Find Balance Too

Is this the topic? I guess CFC's need to balance work and personal life while maintaining self esteem is the face of the Procreation Pushers out there. So a topic on the guilt trip of not wanting kids?

Balance being a care giver for elderly, infirmed etc might be of interest, but I would think CFC's just have one less ball in the air.

I guess the heated debate would be between CFC's and CBC's (Child Burdened Couples) regarding those awkward holiday moments when non-parent family members butt in on the upbringing of their nieces and nephews.

"Jane/Dick! Quiet. Please do not interrupt your Aunt/Uncle. Havent your parents taught you any manners at all?"

Thanksgiving is only three months away!

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 1:53 PM

Am I the only one here that LOVES LOVES LOVES Disneyworld? I LOVE it! There are no bugs, there is no litter, there are lots of people there who make me feel positively svelte, and if you stay on site you get all kinds of bennies. I could go every year for a week.

When I go to Chuck E. Cheese I bring earplugs, a book and have a beer and a slice, then play skee-ball until I run out of tokens. As long as you don't actually have to attend a party it is doable.

Posted by: parttimer | August 23, 2006 1:58 PM

again, Leslie maybe you should change your blog topic to include all the animal lovers, childless people, disgruntled singles, etc. Then they could really talk about things they new something about besides other people's children.


This blog is devoted to illuminating the work/family debate through stories from moms about how we juggle work and kids, in whatever portions we've chosen (including none). So welcome, working moms, sort-of working moms and not-working-right-now moms.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 1:59 PM

Laura who posted above sounds like the kind of mom I aspire to be when I have my child. I know that I won't change my life so much that it becomes "kidland" but enough that my child knows she is a wanted and valuable part of our lives. I expect that I'll do some boring kid things and that she'll have to suffer through some boring adult stuff. And that we'll unexpectedly enjoy some of the "kid" and "adult" activities. My mom took me to the movies starting when I was old enough to be quiet because she loved movies. I saw most of the great (and, oops!, R rated) films of the '70s and I love film and made it a huge part of MY life. My mom and I still share this love. If she had only taken me to "children's" movies, we wouldn't have had this connection.

I see way to many parents today who divide the world into kid v adult activities and give up all their adult life for Chuck e Cheese and countless repeats of "E.T." or whatever movie the kid fixates on. The happiest parents I know are the ones who find ways to integrate their kids into their lives rather than "giving up" all adult activities for kiddie events.

Posted by: Carmen | August 23, 2006 1:59 PM

Thanks, Meesh, for pointing out the bum deal we child-free folks are often forced to accept. "You don't have kids, so you won't mind ."

One of my pet peeves is that, among the benefits offered by my employer (a huge and generously endowed private univeristy) is a tuition benefit that gives parents up to 50% of the annual tuition at "our" institution (which is one of the most expensive in the country) for each child, annually, for their attendance at any accredited university.

For many of my child-laden coworkers, this means tens of thousands of dollars of additional compensation each year while they have kids in college. There is no commensurate benefit -- or additional benefit dollars -- allocated for child-free employees.

Hey, I'm happy to have the university I work for underwrite the cost of tuition at this same university -- and even to carry the freight for kids going to any public university in the state. But, as in so many other ways, other people's kids are costing me money, because here I have to accept a mediocre salary and abbreviated (or massively expensive) health benefits in order to send other people's kids to expensive colleges.

It can be pretty infuriating.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 2:00 PM

"Your kids are not your partners or intellectual equals. If you have kids and you think this, that's just scary."

Partners? No. They are your legacy, however. They are also your equals in worth and human dignity.

Intellectual equals? Don't kid yourself. My 17 year old son just finished building the computer he'll be taking to college next week. When I went to bed last night, he'd booted it for the first time and was in the process of loading Windows XP Professional. Do I know things he doesn't? Heck yeah - I have almost thirty years additional life experience. Does he know things I don't? Absolutely! Do I know which of us would score higher on an IQ test? No - and I'm not sure what that exercise would prove. I do know that I'd be an arrogant fool to assume he isn't my "intellectual equal." (And it isn't just 17 year olds - my daughter is entering high school this year, and she's got more good sense than her brother.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 2:00 PM

I find most kids' activities boring, too. I think it's because I'm an adult, not because I'm a bad mom.

Posted by: Susan | August 23, 2006 2:00 PM

"So welcome, working moms, sort-of working moms and not-working-right-now moms."

I am not a mom, but I want children very badly and would like to benefit from the discussions on this blog. Does that mean I am not welcome?

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 2:02 PM

And to the poster who told the sad story the other day about the childless woman who described all her fun weekend activities and then later was revealed to have had 4 miscarriages, I am indeed sorry for that woman, but my husband and I do lots of those fun things, take great vacations, have plenty of money, and don't WANT children. So, although the woman in your story seemed to have a great life until you revealed her personal sorrow, there is no "moral of the story" that all childfree people are secretly desperately lonely and unfilled. Sometimes we who don't have children actually ARE having that much fun and not regretting a thing.

But I would make time to listen to your stories about your kids because I do care about other people and their lives.

Posted by: Suzanne | August 23, 2006 2:05 PM

"And at least the smothered child doesn't doubt that their parents love them."

Actually, the smothered child often grows up to discover that the parents love the kid they want to have, not the kid they actually have.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 2:05 PM

"And at least the smothered child doesn't doubt that their parents love them."

Actually, I'm not sure that's true. My mother was very much smothered as a child; she grew up NOT feeling loved/accepted, but instead feeling like a failure because she could never be what my grandmother wanted.

But I do absolutely agree with you about the whole left ditch/right ditch thing. Neglect happens when parents run their own show and ignore their kids. Smothering happens when parents run their own show through their kids. Neither is good.

Posted by: Laura | August 23, 2006 2:06 PM

So I just actually read Helen's piece, and, well....it doesn't sound that wierd to me. It just sounds like it was written in 1950. Parents didn't used to cram every free minute with child-centered (note use of word centered, not included) activities. Moms used to be busy with other housework, bridge, church groups, benevolent societies, not to mention OTHER children (how can you focus all your attention on one kid if you have 5?). They weren't watching Blue' Clues or Barney-esque shows every day because they didn't have the time. Kids had to amuse themselves outdoors, with neighborhood kids, etc. I don't know, maybe I'm crazy, but she didn't sound awful to me - she sounded like I'm sure a woman 50 years ago would have sounded if she was in her car 30 hours a week driving her kids to school/lessons/scheduled playdates, etc.

Posted by: JAT | August 23, 2006 2:08 PM

People go on and on when I tell them I don't want a baby of my own but am considering adoption of an older child. They think I'm selfish, but what is more selfish than the guy who said, "But you don't know what you'll get if you adopt"? Most of the reasons they list for having children indeed are selfish. My reason is that I have a lot to give a child who needs a parent. What do I want in return? I hope to get a sense of having helped a child that might not have had any help otherwise, who might never have had a true home or felt really loved. I don't hear many bio parents giving this as a reason.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 2:11 PM

Sorry, Rockville.

The quotation marks were missing from your quotations, so I took them as your own words.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 2:12 PM

Regarding the whole PhD issue started by To Unbeliever, I just had to comment. You wrote:

"Spend 8 years getting a Ph.D. then you can make that statement. Raising a child is important but it isn't the only thing."

"FYI, people with Ph.D.s are educating your children in college. So some people's education is actually not going to die with them. And most Ph.D.s publish their research. Those will outlive your kids."

Geez, think highly of yourself much? Getting a PhD does not make you superior to anyone else. I know. I have one. I hate to be the one to pop bubbles here, but you don't have to be a Mensa genius to get one. Hard-working, dedicated, yes. However, I know more than a few PhDs who are complete idiots. Its like any other field. I also know quite a few MDs who don't think PhDs are worth very much at all. But I digress.

I have a PhD and child. Being educated has not resulted in my being bored with my child. I love spending time with her. She is four now and loads of fun. In fact, when I let loose and really play with her, it can be like being a kid again myself. I do find some aspects of parenting to be boring. I totally agree with the other posters who hate Chuck E. Cheese. The food is awful and I'm always afraid my daughter is going to get hurt by one of the many little brats being allowed to run wild when we go. But whenever I get bored by kid stuff, I just have to look at her face, and how much enjoyment she gets from whatever activity she's doing and THAT becomes my entertainment.

I have been doing research for years now and have published papers. For me, all of that pales in comparison to the legacy that is my child. I will never be more proud of anything else than I am of her. In fact, I am leaving research because the hours and the work, for me, take too much time away from my family. I will be pursuing a career as a high school science teacher. I love the thought of having summers off with my daughter. I love the thought of working more regular hours so that I can be with her. Plus, I get to pass on my love of science to a whole new generation. For me, its a win-win. My daughter only gets one childhood. BTW, I don't hover, and my little girl is very independent so this is not motivated by my wanting to be a super-Mom, but having a PhD will never match the joy of raising a child.

I know parenthood is not for everyone. I have more than a few childless-by-choice friends who have high-powered research careers and I applaud them. They seem content. I never thought I would ever leave my research. But I am happy and excited about doing so. For me, parenthood changed my priorities in ways I couldn't imagine. I could not be a SAHM, but I am willing to make changes that I hope will benefit my child, and me as well.

Posted by: PhD Mom | August 23, 2006 2:14 PM

To aimily you wrote "I am not a mom, but I want children very badly and would like to benefit from the discussions on this blog. Does that mean I am not welcome?"
Of course you are welcome. Don't let that anonymous poster make you feel like you have to leave.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 2:14 PM

To Lieu - I e-mailed her once and a week later the topic I suggested was up, but that may have been a coincidence. It was the WSJ article on MBA programs for moms, and that was in the news at the time.

To Parttimer - I hate Chuck E. Cheese's, but LOVED Disneyworld. Even my husband loved it, and he was dreading the trip. We're trying to figure out how we can rationalize the expense of going again. It was a one-time deal for us, in celebration of the fact that we'd paid off one car and had one child out of full-time day care. But since then, we've had to pay for braces. And significant home repairs.

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2006 2:16 PM

I find it interesting how many dedicated childless persons visit and post to this blog. Seems ironic considering that this is "The Mommy Blog". I'm not surprised though, because like myself, there is a lot of stimulating conversation, and on occasion there are wisecracks, good real-life stories and humor. Amusement for everybody!

I think watching a bunch of girls try to kick a soccer ball around a field is boring, maybe comical at points, but I do enjoy hanging around the parents, even PHD's, engaging in conversations about their interest. that's how I learn about the world I live in. sometimes the parents will even break their discussions, look at the players and cheer on their kids. A few parents might even know the score at the end of the game.

Rolling dice is boring, but on any given Friday night, Bunco, a dice game, is becoming the highlight of the week for thousands of women across the country. Why? It's because people get together with the people they like, and that's what is important.

It's all about the people.

And I still challenge anybody to name something more important than a child. I can only think of 1.

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 23, 2006 2:17 PM

Father of 4 --

I find it interesting how many dedicated paternal units visit and post to this blog. Seems ironic considering that this is "The Mommy Blog."

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 2:20 PM

Name something more importatnt than a child?
My country!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 2:21 PM

Thanks, Lieu.

Honestly, no one here has ever made me feel unwelcome; it's just that the poster really rubbed me the wrong way -- that narrow definition of who's welcome here excludes moms-to-be, dads, and people who don't have children. And I have read posts from people from all three categories that I found interesting, thought-out, and insightful. Nothing is gained by deliberately excluding people.

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 2:21 PM

To SAM: I just emailed her 4 or 5 possible blog topics. We shall see what comes up.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 2:24 PM

And further on the subject of this being the "Mommy Blog" --

At the top of the column, just under Leslie's name, it says "washingtonpost.com's Work-Life Blog" and lists possible issue categories. Nowhere does it say "This is a blog for mommies trying to balance their their lives with their kids."

So why does everyone assume that this blog can only be about "mommy" issues? It's a work-life-balancing blog, and that means anyone who works and has a life to balance.

Isn't that pretty much all of us?

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 2:26 PM

"But I do absolutely agree with you about the whole left ditch/right ditch thing. Neglect happens when parents run their own show and ignore their kids. Smothering happens when parents run their own show through their kids. Neither is good."

Could it also be possible to both neglect and smother a kid at the same time? Ignoring one important aspect of the kid's life while micromanaging another?

BTW,

" you can always exercise your rights as an American citizen to say no thanks to kids through a nice little thing called birth control or even adoption, abortion whatever. (I just threw the other two in because someone will say birth control doesn't work all the time.)"

leaves out something. Don't forget foster care for when birth control fails, you don't want an abortion, you don't want a child, and nobody else (not even the people who want a child) wants to adopt *your* child.

Posted by: Maria | August 23, 2006 2:27 PM

i was just trying to point out that leslie should change her blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 2:28 PM

To all of the childless by choice folks on here who applaud Helen and her article:

You've made my point. Each of you made a conscious decision NOT to have children, and as such, you are able to focus on whatever else you choose (pursuing higher education, your career, your love life, your travels).

However, Helen DID choose to have children and prefers to contemplate her hair color and matching her shoes to her skirt (which sounds as inane as watching the Wiggles). You can have children, be an active part of their lives and still maintain your own non-parent identity.

But you cannot successfully raise children and be so completely self absorbed to the point that nothing about your child interests you. Helen isn't really raising her children anyway: she has outsourced that job to domestic help. It's one thing to have childcare while you work; it's another thing completely to have domestic caretakers accompany your children to social events while you go to the spa.

Posted by: single western mom | August 23, 2006 2:31 PM

Hopefully this is not an issue, but I would like to second, third, or fourth the view that childless people should continue to contribute to the blog. First and foremost, because they should be able to seek to attain a work/life balance also. In addition, from my own selfish standpoint, I've learned quite a lot from posts by childless people. Particularly when we talk about "accommodations" for working parents. It helps to give a fuller view of what other commitments out there need to be balanced, resentment that so-called "family friendly" policies may give rise to, and the like. We could sit here all day and talk about what our employers could do to make our lives better, easier, etc., but if there's a group of people who might be harmed by such decisions (because they can't leave early or whatever), making some of those accommodations unrealistic, it's good to know that. Alternatively, and hopefully, rather than tabling suggestions, the contributions of childless couples could lead to suggestions that would benefit all of us. (Including SAHMs whose husbands might not be able to pitch in when the SAHM has to leave town to take care of a sick parent, for example, because of their jobs.)

BTW, I heard that one D.C. firm started allowing people to work part-time who did not have children. The policy was started by a woman who did not think she would ever get married and have children if she continued to work law firm hours.

Posted by: Sam | August 23, 2006 2:38 PM

Are we seriously just now talking about this article? My other mom boards debated this weeks ago!

Posted by: charlotte | August 23, 2006 2:46 PM

In my opinion, Helen's article doesn't deserve the attention it's getting. It would be possible to write an intelligent essay about the child-obsessed culture some parents enjoy, or about balancing your own needs versus your children's needs. This article is neither, it's about a dim, self-obsessed woman rationalizing that her children are better off BECAUSE she refuses to spend any time focussing on anything but herself.

You know what? I am married to a baseball fan. I am not a huge baseball fan, and get bored by around the 4th inning of almost any game (no-hitters hold my attention). But we take our kids to a couple baseball games a year. Why do I go along? Because I like spending time with my family-- even if the activity isn't MY first choice. As FO4 said, it's about the people.

Posted by: yetanothersahm... | August 23, 2006 2:46 PM

"But you cannot successfully raise children and be so completely self absorbed to the point that nothing about your child interests you."

British aristocracy and Royalty would disagree. Eton is filled with the cream of this detached crop...no?

In America a faction of the educated elite seems to resent the peer pressure that to procreate requires that one recreate with the fruits of one's loins - or at least engage in the upbringing process - to assure a responsible heir. Success stories on both ends of the spectrum include Paris Hilton and George W. Bush.

For these American Idols we have Groton, Andover, Choate, Deerfield, Kent, Hotchkiss and "in loco parentis" to nurture the future leaders of this great country.

Have a Magical Day.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 2:54 PM

It's fine to not want to devote any energy or time on someone, but you truly get what you give. I hope she still has her career and fab life when she's old and needs the company of her boring children. Roles can easily reverse.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 2:56 PM

I'm astounded by HKT's thoughtlessness of her children's feelings in writing this article. The children are old enough to be aware of her feelings - what will they think when they read that she thinks that they are bores or that she has little interest in doing anything with her children. Why did she have them? What little time she has to spend with them, she chooses to spend elsewhere. I feel sorry for her and for her poor kids.

I work out of the house part-time and will admit that work helps me keep my sanity (and have adult conversations!) and I recognize that I'm a better mother when I'm not at home 100%. However, as the mother of a 3 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 year old, I see the joy on my kids' faces when I get down on the floor and play with them. Nothing can beat that.

The most important job that a parent can have is to raise children to be kind, giving, and positively contributing members of society. HTK better hope that her poor job of spending time with her children and her feelings towards them will not harm them in the long run.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 2:58 PM

>I'd be interested to hear from people who >may hae "moved on with their lives" and >lost "respect" for their moms - for >whatever reason, whether they were stay >at home or not. What would make that >happen?

The hard-won realization that they'd had a physically and emotionally abusive childhood, nothing had changed, nor would their alcoholic, narcissistic mom or dysfunctional family ever change. Discovering that sticking around was unhealthy. Did she love us? Sure. In her own, selfish, what's-in-it-for-me, toxic way.

It's a hard thing to accept that you have a bad mom--took me 3 years of intensive therapy then more to move on. But you know what, it happens. And judging from a number of postings to this blog, I'm not the only one (let's just say "bad family of origin" instead of just bashing "bad moms" here). There's a awful lot of quick-to-take-insult and attempting-to-take-control people posting. I think it's why there are so many "train wreck" days, as other posters have mentioned.

I escaped, learned how to thrive instead of just survive. Writing off a majority of my family was a small price to pay. I love my sisters, but I don't hang out with _anyone_ that manipulative and selfish anymore. That was 12 years ago, no guilt, it was a well-thought out process and felt like walking out of prison must feel.

That's what makes that happen. Thanks for asking!

Posted by: studs | August 23, 2006 3:02 PM

Hey Father of Three (fo3)! You are funny: "Have a Magical Day."

The Vulgar Fairie will grant you three of your VLI (vulgar luxury items).

As I am off to the beach momentarily, I hope he/she/it grants me:

1) complete UVA/UVB protection
2) waves to satisfy three 13 year old DDu's (dear dudes)
3) a great spot on the sand, with no squatters in my line of vision.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 23, 2006 3:02 PM

More important than any particular type of activity is talking to your kids, and paying attention to what they say. Of course, there can be quiet times - It was forbidden to talk to my Mom if she was driving over 40 mph. But for the most part, your child should learn that somebody cares what he or she thinks. This was excruciating while DD was learning to tell a story, but it gets better with age and subtle lessons: "if it happened on TV tell me at the front of the story!".

Posted by: private | August 23, 2006 3:03 PM

I think the point is that it is okay to admit sometimes you are bored with your kids. I have a 2 year old and sometimes I don't know how to entertain her and that is okay. I think the basic problem with all these blogs, chats, books, and articles. I feel now is a horrible time to be a mother because you are criticized if you work and you are criticized if you are a stay at home parent. These chats should support all families decisions if they opt to work because they need to or want or opt to stay home because they think that is what is best for their children. Why do we all type in and criticize each other? No one knows what is best for anyone else. Shoot, I don't even know what is best for my family me yet alone anyone else. We should all be supporting one another period.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 3:10 PM

I agree that posters with no children contribute valuable insight to this blog, as well as fathers and those with children.

In my last job, some of the assignments covering evening meetings were given to those with no kids (no evening daycare pickup to worry about), but those with kids were told to keep that quiet. No need to tick off the childless employees, right? Never mind that they already knew and were resentful.

But there was also an interesting twist -- a divorced childless woman on that job had to take a lot of time off because of illness (family, her own). Plenty of us had to pick up her slack. While she thanked us, the slack-picking seemed never-ending. It also didn't help that she had some very negative qualities and was insecure. And neurotic. Sigh.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 23, 2006 3:13 PM

Out of the 1 billion mothers on this planet (about?), there are some who are bored by motherhood, bored by the kids, and some who even commit violence against their families. Most women I've seen don't find their children boring (the opposite if anything), but it's hardly surprising that some do.

Posted by: Tom Canick | August 23, 2006 3:20 PM

Without criticsm there is no support
Without war no peace
Without darkness no light
Without oppression no freedom
Without grief no joy
Without defeat no victory
Without chicken no egg

need I go on?

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 3:21 PM

"Getting a PhD does not make you superior to anyone else."

And neither does having kids. The point of that comparison was to say that being a mom is great, but so is having an education because you can influence and educate other people and create a legacy too.

No one job is more important than any other, including having babies. Again, think about that when your kid needs emergency surgery or wants to get a college degree.

Posted by: To Ph.D. Mom | August 23, 2006 3:33 PM

"Without criticsm there is no support
Without war no peace
Without darkness no light
Without oppression no freedom
Without grief no joy
Without defeat no victory
Without chicken no egg"

Uh, so oppression is good? Nice list of opposites, but let's not go too folk-songish here. Some challenges are healthy. But while some people can overcome some very bad things, they are still very bad things.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 3:36 PM

The sun has set not long ago
and everybody goes below
to take a bath in one big tub
and everybody goes scrub scrub scrub
they find their hooks upon the wall
put on pajamas big and small
with some on top and some beneath
they brush and brush and brush their teeth
and when the moon is on the rise
they all go up... to exercise!
and down once more, but not as fast
they all go to bed at last
the moon is high
the sea is deep
they rock
and rock
and rock
to sleep.

not perfect but close....

Fo3 Salutes Ms Sandra Boynton for writing a book that one can read one gagilion times without going completely nuts, I think.

Posted by: boredom? | August 23, 2006 3:38 PM

Looking at the amount of scorn being heaped upon HK-T's decision to have two kids, I wonder if some of you just don't understand the pressures in society to have kids. Most of you seem like happy, content parents, which is great, but means that it may be a little difficult for you to see those pressures.

I'm childfree myself. I can't tell you the number of times it's been assumed that I just "haven't come around yet" to the notion of being a parent. Whenever the topic comes up (not as often as it could - I try to steer conversations away from my life choices), people generally say, "Oh, you don't want kids? Heh. That'll change." Witness the number of TV shows and movies where a character's happiness comes in the form of a baby. Even our own government thinks all women should be treated as "pre-pregnant," the assumption being that, even if I don't have or want a child now, someday I'll change my mind. I've heard any number of times that, even if a person hates other people's kids, they'll adore their own. If a person bows to that sort of peer pressure, it's sad, for both her and the child(ren) - but ultimately understandable. Who here has never done something they've lived to regret, simply because their peers or the rest of society expected them to do so?

That said, it *is* an article on The Daily Mail - they're not exactly known for their somber, literal coverage of the news. You can't really take them super-seriously all the time. Once you get that, you understand that the article's title is meant to be incendiary and ridiculous; also, I think it becomes clearer that she just had a bit of hyperbole thrown in to make the whole thing a bit more sensational. I totally lol'd once I saw what the source of today's blog post was.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 3:39 PM

that is the best book ever!

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 3:41 PM

A lot of mothers secretly feel the way Helen does, but dare not say it out loud. Raising children is an admirable task, but please admit it can sometimes be boring. Saying this does not mean one is a bad mother, you are just an honest one.

Posted by: Truth | August 23, 2006 3:46 PM

There was a lot of pressure to work 12 hour days when I lived in Washington too. I didn't do it, didn't care that I didn't do it, and didn't blame my not wanting to do it on someone else. The bottom line is that you have to take responsibility for your own actions. I don't care who has kids, who doesn't, who doesn't want any or likes mine.

As for the school tuition benefit, do you think parents who have children who don't go to college should also get an extra benefit---or money, what ever it is that you want? I mean, some companies give away free gym memberships to their employees, just because I don't want to go to the gym doesn't mean you shouldn't and that I should get that money for the gym member ship.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 3:49 PM

My son is grown (age 22) and gone,
but, darn right, child rearing
can be and often is BORING.
Every smile, gurgle, burp and
letting of gas -- at any age of
a child -- ISN'T the end all
and be all in the universe.
To "3:10 p.m.": it's not necessarily a parent's job to "entertain" a 2-year-old. Don't worry that you're not going to win the blue ribbon for this.
And why do we fight among ourselves and remain so competitive? Because when the women and children are still (!) essentially left behind by the rest of the world, we take on the basest instincts and the bloodletting begins in the pen where we are all held captive.

Posted by: SFMom | August 23, 2006 3:50 PM

I confess, I didn't read the article until just now. She seems like a lot of mothers I know, including myself, up to a point. I take back the whackjob remark. I recently heard a woman say that although she had given the birds and bees talk to her preteen, it looked as if she was going to get her real education the way she had as a teen--from television!

I imagine she is painting herself wickeder (? is that a real word?) than she is just to sell papers (re:LInda H.). Maybe there is bookdeal in the works.

I am totally stealing the idea that noone talks to mom when we are driving over 40. I rarely drive under it! I am so golden!

So Fo3, are you saying that we need grief, oppression and all that stuff? Without illness, there is no wellness?

To Tom Cannick: That is because you only see what they want you to see. My neighbor doesn't know I think she is a stupid beach because I am always pleasant to her. Lots of bosses believe their employees think they are great. EVERY single mother I know--and fathers, too, could tell you that there are times when their offspring are less than riveting, and picking up their crap, packing their lunches, etc. is just a chore. Especially when they are interruping you for the third time while you are talking to the cashier, plumber, and so on. Some kids are just relentless. Doesn't mean we don't love them, we are just temporarily OVER the miracle of birth.

Posted by: parttimer | August 23, 2006 3:51 PM

How goofy is it to describe Kirwan-Taylor's article and statements as something truly worthy of courage? Consider the nanny or the stay at home mom whose probably watching her kids for pay equivalent to U.S. minimum wage or less -- now, THAT's an act of courage.

Posted by: Springfielder | August 23, 2006 3:54 PM

Interestingly enough, I feel the same way as DCer. It sounds awful but it's true. I love my son and find him very interesting and amusing (although yes, sometimes I am bored, but on the whole, I think parenting is very interesting and creative). I am not much into other people's kids, however. Having my son has made me much more tolerant of kids than I was before. But no, generally, I am not that riveted by other people's kids.

Posted by: Rockville | August 23, 2006 3:56 PM

Other people's kids are boring. Mine, however, are fascinating :)

Posted by: DCer | August 23, 2006 3:56 PM

"are you saying that we need grief, oppression and all that stuff? Without illness, there is no wellness?"

Without the grief, oppression, suffering, hate to compare the opposite conditions of joy, freedom, ecstacy, love - whether experienced, perservered or known - the quality would not be as distinct or poignant. Almost as the risk of poverty pushes the work ethic as sets the desired standard of wealth.

BLANNNGNGNG. Do you see grasshopper?

My On Balance Theory of Relativity

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 4:02 PM

There is nothing wrong with admitting that you find child-rearing boring. I think it is an extremely normal and common sentiment. What I take issue with is the fact that HKT, based on what she wrote in the article, seems to refuse to make any kind of sacrifices for the people that she supposedly loves. Life is not just about doing things that we find interesting or exciting. When you choose to bring other people into your life (be it a husband or children), there are going to be times when you are called upon to do things that you may find boring or may not enjoy. But you do these things anyway, not because you find them interesting or exciting, but because it is important to the other person in your life (who you supposedly love). You may find going to your child's little league game boring, but you go anyway because it brings joy to your child. HKT implies that parents who make their children the center or their world end up with narcissistic, self-centered children, and she may be right. But what is she teaching her kids? She's teaching them that you if you don't find something interesting or exciting, you don't have to do it, regardless of who you hurt. Isn't that teaching your kinds to be self-centered and narcissistic?

Posted by: Itchy | August 23, 2006 4:03 PM

"are you saying that we need grief, oppression and all that stuff? Without illness, there is no wellness?"

Without the grief, oppression, suffering, hate to compare the opposite conditions of joy, freedom, ecstacy, love - whether experienced, perservered or known - the quality would not be as distinct or poignant. Almost as the risk of poverty pushes the work ethic as sets the desired standard of wealth.

BLANNNGNGNG. Do you see grasshopper?

My On Balance Theory of Relativity

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 4:04 PM

Let's get real here. All jobs (at least those in the real world) are boring at times. Yes, even rock stars have to practice, sign autographs, spend weeks on the road touring, etc. Presidents and Prime Ministers have endless meetings and ribbon cuttings. Surgeons have rounds, follow-up visits and fights with insurance companies. My point is not to kick off an "I'm more bored than you" contest, but just to note that the most worthwhile jobs have their share of enui and just plain routine scut work.

Motherhood is no different (neither is fatherhood). There will be dull and unpleasant tasks, and plenty of routine stuff you just have to get through.

But recognizing changing diapers is purely a chore is a far cry from saying that you don't enjoy caring for your kids, or find them, their thoughs and activities interesting.

So yes - all of us with kids should freely admit that there are tedious and boring aspects to child care. But if we make the decision to be parents, we should make the effort to connect with our kids (just as we should make the effort to connect with our spouses). That involves, among other things, making the effort to learn about and care about the things they're interested in.

And really, is it so surprising how some of the people on the blog have reacted to this article? If you hear a lawyer say "I find working as an attorney to be one of the most boring and exhausting things you can do," it's going to be pretty natural to wonder "so, why did they go into law, and would I ever want someone who feels that way about it doing legal work for me?"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:04 PM

As for the school tuition benefit, do you think parents who have children who don't go to college should also get an extra benefit---or money, what ever it is that you want? I mean, some companies give away free gym memberships to their employees, just because I don't want to go to the gym doesn't mean you shouldn't and that I should get that money for the gym member ship.
Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 03:49 PM

Depends--are all employees getting the gym membership, or only those with kids?

I used to work in academia, and it would have been nice to have some kind of like benefit--the ability, perhaps, to assign the tuition remission to a niece, nephew, cousin, friend. A friend of mine went to Duquesne on a full ride because her uncle was a teaching priest there. Other institutions aren't so liberal, if you will, when you're childless.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:05 PM

"Getting a PhD does not make you superior to anyone else."

"And neither does having kids."

Um, I never said having kids made you superior. In fact, I went out of my way NOT to say that as it is something I don't believe. I just didn't appreciate the tone of some of the posts which made it sound like having a PhD somehow made the original poster better than everyone else because they worked 8 years for a degree. I highly value education, which is why I plan to TEACH kids.

"The point of that comparison was to say that being a mom is great, but so is having an education because you can influence and educate other people and create a legacy too."

I agree, which is why I am planning to teach high school students. So I guess I get the best of both worlds.

"No one job is more important than any other, including having babies. Again, think about that when your kid needs emergency surgery or wants to get a college degree."

Again, I never said motherhood was a more important job than having a PhD. Jeesh. Re-read my post. I happen to have a PhD AND a child. I happen to think education AND raising a child are both important. I also think being an auto mechanic is important when my car is broken and that does not require a college degree but requires a lot of knowledge that I do not have. My actual beef is with people who seem to take the position that somehow, because they spent 8 years in school (I took 7), that this is somehow MORE important than raising children. It isn't. Its just different. My child will, hopefully, influence countless people in her lifetime, hopefully for the better. The children I teach will hopefully carry a love of science with them forever and maybe, just maybe, some of them may go on to get PhDs. And be parents. Or not.

Posted by: PhD Mom | August 23, 2006 4:07 PM

"It's fine to not want to devote any energy or time on someone, but you truly get what you give. I hope she still has her career and fab life when she's old and needs the company of her boring children. Roles can easily reverse."

New to this blog (no kids yet) and seeing a number of posts from allegedly "selfless" parents like the one above. Essentially, the argument above is that one should be are nice to one's kids because you need them not to desert you when you're old and feeble? Exactly how is that selfless, in any sense of the word? I hate to say it, but what a potentially crappy bargain you made for yourself (and for your poor children, who entered into some sort of contract without realizing it) if, heaven forbid, they die before you, move far away, or just don't like you when you're old and grey and clingy and dependent and constantly reminding them what they owe you. It's kind of a sick reason to have kids, I must say. I often hear a similar reason for getting married. I'm sorry, but producing offspring to help you get around in the future is really not a selfless act.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:08 PM

There are an awful lot of old people dumped in facilities who NEVER receive visitors.

Don't know what kind of deals that thought they made with their kids....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:14 PM

I had kids because:

1. obvious excuse to buy a PS2
2. the world needs more RedSox fans
3. I needed an heir to the throne

It's very simple.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 4:14 PM

Yes, everyone would get the gym membership.

I like your suggestion though about giving it to another member of your family. However, then we would get into what is a family and who gets to decide that? I'm all in favor for liberal policies, but I also think that just because you don't use a provided benefit that you deserve to be compensated in another way.

I guess it would be fair if they said you could provide two members of your family with tuition assistance.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 4:14 PM

Some colleges and universities extend their tuition benefit to spouses or their own workers. I know a secretary who took advantage of it and got a BA and then found a better job! Gym membership is generally more to lower their employer health care costs then to actually get members to go to the gym. Most employers could care less if you work out.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 4:16 PM

"Without the grief, oppression, suffering, hate to compare the opposite conditions of joy, freedom, ecstacy, love - whether experienced, perservered or known - the quality would not be as distinct or poignant. Almost as the risk of poverty pushes the work ethic as sets the desired standard of wealth.

BLANNNGNGNG. Do you see grasshopper?"

Yep - and the grasshopper was a gimmick in one of the dumbest T.V. shows ever. Shall we increase the risk of grief, oppression, suffering and hate so we can better appreciate their opposite? Heck no - we should fight them wherever we find them.

We should always challenge ourselves. That does not require oppression and hate. I'd prefer that the human reace challenge itself with another Apollo program style space race than another world war any day!

Evil is not simply good wearing a different color hat. (And grasshoppers are cute, but not especially good philosphers.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:18 PM

"Essentially, the argument above is that one should be are nice to one's kids because you need them not to desert you when you're old and feeble?"

No - it's just an attempt to point out that there's an aspect of reaping what you sow in life, and that generations are interdependent. I depended on my parents when I was young - now my children depend on me. At some point in the next ten years or so, my parents will begin to depend on me. In all likelyhood, I will need to depend on my children a few decades after that. It's one of the circles of life. There's no obligation to become a parent, you can have a rich, full and rewarding life without kids, and some people never have a realistic opportunity to become parents. But there is a web of dependence between people and generations which is rich, rewarding and can play an important role in our lives. Family is important, and the decisions we make about marriage and parenthood will affect our lives for decades to come.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:23 PM

"I like your suggestion though about giving it to another member of your family. However, then we would get into what is a family and who gets to decide that?"

Interestingly (and maybe a little OT), the military does this. Or used to, at least. I went through basic with someone who was going to have her sister sent through college on the GI Bill. The model already exists.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:27 PM

Groan. Off topic post alert.

I would be more interested in sparring philo but you're anonymous, and I never said anything about increasing the risk of the sad end of the spectrum. What did the Apollo program do for humanity? Did it accelerate R&D for high tech more than war has over the centuries?

but before you freak, I dont advocate wars for advancing technology.

peace out.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 4:29 PM

"There are an awful lot of old people dumped in facilities who NEVER receive visitors. Don't know what kind of deals that thought they made with their kids...."

They may have taught their kids that they bored their parents, and that it wasn't worthwhile to try having a relationship with them. Or perhaps that caring about family was optional.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:29 PM

"No - it's just an attempt to point out that there's an aspect of reaping what you sow in life, and that generations are interdependent. I depended on my parents when I was young - now my children depend on me. At some point in the next ten years or so, my parents will begin to depend on me. In all likelyhood, I will need to depend on my children a few decades after that. It's one of the circles of life. There's no obligation to become a parent, you can have a rich, full and rewarding life without kids, and some people never have a realistic opportunity to become parents. But there is a web of dependence between people and generations which is rich, rewarding and can play an important role in our lives. Family is important, and the decisions we make about marriage and parenthood will affect our lives for decades to come."

As it's written here, I agree with you, but I don't think your eloquent point is the one the many other posters on this blog have written. If you go back and read, the postings to that effect sound horribly selfish - there are NO definites in life, no matter how much you don't want to be alone in old age. Sorry, but the notion of the other poster who said the writer should be nice to her kids because she's going to need them later is pretty pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:32 PM

"I never said anything about increasing the risk of the sad end of the spectrum."

Then what's your point? You certainly seemed to suggest that we need it.

"Without the grief, oppression, suffering, hate to compare the opposite conditions of joy, freedom, ecstacy, love - whether experienced, perservered or known - the quality would not be as distinct or poignant. Almost as the risk of poverty pushes the work ethic as sets the desired standard of wealth."

Risk, yes. Challenge, yes. That's actually part of a meaningful response to the "question of evil." But before you blow me off, please note that I specifically singled out oppression and hate. We have those in the world, and have to deal with them. We do not need them, and rather than accepting them, we should try to eliminate them wherever we find them. I can't respond to evil intentionally created by humans by saying "peace out" and a Daoist affirmation that it's all good somehow. It isn't good, and shouldn't be accepted as part of a natural balance like that between winter and summer.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:33 PM

"I find it interesting how many dedicated childless persons visit and post to this blog."

I find interesting what parents have to say, since I have so far made the choice not to be one. I think all the stories about cute kids and how that one little smile makes your whole day are nice, but I don't see a lot of real world stories such as those I hear in my office or from my friends every day. I know of kids going on antipsychotics due to disruptive classroom behavior, kids who are in the juvenile court system, kids who are anorexic or are cutting themselves, kids who just totaled the family car. I also hear from divorced parents about how awful the ex is behaving or how the ex is teaching the kids all the wrong things. So, unfortunately, I don't find the thought of reading the same book over and over boring, but I find the thought of winding up like one of those parents truly terrifying.

Posted by: AJ | August 23, 2006 4:44 PM

This is to the Ph.d mom who is or is going to teach high school. I spent the best five years of my life getting my teaching certificate (o.k., that wasn't ALL I was doing, which is why it took the extra year). Do yourself a huge favor and RUUUUUUUUUN! Go teach at a junior college, at least. If you are committed, however, I wish you the best and hope that you enjoy your new career.

Posted by: parttimer | August 23, 2006 4:45 PM

I remember my husband telling me about how bored his father was with my husband and his sister. He rarely interacted with them. He does not interact with his grandchildren either. My husband once told me all that I needed to understand about his Dad was that he was a very selfish man. It took my husband and his sister most of their lives to figure it out and accept it. Once my DH was grown, his Dad decided he was an interesting adult and would converse with him. But not much else.

I saw the level of selfishness myself when my husband was dying from cancer. He was surrounded by all of his loved ones save one: his father. My FILs excuse for not being at his son's side during his illness and later, as he lay dying was that HE could not bear to see his son in pain. Didn't matter what his son wanted. Anyway, my SIL has little affection for him. He has no other family except a brother he hates. So if he gets ill and needs care, most likely he will have no one. Maybe his daughter will help somewhat out of a sense of duty, but she is moving to another city soon. BTW, neither my husband nor his sister really got over the feelings of rejection and disappointment they felt. My FIL, however, still feels he was a wonderful father and a wonderful grandfather.

So, yes. Sometimes being a disengaged parent does mean you are a bad parent, a disappointment to those around you. And of course you shouldn't raise kids because you may need them to take care of you someday. But if you were a bad parent, neglectful and sometimes downright mean, you shouldn't expect your children will somehow miraculously rally around you later on. What goes around does, sometimes, come around.

Posted by: PhD Mom | August 23, 2006 4:45 PM

Re the responses to my tuition-benefit gripe:

In the scenario I'm talking about, all employees qualify for tuition remission for themselves and a prorated remission for spouses, but there is an annual cap. Employees' children, however, can get full tuition to this university or tuition anywhere else up to an amount equal to 50% of this university's annual tuition (which now is running over $30K). And there's no cap.

So, there have been times when colleagues of mine, in a single academic year, pulled in an extra $15,000 PER KID in compensation.

I think that the only truly equitable approach is to make the dependent tuition benefit part of an overall cafeteria catalog of benefits so that, if parents want to take advantage of the tuition benefit, they may have to sacrifice something else. If these huge tuition payments weren't going out every year, all that money could be more equally distributed among employees, who could then decide what their benefit priorities are.

As it is now, childfree employees are financially discriminated against while employees with children reap huge rewards just for having kids who go to college.

Is that fair and equitable?

P.S. And by the way, childfree couples also pay a price with the federal government. The IRS hands out tax deductions for each kid you have. This makes no sense. In Japan, parents are taxed for each child, not given what amounts to social welfare.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 4:49 PM

Still off topic...

The concept and knowledge of the negative aspects and cancerous characteristics of evil: hate, opression, poverty, sloth, gluttony, pride, envy, anger, greed, lust etc are crucial to motivating good.

They dont need to exist currently, encouraged, increased in order to serve the philosophical construct I put forth. If there was no risk of their existence, and the concept was erradicated like some long lost plague - the chance of an outbreak may in fact be increased no?

As you energetically react to the few phrases I used, and emphatically argue that these evils must be fought and eliminated wherever found, you prove my point on the value/knowledge of the concepts. ie: Fighting oppression is fighting for freedom.

What TV show was that? since you have no name - I'll still call you grasshopper.

BLANNNGGG.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 4:51 PM

To parttimer,

Thanks for the warning and good wishes. Teaching is scary. Teaching high school is very scary, but I hope it will be worth it. If I could survive an the salary they pay instructors at most community colleges I might consider it. But the irony is that I will most likely get better pay and better benefits teaching high school. The further irony is that I have to go back to school so I can be certified to do so! Apparently, college professors don't know how to teach. So I must go learn. How to teach high schoolers, that is.

Posted by: PhD Mom | August 23, 2006 4:51 PM

Attempt to get back on topic:

Philosophy of Sheltering Kids

Children who never want never appreciate what they have, may never be sympathetic to those less fortunate not be prepared to handle the evil in an unfair world. The helicopter parents do their children a disservice by protecting their kids from failure. The author may be involved with her kids, and doing them a service, by disengaging from them while they are pre-teens. Better than the lost young adults that dont know what to do without mommy. I dare say she is there for her kids if there is a real need - but her article doesnt make that clear.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 4:52 PM

Can I flip this around? I find most work boring. I have endured the workplace for 20 years -- and in that time I enjoyed and was truly stimulated my work for a total of maybe 3 years. The rest of the time I just did my best and waited for vacations. Now I have enough money to "retire" and be a SAHM. So many of you insist that raising a child is deeply important or that it is far more important than any work anyone can do -- when you are talking about childless people and what they are missing.

So when I say that I quit work to raise my adopted son and keep my home and support my husband in his career, all of which I find far more interesting than any job I've ever had, why do people jump all over me and tell me it was stupid or wrong to leave the workplace that I was sick and tired of?


Posted by: MCM | August 23, 2006 4:54 PM

Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.

Posted by: God | August 23, 2006 4:56 PM

Has anyone noticed that a lot of the anonymous posts are rather nasty and argumentative? It's ok to disagree, I like the back and forth, but there are some really nasty uptight folks....

Posted by: anonymous, on purpose | August 23, 2006 4:56 PM

Fo3

Two Questions:

1) In what way would our lives be worse if your original list were pared down to only natural evils, and did not include moral evils (i.e., only grief and suffering, rather than grief, oppression, suffering and hate)? Would we, on balance, really be worse off?

2) The danger of poverty stimulates us to avoid sloth and encourages self-development and enterprise, which are good in and of themselves. What is it that oppression stimulates us to do that is good in and of itself? Fighting for freedom is good because it reduces oppression. If there were no oppression, however, fighting for freedom would neither be good nor necessary - it would be meaningless, in fact. Would we appreciate our freedom less? Perhaps. Is that really significant enough to offset the evil of oppression? No

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2006 4:57 PM

I would like to be courageous and admit that I find mothers of small children boring as hell. :P

Posted by: Rob | August 23, 2006 4:59 PM

You want your children to take care of you in old age? Well, are you taking care of your parents in their old age?

Everyone learns be example. The way a person parents their child often dictates how that child will parent; it flows down the generation. What's important then is how as an adult child you treat your own parents. If your children see you being a loving active caregiver to your elderly parents you're setting an example for them. If they see you treat your parents as a burden, then they will see you in the same way.

My paternal grandmother lives with my parents. My maternal grandfather lived with my aunt and cousins. Both my parents had grandparents in their homes. It's cyclic and my parents (and an uncle) will be living with me in the future (or very close).

Posted by: eldercare | August 23, 2006 5:05 PM

I like this blog because the topics are very thought-provoking. But it saddens me a little because many of the issues it raises are proverbial straw-men.

People in modern societies love to over analyze themselves. It creates a facade of profundity or wisdom.

I admittedly would rather spend time with children rather than adults. Nothing ruins a person more than growing up. If actually find your own children boring, I can only pity you for how much of of your soul that is lost.

Posted by: bkp | August 23, 2006 5:09 PM

Rob, you are right on. I love my best friend, but I am so tired of hearing about how her baby hasn't pooped in 24 hours or has pooped 4 times in 4 hours. Oh my gawd. I know that at this stage the baby is getting 99% of her attention, but there must be something to talk about besides poop and spitting up.


Posted by: Sandy | August 23, 2006 5:10 PM

Oppressors exist in many forms and the oppression exists in many degrees. Some superficial - others critical and evil. Sometimes the oppressor is under the belief that he is sheltering those being repressed.

Think: parents and teenagers. Ask any dissaffected teen who is at fault for their state of desperate dire sadness and depression - and how unfair life is and the target of their finger pointing will be school or mom and dad - or both.

If teenagers were allowed to be as free as adults would that be beneficial?

Should convicted criminals be freed from jails?

Do Americans appreciate the freedoms they enjoy? IMHO no. Freedom and the standard of living here is taken for granted by many. Fighting for freedom to erradicate oppression neglects to recognize shades of grey.

Proof that without an understanding of oppression (parental or fascist) that the value of that freedom is diminished without a relkative understanding of evil and sin.

I know the rent is in arrears, the dog has not been fed in years,
It's even worse than it appears, but it's all right.

Cows giving kerosene, kid can't read at seventeen,
The words he knows are all obscene, but it's all right.

A touch of grey, kind of suits you anyway. That was all I had to say, it's all right.

I will survive. We will get by.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 23, 2006 5:13 PM

I really don't understand the whole love my own kids but never had use for other people's kids viewpoint. You can have fun with, spoil, and bribe your nieces, nephews, and friend's children without the responsibility for bedtime, potty training, homework...

Recent evening news stories (no good statistics here) claim that it is single women who most often pick up eldercare. That hardly seems fair in the context of the cyclical obligations described above.

Posted by: an aside | August 23, 2006 5:20 PM

Great so now parents are on welfare. I pay my fair share of taxes and when I lived in DC and couldn't afford a house I paid more. And, if you want to tax people with children more, I think we should also tax single people more because when they get old, tax payers might have to take care of them because they won't have any one else too!

As far as the tuition assistance goes, that sucks for you, but it not discrimination, it a benefit that is available to you that you are not using because you didn't have kids. Apparently the school thinks it is valuable to provide that benefit to its employees. If it bothers you so much why don't you sue or find another place to work if you don't like it so much.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 5:22 PM

Unfortunately our world has changed so that kids can no longer be as unsupervised as they once were. Thus it seems that parents have to be more involved and simply spend more time doing for their kids and being with their kids. Adults used to have much more adult time because the kids were out playing in the community. They often walked to and from school and were able to stay after for sports practice and get themselves home.

Now kids need to be watched and driven and accompanied. So parents end up spending more time doing "kid" things. They also have to endure peer pressure as Helen describes. I don't have kids and I'm already sick of know-it-all parents because I see my friends having to deal with them. All the competition is ridiculous! I can't wait to be a mom and get a "bad reputation" for not giving out goodie bags and doing other horrible things!


Posted by: Linda G | August 23, 2006 5:23 PM

Rob, you are right on. I love my best friend, but I am so tired of hearing about how her baby hasn't pooped in 24 hours or has pooped 4 times in 4 hours. Oh my gawd. I know that at this stage the baby is getting 99% of her attention, but there must be something to talk about besides poop and spitting up.

What is interesting can be a relative thing. I have friend who is single, and her conversation revolves around her boyfriend. Will he marry her or won't he? Did he mean this or did he mean that? She spends her time analyzing every conversation they have and trying to glean from it some insight (which she never gets) into his future intentions. Talk about the sound of forehead on plaster. When she's not doing that, she is telling me about the latest Survivor episode (snore) or complaining about her bills. Sorry. A potty training conversation would be a nice break from the drama. We all have friends we put up with for unknown reasons. Some of them can be really boring. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that people with small children are the only bores around. They come in all varieties.


Posted by: Rockville | August 23, 2006 5:27 PM

Sounds like this KT person has just bought hook-line-and-sinker into what I think of as typical feminist ideology. The idea that the only interesting, exciting goals worth having are those that our male-dominated culture deems most important, money, career, accolades from colleagues that basically don't really give a damn about you but are paying attention to what you are doing to be sure that they are keeping up. At this point in my life I just can't think of anything more "boring".
I think it's sad that she has so little curiosity about her kids. Creative, observant, imaginative people can find interesting things going on around them everywhere, in all situations. What's a dirty petri dish to one scientist is penicillin to another. My guess is that KT is just so stressed out from trying to "have it all" that her playful, creative side has shut down. That's too bad for her kids (and her coworkers).

Posted by: rumicat | August 23, 2006 5:28 PM

"As far as the tuition assistance goes, that sucks for you, but it not discrimination, it a benefit that is available to you that you are not using because you didn't have kids."

Never mind that if it's a selective university you only get the full benefit if your kid gets admitted. Is that discriminatory too? I agree that it would be nice to allow extended family to reap the benefit as well, but I really don't think it counts as discrimination. I don't use the health benefits at my job because I'm covered by my husband's insurance, which is better. I don't feel entitled to some sort of alternative compensation because I don't use that benefit -- that just gets filed under How Life Is.

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 5:29 PM

(Nearly off to the beach)

Howdy FO3 -- David Carradine playing the Qua Chang character in _Kung Fu__, sitting reverantly/quizzically while the blind older wise monk, says

"Ahhhh. Little Grasshappa..."

Makes me smile. :)

+Like you here on the blog.
+Thanks for your text and thoughts.
+Sorry about the irritating reactor(s) who click before considering.

BTW: isn't it Tao, not Dao but pronounced dow....

Wushu warriers are sometimes parents.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 23, 2006 5:30 PM

David Caradine in Kung Fu. Now quit with the grasshopper already.

Posted by: parttimer | August 23, 2006 5:30 PM

I'm one of those parents that have always let my kids, especially when they were toddlers, walk all over me. It makes for a great back massage.

All you childless persons out there who read this blog, don't ever think for an instant that your contributions aren't welcome. In so many ways, childless people enhance the lives of us parents and our chilgren, and for that, I am grateful.

And for my favorite childless poster, Friend, I am secretly hoping she becomes a loving mother to a very lucky child. I don't exactly know why I feel this way, but I think she would make a great mother if (or when) she decides to do so.

My family wants a puppy. I just want to rent a dog during the summer. Is that bad?

Bravo to the poster who came up with the answer "my country" as to what could be more important than a child. Although I can argue this one, I will never forget the fact that there are people that gave their lives for this country so the rest of us can enjoy our freedoms. that's why I have so much respect for military families.

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 23, 2006 5:39 PM

scarry,

Don't know why single people should be taxed more for old age -- or why childfree couples should be either. I've been taxed for my old age in advance through Social Security (which, yes, is another form of social welfare), and I've been responsible enough to work at jobs where I could build up modest but adequate pensions. My husband and I have made sure we won't be a burden on society beyond what we get back from our SS contributions.

But there's really no guarantee that couples with children will be taken care of in their old age anyway, is there? In fact, there's a good chance they won't, since the children will be coping with their own children's enormous expenses. So, Medicare and Medicaid will be helping to keep them in some kind of care, and who funds Medicare and Medicaid? The rest of us taxpayers.

So, yes, parents get a lot of money from both the government and society one way or another -- and they get it just because they have produced children.

As to the tuition benefit, it certainly is discrimination, in the same way gay and lesbian couples have been discriminated against as regards emloyment benefits. It's only within the last 10 or so years that employers have begun to offer domestic partner benefits.

I suppose your theory could be applied: Well, they could use the benefits if they'd just get married to someone of the opposite sex. But doesn't that sound a little simplistic?

Bottom line is that you and your kids cost me a lot of money. Generally, I don't complain. But every once in awhile, when I hear the kind of whining that the mommies have been doing today, I just can't keep it zipped.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 5:47 PM

My father was competley disinterested in any of the things we did as silly children. During his free time, he read, wrote, listened to his records. However, his disinterest in our games/activities was acceptable, because he was the "provider." Ultimately, he worked hard and provided for our family because he loved to and more importantly he loved us. He was a responsible father. He pushed for excellence and achievement in school, rather than being our playmate. Why can't a woman as a mother feel/do the same? Why such a narrow definition in motherhood?

Posted by: glarris | August 23, 2006 5:50 PM

"BTW: isn't it Tao, not Dao but pronounced dow...."

Annoying Linguistics Chick here...

I would say they're both correct -- it's a transliteration from a language with a non-Roman character set, so there isn't just one correct spelling. It's like Czar/Tsar or Hanukkah/Chanukah.

::sigh:: Yes, I really am that pedantic.

Posted by: Aimily | August 23, 2006 5:51 PM

"Annoying Linguistics Chick here"

Clarifying Ling. Chick. Thanks. Word fun. Not boring.

Posted by: CParkian | August 23, 2006 5:56 PM

Pittypat,
Think about it this way. Your colleagues' kids who went to college because of the tuition reimbursement program that your employer provides will be working in good jobs by the time you are collecting social security, and thanks to them, you will be able to reap to benefits of what you paid into. Without them (and the next generation of children) working (something that you did not primarily contribute to because you did not raise children), you would be out of luck because what you pay is going to the present generation of retirees.

Posted by: Rockville | August 23, 2006 5:57 PM

Why can't a woman as a mother feel/do the same? Why such a narrow definition in motherhood?


Because somebody had to engage with the children. It is too bad that your father was disengaged. How would you have felt had your mother been disengaged also? The fact that we let men get away with being disengaged does not make it okay to be disengaged. Thanks to our sexist society, men get away with it. That does not mean that women should aspire to it.

Posted by: Rockville | August 23, 2006 6:00 PM

Gotta say, although obviously my primary fascination for the past several years has been moms, it's turned out to be great that so many posters are not moms. Dads, babysitters, grandparents, single, childless, etc. Makes for a much more lively conversation.

Posted by: Leslie | August 23, 2006 6:05 PM

What's up with Pittypat?

"But there's really no guarantee that couples with children will be taken care of in their old age anyway, is there? In fact, there's a good chance they won't, since the children will be coping with their own children's enormous expenses. So, Medicare and Medicaid will be helping to keep them in some kind of care, and who funds Medicare and Medicaid? The rest of us taxpayers."

I hope my kids don't grow up to get jobs changing your diapers at a Nursing Home some day.

Pittypat, you sound more like Pitty Pot.

Posted by: Springfielder | August 23, 2006 6:24 PM

Springfielder,

Your kids won't. They'll be making lots of $$$ in high-powered jobs for which they received their expensive educations compliments of the childfree employees of universities like the one I work for.

And they'll probably be as pleasantly potty-mouthed as you are.

Way to go. Keep up the great work.

Posted by: pittypat | August 23, 2006 6:41 PM

This entire discussion has been framed as a mothering issue when it's clearly a *parenting* issue that applies equally to both mothers and fathers. Why limit this to the mother's point of view when fathers have the same experiences?

Posted by: bb | August 23, 2006 7:37 PM

"As it is now, childfree employees are financially discriminated against while employees with children reap huge rewards just for having kids who go to college.
Is that fair and equitable?"

Yes it is. Employers are entitled to allocate whatever benefits they see fit as long as everyone of the same class of employee is entitled to it. The fact that you don't have children is your problem. Your recommendation to make this part of a cafeteria style plan choice is just downright mean. So a family should forgo medical insurance so they can benefit from tuition reimbursement? Just plain dumb.

Lots of people pay taxes that go to the public school system. I don't bellyache and say "unfair" because I send my kids to private school. And people w/o kids shouldn't complain either.

Look it's your choice not to have kids. I respect that. But then stop complaining when people with kids get some benefit. We are repopulating the country and providing future social security payers.

Posted by: To Pittipat | August 23, 2006 7:37 PM

People may be influenced by the fact that the writer is a woman. People have acknowledged in earlier posts the differences in thought about the article if the writer were a male.

Posted by: To bb | August 23, 2006 7:44 PM

"As to the tuition benefit, it certainly is discrimination, in the same way gay and lesbian couples have been discriminated against as regards emloyment benefits. It's only within the last 10 or so years that employers have begun to offer domestic partner benefits."

You are comparing apples and oranges. Certainly companies should be offering domestic partner benefits to gays and lesbians since they do not enjoy right to marriage under the law that heterosexuals do. However I fail to see how offering a benefit to parents is discriminatory to an employee who chooses to not have children. There isn't any law forbiding you from having children. And the money for this benefit is coming from your employer, not your paycheck.

So stop complaining.

Posted by: To Pittipat | August 23, 2006 7:48 PM

I was skeptical about Pittypat's comment that you are taxed for your children in Japan. I was extremely skeptical about this since the Japanese are concerned about their aging population and are trying to encourage more children. So I looked it up. You do get a deduction for your dependent children, up to age 23.

http://www2.gol.com/users/jpc/Japan/taxes.htm#Rates

Posted by: Ms L | August 23, 2006 7:57 PM

"BTW: isn't it Tao, not Dao but pronounced dow...."

"I would say they're both correct -- it's a transliteration from a language with a non-Roman character set, so there isn't just one correct spelling. It's like Czar/Tsar or Hanukkah/Chanukah."

Isn't it also a transliteration from a mostly-non-phonetic written language shared by several spoken languages? I heard that whether it's pronounced Tao or Dao or whatever depends on whether you're speaking Mandarin or Cantonese or whatever.

"Think about it this way. Your colleagues' kids who went to college because of the tuition reimbursement program that your employer provides will be working in good jobs by the time you are collecting social security, and thanks to them, you will be able to reap to benefits of what you paid into."

Sure, but many sons and daughters of people who aren't Pittypat's colleagues will be working in good jobs by then too. Your argument here makes as much sense as arguing that Microsoft should pay all the expenses for the Lake Washington School District buses so that Redmond kids can get enough schooling to get good jobs and pay taxes by the time today's computer programmers retire and collect Social Security.

"Yes it is. Employers are entitled to allocate whatever benefits they see fit as long as everyone of the same class of employee is entitled to it. The fact that you don't have children is your problem."

What ever happened to equal pay for equal work? Aren't your benefits part of your pay, or do you think you're getting charity from your boss too?

"Your recommendation to make this part of a cafeteria style plan choice is just downright mean. So a family should forgo medical insurance so they can benefit from tuition reimbursement? Just plain dumb."

What's so mean about a cafeteria style plan? One could just as easily be "So a worker with a family should get both medical insurance and tuition reimbursement until her or his children have all graduated, then get both medical insurance and cash equivalents of the tuition reimbursement."

Posted by: Maria | August 23, 2006 8:04 PM

"What ever happened to equal pay for equal work? Aren't your benefits part of your pay, or do you think you're getting charity from your boss too?"

What you fail to understand is that benefit is not being DENIED to this person, she doesn't qualify for it b/c she doesn't have children. If she wants to participate in that benefit, she can have children and there now she qualifies. There are employers who pay or subsidize health insurance for the employee's family and I would hope no one would be so petty as to complain about that.

"What's so mean about a cafeteria style plan? One could just as easily be "So a worker with a family should get both medical insurance and tuition reimbursement until her or his children have all graduated, then get both medical insurance and cash equivalents of the tuition reimbursement."

It's very petty. It's like when a kid complains when their sibling gets a prize because he or she won a competition. Tuition reimbursement is a specific benefit for the employee's children. Denying a benefit to everyone b/c some people refuse to do what it takes to qualify (e.g. become a parent) is just ridiculous and a waste of energy. It's not as if this non-parent is being denied a benefit she is qualified for like medical insurance or participation in a 401 K b/c she is not a parent.

Get over it.

Posted by: To Maria | August 23, 2006 8:29 PM

To "To Maria"

"[benefits for parents only is] like when a kid complains when their sibling gets a prize because he or she won a competition."

So having a kid is a prize now? Once again, the parents have to lord it over the child-free! Seriously, the world doesn't revolve around you. All the tax benefits, consumer benefits, and media focus on parents/children/parenthood isn't enough. Not only do we have to pay to educate your children, pay for their medical care (medicaid, subsidized family health insurance at most employers, etc.), and suffer through the tantrums of ill-mannered crotch fruit at restaurants, museums, and every other public space, but we've got to "get over it" too?!

Nice attitude.

Posted by: Janice McTaypayer | August 23, 2006 8:39 PM

"But, as in so many other ways, other people's kids are costing me money, because here I have to accept a mediocre salary and abbreviated (or massively expensive) health benefits in order to send other people's kids to expensive colleges."

I think this falls under the "Life isn't fair" category. My seventh grade English teacher repeated that phrase often in his West Virginia twang (I grew up in MD suburbs).

It's impossible to measure whether people with children actually receive more compensation than you do. You may someday need medical treatment, such as heart surgery, that your medical insurance will cover. Such treatment could easily be more expensive than two students attending an Ivy League school (yes, the entire 4 years tuition, room and board).

Or you may develop some other terrible disease (God willing you don't) that would drive up medical costs for everyone at your university. Yet, you would not be expected to pay more in insurance premiums.

Would that be fair?

I guess another way to view other people's children, if you're just viewing them as drags on your happiness, is to see them as future contributors to your social security and medicare. For without these children, you won't have a future either.

I love my kids, don't expect that everyone else will, but it is indeed disheartening to hear the whining from the so-called childfree crowd. After all, weren't we all kids once?

Should no one have children just so that life will be fair to those without?

(Oh, and by the way, if you work at a university, which I also do, don't you need other people's children? Without them, there would be no university).


Posted by: Kate | August 23, 2006 8:41 PM

To pittypat: I don't think it is discrimination to offer tuition benefits for children because they are offering the benefit to you as well. It is your choice not to have children and therefor you forego your benefit. It would be wrong to deny a gay couple because people do not choose to be gay and they are not legally allowed to get married in most states. One can not choose to be heterosexual just to get some extra benefit from their employer. Secondly, why do you work for a private university instead of public one. Most public universities do not offer generous tuition benefits. Instead they offer higher salaries or better benefit packages. Again with the gym, you are totally entitled to go to the gym as well. You choose not to go to the gym. I think where I work both dependent care subsidies exist for both child care and elder care. So assuming that you are not an orphan, you have at the very least parents and are thus entitled to elder care benefits. It is not always equal pay for equal work. Haven't we learned that already. As far as an IRS deduction for children is the same deduction any person can take who has a dependent. Whether they are elderly, young or a challenged person. It is a dependent deduction. Now the child credit is a different thing all together. To me that is a gift to lower and middle class parents. BTW, a lot of people, including myself, do not qualify for this credit. There are income thresholds. Do I resent parents that get this credit? Heck no, I am just grateful I am in the position that I don't need it. As far as the government subsidizing parents and children. Sure they do. Parents are raising the next generation of tax payers. They are also raising the next tax burden as well. But the government has invested in the future. Look at countries like Russia. They have such a limited population growth they are paying people to have kids. At some point it is in the best interest for society to have future citizens.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 8:45 PM

Read through today's whole blog, and it's time to go. Too many meaningless arguments, tattletales and some truly scary people--not worth the time it takes to read. Too many people jumping the shark on a regular basis (quick, who used that phrase a few days ago)? This whole thing has become like arguing over a divorce!

I started reading when Leslie had the column on what Mothers should get paid, and couldn't believe she wrote that mothers should get paid more because it was so hard. I still can't. I also can't believe how many people write under an alias and complain about other people being anonymous! Duh!

Thanks to some of the more thoughtful posters, Military Mom and Laura come to mind.

Posted by: EML | August 23, 2006 8:45 PM

To Kate,

"Should no one have children just so that life will be fair to those without?

Of course not. I simply object to having to subsidize your choices through my taxes.

And to all the folks that excuse their government swag by saying "who will pay social security and medicare when I'm older" -- that's patently ridiculous. I'm 36. Social Security and Medicare will go bankrupt long before I will get any benefit from it. Just like I will be paying tax money into primary and secondary school systems and universities that seem to produce little more than ignorant, slackjawed proles devoid of initiative; incapable of operating anything other than a gameboy, ipod, or mobile phone; and unprepared for life away from mommy/daddy who solves ALL problems.

Face it, children benefit no one other than their parents, if anyone.

Posted by: Janice McTaxpayer | August 23, 2006 9:04 PM

pittypat,

Please don't put words in my mouth; I said nothing about gays/lesbians. I have gay cousins, I have lots of gay friends and because I am a "breeder" I may even have a gay child someday. I am tolerant of all people, even ones who come on a blog about work/life/child issues and complain about children getting free tuition.

The only reason I said anything about taxing singles was to make my point that everyone gets some kind of tax break or deduction, even you. And, it sounds really silly to say those people with children are on social welfare. Also, because of how I am raising my child, I know that if I need her she will be there.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 9:22 PM

Janice McTaxpayer,

Whoa, so if my kid is crotch fruit, I geuss that makes you rotten crotch fruit!

I hope I never meet you in a store, muesuem, etc. If you even looked at my kid the wrong way I would knock your a-- out.

Posted by: the real scarry | August 23, 2006 9:26 PM

To Janice McTaxpayer: even if SS and Medicare go bankrupt, you still reap from the tax payers. They are people that pay for roads, hospitals, the military, the courts, the police etc... At some point everyone subsidizes some one else. One of the biggest drains on health care is over weight people. I believe 2/3 of American adults are over weight (both child free and with children). I am thin. Am I subsidizing their health care by paying the same premium as an over weight person? Your darn right I am. Isn't it their choice (barring medical and mental conditions) to be over weight? Yes. But we do it. Why because it is in the best interest for society to help someone with heart disease. For goodness sake, is your solution that we should stop having children because they don't benefit society? Should we die out as a species?
To the poster who wondered why we get annoyed with anonymous posters: It is not that any of us care what the persons name is in real life. It is just so we can keep track and respond to their posts appropriately. If you don't sign your post, we don't know if you made multiple comments that we would like to address. And if you find this blog so boring, stop reading it.

Posted by: Lieu | August 23, 2006 9:28 PM

Lieu,

I don't even know why we responded to such a nasty person. She got my Irish up.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 9:31 PM

To Lieu:

You're exactly right. You are subsidizing those other people's irresponsibility and that's just as wrong. If some clown downs bucket after bucket of KFC and won't take care of themselves, why should anyone else have to pay for it and therefore deprive their children, their dependent parents, themselves, etc. of something? If you have control over your situation, you shouldn't be hijacking other people's resources to compensate for your irresponsibility. It's shameful.

And people have children because they want to have children. Not because they want to "benefit society." We did a fantastic job perpetuating the species long before governments decided to start rewarding people (i.e. buying votes) for doing it. In fact, we did it long before there were governments. So there's no danger of dying out as a species if government subsidies were curtailed.

To the real scarry:
I wasn't referring to your children specifically, but if they're acting like ill-mannered savages in a museum and I give you the wiggle-eye, you're welcome to try to "knock my a-- out." As Kerry said, "bring it on!"

Posted by: Janice McTaxpayer | August 23, 2006 9:45 PM

Don't worry honey, my kid is well behaved, it's adults like you who are the problem. And, believe me, you or anyone else never wants to give my kid the evil eye. I bet your the kind of person who when a baby cries you make smart remarks, or if a kid has a tantrum, you roll your eyes, or say something rude like crotch fruit.

And, it doesn't matter whose kid you called a name, i'm a mother and it is offensive.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 9:55 PM

To Scarry:

Get over it.

Posted by: Janice McTaxpayer | August 23, 2006 9:59 PM

Get over what? That you are a bitter person? What is so wrong with you that you would call children crotch fruit? You really don't think that you can say that on this blog and people aren't going to say anything to you?


Get over yourself, and by the way, do you go home to your mother and say "hi mom your crotch fruit is home." disgusting.

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 10:20 PM

You sound like a bitter person who cannot have biological children. Tsk tsk. I'll feel sorry for you and forgive your nasty comments.

Employers are entitled to provide whatever benefits they like. You can complain, but if it's so offensive to you, find another job. You are not ENTITLED to that job and I'm sure you are not in a position where you cannot dictate to an employer what the benefits are.

And paying taxes that happen to benefit children (e.g. schools) are a part of living in society. I'm sure you benefit somehow from paying taxes (roads, police protections, sewers, etc). If you don't like it, go find a deserted island where you can make your own rules.

Nasty, nasty people.

Posted by: To: Janice McTaypayer | August 23, 2006 10:47 PM

Good thing that most of us don't care what you think. Stop reading if it so offends you. Geez, the PC police don't give up

Posted by: To EML | August 23, 2006 10:49 PM

Hard to believe, but the last 3 posters have exceeded snark, a new log even for this blog. I've always tried not to single people out, but:

Smug Scarry, who's taught your child to be well-behaved? Not you. Rude, obnoxious and out of control.

Lieu, please read the posts you're muttering about instead of skimming and reacting. Thin body, fat head.

Janice, nice. Very nice. We may all be in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted by: Argh! | August 23, 2006 10:52 PM

to pittypat - I get it about the tuition and I don't know why you are getting such a disagreement about it. Change the benefit to "only adopted children" of employees and see who agrees then. After all, the rest of the employees can go adopt a child to get the benefit. Employee benefits should be either equal for all employees, or equivalent (as in choosing from a cafeteria plan) for all employees.

Or, what if the tuition was only offered to children of men.

Posted by: kea | August 23, 2006 10:54 PM

Smug Scarry, who's taught your child to be well-behaved? Not you. Rude, obnoxious and out of control.

That's okay, I'd rather be all of the above then call children crotch fruit!

Thanks

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 10:56 PM

regarding the original point of the blog today. I agree that the author is over the top regarding her "boredom" with her children, but I'm not completely sure that she is reflecting things accurately or slanting the story for effect.

It seems to me that many of the mothers who are defending extensive interaction with their children have young children. It would be interesting for everyone to post the ages of their children when responding. My children are teens and I have felt differently about parenting at various stages of their lives.

If you steer your children toward activities that hold some interest for you, it is much easier to be engaged with them. I love sports and have no problems watching their games, but have very little tolerance sitting through arts and craft activities. Evne though I love the sports, I also wish that there wasn't pressure (real or imagined) to be at EVERY game because all the other parents are there. After 3 seasons per year for 2 children, it does get old. My mother did come to one or two of my games per year, and it was fine with me that she missed the others.

If you hate rock climbing or camping or hiking in the woods, what would you do if your child expressed interest in something like scouting? A - don't let the child join. B Let the child join and become an active part of the activities. or C Let your child join and drop them off at the activities (of course only if there is proper adult supervision). My vote would be C and maybe I could get my hair done or shopping or another errand. I don't really see this as being selfish. Instead, it is allowing your child to have experiences even if they don't interest you.

There are many parents who outwardly appear very involved, but in their own way are doing what they want. One quick example would be jogging strollers - they are clearly for the parent and not the child.

I know helicopter parents. One especially who does everything with her children including homework (middle school). She actually talks about the projects they have done together (not oversight, actually doing the project). she reads every book assigned to her children so they can discuss it. Definitely over the top. You don't want to be neglectful of your children, but please let them become themselves.

I have one child who is very much into theatre, especially Shakespeare. Not my cup of tea (I'd rather see a baseball game). I am happy that she found something she enjoys, but I'm afraid she will be seeing the shows without me.

Posted by: kea | August 23, 2006 11:10 PM

Smug Scarry, who's taught your child to be well-behaved? Not you. Rude, obnoxious and out of control.

That's okay, I'd rather be all of the above then call children crotch fruit!
Thanks

Posted by: scarry | August 23, 2006 10:56 PM

Don't kid yourself. At best, it's a draw.

Posted by: Argh! | August 23, 2006 11:13 PM

"You know what? I am married to a baseball fan. I am not a huge baseball fan, and get bored by around the 4th inning of almost any game (no-hitters hold my attention). But we take our kids to a couple baseball games a year. Why do I go along? Because I like spending time with my family-- even if the activity isn't MY first choice. As FO4 said, it's about the people."

I also agree that sometimes we do things for the people we love just because we love them. It's also OK to do them separately. My husband and I usually do things we both like together, and the things that one of us really doesn't like are generally done with friends/relatives rather than each other. My husband would never go on a home and garden tour with me, but that's ok - I know he still loves me and I'll go with a girlfriend. Not really a big deal.

Posted by: kea | August 23, 2006 11:19 PM

Another thought on the tuition issue. Someone commented that they didn't take their employer's health insurance because they had coverage under husband's plan. This is really not comparing apples to apples.

You didn't take a benefit that was available. You weren't prevented from having a benefit that was available to other employees.

Posted by: kea | August 23, 2006 11:24 PM

"What you fail to understand is that benefit is not being DENIED to this person, she doesn't qualify for it b/c she doesn't have children."

OK, I get it now. If it's equal pay for equal work, the company's essentially paying employees to have kids and send them to college, so employees who don't do that portion of the work don't get that part of the pay.

"It's very petty. It's like when a kid complains when their sibling gets a prize because he or she won a competition."

More like when a single male employee complained about his colleague getting a raise for choosing to become a husband (and the boss said "he needs more money now that he supports a wife"), or like when a married female employee complained about getting a pay cut for choosing to become a wife (and the boss said "she doesn't need as much money now that she has a husband's support"). Was that OK because they chose to get married or to stay single?

"I think this falls under the 'Life isn't fair' category."

Doesn't that attitude justify absolutely everything, though? For example, if your daughter studies hard and learns math well but her algebra teacher threatens to flunk her unless she has sex with him, then will you complain on her behalf or just tell her that life isn't fair?

"Change the benefit to 'only adopted children' of employees and see who agrees then. After all, the rest of the employees can go adopt a child to get the benefit."

Good point.

Posted by: Maria | August 23, 2006 11:55 PM

Scarry has not been the least bit Rude, obnoxious and out of control.

I think it's obvious who is being rude here, and I wish the washington post would get rid of the nasty posts if Leslie isn't going to do so.

Posted by: experienced mom | August 24, 2006 1:00 AM

To argh!: This is what Janice McTaxpayer wrote: "Of course not. I simply object to having to subsidize your choices through my taxes. " My response was about subsidizing other people's choices. Here is my post "even if SS and Medicare go bankrupt, you still reap from the tax payers. They are people that pay for roads, hospitals, the military, the courts, the police etc... At some point everyone subsidizes some one else. One of the biggest drains on health care is over weight people. I believe 2/3 of American adults are over weight (both child free and with children). I am thin. Am I subsidizing their health care by paying the same premium as an over weight person? Your darn right I am. Isn't it their choice (barring medical and mental conditions) to be over weight? Yes. But we do it. Why because it is in the best interest for society to help someone with heart disease. For goodness sake, is your solution that we should stop having children" So I am not sure what you think is not addressing her point with my post. Clearly Janice McTaxpayer understood and responded appropriately. Sounds to me like your not reading the posts very clearly.

Posted by: Lieu | August 24, 2006 7:09 AM

Oh Argh, really it's okay. I don't live in DC anymore so you don't have to worry about me craking little miss crotch fruit in the head. Out of control is your opinion anyway, most people I meet and know think I am the nicest person ever. I just have intolerance for nasty people.

However, I don't let people walk all over me, where I come from, if you say or do something, you can expect an equal reaction.

Experienced mom, I don't even sweat it. I'm back in the Midwest where people are super nice and like children, not like what I experienced in DC where if you even push the stroller in some places you are getting the non-breeders (thier term, not mine) in a fit.


Lieu, don't worry about those comments; you analyze the topics very well. Some childless people on here just like to complain. What's next, "hey, that little girl got a toy in her happy meal, that's not fair."

Posted by: scarry | August 24, 2006 8:10 AM

I am going to work now. I hope when I come back people are behaving with a lot more civility! By the way, I get a huge tax deduction from my house. This is one of those pay for play bennies, like kids. If you don't own, you don't pay interest on a loan, you don't have to keep the place up and you can leave anytime (don't quibble here, I know you know what I mean). Oh my god, my keyboard was so full of crap that I couldn't type anymore! I had to flip it over and bang all the crumbs out! Hahahahahaha--that was gross. Anyway, there is a benefit to society that we own houses. We spend more money that way, buying crap to put in them, which supports the economy. Having children also is a societal benefit because our society would die out in short order without them. This argument only works, however, if you are not arguing that the world would be better off without people! Anyway, I also realize that there are people in the world who would better serve us if they weren't here, and that is nobody on this blog, so quit before you start.

To the Thin person who is supporting the fat folk--while heart disease is more apt to appear in overweight people, many thin people also have heart attacks and health issues. Now you KNOW I am going to have some anecdotal evidence. My grandfather had one at age 70 or around there, maybe earlier. He has always been active, still outworks me now at 83 (I am half his age--less--but I am just lazy) and has always been lean. His lovely wife, my grandmother, was obese for a large part of her life (no pun intended.). Her ticker is great, as is the rest of her.

And to the poster who used the term "crotch fruit"--"Beevis, that is beyond the limits of good taste." And take a percocet with a beer chaser--you'll be less offensive in no time! Besides, my kids didn't come that way. Made that way, however.

Last but not least, whoever made the argument that historically people kept having children before taxes or society was invented--well, no shyte Sherlock. Birth control is a rather newish invention. Instead they would abandon their non-perfect newborns to the elements. And just to make you feel better, is hasn't been until this last couple hundren years that children have had a unique distiction. Here's a thought--go to India or China or another third world country and you will see how the other 70percent lives. It will warm the cockles of your heart to see them work like kids did in the early years of the industrial revolution, with the subsequent missing parts (eyes, hands, etc.) and no social policies in place to protect or support them. Have a great day everybody!

Posted by: parttimer | August 24, 2006 8:32 AM

To parttimer: I wasn't trying to imply only over weight people suffer from heart disease. I was simply trying to say that being over weight is a MAJOR contributing factor for heart disease, Type II diabetes and other health risks. Health insurance over charge other people in order to cover all costs, even if they don't behave ina risk manner. And that we all subsidize peoples choices in one way or another. But my over whelming point is that it is good for society as a whole to subsidize each other. Because we all benefit from helping one another. Besides the truly humanitarian point of helping each other, which seems to be lost on a lot of people, it does benefit society. But I know you are a resonable person. So I am just preaching to the choir here.

Posted by: Lieu | August 24, 2006 9:36 AM

I hope Janice McTaxpayer doesn't have health insurance. I hope she has to pay the entire cost of every treatment/medication/diagnosis she gets. And I hope that if Janice McTaxpayer DOES have health insurance, and has 1) bad genes/family history of heart disease, cancer, etc. 2) bad eating habits, bad exercise habits or 3)any sort of lifestyle or contributing factor that could possibly require her to pay more for her health care than she does now, that she should forfeit her insurance so that she could be "fair" to the rest of us who have good genes/eat healthy/exercise every day/never smoked & never drank. Now THAT's fair.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 9:37 AM

There will always be people who don't want to contribute to the overall picture. Who don't have kids and resent taxes that go to public schools or employers that provide tuition reimbursement for children, for example. People who are willing to refer to children as crotch fruit. The world is full of small injustices. Some people die before they can retire, and never get the benefits of the social security system they paid into. Some people have health issues and their health costs are subsidized by people who are healthier. But the vitriol of some childless/childfree people against children always amazes me. We were all kids at some point. We need kids for civilization to continue. And people who raise kids are contributing to the next generation of workers, tax payers, citzens, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, etc. We put in a lot of work to raise decent, self-supporting citizens who will carry the human legacy forward. People with children should be supported because they are providing a benefit to society, human capital as it for. Without our work, the future is would be bleak.

Posted by: Rockville | August 24, 2006 10:20 AM

I have no doubts that the worker in my retirement village or my future doctor will be someone else's child. I want those people as well-trained and as kind as possible!

Posted by: No Kids | August 24, 2006 10:47 AM

To the poster who said that Janice must not be able to conceive--you clearly said that to hurt her and alienate her and have a smug little chuckle with all the people who have children. You are sick.

To everyone else, the meanspirited childfree people on the blog do not represent the rest of us. It's upsetting to see them on here because it widens the rift between us, just like the SAHMs and WOHMs. And it clearly upsets all you childfree people because, not to put too fine a point on it, look at how you reacted! Scarry, with violence! And many anon posters who wish diesease on Janice! SO I'm sorry on behalf of the childfree people.

As far as the debate about paying taxes, as a DINK, I do pay for all kinds of things that I don't use with my taxes. Roads I never drive on, medical resources that I don't use, and parks that I never visit. I also pay for schools. I think of this like I think of paying cops. Someday, I will need a cop to help me, so I love paying their salaries. Someday, I'll need a doctor to cure me, so I love paying for him or her to go to school.

SO I hope the hatred toward childless people can stop here. I try not to give anyone dirty looks, so I apologize in advance if my sideways glance offends any parent. Incidentally, I bet that if I complained about all the free health advice people like to hurl at me while I'm smoking my cigarette, no one would sympathize. I mean, for a mom to walk over to me (i.e., get her kid inside the cloud of smoke) to yell at me, well, it's just mind blowing.

Sometimes kids are obnoxious, so they get mean looks. I bet even other parents do it. SO just do what I do: ignore them. It's even better if you turn your back on them while they're talking!!! That really makes the hopping mad.

Posted by: Meesh | August 24, 2006 10:47 AM

I like to think of children as fruit of the womb.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 10:49 AM

I don't know, some of the answers to Janice were strongly worded, but Janice deserved them. You get what you give.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 10:52 AM

Allowing employees and family members to sign up for individual classes at a college fills empty seats and does not cost the college the dollar value of the class.

Most colleges have discount rates - for small private schools 40% of money is shuffled around as financial aid dollars... i.e. the rich always pay for the poor. Half tuition may be close to allowing employee's children to attend at cost.

There is a significant gap between the value of this benefit to the employee and what it actually costs the college.

Posted by: technical point | August 24, 2006 10:55 AM

"To the poster who said that Janice must not be able to conceive--you clearly said that to hurt her and alienate her and have a smug little chuckle with all the people who have children. You are sick."

The "you must not be able to conceive" is a nasty response that often gets thrown at those who make the choice not to have children and have no regrets.

I'd much rather be a woman who made that choice and is happy with my life than a woman who is shreiking "I want a BAAAABEEE!" to her husband and putting all sorts of hormones into her body just to conceive a bio child.

Posted by: Lane | August 24, 2006 11:00 AM

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a more experienced mom who told me:
"Find your passion and share it with your children. If you and your family are excited about something, then the kids will be too. And if you truly detest something, then don't spend all your time and effort doing it just because the kids like it. They'll pick up that you're faking."

When she told me this, I had spent a lot of time doing parenting badly, mostly because I had my kids involved in a whole host of activities I disliked and actively resented. My kids weren't doing so great in karate because I think they were picking up on the fact that I hated it. (And for the record, I also hate Candyland. I had multiple kids mostly so I'd never have to play board games. There, I admit it!)

Some of the things I enjoy the most about parenting are sharing my love for classical music with my kids, going to their concerts, practicing with them, and schmoozing with the other violin moms. Karate, not so much.

Our whole family loves scouting. And cooking. And canoeing. And roller hockey (though I never expected to! My kids have the passion for this and somehow it's contagious.)

I hate Chuckie Cheeze so I refuse to go there. My kids know that's one of my limitations. For awhile (at another school), my husband and I both hated chaperoning field trips -- so we'd flip a coin and the loser had to go.

What worries me about the snotty lady in England is, as many of you have said, she doesn't appear to have any passions that she can share with her children. (And for the record, I actually know of a mother and daughter where the mom's passion is shopping, and the two of them have a great relationship.)

Posted by: Best Advice I ever Got | August 24, 2006 11:01 AM

I fail to understand how people believe that we could have a civil society with no govt. Otherwise it would just be survival of the fittest, and there is always someone fitter, no matter how great we think we are. If there's a govt, it's gotta be funded. Thru taxes. This funded govt requires administration, so taxpayers can never get out as much as they put in, by definition. Companies (read: benefits) work the same way.

Why on earth would you expect that money you pay in as taxes or money you earn for the company with your work would all come rushing back to you as benefits. "Fair" has nothing to do with it. Try mathematical impossibility. Yes, this is not completely consistent with the notion of free-market capitalism, but it IS consistent with the notion of organized and morally-driven societies.

If Janice and others don't want the fruit of their labors to extend past their circles, you would literally need to live in isolation (e.g., desert, island, moon), grow your own food, and eat it. Can't drink the water flowing in the stream, because it isn't yours. Fruit juice only...

Posted by: Economist 2 | August 24, 2006 11:04 AM

To Meesh: Don't worry us "breeders" know that not every childfree person is ANTI child. We are glad you and the other childfree people are on this blog.

Posted by: Lieu | August 24, 2006 11:10 AM

Meesh,

It is wrong for people to say things to you about smoking if you are outside. However, people talking on their cell phones, making out in grocery stores, and loudly talking and swearing in public bother me, but I don't own the world so I ignore them until it affects me.

If you say or do something directed at my kid, it affects me and I am not going to ignore you. I have had people open up the door to the milk on my baby in the grocery store because they couldn't wait two seconds until I was able to move my cart. No excuse me, no can I move the cart for you I see you have your hands full, or even move it. Was I just supposed to say thanks, I'm glad you didn't get her fingers, try harder next time.

I know you are not like the other childless posters on here, but when people write such nasty things, it's hard not to be mean back. And, I am totally serious about knocking her out. Where I come from, that guy who opened that door on my kid, would have got his a--kicked by someone else in the store. Like I said every action creates a reaction, not everyone is passive. I didn't like the culture of DC, so I moved back to the Midwest. I am going to miss the diversity, but not the mean anti-child people who think that it's okay to say and do stuff to kids.

I know you aren't like the other posters, so my post isn't meant to offend you.

Posted by: scarry | August 24, 2006 11:14 AM

"...Without chicken no egg"

Fo3, so the chicken DID come first?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 11:17 AM

I have to apologize for using the word breeder, someone at work said it to me one day and I got so mad that everytime it's a child vs. non-child discussion, I use it for emphasize. Sorry.

Posted by: scarry | August 24, 2006 11:20 AM

I would like to apologize if I offended anyone on this blog. I try to be as civil and as polite as I can be. I respect people's opinion even if it differs from my own. It must be something about the internet or the anonymous forum but it appears that some people are just plain rude in their comments. But I would like to lay out a blanket apology if I have offended anyone.

Posted by: Lieu | August 24, 2006 11:36 AM

"As far as the debate about paying taxes, as a DINK, I do pay for all kinds of things that I don't use with my taxes. Roads I never drive on, medical resources that I don't use, and parks that I never visit. I also pay for schools. I think of this like I think of paying cops. Someday, I will need a cop to help me, so I love paying their salaries. Someday, I'll need a doctor to cure me, so I love paying for him or her to go to school."

I agree. It makes tons more sense than expecting your employer to fund the roads you don't drive on, my employer to fund the medical resources I don't use, Leslie's employer to fund the parks she never visits, all in the name of the public good.

"There is a significant gap between the value of this benefit to the employee and what it actually costs the college."

Good point!

"If there's a govt, it's gotta be funded. Thru taxes. This funded govt requires administration, so taxpayers can never get out as much as they put in, by definition. Companies (read: benefits) work the same way."

OTOH, we were talking about public goods (like tuition assistance if it's in the name of assisting the whole country's next generation). Aren't private company benefits a less efficient and more random way to provide public goods than public government taxes are?

For example, I contribute to the federal Social Security system with my earnings - not only to the retirement funds of my father's colleagues. Therefore, my student loans being subsidized by the federal government makes more sense than them being subsidized only by my father's employer.

"It must be something about the internet or the anonymous forum but it appears that some people are just plain rude in their comments."

That's my guess too. You might find this entertaining:
The Flame Warriors Page
http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/

Posted by: Maria | August 24, 2006 12:01 PM

The venom was not directed at all people who do not have or want children. It was directed at one individual. There are people who make the conscious decision to not have children and I admire them for it. While there are others who cannot have children and I truly feel bad for them because most people do want to have children. However, some of these people become bitter and lash out at those with children. I think that poster was accusing this Janice Taxpayer person of that. That non parent is a nasty, bitter person for some reason.

And with regard to the employer college tuition assistance for employee's children--- quit whining. Life's unfair. It's not money out of your pocket so get over it.

Posted by: To Meesh | August 24, 2006 1:18 PM

Ok, folks, time out on this tuition thing. Clearly, most of you didn't actually read what I posted. Let me try again.

My employer, a large and wealthy university (which I work for not for reasons of elitism but because they're the largest employer in town and actually had a job to offer in my specialty 17 years ago), offers a reasonable tuition benefit to all employees -- full tuition remission at the university for them and their dependents and a prorated remission for spouses. The employee and spouse benefit has an annual cap, but the dependent benefit pays full undergrad tuition.

This is a fairly standard tuition benefit, and it's one of the reasons a lot of people take staff positions there.

The inequity (and note, I didn't say anything about there being inequity in employees' kids being able to take advantage of this) comes in with what the university calls a "tuition grant program." This is a program whereby employees' kids can go to any university in the country and get up to one-half the amount of the annual tuition at our university to do so. Consequently, since our university tuition is now around $32,000 annually, these parents can get up to $16,000 per year per kid over and above the standard tuition benefit.

My point is that this is excessive, and it bleeds funds from benefits that could be offered more widely accross the university.

To the person who said that making the grant program part of a cafeteria plan would be mean -- I don't think you quite grasped how all this works. I'm not suggesting that parents would have to choose between health benefits and college tuition. I'm saying that, if you took the massive amount of money paid out for these grants and put it into the cafeteria benefit pool, there would be much more available for each employee, making it reasonable that parents could make choices based on where their families are in the lifecycle.

And, no, I wouldn't rescind the basic tuition benefit. In fact, I would extend it. Given that most students can't get into this school, I'd change the benefit so that the university would pay the full freight of an education at any public college or university in the state.

What I object to is underwriting the cost of all these parents who are sending their kids to ivy league and other high-rent schools. How is it unfair to take this position?

In regard to a couple of other issues that seem to have come out of this discussion:

* I think that using ugly terminology (e.g., "crotch fruit") is inflammatory and unnecessary. While I agree with much of what this poster said, I don't understand the need to alienate people by using abhorrent language.

* I have nothing against children. What I find astonishing is the attitude of their parents. Case in point. Last weekend, my husband and I went to a concert. It was an outdoor, open-air, stadium venue, and of course there were lots of kids. It was also about $35/person (except for kids, who were free). So far, so good. The concert lasted about 4 hours. About 20 minutes before the end, while the headline act (the one everyone had come to see) was on stage, a family of three adults and two or three kids plunked down in the recently vacated seats right behind us. The two little boys immediately began whining for something to eat, complaining about being bored (which of course they were because they'd been there for 4 long, hot hours listening to music they didn't care about but their parents wanted them to hear), and kicking the backs of the seats in front (ours).

I turned around to the little boy behind me (maybe 7 or 8) and said, "You'll have to be very quiet." Whereupon the mother looked at me with disdain and said, "Oh, calm down. They're kids."

Hmmmm. This is what I mean about parents. Yeah, the kids are just doing kids things. The parents, on the other hand, put these kids in situations where they're going to be disruptive -- not because they're bad kids but because they're normal kids. And the parents think that, because the kids are acting normally for kids, it's the other folks who are in the wrong. It doesn't occur to them not to put the kids in those situations or to take the kids home when it's clear they've had enough.

I'm not saying that people shouldn'thave kids. Of course they should. I'd just like to see parents exercise a little more consideration when they bring their kids to public places and events.

Posted by: pittypat | August 24, 2006 2:01 PM

Thank you for the clarification pittypat.
I am at a school that is part of a "tuition exchange" that costs the school significantly less than the 1/2-fare program you describe above.

Posted by: technical point | August 24, 2006 2:08 PM

Thanks for clarifying; it makes sense.

I agree that the grant is excessive, but I think the program is good. There should be a cap, like 2,000 a semester or something. It's strange to me that your university would pay their employees to send their kids to a different over-priced university! I mean, that's the competition!

I also think the program should apply to all relatives in order to make it less exclusively for the parents. You nieces and nephews and uncles and aunts could also benefit.

Posted by: Meesh | August 24, 2006 2:39 PM

pittypat,

I'd Like you to address why you would assume that I would think that gay people don't deserve rights.

On the kid thing, the mother might have been nicer to you if you addressed her and not her kid. I know I would have been. Sometimes it's not what you say but who you say it to, I never would say anything directly to someone else's child unless they were family.

Posted by: scarry | August 24, 2006 2:41 PM

You are right, Pittypat, parents should control their kids and require that they behave appropriately. But there is a lot of child hate out there that has nothing to do with inappropriate behavior on the part of parents or kids. The other day, I was in line at the grocery store with my son. He was helping up unload the cart, and humming to himself softly as he worked. The woman in front of us turned around, glared at him, and told him to shut up. Then she looked at me dispprovingly and muttered about children being a nuisance. My son asked me what was wrong with that lady, and I told him she was probably having a bad day. She then turned around again and yelled that she was having a very good day until she had to deal with my bratty kid. I shook my head at my son and whispered to him not to respond, since nothing could diffuse the situation. I have an aunt who is like that also. She gets upset at the mere sight of a child in any restaurant, including Pizza Hut. For that reason, I have never introduced her to my child.

Posted by: Rockville | August 24, 2006 2:49 PM

pittypat, you were not unreasonable to address the child in the concert anecdote. I have a child and I am ok with others respectfully addressing him when the need arises. He is a person, not an inanimate object. I would have backed you up, not snapped at you. You're right. Parent problem.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 2:50 PM

Pittypat, I feel you on your recent careless parent experience.

I think the guidelines are fairly simple:
1. When my husband and I go to a child-centered event (like a hands-on museum like the Spy museum or Disney movie), we expect the kids to be rowdy and in the way. That's fine because we're in their space.
2. When parents take their kids to adult-centered events (like a fine art museum or a restaurant without a kids menu), we expect kids to be behaved, and we get annoyed when they're not. And it's not the fault of the kids. It's the fault of the parents for not realizing their kids' limits or boring the heck out of them, or keeping them awake too long.

We don't have kids, but we both have experience with kids, so the whole "you have no idea how hard it is to keep them quiet" thing does not work. But I would never say anything to a parent or kid--I would be way too embarrassed. I keep my mouth shut and move to another seat and laugh at how fed up the parents are when they could have avoided to whole fiasco from the start!

Posted by: Meesh | August 24, 2006 2:52 PM

To Meesh: I agree that kid centered places should be OK to let kids be kids. I could not believe on a Disney Cruise Line site, there were passangers complaining about kids! Why would you go on the Disney cruise of all cruises if children bother you? Your reason is the same reason, I don't bring my toddler to nice restaurants. But I am shocked at the customers that show distain when I bring my kid to TGIFridays or Bennigans. Here is a clue, if they have kid menu, the establishment is OK with small children. If they don't, skip that restaurant till the kid can learn some table manners (and that differs for each child). So I guess I just don't understand some of the child hate that is out there. I don't bring my kid to the opera, classic music concert, or a fancy restaurant. So why all the ugly looks and comments. I know you are not a child hater. Sorry to vent.

Posted by: Lieu | August 24, 2006 3:14 PM

I went to a restaurant with 2 friends. We all have kids, so we have more tolerance for them. However, some parents really are either totally clueless or completely self-centered.

There was a 2 year old at the table behind us. The parents gave her a toy to amuse herself while they were talking with their friends. The toy was a wooden workbench with a hammer. She was having a great time pounding away. One of my friends asked the parents if they could have the child stop hammering, and the parents said, 'She's two - what do you expect?' My friend calmly told them she expected the parents to get the crayons and coloring pages from the waitress so the child could amuse herself without bothering the other customers. The parents then complained to the waitress about us. Go figure.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 3:36 PM

scarry --

I didn't say anything about your position on gay/lesbian rights. Go back and reread my post.

I was making a comparison showing how your formula (have kids; then you can get the benefit) holds up in a similar situation where people are being discriminated against.

My point was that, if you apply that formula to other situations, it is completely absurd. So why apply it to this one?

If you think there was anything in my post that even vaguely suggested you are anti-gay, then I just don't know what to say.

Perhaps try not taking things so personally? I was talking about policy. Can't see why you'd think I was talking about you.

Posted by: pittypat | August 24, 2006 4:02 PM

Who does this sound like. I won't name names for fear of hysterical theatrics from the unnamed one.

Fragile Femme is very needy and insecure and regards the discussion forum as her personal support group, and will lash out when her feelings are not "validated" by the others... She regards a minor disagreement with her as devastating personal assaults and will often dissolve into hysteria when confronted. Her hyperactive sense of injury renders her fighting tactics fairly ineffective, but Innocence Abused, Cyber Sisters or Weenie will often spring to her defense.

Posted by: From the Flame Warriors Website | August 24, 2006 4:27 PM

Okay, that post from Flame Warriors is hysterical and right on point. There's an obvious one it applies to as well as at least two regular defenders of said person. Utterly hysterical.

Posted by: Funny | August 24, 2006 4:41 PM

It's scary how well that fits! Thanks, Flame Warriors.

Posted by: ha ha | August 24, 2006 5:01 PM

hahahaha

I wonder what we are in the Flame Warriors manual.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 5:05 PM

Well, thank you Lieu, for the blanket apology and the compliment! I do try. Just to suggest a few guidelines for living in the internet age:

1) do not use violence to attempt to coerce someone into doing what you want. This will backfire and they will hate and fear you until they are able to take revenge at the earliest opportunity. Instead, use lawyers. It is much more devious and time-consuming. It may not have the immediate satisfaction of slugging someone, but it will be fun imagining the evildoer with the court summons and such. It really can cause serious health problems, bankruptcy and ruin reputations. "Officer, this person intentionally hit my child/car/whatever. I would like to press charges. The other alternative is to press charges up to the point to going to court--you really don't need a lawyer for this--then ask for a continuance because you are in the emergency room. FYI, you can be in an emergency room at said time and date for any number of ailments, then feel better a minute after the court time/date. This works exceptionally well on people who are taking time off work for this. It also casts a shadow on their reputation. Remember the allegations of doping on that Tour de France winner? It was all over the papers, but what I didn't see was that he had to give back whatever he won or was kicked off the team. Lots of bad press, no apology.(I might have missed it, though).

2) also, it is not avisable to use bad/vulgar language in front of children or someone whom you may want to impress at a later date. Please keep these terms handy for when you are driving, hopefully alone.

3)Do not threaten unless you can back it up.

4)Try to be reasonable, kind and tolerant as much as possible. If this doesn't work, use lawyers. If all else fails, I have an uncle in NY who works on commission.

As a testimonial to the efficacy of the aforementioned guidelines, I can tell you that I am LIVIN' THE LIFE! Thank you for your time, and OMG, those last few posts nearly made me pee my pants. I mean, ahem, those last few posts were hysterical.

Posted by: parttimer | August 24, 2006 5:36 PM

Also from the Flame Warriors website - a good description for someone else on this board who never uses his/her own name.

Jerk is sarcastic, mean, unforgiving and never misses an opportunity to make a cutting remark. Jerk's repulsive personality quickly alienates other Warriors, and after some initial skirmishing he is usually ostracized. Still, Jerk is very happy to participate in electronic forums because in cyberspace he is free to be himself...without the risk of getting a real-time punch in the mouth

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 5:46 PM

Excuse me,but 'the invisible hand' is not arcane. So which one am I? Let's make up a new one for me. something that makes me look good,like a black dress. 'Cause the' invisble hand' is so not arane.

Posted by: parttimer | August 24, 2006 5:47 PM

shake it off, scarry.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 5:56 PM

Ooh, ooh, do I get to the "cyber sister?"

Posted by: Megan | August 24, 2006 6:17 PM

These people don't bother me. People make fun of other people because they have low self esteem and are insecure.

They are probably the same type of people who used to hide behind me on the playground when the bully tried to kick their a--. No biggie, they can make fun all they want.

Posted by: scarry | August 24, 2006 7:47 PM

Pittypat,

You applied "my theory" to gay and lesbian people, that's where I got the notion about you implying I am anti-gay. And taking things personal, you are one to talk. You seem to think the whole world, or that is, the world with children is out to get you. The tuition thing is a benefit that you could use if you wanted to, you just don't want to.

There are many benefits that my company has that I don't use, but that doesn't mean that other people can't benefit from them. They also dedicate different months throughout the year to different religions, races, lifestyles, mine is never one of them, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate and learn from the ones they feature.

Posted by: scarry | August 24, 2006 7:53 PM

Follower of jerk:

Someone who thinks it's funny to put other people down and make them feel bad. They usually come in at the end of a conversation and try to add a witty remark or give good advice. Unfortunately, their advice is often bogus and their jokes are just lame. They sometimes talk about black dresses which leads others to believe they are fat and unattractive.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 8:04 PM

Super-accurate on scarry. Doesn't hesitate to comment up-n-down the board on everyone else. But any comment on her is somehow 'personal' and about her 'personal' choices. Don't take this 'jerk's' word for it, read pittypat's post then scarry's and decide for yourself.

(Cyber-sisters attack!!!!)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2006 8:15 PM

lots of people don't agree with pittypat and lots of people take the kid's comment personally. Why are you picking on scarry?

Posted by: hey jerk | August 24, 2006 8:49 PM

You people who are all picking on scarry are really pathetic. The day always starts out good. People comment on the topic, then some idiot says something like crotch fruit, and scarry, being the hot head that she is says something back.

Or, a bunch of childless people whine about not having as many benefits as people with children, A BUNCH OF PEOPLE DISAGREE with them, and so does scarry. Who is wrong, who is the hysterical person, scarry, of course. She is no more hysterical then any of you, and quite frankly, she is a lot nicer than many of you. She doesn't hold grudges from blog to blog and says she is sorry if she makes a mistake.

Here is a news flash people, anyone who posts on a blog wants to express their personal opinion, they want to be heard and acknowledged for what they contribute.

Parttimer, I am disappointed the most in you. You think it's funny that anonymous people make fun of her, almost peed you pants?. I thought you had more to offer, but apparently you are like the rest of them.

I am tired of this blog and I am never posting here again. Scarry, ignore them, they are typical DC trash.

Posted by: tired of the people and the blog | August 24, 2006 9:32 PM

I am tired of this blog and I am never posting here again. Scarry, ignore them, they are typical DC trash.

And another one bites the dust! Great work, guys! (little dance in my chair)

And I am not typical DC trash. I am PA by way of MA, WI, OH trash!

Posted by: Excuse me! | August 24, 2006 10:32 PM

These people don't bother me. People make fun of other people because they have low self esteem and are insecure.

They are probably the same type of people who used to hide behind me on the playground when the bully tried to kick their a--. No biggie, they can make fun all they want.

Posted by: scarry | August 24, 2006 07:47 PM

7:47 PM before a Denial via Platitude. Or did I miscount, and did today's occur earlier?

So did you make fun of your old teacher because you have low self esteem and are insecure?

Posted by: To Scarry | August 24, 2006 10:36 PM

I'll get over it. If you go and read the flame warrior blog, you will see why I was laughing. And sad to say, Scarry does rather fit the description. As soon as I read the description I thought of her. And the cyber-sisters came out en masse, just as the definition said. There are a lot fewer logical, cogent arguments on this board than there are logical. I am not friends with anyone here. I don't feel any special loyalty to Scarry or Lieu or Fo4 or any of the other regular posters. We don't hang out. We respond to the topic (or off-topic as the case may be) at hand, and some try to have an above board discussion about it. There are people like the person who mentioned crotch fruit who like to come on to various boards and bait people. If you read the archives of this chat, it is pretty clear who will rise to it. I am neither insecure, fat, nor have low self-esteem. I teach middle school. I have 30+ kids on a daily basis picking apart my clothes, hair, lesson plan and whatnot. It is sop. I have skin made of teflon. And to the person who said that this board always starts out 'good', I beg to differ. The first post often is someone who thinks the current column sucks. Are we all out of seventh grade? It sure doesn't look like it out there. But TOTPATB, please don't waste your emotional energy on me. I am sure you will be back, anyway. Besides, I don't live in DC. I live in Annapolis.

And in case you didn't know, 99% of the people on the net fall under the category of 'jerk' since they don't sign their own name. You didn't even sign your normal screen name. If I hurt Scarry's feelings, she's a big girl and can tell me. She doesn't need anyone to fight her battles--she even tells us that several times. Can you honestly read that description and not think Scarry fits it even a little bit?

Scarry, if and when you put it out there, I will respond. I didn't say I thought you were a horrid person, you seem like a dedicated mom and just workin it like the rest of us. I have no bad feelings for any one here, not the trolls, not Leslie (well, I might have early on), or anyone else. For all I know, you could be computer programs.

Night, folks.

Posted by: parttimer | August 24, 2006 10:48 PM

So did you make fun of your old teacher because you have low self esteem and are insecure

You got me, I am still insecure about math!

parttimer, I don't really care what you think about me either and i'm sure it won't be the last time that a bunch of people gang up on me, nor will it be the last time that a bunch of other people defend me.

Posted by: scarry | August 25, 2006 8:01 AM

Hasn't anyone read Adrienne Rich's ground-breaking, needs-to-be-reissued (again) "Of Woman Born" lately?

And while I'm at it, will the person(s) who borrowed my first edition copy while we were all in Irvine, CA kindly return it please?

Thanks.

Posted by: Adrienne Rich reader | August 25, 2006 8:30 AM

Can I just submit the following?

If you put your opinion out there (Leslie, RebelDad, or any other poster), expect that someone will challenge you on it.

If you can't take being challenged on your opinion, why state it in public?

Is that a reasonable thing? Agree that people need not call each other names. Further agree that wanting to debate a topic that may be closely held by a person does not, in itself, constitute 'attacking' that person. If you feel your belief is either indefensible or beyond scrutiny, again, why state it in a public debate forum?

On one hand I feel bad that I helped call someone out. OTOH, I still feel that in a discussion forum, scrutinizing an idea is fair game and it shouldn't be taken personally.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:51 AM

This reminds me of a story about the President's Adams. They both kept journals. When the younger one was a child he and his father went fishing. The child wrote about this in his journal at length over many pages describing a rapturous day. When historians went to see what the father had written in his journal it said: Took the boy fishing, day wasted.

I don't think that if you find spending time with your children boring or your own childrent boring that that should mean you should have children. Should the senior Adams not have had the child Adams? This is especially true when you do the things that ARE boring anyway. She may not like to read a book to them but she clearly did do some boring things or she wouldn't have been able to write from experience that it was boring. And, I do think that it's probably not a good idea to tell your children that they are boring. You wouldn't tell that to an adult, would you?

Posted by: jw | August 25, 2006 2:37 PM

It was a different time, but my mom never really played with us and she definitely doesn't play with my kids. Most of my memories are of her on the couch reading or sitting while we played. She always said that she prefers the company of teenagers and adults rather than small kids. I wish I had more memories of doing fun things with her.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:15 PM

For one thing, you didn't out scary, there is nothing wrong with her, the fact that so many people stick up for her should prove that, but wait, there must be something wrong with all of them to.

parttimer, thanks for not taking the bait like some other people do on here, good job of convincing us that you aren't fat. Gee, I hope your shady uncle doesn't come wack me.

All you others, you only have anything to say on the blog, when it is directed to scary, at least she tries to participate in the conversation. Unlike, you or if there really is more than one of you, we can't tell because you never use the same name twice, who just uses this blog to attack her.

And, I agree with the other pissed off person who left the blog, that everyone on here takes stuff personal and says personal things. You guys just don't like her, therefore you think it's okay to act like an ahole all the time. Really mature and some of you work with kids too, how sad.

Posted by: come on | August 25, 2006 7:43 PM

Can we please stop the scarry blog? Thanks for the nice words, but these losers don't bother me.


And, my God you are funny, in all my life I have never heard that joke.

Posted by: scarry | August 25, 2006 7:51 PM

scarry is scary??

Posted by: to come on | August 25, 2006 7:53 PM

How many people support her is unknown--they're virtual, so to speak, and could be a single person posting multiple times, or several different people. I don't think there's quite as much support out there as you and she seem to believe.

The threats to violence, the assuming insult where none is necessarily meant, the chaotic emotional state, the yes, some are against me but others will defend me attitude--none of this is going to help the job prospects you've worked so hard to deserve. Seek help, and I mean that in the kindest way possible.

Posted by: Brought to you by the letter T | August 25, 2006 11:47 PM

Job prospects? I didn't know this blog was a job? Anyway, I really don't see how you can threaten someone who is virtual as you say. I was just making the point that I'm not going to let someone say something rude to my kid just because they don't like kids.

Really, you don't know me, just like no one else knows me on here; everyone who does likes me just fine. And, I don't care if you like me anyway, I don't think these people are my family and I don't need them to validate my feelings. However, it does seem funny that some people go, "look really read the blog, scarry is bad." WHo needs their feelings validated--you and the other people who keep asking other people to dislike me. This blog is just a diversion when I have downtime at work. Lots of people on here take things personal, including the SUV hater, Please person who never posts anything except nasty comments to me, seems like you have something in common with them. And, just like I don't know who is posting in my defense, you don't know how many people agree with you, maybe only you do. However, it's okay for you to say people don't support me, but it's not okay for me to say they do--typical.

As usual, it's okay for you to act immature and gang up on me anonymously, but it's not okay for me to reply to people. That's fine. And, as far as getting help goes, you should get some to, to deal with the issue of posting anonymously to blogs bashing people you don't know--repeatedly. My chaotic emotional state? Excuse me that could fit everyone on this blog, including you, I'm beginning to think you are rain man, scarry is bad, scarry is mean, scarry, scarry, scarry. I don't read this board every day looking for you. Why do you feel you have to read it and looking for me?

However, I feel that this back and forth is disruptive to the blog, so I am done posting here. So, why don't you post about a thousand times either anonymously, or with different names how happy you are. You won! Yeah, you. However, I don't know what you are going to talk about now that I am gone. Oh wait, you'll probably pick on Megan or father of 4.

Posted by: scarry | August 26, 2006 10:02 PM

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