Diaries Magazine

The Rant That Needs to Happen

Posted on the 12 August 2012 by M0derngirl @M0DDERNGIRL
This must be really important. I'm lying in bed, on a Sunday morning. I have no obligations to get up, other than to watch some olympics with my husband. Yet, I'm tossing and turning with the same thoughts going on over and over in my mind. And I'm getting angrier and more defensive the more I think about it.
What has me so stressed out? Is that my course outlines are due soon and I'm about to start teaching a course that will be broadcast online and over our local cable? Well, I did just have TWO dreams about the first day of class last night. I'll be teaching personality, which is not my area of expertise.
But no, it's not that.
I just laid in bed  for 2 hours, building my argument for why it's ok for women to be baby crazy. Because right now, I have a lot of people in my life telling me it's not ok.
This rant is not about society, or the women's liberation, or anything like that. At work, it's pefectly ok for me to be baby crazy - I am a PhD student in Child Development. Thankfully, almost all of my colleagues really like kids.
This rant is not about family, or people in my family telling me I shouldn't be thinking about kids. My parents are the most kid-obsessed people I know. My big, macho Dad is completely crazy for adorable babies. My mom is a Super Mom, my sister has kids and the whole family adores my nieces. And both my in-laws seem pretty crazy about kids as well.
This is not about my husband, and it's not because I'm pregnant. For the record, there are no plans to get pregnant in the near future. My husband really likes kids (he's a little uneasy around small infants, but that's normal).
Most my world is pretty kid friendly, which is great, because I was born kid obsessed (thus going for my PhD in Child Development). Where the problem lies is in peers, and adults, and friends my age.
I gotta be honest, the friend-support about the baby stuff is majorly lacking. It's not just that my friends are disinterested in babies and kids, some of them outright oppose it. Reject it. Tell me that if I start posting baby-related stuff on Facebook or my blog they'll unfollow me. That's fucking harsh. That's a fucking horrible thing to say to a friend. In fact, that's not really friend like behavior. Yet, it seems really cool to do, because lots of people say it.
Yes, I get it. We all "hate' those people that get all wedding obsessed and then turn all baby obsessed and then essentially turn into one-dimensional suburban housewives. I understand the angst towards that stereotype.
But, I have quite a few people in my life that are pretty anti-baby. Some of them are single and just not interested in family life at all. Some of them are single and desperate for family life (and therefore jealous and spiteful). Some of them are married couples who have chosen not to have kids. Some of them are gay or otherwise glbt. Some of them are heterosexual. Not matter what their demographic, I feel like I've been sneered at and derogatorily called a "breeder" a lot lately.
And I have finally reached my breaking point. If I can respect your lifestyle, and the life decisions that you have made. If I can go along and support you like a friend for whatever you are going through, then I deserve a bit of respect when it comes to babies and kids. I've kinda dedicated my entire life and my career to them. It's kinda really core to my identity. And being bashed and treated like crap, and having my values and preferences smashed by you because it's not hipster cool, is not ok.
And I know sometimes it's just idle conversation, and that the thing to say is to begrudge women who talk about baby poop. But when you're a stay at home mom, your FULL TIME JOB is taking care of a baby. Even if you're just on one year of maternity leave, that's a complete year of baby, baby, baby. All the time is baby. Your life is baby. And yes, baby poop is a VERY important part of understanding and monitoring an infant's health and development. It's actually something you should pay attention to, and give consideration to when you are a new mom.
I'm sorry if you hipsters think that a new mom's job is just not cool enough to talk about. Or if you think that breeders are going to overpopulate the earth. But somebodies gotta have kids. And kids take a lot of work. A LOT. So much, new moms hardly get anything else done, which is why their conversation is pretty limited to babies. It's not like a part-time hobby that these women get completely obsessed with (like wedding planning). It's not like a little trivial thing in their lives that these women blow out of proportion. It's a completely dependent being that needs you 24/7. So it's kinda a big deal.
You really don't hear about people knocking on other career choices. I'm not even talking about the women who give up working. I'm just talking about the women who care for babies full time in the first year, or who are working moms (and thus have two hardcore jobs).
For the record, I have chased my nieces around for a few days here and there. One day taking care of kids is WAY more difficult and time consuming than graduate school. And I was never even home alone with them. Kids really don't stop, and ALWAYS need someone. Being able to be that person, being able to love and care and nurture a baby or child is really important. Not something that should get dumped on because it's not cool.
And finally, let me recap my life. At 5 years old, I decided that too many adults worked and lived to help adults. When I found out a children's book author had published 2 adult books, I asked my Mom why. She said because adult books made more money. I thought that was very disloyal to children. I decided right then (at age 5) that I would dedicate my life to kids, and I would be loyal to children. I knew that when I got older, I would probably want to drop that idea and do things  for adults. When I was a teen, I cared about teens. When I was an undergrad, I cared about undergrads. Yes, I have had opportunities to change my career path and make it less child-centric (and more financially beneficial), but I can't go back on the promise I made to myself when I was 5.
I think I was born with a maternal instinct. I never played with Barbies, but I liked taking care of "babydolls". Back when I was preteen, and never had a boyfriend, and was scared I never would meet someone, I knew that if I was single, I wanted to adopt a bunch of kids like Rosie O'Donnell (her show was really big back then). I started reading BabySitters Club at age 7.  I babysat at 13. I fought to get Grade 11 Child Development and Grade 11 Biology in separate time blocks on my high school schedule so that I could take the prep classes for Developmental Psychology. I worked as a coordinator for a Summer Reading Program at a Children's Library for 3 years - that job included designing crafts, conducting storytimes, and playing with kids everyday all summer long. I am a member of SRCD - Society for Research in Child Development. I give money to the Save the Children charity. I teach Developmental Psychology at university, and that course explicitly covers chapters on pregnancy and prenatal development, and physical growth trends in infancy in and early childhood (along with social, emotional, and cognitive development). In my leisure, I read about global issues impacting children around the world.
I am completely, 100% kid crazy.
This is who I am. This is who I have always been. This is not because I just got married.
If it's not for you and your lifestyle, too bad. If you're too cool for me, too bad. If you think I'm a lame "breeder", too bad. I don't want to care about the hate and the judgment you have been spewing, and I'm fed up with it. I try to be compassionate to people who make different choices than me, but I don't get the same level of respect in return.
I deserve better. So from now on, if you "make small talk" by talking about how lame mothers and babies are, then I'm going to reject you. I will get up, and walk away. Number one rule of being compassionate is to show compassion to yourself, and I do not need shit like that in my life. I do not need to toss and turn all night because your judgements deeply bothered and attacked my identity.
And when I (eventually) get pregnant, you can count on TONS of updates, and reports and details. Because, it's kinda something I've been excited about for a long, long time.

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