On “egoistic women”

Yes. This is all still happening… I still feel like adding my voice to the choir of voices desperate about Trump does not help much, so I will write about something else, although that feels kind of wrong. I am still not okay with all this (and hopefully never will be), and the waves of desperation are messing up my sleep. Yesterday, I worked a couple of hours in my bed at 5 am and then went back to bed, just to get up and work again later.

But anyway. Something else. I have some friends who share blog posts about parenting, and I usually quite like them. But when I have read the recommended posts, I often click on others on the same blog and I usually end up regretting it. Today, I ended up on a post about #RegrettingMotherhood, written from the perspective of a non-regretting mother.

The thing is: #RegrettingMotherhood is for women who love their children but feel that motherhood still somehow feels wrong for them. This must be a very complex feeling. Now, the mom-blogger’s comment on this movement was roughly the following: Well, yeah, of course I can’t tell you how you feel, but I think we need to learn to put egoism aside. What are you regretting anyway? Not being able to party? Well, that’s super idle and not meaningful anyway, so what’s wrong with missing it for motherhood.

Comments like that send me though the roof. They presuppose that there are only two poles: the good, selfless mothers, and the egoistic hedonists. Well, guess what! Some of us non-mothers aren’t egoistic hedonists. You think the only reason we don’t want children is that we are all about partying? Maybe we want to use all our energy to become thinkers, public intellectuals or revolutionaries, so that when our life is over, we have made the world a place that your children can live in. And maybe that’s what some of the regretting mothers would like to have done. And don’t get me started on the “motherhood is morally superior” narrative. Very often, people want children, and then they make that wish come true. That doesn’t sound like heroism to me.  It sounds like a normal life choice. Just like not having children can be a normal life choice. And in hindsight, both of these choices can have consequences that make us happy or unhappy.

And yes, a lot of mothers are heroines. Single mothers, poor mothers, mothers fighting for their children. But they aren’t heroines because they are mothers, they are heroines because they are amazing people who fight for someone. And some non-mothers do that, too.

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One Comment

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  1. if you were not already one of my favourite people in the world, you would be by now.

    Like

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