Another week, another controversial magazine cover.
If it isn’t the prodding at Kate Middleton’s post-baby bump (really?), or the celebriefied (I totally just made that word up) appearance of the Boston Bombing Suspect on the cover of Rolling Stone, then it’s definitely something else that’s totally woeful.
This week, the dubious honors belong to Time Magazine, their latest cover blaring in full-force “The Childless Life.” Two people, a dude and a gal, are aying on the beach, sunglasses in place, perfect bathing suit bodies, coy smiles on their face – the poster children (no pun intended) for the child-free life.
While, no, I must admit that I haven’t gotten to actually read the article itself, I have had to settle for the juicy tidbits that I have come across in other write up’s about the article’s content. In short, there is this new ‘phenomenon’ occurring, where each year less and less people are choosing the route of parenthood and opting for a more fulfilling lifestyle by investing into their careers, their vacations and themselves.
**Before you all think that I’m some crazed and textbook example of a “right-wing nut” who is merely concerned with the female reproductive organs, or at least, reproductive organs in general, let me dispel that notion very quickly with this: first of all, if you think that is, by definition, a pillar of conservatism then you’re dumb and number two, you’re being biased if you think that marital reproduction can only be a one-way conversation to only be had and decided upon by women.**
OK, so anyway, can you all tell how much this ruffles my feathers, people?
And it isn’t because I think that ALL that human beings are meant to do is reproduce and that if we can’t do that, then we’re simply worthless. NO, silly heads, that really isn’t what grinds my gears.
This cover is yet another glaring reminder of the erosion of our society. Yes, those two glossy (and kind of shiny) people on the cover of Time are a red flag for me. No, not because I think laying on the beach, being married (or unmarried) with children by a certain age is a small crisis in and of itself or because I think that people shouldn’t worry about exploring the world or traveling before or after children (I’d take plane ticket to somewhere with a beach right about now, if anyone wanted to offer one up.) It’s because those Cheshire Cat grins indicate something else. Another author put it so perfectly that I’m totally going to borrow her wording.
We are the “Selfie” generation.
Let’s tune out everything else, because I’m talking. It’s about my gratification, my hopes, my dreams, my timing, my wants, my possessions, my needs, my smart phone, my Facebook, my car, my dislikes, my likes, my….
There are people who practice healthy family planning, yes. There are certain people who are probably better served by not having children, yes. There are people who are waiting to have children, yes. There are people who are not naturally able to have children, yes. There are people who bypass having their own biological children and instead adopt, yes.
None of the scenarios that I just listed up there ^^ are bad. But this attitude that we would be better served if we weren’t having children is slowly becoming THE NORM. Where as 40 years ago it was 1 out of 10 women and these days it’s now 1 IN 5 women who are deciding against diaper duty. Something is strangely amiss there. Is this something to be celebrated? I’m not sure. No, I don’t advocate for casting out people who choose not to have children, no. But should magazines be having a one-sided discussion about this topic? No!
There are many reasons that one may decide against having children all together. I think the most popular one is preservation: I want to preserve my body (or my wife’s body), I want to preserve my time, my space, my career, my goals, my hobbies, my Fridays, my this or my that. When in actuality, do you know what comes knocking at your door when you blow out the candles on your 65th birthday cake? Regret.
Your body is going to end up shriveled one day no matter what you do, you’ll retire from or switch jobs or get a new career all together, traveling will only get you so far (pun intended) and are you really going to wish that you had more time for watching Doctor Who? reruns on a Saturday night when you’re 76 instead of having raised a progeny and cultivated a heritage to leave future generations? Probably not.
The point I’m trying to make about any of those things is: they’re fleeting excuses.
Another reason I think that this is occurring: a gradual deemphasis on the societal role of family. The value of the cohesive family is being pushed to the side in the pursuits of other more “fulfilling” outlets. People grow up these days not realizing the important role that strong families holds in our society and the beautiful function that they serve. Parenting and children are not valued as much as they were 60 years ago and this is evident in the eroding behavior of our children these days, the fact that adults are opting out of having kids all together and our ever rising divorce rates.
I am not knocking people who plan, people who have goals, people who dream. NO. My husband and I waited to have children. Not long, but three years. There is nothing wrong with being slightly pragmatic about your family planning. I am not condemning people who have had divorce or never had children or never married. But I can’t help but think there is more to the “childless” attitude than simply being logistical about having children. It’s the idea that there are BETTER things to invest in than children. That we have more important work to do, that there are things more worthy of our time.
I bet you’re glad that your own parents didn’t feel that way, because I sure as heck am.
So there ends my rant (for now.)
What do you guys think? Is the childless life a problem or not? What do you think causes it?