to be p'd off at being told I'm selfish for not having kids?

(63 Posts)
Anna1976 Fri 08-Jul-11 07:51:59

I commented to MIL that after working nights all week, with the flu, that I was looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. It produced the usual "your sister/ sister in law never get lie-ins, they work hard and don't get paid your salary, but the world only respects people with money, not the ones who do all the work".

This is symptomatic of my family's attitude. According to all the mothers in the family, they are all martyrs who are not appreciated for working themselves to the bone. Anyone who has not had children is not a real person, and deeply selfish.

If they feel like that, why did they have the kids in the first place?
I did ask my mother that once, but she took it as evidence of my deep-seated selfishness and insolence.

Yes I get it Mum, sister, SIL, MIL etc... you love your kids and you work hard for them because that's what being a parent is about, but why do you have to hate people who haven't made that life choice?

ruthieCohen Fri 08-Jul-11 07:56:19

you do sound rather self-involved and tiresome, to be honest.

lukewarmmama Fri 08-Jul-11 07:57:26

Because you don't know and can't appreciate how much of your self you have to give up when you have children, until you have them and there's no going back. Read any of the millions of threads on here from mothers who regret their choice (whilst also loving their children dearly ).

Maybe if you made an effort to appreciate the challenges in their lives, they might reciprocate?

QueenofDreams Fri 08-Jul-11 07:58:07

Interesting first post.

Anyway. It sounds like your ILs have issues. It is your choice whether you have children or not, and none of anyone else's business (apart from your husband obviously). But we're all damned one way or the other, because there's a hell of a lot of judgement out there aimed at women who have children as well.

Sounds like you have a bit of a martyr complex too with the 'working nights all week with the flu' business.

BelleDameSansMerci Fri 08-Jul-11 08:00:07

YANBU... I didn't have a child until I was in my 40s and encountered a lot of this before she came along (from friends, not family). I wonder if some of it is resentment that you don't have the responsibility of children. I know my life was certainly a lot easier before I had DD.

It's your choice whethery you have children or not - not your family's. It sounds as if they believe the only valid role for women is to have children. Not something I'd ever find it possible to agree with.

There is also the perspective that being accused of "being selfish" just means that you're doing what you want to do and not what someone else wants you to do...

Having a child is wonderful but it is bloody hard work.

I think people who don't have children probably are more selfish actually. They have the space and time to be.
Not relly sure why you felt the need to come to mumsnet to say this when you aren't a mum or caring for dcs or have any ambition to do so?

Anna1976 Fri 08-Jul-11 08:06:01

I do make an effort to appreciate the challenges in their lives. I babysit my nephews - for free before anyone asks - for at least a day, most weekends, and smilingly fail to respond to all the criticism that comes freely every weekend.

I don't have a martyr complex, I realise that working nights with the flu is not particularly bad in comparison to some of what they've been through with multiple kids. I just made one comment today because I feel awful, and I am sicker than half the people I've been seeing in A&E. It just feels like I can't do anything right in their eyes - I thought i was being helpful, giving them notice that i wouldn't be able to babysit this weekend because i am sick and don't want to vomit on their kids.

i got on MN a while ago while giving kids serious thought. I decided not to go ahead with it. I didn't post because I expected that i would have nothing to say that people here would find useful. Now i know i'm right. Sorry.

porpoisefull Fri 08-Jul-11 08:08:56

Well I don't agree with many of the other posts. Unless you put your family down constantly for their life choices they have no right to judge yours. I think if you say "I'm knackered, ill, have been working really hard and am looking forward to a lie-in" that's fair enough. What your MIL said was really rude. I don't think your post was slagging off parents, just wanting your family not to judge you as being selfish.

QueenofDreams Fri 08-Jul-11 08:09:24

Well, OP - sounds like your family really do have issues then. And it's lovely that you babysit for them. I reiterate what I said earlier - it's none of their business whether you decide to reproduce or not. And don't just put up with the abuse - stick up for yourself. What does your husband/partner say? Does he stand up for you when they criticise?

Have to ask why you're working in A&E if you're ill though! Go home and rest!

roulade Fri 08-Jul-11 08:10:59

If you had flu you would not be able to work. Admit it, you have a cold grin

Morloth Fri 08-Jul-11 08:11:42

Shrug, have kids/don't have kids I don't give a fuck - both are equally selfish for completely different reasons.

Try to think of a reason for having kids that doesn't start with I/We Want...there isn't one. Most of the ones against start with I/We Didn't Want.

Just for the love of God don't have them if you don't really really want them, that isn't selfish, just bloody stupid.

KSal Fri 08-Jul-11 08:12:25

I can see where you're coming from OP, and I speak as someone with kids. It seems to me that they are people who just cannot understand someone who makes a different life choice to them. Also I think there is jealousy in there at your ability to have lie-ins smile

people with kids can get inordinately wound up by the freedoms that people without kids have. These are small freedoms like not needing to be at home to look after your kids, not needing to get up in the morning when you are not working. But at the end of the day, having kids is a choice. While I defend my right to moan about things every now and again, it is out of order to berate someone who has chosesn not to do it.

As for selfish - seems to me that having kids is pretty selfish too.

porpoisefull Fri 08-Jul-11 08:13:04

Oh, and I don't think I'm any less selfish since before having children - I'm still the same person, just with a bit less sleep. What Morloth said, basically. Pensions and social care wise, having children benefits society, environment-wise it's screwing up the planet further. Anna1976, stick around, not everyone on here is going to slag you off for daring to post when you don't have children.

You didn't have flu. I am 47 and have had flu properly twice. Once ordinary flu when I was about 7 the other was swine flu.
Both of them knocked me out so much I was virtually bed bound.

Dozer Fri 08-Jul-11 08:15:16

Yanbu on the kids thing, and your in-laws are being v rude to you. They presumaboy resent your salary, freedom etc, their problem not yours.

Yabu for going to work in A&E when ill.

Anna1976 Fri 08-Jul-11 08:16:18

thanks for the kind words - and the points about choice, which I value.

(I know the difference between colds and flu; and have just been sent home). Next time you go to a hospital, look at the junior doctors and work out whether they are healthier or less healthy than most of their patients.

Dozer Fri 08-Jul-11 08:17:08

Ksal, I agree that having kids is essentially a selfish thing to do (I have 2). Also, all the selflessness gets poured into the kids, so parents aren't less selfish per se. I feel I have less to give to others since had kids, so am selfless with the kids and more selfish with the rest of the world!

Yeesh, you got some harsh replies here. I don't think you sound a martyr at all, working all week with the flu wouldn't be fun for anyone.

I think your family members are quite rude for saying such things, and I imagine it's more jealousy or resentment that you are able to do what you want that is fuelling that. Or, perhaps they are taking your not wanting to have kids as a personal slight against their choices -- what have you told them about it?

There's loads of people on MN that don't have kids, don't feel you can't post on here smile

tryingtoleave Fri 08-Jul-11 08:17:49

It probably mostly resentment. I feel fairly bitter towards childless people who tell me they are having a nap. In fact I just told my cousin that I was waiting for her to have kids so I could come and nap in front of her ( she comes and visits for a morning then excuses herself to the bedroom for a nap). Anyhow, no point getting fussed, no one should be pressured to have kids if they don't want them.

cjbartlett Fri 08-Jul-11 08:18:30

FFs if you've got a bad cold don't struggle into your a&e line of work
Surely as a health care professional you'd know not to spread germs?

I think working all week with ill people whilst being yourself contagious with a virus is fairly substantial evidence of selfishness tbh. What were you thinking?

Callisto Fri 08-Jul-11 08:21:35

I'd tell your family to feck off with their holier-than-thou attitudes. I think that people who have children are far more selfish as they are putting yet more strain on a planet that is already vastly over-populated. And if you're not hurting anyone else why on earth shouldn't you be selfish? Some people are so chippy it is unbelievable.

cjbartlett Fri 08-Jul-11 08:22:16

I suppose in that line if work you've probably always got a cold like working with kids so can't take time off all the time < tries to be sympathetic >

echt Fri 08-Jul-11 08:22:25

what kreecher and northernlurker said.

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou Fri 08-Jul-11 08:22:34

I'm TTC so no kids yet.

The real selfish people, are those who have children with no thought as to whether or not they will make decent parents.

Deciding not to have children and taking control of your own fertility is anything but selfish so much as responsible. It is as responsible as having a child and doing every thing you can to give them a good start in life.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now