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To wonder if becoming a parent makes you selfish

(60 Posts)
lovelylavender1 Tue 23-May-17 07:09:56

It's not a criticism so don't take it as such. I have children myself.

But it's all about them. I've noted my friends' reactions to the Manchester attacks have all been in a way about them or their children really. "How awful that little Sophie / Freddie /Millie is growing up in a world like this' and 'thinking of the parents who don't get to kiss their children good night.'

It's not a bad thing, it's a sensible thing as putting your own children first ensures the survival of the species but what does interest me is that single people are often put forward as selfish ones when I think it's more likely to be the other way round.

DeadGood Tue 23-May-17 07:17:02

'thinking of the parents who don't get to kiss their children good night.'

I don't see this as selfish really.

I think having kids makes you more sensitive and vulnerable, so you can an understand things from the perspective of bereaved parents a little more than you could before.

That1950sMum Tue 23-May-17 07:19:19

Having children definitely makes you more vulnerable and makes you more able to understand the pain of losing a child.

I can't see how the example you have given have anything to do with being selfish.

This is not a nice post and I hope it will be removed.

Mumchance Tue 23-May-17 07:19:27

Well, I certainly don't buy the 'the childfree are too selfish to reproduce' argument, that's for sure, and I don't think having a child makes you unselfish, if you weren't already -- it just expands the circle of what your 'self' is to include your offspring. But I think it's natural enough to think forward into the future via thinking about your children's lifetime, and the issues -- social, political, economic -- they will face. It makes the midterm future after your own death seem very close.

chestylarue52 Tue 23-May-17 07:20:56

I don't have children.

I think having children makes it so people can understand what it truly is to care about someone else more than themselves, so maybe makes you a little less self centred.

But then my experience is that many parents then (understandably) care about their children to the detriment of society or childless people or anyone else. With the excuse 'if you were a parent you'd understand'.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Tue 23-May-17 07:21:42

Having children definitely makes you more vulnerable and makes you more able to understand the pain of losing a child.

Sorry but you really can't understand the pain of losing a child unless you have had that loss and pain.

LondonNicki Tue 23-May-17 07:21:57

Single people are put forward as selfish? Why? Because they haven't been fortunate to meet the right person at the right time or have decided for whatever reason that they don't need to have children.
I know you are not making the statement directly but even to suggest this is popular thinking is irresponsible and I hope incorrect. It's certainly mean.

BendingSpoons Tue 23-May-17 07:22:18

I think being a parent often narrows your focus. So much of your energy goes on caring for your children, there is less (mental and physical) energy for other things. I'm sure that's not the case for everyone, but certainly is for me. In Stylist magazine that they give out on the tube there was an article about this. It talked about Teresa May and others getting criticism for not being parents, when actually childfree people may be able to focus more on the job. (Not being pro May here, or explaining that well!)

NotTheDuchessOfCambridge Tue 23-May-17 07:24:32

No, why on earth would being called selfish not be a criticism hmm
Children have made me less selfish actually, but the love for them makes me worry. I worry when they go on a school trip so I'm damn within my rights to worry about them growing up in a world where terrorism happens! I think you totally misunderstand the word selfish OP.

skyzumarubble Tue 23-May-17 07:25:55

Piglet you're right but I think being a parent means you empathise with it more.

Huldra Tue 23-May-17 07:26:52

They're not selfish statements though confused

Empathy with parents who have lost a child and concern for the future.

lovelylavender1 Tue 23-May-17 07:27:02

I think that's what I mean Mumchance and obviously your children are less able to 'cope' themselves so to speak.

It's not intended to be "not nice" at all. As I say it's not a criticism it's just how it is. A very natural way to be.

LedaP Tue 23-May-17 07:28:03

How can thinking of others and thinking about how the world impact your kids be selfish?

They are both thinking of others.

I have never heard childless people refferes to as too selfish to have kids

lovelylavender1 Tue 23-May-17 07:28:14

I don't know sky, I just a, not sure it's any comfort to a bereaved parent that you'd kiss your child goodnight but I'm not a bereaved parent so I won't pretend to understand. But I think everyone has an idea of what losing the person you love most in the world would feel like, whether that's mum or dad, husband or wife, son or daughter.

AuntieStella Tue 23-May-17 07:28:37

I don't think that expressing your emotional reaction to a high profile, shocking incident in which children number amongst the fatalities is any reflection on levels of selfishness.

picklemepopcorn Tue 23-May-17 07:30:19

It's not selfish, as your focus usually moves from yourself and onto your children.
I do see people prioritising their own children at the expense of other children, though. Is there a word for that?

lovelylavender1 Tue 23-May-17 07:30:25

Not explicitly Leda but you hear lots of 'ooh she couldn't understand as she's not got kids" comments, there's a few on this thread, and there's definitely an impression of the high powered career woman to busy to be a mum or do mummy things.

I think being a parent does lead to a sort of selfishness - or maybe as mumchance put it it's more extending YOUR self - yet mums are kind of haloed for their unselfishness.

I think a lot of it might come from the Catholic Church and worship of Mary.

angryladyboobs Tue 23-May-17 07:30:47

hmm ok

Instasista Tue 23-May-17 07:31:03

I sort of know what you mean- it's taking a tragic event and making yourself the centre of it (thinking about it being your children)

But the truth is when I heard about children being murdered all
I could think about was scoping my children out of bed and holding them. It's a gutteal, animalistic reaction, and I'm not sure it's something that can be classed as selfish. Voicing it- maybe

StickThatInYourPipe Tue 23-May-17 07:32:46

I think this is an odd thread and using what happened in Manchester to get the point across is very strange.

lovelylavender1 Tue 23-May-17 07:32:54

Yes, that is what I mean Instasista!

I know what you mean and I did too. Don't think I'd voice it but I don't really do social media much.

lovelylavender1 Tue 23-May-17 07:34:03

No, I'm not exactly Stick it's more I was mildly surprised that so many people had made it about them. Then I read the zombie about the crying baby waking the neighbour and I was thinking that we see mums as these selfless people but actually they aren't. That's all smile

10storeylovesong Tue 23-May-17 07:41:43

I read the news at 3 this morning. I got out of bed, scooped up my 4 year old and brought him into bed with me for cuddles. I put a post on Facebook saying that I'd done that.

The next thing I did was contact work and ask if they need me to come in today - I'm a police officer in Manchester - it's my day off and I'm currently 21 weeks pregnant but I could answer phones or do some of the admin to help relieve some stress. Not sure that makes me selfish.

Leonardo44 Tue 23-May-17 07:43:54

I think most people are more selfish than they like to make out. It's natural.

Putting your kids first doesn't make you selfish though because you're thinking of someone else. Putting yourself first would be selfish.

I do know what you mean though, about when a tragedy happens some people like to make it about them.

emmyrose2000 Tue 23-May-17 07:43:58

thinking of the parents who don't get to kiss their children good night.

How on earth is that selfish? hmm

It's sympathising with the poor parents who literally will never be able to kiss their children goodnight ever again. I can't even begin to get my head around such a shocking and horrific thing (that happened yesterday).

Just because someone hasn't experienced something themselves and can't relate to it on a personal level, doesn't mean they're selfish.

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