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To think "oh well she hasn't had children'" is an unfair comment.

(123 Posts)
user1485342611 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:15:43

I was having coffee with my mother and her friend, who were talking about the friend's former cleaning woman. My mother said she had bumped into her in Tesco and she was looking well for someone of 86 and is well able to get out and about.
Friend then said "oh well she hasn't had any children, she's never really known what worry is".

AIBU to think this was deeply unfair. This woman had to go out and clean houses to pay the bills, while Mum's friend has always been well off, lots of holidays etc. She has also suffered the loss of her husband and has presumably had lots of other worries and stresses in her life.

It's something I've heard my mum say about childless women as well, implying that their life has been much much easier than hers, simply on the basis that they don't have kids.

sooperdooper Mon 16-Oct-17 12:17:30

I think it's a ridiculous thing to say & also very patronising assuming that the only stresses in life involve having children

KoalaD Mon 16-Oct-17 12:19:17

I think it's a deeply twattish thing to say.

StickThatInYourPipe Mon 16-Oct-17 12:19:30

It is also a deeply unkind thing to say about someone if you don't know the reason why they do not have children.

Anyone who struggled for years with infitility will probably know a thing or two about stress

gabsdot Mon 16-Oct-17 12:19:45

I had people say stupid stuff like this to me while I was dealing with infertility and IVF.
People are stupid sometimes

harlandgoddard Mon 16-Oct-17 12:23:48

I agree, I hate this kind of attitude, having kids is a choice, not some kind of burden.

Plus if having children is the most stressful thing to happen to you, then I’d say you’re pretty lucky.

Wishingandwaiting Mon 16-Oct-17 12:27:29

I suppose she was saying it sort of light heartedly though.

There is an element of truth to it though. She has not had the constant low level steer of young children, nor the extreme high level periods of stress of having teens. The worry about health / bullying / their exams. The list is endless. And she hasn’t had it and two that has got to be good for your health in some respects.

user1485342611 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:30:09

I actually heard is said once about a woman who, because she didn't have children, ended up being the main carer for her elderly parents while also working full time.

I think some women (and it's mainly women who come out with this kind of comment) are so used to their kids being the main focus of their concerns that they are absolutely blind to the difficulties anyone without children could possibly face in their lives. Including, as a pp said, the stress of infertility or the massive heartbreak of not becoming a mother when it's something you've always wanted - a pain and tragedy that most women with children know nothing about.

TheSkyAtNight Mon 16-Oct-17 12:32:04

It's a disgusting thing to say.

mrsharrison Mon 16-Oct-17 12:35:10

As someone who chose not to have children, I tend to actually agree with this.
However I have experienced some really stressful times that I won't go into here.
However it was my stress to deal with.
I know if I'd had children, I would have found worrying about them far more stressful than worrying about me.
People say I look younger than my years - in the last year people have guessed my age range from 27-40. I am 54!
I have an identical twin who has had children. Everyone thinks she is my older sister by 10 years.
Please don't think I'm looking in the mirror bragging about how young I look. I just see me but I am aware that I do have very good skin with very few lines - just faint vertical between my brows which appeared during two very stressful years in my life.

GameOldBirdz Mon 16-Oct-17 12:37:28

Hmm, I don't know. I think it's kind of true.

One the main reasons I don't want children is because I don't want the worry and stress of being responsible for another human. I expect to live free of the underlying, constant, day-to-day worry that I imagine comes with being a parent. There are, have been, and will be stressful and worrying times in my life but they have/will tend to be acute rather than chronic as I imagine children are.

ShatnersWig Mon 16-Oct-17 12:38:16

Wishing For all you know a woman without her own children might have spent eighteen years nursing her elderly parents after enduring three rounds of failed IVF and coping with her partner undergoing cancer treatment. I'd call that pretty fucking stressful.

It's not a competition where we have to decide that parents' lives MUST be more stressful FFS.

user1485342611 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:39:43

Choosing not to have children, and being reluctantly childless are two very different scenarios mrsharrison. The latter is a stress and deep seated pain that only those who have experienced it understand.

Even those childless by choice will often face massive stresses or grinding ongoing stress of some sort.

Lottapianos Mon 16-Oct-17 12:39:50

'I think some women (and it's mainly women who come out with this kind of comment) are so used to their kids being the main focus of their concerns that they are absolutely blind to the difficulties anyone without children could possibly face in their lives'

I agree. Some people seem to have nothing else going on in their lives apart from kids and can't imagine what non-parents do with themselves all day. The idea that life is one long holiday for childless / childfree people is really patronising and can be really hurtful.

DunkMeInTomatoSoup Mon 16-Oct-17 12:40:21

For most, there is no worry like the worry you have about your children. That worry never abates whether they are 4, 14, or 44. For the thick end of 20 years, your very existance revolves round children, getting them past infant mortality, through school, through 6th form , through uni and out the otherside as hopefully successful well rounded individuals. If that werent the case, forums like MN wouldnt exist for people to come and bounce their troubles off other parents.

You can have the nature v nurture discussion but we are ostensibly animals and are pre programmed to be bothered about our off spring. Or most of us are. I appreciate there is the odd Karen Matthews that walks amongst us.

GameOldBirdz Mon 16-Oct-17 12:40:51

Sorry, that doesn't actually make any sense!

What I mean is I imagine people with children have a kind of constant, underlying, day-to-day worry (or concern is maybe a better word). I won't have this.

I will and do have worries but these tend to be acute periods of worry lasting weeks or months but my worries are not as chronic as the worries of those with children.

The things I'm worried about today will be gone in 5, 10, 15 years time. But parents will still be worried/concerned about their children then.

Wishingandwaiting Mon 16-Oct-17 12:44:59

Funny that those without children are agreeing with here

ShatnersWig Mon 16-Oct-17 12:46:37

Wishing I don't have children and I certainly don't agree with her

user1485342611 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:47:08

A couple of posters who have chosen not to have children are agreeing wishing.

Many posters with children are disagreeing.

surferjet Mon 16-Oct-17 12:48:34

I agree op. I think the stress & sadness of not having children ( if you wanted them ) is harder on you than actually having children - childless by choice might be a different matter.

TrinityTaylor Mon 16-Oct-17 12:49:10

"extreme high level periods of stress of having teens."

With respect & not knowing your struggles with your own kids, but I have a teen and there is no way I experience "extreme high level periods of stress" about her life. It's LESS stressful because she can sort her own clothes out, make her own food if she wants, sort out her own social life, pop to the shop for me when necessary. She seems to cost more to feed and keep but that's because she is bigger now!!! Taking health issues out of it, if you are THAT stressed about your teens then you've created that stress yourself. You don't have to over-parent them to that degree.

surferjet Mon 16-Oct-17 12:51:15

I have children btw but know a few women who can’t have kids.

Ttbb Mon 16-Oct-17 12:51:23

Yes and no. Everyone had their own difficulties but having children is a stress entirely in the class of it's own. The constant anxiety of having children is sonething that just can't be compared to financial stress of bereavement. I don't think I have had a normal heart rate since giving birth. The physical and emotional toll of having children has been enormous.

user1485342611 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:51:25

I also think people without children are often used by siblings who are parents. "Oh she has plenty of time on her hands. She can go and stay with mum while she's ill/visit her in hospital every day/sort out all the nursing home stuff, regardless of whether childless sibling has a full time job or long commute or other stresses in her life.

blue25 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:51:48

I would say that having children ages most women (lack of sleep/stress) and therefore might be directly relevant to how well or young an 86 year old looks. Amongst my friendship group, those with children are tending to age less well.

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