sisters of resistance

anti-imperialist pro-vegan radical queer feminist hip-hop & grime revolutionaries.

The case against having children — November 9, 2017

The case against having children

I am a thirty three year old woman with a secure job in a long term relationship with a man seven years my junior. We are both at the start of promising careers, me in education and he in catering and music. We have been together for five solid years, are deeply in love, and live together part of the time with the intention of soon making it full time. Nearly all of the couples we know have children. He is godfather to a bright and beautiful six year old girl, who we see often; we have close friends with one and two year olds, and at family parties there are usually five or six little ones running round and playing in the back garden. We are active in their care, babysitting on request and voluntarily; there is no shortage of interaction with children in our lives. We smile at their sweetness, sigh over their cuteness and giggle along with them at their silliness. We head them off if they are about to hurt themselves, cuddle them when they cry, play with them, speak to them gently, and truly love them. 

And yet. The likelihood that he and I are going to have children of our own is a possibility growing further and further away with each passing year. My rejection of the social script to progress from the stage we are now at, to marriage, and then children, at the expectation of others is a commitment that in my mind is nearly as strong as our commitment to each other. When people ask me, “Do you want kids?” my standard answer is, “It varies…between ‘maybe’ and ‘hell no!’” The older I get the more it has become clear that the conscious choice I have always made to prevent pregnancy has been the right one for me.  

That I have come to this conclusion surprises me as much as it confuses others. Most of my life I have wanted to be someone’s mother. I have daydreamed about what I would name my children, how I would teach them to be good people, what languages they would speak and what family heirlooms I would pass on to them. But as I have come to the realisation that having children is not something that makes sense for me in the immediate or short term future, the rationale has taken shape in my mind. So, I present below the reasons that make up my current case against having children, for reasons other than not liking them, loosely organised into THINGS I WANT and THINGS I DON’T WANT.  

I want to remain the protagonist of my life. I don’t want to have to constantly be thinking about someone who for at least 20 or so years (until I am in my 50s) cannot care for themselves. I do not want to spend my 30s changing diapers and bedsheets for a being that wees and shits all over itself and me. I do not want to have year after year of very little sleep and sore nipples from breastfeeding. I do not want to research the best things to feed toddlers or then latest parenting method; instead I would rather work on my research papers. I do not want to have to go to bed early so I can wake up to wash them, feed them breakfast, and take them to school at 8am. I do not want to move houses so we can be in a better school catchment area. I do not want to clean crayon off the walls or have small items around the house suddenly go missing. I do not want to take a tiny being to expensive places like Disneyland and put all my effort into making them happy when they are young if it will be just a blip in their memory when they grow up.  

I want to spend my money on myself, on gifts for loved ones already living, on traveling and have something saved for retirement. I don’t want to feel obligated to buy the latest toy to make them smile only to have them forget about it a few weeks later. I don’t want to be hassled at the grocery store where the aisle of sweets is strategically placed at a child’s eye level. I don’t want the negative vibes that come from continuously denying the requests of someone I love, minor and ridiculous though they may be.  

I don’t want to raise a child in late capitalism who will be socialised into a generation so far removed from my childhood that I don’t understand their culture, logic and way of thinking. I don’t want to to be disturbed by the music they listen to, the technology they are obsessed with. I don’t want to have to speak in child-friendly language and terminology for days or months or years at a time. I don’t want to have to explain everything, because I would feel that responsibility. I don’t want to have to deal with teen sexting and adolescent porn use and the impact these will undoubtedly have on their self-esteem and sexual development. I want to have adult conversations and I also want to be able to avoid the lies that parents sometimes have to tell. Like that the world will be ok when they grow up, or that I am sure they will find a job and pay off that student loan. I don’t want to raise a child with Western expectations of material pleasure and success without the means to help them actually achieve those objectives. I don’t want to watch my child’s generation be less successful than me, as this is the trend we are currently in and which doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon.  

I want to drastically reduce my carbon footprint in a way that I could never do simply by keeping the heat down and the lights off. I want to be able to distribute my love widely and not have it concentrated on one or two precious beings who will then keep my hands full and unable to serve others. I want to follow in the traditions of religious who devoted themselves to their work and to their spiritual practice by not marrying and having a family. I have always been inspired by women of the cloth, as in generations past that would have been the only way for someone like me to have a life of the mind. I understand how much effort it takes to live a life that intentional and for this reason I love that their clothing was referred to as ‘habit.’ If we make our clothing a habit the energy we expend on selecting items of dress and beautifying ourselves is much reduced and there is effort left over for other, more important things. Once children arrive, they become the subjects of ultimate importance, and as such, assume their rightful place in the priority list. If all is as it should be, everything else comes after. Babies are helpless beings who depend on us to satisfy their every need. I associate this relationship of dependency, at least the way we have arranged it in contemporary Western nuclear-family capitalism, with a requirement for selfless, unconditional giving on one hand, and a learned behaviour of demanding and taking on the other. If it was a relationship between adults I would call it abuse, but it is not in a child’s nature to do anything different. This imbalance is enough to drive one to mental illness, as the many mothers with post-natal depression will tell you. Thus, much like nuns once opted for uniform clothing, I choose to be child free in order to preserve energy and sanity for my work in the world.  

Advertisements
Rondeau Redouble — October 14, 2014

Rondeau Redouble

There are so many kinds of awful men –
One can’t avoid them all. She often said
She’d never make the same mistake again;
She always made a new mistake instead.
The chinless type who made her feel ill-bred;
The practised charmer, less than charming when
He talked about the wife and kids and fled –
There are so many kinds of awful men.
The half-crazed hippy, deeply into Zen,
Whose cryptic homilies she came to dread;
The fervent youth who worshipped Tony Benn –
‘One can’t avoid them all,’she often said.
The ageing banker, rich and overfed,
Who held forth on the dollar and then yen –
Though there were many more mistakes ahead,
She’d never make the same mistake again.
The budding poet, scribbling in his den
Odes not to her but to his pussy, Fred;
The drunk who fell asleep at nine or ten –
She always made a new mistake instead.
And so the gambler was at least unwed
And didn’t preach or sneer or wield a pen
Or hoard his wealth or take the Scotch to bed.
She’d lived and learned and lived and learned but then
There are so many kinds

poem by Wendy Cope, b. 1945

Selfie Syndrome: Social Media and Narcissism — December 28, 2013

Selfie Syndrome: Social Media and Narcissism

Here at Sisters of Resistance, we get regular inquiries from people who are trying to determine if their partner has narcissistic traits, and to understand their behaviour and the dangers it poses for them and the relationship.

Although we’re not asserting a causal relationship between the use of social media and the rise in narcissism (there are a number of broader factors in late modernity, like neoliberalism, that are likely contributing to the trend as well), we thought this infographic from http://www.bestcomputerscienceschools.net/selfies/ was especially useful for its at-a-glance images of the Signs of Narcissism.

We hope that it helps you identify and put some distance between yourself and narcissists in your life in 2014.

Selfie Syndrome - How Social Media is Making Us Narcissistic

12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Marry Him — May 26, 2012

12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Marry Him

Under patriarchy, expectations of monogamy and compulsory heterosexuality mean women are conditioned from childhood to be on the lookout (or compulsively searching) for “the one,” her “soulmate,” or Mr. Right.  This is a fantasy induced by a combination of Disney princesses, white dresses and storybook weddings, as well as social and cultural influences, public discourse, mass media and celebrity culture.  What this means is that many of us are so eager to get married, and so conditioned to be the damsel in distress or unconditionally self-sacrificing for “love,” we often overlook some basic things that illustrate how, far from being a prince or knight come to rescue you, your intimate partner may be in fact dangerous to your sense of self, your individual identity and your independent thought.  You do not need rescuing, and no one should make you feel that you do.  If any man in your life exhibits the below behaviours, he is at worst an abuser or at best an emotional/financial drain; you are better off without him.  In particular, don’t marry him. He is so not worth it.  See also: How to Leave a Bad Relationship.

12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Marry Him

  1. He interrupts what you are doing to demand his dinner. He demands his dinner. He seems to think his dinner is your priority/responsibility.
  2. He interrupts what you are doing to demand anything.
  3. He expects things from you he wouldn’t do for you, and doesn’t do himself – e.g. washing his clothes, caring for his children, paying for or “helping” him with his large bills/expenses.  He does not share equally in what would be the tasks of a marriage.
  4. His “affection” is always aggressive and only manifests when he wants something.  He withholds attention, and if he does give it, he expects/requires you to respond positively to his advances. Sisters of Resistance place coercion on the spectrum of sexual harassment, assault and rape. In our experience coercion is common and we call it when we see it. (In the case of rape, help is available. International Resources)
  5. He cuts you off from your friends and family. Tactics may include: judging your friends and relatives, telling you who he likes and doesn’t like, or who you are allowed to see and when, if at all. (See:  Narcissist Abuser).
  6. He has cheated on you.  Or when you got together, he was cheating on someone else.
  7. He doesn’t have a life. (See: Peter Pan Man)
  8. He puts you down, ridicules, or degrades you.  This wears away at your self-confidence while keeping you trying harder to win his love.  He may say he is just joking, but that shit ain’t funny. (Men have sayings that relate directly to this one: “Treat her mean, keep her keen” UK /  “You treat a girl like dirt, she’ll stick to you like mud “ USA) (See:  Narcissist Abuser).
  9. He is always negative/moaning/feeling sorry for himself.  He expects you to carry this emotional burden.
  10. He only speaks badly of his exes and past relationships, painting them always as being in the wrong.  He accepts no responsibility for the ending of past relationships and breakups.  (He probably doesn’t accept much responsibility anyway.)
  11. If he already has kids, and he has not raised them well, why would you (possibly) want to make more with him?
  12. If things have only gotten worse since you moved in together, why get married and make that shit permanent? Continue reading
Intimate Relationship Flowchart — January 30, 2012

Intimate Relationship Flowchart

because we prefer to have a plan.

We’ve devised a simple flowchart to assist in the difficult decision-making processes of intimate relationships. Use in conjunction with below resources for best results.

Complementary resources:

Revolutionary Dating Assessment Form (RDAF)

Revolutionary Lovers Guide

How to Leave a Bad Relationship

%d bloggers like this: