What’s Assault?

Here’s a very controversial matter I’ll speak about: spanking. But I’m going to make it short. I just want an answer to this question.

A few days ago, I overheard what I think was a crime show my grandfather was watching. The episode was featuring a woman who’d escaped from a very abusive relationship, and she described some incidents of the abuse. One of them was when her husband had told her to lean over the hood of his/their car and proceeded to spank her with his belt. She outright said he was hitting on her behind, so it was what’s considered a spanking. She described the pain as being so terrible, she was hoping she would somehow melt into the engine of the car (or in other words, die right there on the spot) to avoid having to feel any more. She said every time she didn’t listen to her husband, he would do this to her.

This woman is an adult, so that is classified as abuse. But if she were a child, that would be discipline. Why? That’s my question. Why is this “abuse” when done to an adult, but “discipline” when done to a child?

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Spoiled Like A Princess

First off, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I figured I may as well throw it in since I’m posting on the holiday.

For someone who wants no children, I talk about them a lot. Then again, I have a strange knack for talking a lot about things I don’t have, whether I want them or not. Don’t ask. Chalk it up to “I think a lot”.

Yesterday, I saw a video on Facebook about a mother who takes her daughter to Disneyland several times a year because they have annual passes and live about 20 minutes away from the park. She sews costumes for her daughter. My first thought was, “Yeah, this is why I don’t need a daughter.”

I can’t deny it’s because I myself am female, but if I had a daughter, she would undoubtedly be a spoiled princess (or tomboy, if she preferred that)! If I had the finances and lived very close to Disneyland, it’s a safe bet she’d be going everyday. My only regret would be I couldn’t wear the costumes with her. Disneyland forbids guests over age 14 from wearing costumes. I understand the reason for the rule, but it’s one of the reasons I lost my desire to go years ago. Oh, well.

Funnily enough, my boyfriend also agrees. When I showed up him the video and told him the above, he replied we’d both spoil our non-existent daughter if we could. I was a little surprised to hear him say that because he does not like taking care of kids at all. The next thing he said was: “If I had the money, I would be spoiling [his niece].”

To me, it’s genuinely one of the cutest things he’s ever said. His niece is the exception to his dislike of caring for kids. Even I have to admit I love his niece, despite having zero familial relationship to her and only seeing her a handful of times, and she also likes me, to the point she was once screaming she wanted me after seeing me when I hadn’t been around her for some time.

However, it still prefaces why neither of us needs kids. We want the adorable parts of raising a child without the awful parts, but there’s no way to separate the two. It’s the reason I stick to fantasy and Sims games, and he sticks to being devoted to his niece. Children aren’t novelties. Dolls are for dressing up and parading around. There’s so much more to children, and they deserve parents who are willing to take all the awfulness along with the cuteness. I regularly hear raising children is 90% awful and only 10% good, but the 10% makes up for the 90%. I think it’s only worth it if you’re willing to accept those odds from the start, and even some people who are already parents aren’t. Ouch.

Still, I also think it’s ironic and a bit funny two people who do not want their own kids think nothing of spoiling our hypothetical child if she did exist. Or he. The mother from the video also has a son who she lets get in on the fun. I only emphasize “daughter” because the video mainly focuses on the daughter.

Another Holiday

Tomorrow, August 1st, is a day known by some people as International Childfree Day. It’s not a day I particularly care for and I often forget it because there seem to be a lot of “special days”, such as National Donut Day, and I simply don’t have any feelings for them. Plus, so many special days, even if they’re not major holidays, make the idea of special days alone not so special anymore.

However, I’m mentioning this day in particular because despite my feelings about the holiday, I do occasionally think about how different, and how much worse, my life would be if I did have children. I’ve spoken before about how I compare my life at this age to my mother’s when she was this age. Let me clarify right now there is no feeling of superiority. I have never felt that. What I have felt since I was a child is motherhood is a route my mother shouldn’t have taken, but time can’t be reversed.

No, I don’t go around, parading happily how I don’t have children. For what? Like most of my thoughts, these tend to come up at night, when I’m lying in bed and not yet asleep. What often comes to mind is what I’d lose or not even have if at some point between the age I became capable of reproducing and now, I’d become a mother. That includes my own sanity and that is not a joke since I’ve been heavily suicidal in the past. In fact, I strongly fear becoming pregnant, and if that were to happen, my immediate thoughts would shift to self-harm before I thought about terminating it. I believe that speaks for itself.

If it’s not my sanity and mental health, it’s the loss of relationships I’d experience. I’ve read when you have children, you learn who your real friends are, but on the other side, I’ve talked to people who did try to keep in contact with friends who became parents and they couldn’t because those friends would stop responding altogether. Obviously, I don’t know exactly how busy a day with a newborn is, but if it’s busy enough to leave no time to take five minutes to send a text message, that sounds less like “not real friends” and more like the friendship simply faltering due to no time to care for it. That happens to any kind of relationship that’s given too little or no attention. It’s why I lost friends when I switched school districts as a child. We couldn’t keep in contact. In short, it’s natural.

Being honest, I have to admit the above is something that scares me. My friends do want to be parents and I absolutely want that for them since it’s what would make them happy, but I do feel sad at knowing it could spell the end of our friendship because they lack time or I do, and I’d feel selfish and like a pest if trying to keep in touch with them only made their days harder.

My relationship with my boyfriend would be non-existent. We wouldn’t know each other, let alone be a couple. This is because he doesn’t want children either, so if I had a child, neither of us would’ve had a chance with each other. Of course, if I’d never met him, I wouldn’t know any different, but since I did, knowing I could’ve missed out on what’s been and continues to be the most loving and one of the healthiest relationships I’ve had in my life saddens me. We did nearly miss each other, but that was due to not checking messages. That was easily amended.

The third top thing I’d lose due to have a child would be my body. Now, before the cries of vanity come, looks are not what I’m referring to. I try to keep myself neat, but I do not have any care for dressing and looking like I just finished a photo shoot. I’m talking about the effects pregnancy and childbirth would have, such as tearing and having to be stitched up, and bleeding continuously for several weeks. And that’s if it goes well. Heaven forbid it goes awfully because at worst, I’m dead. I don’t care if the stitching and bleeding is “not that bad”. Don’t touch me!

On the list of smaller things I’d lose, there’s my collection of things like Disney and Pokemon, and certain outings I’ve been on. Yes, I know it’s possible to still go hiking, to farms, and to amusement parks with children, but it’s also more expensive and requires more planning. When I was invited to the farm, for example, I didn’t even have to think about saying yes. I hadn’t made any other plans, so I could say yes right away. If I’d a child, especially a small child, I definitely would’ve had to make some arrangements, like finding and being able to pay a babysitter for that day, and having someone arrive early or drop my child off early and return home to be picked up. In my eyes, that’s a pain in the behind. Those things probably seem insignificant and I wouldn’t disagree they aren’t the most important things, but they’re small things I enjoy.

While I still have no plans to do anything in particular for International Childfree Day, I will say the day is a nice reminder of a choice I’m happy to have made for my life. No, my life’s not perfect and I’m positive it never will be because perfection doesn’t exist and life enjoys stomping on people at every turn, but to know I have control over, at least, one aspect of my life is assuring and indeed makes me happy.

90s Baby With No Baby

A popular meme I occasionally see on Facebook is “Like if you’re a 90s baby with no baby!”

However, it seems that meme’s funniness was short-lived because some 90s babies with babies started taking offense. Some believe the meme was specifically meant to insult parents who had their children at young ages (teen to early twenties). Some also took offense at being called a 90s “baby” and assumed whoever made the meme was saying they’re not real adults. The backlash has caused memes like this to spring up.

That brings me to this question: Why is it okay to be proud you have children, but offensive to be proud you don’t?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard and seen the following:

  • “You have no idea what it’s like to be tired until you have kids.
  • “You will never know true love.”
  • “You have no idea what you’re missing out on.”

How are these not insulting? These are actually directed at somebody, either an individual or a group of people. If someone said they’re proud to be a parent, I wouldn’t assume they were, for whatever reason, taking unnecessary pity on me that I don’t have children and don’t want to be a parent. If they said any of the above, however, I would.

Likewise, that I’m proud I don’t have kids does not mean I feel pity for parents or believe they are pathetic. It means I’m happy with and proud of a choice I’ve made for my life instead of doing something I don’t want out of pressure (and yes, that would be the only reason I ever had a child; bad!). I believe that’s the case for most, if not all, of the people who find the “90s baby with no baby” meme amusing. It’s not a jab at parents. It’s asking “Who’s like me?” It’s no different than “That feeling when…” memes. It’s meant to be relatable.

Perhaps the person who first created it was being bugged by their family or friends about when they’d have children and they got fed up. Maybe they heard of the phrases I listed one too many times. Maybe becoming a parent at a young age is common where they live and they felt like the odd one out for not having a child at a young age (this is the case in my family). Since memes practically spring out of nowhere, no one will ever know except perhaps that person’s friends.

In short, I believe the offense taken to the “90s baby with no baby” meme is yet another example of people getting worked up over something trivial. I understand some people do take joy in purposefully trying offend others since the anonymity of the internet grants a certain kind of protection, and I believe that’s very immature. However, I cannot believe this meme is an example of that. At most, it really seems like nothing more than something innocent that was put into a bad context by someone who was upset by it and didn’t care what the actual intent was.

At That Age

In 27 days, counting this one since it’s only barely after midnight, I will be 22 years old. For me, that realization is rather surreal.

My birthday is before my mother’s, but had it not been, she would’ve been 22 when she had me. I was not a planned child either and, like me, she had no intentions of becoming a parent. She only did it because she believed abortion was wrong and adoption wasn’t something she could handle (although neither was parenting; go figure).

This is something I continuously think about as my twenty-second birthday draws near, but I’m really not sure why. I knew I wasn’t going to have children at this age. Really, even if I wanted to be a parent, I wouldn’t have tried to become one by 22 because I’m in no position for it. It’s not something that’s bothering me. Just something continuously on my mind for one reason or another.

The best guess I have as to why I’ve been thinking about this so much is knowing this is the age where my mother’s life changed irreversibly. Becoming a parent doesn’t change everybody – heck, it makes them worse in some cases – but I’m certain no one can argue becoming a parent isn’t something you can take back. You can’t put them back up there. Okay, you probably could, but it’d be extremely painful and you certainly can’t reverse the nine months of pregnancy back into non-existence.

Occasionally, I do try to imagine myself in my mom’s shoes when she was 21 or 22, and it’s not an easy visual. I like children in general, so I can imagine the cute stuff like watching a baby sleep, but trying to picture the hard stuff tends to only make my head hurt. I can never picture myself waking up three times or more a night to a piercing wail, going days without sleep, or not having enough time to do so much as take a 5-minute shower. One of the most common things I hear about parenting is “your life is over” and that is more often than not from people who are parents instead of people who aren’t. My life over at 22? I’d have only been an adult for four years!

Yes, I’m aware babyhood is temporary. Eventually, they sleep through the night, gain a little more independence, and stop crying so much. Well, maybe not that last one since the temper tantrums start, but they hopefully won’t be waking you up five times a night until they’re in kindergarten. However, on its own, a year is still a lot of time and frankly, I’ve no desire to spend a year getting sleep three days at a time. I nearly collapsed after one day (a full 24 hours) without sleep, not to mention that can’t in any way be good for your body.

Sure, my mother did it, but she didn’t have a choice. She decided to keep me and have another child, so she had to endure the sleeplessness and all the stress that caring for a tiny, helpless person brings. Failure to do that would’ve resulted in either our deaths or her loss of custody before we became old enough to know she’s our mother.

Speaking of another child, I imagine this feeling will come back twice as strong when I turn 25. At 25, my mother had a three-year-old and a 1-week-old. Admittedly, I can’t see myself at 25 right now. It’s difficult to see myself any more than a year older than my age. I want this blog to be around for a few more years, so if it lasts until 2019, I feel like a certain shock will hit me if I go into my archives that year and find this post.

An Angel I See

This past Saturday, my eight-year-old cousin came to visit. I don’t see her often, but I love spending time with her. She’s a sweet, typical kid. Loves cartoons, loves to play games, loves being silly, and she’s fairly quiet, though she seems to be growing out of that. She was quieter when she was younger than she is now. The first time she ever came to visit (I think she was five), the only sound she made was when she cried about simply walking to the back room alone. Now, she has no problem with our house and will respond without trouble if you talk to her.

In my eyes, my cousin is an ideal child. Well-behaved, patient, able to sit quietly and occupy herself, polite. Out of all the times I’ve been with her, she threw a tantrum one time. And she had reason because she was tired and had been abruptly woken up. I couldn’t blame her. Nobody likes being woken up, especially not in such a rush.

Every now and then, I think if it were guaranteed my first child would be like my cousin, I’d consider being a parent. However, experiences like the above knock me back down the Earth. I don’t doubt my cousin is well-behaved most of the time, but in truth, I can only make that judgment based on the small amount of time I spend with her and what my aunt (her grandmother) tells me. At most, I only spend a few hours with my cousin when one of us visits the other. I see the sweet, playful side of her because, unless she ever feels like throwing fits for a day, there’s no reason for her to behave any differently in the few hours I’m with her.

Even if I spent a full 24 hours with her, I may not see much difference in her behavior. She would have people to pay attention to her, she knows she is wanted and loved, she has plenty of things to play with, and she has more than enough to eat if she’s hungry. The only way I’d see anything different from what I know of her is if someone or something agitated her, which, from what I hear, is rare.

It’s unrealistic to expect anyone to be proper 100% of the time, let alone a child who still has a lot of growing and learning to do. Most kids stop throwing tantrums around my cousin’s age, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to deal with unpleasant feelings. If I spent a week with my cousin, chances are I’d see fits, some stubbornness, and some sadness or even anger. No matter how angelic I see her as, the fact remains she is human, not a flat character in a TV show. Spending 24/7 with her is much different than a few hours, especially if she spends that time occupying herself and not needing or wanting someone’s attention.

When I was a child, I often got upset at myself for not being perfect. I actually thought something was wrong with me (being asked by an adult what’s wrong with me didn’t help either) because I couldn’t be perfect like everyone else seemed to, or I couldn’t be good like I was the previous day. When I was old enough to seriously think about parenting, I envisioned my child always being happy and loving because they’d have no reason to ever be upset. I hadn’t yet learned that nobody is perfect and it’s okay because perfection does not exist. Children are going to act out from time to time, no matter how well their parents are raising them, because people make mistakes. I wish someone had to told me as a child, “It’s alright you feel this way. You just can’t [whatever I did that was inappropriate].” Honestly, even as an adult, I don’t see the point in punishing a kid because they’re unhappy.

My little cousin reminds me of childhood and what it was like to be so young, innocent, and joyful. And while I know it can’t last forever, I do hope, unlike me, she is able to grow and mature at her own pace instead of having to be hurried into it.