This is going to sound a little bit harsh, but if parenting is hard and it sounds like too much for you, then it probably is not for you. Every morning, I listen to the Wall Street Journal Tech News Briefing podcast. This week, one of the topics was how voice assistants are now helping parents do the work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about technology helping us do things more effectively or efficiently. But, if it’s swaying someone’s decision to parent, then I think it’s a problem. Technology cannot do what true parenting should accomplish.
Let me go back really quick to the reason I’m hesitant about this concept. I recently also came across an article someone shared in the Childfree SubReddit that triggered a frightening feeling inside me. This woman shares her concern that she doesn’t have the desire to have a child like all her friends have. Her title says she wants to have a baby, but doesn’t have the motherhood urge. However, her article makes it seem like she is forcing herself to want the feeling. Though, deep down she doesn’t want to have kids. She feels like something is “very wrong with her”. Then, she details throughout the story all the weird and honestly, outdated ideologies that she has.
This article that was published yesterday from the Guardian, just proves there are still people out there that think being child free is a problem or an unnatural choice. Instead of leaning in to their feelings, or lack thereof, they are forcing themselves into motherhood. Hence, the dangers of technology that creates a perception that parenting could be easier!
The Problem With Technology Today and Its Effects on Parenting
I’m sure you’ve seen this exact scene somewhere in your life recently. A mother or father is sitting with their child. Maybe the child is playing with something or on a tablet or phone watching YouTube for kids. Meanwhile, the parent is too on a tablet or phone watching YouTube or on Facebook. They sit there and completely ignore each other. Maybe, the child starts doing something they shouldn’t be doing and the parent just ignores it. Clearly, he or she is too busy to be parenting at that moment.
Technology has given parents today a way to tap out of their responsibilities. Facebook and Instagram are just another way to zone out when they need a break. It’s like someone forgot to tell these parents that when they decided to have a child, they were also committing to a job that never sleeps. When you’re with your kids, there are no breaks. You can’t look at your kid and say, “Listen, honey, right now I need my time. You can do all of that yourself, teach yourself how to live, and do everything you need to become a good citizen and functioning society member.”
Let’s face it. Unless you’re blessed with luck and your child just pops out ready to take on the world on their own, then you’re essentially giving up on your child. Children need their parents! Ignoring them or putting them aside doesn’t only give them less of a chance to get more out of their lives, but it also tells them you don’t care enough. There’s plenty of kids out there who don’t have parents or parental figures to give them attention. Don’t deprive your child because you want to be selfish for a while.
The Selfless Deed of Having a Child
As I read through the article, I came upon a completely asinine comment. This comment angers me to my core and it’s because of my passion for making calculated decisions about someone’s future. I felt in that instant that this writer may be brainwashed by the moms around her. This article may be their attempt at convincing people to just willy nilly have a baby! The audacity!
” I know many women never felt that desire, but had kids anyway because they were convinced they simply had to get on with it. These women took a deep breath and made the selfless decision to just suck it and see, and they seem pretty happy with the results. “Lizzie Pook, The Guardian ‘I want to want a baby’: can I kickstart my broody gene?‘
Hello, how does forcing a child into this world seem like a selfless decision? You don’t know that you want it, but you’re forcing it, and you’re hoping that you’ll just be good at it and love it and that it will all be ok in the end. That seems like an incredibly selfish move just to fit in.
After all, this is the same woman who said about pushing a baby carrier around, “It feels nice – like bringing another human being into the world buys you membership to an exclusive club for really tired people who can’t wash their hair.” Sure, if that sounds like a club you want to be part of and procreating is your ticket, then I guess have fun with that.
Honestly, my anger drove me mostly to write this blog post. When I listened to the podcast earlier in the week on voice assistants helping this woman,
I thought it could really be a great idea. It helps put her kids to bed, remind them to do their homework, and punish them for bad behavior. All are cool concepts. It feels a little bit impersonal and like the world of parenting is suddenly run with robot nannies (scary), but I can get on board. Then, I saw this article and I realized, “Oh no. If there are people who know they don’t want kids, but feel like they have to, is technology going to make them think it’s easier and cause more people to just do it.”
It’s a scary thought. My hope and desire is that more women who don’t have the urge to have a baby or know that it’s not something they want for their lives can be more forthcoming about this decision. I want more people to be proud of this and not ashamed or like they have to want it so badly. In the end, I just want people to be all in on whatever decision they choose – parent or child free. Choose your path, do it well and commit to what you’ve decided for your future.