Friday, November 15, 2013

No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood edited by Henriette Mantel

I had just finished checking out some books at the library and was putting them in my backpack. There was a little boy a couple of feet away screaming and swinging on the library check-out ropes.

A librarian said, "Ma'am, ma'am, please control your son!!" I slipped the last book into my backpack and I heard the librarian again say in a very exasperated voice, "Ma'am, ma'am, your son!!" I looked at her and put on my backpack and walked away. It wasn't until I was headed toward the door that I thought, "Oh, she thought that kid was my son!" That did not connect at all.

Hahah. Yes, I guess the boy could have been my son as we were the same ethnicity. Anyway, I looked back and the librarian had realized that I was not the mom, but that this other lady was the mom. And the boy's mom looked at the librarian and exclaimed, "But I don't know what to do!"

Here's a whole book of essays written by women who don't have children by choice or circumstance. Some are funny and some are more serious. An excerpt:

"They [people with children] always want to know if they can bring them [children] when they visit me...I always say 'No' because I don't want to live through another afternoon of: 'Put that down. DOWN. SO how's your...PUT THAT DOWN. What did I just say? Put that down. Is that a new couch or did you...PICK THAT UP. Pick that up right this instant. Pick that UP.'" --Suzy Soro in You'll Never Babysit in This Town (Again)

Amusing and frank. One common thread was that although these writers don't have children of their own, they all mentioned lots of nieces and nephews that they are involved and invested in.

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