Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What is wrong with me?

I'm having a rough day. I got involved in a discussion on a Ravelry forum regarding their "say no to babies" groups, even though I knew better, and haven't been able to stop crying for the past hour. I don't know why I'm so emotional. Hormones? Lack of sleep? Stress? Always wanting everyone to like me and agree with everything I say?

Maybe this is a sign that I've been investing too much time and energy into the forums and I really need to take a break. Some of the copyright disucssions on Ravelry have been very draining, but none of them hurt me emotionally in the way that this one has. Perhaps because I'm way too close to the topic to be objective. The forum in question has several different threads about how horrible kids and their parents are. I have no problem with the "childfree by choice" crowd venting about the constant pressure to have kids, etc., but I have a serious problem when it devolves into general child-hating discussion.

I can understand the rabidly anti-baby folks. I used to be one of them, even though I always planned to have kids. My kids were going to be perfect, never misbehave in public, I'd never let them bother anyone else, yada yada yada. As most parents learn quickly, this is much easier said than done. My attitude has completely changed since having my kids, although I still don't like to see obviously permissive parents and wild children running amok. I'm much more likely, however, to give them the benefit of a doubt since I know how easy it is to be completely exhausted and unable to do anything with your hungry/sleepy/hopped-up-on-sugar wild child short of hog-tying them and throwing them in the trunk of your car.

I think what bugs me most about these kinds of discussions is that it emphasizes how child-unfriendly our culture has gotten. I know this may be a surprising sentiment since much of our culture seems very focused on kids, but it seems like it's focused more on kids as objects than as human beings (which is why I think the child-dislike has become so prevalent and socially acceptable). If our society truly cared about children like it should, we would be taking much more of the "it takes a village" approach. Education would be a top priority instead of barely scraping by like it is now. All children would have health care. Daycare would be federally funded and held to rigorous quality standards. Flexible work schedules and long maternity leaves would be a priority rather than a luxury.

Children are of benefit to everyone (really - if everyone stopped having kids, society would be in trouble), but these days it seems as if they're viewed as just one more material object people are expected to add to their household, like a new car or refrigerator. When children are viewed as objects rather than members of society, it's so much easier to put the sole responsibility for raising them, educating them, caring for them, etc. on their parents rather than communities as a whole.

I think this makes me particularly sad because I spend so much time fearing for my childrens' future. They are the ones who are going to need to sort out all the problems we're creating for them. Our kids will inherit this earth, and if people are only concerned about their own lifetimes, what will they leave behind for my children? Curse us humans with our giant brains - if I was a turtle or, say, a sheep, I wouldn't have to worry about all this stuff (although I'm sure turtles and sheep have their own sets of problems).

Fortunately, the moderators on Ravelry shut this particular thread down so I don't have to obsess about it anymore. Now if I could just get the waterworks to shut off... I don't know why I let this stuff get to me. I take it so personally, even though I don't know these people and probably never will. I need to try to channel this energy into something positive, like designing, or playing with my kids. I had this whole post planned out this morning in the car about thinking locally, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Gah! Some days, I just wish my laptop would crash and burn and solve all my problems for me.


Blogger mk said...

Some people forget that they too were kids once. Have a cup of tea or even a shot and then give your kiddos a hug. They have a mother that will fight for them and even for others that she doesn't know. That is to be commended.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

Keep up the great work with your thoughts and kids!!! Having been in both sets of shoes - it's not an easy task to raise kids in what, sometimes can be a non-kid friendly environment. Keep up the great effort. Someday the world will recognize all yours and others hard work.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

As someone who has spent many years moderating a discussion board, I can tell you that there are folks out there who just LOVE to argue. They really don't care what the subject is, they just want to pick, pick, pick and see if they can get a rise out of others.

For folks who have thick skins, this can be okay. But for those of us who take things a bit to heart, it's wildly dangerous to emotional health.

My best advice is to stay out of the controversial topic threads when they turn ugly. I know it can be difficult to turn away and not speak your piece, but it's really the best way to go. There are plenty of people in real life (IRL as we say) to talk to who won't attack you like anonymous posters on a message board.

And just like any group of people, all segments are represented on Ravelry -- folks who are great, folks who are mean, and all folks in between.

Sorry it got you so upset.

Now do what mk said and go give your kids a BIG hug. Heck, give 'em one from me, too! :)

3:01 PM  
Blogger rincaro said...

I think it might be the change of season because I have the weepies lately too.

I have to make a determined effort to stay out of stuff like that.

Do something relaxing and if you need to internet, go play somewhere safe and happy. Hugs!

3:31 PM  
Blogger javede said...

I'm sorry you had a bad day. Exactly the reason why I stay away from those kinds of discussions, cause some people just love to argue and somehow over the internet they feel much more free to argue in a way they would never do if you were face to face with them.

Ok, so I'm not so fond of kids in a "oh, look such a cute baby"-way and I may roll my eyes if a bunch of really noisy kids get on the bus at the same time I do, but hating children? Why?
I was a kid once and though pretty well behaved, I screamed too. It's just natural. What made me really angry lately was that a kindergarten around here has to build a soundproof wall so the kids don't bother the neighbors!!! That is just ridiculous!

12:07 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Kid haters suck. I know because I have one for a brother. I looked at that group's forum too, and I couldn't believe the garbage some of those people were spewing. Anyway, I hope you're feeling cheerier.

1:34 AM  
Blogger Mama-E said...

hey sister,
i am laptop/internet free at least 1 day a week.
I can not handle the instant emotional grip that this piece of plastic leads me to.

I say forget the child haters.. You don't have to like me. You don't even have to respect me and I am fine.
Mess with a child and it's on. Mess with my cowboy and you have a SERIOUS problem.

I think adults that do not tolerate children forget that they are the adults... and they have choices over their behaviour. My 4 year old is still learning.

cheer up... talking to you soon.

6:00 AM  
Blogger veronica said...

I just pm'd you on ravelry then hopped over here to add my support. Its soooooo much tougher to be a parent than I ever imagined and having to defend my kids has been a big part of it. It shouldn't be. Nothing is wrong with you. You're doing great! Like MK said, you are a good mama who's fighting for kids and I'm glad you lent your voice to that thread! HUGS!

6:09 AM  
Blogger rincaro said...

Ok. So I bit. I went and looked. And then I found that one of the main instigators over there is someone who screwed me on a swap.

There is good reason I don't trust people who hate children.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Carol said...

Oh, I've never posted on a blog before, but I just have to chip in here with a virtual hug for you. YOUR kids are lucky. Those kid-hating snipers are just busy themselves throwing self-indulgent tantrums, yes? They only wish they were as creative and funny as my kids are (or yours). Cuddle up with your young'uns, and have a good day.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

Oh, Chrissy, I'm so sorry that yet another discussion on Ravelry has made you sad :( I didn't see this particular thread so can't comment on it directly. I have to say that I'm slightly in the anti-child camp myself - though I would like to have kids someday (soon). I guess I was brought up to behave in public so it horrifies me when children are so obviously inconsiderate of others around them and their parents are standing permissively by. Of course, you're right though that I'll probably be much more sympathetic when I have my own kids. And you're right on the nose that a large part of the problem is that kids seem to be more accouterments of a successful life these days rather than people in and of themselves.

I hope you feel better soon.

7:48 AM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Oh, Chrissy, I'm so sorry. :( I ran across a child-haters forum once, cleverly disguised as a "child-free-by-choice" (the two are NOT the same) group and it boggled my mind and hurt my heart that people could think that way. *I'm curious about the Ravelry forum, but I'm not even going to look because I know it would just piss me off.
Hugs to you and your babies--and I'll give mine a couple while I'm at it! :)

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't even imagine reading a thread like that. I would have never thought there would be people like that on ravelry. I guess I am just sheltered and want to believe that all knitters are great wonderful people. :) I'm sure if I read that thread I would be crying as well. You are a mom and proud of it and of course something like that would make you upset. There is nothing wrong with you other than you are a great caring mom and if that's a problem than what is this world coming to.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Large Marge said...

Frack and I are sending you a big hug.
Give your kids an extra big hug tonight and know that they will be fine with a caring mom like you!
Know that when they grow up, they won't be the ones posting anti-kid messages because their mom raised them right!

11:56 AM  
Blogger scarletti said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:00 PM  
Blogger scarletti said...

You know when you first find out EVER you're pregnant, and the whole world shifts on its axis so nothing is ever the same again, and everything you've ever been told was say orange looks not orange, and you can't watch the news, or read anything sad or see anything mean or bad spirited... well, let those others of whom you talk carry on believing orange is orange, cos those of us that are mums know SOOOO different; and besides as a mum you made a new heart or two or a few inside you, so you've made the possibility of more love and goodness greater than any of us could ever have imagined before we had children.


- and this time I think I can type right too!!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

I think you are responding to the amount and depth of the hostility that emanates from the discussions in that group. It's one thing to say you don't want children or don't like being around them, it's another to think that society is too accommodating to parents BUT it's a whole nother thing to cross over into the kind of hatred and hostility that comes from that group. I was quite surprised. I also think you may be responding to the "clubbiness" of this group. They don't want to talk to anyone whose views are different from theirs. Period. It's like that Little Rascals where they start the "He man Woman Haters club." Some people get off on having an in-group and finding ways to exclude others from that group.

Ultimately, though, I think you just need to avert your eyes. Before the internet, you wouldn't have an opportunity to encounter such people in your daily life. Here, everything is out there, 24/7. I have learned that sometimes you just need to avert your eyes and keep them averted. Otherwise, you will despair for humanity.

Just remember that for every group that leaves you with an icky feeling, there is likely to be another that is of great benefit and that will make you feel good. If the former upset you, only visit the latter.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Don't let them get you down, Chrissy. I took a peek (couldn't help myself) and really, it's a good thing that some people choose to not have kids. The hostility emanating from that group is downright scary.

Just continue to be a happy breeder, secure in the fact that you are raising good, decent kids who will grow up and be responsible to take care of the world for the old crags on that list.

4:26 PM  

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