I've been scouring the internet for blogs lately. Thank God for StumbleUpon.com. I've found so many fabulous blogs out there. However, so many of them are focused on, well, mommy-hood. Now, I am not totally dissing mommies. Obviously being a mother is one of the most sacred things a woman can do (if you do it right. Octomom, I'm looking at you, yeah, you.)
However, I haven't seen too many blogs out there about families that don't have children. Families, like mine, that consist of a loving relationship between two people. I've been wondering why that is. I've seen blog badges that purport "I belong to Mommy Blogs!" or "I'm a Blogging Mommy!" Awesome! I'm glad you have your community. Maybe us bloggers without children don't need badges to show who we are; however I think it's important to recognize that "family" is not always a mom, a dad, and two kids. I'm tired of that stereotype: a man and a woman who are married and have children seem to be what a huge chunk of society considers a real family.
Apparently, Wikipedia (or whomever wrote the entry) defines a family as thus: In human context, a family (from Latin: familiare) is an exclusive group of people who share a close relationship —a unit typically (or "traditionally") composed of a mated couple and their dependent children in co-residence. If this is the case, my husband and I don't constitute as a family. Neither do my gay partnered friends who don't have children, or those who do have children. Actually, it seems, from this Wikipedia entry, anyone without the traditional dependent children in co-residence is not a family.
When Sir Grump and I were first married I heard this phrase over and over again: When are you going to start a family? I honestly thought I already had! I mean, I got married right? Isn't that starting a family? Aren't we to be considered a family because we're married and living together? The people in that picture, at the time, were closer to me than my own family.
But apparently, to some people this doesn't actually mean we are a family. We're just, well, honestly, those people asking when I was going to start family never defined for me what Sir Grump and I were and are. So we've subconsciously made a point of defining what a family is to us.
We've made our version of family over the years, even before we were married, we created our own family. Our theater department at Troy University was a group of tightly knit student and professors and sometimes, yeah, we lived in co-residence. We didn't have kids, but we were there for each other. (This is us at an informal semi-reunion back in 2002, I think.) Sir Grump (there on the far left) lived the smiling guy in the middle. I lived with the chick in the hat. The girl with the glasses dated the smirking guy on the right. At some point I think we all lived with Super Smiley (guy in the middle) because of a hurricane. I still keep in touch with all of them, except for Super Smiley.
At one church I attended, the pastor asked me the dreaded question, when were Sir Grump and I going to start a family. He told me about how he had to "pray" his wife into wanting to have children. She originally didn't want any. I was so shocked to hear such a thing.
Funny enough at another church is where Sir Grump and I met another awesome couple whom we became fast friends with, mostly due to the fact that they had a truck and we didn't and we liked to move to a new apartment every year. Regardless, we stay in touch and when she's in town for work, we always make sure to spend time together. We're able to pick up from wherever we left off and always have an enjoyable time together. Isn't this what family should be?
We've since created more relationships with other friends that don't mind that Sir Grump is competitive at board games or that I am quite flakey. These are people that I love and adore. People who I trust my home and feline kids with when we travel. People I care about and know that they care about me.
So no, we're not going to have children. Sir Grump and I enjoy our family as we have defined it. I guess I don't need a badge for my blog that says, "I am a Non-Mommy Blogger" but I don't have a problem with Mommy Bloggers with that badge, it's a signal to other Mommy bloggers - kind of like saying, "I hear you, girl!"
I honor my girl friends who have decided to have children and I grieve with my girl friends who want children and can't conceive. I don't even define myself as living a "childree lifestyle" as I don't care for some of their militant views about people who have children (I don't think it's polite to call parents "breeders.")
However, I'd appreciate the courtesy of my family (the husband, the three cats, and the cockatiel) being recognized as a family and that our choice to not have children to be as good as others decisions to have children.