This morning was a first: I finally ran outside. Four modest miles completed around my home after the past month-ish running only on the treadmill due to weather, illness or time constraints. And with the return of morning runs before work I’m back to another old habit: my mind wandering and realizing I have something to write about.
Today’s thought: Chelsea Handler and her recent upload to TikTok about a day in the life of a child-free woman.
I’ll go ahead and say it: I find Chelsea Handler painfully unfunny. I tried watching her show on E! I gave her column in Cosmopolitan a chance back when I was a reader in high school (the things teenage girls considered grown-up and sophisticated circa 2009 now make me wince). I even tried again when she had a show on Netflix. I just …. I just can’t do it.
Now that I think about it, I don’t think there have been any recent comediennes I’ve found genuinely funny. I do know plenty of women in real life who are naturally funny, so the fact there isn’t one female comic who makes me laugh doesn’t seem quite right. But then again, Dave Chappelle remarked during one of his recent specials that too many new comics are so focused on making a point that they don’t make the joke, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of female comics who fall into that category. But I’m digressing.
Back to Chelsea. A few commentators I periodically check out were sharing the TikTok, it was unfunny and the usual dumb cliches about childless people having all the time and money in the world to jump on a plane and go to Paris whenever (seriously?) and just well, dumb.
One side of the aisle who is generally pro-family and “have kids or else you’ll die lonely and miserable, you selfish asshole” is of course losing its mind, dissecting every part of that video and nitpicking non-outrageous parts as if they are in fact outrageous. There’s monologues about how adults who never have families don’t know what they’re missing and speculation that the video was a front for a woman who is deep down miserable.
Miserable or not, we all know she’s laughing her way to the bank.
Then there’s the other side of the aisle. These people refuse to believe people could actually want to be married and have children. They consider parenthood as a curse or a nightmare (okay, their opinion) and are way too concerned with other women having children before 30. The reason for the “other women” comment is because most of the vocal no-kids-ever critics tend to be women, thus confirming the saying that no one hates women quite like other women.
Frankly, the “kids suck, I’ll never have them, up yours” crowd is so condescending about it. The way quite a few of them like to talk about women under 30 who choose marriage and motherhood is atrocious.
Hell, I have my own opinions about how soon is potentially too soon to start a family, but I couldn’t imagine being that concerned with a stranger’s family planning and reproduction. Here I was thinking the saying was “my body, my choice” and that the beauty of it being 2023 was that adult women have all the agency in deciding how to live their own lives. You know, have them if you want them but no shame if you don’t. Apparently, according to select members of the anti-kid side, adult women who choose motherhood are just brainwashed by society and are too stupid to realize it. How ironically misogynistic.
So to put it simply: both sides of the debate are way too concerned – as well as presumptuous and patronizing – with what is in fact a very personal, individual decision to make.
May I suggest that if more adults were willing to really weigh what a commitment raising a child is – and seek help if they want to be parents but have some own unresolved issues to work through first and actually prepare themselves for raising another person – childhood mental health challenges wouldn’t be on the rise? I’m telling you, as someone who was raised by a mother who very much wanted me and got to see firsthand what it looks like when parents don’t want to be bothered with their own kid and makes it no secret, it absolutely messes with a child’s foundation and self-worth to know they weren’t completely, absolutely wanted. Especially when they go to another kid’s house and see what healthy adults and familial relationships look like.
A child’s well-being and actually raising them properly is so much deeper than what sound bytes and screeching on social media says it is. Do not do that to a child or a potential child if you’re not 100 percent all in from the day you start trying for them.
If you and an equally committed partner want a child and are willing to put a child’s needs above your own for at least 18 years? That’s awesome. Go ahead, try for the baby. You know you’re the last person who should ever reproduce? Yay you for being self-aware and go live life on your terms.
It really is best and life is far easier to live, let live, and leave strangers alone. Even when they’re uploading not-funny TikToks about how their reproductive choices have turned out for them.
Seriously, why is Chelsea Handler being not- funny news?
Yours in writing and life,