Saturday, March 26, 2011

Third Anniversary

On March 25, 2011 Bob and I celebrated two years of wedded bliss and one year of crap. 2010 was awful, mainly because my depression really kind of sank our household for a while, but also because of Bob's surgery, my challenging first trip out of the U.S. and other problems.

But 2010 is over, thank god, and now I feel better than ever! Bob gave me a dozen beautiful two-toned pink roses and diamond earrings. I don't understand how I managed to land the best husband in the world. I tell him how bewildered I am by how good he is. He just shrugs and takes the compliment in stride.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I don't want children

It occurs to me that anyone who has just started reading my blog might wonder why I have chosen to stay child-free. The reasons appear in a post I wrote over five years ago, at the age of 39. Take a look. This post also contains the phrase "at the overripe-and-only-good-for-soup age of 39," which now offends me (and I apologize), but which I still find humorous.

But if you don't like clicking, I'll summarize:

1. Not interested in the lifestyle (devoting all time/energy/money to a child and all the stuff that children need)
2. I don't like being needed by others.
3. Don't think I'd make a good mother (please don't try to argue. This is completely subjective, obviously)

I also submit the following articles which sort of back me up on the lifestyle reason:

Kid Crazy: Why We Exaggerate the Joys of Parenthood - Discussion of the myth that children make you happier than you were before.

Child-Free by Choice - Studies suggest that a child-free marriage might be more satisfying for some because the arrival of children often creates a crisis for the couple.

I'd also like to add that I believe that life is very challenging, if not full of suffering, and I just don't have the heart (guts? ego?) to bring someone into the world. I didn't ask to be here and no one's asking me, so I'll just leave it be.

(Also, as far as I can tell, every single mother on the planet worries about being a bad mother and I have enough to worry about just living my own life.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heart Attack Grill: "Taste Worth Dying For!"

Have you heard of Heart Attack Grill in Arizona? The founder and owner, Jon Basso, used to work for Jenny Craig, encouraging people to eat well and slim down. According to the interview he did with Nightline a couple of weeks ago (you can watch it here), he is completely in favor of Americans being healthy, but because we really aren't listening, he's decided to use a completely different strategy: encouraging us to kill ourselves with grease and sugar until we finally get the message that we should not be eating this way.

What way? The menu of the Heart Attack Grill is mostly burgers, fries and shakes. It's disgusting from what I can tell. But Basso seems to be telling us, in effect, something like, You want this crap? You want it? Here, eat it all and see how long you live. In fact, he even offers free meals to those who weigh more than 250 pounds. If you get on their scale, prove you're a heavyweight and stay that way, you eat free for the rest of your life.

But that's not the deal you might think it is. Heart Attack Grill's 29-year-old, 550-pound spokesperson died earlier this month. But at least he never paid for his Quadruple Bypass Burgers or Flatliner Fries.

I don't know if Basso is just a hypocritical businessman, making himself rich with this gimmick or if he seriously believes this reverse psychology will finally shift American eating habits. But I do think it's a fascinating approach: helping obese people stuff themselves with crap until we finally make the link between grease and heart failure and stop eating that way.

His next Heart Attack Grill will open in Texas.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

SSOW is better than FB

I have recently discovered the website Secret Society of Women. Of course, anyone can go on it and look around (for you boys who are reading) and I imagine there are men who register and pretend to be women just to get in on the conversations. But it really seems to be mostly women who want to pool information, get advice, celebrate good news, commiserate over regrets and mistakes, dish about pop culture or just see if anyone else feels the same way they do about things like family, jobs, food, marriage, etc.

It was started by Lisa Ling and someone else and I heard about it on NPR. It's much better than Facebook because on SSOW (do you love that acronym?) people rarely post about ridiculous things that just waste my time (being completely subjective here. Just my opinion!).

On SSOW there's always an interesting conversation going on with many threads in many categories. But it's not a chat room; it's just lots of postings. Just a few of the categories are aging, assault & abuse, fears & phobias, health, loneliness, parenting, resentment, sex, singlehood. There are many, many, so check it out and let me know what you think. But I'm really interested in women's opinions on this, not men's (go ahead, call me sexist).

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Child-free by choice

I've noticed a change in how people respond to my statement, "I don't have kids." When I was in my 20's and 30's, people took this comment in stride, maybe because I seemed young enough to still have children or maybe because they knew I wasn't married, so it seemed right that I not be a mother yet. But now that I'm solidly in my mid-40's and finally married, my statement gets silence. I've realized that I now look like a tragic figure unless I follow "I don't have kids" with words such as "and that's by choice."

I could have done that before, but I always thought that saying, "Oh, I don't have kids because I chose not to," would make me sound militant or ideological. I didn't want to start a debate or seem critical of those who have kids. But now I see that people assume that a 44-year-old married woman who never had kids must have some sad story. Maybe I had a child who died. Maybe I was unable to get pregnant. Maybe I had children, but lost them in a custody battle. Maybe my children were taken by the state when I couldn't kick the meth. Although, I guess if those last two were true, I wouldn't say that I didn't have kids at all.

Anyway, in response to "Do you have kids?" I am trying to train myself to say, "No, my husband and I chose not to." I figure that's even better than "I'm child-free by choice" because it adds the authority of a MAN. A woman alone deciding not to have children -- and a Mexican American woman at that -- is crazy, right? But if her husband agrees, then it seems a bit a more sane.

I'm also realizing that I might want to avoid the phrase "child-free by choice" because it seems to be the name of a whole demographic (mostly women as far as I can tell) who are rather controversial. Or maybe I'm being wimpy by not entering the fray. This video on the blog indicates that mothers feel some measure of offense at what the child-free blogs say. The mothers apparently feel some animosity and judgment directed toward them and their kids from us child-free people.

I can't say whether that's true since I haven't read much child-free opinion, but I did glance at this blog which looks pretty good: Sebastyne's musings. What I can say in response to the video is that it sounds like a lot of hand-wringing over nothing. It's not like child-free people have any true power to make people stop having kids or can come into your home and make you do certain things with the kids you have. What are they so defensive about?

I think it's just another variation of the conflict between women who have kids and women who don't have kids. I've heard it before centered on the workplace: women resenting each other for perceived freedoms that they don't have because they either have or don't have children. It's sad and it's pointless.

The video did indicate, however, that some mothers recognize the criticism that child-free by choice women face because we chose not to have kids. I appreciate that because sometimes I feel like women like me -- middle-aged, sexuality fading, didn't have kids, didn't want them -- are more invisible in society. Without the mantle of Mother or the appeal of youth, my value seems doubtful to others and will probably decrease from here.

Of course, I won't complain out loud about this since people might say that I made my decision to not have kids and now must live with it. Funny, how no one ever thinks that about women whose children grow up to kill people or rob banks or become drug dealers. No one responds with, "Well, you chose to have kids. Now you have to live with it." Well, I respond that way, but not out loud.

Anyway, maybe it's a new frontier to explore: the child-free by choice community. What I don't understand is why, with problems like overpopulation and poverty, no one's actually thanking us for not procreating. Without sons or daughters of my own, there's more for their children!