I’m going to warn you up front…this is going to be a little bit of a rant.
I’m really having a problem managing my time lately. I think it’s another side effect of turning forty. In my twenties I could work, keep my house straight, do a couple of jobs at church, and feel like I had enough time to do some things for myself. Maybe it was youthful energy or bliss or the fact that life’s demands had not piled up enough to render me jaded and tired. Now, there are days I cannot do one of the above-mentioned items without fierce determination much less do all of them with excellence. I tend to throw most of my energy into my job because there’s bills to be paid, and I work for a ministry, Believe me, I’m the first to admit that my priorities may be a little out of whack.
I know one thing for sure since my twenties I have heard the statement contained in my subject line (or variations of it) to the point that if someone says that to me now they are seriously putting their personal safety in jeopardy. I cannot think of a more presumptuous statement!
Sure I don’t have kids, but I am a busy woman. I have worked pretty much full time (and I count going to college AND working a part time job full time work) since three days after my high school graduation. In 1990 I upped the ante by getting married, organizing a household, supporting a husband while he went to school full-time and working a full time job. It was the only time we consciously employed birth control, because we knew that a bundle of joy would’ve been too much at that time.
After college my husband worked mostly commission-only jobs for 10 years. I was the only one who had a predictable income that didn’t fluctuate monthly. I’ve not had more than two weeks between any job change, and I’ve have never had a maternity leave from a job. In fact, it seems I have always been the one to take on my fellow lady co-worker’s jobs when they delivered their bundles of joy…(insert sounds of grinding teeth).
You get the idea…even though I’ve never had kids my life is not exactly a life of leisure.
Anyway, when I get hit with the “You don’t have kids so…” generalization I’m tempted to rattle off my 20-year, full-time-without-a-break career history and tell them where they can step off. Mind you, I’ve always been polite, but my polite reserve is running low as I enter my forties. I am busy, and at times I find myself very weary. I have more than my share of tough responsibilities some of which are self-imposed and some of which were thrust upon me by situations out of my control.
So, if you’re reading this and you think that women without children just sit around waiting for someone to need us and/or trying to find creative ways to fill our time please take this as gentle warning to change your way of thinking. We cannot fill every volunteer vacancy in the church and community. Professionally, we cannot take on the work responsibilities of the three ladies out on maternity leave, nor can we be the ones that perpetually come in early and stay late for the parents who underestimated the demands children would put on their personal/work schedules.
I’m not saying that I may not be open to a new opportunity, but I am a busy member of society even though I don’t have kids. My life is full…mostly in good ways, and I would prefer to reserve a little of my limited free time for myself.
Again, this is just from my perspective. I’m sure there are some childless women out there just waiting for opportunities to fill their time, but just don’t automatically assume we as childless-not-by choice women are not busy.
Thanks for listening…rant off.