Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Advice Dog says...


Advice Dog must read my Blog.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

A recent post from the Childfreedom blog has compiled an eye-opening exposé on the realities of parenthood, Don't Worry, Be Happy.

I read every single one of them, and they are absolutely heartbreaking. They hate being a mother, hate their kids, hate their life, hate their loss of freedom because of children, and hate their ruined relationships. Most of them wanted children or were at least agreeable to it and have turned out massively unhappy. This isn't to say that it happens to every parent, but it's obvious that it is common, though a well-kept secret. There is no out for these people, and they are obligated to perpetuate their misery for many years, if not the rest of their lives. Here are a few that stand out to me:

"I love my son. I do. Unfortunately that doesnt stop me from wishing on a daily basis that I could go back and undo the last 2 years or so of my life. I hate being a mom. I loathe being a mom. I hate that i can't take a shower when I want. That i can't go out with my friends when I want. That going shopping is a mission that sucks the life right out of me. I hate that he screams about everything. I hate that he destroys everything I try to achieve. I had almost found an outlet of sorts for myself by going to the gym 5 days a week and leaving him in the kids club there. He managed to take that from me as well because he can't be civil around other children evidently. I have nothing now except for the endless days of screaming and crying while I watch my life waste away."

"I am so sick of everyone saying how precious this time is and how they grow up so fast. I feel that they can't grow up fast enough. I also have thought that other moms must be lying or fooling themselves when they say that parenthood is the best thing. I am uncomfortable talking with other parents because I am not good at lying or being fake and feel that it is obvious how much I hate being a mom. I also love my husband and long for the good old days when it was just the two of us, independent, free, and enjoying each other. Now we have such a practical/functional relationship...just getting this one fed, this diaper changed, this one to the doctor..... What were we thinking?"

"I spent my youth raising my 3 children. I have driven so many miles to soccer and basketball and football and cheerleading and plays and on and on. I volunteered at the school. I was a brownie troop leader. I read to my kids and made sure they got their shots and visits to the dentist. I took them to church and participated in their lives. They are all in their 40's. I live alone. I have not seen my kids in over 3 years. Two of them live on the opposite side of the country. My daughter has not visited me in over 10 years. If I call her I get voice mail and she may call back and she may not. My youngest got drunk and screamed at me (he's 41) and now does not speak to me. My oldest is the only one with children. He can take them to Germany and Spain and France and Chili and Disneyworld but he has not brought them to see me in 5 years. I have spent the last 15 Christmases, Thanksgivings and birthdays alone. The only time I have felt welcome at his home was when my first grandchild was born. My grandchildren are young teens and I have seen them 6 times. I am older and alone. I live on a fixed income and am not in good health and no one has my back. If I had not had children, I would have had a life and made provisions for being alone in my old age. Now, all I have to look forward to is death. And I will probably be dead days before anyone notices. Maybe if I don't show up for church two Sundays in a row someone might question."

"I don't know if having kids was the right thing to do. I love my kids and am proud of each of them. However, since I raised all 4 of them on my own...without family, friends, or any help from my ex-husband...I am the one that is LEFT ALL ALONE. I deliberately centered all of my work and activities around the kids...and wanted to be the best mom that i could be...in spite of our circumstances. I bought a house, went to work, cleaned the house and spent every night at home with my kids...cooking and doing homework with them. I rarely went out with friends, with the exception of outings with other mothers with their own brood.

Each child has grown into a well adjusted and accomplished person. However, what do I get in return? NOTHING! My daughters rarely call, my sons keep advising me to move to a warmer climate nearer my brothers...and hardly ever make time for even a 10 minute phone call to me."

"I too, wish I did not have a child. My infant daughter sucks the life out of me. Every day, I long to go back to the way my life was pre-baby. I traveled around the world, dined out in peace several times a week with my husband, and was all-around happy with my life. Now, my day consists of changing poopy diapers, washing bottles, feedings, getting throwed up on and screaming sessions. Then, this same routine just repeats, day after day. I don't travel anymore. When my husband and I go out to eat, it ends up being a nightmare and not worth the effort. I miss being able to hop in the car and see a movie with the hubby and staying out late enjoying ourselves. I am now a shell of the person I once was. I am not happy at all. I don't have any love for my daughter and I don't enjoy spending time with her AT ALL. And actually, I don't think she enjoys being with me the slightest, either. She completely annoys me, and I count down the moments until my husband gets home so I can pawn her off on him and get a break. I am lucky to have 20 minutes to myself to sit down and eat something, and relax. Some days I wish I could just adopt her out to someone who would love her, but I have too much pressure on me from family to keep her. My marriage is declining and the relationship with my husband has gotten much worse since the baby was born. I truly just despise the kid. She has ruined my happy life. If I would have known what my life would turn into after having her, I would have NEVER, EVER, EVER had children. Believe me, I will NOT have another one! I just wish I could turn back the hands of time and never had a child to begin with...."

I feel sorry for them, but at the same time there's no way they could not have had an inkling when deciding to have children that their fate would be a possibility. If you take a look around at the haggard parents, the empty wallets, the unfulfilling marriages followed by infidelity and divorce, you can imagine what raising children is like. The pro-natalists advertise only the rosy things, and gloss over the negatives with the all-encompassing phrase, "It's So Worth It."

Potential parents need to understand what their possible life could really be like, because there's no going back. But because of the skinny, beautiful moms on TV who make it look so easy, the wealthy Hollywood mothers who seem to have it all, the sentimental, billion dollar advertising industry depicting of sweet children and cooing babies, people like to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that it can't possibly happen to them.

And when it does, they're too ashamed to admit it. Thanks to the anonymity of the internet, it is starting to come out.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Cost of raising one child

Indulging in my February 2011 edition of Inc. magazine this weekend, I was interested to see the following blurb in the Inc. Data Bank | Crunching the Numbers section:


Average amount U.S. parents spend to raise a child to 18, excluding college tuition:


Wowzers!! 286K is no small price tag--and that doesn't include college tuition, boarding costs, and other college expenses. The figure is from the Department of Agriculture, and it offers no other information (such as impact of inflation), but I'm sure it's a reasonable estimate.

How many people would desire parenthood if they knew this little tidbit? I fear many of them will take a "It can't be that bad! We'll take it as it comes" mentality--in fact, I personally know these types. The religious ones who believe that procreation is a divine commandment never once stop to think about the financial or ecological impact of a new human, which I find sickening.

To be fair, I'm sure the cost of a second child wouldn't be so high because that child could possibly be sharing clothes, toys, strollers, and reusable things like that. However, I think the $286K price tag should be displayed on every home pregnancy test, and expressed as a disclaimer on every emotional Johnson & Johnson ad.

Why is there no parental aptitude test? Why can any idiot off the street with a functioning reproductive system get a no-questions-asked pass to parenthood, when to elect to be CF is met with such venomous hostility? Why are the CF not taken seriously and told that they will change their minds, but the same condescending warning isn't given to every single potential parent?

The next time I hear someone say that children will be there to take care of you when you're old, I will remind them that the $286,000 I saved by not breeding will pay for a very comfortable retirement.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Jesus to the Altar Boy: Catch me if you can!

I found this rather hilarious excerpt in researching for my last post. Note the parts in bold.

From the Emmanuel Altar Boy Guide:

3. Patens – when you carry the paten, your job is to catch Jesus, the host, or any part of Jesus that may fall. Remember to keep one hand on your chest. The host is Jesus in the form of bread and we do not want him falling. Your job is to catch even the smallest particle that may fall. People are allowed to receive on the tongue or in the hand. If the person is receiving on the tongue, be sure and place the paten under the chin, about 2 inches and be careful not to touch the person in any way. It has been shown that receiving on the hand causes the most drops. This is also the most difficult position to catch Jesus if He were to fall. Place the paten under the hands of the person. Once Jesus is in their hand, it is then up to the person to not drop Jesus. If Jesus were to fall on the paten, you should make sure the priest sees this and he will decide what to do. In some cases, the priest will leave the host on the paten and give the person another host. This is the priest’s decision. Same is true if Jesus falls on the floor. You MUST make sure the priest is made aware of this immediately. This is a serious matter and the priest must know if he doesn’t see it, you must tell him, quietly and with reverence. Be sure at all times, to keep the paten horizontal. There may be particles of Jesus that you can not see and you to not want to drop these. Return the paten to the extraordinary minister or altar when complete and the priest will ensure Jesus is not present on the paten by purifying it.

So I guess if the Lord is dropped, he sits silently on the floor moping, until the altar boy notices him. Pity parties are for losers, Jesus. Can someone please get the almighty Christ a parachute?

Poor Jesus! He's got parts falling off, rolling around on the floor all helpless and stuff like an upside down turtle. He could plan for himself a better fate, but unfortunately he is at the mercy of butterfingered idiots.

This is my body, which has been given up for you

Yesterday I was doing a little research on Catholicism and people's reasons for believing it. My adventures led me into Eucharistic miracles, of which there are several notable, which I'll get into on a separate post. But I want to ramble a bit about the Catholic teaching of the Eucharist first.

Now, the Catholics believe that the Eucharist (that round, unleavened wafer) is the body, blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, literally--but under the appearances of bread and wine. Symbolically, the wine represents his blood and the bread represents his flesh; however, Catholic dogma states that each is equally divine. To become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus the wafer has to first undergo Transubstantiation, which is a fancy way of saying that at the critical point in the Mass when the priest requests God to change the bread into Jesus, that God hears his prayer and suddenly the bread is Jesus. God hears his prayer because at the Last Supper, Jesus spelled out how the Eucharist act would go down. If you've ever been to a Mass and heard a bell ring, this is why. Many times, especially back before speaker systems, the faithful could not hear a darn thing going on, so a loud bell was jingled so that everyone would know that the Transubstantiation had taken place. This event is the whole point of a Catholic Mass, and the most important dogma to the Catholics (right up there with papal infallibility and Mary's virginity).

Consecrated hosts are kept inside the church at all times, usually locked up in an ornate box called the Tabernacle. This perpetual presence of the living Christ is why Catholics genuflect before getting into the pew, and while walking around. I've known Catholics who won't walk with their back to the Tabernacle. Sometimes, if they are doing some sort of task that requires they walk across the church, they will diligently genuflect each time they pass back by...even when they're walking outside the church. Traditional Catholics, the Latin-Mass kind (and the kind I grew up with), often require their women to wear a veil (usually lace) over their heads any time they are inside a church. To see why Catholics create such a fuss over the veil, go to the FishEater's explanation on Catholic Veiling. Like many of the odd things Catholics obsess on, veiling is too exhaustive to summarize in this post.

The Eucharistic is the explanation for a lot of things about Catholics. They really care about being quiet in church because of respect for Jesus, as well as dressing modestly. The act of receiving Eucharist--in addition to being done while kneeling, only on the tongue and sometimes while hands being covered--must be done with the purest soul possible. If you dare receive the Eucharist with a mortal sin on your soul, you can multiply your guilt and damnation to hell by about 1,000. Venial and actual sins weren't the best to have while receiving, but it was acceptable if necessary. It is generally accepted that the spirit of Jesus will leave you about 15 minutes after you receive, at which time you can cease holy contemplation of God and go back to things like eating, talking, and daydreaming about that hottie wearing the floor-length plaid jumper.

I remember being taught, in all seriousness, about Jesus particles--google it if you don't believe me. Little invisible particles of Jesus floating around that must be prevented from spreading, and must be revered just the same as Christ himself. Traditional Catholics go absolutely psycho about this. So, to prevent Jesus particles they first use what's called a paten which catches any errant particles. The priest is the only one allowed to touch the host, so the host must go directly into a person's mouth. And don't chew, it's not polite. Traditional Catholics are quite scandalized by more modern Catholics who receive in the hand (spreading Jesus particles all over the place), don't have an altar rail and don't kneel or even genuflect to receive, and--gasp--chew Jesus like a snack. There's quite a division over this! I know personally traditional Catholics who will not attend a Novus Ordo Mass even when no other option is available, because of the lack of reverence and traditional music and such--all the while acknowledging that the Novus Ordo is a valid Mass (the word "valid" carries a LOT of weight in this context, trust me), and knowing that missing Mass is a mortal sin. Go figure. They will plan their travel around where a Latin Mass is. They will drive 3 hours one way every week to attend the nearest one, dragging along their dozen children in a commercial van. They will, like my mother, only move to cities where these Masses are readily available and supported by the local bishop. If a bishop is not Latin Mass friendly he might as well be the spawn of Satan, for all the hissing venom they throw his way.

This is one of the reasons why Catholics think they are so special, because God gave them the Eucharist and no one else. But the drama doesn't stop there. There have been endless arguments over the validity (again, that sacred word) of the Eucharist if the conditions aren't just right. Did the priest say the exact words just right? Did he correctly wash his hands with the special water first? Does it matter if the priest is a believer himself? Is he correctly ordained? And so it goes. There are very detailed, special requirements for priests' ordination. You've never met a religion more legalistic and detail-oriented than Catholicism.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Just ran across this article:

10 Tricks for Moms to Avoid Sex

Thank you, thank you, thank you for demonstrating so perfectly, in ways I never could, another reason why having babies sucks.

The fact that there is a need for this kind of trickery blows my mind... those poor husbands. They've been demoted into babymaking providers. No wonder they feel like they've lost their youth. No wonder these sex-starved guys have mid-life crises and end up cheating!!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Hidden Story of Jesus

Today I watched the documentary, The Hidden Story of Jesus, produced by Channel 4 Television Corporation and hosted by Robert Beckford. I have to say that it was pretty excellent. Beckford mentions from the beginning that he is a Christian, so I was skeptical about the theist spin but I was very pleasantly surprised.

His quest is to understand who Jesus was, and examine the different beliefs about him from religions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism. Very interesting stuff.

Of course, the documentary did not examine whether or not Jesus was an actual historical figure, or if God even exists, but it was still very honest when it stuck to the character of Jesus and his teachings.

I was very impressed at Beckford's bravery, being a Christian and all, to step outside the box and fearlessly research this subject with such open mindedness. Ultimately he concluded that it does not matter what you believe about Jesus or his divinity, but if you can focus on the positive aspects of his teachings, the world would be a better place.

By that narrow definition, I can definitely agree with that. If the only religious beliefs seriously pursued were of peace and love, etc. etc., the world would be better. Anyway, you can view the entire video for free here:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Becoming Myself

Oh, what a selfish atheistic thing to do--giving yourself a pat on the back for being true to yourself--but that's exactly what I'm about to do.

Some people never grow a spine, and as bitchy as it may sound, I have little to no respect for people like that. I have little to no respect for people who have the opportunity to be themselves and live their own lives, yet who are too afraid and instead choose to live life for others' opinions (Nota Bene: there are people who do not have a legitimate opportunity to be themselves, e.g. children or women in the Taliban; my disdain does not apply to them).

Because of my lifestyle and lack of religion, my family sees me as the devil incarnate, and we do not have a relationship to speak of; their decision. I offer to agree to disagree and still be a family, but they refuse. Oh, and by "lifestyle", I mean having a boyfriend, graduating college Magna Cum Laude while holding down a full-time professional day job, being an entrepreneur of two starting businesses, consistently maintaining an orderly household, maintaining finances (complete with an IRA, sizeable emergency fund, and all my debt [including 2 vehicles] being paid off in 2 years from now)....am I missing anything? Oh yeah, and I worked my way through college without taking out one cent of student loans. When I got divorced, the only thing I took were my personal things and a bed; I wanted none of his money--even though I found out he lied to me about how much he made (it was about triple what he said). Ok, I could do more charity work, but you get the idea--I'm basically a very together person! This is me at 26, and I have plans to do ever more.

I was divorced Oct. '07 and started dating my boyfriend in May. '08, but they consider me to have been cheating on my husband since at the time I did not have my annulment. Now that I've gotten it, it's still not good enough, because according to them the Catholic Church hands out annulments like candy. So I'm still guilty.

I am not trying to brag. I know many of my peers who have outshined me times a million and I feel pathetic in their presence. My point is, I have worked my ass off in my education, financial goals and future career; I'm just getting started, but I'm not a bad, lazy, stupid or incompetent person. Yet they see me as evil, selfish, hedonistic, etc. etc. All because of one thing--religion. If I did nothing different in all areas of my life but were still a faithful Catholic, they would all be beaming with joy. Their hypocrisy is oozing out their pores.

Sometime I may briefly explain why I got married and divorced, but suffice to say it was for truly legitimate reasons. I promise.

On Christmas Eve my brother decided it was a good time to tell me that I had mental problems, that my entire life is a lie, that I've ruined my life, and that he knows that I'm not happy no matter how much I claim I am. *facepalm* That's right, brother, because you're an expert on others' happiness. Interestingly enough, whenever I demanded that he give me a specific reason on how I have ruined my life, his only reason is that I got divorced. That's "ruin". I got news for you, dude. I'm happily divorced! His evidence for my so-called "mental problems" were that I am unstable (which he would not define though I requested it), and that neurotic people such as myself cannot see their own psychosis (his words). Again and again, I asked for specific examples of my own self-ruin but he could not deliver. Well, if this is me ruining my life at the ripe old age of 26, sign me up. I like the way my life is going and I'm excited about my future.

Truly, what kind of arrogance do you have to have in order to think it is ok to say to someone that they are ruining their lives, and that they have mental problems? Even while he was telling me all this I kept a very calm, collected demeanor. I even told him I loved him, and asked him to believe that I am following my conscience and that for me to live my life in a different way would be to live it dishonestly. He's the one who thinks his morals is so superior, yet who is the one who said unkind and judgmental things? Take a look in the mirror, brother! But to be so spiritually pompous as to believe it is ok to judge someone else so freely and vocally...to be so arrogantly convinced that your way is the right way and ONLY way...to think it is appropriate to say those things--I don't understand it.

Now, my brother, as well as the rest of my immediate family, is a good person. A great person. But his judgments of my morality are not only unfounded but based on emotion. If he could say, "You ruined your life because your cocaine habit has destroyed your relationships" or "Your life is over because you shot and killed three people and now you're on death row"--well, he would have a point.

Religion brainwashes people. It tells them what to think, what to believe, how to act. Not only does it try to explain away life's mysteries with the Invisible Man in the Sky theory, but an unintentional consequence (at least, in my family's case) is that they believe their beliefs are supremely superior to anything of mine, which gives them license to judge me, to spout malicious and blatantly untrue accusations against my character, to call me crazy and selfish and immoral--all in the name of righteousness, which apparently gives them a pass on "Judge not, lest ye be judged" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Their hearts and minds are completely closed to anything other than Their Ways or Their Beliefs or Their Opinions because Their Religion has told them What To Think. To think otherwise would be a sin. To think otherwise would be to question, examine, and weigh the evidence--scary stuff! Scary stuff it is to be wrong, to have unknowns. But scariest of all is to be knocked off your righteous pedestal and have to wallow around in the mud like the rest of us.

I think that's when you finally grow a backbone--when you think for yourself, know who you are, and refuse to compromise for anyone. If I compromised, or tried to please others in every way, I would be lying to myself. Not only would that make me very depressed and unhappy, but it's the wrong thing to do. Unfortunately many, many people are so afraid what other people think that they ruin their lives by living for others. There's a quote I like, "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing". This is what I believe. I will be myself no matter what anyone thinks.

Unfortunately in my case what happened is my family has rejected me. Do I regret anything? Absolutely, positively not. I am by no means perfect, and I do not have all the answers, and there are things that I may be wrong about; but I can honestly swear that I live my life with honesty, integrity, curiosity and a search for the truth. I do not search for Dogma, which is believing what others tell you to believe with no evidence. But I search for truth. If that makes me a horrible person, so be it. If tomorrow God came down from above and made himself known and told me to be a Catholic (or any other religion), I would do it, no questions asked. I don't care what the truth is, but I want what I believe to be the truth. What I mean is: no matter how unpleasant the truth is, if it is the truth and it can be proved to be so, I will believe it.

But I refuse to believe anything that someone, somewhere said so, just because.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This scares the crap out of me

Surprise baby - never wanted children, but....

Ugh. This seriously bothers me. The story of Greg and Janet could have happened to anyone. What if it happens to me?? Logically I know that I don't want kids, ever, but what if emotions and hormones plague me? What would I do? This is exactly what is happening to one of my best friends, and I hate watching her go through it. This woman is brilliant beyond anyone I know, a wonderful scientist, successful, happy, balanced, awesome marriage--and now in her late 20s she's been obsessed with baby rabies. She used to be even more anti-procreating that I am now, in fact at her wedding someone asked her when they were planning on having kids, and I overheard her say, "Oh, we're not that stupid!" Fast forward 2.5 years and her biological clock went in to effect full-force, making her obsessed. We talk about it a lot, and I encourage her in whatever decision she makes. At the same time, I don't personally think she would be happy to have kids, or enjoy the major life changes, or that she is very maternal...but who knows. I do believe it is 100% hormones and emotions. She doesn't even like kids! She is aware of the hormonal and emotional influence (which is temporary, in all likelihood, though it can last for years), and she remains logically opposed to having kids--in fact, she keeps saying how there is no logical reason for her to do so. She can list a thousand reasons why she doesn't want to, yet she admits that in the face of her emotions and hormones these reasons don't matter so much anymore.

So what if this happens to me? I don't feel that it would, but the truth is it might. I generally am very much in control of my emotions and make decisions with my mind, but it seems the maternal instinct is outrageously strong when it strikes. From the very core of my being, I don't want it to happen! I love my childfree life and don't want to screw it up!

What is this beast that it can make logical women make decisions on emotions, all the while knowing it isn't what they want, and they do it anyway? I guess it's a lot like falling in love with the wrong person; except when the love hormones fade away and you find that you're fundamentally incompatible, you can end the relationship. You can't give the baby back, and there's no refund.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Children as insurance in old age

Today I had a brief conversation with an acquaintance about having at least one child so that you will have someone to take care of you when you're old.


He works in the local shipping office, and as I was waiting for the other fellow to finish wrapping up my boxes, the subject of dogs came up. Of course I had to whip out my iPhone and show pictures of my adorable chocolate lab. I resisted the urge to show more than two pictures because while I love my dog and find him interesting, these guys probably don't. This was fresh on my mind because just yesterday my old boss insisted on showing me pictures of his granddogs, and after the 7th picture I could not utter, "oh, how cute!" any longer.

Anyway, this train of thought made me think of how it must be like for others when people insist on showing them a dozen pictures of their children at every chance. So I laughed and said, "You're lucky I don't have kids or else I'd be boring you with their pictures, too!"

To which the guy said sympathetically, "You'll have them someday."
"Oh, I don't want them."
"What!! (incredulous look) Everyone needs at least one."
"No, they're not for me."
"Who's going to take care of you when you're old?!"
"Myself. With the money I've saved by not blowing it on kids, I will have so much more money to save and invest towards my retirement. I'll be able to pay for my own care when the time comes."
Again, he insisted. "But you don't want to do that!"
"Sure, I do. Besides, having kids as an insurance policy is a bad idea. They may not be around, or able, or willing to take care of me and if for some reason we have a bad relationship they're definitely not going to want to take care of me."

After that the conversation turned elsewhere, thankfully. It was all very lighthearted, though, which I appreciate. Another important point that I didn't mention to this gentleman is that it is grossly unfair to children to bring them into this world and expect them to care for you. I know that's what many people do, especially in the past when children were expected to be workers for the family, but I don't think that it is right. Or secure! Many children have wonderful relationships with their parents, but many don't. It's not exactly a reliable insurance plan.

I wasn't offended by this guy's reaction at all. In fact, I found it amusing...and saddening. It was like he had never before had the thought about voluntary childfreedom. Maybe today planted a seed that choosing not to have children is every much a real, legitimate and desirable option as choosing to have them.