Sunday, February 7, 2010


Years ago, before I married and started a family, a dear friend of mine remarked that childless people are selfish. Of course, I didn't understand what she meant - she, a married mother of three. Now I get it.

Many childless couples are selfish. Many aren't. One of my dearest friends was one-half of a childless couple for years and she's one of the least selfish people I know. On the other hand, my husband and I have friends who don't have kids and a few of them are most decidedly selfish. Please don't mistake me. They are lovely people. We enjoy them very much. Please, we wouldn't voluntarily hang out with unpleasant people.

But there's something ... selfish about them. Is it that they've never had to give up their own desires for someone's needs? I'm not talking about tithing or giving time to good causes. I'm talking about getting up in the middle of the night, repeatedly, to meet the needs of an utterly selfish human being? Babies don't care if you get enough sleep. A sick kid doesn't care if you have an important presentation in the morning or if you, too, have a high fever. Is it never having walked in a store with $25 and realized that as much as you'd like a new whatever, that money could be better spent on new socks and underwear for the big kid and replenished sippy cups for the little kid?

I don't begrudge them their selfishness or wish hardship on our friends. It's just... different being around adults who don't have children. My mother has said that there's something "different" about them. "Selfish" probably isn't the right word as it has a negative connotation and implies a cruel streak, which there isn't. But my mom is right. There's something missing and ... different.

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