I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo) – The Christian Tendency to Worship Family, Motherhood, and Children

I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo)

A preface before I give the link to the Dalfonzo editorial:

I’ve never had any children either, which, coupled with the “never married” status, means I do not exist in most churches, or, when I do, I get treated like a freak or failure.

Because, you know, there are a lot of so-called Christians who still believe a woman’s only, or highest calling in life, is to be a wife n’ Mom, despite the fact the Bible does not teach this.

By the way, people who know they do not want to have children usually refer to themselves as “Child free,” or “CF.”

Those who want to have a baby but cannot due to infertility or whatever reason, go under the term “Childless.”

I am somewhere between CF and Childless.

Jesus Christ said that believers should not place any sort of relationship above him – not motherhood, fatherhood, marriage, kids, uncles, grandmas – but Christians continue to disobey Christ on these points.

To refresh your memory, here are Christ’s words (this is from (Link): Matthew 10):

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Here’s an editorial by a Christian woman who discusses how culture and churches mistreat women who have never had children – and she is a woman who wanted to have children of her own but was unable to:

(Link): (Link): I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent

Quotes from the page:

    by Gina Dalfonzo

… We hear a lot about the Mommy Wars. But there’s another cultural throwdown going on in the parenting sphere, and that’s the back-and-forth between parents and non-parents.

This increasingly acrimonious debate gets summed-up in lists of ill-informed assumptions and casually dished-out stereotypes. Both sides fall back increasingly on the old “You just don’t know what it’s like to be us!,” with blog posts like:

-(Link): 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents
-(Link): 17 Untruths People Believe About Non-Parents
-What Is the Deal With the Child-Free Group Hating Children?
-STFU, Childless People
-Smug Parents

The assumptions we throw at each other are unfair and often hurtful.
Some parents, dealing with the grueling 24/7 reality of raising children, dwell on how the childless just can’t understand them. That sense of belonging to a special, misunderstood group can make anyone who’s struggling feel a little better. Most of us fall prey to that kind of temptation now and then.

Yet, speaking as one of the childless, the non-parents, the “non-breeders,” the truth is: Just because some of us really don’t know what it’s like to be parents, that doesn’t make us completely ignorant. Or inferior.

… Between years of church nursery duty, babysitting, caring for young cousins and neighbors, and now my taking care of my godchildren, I’ve probably changed more diapers than some parents have.

Still, the “non-parents know nothing” stereotype persists. Sometimes, we childless people in the family-centered evangelical church get the brunt of it. Mind you, I’m glad that churches spend so much time and effort encouraging and helping families.

They need the support, and their children need the guidance. But when the focus on children and families is incessant—for instance, on some of those difficult Mother’s Days—the childless Christian can feel left out and isolated, which is especially painful if your childlessness is not by choice.

The lady who wrote this wanted to have children, so she jumps at the opportunity to work in the church nursery and so forth.

She later advises parents to allow their kid-loving, childless single friends to spend time with their kids.

That is fine if a woman chooses that for herself, but I can tell you, as a woman who was never too fond of children and not too interested in them, I personally tired of most churches not permitting me to do anything but children-related ministries, or always expecting me to be involved with kids.

It is just assumed, quite wrongly, that all women love, love, love little children and want to coo at babies. We do not.

This means women, such as myself, who don’t fit this very narrow definition of womanhood, become ostracized and excluded from church, and some stop attending as a result. Christian women who aren’t into kids and babies are not allowed to use their skills and talents in other areas of church life.

Still, I find this woman’s editorial, which is on Christianity Today’s site, refreshing because it’s one of the few that reminds other Christians that not everyone fits the “married person with children” demographic, and they need to consider the feelings and concerns of those people.
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Related posts, this blog

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols

(Link): American Christians Idolize Motherhood – Mommy Rhapsody

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Un Happy Mother’s Day – universal church continues to worship parenthood, family

(Link): Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

(Link): Being Single In The Church (article)

(Link): The Decline in Male Fertility (article)

(Link): The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): Childfree Christians / Childfree childless

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): Southern Baptists – Still Majoring in the Minors and ignoring the never married (singles) – Why Church Membership is Down

(Link): Christians and Churches Discriminate Against Unmarried People / Singles

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link): A Critique of the Family-Integrated Church Movement by Brian Borgman – Christians turning the family into an idol

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): Refreshing: Christian Researcher Disputes that Youths Are Leaving Churches in Droves, Disagrees that Churches Should Be Family Focused