Friday, May 3, 2013

...and I am telling you I'm not going.

Buzz Bishop, who blogs at dad-camp.com and Babble.com, wrote an opinion piece entitled "Get Outta the 'burbs- My Problem With Married Couples Without Kids". It was syndicated via Babble on Shine Parenting, part of Yahoo.com, and from there found its way to the computer screen of my sister. This is my rebuttal to his piece.

Once upon a time, a boy and girl fell in love. After the appropriate amount of dating, they became engaged and were married in a lavish ceremony (that was held on a Friday so they could afford it), celebrated by their family and friends. The girl climbed the ranks in an acclaimed children's hospital as a nurse, and the boy climbed the ranks in the tech field. They bought a condo and then, a few years later, they moved their wedding gifts into the house of their dreams. A brand-new, two-story, two-car garage, four bedroom home on a neat lot in the suburbs, a veritable monument to the dreams they had of life, love, and children.

Houses were built around the house the boy and girl built, houses filled with couples and their young children. The new suburb bustled with the sounds of happy families, while the house the boy and girl build held only the sounds of contentment. They had worked hard for this house. It was theirs to enjoy (and pay property taxes on that benefited hundreds of children that were not theirs). Soon there would be a change of scene but for now, they were happy and proud of the home they worked so hard for.

Time went one, but it was still the boy and the girl. They had hoped to welcome children but instead, the girl found herself battling an unknown foe in her body. Soon enough, the illness had a name, and it slowly began to build a storm inside.

Outside, the girl battled a different foe. This one did not cut like a blade or pierce like a bullet- instead, it sliced like a thousand paper cuts and pricked with a million pin pricks. Whispers and gossip swirled around her, sometimes behind her back, and sometimes to her face concerning her "choice" of lifestyle("Oh, you don't have any children? Are you going to stay in that big house?"). The girl now had a soul that joined her body in betrayal. She wondered if she should be ashamed for having so much material that she didn't have to share. She tried to keep a sense of humor about the situation, trying to laugh off the comments of people who suggested she didn't deserve the things she had earned. She even took a picture of a car window, with stick figures proudly proclaiming a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and a pile of money in place of stick-figure progeny.


kids
The picture lifted from IG as featured in the
"article" (click to be taken to the original piece)

Then one day, a writer "wrote" an opinion piece on how he felt about childless couples who move to the suburbs. With nothing to support it, he claimed that childless couples are the reason children aren't attending a better school. He derided couples who spend less on travel cost as a family of Two, rather then a family of Two Plus. The Twos can enjoy a single king-sized bed, while his family of Two Plus has to reserve a suite. "Married couples with kids just don't get it, " he declared. It was bad enough that the article was poorly written, with half-assed arguments and unsupported "facts" that were hastily loaded into a gun aimed directly at the girl and boy. It was worse that slapped at the top of the "article" was the very picture of the stick-figure family the girl had posted to Instagram, complete with the outline of her head, hairless from her illness, reflected in the glass of the car window.

We all make our own choices in life, with a healthy does of you never know what can happen thrown in. One person decides to build a big home and fill it with children. Another makes the same decision, but the children never come. Yet another makes that decision and didn't ever want kids in the first place.  Those three houses can exist as part of a whole community as long as one doesn't start flinging garbage over the fences at the other. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, of course. My opinion is that this "article" was nothing but poorly written, poorly supported, poorly aimed garbage, flung in a forum where it didn't belong. He claimed in a rebuttal piece that it was aimed at two specific couples, but when a writer uses a huge forum like Babble.com to tell "you" that your decisions should confine "you" to certain areas to force you to make certain choices, that's wrong, no matter what Newsweek sources he uses to fortify his case. Especially when that opinion is punctuated with a stolen Instagram picture from one of the very childless couples he rails against.

The original picture posted to my sisters IG
account, e-mailed to me by her.
This last bit is just for myself. Buzz , my name is Brie. I am one of those selfless, married couples who decided to have a child. That child, my son PJ, is the light of my life and I would not only pay exorbitant property taxes to ensure that he gets a good education, but I would die for him. As it stands right now, our son is Autistic, and attends an amazing public-school program in a part of our town that we currently rent in and likely could never afford to buy a home in. It never occurred to me to blame the people who already live there for the affordability (or lack of) of the neighborhood. Instead, my husband and I take personal responsibility for the growth and well-being of our child. When he succeeds, it will be because we made the best of the hand we were dealt, along with a shit-ton of hard work.

Also, the story I told above? That's about my sister. She and her husband own a home in the suburbs, and for you to suggest they don't deserve it, and that living there somehow is a threat to the households with children is irresponsible and petty, even if it is just an opinion. As someone who once sent his children to private school, you have also contributed to the decline of demand on the public, neighborhood school. He who lives in glass houses shouldn't throw bullshit blog posts.

After this, we will all go our separate ways, with you continuing to write for Babble.com and your blog and me continuing to ignore them both. I hope this note stands to remind you that as a Dad, as an example to other fathers and, most importantly, an example to your beautiful children, it is your responsibility to use your pen (keyboard?) to draw good and not blood.





18 comments:

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

This made me tear up. Fierce piece. You should be proud.

Maya Northen said...

Amazing! As a person who has "decided' not to have kids because of a genetic condition that would make having children dangerous to myself and potentially cause lifelong illness in any child I had, thank you for this piece! Regardless of the reason one chooses not to have children, it's their own, personal choice, as is where they choose to live. I live in the city, of my own choice, not because "it's the right thing to do" and I don't sit here writing about how people with children should all move out to the suburbs because it would be more convenient for me. Ok I'm done LOL. Great post.

Laurie Tester said...

I am one piece of a married couple without kids. I'm 43 and I lived in a too-big-house in a fabulous neighborhood for 9 years until the economy ripped us out of it. It was the home I wanted to die in--with or without children. At 43, I will tell you I am happy that I don't have kids in this sad, sad, petty world. Yet, I don't judge anyone else for having kids. I have 9 of the most wonderful nieces and nephews. What a ass-hat. He has no idea what goes on behind closed doors. Great post. Thank you, Stephanie for sharing it on Facebook.

Brie Latini said...

Nothing like a shot at my sister to get me all fired up!! LOL! Also, your sharing this is a huge, huge compliment to me, thank you!

Brie Latini said...

Ooooooo...and what about gay couples without kids?? Wonder what he'd say to that? While it's true that this post would not have held my attention had he not lifted Marla's picture, but it was such an mess I wanted to say something.

Brie Latini said...

Laurie, thank you so much for sharing. I am so sorry to hear that you had to leave your home, but thankful that you have your marriage and your husbands love to help fill your heart!

Gwen said...

Well said! This guy keeps trying to backpedal by saying "no, what I MEANT was ..." blah, blah, blah. Whatever, dude. You're still managing to piss off parents and non-parents alike. He seems to be pretty certain that his kids will take care of him in his old age. Who's the selfish one here?

Jessica K said...

This is an amazing post. I came over from Steph's blog, and I am shocked that someone, especially a man, would think to write something like that. If it was their true decision not to have kids. So be it. They are saving a child from heartache and themselves from stress. Personal responsibility it something that we are losing. The entire country wants to play a blame game instead. Powerful piece!

Marta said...

A-fucking-men

Laurie Tester said...

Had to come back and read it again. I think he got his ears full in the comment section. He's not had a post with that many comments in a long time. Maybe that is what he was going for? Again...GREAT JOB!

Kristin said...

My husband is in the army. In the army, families often have a baby every 2 years. We've been married 4 years and have no immediate plans to babies, which seems so out of place in the circle we live in. We'll have kids when we're ready. It's almost downright insulting when people ask us why we don't already have kids.

Well-written. I came over from Steph's blog :)

Brie Latini said...

Thanks, Gwen! I think much of his message got lost in poor writing. That said, from what I understand, he's getting a mighty thrashing from the internets!!!

Brie Latini said...

Wow, thank you, Jessica! I'm really very flattered by that! I think that the situation with schools in Calgary might be a lot different them in the US, and he was trying to convey some of that, but it all got lost.

Brie Latini said...

Right, sister?? :-) Also, I am so happy our blogs found each other!

Brie Latini said...

Yeeeeeeeeah, he's being raked over the coals. It's the risk of putting yourself out there, I guess. And asshattery begets asshattery, so I can't imagine what kind of trolls he's getting!!! But THANK YOU for stopping back here!!! That made me smile!

Brie Latini said...

Kristin, I can't even imagine!! The culture of military families seems to come with children. But, how awesome that you get to enjoy a way of living that most of us don't know- one of travel and new things- with your husband!! Thanks to him for all he does! I am so glad you stopped by!

Fabiana Kleinot said...

Both you and your sister are Amazing!
'Enough said!

holli said...

I love this post and i love your sister! You're an amazing sister who defines everything about being supportive and amazing. I also cant have children due to "bad plumbing" and its a hard explanation all the time.