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What's so wrong with being selfish?

  • Story Highlights
  • Author says moms are wrong to call women without children selfish
  • Says life isn't one size fits all -- different things make women's lives fulfilling
  • She knows some women find raising kids fun, but she isn't one of them
  • Says it's OK for for women to choose what brings them pleasure
By Jessica Wakeman
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(The Frisky) -- There's no better way to get everybody fighting than to bring up the "having kids" or "not having kids" debate. The so-called "mommy wars" are a surefire way to make everybody defensive!

What's so wrong with being selfish?

But the discussion can get nasty when women with kids accuse women sans kids of being "selfish," because they aren't interested in giving up certain freedoms and pleasures in favor of raising a child.

Frankly, I am surprised when women use the word "selfish" in this context. After all, isn't one of the upshots of feminism supposed to be that women have more choices than ever before and each of us is free to do what makes us happy?

Let me be clear: I respect whatever other women choose to do because I'd want them to respect what I choose to do. Kids, no kids, puppies, iguanas, I don't care what your choice is. But I do care about the kind of judgments us women make against one another. But there's something about this particular judgment that has me puzzled -- really, what's so wrong with being selfish?

1. Women should be allowed to care about pleasing ourselves-- and only ourselves -- without being judged. What is wrong with a woman being selfish? Really. Think about it for a second. Why shouldn't we be selfish if it means we're meeting our own needs and taking care of ourselves? What's wrong with caring more about bringing pleasure to your own life than anything else?

It should not be as controversial as it apparently is for women to think of themselves first if they are not hurting anyone. Reasonable people agree a woman should make herself happy, but why do these people suddenly because so unreasonable when those women say it would make her happy to just focus on herself? The Frisky: 10 reasons not to have kids yet -- or ever

2. Some women just want to have fun -- the same fun they've always had. Are mothers who call other women "selfish" are just a little bitter because it's harder for them to meet some of their "having fun" needs.

I have no doubt that having kids is "fun" in its own way, but women with children sacrifice so much that they surely can't have "fun" the way they used to -- spend their money on themselves, drive a better car, stay out at all night dancing, splurge at Nordstrom's. I don't think it's wrong not to want to change that. The Frisky: My biological clock is broken

3. There isn't one way to be selfless. Children ask selflessness of women and to think of others' needs before their own. But no way, no how, do moms have a monopoly on selflessness.

Even if they're shopping, drinking, partying, sleeping around, whatever, women without kids can still be selfless. They donate their time and money to causes they believe in, mentor younger people in their office, care for their elderly parents, and play babysitter for the evening so their sister can get a night out. They are still being selfless -- they're just prioritizing having more fun over being more selfless.

And furthermore, why do the judgmental women with children prioritize selflessly meeting the needs of a few people --their kids -- over childless women selflessly meeting the needs of possibly more people? The Frisky: Should working mothers say 'No' to more work?

4. Life isn't one size fits all -- different things make our lives fulfilling. Women with children sometimes realize that their lives were unfulfilled or shallow before they had kids. But childless women experience these realizations too, only about their jobs, their hobbies, their passions, and their extended families.

Deciding that having kids is the best way not to be shallow implies women aren't good enough unless we're sacrificing ourselves for children. Put another way, it implies it's not OK for us to choose what brings us pleasure. The Frisky: Raising a child without a gender?

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