Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And the ducks go quack, quack, quack

This fall I'm going to be leading and playing piano for children's music at church. They sing simple little ditties accompanied by gestures. Until last week at our late music director Catherine's funeral, I hadn't seen it done, and I didn't know any of the songs. I struggled to find a key that fit the kids' monotone voices, and people kept telling me to go faster.

Catherine had eight children and oodles of grandchildren, but it's all foreign to me. All the kids and their parents know the songs from having gone to religious education classes, but I have to learn them from sheet music. I'm going to be the only one who doesn't know the songs already because I wasn't part of that world. I could have taught religious education classes and joined that world, but I didn't because I didn't know anything about children, and I was too busy singing with the adults. When I was a kid, we sang songs like "Holy God, We Praise They Name," not "The Ducks Go Quack, Quack, Quack," complete with wing-flapping. Wish me luck.

This brings back the time when I sang at a birthday party for a friend's 5-year-old son and I bought this Raffi book and did my best to cram the songs because I didn't know any kid songs then either. They wanted the same songs over and over, and they sat so close, touching me and my guitar, that I couldn't wait to get away. I'm not used to having children invading my space. It was one of the hardest gigs I ever did.

It's just another side-effect of not having children. You don't know the songs. And the kids think you're an idiot.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where does religion fit in?

Hi all,
I'm pushing ahead with my Childless by Marriage book, and I'm in the chapter about religion. I'm Catholic. Using any kind of artificial birth control is a sin. I didn't know that back in the years when I was using it, and now I wonder what I would have done if I did know. In my research I'm reading figures ranging from 60 to 95 percent of Catholic women who use birth control these days. We're supposed to accept all the babies God gives us, but is that realistic, and what if our mates disagree?

In an era where sex seems to be everywhere, kids are still being taught that abstinence is the way to go. It's a nice idea, but in a competition between a holy idea hormones, hormones will usually win.

In my research, I found that only a handful of women said religion was a factor in their decision to remain childless, even though many faiths stress the need to procreate. So my question is: how about you? Where does religion fit in your childless life?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Childless women cold and odd???

Do childless career women suffer because their co-workers think they're cold and strange? According to the May 18, 2009 Daily Mail online site, that's what Dr. Caroline Gatrell found in researching her book Embodying Women's Work. Gatrell, from the Lancaster University Management School in the UK, reported that women without children are often seen as lacking "an essential humanity." Plus, if they're of child-bearing age, their bosses don't promote them because they might still get pregnant.

Okay, but how about all those moms trying to juggle child-care and work and getting turned down for promotions and dissed by co-workers because they can't work late and have to dash out to pick up the kids at pre-school?

It appears to be a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation, doesn't it?Whether you're a mother or not, ownership of a working uterus appears to make you suspect. If you've got children, you can't be totally loyal to the company. If you haven't, either you're going to spring a baby on them one of these days or you're just plain weird. Is this the 21st century or not?

Personally, I have certainly experienced sexism and ageism, but I don't think I have missed out on anything at work because I did not have children. I did have some moms drop their work on me because of their mothering needs. But I also saw moms who worked more hours than I did.

I'm a clock-watcher. I admit it. What employers really needed to worry about with me was that I would always rather be doing my freelance writing and music than working for anyone else. In essence, my books are my babies. And if I was in the middle of writing a song when it was time to go to work, I was going to be late. The song took precedence.

What do you think? Do you believe employers see childless women, especially those who are childless by choice, as heartless and odd? Have you experienced moms slacking because of their kids? Have you noticed women getting stuck in their careers because they carry ticking time bombs in their bellies? Let's talk about it.