A while ago Kath sent me this article about Dolly Parton and her views on childlessness and other people’s children. She talks about how she’s made room in her life for her nieces and nephews, how their children came to call her “Aunty Granny”, and how she’s now “Gee-Gee” (for great-granny.)
“I often think, it just wasn’t meant for me to have kids,” she says, “so everybody’s kids can be mine.”
I love her for that attitude.
So, why did this lovely article warrant a Whiny Wednesday spot?
Because in the sidebar of People magazine, in a section titled, “You May Like…” where I’d expect to find articles about other cheroes (heroes who happen to be child-free) like Miss Dolly, instead I’m offered stories about the ever-expanding Duggar clan and even more “things you didn’t know” about celebrities and their offspring.*
Even when we do get to hear about someone without children, there’s no escaping the fact that, ultimately, families rule.
It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s under your skin this week?
*Note: when I checked this week, the recommended articles had changed, but be aware that People always has lots of celebrity baby stories.
I love her attitude as well. I feel the same way, but down the road, people’s children rule.
Dolly should run for President. Great political strategist, winning the people’s hearts with warm and fuzzies like that. I’ve always thought highly of Dolly.
This reminds me of a friend’s mother-in-law whose bio mom died when she was 3. It was the 1930’s in a tiny rural community. The new stepmom told everyone that although the sacrifice was great, she wasn’t going to have children of her own. No, she’d let go of that dream. Because she was concerned that if she ever had her own kids, she’d prefer her kids over her stepkids. And perish the thought!
I never did buy that story. Somehow I have a feeling there’s a lot more backstory that never was shared. And it was simpler to tell that and wear a halo for decades, than it was to to tell the truth and set herself up to be judged and possibly scorned by the local community where they owned a store.
It’s a great attitude and I sometimes pretend I feel the same but I do get tired of “but you have a nephew right? Isn’t he wonderful!” Or but you work with kids, THEYRE your children.” Yes my nephew is wonderful and I adore him and yes, working with kids is great but the reality is…NONE of these children are mine. I will never get to take them home and keep them, I will never look into their wee faces and see myself or my parents in them. It’s crummy that a woman has to be seen as mother first and everything else second, if it gets a mention at all. It drives the women who never wanted kids up the wall because their career is constantly referred to as their “Baby” and no amount of correction from them about how their career is NOT their child, that’s the whole point of being childfree by choice, will change other people’s minds. And for those of us who did want kids but can’t for whatever reason have them, it’s painful to continuously hear other people attempt to correct this loss by insisting that caring for other people’s children is in any way similar to having your own.
Jane P (UK) says
Well said Rose – completely agree. And while I admire Dolly’s attitude I’m still niggled by this article because not all of us have nieces/nephews and even if we do they in no way make up for the loss of the children we desired of our own.
I do remember reading somewhere once that Dolly did experience depression due to not being able to have children. I don’t know if that’s true, and I do hope she’s in a better, happier place now, but I do suspect it wasn’t always that simple, as things rarely are.