Are you a childless stepparent?

How many of you are childless stepmothers? Me, too. My husband came with three children. That led to two step-grandchildren. Now there’s a step-great-granddaughter, but I’m way too young for that.

We do not have a warm and fuzzy relationship. In fact, now that they’re adults, we don’t have much of a relationship at all. But at least when we do cross paths, we hug and say nice things, unlike some other steps.

I have been reading postings at the Childless Stepmoms forum. If you’re looking for company, you might want to check it out. Be forewarned: What I see there most is a lot of anger. The childless stepmoms often seem to be at war with the biological mothers and with the teenage kids. The younger children are usually all right, but there are constant battles over child support, visitation, discipline and other issues that come from sharing children. It’s a good place to vent with friends who know what you’re talking about.

What is your experience with step-parenting? Do you think it’s harder because you don’t have children of your own? (I do.) I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Tidbits for the Christmas stocking

The holidays can be tough for folks dealing with childlessness. We’re surrounded by advertising showing happy families with lots of kids around the Christmas tree and all the great gifts we can buy them. Other people’s children are putting on their Christmas pageants and making little gifts. I suppose they’re using computers instead of construction paper and paste these days, but I don’t have kids, so I don’t know. Anyway, I found a couple things online I thought you might enjoy.

On the serious side, Carol Caldwell offers thoughts about being childless in a church full of moms at her blog, No, I Did Not Forget to Have Children. She has some good ideas for coping during the holiday season and throughout the year.

And for fun, one of my childless friends, Tiffany, is offering gift certificates for the tarot readings she gives as Miss Magdalen. Says Tiff, “A number of my tarot clients are specifically dealing with biological clock, baby, and infertility issues. Wouldn’t you or one of your loved ones simply adore getting a genuine, proper Tarot reading as a holiday gift? Why yes, you would! My psychic powers predict it. Readings may be redeemed in person or over the phone.

“I’ve been reading Tarot for nearly two decades and I’m now applying my spooky powers toward fundraising purposes. all proceeds benefit the non-profit arts and literary organization 2GQ — specifically, computer related expenses — and my work-in-progress, The Easter Island Project — specifically, expenses for related travels to San Francisco, Seattle, and of course, Easter Island, Chile, in the South Pacific.
Please see http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16965841 for more info & to purchase your gift certificate. Let the mystical mayhem begin!”

So, hey, if you’re wondering whether the future holds the pitter-patter of tiny feet or puppy paws, check it out.

Christmas is two weeks away. Enjoy all the good stuff and let the rest go.

Childless vs. childfree

Apparently I’m a wanna-be “breeder troll,” at least according to the Selfish Heathens site, which is firmly devoted to nonparenting. In fact, parents aka breeder trolls are strongly urged to stay away. If they even lurk at the site, they will be summarily deleted. The Satanic imagery and strong language scare the heck out of a mommy-lookalike such as myself.

I learned about the Selfish Heathens from a blog entry by Canadian Writer Jonathan Kay who started a flame war with his piece about bringing children to restaurants. One commenter threatened to throw ice water into the faces of Kay and his “broodsow” if they ever met in a restaurant. Luckily they will probably never meet in person.

I often hear mothers referred to as breeders, as if they were cats who went into heat and turned out one litter after another with no regard to overpopulation or to the way their kids are annoying little brats. But then again, others talk about children being the biggest blessing of their lives, that raising them is the most important thing one can do, far more important than any other occupation. Many who can’t conceive spend thousands of dollars on painful medical procedures trying to unite one egg and sperm successfully into a baby. When the effort fails, they come away heartbroken.

Why is there such an undercurrent of anger between parents and nonparents? Must we split into separate societies, those with children and those without? Why can’t we just accept each other’s choices and move on?

For a view completely opposite to the Selfish Heathens, but just as hip, check out Tiffany Lee Brown’s new blog, http://magdalen.blogs.com/nymphe. She includes some wonderful articles, a fascinating performance art project in progress, and heartfelt journal entries about her struggle with her husband’s preference to not have children and her own late-arriving desire to be a mother.

What do you think? Why is there so much animosity on this issue?