A few days ago, I had a conversation with my colleague at work about children, raising children and family life. At some point in the conversation, she said that I couldn't judge or truly understand any of that because I don't have any children. My thoughts came back to that conversation within the next days quite often.
I realized that in the past I often had the feeling that I was not entitled to an opinion on the subject of raising children, because I don't have any children. And the reaction in some conversations about this topic has only strengthened this impression.
In this conversation with my colleague, however, I realized for the first time that this is not true. Yes, I don't have children, but I still have clear ideas about what is good for children and what is not. Yes, I may not have experience in what it is like for children (and parents) to f.e. test boundaries, but I believe that it is very healthy for children to experience some boundaries during their education and within their journey of life. I am aware of the fact that for actually being able to evaluate the details I would need the real insight of being a mother, but I recognize the needs of children even though I don't have any. I see their needs, I see the needs of their parents and yes, I do have some experice, I was a kid some time ago as well.
Many people have opinions on politics, even though they are not politicians.
Many people have opinions on health issues, even though they are no doctors.
Many people have opinionson wine, even though they are no winemakers.
Many people (and especially parents) know all about school, even though they are no teachers.
My friends and people in my surrounding (including my colleague) have an opinion that my husband works too much. But they are not married to him, nor do they know his workload or even what he is actually working in his profession.
Actually, almost everyone has a quite defined opinion on professional soccer, and very few of them are soccer players, let alone referees.
Well, if anybody can have even an opinion on issues like soccer and politics, I'm allowed to have a differentiated and well thought opinion about raising children, even if I'm not a mother!
It felt so good, this discovery that I am in fact entitled to have an opinion on those issues!
I don't have to hide.
My collaegue is not childless either, and, without really thinking about it, has a pretty clear opinion about childless people....