As BuzzFeed considers its futurethe site should review its approach to motherhood.
The media is rethinking its information division because it is losing money, offering voluntary takeovers. BuzzFeed would likely gain consumer moms if it changed its mind about motherhood.
In April, BuzzFeed published an article titled “Mothers reveal how they realized they regretted having children and how they’re coping now, and it’s such nuanced and valid feelings.” The first mum quoted by the article said: “I regret having children because of what is happening in the world. I feel a SEVERE sense of unhappiness and anxiety when I think about his future. She will probably never be able to afford a house and struggle with debt, climate change, resource scarcity and inequality. I’m really terrified and I feel so guilty. If I was childless today, I would 100% be childless.
It’s such a pessimistic view of motherhood and society. Yet it is a point of view that is attracting more and more attention. Prince Harry made headlines when he said he would limit one’s family to two children due to environmental concerns. Prince Harry is not alone in his thinking.
Among Americans aged 18 to 49 who do not yet have children, 44% in a Pew poll say they don’t think it’s likely they ever will. Of these, 5% attribute their reluctance to climate change or the environment, while 56% said they simply don’t feel like it. Another 9% attribute their attitude to “the state of the world”.
In the article, another mom lamented not having time for herself because of her children: “I have a preschooler. What I don’t like: I can’t go anywhere alone. I can’t have quiet time to myself unless they’re sleeping. I am always touched. I’m always asked to do things they can’t do on their own. I have to do daily chores for them, like bathing and preparing meals.
When I read this my mind quickly turned to my kids climbing into my lap asking for “one more bite please mom” of my oatmeal as I tried to eat it this morning there. This little routine is not practical but it is such a good memory for me.
Some parenting responsibilities are more difficult than others. I write this as a parent of young children who wakes up physically sore holding and carrying my children. Yet very little of what we see brought up in popular culture focuses on the joy and satisfaction that nurturing children also brings to mothers.
It seems popular culture spends more time promoting the “wine mom” narrative that women need alcohol to survive motherhood and less time honoring women for the work they put in. in maternity. Just because caregiving can be difficult doesn’t mean it’s not worth our time, shouldn’t be done, or is wrong. While it’s not the same thing, no one would say that about other pursuits, such as making a scientific discovery, achieving major health or fitness goals, or embarking on an exciting career.
For our society to exist, children need caregivers willing to teach them everything from the ABCs to how to dress. What’s missing from the “regrettable parenting” genre of articles is the joy of parenting — the first steps, the first hugs, and so much more.
This negative maternity coverage is not new to BuzzFeed. In February, BuzzFeed published an article titled “Women Who Regret Giving Birth Explain Why, and It Sparks a Much-Needed Conversation.”
In 2021, BuzzFeed published articles including “Parents Who Regret Having Kids Make Anonymous Confessions Online, and It’s Taboo but Important”; “15 parents shared why they regret having children, and their reasons are 100% valid”; and “19 women got brutally honest about why they don’t want kids.”
We get it, BuzzFeed wants its readers to know that not everyone is happy with their decision to have kids. But BuzzFeed does more than that. It promotes a narrative that conflicts with what Americans want.
A large majority of Americans have or want children. Only 5% of American adults don’t want children. Among Americans ages 45 and older, only 7% with children said that if they could do it again, they wouldn’t have children. And 50% of those who didn’t have children said they would have had at least one.
Stories about parental regret may get clicks, but BuzzFeed acting as a PR machine against motherhood could also influence the decision some people make about parenthood. And BuzzFeed is not alone.
For more examples: The Atlantic published an article titled “The Two Reasons Parents Regret Having Kids.” Women’s magazine Elle ran an article, ““My biggest regret in life is having my daughter.”“Self-magazine published”,10 women look back on living childless by choice.”
Part of the problem with maternity coverage could be that women who opt into maternity are choosing not to work in popular publications to care for their children, so their voice is missing. What remains are other voices of mothers or women who regret having chosen to live without children.
American moms should speak up to make sure “regrettable motherhood” doesn’t become the dominant narrative of our time. One of the most counter-cultural actions a mother can take, it seems, is to write about how she loves motherhood — and maybe tag BuzzFeed.
Editor’s note: We welcome submissions on the joys and challenges of motherhood here at The Federalist. See submission instructions here.