Sometimes I really think something is absolutely wrong in Germany. I learned a few days ago that there's something called the 'German Question'. The question meant by this is "children or career?". Strange as it might seem, this actually is an important question for people in Germany ... especially for women in Germany.
In most other countries, this isn't a question at all. Women have children and work in their jobs, carving out a career for themselves (or at least earning their own money and thus being more secure socially and financially). In other European countries the children even are better cared for than they are here. German kindergarten just means putting your children in a place where they have someone to play with and are sort of 'stored' until it's time for them to go home (in short terms) or go to school (in long terms). Even school still is a problem for the mothers. In Germany, children usually attend school from around 8 a.m. to around 1 p.m. - and afterwards they have to go to either their parents or someone who takes care of them (such as a grandmother, aunt or suchlike). Other countries teach children even in kindergarten (though playfully) and keep the children in school until the early afternoon (at least until 3 or 4 p.m.). Under those circumstances the mother can work full-time and does not have to worry about her children the least.
For me, this question will not be important anyway, because I do not intent to have any children ... and if you say something like that in conversation, people stare at you as if you just mentioned you like your human meat raw.
As a woman in Germany I'm supposed to want children, want them badly at my age. But why? I'm not good with children, I don't harbour many motherly feelings, I don't have a stable relationship (even though in the times of sperm banks, that would not be absolutely necessary) and I don't really want to bring a child into this world. I know my parents would like to have grandchildren, but they've come to terms with my point of view a long time ago.
Nevertheless, people treat you as if you were a monster, once you mention this notion. It is not said, of course, but thought quite often that every woman really, really only longs for the moment she has a child of her own.
It's quite different for men. A man who says "I don't want children" is not treated like an abomination. People probably think "once he's found a wife, he will have children, because everybody knows that all women want children and make men want them, too" or something along those lines.
But why do people think like that? Because generations of scientists, philosophers and other 'experts' for the female mind (most of them men, of course...) have told us that's what women want. Any woman not getting weak-kneed and longing for children whenever she sees a baby somewhere in the streets, therefore must be a monster, something inhuman, somebody insane. Well, I don't get these feelings whenever I see a child. I think babies are cute, but I don't want one myself. I would be more than happy to support a woman with children, but that doesn't mean I'm longing for having them myself.
It's biological, they say, it's what women were made for, to carry out the next generation (and the whole 'biological' excuse also works for men being unable to stay faithful). It's God's plan, they say, women are supposed to have children while men are supposed to care for them. But is it, really?
For a long time we women have been the 'weaker sex', the gender that needed to be led on by men, that needed to be controlled and restricted. We've broken free of a lot of these bonds, but not of all. Those hardest to overcome are those anchored most firmly into the human mind ... like the whole "all women dream of having children" prejudice.
I remember quite well when I first told my aunt I didn't want any children of my own (I was about 7 then). She just said "once you're grown up, you'll change your mind" and patted my head. Well, I think at 32 I can say I have grown up ... but I haven't changed my mind. I still don't want children. And, honestly, I'm fed up with the way people look at me whenever I mention I don't want children. It's my goddamn decision!
And if I have to hear that whole "that's so egocentric of you"-spiel again, I think I'll get violently sick and throw up over the person stating this 'fact'.