When 30-year-old Caitlin O’Connell made the decision to not have kids, she never expected to fully understand the experience of motherhood. That is, until she decided to hang up her own terrible art in her apartment in lieu of a child’s, and everything just clicked.
“I never wanted kids, and everyone told me I was going to be missing out on the endless joys of motherhood,” O’Connell told reporters. “So, I skipped the birthing and raising a child part and jumped straight to hanging shitty art all over my walls. Except, in this case, it was my own terrible art, not my untalented progeny’s. Problem solved!”
O’Connell says this decision has changed her outlook on being childless, while simultaneously opening her eyes to the trials of motherhood.
“I look at the half-baked paintings of my immediate surroundings and the sad little sketches of my old pets hanging on my walls and think, ‘This is motherhood,’” O’Connell said. “Like, seriously, it has entirely changed my perspective. I feel like I’m getting like 90% of the experience of being a mother – having to display bad art proudly in your home – without having to go through the arduous 18 plus years dedicated to raising a child. I kind of just skipped a bunch of steps.”
“I knew being a mom was hard, but I never thought it would be this hard,” she continued. “Like, yeah, I knew about birth and breast-feeding and changing diapers and like literally never sleeping again, but I never considered how emotionally draining it would be to look at a bad picture of two stick figures standing under a cartoon sun every day for the rest of my life. Moms really are superheroes.”
Beyond that, O’Connell states that an unexpected benefit of this experience was helping her relate to her own mother on a whole new level.
“After I made the decision to not have kids, I never thought my mom and I would be able to connect on that front,” she said. “But now that we both have my shitty art hanging in our living rooms, I’ve never felt closer to her! It has really made me see her in a new light – she’s a real one for keeping my fourth grade splatter art project hanging above her mantle for all these years.”
Although O’Connell admits it was fun to experience motherhood for a moment, she says she can’t handle looking at paintings that depict the sky with a line of blue and the grass with a line of green any longer. At press time, she had called her mother up and said, “On the count of three, let’s just rip them down together!”