Some psychologists have revised Maslow's Pyramid of Needs--and it has stuck in my craw. Here's why.
The original pyramid had self-actualization at the top. You take care of your basic needs--shelter, food--then you get love and respect and self-actualize by doing what gives you joy: running, teaching, macrame, writing, baking bread, yoga.
But the revised pyramid puts parenting at the top! In fact, the top three are mate acquisition, mate retention, and then parenting.
I don't doubt that many people find self-actualization in parenting. The soul-crushing love, the willingness to put your life before another's. But not me. In fact, I made a choice to remain childless. My husband and I have been married eight years and we didn't reproduce. Not that I don't love children and my many friends with adorable sprouts--I do! I'm no child-eating witch.
But the new pyramid implies that one can't be truly happy without reproducing. And, for that matter, finding a mate. That seems reductive, breeder-centric, biologically based. And insulting.
I'm 43, so it's way too late for me to be truly happy, according to the new pyramid. Nevertheless I'm happy with the decision I made. I don't miss the children I didn't have.
Here's a suggestion: Let's revise the Pyramid again--and put banana cream pie at the top!