September 2, 2014

Fast Forward

fast type

Image by mightymoss via Flickr

Wednesday already? I keep bumping the fast forward button!

Seems like only yesterday Susan, Amy, Brian and I were bumping along the highway from Costa Rica‘s Papagayo Peninsula to Lake Arenal psyching each other up for windsurfing with crocodiles, slurping up coconut milk from roadside vendors, and brainstorming a blog about our childfree lifestyle choices. Fast forward and we’re entering our 9th month and 107th post. Wow!

Thank you for making it possible. Thank you for reading our posts, commenting, sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and submitting guest posts. You continue to inspire us, and we’re enjoying every minute of it. Even when I bump the fast forward button…

While everything’s zipping past in a blur, there are a couple of quick snippets I want to showcase, sort of a “Wednesday WNK Digest”. First up, Brian nailed it in a recent post about how taboo a topic the childfree choice remains. Though he focused largely on celebs (a category that I’m thoroughly unqualified to address), the following excerpt about gender distinctions is oh-so-spot-on:

when a mother DOES speak out against mothering… she’s entering taboo territory, a place where people overreact and use the word “crazy”… Because these are words that mothers aren’t allowed to speak. “Don’t have kids” or “I wish I didn’t have kids” are somehow heard as “I wish they weren’t alive” or “I hate children”. It seems… From where I stand, men are given much more room.. to vent, admit, complain or translate their desire for silence and freedom and fresh air into advice or comedy… Mothers seem to police themselves, vigilantly. (Celebrities, WiNKs, Taboos and The Childfree Apology)

Another highlight? The clever crew over at The Onion nailed it with ‘This Is The Happiest Day Of My Life,’ Lies Man Holding Baby. Just to tickle your childfree fancy:

Looking out at a sea of expectant faces, new father Dan Rudloff commemorated the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth, by holding the small, vulnerable child in his arms and blurting out a series of lies and half-truths about how happy he was at that moment.

“Oh my God,” said Rudloff, staring down at the squalling, vernix-covered infant who will depend on him for everything from eating, to bathing, to keeping her head upright. “She’s beautiful.”

Realizing he was now forever tethered to this utterly helpless new life… Rudloff rattled off a series of patently false pleasantries about being overjoyed with his new baby girl. (The Onion)

For overly sensitive readers who sometimes miss humor, farce and send-ups, this is funny. Not snarky. Or cynical. Okay, maybe it’s all three!

Onward. Julie, The Hiking Humanist, took a protracted and reflective look at the term, childfree, in a recent post that’s worth passing along. She explains why the word is necessary descriptor to distinguish those who choose not to have children from those who are unable to have children.

We don’t want to be encouraged to have kids, or pitied for not having them, or seen as lonely or sad, or as selfish and hateful. The word we identify with exists to legitimize our choice, and to be a word for the lifestyle that we’re keen to talk about among ourselves and encourage acceptance of in the public sphere… This word is “childfree.” The word differentiates us from the childless, and from parents. More importantly, the word communicates that the absence of children is a positive thing for us, something we’re happy about and do not wish to be pitied for. (Defending The Word “Childfree”)

Julie’s a little huffy, but many of us have been at one point or another when slighted bingo’ed one time too many.

As a follow-up to Amy’s recent post on “Childfree Getaways” and my post on “Childfree Dining Tips“, I’d like to pass along a few childfree travel suggestions from Child Free Nation:

Here are a couple quick tips for avoiding the diaper set during your getaway:

  • Spring for Luxury
  • Consider a Private Resort
  • Enjoy a Bed and Breakfast
  • Read the Reviews

(Seven Tips for Child Free Travel)

That catches me up a little bit… Of course, I’m liable to bump the fast forward button again before long. Sorry!

No Kids for Kim Kardashian?

With her mulitmillion dollar wedding and now, after only 72 days, her impending divorce in the news, Kim Kardashian, 31, is rethinking her fairy tale dreams.

She famously stated that she would have four children before she was 35, but her more recent comments on having children is a complete 180:

“At first I was like, I want six kids. Then I went down to four, then I was down to three, and now I’m like, maybe I won’t have any,” she says glumly. “Maybe I’ll just be a good aunt…at this moment in my life, I feel like maybe I’m not supposed to have kids and all that,” Kim says in a December 6 Glamour Magazine article (source Us Magazine)

The self proclaimed hopeless romantic plans to be a little more realistic in the future.

Perhaps, Kim, you should consider the idea of not having kids as genuine option and discover that being child-free can also be a happy ending.

English: Kim Kardashian Fragrance Launch, Glen...

Image via Wikipedia

Childfree Dining Tips

Restaurant Enoteca

Image by Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains St. Moritz via Flickr

We’ve covered this territory before of course, but a the risk of seeming a bit curmudgeonly I’d like to pass along a half dozen simple, straightforward childfree dining tips “borrowed” (Thanks, CFN Editorial Team!) from a recent Child Free Nation post, “Eating Out: How to Enjoy a Childfree Meal“.

It’s no fun to go out and listen to the soundtrack of crying infants, whining, or even the sounds of responsible parents trying to discipline their children.

It’s not that these kids are necessarily doing anything wrong. Babies cry. Toddlers lack adult communication skills. Parents do need to intervene (please oh please) when their six year old is chewing with their mouth open.

That being said, it doesn’t mean we want to witness the experience! (Child Free Nation)

Sound familiar? For sensitive readers in our midst, exhale. I’m not bashing restaurants that allow kids. In some cases I’m a fan. Other times not so much. But that’s not the point.

The point’s just to remind adamantly childfree diners (let’s call them ACDs), that ensuring an agreeable supper normally is an easy enough ambition if you follow some obvious pointers.

  1. Avoid Family Friendly Restaurants
  2. Sit in the Bar
  3. Ask for a Quiet Table
  4. Adjust your Timing
  5. Dress for Dinner
  6. Consider Take-Out

No brainers, right? Right. Except when they don’t’t work. In which case you move on to “Plan B”. And that’s the real point of this post… What would you suggest for #7 on the Childfree Dining Tips?

PANKs and PUNKs (Professional Aunties and Uncles No Kids)

Image representing SavvyAuntie as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

The number of PANKs (Professional Aunties No Kids) and PUNKs (Professional Uncles No kids) is growing and their influence on children is in the news. The founder of the auntie movement is Melanie Notkin at www.savvyauntie.com. She has an active blog and book that guides child-free aunties on all things kiddie. Notkin is the creator of the term PANK and she also owns the trademark.

From her website:

A few years ago, DINKs was the new segment marketers had their eye on – Dual Income No Kids. PANKs, while focusing specifically on women (married, partnered or single) who have no kids, is a pretty large market in the US. In fact, the 2010 US Census Report: Fertility of American Women states that 47.1  percent of women through age 44 do not have kids (check “All Races” report). And that number has been steadily growing over the last couple of decades. In 1976, only 35 percent were childless.

Notkin gives statistics on the spending potential of the emerging PANK market:

-  According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 50 percent of single women own their own homes. They’re also the fastest-growing segment of new home buyers, second home buyers, car purchasers, new investors, and travelers. (Who hasn’t dreamed of taking the nieces and nephews on their first trip to Disney World?)

-  Twenty-seven percent of American households are headed by women, a fourfold increase since 1950.

-  Of American women who draw annual incomes of $100,000 or more, nearly half don’t have children. In fact, the more a woman earns, the less likely she is to have kids.

That means that these PANKs and PUNKs have money to spend on their nieces and nephews since they don’t have kids of their own.

A November Forbes article Raising Children: The Role of Aunts and Uncles says that many adults in childrens’ lives today are not relatives but close friends that are considered stand in aunts, uncles and godparents.

Notkin says, “The more aunts and uncles the child has, the more influences a child has,” says Notkin. “If the uncle is a fantastic artist, the child may be inspired by that talent.”

For kids the diversity of influences could be beneficial. Parents who share their kids with aunties and uncles might benefit too. And it fits with the notion that “it takes a village” to raise a child.

Author’s Note:

I’m not really an aunt, but I’m a godmother three times over and consider most of my friends’ kids my nieces and nephews, so that makes me a PANK.  I just finished shopping, wrapping and mailing all their Christmas gifts. I take my role of Auntie Amy very seriously at Christmas time, and put A LOT of thought into finding the exact right gift for each child. (One gift was noisy and I’m sorry for that.) And I hope, hope, hope the kids love them! I find that books are the best gifts and still remember all the books my PANKs and PUNKs and real aunts and uncles gave to me as a child. Hope you will share your favorites.

Hey WNKers (and PANKs and PUNKs) what is your favorite book to give to kids?

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Saving Birth Control for the 99%

1926 US advertisement. "Birth Control"

Image via Wikipedia

From the Ms. Magazine blog Twitter feed:

“Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended–how would making birth control less available solve this problem?”

There are some interesting points to this discussion and WNK would love to hear from our readers. Why should we pay for contraception for those who can’t afford it? Why should contraception be available and inexpensive? Would you rather pay for children that people can’t afford? Do you think people should be more responsible in making family planning choices?

“Contraception obviously is a deeply held value by American women. But the fact that in the United States a startling half of all pregnancies are unintended makes clear that birth control is used only sporadically by some. There are a number of reasons why this is so, but a chief one is that so many women cannot afford contraception, especially the most expensive—and most effective–methods, such as birth control pills, and long lasting reversible contraception, for example, the newer (and far safer) models of IUDs (intrauterine devices). In short, the same economic disparities that pervade every other area of American life manifest here as well: poor women depend on publicly-funded programs for their contraceptive services, but, according to the Guttmacher Institute, only a little more than half of the 17 million women who need these services currently receive them.”

Check out the rest of the article here.

 

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Video: Childfree Cartoon

Something warm and fuzzy post Thanksgiving:

Well, maybe not so warm and fuzzy. I’m still not sure if these are cats, dogs, or bears.

Thanksgiving

Thankful for sunsets in Costa Rica

There are many things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving and being child-free is just one of them…well maybe more than one.

1. I am thankful that I live in a time and a place that doesn’t require that I reproduce to fit into society.

2. I am thankful that my husband also believes that having children is a choice. And grateful that he chooses not to have children.

3. I am thankful for my godchildren. I am grateful for my friends and family who have children and share them with me. And for the friends and family who understand that I don’t want children but love and support me anyway.

4. I am grateful for children and the influence they have on my art and my writing.

5. I am grateful that my choice not to have children has given me many opportunities that include travel, and time to create art.

6. I am grateful for my health and the heath of loved ones and their children.

7. I am grateful that I have the freedom to express my opinion. And I am grateful when others chime in.

8. I am grateful that I have choices.

9. I am grateful that I have love in my life.

10. I am grateful that my life and family is complete without children. And I am thankful that I am child-free.

Childfree Getaways

Looking to escape the cold AND the kids over the holidays?

Check out the list of tropical childfree vacation destinations below:

California

Villa Royale Inn – Palm Springs

Luxury Boutique Hotel

Adults only

http://villaroyale.com

Hawaii

Hooilo House Maui

http://www.hooilohouse.com/index.html

From the website:

Ho’oilo House is designed as an adults only property. We do allow children over 16, but they will be in their own room in accordance with our 2 person per room maximum. Exceptions can be made for small babies.

Antigua

Coconut Beach Club

Affordable all-inclusive resort

Adult couples only

http://www.coconutbeachclub.com/

St Lucia

Ladera – Beware children are welcome over the holidays!

2011 Nomination for most romantic resort in the Caribbean

http://www.ladera.com/

Gros Piton, St. Lucia, seen from the Ladera Ho...

Children are discouraged. From the website:

Ladera was designed primarily as a retreat for adults. Because of its unique location overlooking the Caribbean and the Pitons, there are steep drop-offs at the edge of every suite. Furthermore, many guests come to Ladera to get away from their children – for the romantic setting and peaceful solitude Ladera offers.

If you do bring your children, please keep a constant eye on them, especially around the cliff areas and on the stairways, and be sure they understand that peace and quiet are important to many of the guests at the resort. Children over the age of 10 are welcome. Families with children ages 5 and up are welcome during the holidays.

Mexico

Le Blanc Spa Resort – Cancun

Adults only luxury spa resport

http://www.leblancsparesort.com/

From the website:

Are you ready to release yourself from the cares of the world and surrender to the freedom of a serene and carefree luxurious retreat? The adults-only, all-inclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort beckons you from the white sand beaches and sparkling waters of the Caribbean.

WNKies – Tell us your favorite secret childfree getaway.

 

 

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Childfree? Consider The Economy?

Chart of Birth Rate in USA between 1934 and th...

Image via Wikipedia

If you are listing pros and cons and asking questions of parents and people like us to determine if you want to remain childfree, for now or permanently, you may do those of us that have already made the decision a favor by choosing to breed.

What? What about all those posts about saving the planet and your relationship and your money? What about giving voice to individuals and outliers? What about confronting taboos and exercising your right to think for yourself and CHOOSE?

Well, as readers of WNK may have already seen, we are here to provide a broad base of information and varied perspectives, so that one may make an informed choice and feel supported, regardless of what that choice may be. To that end, we need to talk about the economy.

The real and hidden costs of raising children, personal finances and lifestyle etc. are certainly worth addressing. And we at WNK. like many others in the child-free community, try to.

UNLIKE others in the CF community, including a child-free blogger that wrote “Going Child-Free To Save The Economy” and “decided that breeders are to blame for our current high level of unemployment”, we (Okay, I) studied economics, worked in finance and have a mathematical and theoretical grasp on reality that isn’t overwhelmed by anger or idiocy or child-free ideological extremes.

And, oh yeah, before we “decide” something, we research and read. On our Facebook site we previously posted stories about how Russia and South Korea are taking steps to increase the birth rate in order to bolster their economies. Check out the links.

Yesterday, Bloomberg News ran this story:

Births at 11-Year Low May Extend U.S. Housing Slump Amid Consumer Cutbacks – Bloomberg.

The piece identifies a nasty Catch-22 ensnaring the childless and child-free lately. Some of us are deciding against raising kids, or postponing, because we are struggling financially; and our decision is in turn hurting the economy.

While many reading this piece don’t want to make or raise babies, the reality seems to be that we need more kids to feed our fierce economic machine. In capitalist, consumption-based America, if we are not growing, we’re dieing. Inflation is not necessarily our friend, but deflation (decreased demand, less consumption, fewer jobs, a shrinking population and shrinking GDP) is definitely our enemy. So the government adopts policies (that many of us claim are discriminatory) to encourage the population to make more babies. And if more people join the ranks of the child-free, federal tax deductions or credits may only be the beginning.

If you don’t want to believe, won’t read the stories or do research to see what not having kids can do to a capitalist economy, look overseas please. Asia is struggling, and Japan may reveal the path that our low birth rate having country will be following: A real estate bust followed by over fifteen years of low interest rates and meager job growth combined with an impossibly slow housing recovery and constant fears of deflation further shrinking the value of their assets and their entire economy.

Now, on a resource-strapped planet riddled with pollution and populated with too many that are abused, poverty stricken or starving, this is an admittedly simplistic view of how breeding, or not, affects the economy. It is an equation that does not account for environmental costs and wars and other negative externalities. But market economies like ours are insatiable beasts. And unless or until we are ready to face the flaws of capitalist, consumption-based religiosity (which will likely involve some serious suffering) we may soon run out of ways of keeping our economy functioning for most of us unless we get behind immigration reform and this baby making thing.

There may be few alternatives?

I guess we can have more pets or just become more obese? Many of the child-free appear to be animal lovers (someone please explain the link), and while Fido and Frisky consume enough to create jobs (the U.S. pet industry is worth $55 billion annually) , they will never drive a car or need public schooling. Obesity may also be working as a growth strategy. One person can consume enough for 1.5 or 2 people and get sick along the way to feed the booming healthcare industry maybe?

Questions? Critiques? Need more clarity? Please comment or contact me.

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Not Funny!

The sign reads, “Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy!”

It has been popping up everywhere from cafes to clothing stores and it’s scaring me!

Why the joke? Why the empty threat? Why bring innocent puppies into this? And why make things worse with caffeine and incontinent animals?

This sign below was seen in Flagstaff, can you imagine if a shop owner posted one of these, but changed it to kids? We would be offended. Parents would be up in arms. But no, coffee and kittens are funny!

Sign, No Unattended Dogs in Flagstaff.