April 17, 2017

You’ll change your mind

Mind Games (song)

Mind Games (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In case you missed it, Nullipara Life (@NulliparaLife) has been posting “Bingo Breeder Responses” which is to say, sometimes-funny-sometimes-flip-almost-always-thoughful answers to the questions and assertions childfree folks encounter. Each post includes several Q&A style exchanges, and the seventh post tackles the all-too-familiar, “You’ll change your mind.”

Ugh! This has to be the most common and most ignorant bingo out there. Being that ‘you’ll’ is the conjunction of ‘you will’, I think we can all assume you’re telling me that I am definitely going to change my mind. Right. Because clearly you must know me better than I know myself… Telling a childfree person they will change their mind one day only makes them want to prove you wrong even more. What if I were to tell you, “you’ll change your mind” about being a parent? Because admittedly, a lot of parents do change their mind. Oh but no one ever thinks of it that way. No one ever bothers to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and think about how they’d feel if they were being antagonized by a bunch of mombies… Next time someone says to you, “you’ll change your mind” just tell them, “you’ll change your mind.” Or if they ask you, “why don’t you have kids?” ask them, “why did you have kids?” They’ll probably start stuttering and end up lost for words, which is always a good thing… (Nullipara Life)

I’m a bit torn here. I like the questions. It would be nice if we all contributed to a more open Q&A cultured world. It would reward curiosity. It would encourage dialogue and possibly even understanding and respect. But “You’ll change your mind” isn’t a question. It’s an assumption. An assertion. And it’s frankly out of line. It’s amazing how different the same idea becomes when voiced as a question: “Do you think you’ll change your mind one day?” This question conveys genuine interest and respect. And it is unlikely to make the childfree answerer defensive or dismissive. A constructive conversation will likely follow.

Nyx (@Nyxks) reflected on the “You’ll change your mind” assertion:

I do think that even if I had meet him early on that I would still have kept my childfree status and wish. In part because I’ve never had that maternal side when it comes to children, I can get along with them for short periods of time, but at the end of the day I do have to give them back because I just can’t do the 24/7 deal with them. (Nyxks Musings)

Childfree couples come to their choice for many different reasons, and discussing these reasons can be useful. Defending one’s childfree choices against breeders who insist that we’ll regret our choices one day or that we’ll change our minds is less useful. And less inviting. Consider a childfree friend asking a parent about the choice to have children and then asserting, “You’ll regret your choice to have a child!”

About virtualDavis

G.G. Davis, Jr. (aka virtualDavis) is a writer, storyteller, unabashed flâneur and eager-beaver uncle. Despite two whiz-bang nieces, two superstar nephews, and rewarding teaching/coaching stints at the American School of Paris and Santa Fe Preparatory School, he remains willingly, enthusiastically and happily childfree. His WNK posts are part of an ongoing attempt to understand why. Rosslyn Redux, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks, offers a more ironic twist on his childfree adventure. He also blogs at virtualDavis.com and EssexonLakeChamplain.com. Connect with G.G. Davis, Jr. via Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Comments

  1. Excellent point about saying to a soon-to-be parent, “You’ll regret your choice to have a child!” I sometimes feel like saying this when I’ve been bingoed, but it’s obviously rude and personal……….pity child-free people don’t get the same respect.

  2. I don’t want to be a parent. It’s possible I may change my mind someday. If I do, it’s just as possible I’ll change it right back! In any case, it’s wonderful as a childfree person that I have the freedom to change my mind. Parents generally do not.

  3. Freedom. Choice. Amen! Thanks for commenting and reading the blog.

  4. Could you change the photo, please? I am Gerry Dincher. I realize that I have licensed the photo on Flickr to be freely used by anyone, but I’d prefer to not have my name associated with this blog. My wife and I are child free and it’s not by choice. It really hurts to want children and not be able to have them.

  5. I’ve updated the post and removed your image. Please accept our apologies for exacerbating your painful experience. Thanks for your request and good luck in the future.

  6. A woman with a baby was in line with my mother, and my mom said the baby was cute, or something. She said that I was her daughter – I was outside of the store where she could see me. The lady asked her if I had kids or was married, and mom said “She says she doesn’t want to get married or have kids.” (Which my mom agrees with and is quite proud of) And the lady, as she was finishing up, said the old “Oh, she’ll change her mind!” and then walked by me and said “Your mother wants you to give her grand-babies!” I knew she was lying and I just smiled and said “Sure thing…” and then when mom told me what she said, I had to force myself to NOT go over to her car and tell her off. Mom was like “… how did she get THAT from what I said?”

    This, right here… is a good example of inflation. Ugh.

  7.  Gerry, I changed it out a while back. Hope you noticed.

  8.  Perhaps there’s a more delicate way to express the same point so that next time they’ll think before judging?

  9.  Greetings, @facebook-100002558451104:disqus. Thanks for sharing your story. Familiar. Frustrating. Funny, at least when you think about how pitiful it is that the woman’s bias hijacked her honesty. Go figure!

Trackbacks

  1. […] recently mentioned a typical Breeder Bingo response posted by Nullipara Life (@NulliparaLife), and ever since I’ve been hyper conscious of the […]

  2. […] You’ll change your mind (whynokids.com) […]

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