December 11, 2017

G.G. Davis, Jr. (aka virtualDavis)

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+.

I’m So Happy I Don’t Have Kids

Emily Lemer, 77, has lived in New York for 38 years. You can catch her on Advanced Style. (Source: manrepeller.com)

Emily Lemer, 77, has lived in New York for 38 years. You can catch her on Advanced Style. (Source: manrepeller.com)

When I married my first husband (I was about 25), we decided we didn’t want children. I’ve never regretted it. I’m so happy I don’t have kids. I wasn’t willing to spend the money or give up my job. It was the perfect decision for me, and most people I know that made the same one are still happy about it. (Source: 3 Older Women on What Aging is Really Like)

Hat tip to Becky Brooks who alerted us to this A+ Man Repeller article, “3 Older Women on What Aging is Really Like. A hat tip and a dozen virtual roses! Thanks, Becky. We loved the article, and we think that Emily Lemer, Barbara Flood and Beatrix Ost have graced readers with a veritable avalanche of wisdom. An inspiration times three.

Also thanks for your encouraging words:

I don’t always see what you post, but for what I have, thanks for your sensible, sensitive, and though-provoking posts on Facebook. I recently joined a women’s childfree FB group, and they were so catty and seemed to hate kids. I got off it in less than 24 hours, as soon as I saw the tone of the page. Horrible. No regrets.

Great to hear that we’re offering a constructive (i.e. positive, non-catty) and thought-provoking experience for the childfree community. Too many angry, supercilious pundits frothing at the mouth. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a healthy chat, to ask questions instead of assuming we know all the answers. Glad to hear that we’re coming close to the mark.

We look forward to your next recommendation.

 

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Childfree = Time to Do Other Things (Independent.ie)

Irish businesswoman Aileen Eglington, director of PR company, AE Consulting… refuses to be defined or diminished by the fact that she has no children…”I never wanted children,… I just didn’t want to do it. So many things can give you fulfillment. For me, not having children has given me time to do other things. There’s a bigger family out there. I see parents who are very active locally, coaching kids and cheering them on, but you don’t have to have children to engage with your community…” she says. (Source: Independent.ie)

You have to have kids!

You have to have kids!

You have to have kids!

I just enjoyed a quick reflection by Melissa Myer called “Childfree: is it really a choice?” that struck a familiar chord. Myer harkens back to her younger years, transporting us to the sort of awkward conversations puberty so often catalyzes. She relates an unsettling quip from her friend Sandy who was baffled by her disinterest in becoming a mother.

Marriage equals procreation. And since I had no interest in having kids, I had no interest in marriage.

“If you get married, you have to have kids.” ~ Melissa Myer (Source: The Unwitting Raconteur)

It’s an unsettling but not altogether unfamiliar perspective. Marriage equals procreation.

I admit that much of my own disinterest in marriage in early adulthood hinged upon my perspective that marriage equals procreation. And since I had no interest in having kids, I had no interest in marriage. Simple. Obvious.

It took my now-wife’s mostly patient, painstaking tutelage to gradually amplify my understanding of marriage.

You Have to Have Kids?

Children were simply the next step after marriage. Period.

Discovering that marriage sans progeny could be a thing — and could be an amazing thing — was like unearthing a magical mystery. My bride and I have been married for over a decade, and today I can confidently assure readers that childfree marriage is a very real and totally wonderful experience. It’s spontaneous and passionate and adventurous and sexy. It’s interesting and ever-evolving and carefree. Childfree marriage is the core of our lives and lifestyles.

But just as I didn’t fully grok this in my teens and twenties, I know that many others still lump marriage and procreating together. And many simply take for granted that growing up means inevitably transitioning from school to career to marriage to having kids.

My own father recently conceded that he’d never really stopped to question (or even consider) alternative to marrying and parenting. Children were simply the next step after marriage. Period.

I Was Born This Way

Myer’s post resonated with me mostly because of this important uncoupling of marriage and procreating. But she also teases out another intriguing idea, that of childfree choice. She challenges the notion that childfree adults choose to be childfree. Certainly we’re all familiar with unintentionally childless adults and couples. Pregnancy was impossible. Or fate intervened.

But Myer is actually talking about something else. Rather than a reasoned choice not to have children, she was born a “NotMom”. Growing up simply helped her accept that she was not destined to be a parent.

“I never needed reasons, and those of you who ‘chose’ to be childfree don’t need them either. What thankfully isn’t artificial, and what will never be, is that I am who I am — a NotMom since I was nascent. Childfree by a choice I never actually made. I was born this way.” (Source: The Unwitting Raconteur)

I’ve written in the past about not having a burning urge to procreate, no need to have a child or be a father. I think that this is basically what Myer means. I was born a “NonDad” by virtue of the fact that I didn’t ever want or try to have a kid. I’m not sure that my own experience warrants this conclusion, as if I were predestined not to become a father, but it’s an interesting twist. Some of us are born to reproduce; others are not. Nulliparity as hardwired…

Childfree Don’t Hate Children

Childfree Don't Hate Children

Childfree Don’t Hate Children

Props to Jesse Nichols (@HappyNinjaUX) for reminding parents that childfree adults — indeed childfree couples — don’t hate children. Not necessarily. Not in his case, at least, nor in my case.

Kids have been (and will continue to be) an important part of my life. As a teacher, coach, advisor, uncle, friend, and unabashed man-child, children are central to my life, my love, my hopes, and my satisfactions. I don’t hate children. In fact, I’m pretty certain I’ve never met anyone who actually hates kids.

And yet all too often the childfree choice is equated with hating kids. Bizarre.

I Don’t Want Children; I Don’t Hate Children

Here’s one thing that parents seem to forget. Are you ready for this?

Believe it or not, my identity can include children without breeding on my own! … All of my other siblings are having children of their own and my wife and I can be truly engaged as an aunt and uncle and make sure we are always there for them…

Just because I don’t want to have my own children, doesn’t mean that I hate children. I love the children in my family… My wife and I consider ourselves very lucky to have such great people (and their children) in our lives! (Source: Why I Choose to Be Childfree — Medium)

My wife and I likewise consider ourselves lucky to have two amazing nieces, two amazing nephews, a goddaughter, and lots of cousins and friends’ children to enrich our lives. Our identities celebrate children, and most of the children we know seem to grok this quickly and enthusiastically. Perhaps precisely because we are not parents. Or perhaps because we’ve never grown up very much ourselves?

Less Judgment and More Respect

Jesse Nichols wraps up his childfree meditation with an important reminder. Let’s try to support one another’s decisions whether they be to have children or not. Let’s remember to judge one another less and respect one another more.

Having kids is a choice. No one needs to have kids. The world is not in need of more people. In fact, there is a serious overpopulation problem… But, if you want to have children… I am truly happy for you and I fully support your decision to do so.

I’ve decided that I do not want to have children. I think that’s pretty awesome too! Maybe you can do me the courtesy of supporting my decision as well, rather than giving me a list of reasons why you think I’m wrong. (Source: Why I Choose to Be Childfree — Medium)

Bye-bye, Breeder Bingo. Hello non-judgmental, respectful diversity!

Childfree Regrets? (Stuff.co.nz)

Childfree Regrets? (Source: Stuff.co.nz)

Childfree Regrets? (Source: Stuff.co.nz)

Kate Banister and her husband Ian spent two or three years weighing up whether to have kids. “We both had our ups and downs, but now were equally on the same page about it which is very fortunate,” the 37-year-old business owner said. Getting their two dogs Ruby and Saffy helped the Banisters make up their minds. “We thought this is actually quite nice, you get the interaction and the nurturing with the dogs, and you can still have a life. But new research suggests one in four women who choose not to have children live to regret their decision, as they face growing old without family.” (Source: Will women who choose to go childfree regret it? | Stuff.co.nz)

Why Parents Regret Having Children (Thought Catalog)

Why Parents Regret Having Children (Source: Thought Catalog)

Why Parents Regret Having Children (Source: Thought Catalog)

Need proof that many parents regret having children? Fifteen ‘rents dish As you get older your mind will make up more and more reasons why it makes sense to have a kid. Don’t be fooled, it’s just evolution tricking you into reproducing — no sane, thinking beast would take on the burden of raising a child if the mind didn’t fool us into it. So, does the world need another one of you? Or are you just being fooled into making a baby… (Source: 15 Parents Explain Why They Regret Having Children | Thought Catalog)

Having Kids is Terrible for the Environment (The Washington Post)

Having Kids is Terrible for the Environment (Source: The Washington Post)

Having Kids is Terrible for the Environment (Source: The Washington Post)

“Do you have children?” It’s a question I’ve gotten repeatedly in my travels, as cultures everywhere celebrate children and women’s ability to produce them. I don’t, nor do I plan to for reasons both personal and environmental. But not wanting to spark an awkward exchange, I’d usually demur with, “Not yet.”

Source: Having kids is terrible for the environment, so I’m not having any – The Washington Post

Washington, DC Haven for Childfree Singles

Childfree WashingtonOne more reason to become a lobbyist?

The nation’s capital has long been a place that attracts young professionals. Now, information from local income tax data provides some specifics, with a snapshot of the different types of families across D.C. neighborhoods.

“What we found was that childless singles [aka childfree singles] dominate the city,” says Ginger Moored, a fiscal analyst for the office of D.C.’s chief financial officer. (WTOP)

Don’t Have Any Kids Yourself

It's Thursday, time for verse, for edgy verse, and curiously potent advice from thoughtful English librarian and writer Philip Larkin. Childfree advice…

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin (via The Poetry Foundation)

A quirky poem from a quirky poet. What say you? Is the childfree choice a chance to abbreviate the cycle of &$@#ing up? 😉

 

 

 

Childless by Choice Issues? Enough Already!

Is it time to mute the childless by choice debate?

Is it time to mute the childless by choice debate?

Let’s finish the week off with a quick look at Dani Alpert’s rant on HuffPo about childless by choice oversaturation. Sure, it’s a few weeks overripe, and there’s something decidedly disingenuous about reposting a post about the fact that there’s too much posting about childless by choice issues, but… I can’t resist.

Why do the Childless by Choice still feel the need to defend their decisions? Why is this still relevant? With all that’s going on in the world; Isis, Ebola, climate change, George Clooney’s wedding, why does anyone give a sh*t about the 10 things not to say to a CBC person? ~ Dani Alpert (huffingtonpost.com)

Right. Why? Sometimes I want to throw around asterisk-ornamented bombs myself, let off a little steam and tell all the bingo brandishing breeders to cut me some slack. To cut us some slack. Why is it any of their business whether or not my wife and I are childless by choice?

The answer is that I don’t know. I don’t know why the debate grows louder and more caustic instead of vanishing quietly into the background. Are childless by choice adults defensive? Maybe. But honestly, it usually feels like it’s the way around. I’ve honestly never heard CBCs question a parent’s choice. Never! But parents frequently question our choice to remain childfree. So you tell me, who’s being defensive?

I will never understand why what I do, and don’t do, with my uterus matters to anyone else but me and my gynecologist. ~ Dani Alpert (huffingtonpost.com)

Okay, so let’s cut to the chase. This is exactly the sort of gem that I couldn’t resist highlighting and echoing back across the interwebs. Seriously! And here’s another.

Do us all a favor and read a book, go to the movies or join the army. Whatever you do… stay out of my bed and womb. ~ Dani Alpert (huffingtonpost.com)

Wow! Dani’s pulling no punches. Sure, it’s effective venting language, and she’s certainly grabbed the “Hey, look at me!” spotlight, but there’s more to it than that. She’s right. She isn’t refocusing the debate. She is annulling the debate. Parents who question and/or judge their childless by choice friends are WAY out of bounds. Period.

Dani touches briefly on feminism and explains that she’s metaphorically “mothered” people, things, even a short film. She totally groks the mothering/parenting instinct, a point that she underlines in her stream of conscious list of CBC related thoughts. But that’s not the point. The point, is she wants everyone to shut the $&@%! up and start talking about something more important.

Fair enough. Let’s distance ourselves from the judgment. Let’s remember that how a woman chooses to uses her uterus is her business. Let’s recognize that questioning/judging a woman’s childfree choice is no less inappropriate and offensive than a CBC woman questioning/judging a mother’s decision to get pregnant, carry the baby to term, and keep it after birth.

But healthy conversation about the childless by choice option is just as important, especially for young women, as information about pregnancy, birthing, parenting. There is an awful lot of social programming to balance out, and women should be empowered to make the choice whether or not to become mothers with knowledge, intention, and confidence. That will not happen in a vacuum. Nor will it happen in a bellicose atmosphere of judgment. Let’s create a friendlier, more informative, more nurturing process for women and men to determine the the best choices. Sounds reasonable, right?