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!

I Respect Your Decision, But… Not Having Kids?

I respect your decision, but... (Source: Pixabay)

I respect your decision, but… (Source: Pixabay)

Childfree articles in the press usually get a lot of below-the-line debate. Lilit Marcus, writing for The Guardian about some of the factors behind her decision to remain childfree, definitely stirred the pot last week.

You just spent the last ten minutes telling me why I should make the same choices as you and that your choices and your lifestyle are better than mine, but I’m the self-obsessed one?

Some didn’t bother disguising their vitriol, but I’ve discovered that there’s a new passive-aggressive approach on the block. This approach isn’t directly insulting, but nonetheless manages to deliver heavy doses of dismissiveness and superiority and be seriously patronizing, all within a neatly wrapped socially acceptable little word package. I’ll follow with five of the best.

I do know that the dark place known as the bottom half of the internet is a hotbed of hyperbole. I’ve picked these, however, because as a childfree woman, especially one in a long term heterosexual relationship that could produce children if we weren’t so darn selfish, I’ve fielded most of these or variants thereof in real life. Just attending a family function is like a nonstop game of “baby question dodgeball”. So get ready to dodge these.

“I respect your decision, but….”

This one wins hands down and it’s up there with starting a sentence with “no offense”. You just know there’s going to be something offensive coming as soon as they’ve said it. Similarly, you know that whoever says this one to you is going to come out with a reason why your decision not to have kids is a bad one and they know better than you.

Here’s a little tip for “I respect your decision, but…”-ers. If you really respect someone’s decision about not having kids then you zip it after “decision”. You don’t add the “but”, because the “but” tells that person that you do not really respect their decision – in fact, quite the opposite.

“It’s a good job you’re not a parent”

This is a common response to declarations of voluntary childlessness. It took me a while to work out that this one was actually meant to be an insult, because I would just think, “Yes, it is a good job I’m not a parent, since I don’t want to be one”. I do now gather that it is meant to be insulting to childfree folks, but I’m still yet to understand how stating the totally flipping obvious is meant to offend me. So if you get this one, just smile sweetly and say, “I know, it is, isn’t it?”

“Self-obsessed people shouldn’t be parents”

My immediate response would be, “No, they probably shouldn’t, but quite a lot of them end up having kids anyway”.

Oh, you meant me? Let me think about this for a minute. You just spent the last ten minutes telling me why I should make the same choices as you and that your choices and your lifestyle are better than mine, but I’m the self-obsessed one?

“Being a parent makes you a better person”

The people that I know who are parents and nice people were nice people before they were parents. They are now nice people who are great parents. They didn’t need to become parents to improve themselves, because they were great pre-parenthood and still are. That’s why I like them.

Do you know another reason why I like them? Because they don’t now feel the need to tell other human beings (even in a sneaky, roundabout sort of way) that they are an inferior species because they don’t have children.

“That’s such a ridiculous reason not to have children”

Marcus got this a lot in the comments on her article, so I felt the need to address this one.

There are no good or bad reasons for deciding not to have children. There are only personal reasons. My reasons for being childfree are not the same as Marcus’s and maybe I don’t relate to some of the reasons she cites, but that doesn’t mean they are ridiculous, because to her, they’re not. It’s her life and therefore her reasons that matter.

I can’t relate to people’s reasons for having kids, but that doesn’t mean I would ever say that they were ridiculous, because well, that would make me quite rude (and probably also quite ridiculous).

Dear Childfree Person: You Pretty Much Get It

Dear Childfree Person

Dear Childfree Person: You Pretty Much Get It

Dear Childfree Person,

I am writing to you to share some vital information that has only become available to me in the last couple of years, since I became a parent.

Before that, I was subjected to the same saccharine clichés from parents that you are undoubtedly hearing over and over again. You’re probably being told, like I was, that you never really love until you become a parent. You’re probably hearing a lot about how no love can compare to the love a mother has for her child. Parents might be telling you that you’ll never ever EVER understand what real love feels like unless you become a parent yourself.

Well, now that I’ve crossed over from “nonparent” to “parent,” and with apologies to my fellow parents, I want to deliver this important message: You pretty much get it.

I hope you won’t let any of those rogue, self-righteous parents drag you into competing in the love Olympics.

I always felt like the idea that mothers and fathers are the only people that get love was bullshit, but I never had standing to argue with any of them until my son was born. Now that I’ve been on both sides of the fence, I’m very happy to report that things are just as I’d assumed they would be. That love is love, wherever you’re standing.

The love a mother has for her child is unique, that much is true. It would be stupid to say it isn’t. But isn’t every kind of love unique? The love I have for my sisters is different than my love for my husband. The way I love my parents is not the same way I love my best friend. I don’t have any brothers or cats or parakeets, but I would guess that those relationships come with their own special flavors of love as well.

But you don’t hear parakeet owners running around telling non-parakeet owners that they will have no idea what real love feels like until they get a parakeet.

I loved plenty of people before my son was born and I don’t feel that that love has faded or diminished at all since I became a mom. My love for my family and friends is fierce and loyal and wild and real and I will seriously side-eye anyone who tries to tell me otherwise.

I’m hoping you feel the same way. And I hope you don’t really need me to tell you that the love you’re experiencing as a childfree person is real and significant and big. I hope you won’t let any of those rogue, self-righteous parents drag you into competing in the love Olympics.

The truth is, my being a mother doesn’t make me any better at or more capable of love than any other feeling person. My son is not some mythical creature that broke my stony heart wide open. He’s not this ray of light that magically gave my pathetic life meaning or transformed me into some amazing new person with extra overhead room in the cardiac area.

My kid is just another person in my life that I love. Like a sister, like a grandfather, like a best friend.

You know what that’s like. I know you do. Don’t let anyone tell you you don’t.

This originally appeared on The Toast. Republished here with permission.

Try Childfreedom (Unless It’s Too Late!)

Adjusting to Childfreedom

Adjusting to Childfreedom (Credit: BABY OFF BOARD)

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, then you may be a candidate for childfreedom.

  1. Feeling overwhelmed?
  2. Feeling stressed and burdened?
  3. Is it because everyone you know is having kids?
  4. Are you beginning to feel pressure from others to have children of your own?
  5. Do you find you are not yet ready to obliterate any chance you have left to enjoy life to its fullest? (via NEW! Try, “NOT HAVING KIDS”)

If these symptoms sound familiar, then you may want to “try not having kids…” It’s called Childfreedom!

Childfreedom Infomercial

Check out this “helpful” video if you would like to self-diagnose (and self-medicate…)

A hilarious parody of prescription drug commercials gives people a groundbreaking alternative to having children: not having children. Brought to you by writer Jason Messina, this video addresses marital anxiety about childbearing by listing the potentially lethal side effects of bringing a little one into the world. (Huff Post)

Amusing video. Thanks, Jason Messina (of Sure Thing Chief!) And thanks, Huff Post, for bringing it to our attention. And lest this childfreedom pharma spoof doesn’t charm your chuckle boom, there’s a final hurrah:

While the video had us laughing, its creator also issued a more serious warning at the end: “Please, tell your doctor if you already have kids before you try Not Having Kids. As this may result in being a neglectful asshole.” (Huff Post)

Serious warning indeed. Sorry, ‘rents, but once you’ve signed your future away, there’s no turning back. Unless you want to be a neglectful @$$hole! So, suck it up, and enjoy living the childfreedom dream vicariously through your CF friends. We’ll do our best to share the bliss…

The Happiness Project – “Lighten Up” on the Childfree

Cover of "The Happiness Project: Or, Why ...

Cover via Amazon

The NYTimes bestseller by Gretchen Rubin is a year-in-the-life exploration of a writer trying to live her life happier. What does that mean? Each month is broken into a theme: energy, love, play, etc. April’s theme is “Lighten Up” with a subtitle: Parenthood. Hmm. Maybe that means you don’t need to “lighten up” if you don’t have kids or you are already pretty enlightened?
Nope. Not according to the author. Rubin cites a study that says “child
care” is only slightly more pleasant than commuting, and one that says
marital satisfaction declines after the first child is born (picking up
again after they leave the nest). Then she disputes these findings, all
the while complaining about her kids and marital satisfaction mostly
relating to fights about her kids.

“Now as a parent myself, I realize how much the happiness of parents depends
on the happiness of their children and grandchildren.”

Really? But then again the kids did give Rubin a reason to write a bestseller.
We at WNK believe that by being childfree, everyday is a project in
happiness.

From the Happiness Project Blog:

Do your children make you happy? Some research says NO! I say YES!

Read the article here

Hey WNKers have you read The Happiness Project?

 

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