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…

Why No Kids? Pee-pee Teepees and Tinkle Targets!

Tit Tent

Tit Tent

Before tackling the topic of Pee-pee Teepees and tinkle targets I’d like to digress briefly to matters more mammary and less urinary.

I remember hearing from a friend when he became a new father that his wife had received a breastfeeding cover-up (aka nursing cover, Bebe Au Lait, etc.) called a Hooter Hider. Although I practice selective hearing when talk turns to tykes, this gem caught my attention.

“A what?” I shot back.

“A Hooter Hider, you know, like to cover up your boobs when you’re nursing,” he explained.

No, I didn’t know.

This remains one of my bigger disappointments about choosing childfreedom. No breastfeeding chez nous. I’m sure it’s a less sexy proposition when your wife is oozing funny colored milk, but the idea of a bare boob being thrust into the limelight around the clock has always fascinated me. But I’m getting offtrack.

Introducing the Tit Tent

As if the name Hooter Hider isn’t good enough already, my friend brought it to my attention because he was certain he’d dreamed up a viable contender brand. Tit Tent.

While Tit Tent could indeed inspire clever advertising ditties (and graphics), I suspect that it would not be a big hit with the target market: mothers. Fair enough.

But I couldn’t resist the urge to Google “Tit Tent”. And much to my surprise and amusement I discovered that my friend was beaten out by a clever European marketing team.

The Tit Tent: This one was really popular in Belgium in the summer of 2009 after a massive marketing campaign by the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad! A tent in the shape of, well, a boob. (10 Coolest Camping Tents)

808 Solutions… designed round tents (a breast is round -not square like most tents are-) fully customized, including a nipple and aureole on the top of the tent. (808)

I must admit that I can’t figure out exactly what the marketing campaign was promoting. Nor can imagine that market demand for Tit Tents is high enough to justify manufacturing these maternal camping cribs for campers. But it sure would make finding your own tent at the end of a concert a little easier. (BTW: Two-tone beanies which looked just like the Tit Tent were allegedly part of the marketing campaign. Sleeping caps, I suppose.)

Okay enough with my breast digression. On to piddle products.

Pee-pee Teepee

Pee-pee Teepee

Pee-pee Teepees

I sometimes joke that the more I lower my standards, the more I exceed my expectations. Well, my poop post inevitably invited similar potty post suggestions from the peanut gallery including links to the two following items. So, yes, I apologize in advance. Part of being childfree is being able to avoid poo-poo and pee-pee conversations. In fact, it’s a HUGE bonus. But, I figure parents’ don’t have an exclusive on potty talk, so I’m weighing in.

First up, is a product that looks for all the world like a fun party hat. Referred to elsewhere as wee-wee tents (the moniker that reminded me about Tit Tents), “Pee-pee Teepees for Baby Boys” were just too bizarre to resist.

Why is it that the act of diaper changing always seems to inspire an extra “contribution” from the little one? Parents of baby boys have been particularly vulnerable – until now. Just place a pee-pee teepee on his wee-wee during diaper changes, and the hazard is averted. An ideal baby shower gift, the five powder blue 100% cotton pee-pee teepees are decorated with airplanes and arrive in a miniature cotton laundry bag. (UncommonGoods)

Are you kidding? I’ve heard that the occupational hazards of changing little mister’s diaper include sprinkler shows on a par with the Versailles fountains, but a Pee-pee Teepee?!?! Won’t the little rocket either:

  • fall off, or
  • blast off?

Weird. And ready for weirder? Remember my all-too-real urinal deodorizer experience? Sorry, but we’re headed back in that direction again.

 

Soccer Ball Tinkle Target

Soccer Ball Tinkle Target

Tinkle Targets

At first I thought this was a pretty cool idea. You know, give the little man a fun challenge that will keep his junior manhood trained on the toilet bowl. Small boys’ attention spans wander, and their wizzers’ wander with them. If you can lock their attention on the inside of the potty, you might be able to reduce the perennial pee-pee parfum of children’s bathrooms. But I’m not certain soccer balls, cars and airplanes are the best tinkle targets. Sends sort of a mixed message. Next think you know the rug rat will be tinkling on your soccer ball and marking the airplane aisle. If recent experience is a useful guide, I’d recommend using a target that looks like the front cover of the New Yorker magazine sitting in a caddy next to the toilet. They hit that every time!

But there’s another little issue with the vinyl targets that adhere to the inside of the porcelain. Splash back. If I were target training my sharpshooter, I’d want him focused on the deep well in the middle of the toilet, not the sides which soon enough will result in pee ricocheting back onto the New Yorker. Again.

And besides, would you want to install and clean and remove those?

Yuck. Why no kids? Pee-pee Teepees and Tinkle Targets!

Childfree Vacation: No Kids, No Fun?

The WNK quartet was recently indulging in a little mid-week, mid-summer bliss (think Lake Champlain, locally grown eats, frosty libations, nary the shadow of a kidlet) when a couple of us stumbled on a particularly obvious reason we have no kids. We are kids.

Sure we’re all in our fourth decades, but maturity seems to have passed us by. Or perhaps it’s just running late?

Why no kids? We are kids!

Childfree Vacation

English: Playa del Carmen is at the heart of t...

Playa del Carmen (Photo: Wikipedia)

This childfree truism was still echoing around my gray matter when I remembered a post I’d started a while back when a couple of childfree vacation and travel themed items caught my attention.

Although it may seem like every hotel and resort is touting their child friendliness, their amazing kids’ club or their deals for families… not every hotel is courting families this summer — or at all.

More and more hotels are putting a ban – yes, a ban — on kids. And while they probably won’t advertise it on their web site’s homepage, some hotels are simply saying: No kids allowed… (ABC News)

More and more hotels are banning kids. More and more hotels are offering childfree vacations. It’s a trend! And you thought it was just the mainstream media that discovered the childfree panacea?

Of course the childfree zeitgeist rubs tender folks against the grain, parents mostly, and they start gnashing their teeth.

Kids are awesome. We need to stop making excuses and start living… I am done apologizing. In fact, the only mistake here is that I ever told my children to be quiet in the first place. Pools are for shouting and jumping and cannonballing… Got it? … I’ve got a cannonball to perfect. (An Open Letter to People Without Children)

Easy, momma. Kids may be awesome, especially when they dazzle you with doody, but let’s remember that pools and jumping and cannonballing are as much fun for childfree adults as they are for kids. See, we CFers actually hang on to those childish pleasure principles a bit better than many parents. But that’s not the issue. At all!

And another.

Am I the only CF that loves kids? I am a kid. When I go on holiday I’d rather join the kids running around and screaming than lay on a beach. (Annika Desai on Why No Kids? Facebook page)

No, Annika, you’re not the only CF who loves kids. Many of us love kids. Many of us behave like big kids much of the time. But, and this is a big “but”, we’re also prone to adult moments. Sans kids.

Childfree Vacation Hot Spots

Anyway, it’s the usual volley. And not worth the digital ink it takes to bluster on. So let’s cut to the chase. Assuming you actually are interested in childfree vacation destinations rather than spoiling for a debate about why such should be in existence, etc. then we’ve got some fun leads for you.

Check out these eighteen hotel and resort “properties where the pool is sure to free of cannonballing kids. (ABC News)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Check the article for more. And add your own childfree vacation favorites in the comments below or on the WNK Facebook page.