December 11, 2017

No Kids Alliance

Today’s guest post is from Kimberly Rielly , director of communications for Lake Placid CVB / Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.

Singletracking Frontier Town, North Hudson, New York

Singletracking Frontier Town, North Hudson, New York

I personally made the choice to live kid-free before I was old enough to know from whence they came. I said it out loud at the ripe old age of 3. I was sure that if I had a child, it would be just like me – and who needs another sarcastic drain on my attention and wallet who has no respect for their elders?

I’ve never wavered from this decision, and when I met the guy who would be my husband, it was a mandate that he agree wholeheartedly; which we did, and do, about almost everything.

We have fielded reproductive questions from the audience ever since our first date.  I know that my parents genuinely wished to have grandchildren, but I suspect that our friends, who found themselves chasing two or three toddlers around, just wanted us to share in their misery.

During the first ten years of our relationship, we diagnosed ourselves as being selfish. Why no kids? We would save money, and be free to live the lifestyle to which we would become accustomed. Take off for the week and go rock climbing? Sure. No babysitter required.  Tear the house apart for reconstruction while living in it? No problem. We weren’t endangering the health of anyone but ourselves.

We chose to live in the Adirondacks, where we grew up, in order to enjoy the healthy quality of life here. But living in the Adirondacks requires an economic balancing act. Though we are DINKs, we also live up to the level of our double income without much to spare. Adding kids to the equation is beyond my math abilities.

And then there’s the worry factor. Having had the pleasure of being owned by a dog for over 15 years, and living with the associated anxiety about his safety, I can only assume that a kid would increase that level of anxiety by a sizable multiplier. More math.

As I understand from reading the news, our contribution is unnecessary for the survival of the species; there are plenty of other people keeping the planet’s population growing.  And good for them – we actually LIKE kids.  We especially like to be the doting, fun, favorite aunt and uncle.

Luckily, we’re not alone. We’re oddly surrounded by (or maybe attracted to?) a number of workaholic friends who have made the same “no kids” decision.

Perhaps as a result of the this no kids alliance, but more likely a result of maturity, I no longer think that we made a selfish decision. Rather, we have the freedom (though not necessarily the money) to make a greater contribution to society. Instead of driving kids to piano lessons and coaching basketball, we are able to donate our time and perceived skill sets to organizations and individuals that enhance our lives and our communities.

And at this point, we’ve successfully dodged family and friends who repeatedly insisted we’d change our minds – 18 years of dodging. Still no kids. Now that I’m 40-something, I think they FINALLY believe us.

Kim Reilly (@krielly) is an Adirondack adventurer, destination communicator, friend of all dogs and most people. Find out more at her Lake Placid tourism blog or her personal blog.

True Luxury? Staying Kid Free

“Sometimes, children are the last thing travelers want to see (or hear) on vacation…” – Jennifer W. Miner

In my research for kid free hotels I came across many offers for hotels where Kids Stay Free! I immediately navigated away from the family friendly chains and discovered that there are several couples only accommodations and gay-friendly sites for me and my one-and-only. Some looked fancy and some required rubber sheets and participation in the daily wet T-shirt contests, but most childfree places catered to a more curious traveler. Swingers we are not!

It is no coincidence that my favorite hotel in the world is adults-only. It is peaceful and rejuvenating and expensive. But what price would you pay for the true luxury of lounging poolside without the words “MARCO” and “POLO” ringing in your ears?

At this magical hotel, let’s just call it Heaven-on-Earth, the pool is quiet and there are no flying Frisbees or nap time tantrums. Sometimes there are  boobies but not the breastfeeding kind. Once in a panic a few guests entered the pool area in horror when they spotted several young teenagers. The management was swiftly notified, and the guests miraculously disappeared. (Even some loud adult guests were asked not to return.) Many of the guests of the hotel had children and spoke openly and guilt free about loving their childfree vacations. I met some pregnant guests who mourned the fact that they wouldn’t be able to return for some while. Everyone agreed that the childfree policy made the hotel a perfect repeat destination. The hotel is consistently booked far in advance even with its crazy rates.

So why don’t more hotels offer adult only options? The huge baby boomer market is made up of empty nesters, and the childfree by choice market is growing, and many gay couples have Double Incomes and No Kids. Several Four Seasons Hotels offer adult only pools and a few hotels in Cyprus are childfree for the summer season. Unfortunately, search for upscale adult only hotels came up pretty short, but it is my mission as a ‘Why No Kids?’ founder to take one for the childfree community and search out and find these oases of serenity and share them with our readers. (Who says childfree couples are selfish?)

As DINKs we need to tell hotel chains that we want adult only options with pools and even sections of the hotels or kid-free-zones. If we vote with our wallets just maybe the proprietors (aka huge corporations) will listen. Unfortunately, it seems like the opposite is happening. Today, hotels primarily cater to families with children with their cartoons character tie-ins, day-care activities and adventure areas that are reserved for kids only. Even the cruise ship market is capturing the kid’s vote. What happened to the idea that a vacation is a place of respite, relaxation, and calm; free from the noise and commotion of everyday life including screaming, splashing kids and crying babes? And what happens when you and your partner slip from the little ones for some much needed peace and alone time, and arrive at your destination to find that it’s not an escape at all? Can an argument be made that parents, not non-breeders can derive the greatest benefit from a few days of childfree lodging?

Fellow DINKs do you have a favorite childfree destination? Parents, do you take kid-free vacations? Why or why not? Inquiring minds want to know…

For a list of hotel ideas check out:

Top Five Adults-Only Luxury Resorts in the World

Recommended Hotels with “No Children” Policies for Quiet Vacations by Jennifer W. Miner

http://www.suite101.com/content/top-five-adultsonly-luxury-resorts-in-the-world-a117108

Why I left my children

Woman in Motion by andorpro, on Flickr
Woman in Motion by andorpro, on Flickr

“My problem was not with my children,” author Rahna Reiko Rizzuto explains, “but with how we think about motherhood.” Her poignant, smartly crafted essay, Why I left my children, is part of Salon.com‘s Real Families series. Her unflinching candor is especially powerful coming from the perspective of a woman, a mother, a wife. It’s an unfamiliar perspective, one that is easily and habitually vilified as she hastens to acknowledge. The redemptive arc of her essay softens the jagged edge of realizing — as a married mother of a three and a five year old — that she hadn’t wanted to be a mother in the first place.

I had no idea what to do with these bouncing balls of energy. Even feeding them, finding them a bathroom, was a challenge. It raised a little issue for me that I have neglected to mention: I never wanted to be a mother. I was afraid of being swallowed up, of being exhausted, of opening my eyes one day, 20 (or 30!) years after they were born, and realizing I had lost myself and my life was over.

She loses her marriage but regains her children and discovers her motherhood. It’s a tidy conclusion with a happily ever after vibe, but the essay concludes without returning to the mother-phobia hiccup. I suspect that I’ll need to read her novel, Why She Left Us, to learn more. Her fear that motherhood would/could exhaust her, swallow her up and erase her sense of self strike me as relevant and important (even critical) concerns.

I’m not a mother. Nor will I ever be a mother. I’m a happily married childfree husband. I’m a dog owner, storyteller, adventurer and unabashed flâneur. I’m a DINK. And yet Rizzuto’s perception that parenting has the potential to swallow up the self feels familiar, like it was conjured up out of my own twenty-something anxiety cauldron. A decade and change later, the ingredients are still there. How do I know? Because friends — parents, mothers, fathers — confirm and reaffirm the woes of parenting. They are exhausted. Swallowed up. Lost.

I know, that’s only part of the equation. “Having children is the best decision we ever made,” they always hasten to add. But it tends to come as an apologetic parenthetical after a laundry list of laments, regrets and frustrations. I don’t mean to diminish the splendors of parenting. They doubtless trump the petty concerns I’ve mentioned, and yet I’m not convinced. Frankly, I don’t want to be convinced. I’m okay with exhaustion, but swallowed up? No thanks!