Since the 1970s, being childfree — not wanting children — has slowly become more recognized as a legitimate choice… [but] we still have a ways to go when it comes to society accepting those with no children without judgment or stigma. This lack of acceptance has played out in the workplace. (Source: The Brutal Truth About Being Childless at Work – Fortune)
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?
It’s Friday night CFers! What’s on your sybaritic to-do list? Ain’t childfreedom a $#@%?!?!
Okay, snark aside, I’m confident that you’ll have a wonderful evening (and weekend), especially once you check out Kevin B. Morrow’s (@kbmrg) lighthearted but sincere reflection on his childfree marriage. His HuffPo post is called “Childless by Choice – Gas Station Condoms and Rumors of Infertility“, but the subtitle should be, “We forgot to have kids!” I’ve used this awe-shucks explanation often enough myself, so his words resonated for me. Might for you too. Anyway, it’s a quick read. You can squeeze in this quick read between your après-work massage and happy hour! You know, when your friends are picking up the babysitter…
But if you’re feeling too mellow after your massage (or you’ve already jumpstarted happy hour), I’ll pull a couple of my favorite quotes.
It’s very strange that I had no problem buying liquor or illegal drugs when I was in my late teens but I was too embarrassed to buy condoms in a drug store… My solution to this dilemma was to buy condoms from a vending machine in the bathroom of a gas station that was at the end of the airport runway.
It honestly is odd how uncomfortable males are about buying condoms, many even once they’re all grown up. Why is that? Maybe we need to make it cool so that teens will make smarter choices…
Anyway, Kevin grew up and now he’s buying his wife’s feminine hygiene products and condoms without even flinching. I’ve got to admit that I’m still working on the cool-as-a-cucumber tampon purchase. Maybe I’ll update you once I master it. Kevin tacks from here to the first subtle look at why he and his bride opted for a childfree marriage.
Children can’t be let out in the yard to play until you get up at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday because you were out late the night before. Dogs can.
Obvious humor here, and I have a weakness for folks who can shine light on serious stuff by making me laugh. But there’s another aspect of this droll throwaway that’s less droll and not really a throwaway. When I grew up we were out in the yard, the woods, and everywhere else all day on weekends. And summers. And snow days. But somehow this basic and wonderful aspect of childhood vanished over the last decade or so. Poof! Gone. It’s uncanny how few children wander neighborhoods nowadays, how few sleds and snowballs fights criss-cross postcard perfect snowy lawns. I know this isn’t what Kevin’s talking about, but it’s on my database of reasons why I’m child free. Somewhere we lost something. How? When? Why?
The reality for me and for Kevin and many others, we just sort of forgot to have kids.
The reality was that neither of us ever had a strong desire to be parents. The wonderful mental images had crossed our minds; coloring with a cute three year old, taking them trick or treating on Halloween, or seeing their faces on Christmas morning as they opened presents. We recognized however that this was a romanticized view and not everything that was involved in parenting.
It’s interesting to me how often I hear this explanation. This is the main reason that my bride and I skipped breeding. We love children, but we felt no burning desire to make one of our own. We borrow them. We spoil them. We return them. And so far that’s worked out just fine for us. We weren’t – and we still aren’t – anti parenting/kids/etc. We just had a lot stronger interest in other parts of life. And the prime breeding years shuffled past without provoking much interest from us. We forgot to have kids!
I’ll wrap up with Kevin’s final funny anecdote.
My father-in-law had some sort of surgery and my wife had gone to Florida to be his “nurse” during this time. As he woke up from the anesthesia, she was standing there and he asked her “Have you had Kevin tested?” her response was “for what?” Thoughts of STDs and AIDS ran through her mind. He then said “well you’ve never had kids.” Her response:
“I guess it might help if we stopped using birth control.”
If only that were enough for most people…
- Otherhood (adventuresinneverneverland.com)
- Hollywood’s Childless by Choice club (childfreenews.com)
- Childless by choice: Statistics show more are opting out of parenthood (childfreenews.blogspot.com)
- Advancing the Research on the Childfree & Online Childfree Communities (lauracarroll.com)
- Photo Essay?: Childfree Celebrities (whynokids.com)
- The Fruitful Callings of the Childless By Choice (childfreenews.com)
WNK readers will appreciate this candid look at childfree guilt (or the absence thereof) and the persistent pressure on women (rather than men) to become parents.
Sylvia D. Lucas (@SylDLucas) wants to redirect the conversation away from why women are choosing not to have kids and toward the far more important message that women need to understand that they have the choice. In short, debating whether or not childfree women are selfish, etc. is the wrong focus and is overlooking an important demographic shift. Lucas (aka Kristen J. Tsetsi, @ktsetsi) and NBC Connecticut’s Shirley Chan. effectively dilate the conversation without succumbing to bingo volleying and book promo. Well done!
No Childfree Guilt
That’s right, Lucas recently published No Children, No Guilt, a nonfiction book about the choice to opt out of parenthood. Drawing upon her own experience (including two failed marriages) Lucas offers a welcome antidote to the those concerned with the risks of childfree guilt. I just purchased a copy from Amazon, and I’ll pass along my verdict shortly. For now, I’ll defer to the ever wise Laura Carroll.
You will turn the pages grinning, definitely be prone to giggling or even laughing out loud, as I did. Ideally for those who have not 100% accepted they are childfree or are not quite completely ok with it yet, this slim Ebook is also for those who have made peace with it. Like any fun ride, it ended too soon. ~ Laura Carroll (“Anonymous” Was a Woman)
Or, in the words and interpretive dance of the author, “Guilty? Hahahaha…” Take that, childfree guilt!
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!
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!
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)
- Auberge du Soleil, Napa, Calif.
- Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, Calif.
- Triple Creek Ranch, Mont.
- Rendezvous, St. Lucia
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Aruba
- Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
- The BodyHoliday LeSport, St. Lucia
- Casa Velas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Viceroy Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya, Mexico
- THE Royal Playa del Carmen, Mexico
When I read the title of the Slate article Parents Make Better Teachers I was livid!
I’ve spent years dedicating my life to children and education. I didn’t need to have kids of my own to make a difference in the classroom.
Do eye doctors need to have glasses?
Do chefs need to be fat?
Do gynecologists need to have vaginas?
So why the sudden childfree discrimination in education?
Author Sara Mosle writes about her teaching experience as a response to an article in this week’s New York Times about high turnovers at charter schools:
“If you aren’t a parent, maybe this won’t strike you as odd. It wouldn’t have struck me that way more than 20 years ago when I joined Teach for America in the program’s first year and taught for three years in New York City’s public schools. I was single, childless, and clueless about even the most basic aspects of child-rearing. My students’ parents seemed like creatures from another planet, remote and distant from the job I thought I was doing. To the extent I understood family dynamics, it was solely from the perspective of the teenager I’d been just a few years before.
Nearly two decades later, I returned to the classroom, this time as a mother, and have become acutely aware of how being a parent has made me a better teacher.”
Fine. But what about life experience and maturity? Does adding twenty years of life to your resume change anything?
As I read more of the article I learned that the sensational headline was misleading. Besides Sara’s personal story this article says that many charter schools hire recent college graduates to teach and after a few years they leave because there is no room for financial growth or advancement. This turnover makes it difficult for students. Recent grad=cheap labor.
Childfree Teachers are Hot
This has nothing to do with parents being better teachers. So why bring the childfree into it? Because we are HOT! The recent TIME magazine cover article stirred up the debate and got clicks so now even Slate is cashing in on the action. Shame on Slate. Many childfree readers, like me, were annoyed by the deception and blatant childfree attack.
The responses to the article were amazing and worth reading. Childfree teachers called out Slate and the author for baiting the childfree for responses. Go team CF!
Still, it doesn’t seem that people actually read the article. Instead they were responding to the ugly headline, so score one for Slate.
Some of the best comments include this one busting Slate for the obvious lure:
From Tom Tildrum:“Old vs. young, school choice, *and* Mommy Wars? Slate’s editor must have plotzed from excitement when they pitched him this article.”
“You’re not a parent, you can’t possibly understand”
I went to Catholic schools. None of the nuns had children, but they were excellent teachers.
Childfree Teachers Rock
If you really want to know what this childfree teacher thinks about this subject check out this WNK post:
What do you think childfree teachers?
One thing you’ll never hear at our house: “Mommy, come see my poop!”
And – just to be clear – no “Daddy, come see my poop” either.
Call me self absorbed. Call me squeamish. Call me a Prissy Potty Pooper. Call me whatever you like, but don’t expect me to celebrate a floater unless we’re watching Caddyshack. That’s funny. So funny it’s almost worth celebrating. Though not quite, not unless I’m willing to risk my marriage…
So what’s up with my scatological line of ranting this morning? Déjà vu. A poop flashback!
A little over a decade ago I found myself in Turks and Caicos, miserably happy with my then-girlfriend-now-bride. Pristine beaches, zippy sailing, plein air massages, decadent food and drink, and ten days with the woman who I was (and am still) crazy about. Bliss.
One morning a 4-5 year old boy and his older brother swung by our suite in the morning to visit us before heading off to the ocean. (I’m omitting the name and relationship of the lads to preserve their post-poop years propriety.) They did this most mornings, and we enjoyed it. After eating fresh tropical fruit for breakfast on our balcony we’d debrief the previous days adventures and plan new escapades for the hours ahead. Yes, parents, this side of being around kids is actually really cool for many childfree adults. You see, we share a unique and often exciting bond with kids because, to a degree some of us don’t always admit, we’re not quite as grown up as you!
Suddenly the younger boy burst onto the balcony (I guess he’d wandered off to explore the cool stuff childfree couples leave around their bedrooms?) and grabbed me by the hand. I stood and followed dutifully, thinking he was about to demonstrate how a bra could be used as a catapult or maybe ask me to show him how to make condom water balloons.
He pulled me into the bathroom and pointed into the porcelain throne. “Look!” I looked into the toilet where a Halloween candy sized “Baby Ruth” was floating. I looked at him beaming, and instantly I understood two things. I was supposed to congratulate him in the hopes that this small victory would propel him toward diaper independence. And I would not invite a repeat performance from him or any other little boy (or girl) for the rest of my life. What’s funny in a film is decidedly less funny off-screen.
Yes, parents, I know that you’re rolling your eyes. Fair enough. Juvenile. But honest. And stop rolling your eyes, they might get stuck that way!
Come See My Poop!
So the recent [almost] repeat performance struck a familiar chord. Again I’ll keep the eager crapper’s name and relationship under wraps. It’s only fair. Besides, he’s a cool kid that I enjoy, and his parents are our good friends. Wouldn’t want any hurt feelings, especially since my gripe is with poop inspections and not this specific pooper or poop inspector. Do you follow?
After the youngster’s timely announcement (just prior to dinner), his mother dutifully trotted off to inspect. Cheers (and hugs, or so I imagine since I stayed in the living room and witnessed only the audible congratulations) followed. The turd must have been solid gold. Maybe it’s time to remix the The Golden Goose?
So I get it. Super pooper celebrations fast-track diaper independence. I’m a teacher; this is familiar pedagogical territory. Except that my lessons steer clear of toilets. Childfree bias, I guess. That said, I don’t want to wrap this rant without a heartfelt “Thank you!” to all the parents who celebrate their tikes’ turds. Golden or otherwise. Especially when it works. Because I’m not equipped to deal with a world full of crappy britches, and poop inspections and celebrations are best left to Bill Murray.
Hopefully this explains everything:
Also this: (Who kills succulents??? Me.)
In 2002, I had a cactus for almost a month! Eleven years later I decided to try again with little success.
In 1998, I got a puppy! In 1999, I gave it to my folks.Good news: fourteen years later they are not so eager for grandkids!
Phew! It’s good to be childfree! Also, it’s probably for the best that I don’t have any living things to look after.
- Friday Funny! Our TIME Magazine response (just kidding) (whynokids.com)
The TIME magazine article, “The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children,” has sparked an electric storm of media attention. It’s a shame the writers at WNK are too busy enjoying a childfree summer on the lake to respond. We kid! No…wait! We DON’T kid! We have a lot to say but we are busy boating AND reading all the articles about the TIME hoopla. We promise to comment soon! For now we offer you a “Friday Funny” and hope that you all remember to laugh a little more today since everyday is Friday when you are childfree!
For some reason we find this cartoon hilarious.
Do you agree? Funny or not here we come!
If you have a “Friday Funny” for WNK please share!
- The pros and cons of a childfree life (kvue.com)
- Singles in the News: A childfree roundup, black love in a time of poverty, Google me! and visual reinforcement for staying single (partyofones.com)
- Time magazine catches on to the childfree movement, misses the green angle (grist.org)
- No kid-ding: Your view of the childfree life? (boston.com)
Check out this and other celebrity videos on WhyNoKids.com: