April 23, 2014

DINK Debate: Sylvia D. Lucas on Childfree Guilt

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

No Children, No Guilt, by Sylvia D. Lucas

No Children, No Guilt,
by Sylvia D. Lucas


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!

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.

 

Do Parents Make Better Teachers? A Childfree Teacher Responds

Teacher

Teacher (Photo credits: www.myparkingsign.com)

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.”

Other favorites include:
from TravisNelson76:

To suggest that schools should have teachers with relevant life experience is not strange. To suggest, however, (as this article does) that relevant life experience can only come with parenthood is VERY STRANGE INDEED. Who would make a better teacher? An 18-year-old mother with no teaching experience? Or a 45-year-old non-parent with twenty years of teaching experience? This article seems to (VERY STRANGELY) suggest the former.

From NinjaofSin:

“You’re not a parent, you can’t possibly understand”

Bah-loney.

From mh:

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:

My Favorite Teacher Didn’t Have Kids

What do you think childfree teachers?

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy, Come See My Poop

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.

Never. Ever!

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…

Poopy Flashback

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.

 

Friday Funny- Why No Kids? Black Thumb.

Hopefully this explains everything:

photo-35

Also this: (Who kills succulents??? Me.)

photo-34

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!

66734_10151236932382833_90671094_n

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)

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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!

Video: Comedian Jim Gaffigan

English: Jim Gaffigan performing in May 2008.

English: Jim Gaffigan performing in May 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Check out this and other celebrity videos on WhyNoKids.com:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-18-2013/jim-gaffigan

Comedian Jim Gaffigan on The Daily Show.

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Submit additions to a childfree dictionary?

മലയാളം: പാഷൻ ഫ്രൂട്ട്

മലയാളം: പാഷൻ ഫ്രൂട്ട് (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like the idea of a childfree dictionary. Tongue-in-cheek of course, no haters please! While “crotchfruit” may be condescending, insulting or disgusting, it is damn creative, if not just plain funny. No?

Babble’s Jabberwocky explains the peculiar language of the childfree culture.

So go ahead. Try not to be mean, but give us your contributions and definitions for a child free dictionary. We’ll re-post the tally.

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No Quiet Zones for this childfree traveler?

 

English: Air Asia X Airbus A340-300 (9M-XAB) a...

English: Air Asia X Airbus A340-300 (9M-XAB) approaching Stansted Airport (STN) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now we’ve all heard about Air Asia X’s quiet zones, seven designated economy class rows at the front of planes where children under 12 are not allowed, a point of contention for some pissed off parents and a supposed paradise for business travelers and the childfree, like me.

 

To access this frequent flyers’ Eden, you need only pay the extra $11-$35 fee might otherwise pay for apremium seat. But what do you get for your money?

 

You get a bulkhead barrier and a childfree bathroom (which is never enforced by attendants). So In the short-term, you may, if you are very lucky, get some relief from screaming and seat kicking. But I think quiet zones are actually a huge risk, and may ultimately turn basic economy cabins into a flying free for all.

 

Noise travels and reverberates and quiet zone seats do not come with complimentary noise-cancelling headphones. If you are seated at the back of the quiet zone, a screaming, kid could still be seated directly behind you.

 

You remember the smoking section? Sure, the air was worse in the back of the plane than the front, but the entire plane reeked, and sitting one row in front of the smokers was no better than joining them.

 

I shouldn’t care how people choose to spend their money, and as a childfree traveler I should probably encourage Air Asia X’s strategy, even if it is gimmicky. If they are successful, maybe other businesses will recognize the spending power of childfree travelers and exhausted parents’ need/desire for peace and quiet when they are on a date or vacation.

 

But for now, I am skeptical about QUIET ZONES.

 

I think the risks of segregated seating could ultimately outweigh the rewards.

 

I am concerned that quiet zones may perpetuate an “us against them” mentality, a friction that is not conducive to peaceful interactions in confined spaces with absolutely NO EXIT STRATEGY.

 

Also, I don’t like paying for things that should be free. Like simple consideration of others.

 

The bar for acceptable behavior in public spaces, for kids and adults, is already set so, so low. And I think setting a precedent where people have to pay extra for a little (or no) peace and consideration may lead to the bar falling to Chuck E Chees setting, where parents can sit back and let their kids go crazy.

 

Imagine yourself sitting on an Air Asia X light in row 20. A kid’s video game is chiming and beeping. He’s kicking your seat while his sister runs the aisle (even through the premium seats) shrieking. After 2 hours, you’re compelled to say something. You politely ask the parents if they might turn down the volume or put an end to the chair soccer. They not so politely tell you that you can pay up to move up, or shut up. Then what?

 

Parents are overworked and exhausted and the last thing they want to do on vacation is worry so much about offending others that they nag and scold their child until they break down completely, start crying or screaming, and offend others anyway. These are tiresome battles to fight for the benefit of others. And the value of considering those around you already appears to be waning in our society.

 

So when Air Asia or another airline steps in to set the standard for behavior in one particular part of the plane, are they effectively obliterating the societal standard for the rest of it? Are they telling parents in the rest of the plane that they no longer need to fight the battle at all? By saying, “THIS zone is for quiet people”, are they insinuating that the other section is for loud people? By defining rules for one section, are they suggesting that there are NO rules in the other (at least enough so that exhausted, indifferent or lazy parents can let their guards down and lower their expectations even further?

 

I say yes.

 

There is no reason for parents to try at all (or at least an excuse not to) when an institution defines rules that should be self evident, and effectively assumes the role of the quiet police. Even if we all know it is just a gimmick to make more money.

 

My fear or theory is: When institutions step in, many parents check out. And we all lose. Instead of being accountable to one another, we become accountable to the powers that be, even if that “power” is a profit driven company with little interest in enforcing their policy.

 

So, for me, Quiet Zones are not something I want to encourage or support necessarily. They are not effective or realistic, not worth the extra fee, and ultimately, maybe risky.

 

What do you think?

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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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