November 26, 2014

We Forgot to Have Kids: Gas Station Condoms and Childfreedom

We Forgot to Have Kids

We Forgot to Have Kids

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…

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…

Childfreedom: I Hate Being a Mom

67 of 365 ~ Mum

Childfreedom: I hate being a mom (Credit: tanya_little)

Just to be clear, I don’t hate being a mom. In fact, I’m not a mom at all.

So what’s with the title, “Childfreedom: I Have Being a Mom”? Good question. I’ll try to explain.

Some people Google their name. Others scour Twitter for self referential tweets. Google gargle, chirp-chirp…

While it may seem just about as peculiar, Team WNK Googles (and Twitter searches) for childfree topics. For fun. In our spare time. While waiting in line at the grocery story. Or riding the elevator and trying not to stare at the gargantuan pregnant lady huffing and puffing beside us.

Yes, it’s a little obsessive, but we’re fascinated. The more we think and read and talk and blog about childfreedom, the more curious we become. And it turns out we’re not alone. The media and the social web are every day more obsessed with the parenting vs. childfreedom debate(s). It’s become a “thing”!

Google Noodling Childfreedom

So the other day I was searching Google on a whim, “noodling” as some say. My search term? Childfreedom.

There’s something undeniably slogan-y about the slang term “childfreedom”, but I love it.

I picture it emblazoned across the bikin’ed buttocks of a fetching middle aged lady striding down an exotic beach. Perhaps my bride? Or embroidered into an elegant bodice. Definitely my bride. (I wonder if I can dig one of those up for Christmas…)

Linguists recoil at words like childfreedom, a derivative of a derivative. Diluted. Meaningless. Except that it’s not. Childfreedom is the conjunction of childfree (a slang conjunction in its own right) and freedom. My eyes pour over the newest results for “childfreedom” and I follow a few links, read, take notes, click back to Google.

At the bottom of the page I freeze.

I Hate Being a Mom

What? At the bottom of Google search result pages — and just above where you can click to go to the next page of search results — Google provides a list of related searches. In this case it reads, “Searches related to childfreedom” and it lists the following:

Most of these search queries make sense. I expected them. But the first one, the top recommendation from the smart, smart, smart robots over at Google was not what I expected. And yet here it is:

Google searches related to Childfreedom

Google searches related to Childfreedom

Of course, I was simultaneously appalled and fascinated. Google, in it’s infinite wisdom — deduced from millions of searches all around the globe all day, every day — associated “I hate being a mom” as the most likely related search term for somebody interested in the idea of childfreedom. Even before the rather obvious “Childfree by choice”!

I can’t help but imagine the desperate keystrokes of a frantic mother.

Bye-bye, bikini.

Bye-bye, bodice.

Needless to say, I clicked and discovered that Google indexes about 70,200,000 web pages for the search term “I hate being a mom”. Yes, over 70 million!

Why no kids? Enough said.