September 8, 2017

Two Children or Three?

Small and romantic road

Romantic Umbria (Credit: adamo1978)

Time for a timeless flashback… Topic? Children versus adventure. Children versus carefree, fiesta marriage lifestyle. Children versus spontaneous travel. Remember this riff?

In The Juggle,  WSJ.com blog about “choices and tradeoffs people make as they juggle work and family” John J. Edwards III waxed nostalgic for the early days of marriage before he had children.

Like many married-with-kids jugglers, my wife and I look back fondly on our pre-children days… we had many fun times and adventures, from frequent parties in our apartment to a surprise long weekend in Paris. (WSJ.com)

He ruminates on the lifestyle freedom enjoyed by couples who opt not to embrace parenting but concedes that

it’s a cohort that often finds itself misunderstood or even ostracized as friends procreate. (WSJ.com)

He refers to a story posted at DINKlife.com by a woman who has endured countless painful experiences due to her childfree choice.

“but the statement we feel best sums it all up was when a very close couple told us that they did not see us in their lives anymore as we were making the ‘unnatural choice.’ ” (WSJ.com)

The author wraps up with a palpable yearning for the days when he and his bride could zip off to Umbria, Italy like his childfree colleagues at work, but is quick to admit that his suburban social bubble is kid central with nary a childfree couple in the mix.

In fact, the big question generally is “two children or three?” rather than whether or not to have kids. (WSJ.com)

10 More Reasons to Not Have a Baby

Why no kids? Projectile vomit!

Why no kids? Projectile vomit!

As if you needed more reasons to not have a baby, I’m tapping Scary Mommy this morning for a few reminders why some of us opt to remain childfree.

Ready?

[Do a little dance!]

Jill Smokler’s motivation for scribling just a few (in the comments she admits that plenty more could have been added to the list) reasons to not have a baby was a comment directed at her family while visiting friends recently: “the Smoklers certainly serve as excellent birth control.” (Full disclosure: I admit, my bride and I have more than once cited others (friends and otherwise) as reasons to not have a baby…)

Unoffended but inspired, Ms. Smokler set out to trump their childfree quip with 50 Reasons To Not Have A Baby. Although you’ll enjoy all of her unfiltered quips, these are my favorites.

  1. Stretch marks on top of stretch marks.
  2. Sex with a fetus in the middle.
  3. The placenta.
  4. Worrying that the baby’s floppy head might actually fall off.
  5. Rectally taking temperatures.
  6. Sore nipples.
  7. Being incapable of having conversations with other adults.
  8. Projectile vomit.
  9. Spit up covered shoulders.
  10. Explosive diarrhea.

(via Scary Mommy)

From stretch marks to diarrhea, Scary Mommy squirms at nothing. Honest gripes from a candid parent. Thanks, Ms. Smokler, for reminding WNKers of a few less heady, more body-and-body-fluid reasons why no kids trumps kidding… Add them to your list of reasons to not have a baby, and if you’ve got a particularly gross addition, please add it in the comments.

Free Reads

Sometimes there isn’t anything to add, extract or analyze, and bite-sized blog post isn’t enough to satisfy. Sometimes the writing is so compelling the only thing to do is present the entire story. So here are some full meals to chew on (again if you’ve seen them already) repeatedly. The comments are also must reads.

1) Think Before You Breed – NYTimes.com.

2) Child-Free: Do They Change Their Minds?. – Slate

3) Laura Carroll: Why Childfree Couples Have It All. – Huffington Post

4) La Vie Childfree blogpost: Why Isn’t There More Talk about the Ethics of Reproduction?.

5) In Praise of Downtime – Ellen Ruppel Shell – The Atlantic.

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Happy Non-Parents Day!

When I was in my early-ish twenties I asked a lot of questions of friends and colleagues that had kids and/or were married. What’s the best part? What’s the worst? Would you change anything? What are you not telling me? No, seriously…

As you would expect, I got a wide range of answers, and some questions in return. A lot of men that were then my current age, 40, cautioned me about marriage. No one with kids told me they regretted it, but several made sure I knew that kids would change my life and my relationship drastically.

Most repeated thoughtless shit they heard somewhere (everywhere) else.

“You have to work at it.”

“It was the best day of my life.”

“Marriage is hard.”

“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“… a miracle…. a blessing”

And when I asked again, “how?” or “why?”, they said nothing. I was young and dumb, but knew that skepticism is warranted whenever people are saying the same damn meaningless things, repeatedly. And what the hell does “marriage is hard” or “kids are a blessing” mean anyway? Nothing! People just said, and say, what the culture tells them they should say.

Looking back on this non-parents day, I want to thank those that were honest with me. I also want to express some regret that I didn’t really have any committed childfree adults to talk to. So I also want to encourage readers to share (in the comments or on Facebook) their most bare, honest answer to:

“For you, what is the best thing about being child-free?”

Because I know there are young people out there with no one to ask or no one that will respond honestly; and because I think all of us should be able to note, today at the very least, why we are celebrating.

Related articles:
August 1st Happy Non-Parents Day! – (whynokids.com)
Childfree? Really? Common Questions and Comments (Part 3) (whynokids.com)
Childfree? Really? Common Questions and Comments (Part 2) (whynokids.com)
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Margaret Cho’s Controversal Baby Joke

Did Margaret Cho, the famously outspoken comedian, go too far this time?

English: Margaret Cho in 2009

From Perzitos.com:

Margaret Cho caused some serious eye-brow raising earlier this week on Watch What Happens Live when she made a seriously offensive joke regarding her fear of having a specially-abled baby now that she’s getting older, going as far to say “I get worried about that, as an older woman, I don’t necessarily want to have a retard baby.”

Thankfully, she has come to here senses, and released the following statement:

I’m so sorry for my insanely offensive comments on Watch What Happens. I certainly didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and this is a good lesson for me to make sure I’m aware of the power of negative speech. Please forgive my ignorance as I have little experience with children and mothers and I’m often likely to act very childish myself. All my love and apologies to anyone who may have been hurt by my statements and my inexcusable remarks.

Shake your Babymaker – Virtual Babies!

Okay I’ll admit it I don’t want kids, but I still have imaginary baby names in my head and I’m curious about what my baby would look like. Just not curious enough to find out for real. For the other childfree and curious there is a place for us, or rather several websites that will take pictures of you and your significant other and mix the virtual, visual DNA to create, TA-DA – a baby!

Luxland Babymaker has the tagline, What will your baby look like? And promises that it’s not like the other sites because it can see the future:

Have a lust for someone? Eager to see what your baby will look like? No need to wait nine months to see your baby’s face — BabyMaker will accurately produce a picture of your baby. Satisfy your curiosity and peek into the future!

There are even baby maker apps and celebrity baby maker sites in case you want to see what your baby would look like if Ashton Kutcher is the baby daddy. I hear he’s available!

I tried Makemebabies.comwith mixed results below:

It is very entertaining if you want to laugh some milk right out of your nose. Amazingly my baby looks just like the baby on the ad and nothing like me or my mate. Baby G even has blue eyes and blond hair which is genetically impossible! This is kind of addictive and I can totally see why the Duggar family is eagerly expecting their 20th real child. It’s fun to make babies! But I will stick to virtual kids.

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No Kids for Kim Kardashian?

With her mulitmillion dollar wedding and now, after only 72 days, her impending divorce in the news, Kim Kardashian, 31, is rethinking her fairy tale dreams.

She famously stated that she would have four children before she was 35, but her more recent comments on having children is a complete 180:

“At first I was like, I want six kids. Then I went down to four, then I was down to three, and now I’m like, maybe I won’t have any,” she says glumly. “Maybe I’ll just be a good aunt…at this moment in my life, I feel like maybe I’m not supposed to have kids and all that,” Kim says in a December 6 Glamour Magazine article (source Us Magazine)

The self proclaimed hopeless romantic plans to be a little more realistic in the future.

Perhaps, Kim, you should consider the idea of not having kids as genuine option and discover that being child-free can also be a happy ending.

English: Kim Kardashian Fragrance Launch, Glen...

Image via Wikipedia

PANKs and PUNKs (Professional Aunties and Uncles No Kids)

Image representing SavvyAuntie as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

The number of PANKs (Professional Aunties No Kids) and PUNKs (Professional Uncles No kids) is growing and their influence on children is in the news. The founder of the auntie movement is Melanie Notkin at www.savvyauntie.com. She has an active blog and book that guides child-free aunties on all things kiddie. Notkin is the creator of the term PANK and she also owns the trademark.

From her website:

A few years ago, DINKs was the new segment marketers had their eye on – Dual Income No Kids. PANKs, while focusing specifically on women (married, partnered or single) who have no kids, is a pretty large market in the US. In fact, the 2010 US Census Report: Fertility of American Women states that 47.1  percent of women through age 44 do not have kids (check “All Races” report). And that number has been steadily growing over the last couple of decades. In 1976, only 35 percent were childless.

Notkin gives statistics on the spending potential of the emerging PANK market:

–  According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 50 percent of single women own their own homes. They’re also the fastest-growing segment of new home buyers, second home buyers, car purchasers, new investors, and travelers. (Who hasn’t dreamed of taking the nieces and nephews on their first trip to Disney World?)

–  Twenty-seven percent of American households are headed by women, a fourfold increase since 1950.

–  Of American women who draw annual incomes of $100,000 or more, nearly half don’t have children. In fact, the more a woman earns, the less likely she is to have kids.

That means that these PANKs and PUNKs have money to spend on their nieces and nephews since they don’t have kids of their own.

A November Forbes article Raising Children: The Role of Aunts and Uncles says that many adults in childrens’ lives today are not relatives but close friends that are considered stand in aunts, uncles and godparents.

Notkin says, “The more aunts and uncles the child has, the more influences a child has,” says Notkin. “If the uncle is a fantastic artist, the child may be inspired by that talent.”

For kids the diversity of influences could be beneficial. Parents who share their kids with aunties and uncles might benefit too. And it fits with the notion that “it takes a village” to raise a child.

Author’s Note:

I’m not really an aunt, but I’m a godmother three times over and consider most of my friends’ kids my nieces and nephews, so that makes me a PANK.  I just finished shopping, wrapping and mailing all their Christmas gifts. I take my role of Auntie Amy very seriously at Christmas time, and put A LOT of thought into finding the exact right gift for each child. (One gift was noisy and I’m sorry for that.) And I hope, hope, hope the kids love them! I find that books are the best gifts and still remember all the books my PANKs and PUNKs and real aunts and uncles gave to me as a child. Hope you will share your favorites.

Hey WNKers (and PANKs and PUNKs) what is your favorite book to give to kids?

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Not Funny!

The sign reads, “Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy!”

It has been popping up everywhere from cafes to clothing stores and it’s scaring me!

Why the joke? Why the empty threat? Why bring innocent puppies into this? And why make things worse with caffeine and incontinent animals?

This sign below was seen in Flagstaff, can you imagine if a shop owner posted one of these, but changed it to kids? We would be offended. Parents would be up in arms. But no, coffee and kittens are funny!

Sign, No Unattended Dogs in Flagstaff.

Why No Sleep for Moms?

Stillnox

Image via Wikipedia

Moms don’t sleep, and on top of that they worry about not sleeping. Disturbed from restful nights by crying babes, and stressed by busy days they are turning to prescription meds to fight anxiety and insomnia.

“A 2007 study by the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly three in 10 U.S. women said they used a sleep aid a few nights a week. Experts said that stress and anxiety had made mothers dependent on sleep aids like Lunesta, melatonin, Ambien and even Xanax.” (ABC News)

No word on a study about dads. Maybe they slept through it.

The NYTimes reports:

“One of the cruel jokes of motherhood is that the sleeplessness of pregnancy, followed by the sleeplessness generated by an infant (a period in which a staggering — truly — 84 percent of women experience insomnia), is not followed by a makeup period of rest. It is merely the setup for what can become a permanent modus operandi.”

Is it another reason to not have kids? Or just part of the busy world we live in where we are over-scheduled, stressed out, and plugged in?

Hey WNKers do you have trouble sleeping? Do you reach for a “mother’s little helper” to get to sleep?

 

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