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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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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Why Are You Childfree?

Why are you childfree?

Why are you childfree?

In the wandering, winding webs I stumbled upon a personal reflection on why a Cleveland-based woman chose to remain childfree.

Why childfree? No want. No change. I think you’ll find it compelling for it’s candor and tidiness.

When I was 15 years old, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, which has drastically changed over the years; I thought that there was nothing worse than not being liked by someone, and that has changed drastically; I was extremely self-conscious of my body and only wore super loose clothing, which has also changed as I have gotten used to my figure; I thought that my mom was soooo annoying, which has drastically changed and now I realize what a fantastic mother she is and always was. But for some reason, my thought of being childfree has not changed at all. There has never been a time in my life when I really wanted children. There was a time when I tried to make myself think I wanted them because I started to realize how unusual my decision was, but I never really wanted them. It’s so curious how different of a person I am today than I was when I was 15, and yet I still have the same thoughts on that extreme major life decision. (dinkschildfree)

Perhaps this “why childfree” explanation grabbed my attention because I also figured out early on that I wasn’t destined for fatherhood. Keen on kids, but not even a flickering desire to reproduce.

Of course, marriage fit in the same Not me, not ever! category. That changed. Not quickly. Not early. But it eventually changed. All credit to my bride. But I never caught the procreation bug…

Why are you childfree? I wonder if we can attempt a formal poll of our readers in the comments below. You don’t need to divulge your most profound emotional/psychological motives if you’d prefer not to, but even a short sentence or two capturing the gist of your choice to remain childfree would be intriguing. Up to the challenge?

Why are you childfree? Did you always feel this way or has your conviction evolved since childhood?

Excuses, Excuses…

It’s fall and my husband and I are swamped and trying to catch up with stuff we let pile up this summer. We don’t have kids so every nice day this summer we decided to go out on the lake instead of working inside. (For more on this read my Endless Summer Vacation post.) We figured it would rain and we could make haste, but it didn’t rain until Irene made a visit. And it hasn’t stopped since. So now we are busy hiding inside and working hard and we even decided to paint the entire interior of our house. It’s been a great excuse when we have to get out of obligations and allows us to leave events and other functions early. “Nope sorry, can’t stay, gotta paint.” It reminds me of some of my friends with kids and how they use them as an excuse to leave early and beg out of boring commitments. I admit, sometimes it makes me green with envy. A recent article in Jezebel “The Almighty Baby Excuse” tackles this very subject:

“Did you know that one of the least publicized advantages of having a baby is that it is, in fact, the greatest excuse ever invented to get out of doing stuff, with no loss of honor? When you were childless, you pretty much had to get spinal meningitis to talk your way out of a bridal tea or a work-sponsored tree-planting ceremony. Now, you have a living breathing RSVP with “decline” checked off, and contrary to what employers everywhere suspect, approximately 97% of the time, you’re not even bullshitting.”

The article struck a nerve with childfree reader MissCrystal. Her comment:

“As a childfree woman who is the only childless woman at my job, I’m offended and disgusted by the amount of work these ladies can get out because of kids/grandkids…as a childfree woman I supposedly have no other priorities or things I want to do other than work. The whole thing angers me and pointing out the hypocrisies of how childfree people are treated versus their counterparts has become my woman crusade.”

So this is a hot button issue for some people. Let me suggest that kids are an excellent excuse to get out of doing things, but still not a super valid reason to actually have them. (They really do get sick all the time!) Also the painting excuse works really well without adding a baby or a needy pet to the household. So far it’s been three weeks of “painting” and counting, although now we’re probably busted.

By the way, the excuse of diarrhea pretty much works every time too. A friend of mine used it twice this summer to cancel on me. What’s your favorite excuse?

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Childfree by Choice

What exactly does “childfree by choice” mean? If you watched the video above, you may have been drawn into the antagonism that is often provoked by the term, but you may be further from understanding what it means rather than closer. A few confusing excerpts:

I like myself much more now than I ever did when I was single and childfree.

It makes me kind of sad to think that I, for so long, had decided against this life because I thought that having children would somehow limit my life experiences. But the irony is that… this is the single greatest experience that you could ever go through.

There’s irony in a group of people who are seeking victim status, who complain that they are being discriminated against, while actively discriminating against a group of people because of their age, children.

I am sorry for these people, that they feel the need to bash me for my choices, and it’s only because they’ve been bashed for theirs… That’s why people are angry.

Hmmm… Perhaps a momversation isn’t the right place to look for an unbiased, emotion-free understanding of the term “childfree by choice”. (Update: Check out the lengthy conversation about this video over at The Childfree Life.)

Background: Childfree by Choice

I suspect the “childfree by choice” reference was born as a tidy self explanatory response to questions like, “Are you having difficulty conceiving?” Or, “Do you realize that if you wait much longer you may have trouble getting pregnant?” Or perhaps there exists a more academic evolution of the term childfree by choice. Certainly there is plenty of debate around the usage of the term, often stemming from the distinction between the words “childfree” and “childless”. For some it is a battle cry, for others a pejorative epithet. For me, it’s a matter of convenience, an efficient way to encapsulate a decision that my wife and I have made (and continue to make) not to procreate.

Childless vs. Childfree by Choice

As it is a term often used at Why No Kids?, I’d like to offer some usage context borrowed from Wikipedia contributors all around the globe.

Childfree (sometimes spelled child-free) is a term used to describe individuals who neither have children nor desire to have children. An alternative term is childless by choice. The choice not to procreate has been a more available option since the development of reliable birth control, and has become increasingly common since the 1960s… There have been numerous books written about childfree people and quantitative academic research is now emerging. Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy… There are, however, a range of social positions related to childfree interests, and political and social activism in support of these interests has become increasingly commonplace. (Wikipedia)

A quick look at the etymology of the term “childfree” is helpful:

The term “childfree” is distinct from the term “childless” in that the suffix ‘-free’ indicates one’s free choice to forgo procreation, while the suffix ‘-less’ implies a lack. (Wikipedia)

Motivations: Childfree by Choice

Of course, no look at adults who are childfree by choice would be complete without examining some of the dominant motivations. The following is excerpted and/or adapted from the more compelling examples listed in the Wikipedia childfree entry.

Personal Wellbeing

  • Little maternal/paternal instinct
  • Not wanting to sacrifice time for children
  • Prefer to travel, or maintain geographic flexibility

Relationship

  • Preferring not to sacrifice emotional and physical intimacy with partner due to the presence of children
  • The cost of raising, amusing, and educating a healthy child leaves little money to spend on new experiences or even simple savings to reduce stress

Health and Safety

  • The risk that an existing medical condition, such as diabetes or depression could result in difficult pregnancy or difficulty in raising the child
  • Concern that the child could inherit a hereditary disease or an unwanted phenotypic trait

Altruism

  • The belief that one can make a greater contribution to humanity through one’s work than through having children
  • Perceived or actual incapacity to be a responsible and patient parent
  • Belief that it is wrong to bring a child into the world if the child is unwanted
  • Belief that it is wrong to intentionally have a child when there are so many children available for adoption
  • Concern regarding environmental impacts such as overpopulation, pollution, and resource scarcity
  • Belief that parents’ particular career could prevent them from being a good parent
  • Belief in a negative, competitive, declining condition of the world and culture and not subjecting a child to those negative conditions.

Other

  • Lack of a compelling reason or desire to have children
  • Contentment with enjoyment of pets
  • Belief that people tend to have children for the wrong reasons (e.g. fear, social pressures from cultural norms)
  • Having to alter or forgo adult social life, some feminists view childbearing and resultant parenting role as a heteronormative social construct which subjugates by restricting lifestyle options and possibilities for personal advancement.

This list is obviously not exhaustive, and we’ll continue to augment these motivations in future blog posts. We welcome your comments too, so please share your own motivations and/or childfree by choice resources.