October 18, 2018

Maternal Instinct and Other Myths

Maternal Instinct is a Myth (Source: HuffPost)

Maternal Instinct is a Myth (Source: HuffPost)

I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Amy Blackstone (University of Maine Sociology Professor and non-momma blogger at we’re {not} having a baby!) as a International Childfree Day panelist. If you’re casting around for a childfree choice mentor, I suggest you check her out. You can start with her website (werenothavingababy.com) or find her on Facebook (facebook.com/WereNotHavingABaby) and Twitter (@nothavingababy).

I’m currently reviewing 2018 childfree nominations (so many outstanding people and organizations!) and an interesting trend sent me back to a May 2017 article that Amy published on HuffPost that tackled the “maternal instinct” trope.

If women were really born with a maternal instinct, we would see birth rates stay the same through the years. Even the feminist movement of the 1960s and ‘70s that expanded educational and workforce opportunities for many women shouldn’t change which women decide to be parents. But childfree adulthood has been on the rise since then.

What we think of as maternal instinct comes from our culture rather than our nature. Children – and girls in particular – are taught from a very young age that one of the most important things they can do when they grow up is become parents… (Source: HuffPost)

It’s an excellent article, well worth a read by those of us who choose to remain childfree, but it is arguably and even more important read for those parents who struggle to understand (and accept without judgment) the fact that some of us choose not to reproduce. For this reason along it’s worth resurfacing more than an year after it was published.

But there’s something else that intrigues me.

Maternal Instinct is a Myth (Source: HuffPost)

Maternal Instinct is a Myth (Source: HuffPost)

Paternal Instinct?

In Amy Blackstone’s second paragraph excerpted above she addresses the crux of the matter. Too often we acculturate girls and young women to assume that motherhood is / should be the default. In order to fully become a woman, a baby should be born. Procreation is the ultimate fulfillment, the ultimate joy, the ultimate experience of true love.

Blackstone articulates quite clearly that this widely, consistently reinforced bias is so ubiquitous that many assume that motherhood is an instinct, hardwiring, predestination. And yet, she reminds us, this is untrue. And, it is potentially harmful.

As I weigh the merits of our 2018 nominations for Childfree Person of the Year I wonder about another possible cultural bias. Is the choice to remain childfree primarily a women’s issue? Or is it a human issue? Where do men (and other non-female adults) fit into the broader conversation of the childfree choice, overpopulation, etc? Is there a similarly socialized “paternal instinct” that silently reinforces expectations that adult males will procreate? And why do we allow women to bear the brunt of the responsibility for defending the childfree choice when male partners are obviously, necessarily part of the calculation?

A Bigger Tent

Often we are thanked for helping young women and men recognize their own agency in the procreative equation. We are even thanked for “giving permission” not to reproduce, though we certainly have no illusions about our right to give that permission. None is needed, but we’re more than happy to remind our readers that they alone can/should make the choice to parent or the choice to remain childfree.

Perhaps it is time for us to help dilate the conversation, to expand the proverbial tent so that everyone feels welcome to participate. The considerations at stake are not exclusively the domain of women and/or mothers. These are not women’s issues. They are human issues. They are profoundly important, global issues that effect all of us and that demand a more ample and inclusive and intentional path forward.

Isn’t it time we acknowledge myth and cultural bias for what they are? Isn’t it time we empower everyone to live and love and let live and let love more intentionally, more generously, more responsibly than we have in the past. Isn’t it time that we weigh questions of sustainability and overpopulation against the urge to reproduce ourselves? Isn’t it time?

I think so. I hope so.

Normalize Being Childfree

A post shared by Leilani Münter (@leilanimunter) on

We’ve been documenting a pretty dramatic shift in recent years as the childfree choice has moved from fringe to mainstream, and professional race driver Leilani Münter’s public stance is perfect proof of this phenomena. She has become a staunch supporter of women’s choice to remain childfree. In fact, she’s driving an even more important cultural shift: it’s time to normalize being childfree.

Amen!

Leilani Münter: Normalize being childfree and NEVER underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car! (Source: www.leilani.green)

Leilani Münter: Normalize being childfree and NEVER underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car! (Source: www.leilani.green)

The 44-year-old U. C. San Diego grad highlighted (Reuters, here via RT Sport News) the same motivation as Oonagh Dalgliesh (See Choosing Nulliparity to Combat Overpopulation).

Not having a child has been the biggest way for me to reduce my impact on the planet… If you look at the numbers, the Earth is finite, and the human race cannot keep growing infinitely with only so many resources. We need to normalize choosing being child-free…” (Source: RT Sport News)

It’s becoming a familiar refrain, one we’ve been singing for years. And we’re inspired to see strong, smart young women like Leilani Münter and Oonagh Dalgliesh not only choosing child-freedom, but also taking public stands and leveraging their platforms to help other women feel safe and confident with their own choices. Bravo, ladies! Thanks for helping to normalize being childfree.

Choosing Nulliparity to Combat Overpopulation

Oonagh Dalgliesh is choosing nulliparity to combat overpopulation. (Source: Daily Mail)

Oonagh Dalgliesh is choosing nulliparity to combat overpopulation. (Source: Daily Mail)

The childfree tide is rising with each passing year. Actually, lately it seems like each month reveals an uptick in the child-freedom trend. Whether zeitgeist of simply smart (and long overdue) cultural shift, it’s exciting to witness more and more women (and more and more couples) choosing not to reproduce. Career, lifestyle, health, romance, finances, and travel are all familiar reasons why adults of parenting age are choosing to remain childfree, but another explanation has become increasingly commonplace. Women are by choosing nulliparity to combat overpopulation.

Oonagh Dalgliesh is one of the daring women who refuses to have babies in order to help save the planet.

‘Humans are the greatest single driver of climate change and greenhouse gas contributions, of deforestation and the acidity of the oceans,’ [Oonagh Dalgliesh] explains earnestly.

‘The only thing that will fix these problems is to have fewer people on the planet. I don’t see it’s justified to make more people than we already have. Yes, I have a maternal instinct, but I will never change my mind.’

Drastic? Perhaps. But, astonishing as it sounds, Oonagh is one of a number of British women who are deciding to remain child-free, not because of career aspirations or an inability to find a partner, but because they are concerned about the crippling impact of overpopulation on the Earth. (Source: Daily Mail)

Bravo, Oonagh Dalgliesh! It’s a bold and inevitably emotion-straining choice to opt out of motherhood/parenthood. But choosing nulliparity to combat overpopulation may well be one of the most impactful ways we can ease the strain our mushrooming population and consumption habits are placing on planet earth. Terrry Spahr‘s soon-to-permier documentary, 8 Billion Angels tackles this very issue, and I hope that Oonagh Dalgliesh gets the opportunity to watch it.

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Study: Wanting Things (Kids?) Makes Us Happier Than Having Them

theofficebabyThis article, Study: Wanting Things Makes Us Happier Than Having Them,

does not mention children specifically, but… should it?

Is the modern desire for children, like our want for other new, shiny things, a result of relentless marketing?

 

The most defensible, obvious answer to both of the questions above is “No”.  Biology, instinct, and the innate need to survive and thrive fuel our animalistic drive to procreate. Hormones propel us to copulate and populate, so chow can one lay the blame for overpopulation at the feet of media and advertising?

 

For starters, in developed countries at least, children no longer have utility beyond fulfilling the (selfish) desires of parents. As many others have reminded us (as in the first story on the following link) children are no longer needed to work the farm or otherwise help support modern families. While children were once a valuable asset, they now appear exclusively on the debit side of a family balance sheet. They are expensive, and the return on capital is not something that can be measured with a calculator. (Nor should it, I promise all the detached, cold calculus leads to something resembling a point.)

 

So how do we modern, western humans place a value on having babies and raising families? Well, this is where one might reflect on what we see in commercials or hear from celebrities. What about the endless celebration of babies on movie and TV, starting with Disney movies? Which life events are repeatedly, FOREVER, packed with the most drama, joy and possibility? How many babies do you think are born to TV characters every year during sweeps week? More importantly, WHY?

 

Money?

 

Babies are big, big business. Since the value of children can no longer be calculated, corporations are compelled to fill us with fantasies of a perfect life dependent upon, or punctuated by, a perfect child. The messages we constantly hear and see tell us that babies are priceless, and they make us happy. So, am I imagining things, or is this possibly the western worlds most effective marketing scheme?

 

Since babies are priceless, there is no ceiling on the amount of money that can/should be spent on them. If you do not spend every earned and borrowed penny on them, you are depriving them, and probably guilty of bad parenting. Your kids probably won’t succeed because you didn’t buy them every possible toy, tool and opportunity. No one is allowed to openly disagree. Parents, especially celebrities, must constantly and publicly repeat the same vague platitudes like “It’s amazing!” or “It’s all about the baby.” or “It gives my life meaning.” If you have 1 child, their birthday better be the best day of your life. (Meaning that it was all down hill from there?) If you have 2, it better be a tie!

 

Biology does not account for these things, does it? So what does? Marketing? Brilliant marketing?

This item is priceless + it is virtually guaranteed by your neighbors and celebrities to make you happy + fear + guilt + insecurity = ?

 

What do you think?

 

The links in the text above provide more links to related stories. And here is one about an actor swimming upstream:

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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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Schmutzie’s Kid-Free List

I just discovered Elan Morgan, aka Schmutzie (which in and of itself makes this a pretty super duper Friday), and I also discovered Schmutzie’s kid-free Twitter list (think, icing on the double dark chocolate cake), and — as if that isn’t already the limit for TGIF decadence — I read Schmutzie’s post on BlogHer called “Why I Made A Kid-Free List On Twitter And What Happened When I Did” which is quirky and smart and a perfect match for WNK readers.

Pushing the Baby Button

Shmutzie (Elena Morgan) Doodle

Shmutzie (Elena Morgan) Doodle

Read Schmutzie’s post for yourself. Until then I’m going to tempt you by highlighting a few choice passages.

Creating my kid-free list seemed innocent enough to me at the time. I tend to swim in a sea that seems primarily comprised of mommybloggers and daddybloggers, and I was suddenly possessed of the urge to find and collect those out there who fit my particular demographic: people over 30 who do not have children… The kid-free Twitter list had only existed for about half an hour, though, before I started losing followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook. I received a direct message on Twitter telling me that not everyone wanted to celebrate infertility like I did. An e-mail said that the list was cold-hearted. On Facebook, I was asked what I was trying to accomplish with it. (Elena Morgan, BlogHer)

A familiar rant, right? A familiar frustration for the childfree. If we openly acknowledge that we’ve opted out of the birthing bonanza, we inevitably piss people off. Just in voicing our preference to remain childfree we trod on something sacred. “What? You don’t want kids? That’s blasphemy. That’s, that’s inhuman!” The textures and color patterns vary, but the theme is the same. Parents too often become defensive when confronted by childfree couples, as if our personal life choice is a judgment on their marriage, their offspring, their ethics, intelligence, etc. Not all parents I should quickly add. My bride and I count many parent friends who are understanding. But I’d venture that it’s not the norm. Yet. But it is changing, slowly, for the better, I believe.

Beyond Breeder Bingo

And Ms. Morgan fleshes out the familiar Breeder Bingo cliches with some other similarly condescending and/or ignorant comments she’s endured regarding her choice to remain childfree. Here are a few choice comments:

  • Why don’t you like children?
  • It must be nice to still get to live like you’re twenty.
  • When I’ve spent time with women who don’t have children, it feels like there is just something missing. They are incomplete.
  • Are you worried that your husband might find someone else who can have children? (Elena Morgan, BlogHer)

The first two are annoying for the obvious reasons. Logic, for example.

Schmutzie, baby.

Schmutzie, baby. (Photo: rubyshoes)

And the second two rub my fur backwards because they are simultaneously ignorant and presumptuous. And let’s add smug to that. Especially because it’s so easy to imagine the look on people’s faces when they uttered these genius observations. It’s offensive to assume that childfree by choice adults are incomplete. And equally offensive to assume that a partner would betray a marriage because of a decision to remain childfree. Does it really not occur to parents that the choice to remain childfree is a joint decision? It’s not a power play. It’s no an evil plot to blunt the geneology of a partner. My bride and I discussed whether or not we wanted/intended to have children throughout the first four years that we dated. And we’ve continued the discussion throughout the seven years that we’ve been married. That’s how relationships work. If not, then the question of whether or not to get pregnant is probably the least of the problems a couple needs to deal with.

Back to Schmutzie since she navigates the issue with more grace than I, especially when it comes to the condescending assumptions of some (not all, thank gawd) parents.

Schmutzie Gets Tribal

These kinds of assumptions are common, and they make me more than a little angry. They minimize who we are in this world and the roles that we play, and they define us by what we are perceived to lack. This is why I felt moved to find my tribe on Twitter. An individual’s basic worth does not reside in whether they procreate…

The kid-free Twitter list is simply here to recognize the nearly 20% of us who may not feel as seen as those in the large parenting niche online in which we often socialize. We can sometimes feel a little ignored, and little less well-loved, a little passed over, and it feels kind of nice to be able to put up a hand and say “I’m here” in a group of other people whose lives look a little more like our own. (Elena Morgan, BlogHer)

I’m here. Mommy bloggers and daddy bloggers, we’re here. And we’re childfree. But we’re not the antichrist. And we’re not judging, bashing or mocking you. Well, at least most of the time we’re not. 😉 Sometimes we chide you just a little, but you take yourselves pretty @#$% seriously most of the time. And you don’t hesitate to chide us, so thicken your skin and try to understand why your childfree friends sometimes want to connect with others who’ve decided that two is enough for a happy, fulfilled life.

Thank you, parents. And thank you, Schmutzie!

 

WNK? Religion (Part 1)

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I have been married for 12 years and had plenty of time and practice to help me complete and refine the list of reasons I choose to be childfree. There are things I want to contribute, create and achieve. There are plenty of predicaments, contradictions, risks and duties that I hope to avoid for eternity.  I have concerns about the environment (this video is also worth revisiting), economics, my community, and vessels carrying my genes. I want to be brave and free enough to seek the best version of me, and leave more than my DNA as a legacy…

I hope to admit and articulate my childfree motivations honestly and clearly, yet, when answering “Why No Kids?” I have barely burrowed into my own psychology, insecurities, personal history or religion. It’s complicated and scary, and the opportunity to offend so many, including my family, is not exactly enticing. Nonetheless, I think it is important, and hope readers might be inspired to share some personal stories that influenced their thinking.

My own experiences with religion have certainly contributed to my decision to remain childfree. I will offer more detail in future posts. in the meantime, the following personal essay may offer some hints about my psychology and beliefs? Thanks in advance for indulging.

SPIRITS – Part 1

We were saved. My mother made sure of it. She took my younger brother and me to churches all over Denver to find the correct way to pray and give praise, and the best places in town to do it.

We had to know the right words to say so God or the devil would listen. We learned that good prayers began like letters to God. “Dear Lord,” we would say. That was the best way to do it if we were asking for something. At the end, we had to politely remind God that “we ask these things in Jesus name” to make it more powerful. If we didn’t pray right or do the right things, God wouldn’t answer our prayers. I didn’t understand, but I thought I should.

If the Devil tried to tempt or scare us, we were supposed to be mad. When I had nightmares, mom would sit down on my bed and squeeze my hand and tell me to repeat after her. In the same loud and angry way I would say “Satan, I demand, in Jesus name, that you leave me NOW. I am saved, and I am not scared any more, in JESUS name, amen”. It worked, but a week or two later I would have another dream about “The Incredible Hulk” or “Fantasy Island”. Friday night TV scared me, but my mom blamed Satan and soda pop for my sleeplessness.

Some churches were better than others. Saint Thomas Moore was only a short drive from our blue house in Acres Green, but we only went there a few times a year. That church had good aerobics classes and free tennis courts and my dad drank beer while he played softball there in the summers; but my mom called the Catholics pagans. She said they didn’t read the bible the right way and that she couldn’t be a Catholic anymore. She couldn’t say it to my grandparents though. When they came to visit, even my dad came to church. We all pretended to be Catholic, and mom told us not to tell them about our other churches or how we learned to speak in tongues.

We learned at my mom’s favorite church, which wasn’t really a church at all. It didn’t have a name or a building or little books to tell us what to say or sing. The leader of the small group was a skinny man with dirty shoes. He was young, about the same age as my mother, but glasses and baldness, and the way he knew the bible, made him seem older. He said that a church was about people and not place, and promised that God would always find a place for us to worship Him.

In the beginning, God found us a dark empty room in an office building near the Denver Tech Center. I think one of the members worked there, but we had to enter through a side door and keep most of the fluorescent lights off. About 40 people attended regularly, but some skipped the service for Broncos games or good snowstorms.

We sat in a broken circle of folding metal chairs, facing the center and each other. The leader read the bible and led us in prayer before he sat down and waited for the Holy Spirit to inspire someone to start a song, any song. “He is the king of kings” was my favorite. When a song ended, another would start spontaneously, and the singing continued like that until the Holy Spirit filled the room and someone started speaking in tongues.

It was God’s language. That’s what we were told, that God knew exactly what we were feeling and saying, even if we didn’t. As others joined the prayer, the volume increased. Eyes closed and some stood and raised their hands in the air like they had just scored a goal. “They were getting as close to God as possible,” my mother explained later. I wondered why they didn’t stand on the chairs.  Some fell to their knees. Others bent their elbows at the waist and opened their hands to the sky as if they were carrying a lunch tray on their forearms. I followed their lead, moved my lips silently, peeked through squinty eyes to see if anyone was watching, and wondered if God would forgive me for faking.

My mother had her head tilted back, smiling at heaven. She looked happy there, something I didn’t realize until we got home, or I got older.

Her face changed when she carefully pulled her old white Volvo into the garage next to my father’s new blue one.  My dad was rarely happy to see us on Sunday. If he was awake he was angry or hungry or both.  He said he went enough when he was a boy, or stayed out too late the night before. He held his head and drank tomato juice and gin and stared at everything but us. When the shouting started, we were simply ordered to go upstairs and read our Bibles. We were saved.

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Childfree Travel: No Kids Allowed

While we at WNK are pleased to see that the childfree travel discussion is happening more publicly and frequently, we are frustrated with how the questions are framed in many of these types of interviews that make the quest for quiet and serenity seem discriminatory. The participants in the following video actually question the legality of childfree travel destinations. While virtually every hotel is child or family friendly and there are plenty of kidcentric places: Disney World, Chuck E Cheese, etc., we wonder why it is such a problem to have a few adult only hotels, floors, pools or even sections of hotels?

Childfree Travel Questions

The following childfree travel questions come from the article at NECN.com:

Is it really right to ban children from hotels and other establishments?

o While it’s not precisely legal in the US (it is in other parts of the world-so during international travel in hotels and on certain sections of airlines, do check), some establishments advertise themselves as “adults only” (but not in that sense). Restaurants led the way on this, but now many hotels are joining in.

What is driving this change?

o The biggest source is changing demographics. We have many more DINKs than ever before (Double Income No Kids) who have the resources to want to travel in the lap of luxury.

o Additionally almost 20 percent of women today won’t have kids-a number that has basically doubled since the 1970s. This means that some may be less tolerant of children than before, and that this new/growing market segment wants tailored services.

Is not allowing children in hotels and other establishments really the best strategy?

o Probably not. How else will children ever learn to behave properly unless they are exposed to these situations?”

As you take your February break we’d like to hear your thoughts on childfree sections of planes, hotels and restaurants. Please share your favorite escapes for childfree serenity!

Related articles:

 

 

 

Are Childfree Men Misunderstood?

Childfree Men (Credit: virtualDavis)

Childfree Men (Credit: virtualDavis)

Childfree discussion and debate generally focuses on women, curiously quiet on the topic of childfree men. But a March 2012 Psychology Today post by Ellen Walker (clinical psychologist and author of Complete Without Kids) titled, “Childfree Men: Misunderstood and Often Maligned!”, examines childfree men. Walker’s look at the reasoning behind childfree men’s choice and the perception of childfree men within our society is thoughtful and compelling

Childfree men fly under the radar screen more often than their female counterparts. In our culture, the role of father is not deemed essential in the life of a man. For women, on the other hand, many consider being a mother to be a chief purpose in life. Some people go so far as to propose that this is a woman’s main reason for existing. But men who do not become dads are still viewed with suspicion, and they often get a bad rap! They are often thought to be immature little boys who never grew up and whose primary goal in life is to play. (Psychology Today)

I’ve laughed off this last judgment often enough. In fact, I’m happy to admit that there’s some truth in it. But these dismissive stereotypes inevitably can damage a man’s character and — as Walker points out —  can even damage a man’s workforce opportunities.

Employers often prefer men who are dads, as they are viewed as more reliable and responsible employees than are guys who have no one to consider but themselves. (Psychology Today)

This is ironic given the fact that childfree mothers are perceived as profiting in the workforce due to increased focus, lack of maternity leave, etc. (Read Jessica Valenti’s Why Have Kids?)

Childfree men also risk stress induced by failing to living up to social expectations.

It’s hard for many people to imagine that a couple simply would prefer to be on their own, unencumbered by children and the responsibilities that come with parenting. (Psychology Today)

Negative stereotypes are attached to childfree men of any social standing including celebrities who are often painted as immature playboys if they choose to remain childfree. Witness George Clooney and Simon Cowell, both childfree men inspiring endless tabloid, who both devote themselves to their careers and civic goals and are wildly accomplished.

Archetypal Childfree Men

Childfree men are as diverse as their female counterparts, with distinct personalities and differing reasons for not having or choosing not to have children.

  • Childfree by happenstance: “Some have simply never met the right partner with whom to create a family, and their ambivalence about this is such that they’re not going to go out to actively seek it” (Psychology Today).
  • Childfree by choice: “They have made a conscious decision to not have kids, either due to lifestyle or to life values. If they are in a relationship, it’s with someone who shares their view and also has chosen a life without kids” (Psychology Today).
  • Childfree by circumstance: “They would have loved to have become fathers, but they simply couldn’t make it happen. Perhaps their partners were infertile, or perhaps they never married due to shyness or other barrier to meeting a mate” (Psychology Today). These men may wish to be fathers and may feel grief that they do not have children or have the chance to be fathers.

I would augment the first two examples. With respect to childfree men due to “happenstance”, I suspect that ambivalence transcends matching up with the appropriate partner. Men often say, “It really didn’t matter to me whether or not we had kids, but it was important to my wife.” Perhaps this is bravado, a sort of guy-to-guy way of dumping the parenting instinct on your spouse. But I suspect it’s sincere. I’ve never felt a burning desire to be a father. I’ve been curious at times, and I’ve even felt a poignant twinge of sadness now and then. This is especially the case when I witness my brother interacting with his daughters or my sister-in-law and brother-in-law interacting with their sons. But these same children, as my nieces and nephews, more than compensate for the few glimpses of sorrow. And in all cases these wonders and laments are short lived. From what I can tell, this ambivalence toward having children does not hinge upon finding the right mate. Some of us simply feel ambivalent about having children!

Walker’s notion of childfree men who’ve been motivated to forgo childbearing due to values or lifestyle overlooks some other likely reasons that both men and women elect to remain childfree. A couple of obvious examples are genetics and economics. Many childfree men and women do not consider their gene pool or their earning potential sufficient to safely risk procreating. Perhaps she sees these as somehow falling under the broad value/lifestyle categories, but these are important and relevant considerations when evaluating whether or not to have a child. If reproducing is genetically or financially risky, some prudent men (and women) opt for prudence.

Childfree Men Tomorrow

With an eye to the future, Walker acknowledges that choosing to remain childfree is becoming an increasingly acceptable option for individuals and couples. Perhaps low-cost and no-cost contraception, shifting social norms and broader education will reduce unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, resulting in intentional childbearing and a stigma-free childfree option. Walker concludes with an optimistic prediction:

Who knows, maybe in twenty years, no one will bat an eye if a man doesn’t have kids. He won’t be viewed as an immature playboy who never grew up. He may even be perceived as someone who is more able to fully focus on goals and aspirations, because he is not distracted by the responsibilities of parenting. (Psychology Today)

Let’s help make her prediction come true, childfree men!

 

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.