August 18, 2019

Top 10 WNK Posts

Kids on the bus

Why No Kids? is just over six months old! Or in “parent talk”, we’re twenty eight weeks old… Isn’t that cute?

Starting with our first post, “Why no kids? Wino kids!” we’ve posted over five dozen reflective, provocative, silly, heartfelt and/or challenging blog posts. And we’re just warming up! Expect more investigative posts and more guest posts in the months ahead.

We’re taking inventory of our parts in order to better understand you, our readers, so that we can better meet your needs. What do you want to read? See? Hear? Jump into the conversation and tell us what you’d like to learn more about and what you’ve heard enough about. We’ll do our best to grow Why No Kids? into the community you want.

Take a look at our top ten most popular posts to date. (Note that three are two-way ties!)

  1. I’m not infertile. I Just don’t want kids.
  2. Video: Aziz Ansari Is Afraid of Babies
  3. Five Reasons Childfree Adults May Be Happier Than Parents
  4. Am I Selfish For Not Having Kids?  and Are you a DINK?
  5. Happy Un-Father’s Day?
  6. Video Vasectomy Shocker: A Survivor’s Tale of Survival
  7. Childfree? Really? Common Questions and Comments (Part 3)
  8. Dr. Suess Didn’t Have Kids  and Myths About Childfree Living
  9. Sexiest Reason Why No Kids? Sex! and Ann Landers on Childfree Families
  10. Childfree Vagina Monologue

I recently posted about the top search term which brings new readers to Why No Kids? And it’s worth noting that even more than organic traffic from search engines, the Facebook Why No Kids page connects you to the blog posts you read and froward. In other words, our Facebook friends are largely responsible for spreading the news. Thank you!

Where from here? You tell us!

Top 10 WNK Links

Clearly, I'm going through something.

Image by missbhavens via Flickr

The proliferation of childfree news, blog posts, etc. is a telling gauge of the growing acceptance of (and interest in) the the choice not to have children. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  1. Economic and social pressures are loosening the filial obligations that have long bound Chinese society. The younger generation longs for more personal comfort. Many Chinese wouldn’t have larger families even if they were free to do so. Some want no children at all. (Los Angeles Times)
  2. Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children. (Childfree Me)
  3. If at some point you’ve had an irrepressible, inexplicable urge to make a baby, you may be interested to know there’s a term for that — baby fever — and that it’s a bona fide physical and emotional phenomenon… Although it may be linked to another baby-craving phenomenon commonly known as the “biological clock,” … baby fever isn’t specific to women. Men can get all goo-goo-ga-ga too… (TIME Healthland)
  4. Beyonce confirmed she was pregnant. And Showed off her baby bump. The major news outlets could barely contain themselves and it was the leading news in most of them… What does that say about our society? I think it says society is still obsessed with women having babies no matter how successful they are. Never mind the number of famous people who say they are childfree. (thebritgirl.com)
  5. Hollywood comedies about parenthood depend entirely on making raising a kid look a ridiculous, hectic mess. Then, eventually the leading man finds out that in the end, the rewards make it all worth it… [But] there’s plenty of stuff those movies don’t show you. If they did, their zany comedy about a single father finding a baby on his doorstep would quickly become a nightmare inducing horror that would shut down the genitals of any aspiring parent. (Cracked.com)
  6. Children are an economic liability and parents are desperately trying to find joy in the experience to feel they are getting their money’s worth… Kids are a major purchase. They are kind of like buying an overpriced boat without fully thinking it through… After a while, the newness wears off… [and] you realize that having a boat is more work than you expected… At this point, it might begin to feel a bit like a chore. You don’t want to admit that, so you shove those thoughts away and tell yourself you just love boating because otherwise you’d have to admit to yourself was a stupid fucking idea it was to get the damn boat. You start joining every boat-enthusiast group you can find online and declaring your superiority to all those poor saps who don’t have boats. (Happily Childfree)
  7. I know for a fact that my marriage is happy thanks in large part to being childfree. The stressors that we have avoided in our marriage are too numerous to count… Hubby and I are focused on each other – on making each other happy – on creating special memories together – on sharing life’s ups and downs and being a devoted support system for each other. We are not distracted and neglected… We are not fighting over household tasks. Gender roles. Who does more. We are not stretched to the breaking point… We have all that we need. Each other. (Childfreedom)
  8. Less than half of millionaires who are members of the famously selfish generation—boomers, not their kids—think it’s important to leave money to their children. What’s more important, apparently, is for boomers to enjoy their golden years. (TIME.com)
  9. Children are back in school, and travel deals abound! This week marks the beginning of the off-season for many warm weather destinations, so if you put off your summer vacation due to crowds and peak pricing, now is the time to reward yourself with childfree travel at significant savings… now is the time that the industry gives incentives to those of us who are not hampered by the school year calendar. (No Children by Choice Blog)
  10. I cringe every time I hear some bimbo mommy justifying her stupidity and crap parenting by suggesting that it’s “all natural.” I’m not just talking about breastfeeding “natural” argument, but about a whole slew of other stupid behaviors I’ve heard mommies justify lately with this “natural” bullshit… (Happily Childfree)
  11. I would argue that many of the women who are miserable being moms, regret it with their entire being and would do anything to go back to their life before children, are the very same women who are scornful of the childfree, lie to other women and continue to promote the “scam” that having children is the one true path to happiness and fulfillment. (Childfreedom)
  12. Every now and then a person will make a wild connection in their mind when they hear I’ve chosen not to have kids… they decide that I must be racist… because I don’t have kids of my own, I also automatically don’t like people of other nations and cultures. That is just plain weird to me. (Child Free Zone)

Okay, so I can’t count. I was aiming for ten stories, but I wound up with a dozen. Just goes to show how much childfree buzz there is…

What have you been reading? Watching? Please share your suggestions in the comments below. Thanks!~

No Kids Trending

Recently whynokids.com has been getting pounded with traffic, an uptick that prompted me to poke around in search of answers.

What are people searching for? Are they finding what they’re looking for? What “sticky content” are we offering visitors to Why No Kids?

Why No Kids? logo on Facebook and Twitter

Why No Kids? logo on Facebook and Twitter

Combing through our stats (analytics) and tickling Google’s ivories has offered afew hints. For example, the term “no kids” seems to be driving the surge. But why? Is it possible that suddenly there’s an upward trend in couples considering a childfree lifestyle? Perhaps. Or perhaps there’s something else happening. What do YOU think?

I’m reserving judgment for the time being. It’s exciting. It’s encouraging. But it’s premature to determine why whynokids.com is experiencing a dramatic increase in readers.

That said, I know that our readers are responsible for spreading the word, so it’s time to thank you. All of you! You’ve encouraged and prodded and joined Why No Kids? conversations on Facebook and tweeted up a storm with Why No Kids? on Twitter. You’ve emailed posts and emailed us suggestions. In some cases you’ve even emailed us guest posts. You’ve joined the conversation about why not to have kids (and even–in some notable exceptions–why to have kids), and this conversation is what fascinates us. The four bloggers who founded Why No Kids? have chosen childfree lives, childfree marriages, but we don’t preach. We encourage breeders (I know, it’s a loaded term, but sooo catchy!) to participate in conversation. Bring on the debate. Bring on the disagreement. But bring on the civility, and bring on the levity.

Life’s too short to anger and alienate over personal decisions of childbearing. But the Why No Kids? crew firmly believes that ongoing, informed conversation about whether or not to breed stands to improve the lot for all of us!

Sexiest Reason Why No Kids? Sex!

Condom

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s guest post is from John Davis, a wilderness explorer and writer, former Wild Earth editor, and Fellow of The Rewilding Institute. John’s previous posts, “Why Five Cats?” (a lighthearted look at the merits of nulliparity and cat ownership) and Sire of All Crises (a “no holds barred” look at human overpopulation), primed the pump for this intimate-if-lighthearted look at the childfree holy grail: sex!

What is the sexiest reason to abstain from having children?

That would be sex, of course.  All you young couples out there, wondering whether or no you should have children, ask some parents to honestly answer the question, did you have sex more or less often after you had a baby?  (You might want to choose close older friends for your focus group research, as asking random strangers about their sex lives could quickly turn awkward!)

Although much church doctrine argues against the decoupling of sex and procreation, that decoupling has been largely accomplished materially; and for the sake of this crowded world, and our own busy lives, that is for the good.  Birth control advances have allowed couples to decide whether and when they want kids.  The fewer kids you have, the more free time you’ll have to enjoy wild pursuits, including that most fun and intimate of acts.

You young folks entering an active sex life will have the greatest amount of activity over the longest run, I’ll wager, if you always practice safe sex and opt not to have children.  Or if you do really want children, have just one (read Bill McKibben’s excellent defense of the one-child family in Maybe One) or at most two (read Dave Foreman’s new book, Man Swarm, on how human over-population is smothering the natural world).  This year, the human population will top 7 billion, meaning the number of people in the world has more than tripled during my parents’ lifetime.  Why take on the difficult, time-consuming challenge of parenting when there are already more than enough kids in the world?

One of the most effective population planning programs I ever encountered was a surly and chubby child, thought of as Girtha, from the unlikeliest, nicest slimmest parents.  How these kind and fit parents suffered their unruly and sour-faced child was beyond any neighbor’s comprehension.  Most of us love most children we meet, but this round hellion was a reminder, at a time when otherwise I might have wondered about fathering a child, that not only do all children need much of their parents’ time, but some turn quite disagreeable.  I did not quite dare suggest to these parents with the patience of Job that they go on tour with their child to college campuses with a presentation, This Could Happen to You!; but I think such a show could have significantly cut fertility rates in the US for years.

Girtha was a child before the metastasis of computer games and cell phones, so I must suppose that a difficult child could be even more of a hindrance to a happy romance these days.  What a downer on a sex life it must be for couples who have children noisily playing computer games and chatting on their cell phones late into the evening – as well try to make love in a Best Buy store!

Good parenting and other forms of nurturing are among the noblest of human instincts and endeavors, undeniably.  In this crowded world, however, people do well for themselves and others by forgoing the opportunity to procreate and using their nurturing skills to help raise nieces and nephews or foster children and to provide homes for needy cats and dogs.  Be a good uncle or aunt, and you enjoy the pleasures of being with kids without the constant obligations of raising them.  Small, close families are an ideal to which our society should aspire – lest we, as cultures and as individuals, be overwhelmed by problems stemming from overshooting our carrying capacity, from crime to pollution to hunger to roadkill to war.

Along with the huge amount of time that parents must invest in their children (time that otherwise might be spent in bed or on the beach) is the hefty cost of raising children.  The average middle-class American couple invests hundreds of thousands of dollars raising a son or a daughter, and those costs are rising, with young people’s lofty expectations of material abundance.  Such investments are rewarding for many parents, but people still wondering about procreation should surely factor them into their decisions.  You’ll have more time and more money for romantic vacations and wild excursions if you opt to remain free of the obligations of parenting.

Peace activists in the 1960s righteously urged, Make love, not war!  This is a good motto, but may need updating.  Let us care lovingly and well for all children (and dependent cats & dogs, too!) the world over.  Let us not, though, bring more new children (or cats or dogs) into this world, unless we simply must, and then only in small numbers.  Make love and peace, by caring for those already here!

John Davis is a wilderness explorer and writer, former Wild Earth editor, and Fellow of The Rewilding Institute.

FlashBack: Standout Stories That Previously Appeared On WNK’s FB Page Only

We wanted to share some the year’s best stories about parenting, children and the childfree, including emphasis on the environment, economy and psychology.

1) THE NO-BABY BOOM – Probably the most engaging, enlightening piece so far about the choice to be childfree, the CF lifestyle and growing community. It appeared in Details magazine. If you’re willing to read only one story, start and stop here.

2) ARE THERE DISADVANTAGES TO BEING CHILDFREE? – We’re not here to start a cult or hoist an ideology on the unsuspecting. We want an open honest discourse about what life is like and how big choices related to conceiving, adopting and parenting affect ANYBODY.

3) DOES HAVING CHILDREN MAKE YOU HAPPY? — What do you think? Have you read these other WNK stories? Are parents or the childfree more fit or healthy?

4) WHY MORE KIDS? – The Russian and South Korean governments want more babies! Riddle: Which is less sustainable:

A) A movement or community (like the childfree) that can’t rely on brainwashing their offspring to continue growing? OR

B) An economy that demands constant growth while resources are limited and fewer participants are incented to make babies?

5) HOW TO LAND YOU KID IN THERAPY – Why the obsession with our kids’ happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods. A therapist and mother report

6) WHINING IS THE WORST SOUND IN THE WORLD – Dare to disagree?

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August 1st Happy Non-Parents Day!

 

Over 30 years ago, the National Organization for Non-Parents (which became National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, or NAOP) ), deemed August 1 Non-Parents Day.

via La Vie Childfree.

Hey WNKers how did you celebrate your Non-Parents Day?

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Ann Landers on Childfree Families

Ann Landers: It's OK to not want children

Ann Landers: It's OK to not want children

Sometimes it’s important to analyze artifacts, decrypt opinions, interpret statements. And sometimes it’s important to step aside and let the evidence speak for itself.

The latter was my reaction when we received this old, yellowed news clipping from a reader. A quick search online turned up a copy of the the original text which I’m including below to make it a little easier for you to read. The piece is tongue-in-cheek, and all the richer for it. Enjoy!

Dear Ann Landers: I have four children, all grown up, married and on their own. They were quite a handful to raise, but they turned out great.

I have a fond recollection of a column you printed a few years back about the joys of having kids. Our two oldest children now have kids of their own, and I think they would appreciate a good laugh.

Will you please run that column again?

Reader in Gary

Dear Reader: It’s one of my all-time favorites too. Thank you for asking.

Musings of a Good Father on a Bad Day

There’s nothing sadder than the childless couple. It breaks your heart to see them stretched out, relaxing around swimming pools in Florida and California, suntanned and miserable on the decks of boats, trotting off to enjoy Europe like lonesome fools–with money to spend, time to enjoy themselves and nothing to worry about.

Childless couples become so selfish and wrapped up in their own concerns that you feel sorry for them. They don’t fight over the kids’ discipline. They miss all the fun of “doing without” for the child’s sake. It’s a pathetic sight.

Everyone should have children. No one should be allowed to escape the wonderful experiences attached to each stage in the development of the young. The happy memories of those early years–saturated mattresses, waiting for sitters who don’t show, midnight asthma attacks, rushing to the emergency room of the hospital to get the kid’s head stitched up.

Then comes the payoff–when the child grows from a little acorn into a real nut. What can equal the warm smile of a small lad with the sun glittering on $1,500 worth of braces–ruined by peanut brittle–or the frolicking, carefree voices of 20 hysterical savages running amok at a birthday party?

How sad not to have children to brighten your cocktail parties–massaging potato chips into the rug and wrestling with guests for the olives in their martinis.

How empty is the home without challenging problems that make for a well-rounded life–and an early breakdown; the end-of-day report from Mother, related like strategically placed blows to the temple; the tender, thoughtful discussions when the report card reveals that your senior son is a moron.

Children are worth every moment of anxiety, every sacrifice. You know it the first time you take your son hunting. He didn’t mean to shoot you in the leg. Remember how he cried? How sorry he was? So disappointed you weren’t a deer. Those are the memories a man treasures.

Think back to that night of romantic adventure, when your budding, beautiful daughter eloped with the village idiot. What childless couple ever shares in such a wonderful growing experience? Could a woman without children equal the strength and heroism of your wife when she tried to fling herself out of the bedroom window? Only a father could have the courage to stand by–ready to jump after herThe childless couple lives in a vacuum. They try to fill their lonely lives with dinner dates, theater, golf, tennis, swimming, civic affairs and trips all over the world.

The emptiness of life without children is indescribable.

See what the years have done. He looks boyish, unlined and rested. She is slim, well-groomed and youthful. It isn’t natural. If they had kids, they’d look like the rest of us–tired, gray, wrinkled and haggard. In other words, normal. (Chicago Tribune)

Permissive Parenting


Interview with LZ Granderson on taming your toddler from: www.cnn.com (share this clip)

LZ Granderson tackles a sensitive topic in “Permissive Parents: Curb your brats“, reminding parents that consistent, ongoing discipline is critical to good parenting. And to preventing your friends from hating your kids!

We’ve all experienced it, even the most kid empathetic amongst us. You’re waiting to see the dentist, and a three year old is spreading magazines all over the waiting room floor. Or you’ve just settled into your seat for an overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean and the ten year old in front of you starts playing video games with the volume cranked, bouncing back and forth in his chair, gradually pounding your knees to oblivion. Every day we come across absentee parenting scenarios that frustrate, annoy, even anger us. But can you parent somebody else’s kids? The verdict’s still out on that one.

“The rest of the world should not have to be subjected to your bratty kids.”

I’ll second that! And yet we do. Every day. “Kids are not the center of the universe,” Granderson reminds us, and we shouldn’t allow their whims, urges and needs to dictate our social interactions. And yet so many parents do exactly that. And in the process they allow their kids to alienate others in their social circles.

So what should parents be doing differently when it comes to raising and disciplining kids? I won’t try to armchair quarterback the question, because I don’t have kids of my own. I’ll admit up front that the best ones to answer this question are parents, and ideally parents with well behaved kids. Nevertheless, I am an uncle four times over, and I told middle school and high school students for enough years to learn a few things.

I agree with Granderson that discipline must start early and never waver. It must be real and fair and reliable. And infractions aren’t mortal sins; they’re learning opportunities. But discipline’s an easy out. As Granderson acknowledges in this interview, discipline means different things for different families. And I don’t think that there’s much merit in arguing what universal yardstick could be applied to all families and all situations. It’s probably also worth admitting that I’m not a fan of physical punishment.

I submit to you that even more important than discipline is ongoing instruction. Teach your children what is appropriate again and again, and most will eventually grok the big picture. Create consistent, inalienable expectations and parameters. Kids need boundaries. They need to test them and even need to break them sometimes, but they need boundaries. I’ve literally had students tell me this. I’m not kidding! Exceptions are confusing to kids, and your “nice” exception today blurs expectations tomorrow. I also believe that parents often neglect to teach their kids that different domains/situations demand different behaviors. So many youngsters operate in only one mode. No good. Help your kid understand the difference between interacting with children and adults, informal situations like play dates and formal situations like school or church, home and school, etc. Vocabulary, voice, gesture, physical interaction differ in all of these contexts. Help your kid recognize and understand these often subtle differences, and the world (and my day) will be better. Thanks!

Happy Un-Father’s Day?

Happy Father's Day, virtualDavis and Gordon Davis

"Happy Father's Day, Dad!" (to George Gordon Davis, Sr. from George Gordon Davis, Jr.)

Today is a spectacular day. Bluebird skies overhead. Warm breezes off of Lake Champlain. Dry air. Perfect. Oh, and it’s Father’s Day.

I’ve just returned from Father’s Day brunch at the Essex Inn in Essex, New York. A delicious meal in newly remodeled digs with my father, my mother and my bride. An enjoyable way to celebrate my dad. As his eldest child I couldn’t help but remind him that I was if not instrumental at least a willing participant in his transition into the heralded halls of fatherdom. Early adopter? Angel investor? Something.

It’s easy enough to scoff at Hallmark holidays, but there’s not much value in the effort. As far as I’m concerned any excuse to celebrate, any opportunity to express gratitude, and any chance to commemorate goodness is worthwhile. Life is just better when we celebrate! And Father’s day is no exception. A reminder to let the fellow know that I still love him after almost forty years, that I genuinely appreciate the sacrifices and the efforts he undertook (and undertakes) for me, that I’m sincerely pleased to have a more congenial rapport with him in recent years, that I look forward to a whole lot of living and learning and laughing together in the years ahead.

And yet, I said goodbye to my parents after brunch without sharing these thoughts. My bride and I gave him a handsome pair of cufflinks with a card that was funny/flip/poignant but totally sidestepped mentioning anything I’ve just banged out on my keyboard. Why? Chalk it up to filial psychology. Or distraction. Chalk it up to anything you like, the point is simply that even with Father’s Day on the calendar and even with a leisurely (and delicious) brunch together to celebrate Father’s Day, I dropped the ball entirely. So far…

You see what I’m getting at? Hallmark holidays are marketing miracles. But they also afford us welcome reminders to celebrate and thank and commemorate people who make our lives worth the cost of admission. To say things we’d otherwise overlook. Which is why I’m going to ask my father to read this post shortly. I’d like to make sure he gets the memo, even if it’s delivered digitally instead of over eggs Benedict and roast beef.

Dad, thank you. Thanks for marrying mom. Thanks for choosing to have children. Thanks for swapping your childfree life, your childfree marriage for decades of aggravation, anxiety, astronomical expense and frequent insubordination. Thanks for leaving New York City to raise your family in the North Country. Thanks for working your @$$ off to cloth us, to feed us, to house us, to educate us, to ship us off on far-flung adventures. Thanks for encouraging me to leave home at fourteen to attend Deerfield and later Georgetown. Thanks for underwriting both. Thanks for the letter after college telling me to unwind, to take an adventure, to go learn how to surf and an airplane ticket to anywhere that might help me tackle all three. Thanks for respecting my graduate studies at St. John’s, for helping me juggle graduate school debt, drive a safe car, sort through big people challenges and mistakes. Thanks for encouraging my teaching, my writing, my increasingly peripatetic lifestyle. Thanks for free legal advice over years, and thanks too for learning when to relinquish the lawyer dynamic. Thanks for loving, supporting and encouraging my bride and for never pressuring me to marry her during the four years it took me to take the proverbial leap. Thanks for accepting (and hopefully understanding) our decision not to have children. Full stop. What?

I hope that you know our childfree family is not a judgment of our own parents’ parenting. We both consider ourselves unusually fortunate in this regard. But I do understand that our choice not to have children can be confusing, even saddening or disappointing to our parents. I apologize for the confusion, the sadness, the disappointment. And I am grateful that you have not tried to change our minds, that you’ve respected our decision. In short, this Father’s Day I’d like to thank you for supporting my decision not to be a father!

Which brings me back to the title of this post, “Happy Un-Father’s Day”. With the exception of today, every other day of the year must be Un-Father’s Day, right? Looking to The Unbirthday Song from Alice in Wonderland for logic or at least inspiration, I’ve decided that there are three hundred and sixty four Un-Father’s Days each year. Now that’s reason to celebrate! (Though it’s not the only reason to remain childfree…)

Childfree? Really? Common Questions and Comments (Part 3)

Childfree? Really?

Common questions and comments (Part 3)

“When are you having kids?”, they usually ask. Not “if”. And here are more of the most common responses to my answer:

6) “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?”

I’d like to say “me”. I’m responsible for myself. It’s my obligation to invest in my brain and my body and strive for healthy and happy. If or when I can’t, I should have saved enough money or given enough love to ask for and receive help.

Instead I say we’re open to adopting adults from the next generation of non-breeders, or blurt something else unfunny, dishonest and/or swarthy, while wondering:

How can I get an unborn heir to agree that, in exchange for me handling fatherly responsibilities, they will one day owe the same commitment to me?

How could I dare make my health another’s responsibility unless I managed my own body, diet, alcohol and nicotine consumption perfectly?

It’s already too late for that, so rather than saddling someone else with the burden of the bongwater I drank in my twenties, I hope that the economics of living child-free allow enough room for a giant TV and a smiley, shapely nurse with soft hands and a deep appreciation of the History Channel and eighties music.

Or maybe we’ll just invest in Long-term care insurance.

http://personalinsure.about.com/od/longtermcare/a/ltcguide.htm

7) “Go to doctor what’s his name. He’ll get you pregnant!”

This happens more often than you might think. People are understandably presumptuous, and sincerely charitable when your spouse is a gifted teacher and children’s book author. (Touchtheart.com)

So when we lived in New York, parents of her students were eager to offer recommendations and referrals, assuming motherhood was an obvious goal for someone so nurturing and bossy.

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