October 18, 2018

Friday Funny- Why No Kids? Black Thumb.

Hopefully this explains everything:

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Also this: (Who kills succulents??? Me.)

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In 2002, I had a cactus for almost a month! Eleven years later I decided to try again with little success.

In 1998, I got a puppy! In 1999, I gave it to my folks.Good news: fourteen years later they are not so eager for grandkids!

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Phew! It’s good to be childfree! Also, it’s probably for the best that I don’t have any living things to look after.

 

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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Childfree Friday Funny – Sh*t My Kids Ruined

At the end of each week we try to lighten the mood with some childfree humor.

This week let us introduce you to the hilarious  Sh*t My Kids Ruined

After all everyday is a Friday to the childfree!

 

Why No Kids? Dependent 20 Somethings!

Why no kids? Dependent 20 somethings! (Photo credit: Junior Achievement)

Why no kids? Dependent 20 somethings! (Photo credit: Junior Achievement)

In what could be an indicator of either a massive drop in teens’ financial prospects or the fact that teens today are getting more realistic about their financial futures, a new survey shows that the percentage of teenagers who expect to remain dependent on mom and/or dad until at least age 27 has doubled in just the last two years. (Consumerist)

Chris Morran’s post, “Number Of Teens Expecting To Depend On Parents Into Adulthood Has Doubled Since 2011“, breaks down the startling figures from a Junior Achievement study released on March 27.

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. (Junior Achievement)

The statistics, based on a survey conducted with The Allstate Foundation does indicate that teenagers have become more optimistic since 2011 about their financial futures, but there’s a catch.

Junior Achievement USA® (JA) and The Allstate Foundation’s 2013 Teens and Personal Finance Poll shows that teenagers are more optimistic about their financial futures, with a 20 percent increase in teens believing they will be financially better off than their parents. However, part of their financial security comes from depending on parents until a later age. (Junior Achievement)

Read: teens eye a brighter financial future so long as they can maintain their allowance cord into their late twenties. Hang on, ‘rents, don’t snip the dinero umbilical cord yet! But when exactly is “yet”?

The survey found that 25 percent of teens think they will be age 25-27 before becoming financially independent from their parents, up from 12 percent in 2011. (Junior Achievement)

Umbilical Cord Bungee Jump (Credit: Rob Caswell)

Umbilical Cord Bungee Jump (Credit: Rob Caswell)

Heck, by then these coddled teens might even have children of their own. Having spent a few years living in France and Italy as a 20 something where this social trend was common, this sounds familiar. Jack E. Kosakowski, the President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA fleshes out the news a bit.

[I] infer that teens expect to live with their parents longer because 23 percent are unsure about their ability to budget and nearly 20 percent express similar feelings about the use of credit cards. Additionally, 34 percent of teens express a lack of confidence in their ability to invest their money. (Junior Achievement)

A 40 Something on Dependent 20 Somethings

I’m no finance wizard (Team WNK relies on BrianWNK for all matters economic) nor do I claim a stellar post adolescence financial trajectory. In short, I’m ill qualified to opine on the dramatic shift over the last two years highlighted in these sorts of survey results:

In 2011, 75% of teens said they would be supporting themselves at some point between 18 and 24. In just two years, that has decreased to 59%. (Consumerist)

Sounds like bad news to me, probably in keeping with US financial outlooks in general, but my macroeconomic barometer is probably not that relevant. Nor is it worth my weighing in on these findings (via Junior Achievement):

  • Of the 33 percent of teens who say they do not use a budget, 42 percent are “not interested” and more than a quarter (26 percent) think “budgets are for adults.”
  • More than half of teens (52 percent) think students are borrowing too much to pay for college, yet only nine percent report they are currently saving money for college. Nearly 30 percent have not talked with their parents about paying for higher education.

The times are a’changing. I suspect that our collective unconscious should be unsettled. But I’ll leave the really wise and useful conclusions to scholars and pundits.

So, if I’m not going to slash around in the statistics and social science mosh pit, then why-oh-why did I bring up all these distressing survey results? And why are they distressing?

Well, in a very selfish way, they are not too distressing. Not to me. Personally. Because… I have no children, dependent or otherwise. But if I did, if Junior were texting me another request for an advance on his allowance to cover his Verizon bill, then I might well be extremely distressed about the survey results. The odds seem to be increasingly good that Junior will be siphoning off funds for a looong time. And, frankly, I’m pretty sure I’d be concerned if my 20 something were still totally dependent into the dawn of his/her third decade.

Do you follow me?

Dependent 20 somethings strike me as another really good reason why not to have kids. Let’s call it reason #1972. Actually I might have already used that. There are a lot of reasons why I don’t have kids. Cash hungry 20 somethings had never before crossed my mind. Overall expense? Check. Tuition? Check. But the possibility of having a 20 something that fails to launch? Add it to the list…

Why no kids? Dependent 20 somethings!

Childfree Celebrities: Famous Hollywood Edition: Actors and Musicians– Women’s History Month

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Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time for another fun list of childfree celebrities. We could list many famous women who do not have kids but these women have something to say about being childfree and proud!

This time we celebrate our favorite actresses,

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo (Photo credit: aclbraga)

comediennes, TV personalities and musicians:

Oprah Winfrey – Media guru

Dolly Parton – Actress, singer-songwriter

Betty White – Actress

Janeane Garofalo – Comedian, actress and political activist

Eva Mendes – Actress

Tallulah Bankhead – Actress of the stage and screen

Paulette Goddard – Actress and Broadway performer

Stockard Channing – Actress

Sarah Brightman – English classical soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer

Shirley Manson – Scottish singer and actress, lead singer of rock band Garbage

Claudette Colbert – French-born American-based actress

Lauren Hutton – American model and actress

Mary Chapin Carpenter – American folk and country musician and winner of five Grammy Awards

Mary Pickford – Actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Daphne Zuniga – Actress

Ginger Rogers – Actress, dancer, and singer

Cameron Diaz – Actress, model

Kathy Griffin –  Comedian, actress “It seems like kids don’t have the rights they need. For example a prison sentence for a child molester is so so incredibly low and yet in a way, kids are running the world (in many ways) it revolves around these kids but I don’t feel like we’re really protecting them. I want to really protect kids. I want to give them rights they need, I don’t want to give them the right to annoy me in a restaurant, I want to give them the right not to get molested.”

Caitlin Moran – British TV Personality  “No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it.”

Christine McVie – Singer Fleetwood Mac

Nanci Griffith – Singer, guitarist and songwriter

Bo Derek – Actress, model and animal welfare activist

Bonnie Raitt – American blues singer-songwriter

Jean Arthur – Actress and major film star during the 1930s-40s

Julie Christie – Actress and Academy Award winner, starred in Doctor Zhivago

Lily Tomlin – Actress, comedian and writer

Jaqueline Bisset – Actress

Lara Flint Boyle – Actress

Mae West – Actress and sex symbol

Jean Harlow – Actress and sex symbol

Helen Mirren – Award-winning actress

Marisa Tomei – Actress

Dusty Springfield – British pop singer

Janet Jackson –  Singer, songwriter and actress

Billie Holiday –  American jazz singer and songwriter

Katharine Hepburn –  Actress and winner of four academy awards

Marilyn Monroe – Icon,  actress, singer and model

Liza Minnelli – Actress and singer

Janis Joplin – Singer and songwriter

Stevie Nicks – Singer, member of  Fleetwood Mac

Portia de Rossi – Actress

Bessie Smith – Blues singer of the 1920s and 30s

Debbie Harry – lead singer of Blondie

Pam Grier – Actress

Gloria Gaynor – Singer

Mary Pickford – Actress and co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Bettie Page – Pin-up girl

Ashley Judd – Actress, women’s rights activist “Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.”

Zooey Deschanel – On kids from a Marie Claire interview:  “Don’t hold your breath waiting for Deschanel to announce a pregnancy, either. “That’s never been my focus,” she said of having children. “I like kids, and I like being around kids, but it was never an ambition, something, like, I need. I like working. That’s what I like doing. I like to work.”

Ava Gardner – Actress

Greta Garbo – Actress

Ellen Degeneres – Television host, actress and stand-up comedian

Margaret Cho – Actress, comedian, women’s rights activist and LGBT rights activist

Maria Callas – Soprano opera singer

Leah Dunham – Writer, director, actress

Kim Cattrall – Actress

Jo Frost – British nanny and television personality, better known as Supernanny

Julia Child – American chef, tv personality and author.

Rachel Ray – TV Chef

Quite an accomplished list! Did we miss anyone WNKies?

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Childfree Celebrities: Famous Authors Edition – Women’s History Month

Cover of "The Second Sex"

Cover of The Second Sex

As a children’s author I once wrote a post about Dr. Suess and other famous kiddie-lit authors that didn’t have kids.

 

You can read it here.

 

Notable female childfree children’s authors include: Margaret Wise Brown, famous for “Good Night Moon,”  Beatrix Potter of “Peter’s Rabbit” fame, and Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women.”

 

Here is a list of other famous female writers, authors and journalists who made their mark on the world with their words and not their offspring. It’s quite an impressive club:

 

Elizabeth Gilbert – Author, “Eat Pray Love

 

Marie Colvin – Award-winning American journalist for the British newspaper The Sunday Times

 

Dorothy Parker – American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist

 

Anaïs Nin – Author

 

Melanie Notkin – Founder of SavvyAuntie.com, Author of “Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids” (Morrow/HarperCollins 2011)

 

Rachel Carson – Conservationist and author of  “Silent Spring”

 

The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anita Brookner – British novelist and art historian

 

Amy Tan –  American writer best known for her book “The Joy Luck Club

 

Harper Lee – Author, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

 

Marian Keyes – Author

 

Maeve Binchy – Novelist

 

Virginia Woolf – Author

 

Hilary Mantel – Novelist

 

Simone de Beauvoir – Author, “The Second Sex

 

Charlotte Bronte – Author, “Jane Eyre”

 

Edith Wharton – Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist

 

Jane Austen – Author, “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility”

 

Isek Dineson – (pen name Karen Blixen) author of “Out of Africa”

 

Gloria Steinem – American feminist, journalist and political activist

 

WNKies do you know any other women that should be added to this list?

 

 

 

Childfree Celebrities: Artist Edition – Women’s History Month

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1940. See discussi...

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1940. See discussion of her works below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So I’m an artist and a woman and I’m a little annoyed that there isn’t an Artist’s History Month. I will celebrate Women’s History Month and bemoan the fact that it’s during crappy mud season, but hey, women are used to getting the shaft. Let’s make a pledge to have Women’s History Month last all year. Let’s celebrate our freedom to make choices and use our voices. We are still questioned about our childfree status and told we can’t “have it all” (which to many means career and children and a happy life). My career, happy marriage, and childfree lifestyle is everything,

 

and my art is my legacy. Here is a list of fabulous female artists (fine arts) who chose to have it all – just not kids! This month I will be including women from other fields who are my childfree (s)heroes!

 

Georgia O’Keeffe – Painter

 

Frida Kahlo – Painter

 

Mary Cassatt – Painter

 

Lee Krasner – Painter

 

Zaha Hadid – Architect “I have not sacrificed my private life. It was not an issue for me. It wasn’t a choice. I don’t think one has to get married. Nor are you obliged to have children if you don’t want them. I didn’t think Oh dear, I can’t have kids – it was never like that, it was not a sacrifice. If I had been with the right person and I’d had kids I’m sure I could have managed”

 

Tracey Emin – Artist. Emin once said that being childless is difficult because “you’re treated like a witch.”

 

Cath Kidson – Designer

 

Coco Chanel – Designer

 

Edith Head – Costume Designer

 

Jessie Wilcox Smith – Illustrator

 

Kate Greenaway – Illustrator

 

Beatrice Wood – Artist

 

Hey WNKers: Can you think of others?

 

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!

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