Thursday, August 31, 2006

Austin American-Statesmen paints a balanced and flattering portrait of the childfree.

Families of two
Growing number of couples are childless by choice.

I was impressed by the couple in this article, who do a good job of making the childfree appear selfless and giving without apologizing for their choice not to have children.

Charlie and Sara McCabe travel like crazy.

Recently, the couple went to Borneo, on a safari in Africa and on a hike through the rainforest.

The two are exercise enthusiasts, too. They love their action-packed lives (Sara plays in a steel drum metal band InsideOut Steelband), and they love each other.

The couple has been married for nearly 16 years and is childless by choice.
. . .
There are misconceptions and stereotypes of couples who choose not to have children, including not liking children, having difficult childhoods or lacking maturity.

However, many child-free couples, including the McCabes, volunteer generously with children and enjoy spending time with them.
. . .
"We think a good part of the success of our marriage stems from the fact that, because we don't have kids, we almost always have the energy to be kind, patient and generous with each other," said Sara McCabe, 41.

The couple said that they very much admire their family and friends who are parents but that it boils down to a personal choice.
The reporter also interviewed Laura Carroll, author of Families of Two. And although the author is a parent who didn't think she wanted kids before having them, she manages to avoid the pitfall of assuming others will change their minds.

I'm glad my surprises came along, but it gave me respect for the choices of various couples who decide not to have children.

I believe that far too many couples have children without thoroughly thinking through the responsibilities, sacrifices and rewards of nurturing a living soul, caring for their needs and molding their hearts. I admire those who believe that it is a better choice for themselves not to have children because they do give incredible thought to the issue.

And though I think they are missing out on some of the most incredible memories and emotions, we as parents also lack some of the experiences that they receive by being child-free. Tighter finances make it somewhat more difficult to travel, and date nights must be a decision to make time for our spouses.

Although I am well aware that many childfree don't care for children (I personally only enjoy the company of adults and teens, and know the latter are usually not good company for their own parents) that stereotype is exposed enough that heading in the other direction is a positive thing. It just makes plain old sense that people who don't like kids will end up not having them, and I do sometimes bristle at the idea that everyone loves kids, but ultimately we suffer more from the child-hater stereotype than the picture painted here. I know quite a few people like Charlie and Sara from the New York City chapter; I am glad the media is finally giving them the attention they deserve.

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