Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Russian Newsweek Cover Story: Parental Bribes and the Childfree

If you speak Russian, please help us out by translating some or all of this article. I am posting below a rough Babelfish translation for the time being.
Chayldfri are physically healthy and completely they can bring children, but they do not want to sacrifice their freedom, money, time and energy. Today in to [Childfree LiveJournal Group] is more than 1000 participants, daily enter new. True, until it covers only the small portion of Russians, who consciously reject the continuation of kind. According to the data of the Federal Service of gosstatistiki, of 42 million Russian families 48% they do not have children, moreover only 5 million - according to the medical indices. Rest either await the more suitable conditions (dwelling, work, accumulations), or they live according to the principle "third excess" and become the followers of means the lives of chayldfri.
Original Article (In Russian)

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Monday, February 26, 2007

What are the Politics of Childfreedom?

digg story Update: Blasphematrix posted a response to the previous post.
Childfree News calls Ann an “unusual ally in the party of Family Values.” But I don’t think this is so unusual at all. The conservatives are generally anti-welfare and although they are anti-choice once the egg has a sperm wriggling through it, I’ve yet to hear any of them complain about sterilization, in fact, the opposite, I’ve heard sterilization for these lame-brained breeders who keep having baby after baby after baby that they do not have the means to support advocated on even Dr. Laura’s radio show. The only people who bitch about sterilization are the liberals.
I'll continue the dialogue. While there is, of course, no single ideology that is aligned with childfreedom generally (and as my readers know, I feel both major parties regularly disenfranchise us) I still notice a strong skew to the left among my childfree friends. On the most basic level, I attribute this to the fact that religiosity leads to both conservatism and parenting, the fact that free-thinking that leads one away from traditionally assumed values is necessary to decide not to parent.

But most centrally, the modern right aligns itself with family values in a way that is more antipathetic to childfreedom. While liberals would drain of us of our cash to support the wee ones, it is the right who are saying marriage must be defended as a procreative model It is conservatives that would deny us the very means to avoid having them, such as birth control and sex education.

Breaking it down even further; values are often divided into the economic and the social. Those who are to the left on both are liberal, to the right on both are conservative. Those who believe in liberal social policies and conservative economic policies are generally libertarian. I believe that conservative economic policies favor the childfree, by steering away from child tax credits and other redistributions toward parents. Liberal social policies favor the childfree, by increasing our ability to avoid pregnancy, and by steering from the notion that it is somehow an obligation or duty.

Of all the permutaitons possible, the harms visiting upon us by conservative social policies have the most direct effect, and strike closer to our interests.

But of course, this is a debatable point, and it is only one aspect of the political breakdown... which is why you get such a range of views in our community. Indeed I would theorize that the childfree have a high rate of independent views - positions that do not correlate well with one standard ideology. I see a study. You there, Vinny C?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Blogger Takes Environmental Parents to Task With the Ultimate Insult

Most Environmentalists Are Not Morally Superior To Ann Coulter
I would, however, agree with Ann that most liberals don’t care about the environment and want reduced standards of living (for everyone but themselves, of course). Case in point are my liberal relatives with their big house, big plot of land and a gaggle of kiddies. Shit, they almost populated enough to have a basketball team.
. . .
Back to Ann — it’s funny the rant Ann goes on about the people hating environmentalists, considering that she wrote a favorable review of “The Baby Boon” which appears on the jacket of that book. If you aren’t familiar with “The Baby Boon,” boy, this is a hardass childfree book that exposes the child-centric breeder culture for exactly what it is.

Ann is a childfree woman from what I can tell. . . . [M}y point here today will be that it doesn’t matter what Ann’s reasons are, from the perspective of a childfree environmentalist, she’s done more for the environment by being a childfree woman than 99% of the liberals out there who call themselves environmentalists.

I don’t care what country you live in, humans in every country produce waste and use resources, some more or less than others, but, nonetheless to sustain a human, waste must be produced and resources must be used regardless if you are in the first, second or third world. . . . The waste and resources from ONE human who is born into this world far exceeds anything that one environmentalist can do for the earth in terms of living “green.”

So what I’m saying here is that, regardless of Ann’s wrong-headed opinions about science, her actions are FAR MORE GREEN than most environmentalists, since most of these people have children, and many of them have several children. And as a childfree environmentalist, I am far more interested in Ann’s actions than what she spouts off about at the mouth.

I’ll take Ann over the so-called “green” liberal hippy mama with her three brats and preggo with another preaching about “sustainability” and “cloth diapers” and running off at the mouth about “that horrible right wing Ann.” Green liberal hippy mama who can’t get her fertility in check is the problem, not Ann!

Any so-called “environmentalist” with a bunch of kids needs to just STFU and not say a word to Ann. They don’t have the moral foundation with which to criticize anything Ann says about the environment, period.
Perhaps not inherent in her lifestyle choice, but in the endorsement of the Baby Boon, we see yet another example of an unusual ally in the party of Family Values. This one predates the Condi brouhaha.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Artist Includes Childfree In Portraits of Families

All types of families showcased at exhibit
The photographs showcase local families, whether they be a mom, dad, two kids and a dog, or two moms, a baby and two cats or even husband and wife with their pets, among many other combinations.
Longtime readers will know this is a particular pet peeve of mine. I'm happy to see people acknowledging that we have 'stared a family' the day we married.

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Childfree Article on iVillage

The 'child-free by choice' brigade wave bye, bye baby
In an interview with the BBC, Dr Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics acknowledges attitudes are changing.

She says: 'The whole idea of the child-free lifestyle is beginning to be recognised by the media. Private feelings are being legitimised and people are beginning to feel that they are not being deviant in some way.'
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France's Baby Boom on Path To Make it Most Populous European Nation

France Could Top Germany Due to Babies
France may in the future overtake Germany to become the most economically powerful of the EU member states reaping the benefits of its current baby boom, according to a German study.

Recently scooping the fertility crown in Europe with French women having an average of two children each, France is on course to overtake Germany both in the population stakes and on an economic scale.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hotel Owner Bans Kids, Who "Scream And Run Around And Disturb Other Guests"

Hotel bans kids, welcomes dogs
An Austrian hotel owner has banned children - but says pet dogs will always be welcome.

Hotel Cortisen turned away a German family with two young boys when they turned up for a holiday in the Alpine village of St Wolfgang.

Owner Roland Ballner, 38, said: "I have just had the hotel redecorated for more than two million euros - kids will put their dirty paw-prints on the white walls, stand on the white leather sofas in their dirty shoes, and scream and run around and disturb other guests.

"I have decided to make a stand and I am sure others will follow suit and say no to kids. From today, children are no longer welcome - and I plan to advertise it as I am sure it will attract guests."

But he added: "I don't have a problem with dogs... dogs are always welcome in my hotel."
This guy is my new hero. I can't imagine that pro-natalism is that much less in germany - one would get absolutely crucified if you said that in America. With Germany's nationalistic push to pay people to make more Germans, I suspect this man is just willing to deal with the backlash. I do hope that his efforts are rewarded. I know where I am staying when I finally get to Germany!

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NewsVine: Childfree Rant

Why do people have children?
Everywhere I turn, I see demons spawning out of vaginas. Children are everywhere, and they are worse than the plague.
. . .
They're the ultimate leeches, and they never pay you back. You spend time, money, energy, love, and all you get is a kick in the pants and a ticket to Florida when they're done draining your soul.
It is listed under satire. If it is satirical, I'm missing the joke.

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Group Seeks To Ban Low-Dose Birth Control Pill Due To Increased Clotting Risk

Group seeks to ban certain birth control pills
Certain low-dose birth control pills increase a woman's risk of a potentially deadly blood clot more than others and should be pulled from the market, a consumer group says.
. . .
It is not a new issue: Labels of desogestrel-containing birth control pills already list that increased risk in fine-print warnings of side effects. And in 1995, Britain's drug regulators sparked a pill scare by issuing warnings about the same progestin, which sold abroad for years before hitting the U.S. market.

Public Citizen contended that after years of research that showed no extra benefit for desogestrel-containing contraceptives, it was time for users to switch to older, safer birth control pills. It was posting a video explaining the petition on YouTube to get that message to younger pill users.

"FDA will carefully review the petition," agency spokeswoman Susan Cruzan said.
OK - not a child-free related rant, directly, but what happened to letting people making their own choices as to whether the rewards of certain medicines are worth the risks? Regulate like hell to make certain every patient is explained the risks in no uncertain terms, then treat us like grownups and let us choose for ourselves.

I worry every time a group tries to block access to birth control, no matter the reason. We have too few choices, and too little access as it is. Women should not have to choose between abortion and pregnancy.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Feminism -That's When You Think Women Can Be Mothers AND Work, Right?

A female business columnist printed an offensive letter claiming that women should "Stay at home, and do YOUR job." While the columnist extols the virtues of multi-tasking mommies a reader called him out.

Women in Business: Your E-mails on He Said, She Said
I can hardly believe you received that piece of trash letter in the year 2007. What does Mr.. Know-It-All say regarding the single childless women? Or, the married childless women? Does he really have the gall to think that women are *only* supposed to be baby factories?
I'm disturbed that the other readers, and the columnist herself seem to have missed that point entirely. They seem to be more worried about what kind of baby factories we're supposed to become. The scary thing is that this is what passes for enlightenment.

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CNN Video Takes On Childless Annulment Proposal

No Children, No Marriage?

Reporter:"The idea that married couples have to have children is obviously absurd"

Could this initiative be helping the childfree by bringing to light the asinine nature of these assumptions? It seems to have produced a newfound vehement defense of the childfree choice, if only to point out the purpose of the initiative. They treat it like it has always been foolhardy to assume marriage is for children. Is it me, or is this new?

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Workplace Debate Continues

Civil war rages in the office...
Offices, factories, surgeries, shops and studios are having to cope with increasing incidents of job jealousy — between those who insist on more time with their children and those who are forced to take up the slack which their colleagues with families leave behind.

So one might imagine that this week's news that Beverley Hughes, the Minister for Children, wants to introduce flexible working rights for all employees — not just those with children under six — would have signalled a rapprochement between the two warring factions.

I very much doubt it. Not only are businesses big and small going to resist this to the death (the CBI was first out of the traps to condemn it as "foolish") but this is the self-same Government that come April is to extend paid maternity leave from six months to nine, and which wants to give fathers the opportunity to take half a year off as well.
. . .
On top of this, working parents are the subject of increasing vilification from those who think "childcare" has become some kind of magical password.

Uttering this magic word gives parents freedom to leave work early or arrive late, apparently inured from disapproving remarks about them inconveniencing others and having a lack of commitment to their jobs.
. . .
But is it really reasonable that while a mother is unquestioningly granted paid maternity leave perhaps two or three times in her career, a childfree person seeking even an unpaid break is invariably turned down? Imagine if they actually asked to be paid!

Yet who's to say that going to work on an overseas aid project for a few months or caring for a sick relative is less worthy of time off from work than having a baby?
See also the comments at the end of the article. But don't try to play Breeder Bingo while reading them. Your marking hand would get a cramp.

It’s not all sex and the city for the childless female lawyer
It seems that all the negotiating going on to produce better conditions in the workforce is centred around women with children. Have our childless sisters been separated from the herd and treated as unimportant and therefore not worthy of consideration?
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Friday, February 09, 2007

Video: Entitlement Mommy Pwned.

Dead Like Me: Shoots Down Entitlement Mom.

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Childfreedom In History: Rising, But Not New.

Inconceivable: More married couples are choosing to not have kids, and are proud of it
This is hardly the first generation of people making such a decision. Over history, changes in society, technological breakthroughs and economic hard times have made it possible, and for some desirable, to refrain from producing offspring.

"Childlessness is not new," said Philip Morgan, a professor of sociology at Duke University.
. . .
During the Depression, he added, many Americans also chose not to have children because they could not afford them. "Childlessness levels now are not higher than those in the 1930s," he said. Even so, the rapid growth of the population since would suggest that more American couples than ever are choosing to stay child-free.
. . .
Some even see this issue as a defining one for modern American society, as a line in the sand in the nation's so-called culture wars, a place where science and beliefs clash.

One such person is Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. . ."I would argue that it (not having children) ought to be falling short of the glory of God. Deliberate childlessness defies God's will," he said.

Mohler, who uses the same basic argument in his opposition to same-sex marriage, said that rather than being concerned about overpopulation, he was concerned about underpopulation.
I've been thinking of taking an archnemesis. Am I big enough to have one? And yet, there is no arguing when you cannot agree on basic theological grounds. Perhaps that is best left to the christian childfree.

I liked the history discussion. Although the first part of this article was pretty standard stuff - with a few good quotes thrown in - for childfree articles, this is new. And I do love it when they quote professors.

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Family With Unruly Infant Asked to Leave Montreal Restaurant.

Un enfant ne peut agir comme un adulte
All public places, without exception, should be accessible to children and armed with services facilitating access to families, according to the "Council of the family and childhood".

"Children are a collective treasure (richness). Everyone should mobilize for the well-being of the child and the family," affirms the president of the council, Marguerite Blais.

The comments were numerous yesterday following the publication of an article in the Newspaper of Montreal about a family claiming to be expelled of a restaurant of Laval because their 14 month old child was, in the opinion of the owner, making too much of a mess.

Mrs. Blais affirms that you cannot demand that a child acts like an adult at the table. "a healthy child fidgets. It is sad to think that this would bother people ", she adds. that to in no case should parents limit their outings for this reason.

No children here

Vincent Ciaccio, director of strategic planning for No Kidding, a Canadian social club for people without children, does not have the same opinion.

"Restaurants should have the choice as to whether they want to allow children or not simply because they are not set up for that", Mr. Ciaccio believes.

The children shout, cry, make a mess and often, the parents give them too much freedom," believes Mr. Ciaccio. "It is a question of respect. The couples who leave their child at home [with a babysitter] to have a quiet dinner private conversation should not have to endure the tears and the tantrums of children ", he concludes.
Many thanks to Amanda, leader of No Kidding! Houston, for the translation.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Marriages Without Children Considered 'Failure' in African Cultures, often Fall Apart for This Reason

Plight of childless couples in Africa
According to the African views of marriage, its main purpose is to produce children. Children are greatly valued in the African life. They are the seal of marriage. In many parts of the continent, once a marriage has produced children it is very rare to see it broken up, since nobody wishes to part with his or her children. On the other hand, if no children are born that marriage often breaks up, although arrangements may be made to preserve it but to get children at the same time (John S. Mbiti, An Introduction to African Religion, 1975, p. 108).
. . .
[T]he Mbiti quotation above is interesting as well as dangerous. It imples (sic) placing an exaggerated premium on having children in marriage.

In African culture, it is almost a lesser evil not to marry than to marry without being able to procreate. In fact, any marriage without a child is simply considered a failure.
. . .
With the above mentality, many childless African couples have found themselves in the quagmire of rejection by their in-laws, scorned by family members, and ridiculed by the society. The man is particularly pressured by his kinsmen to give up the fruitless woman for another who can do them proud.
. . .
[T]hough Christianity considers child bearing as the supreme gift of marriage , and in fact encourages couples to welcome it, she never judges any marriage as failure on the grounds of childlessness. The Catholic Church . . . insists that childless couples could derive their satisfaction and fulfilment (sic) in other various ways beside child bearing. Such couples could find fulfilment (sic)in giving special attention to love-sharing, which the church now considers the first end of marriage.
I once attended the wedding of a friend from Nigeria. I knew that the couple wanted children, but was surprised just how much her family's toasts centered around wishing them offspring - especially with her plans to start medical school right away.

I see now the wide gap in cultural understandings, which I have found present even from region to region within the US. I always consider myself lucky to be from New York, and now living in Cambridge. In both places, the decision not to bear children is not unheard of, and there is ample support for choosing a life with another focus. Although there are some parenting-evangelists and detractors, I have not faced the tough road my counterparts in more rural or religious regions of the US have. Now, even they, have reason to be grateful, proof that it could be even worse.

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Emergence of the Childfree Community; Extremes are More Often Covered By Media

This is an old article from 2005.

Are the childfree a fast-growing, misunderstood movement — or just a bunch of mean ol’ kid haters?
Deciding not to bear the fruit of your loins is nothing new, but within the last five years the childfree community has begun to band together, largely through online support groups.
. . .
Reasons for choosing this lifestyle can range from personal to pecuniary. In a recent study conducted by economist Amalia Miller of the University of Virginia, a woman in her 20s can expect to increase her lifetime wages by 10 percent for each year she delays giving birth.

Who are the voluntarily childless? Numerous research studies have revealed that most couples who choose not to reproduce are well-educated, are employed in a professional field, have high incomes, are generally white, live in urban areas and are less religious than their child-bearing counterparts.
The article goes on to describe the No Kidding!, the Detroit chapter and quote its members on different topics.
Childfree people also lament what they feel is preferential treatment given to those with kids. Debra Mollen is an assistant professor of psychology at Texas Women’s University, and conducted an extensive study on childfree women. She found many of her subjects were expected to work longer hours than co-workers who were mothers.

“Pregnant women get preferential parking, those without children are expected to work longer hours, people with children get tax breaks,” Mollen says. “There’s social sanctioning for having children.”
. . .
Some media have eagerly jumped on the more outspoken of the childfree set, the “hardcore” contingent.
. . .
Dennis Byrne of the Chicago Tribune recently wrote a column expressing his empathy to the childfree: “Aw, poor babies.” The self-proclaimed “Primo Breeder” then went on to say that “having children is both a blessing and a great service to society, perhaps one of life’s greatest. Raising children is vastly more important (and difficult) work than childless couples planning a winetasting.”

Web designer Brenda Smith, who’s 26, childfree and living in Novi, says of such criticism, “Sometimes it’s easier to go with ‘childhater’ rather than someone who decides this as a choice. It’s something to get people angry about, which makes a better story.”
. . .
Though there certainly is a small segment of the childfree community that does, in fact, loathe and detest all children, many more childfree people say that’s not the case. “I have a 13-year-old nephew who’s like a son to me,” Johnson-Bignotti says. “Few of us who call ourselves childfree are completely free of children in our lives — we just choose not to parent.”

Parents sometimes invade online childfree communities to lecture or insult the denizens, causing white-hot flame wars. In turn, many childfree boards post stories about neglected or abused children as proof that not all parents are such selfless angels.
It's a long article, and I have quoted enough. Suffice it to say that the journalist seems to be commenting on how the media comments. Good thing it was only the one time, or I'd be out of business. Well, not really.

Media focuses on the outspoken hardcore contingent, opposition creates flame war online. There is nothing new or unique about this. It is less a function of the parenting and childfree communities, and more a function of society in general, and specifically the way interaction on the internet goes. Anonymous forums = more divisive speech.

The article also goes on to cover the idea that you can be 'childfree from birth'. This is not unlikely, although many of us do not realize or articulate these feelings when young (some do). I think the number of childfree people who have been told of the existence of childfreedom for the first time and responded "Wait, you can do that?" are a further testament to this possibility.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reduce birth rates in developing world, or global extreme poverty will worsen

Birth rates 'must be curbed to win war on global poverty'

In short, the expected population explosion in the developing world will increase the number and percentage of people in extreme poverty.

But because of the forced population controls of China (and in the past, India), people are afraid to talk about reducing population through contraception as a means of reducing poverty.

For all of you who feel that it's not politically correct or morally right to exercise population control measures in a dire situation like this, I hope the thirsty people in the future will be able to drink a nice big glass of your self-righteousness. Because there sure as hell won't be any potable water left for them to drink.

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College Student Plans Placenta-Free Future

Looking forward to a Pampers-free lifestyle
We live in a society that has a very structured idea about what course your life should take. You go to school, you get married, you have kids. Despite the "traditional" nuclear families being fewer, the expectation that you will, someday, have children, is still there.
. . .
Writing this article, I merely Googled the word “childfree” and a whole plethora of organizations, support-groups and resources for childfree parents popped up. Kitchener-Waterloo even has its own chapter of “No Kidding!” a social club and support group for adults sick of friends who can only discuss potty training and ballet recitals.

The number of couples that are child-free by choice is on the rise. It’s clear I won’t be alone in my Pampers-less lifestyle; however, it’s also clear that those who choose not to have children are still marginalized, as though there’s something wrong with them.

I don’t hate children — I just don’t have the patience for them. Far too many people have children for entirely the wrong reasons: they want to carry on the family name, their up-bringing prescribes it, they don’t want to die alone, etc. So what if my biological clock never starts to tick? The world is overpopulated as it is. Humans do need to procreate to continue the species — but should everyone necessarily do it?
. . .
Having children for the wrong reasons is worse than not having them at all.
People who have children, and have them for the right reasons — actually wanting to raise a good person, for one — should be applauded; but so should those who choose for equally right reasons not to procreate. I’m not selfish for choosing to have a childless future — sure, I’ll have more time, money, freedom and space than my child-bearing counterparts — but, frankly, it would be easier to go the more traditional route. . . .
I am so happy to see an article on childfreedom appear in a college newspaper. This is one place I feel the childfree issue should receive attention, but is largely ignored. Perhaps it is because few take the chilfree choice seriously when made by the young. My husband and I realized we were childfree at 18 - four years before he made it permanent. One member of the NYC Chapter joined at 19 - eleven years after she realized she didn't want children. If you have given the matter serious thought, I do think one is able to make a real and lasting decision - especially when it is often less of a decision than a realization.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Childfree Humor

Baby Blues Comic
Select comic for February 04, 2007

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Acting PM of Oz: Parenting Equips One For Political Life Better Than Any Other Qualification

The value of women cannot be measured by child-bearing, writes Gabriella Coslovich.
Last week, acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile became the latest to cast doubt on the credentials of that most hapless and unnatural of creatures, the childless, unmarried woman. Parenting is the great leveller he said, and being a parent equips one far better than any other qualification for political life.
. . .
OK, so perhaps Gillard brought it on herself by having the temerity to state that it would be extremely difficult to be a top-ranking politician and a mother to boot. To me, this sounded, rather, like an acknowledgement of the great responsibility of both jobs. But some took umbrage.
. . .
And if becoming a parent is so damn humbling, why do the Mark Vailes, Mary Lous and Marees of this world constantly feel the need to assert the pre-eminence of their life experiences?
I think the journalist has commented better than I could on the statements, if a little bit above this American's head. The last line should become a classic.

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Ballot Measure Proposal: Have Kids in Three Years Or Your Marriage Is Annuled.

Idea Would Require Couples to Have Kids

Proponents of same-sex marriage have introduced a ballot measure that would require heterosexual couples to have a child within three years or have their marriages annulled.

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance acknowledged on its Web site that the initiative was "absurd" but hoped the idea prompts "discussion about the many misguided assumptions" underlying a state Supreme Court ruling that upheld a ban on same-sex marriage.

The measure would require couples to prove they can have children to get a marriage license. . . .

I'm not too worried that this will go through. The right isn't crazy enough to pass an 'absurd' law just to retain intellectual consistency with regard to their reasoning behind bans on gay marriage. Right?

It might present an interesting media blurb if a childfree couple got behind this. I had the idea of taking out a full page ad in the NYT saying "Stop My Marriage!" A consistent, narrowly tailored approach to retaining marriage for childrearing wouldn't even need the annulment or proof positions; it would simply involve a signed statement on marriage license applications, as those stating you're not married to anyone else, or brother and sister.

And no, my commentary is not really child-free related. I'm aware we come from all over the political spectrum, even if the community in general skews left. With all the attention given to Condi, Rush, et al, I figured I was entitled to a little digression . . .

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Blog Discusses Eating Out With Young Kids

At first, I was inclined toward this blogger, as she refers to her children as "monkeys". A sense of humor and awareness that your children can be disruptive are good places to start. The site is also for those trying to dine out in peace, although don't get optimistic just yet . . .

Monkey Tales:'Kids are kids ... they knock things over, throw things, they're loud. But there is a limit'
"She says she had to shut down the blog's comments section to stop abuse and insults from "childless by choice" activists."
We have activists? No one told me! Of course, that appears to be a name for "pissed off posters".
"I do my best to keep my monkeys under control and would certainly leave a restaurant if I felt that their behavior was seriously affecting the other customers' enjoyment of their meals," she wrote.
. . .
"People who let their children scream ... are most likely the same people who have loud, inappropriate cell phone conversations. It is not that they are parents, but they are rude people to begin with."
. . .
"It's as tricky a thing as you can ever do," talking to customers about their kids' behavior, says Raymond Williams, co-owner of Soul Fish Cafe in Cooper-Young and a dad himself. "Kids are kids ... they knock things over, throw things, they're loud. But there is a limit."
I'm not quite sure what to make of all this, especially since we appear to be labeled the enemy by them from the start. Still, I am glad, at least, that they are addressing the problem.
What to do? "I've gotten up and left restaurants before."

Folks who want kids in restaurants to be seen and not heard might be surprised to learn that the people who are most concerned about how their children are behaving are parents themselves.

"I can't stand to be around my kids when they're acting up in a public place," says Dana Brandon, mom of Emma, in second grade, and Ben, a preschooler.
And while the assertion that the parents are the most aware or concerned with bad behavior is not always true (I can't be the only one who has repeatedly observed parents obliviously ignoring it) it is true that many of those annoyed by the behavior are parents themselves. One of the most priceless experiences I have had was my mother reaming out the parents of two loud, jumping kids. You don't tell a mother of two and a longtime third grade teacher that "they're just being kids" and "there's nothing I can do".

She knows better.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Another Article About How We're Not Selfish

Author's Note: I have half a dozen posts in the draft - there's been a rush of relevant articles recently. I'm knee-deep in Foreign Relations Law and Administrative Law, so I can't get too all of them today, but stay tuned over the next week for new posts. Also, the Childfree Issues blog dual-identity as a podcast is now realized.

Couples reject 'selfish' label as they choose to be childfree
In this family oriented country, Steeper and the growing number of childless-by-choice couples sometimes are criticized for their decision. Many people call them cold-hearted or selfish, but Steeper often wonders whether those people are the selfish ones for having children simply because they get married.

"I can honestly say I have spent more time than a lot of people considering the choice," Steeper said. "Selfish is the person who envisions a cute, smiling, toothless baby -- all joy and light -- and proceeds to reproduce on this image alone without considering the next 18 years. That is the ultimate irresponsible act in life."

The latest Census Bureau figures show about 18 percent of women aged 40 to 44 say they have never conceived a child. The percentage has grown steadily since 1976, when 10 percent of U.S. women reported never conceiving a child.

People choose to be child-free for many reasons.

Many just do not feel the desire to be parents. Others worry about the stress that the burgeoning population puts on the environment or their limited financial means or the loss of freedom they think will happen if they get tied down with a baby.

The choice of whether to start a family wasn't widely accepted in previous generations. Having children was just something married women did. But today's women, such as Steeper, aren't just considering motherhood in terms of when, but if.
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Most married couples start families. In fact, propagating is among the important reasons for marrying, particularly in the Catholic faith.
No, all married couples start a family. The day they marry, if not before.
Father Edward Malesic, the judicial vicar for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, said Catholic couples are required to be open to having and rearing children during their marriage.

If these couples never intended to have and raise children after getting married, their unions would be considered invalid by the church, Malesic said.
A heavenly fact that removed all pressure from my husband and myself from having a church wedding.
But a growing number of people feel there are more reasons to get married other than to have children. At the end of the day, author Jennifer L. Shawne said the decision boils down to a single question: Will I be happier with children or without them?

It's a question that's led to the misperception that deliberately childless women are selfish, said Shawne, who wrote "Baby NOT on Board."
So anyone who opts for happiness has to constantly prove they are not selfish?" I'll have to start shopping for real estate in the country, and go to medical school I suppose.
"To recognize that you are not parenting material is an incredibly mature decision. It is one of the most important decisions a person will make in their life."

Although the numbers of these couples are growing, Steeper said it can be hard to connect. That's why she joined the Harrisburg chapter of No Kidding!, an international social networking club for child-free singles and couples.

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Advice Column: I'm Not Sure I Want Kids, Should I Marry a Man Who Doesn't?

A question of children

A woman facing marriage with a man who (having a child from a previous marriage) has always been firm that he doesn't want kids with her. She is unsure of how strong her desire to be a parent is. The response:
Yet nowadays, the childless-by-choice are on the rise and are frequently evangelical about the upsides. Your boyfriend is certainly not alone in his views - although his position is somewhat disingenuous in that he purports to want childlessness from the vantage point of already being a father. Now that you find yourself on the verge of marrying him, you need to decide how fundamental is your desire to procreate and if it's part of your essential being.
. . .
Many women fail to confront their partners about desired pregnancy and then panic when it's too late. I would urge you to take control of your own destiny.
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Whether you opt in or out, the parenting choice should be a joint one for all couples planning a life together, and his agenda shouldn't be the only one. It might help if he explained more fully his unwillingness to have more children, and his feelings about his daughter might be a good place to start the discussion.

An open debate is just one of many you should have in your life together, and if the relationship is as good as you say, you will have nothing to fear. You may decide to embrace your boyfriend's view of an exciting future without children and can perhaps enjoy playing a part in bringing up his daughter.

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Can It Be? Danish Travel Company Introduces Childfree Section On Planes

Child free Flights from Scandinavia to Thailand
Danish travel agency Star Tour will soon offer Scandinavian charter tourists new child-free sections on their flights to and from Thailand or Malaysia.
If this turns out to be a trend, I will be one happy traveler. Also of note is the spokesperson's claim that this will benefit parents, since they won't have to worry as much about shushing their kids. If this reasoning makes childfree sections easier to swallow, I'm all for touting it as well.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Housing "Discrimination" Against Families Decreased, But Still Around

Audit finds housing discrimination
Housing discrimination has decreased in recent years as more landlords have become aware of fair housing laws, said Angie Watson-Hajjem, an ECHO fair housing counselor.

Families with children are more likely to face discrimination, she said, because some managers fear children will disturb other tenants or damage the apartment.
No word yet on the "discrimination" against drummers who rehearse at home late at night, owners of loose falcons, and other loud, destructive tenants. Oh wait . . there are no laws protecting them.

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World's Oldest Mother Seeks Sugar Daddy After Fertility Treatments Proved Expensive

World's Oldest New Mother Looking for a Younger Husband
Carmela Bousada, a 67-year-old Spaniard, said that she had sold her house in Andalucia to raise the $58,700 to pay for fertility treatment at a California clinic, where she lied about her age. The clinic’s age limit is 55.
Hmm. Fertility treatments are questionable even when couples can afford them. This pushes the issue even farther.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Childfree Couples

Two's family, three's a pain
The Pope says they’re selfish and parents think their lives must be meaningless — so why are more and more couples choosing to be child-free?
. . .
Redefined as “childfree”, these are not the tragically-unable-to-conceive; they are contented women and men who have opted not to become parents. Their numbers are growing, says the Office of National Statistics. One woman in five now remains childless, with nearly one degree-educated woman in three never becoming a mother. In the US, according to a census in 2003, 42 per cent of women don’t have children.

The question that perplexes many people is why. The obvious answer, one that upsets the child-free, is selfishness: children are demanding and require attention 24/7. This appears to be the view of the Catholic Church. Last month, the Pope said that Europe no longer seemed to want to have children and blamed “the wish to have one’s whole life to one’s self” for people choosing to be childless.
Am I the only one frustrated not by the implication that we're selfish, but by the constant need to bring up the subject altogether? The act of *not* doing something should not be defined as selfish - otherwise where does it end? Will we fling accusations at those who do not join the Peace Corps, do not adopt shelter pets, do not move to a smaller house and give the price difference to the Red Cross? And these are just the extreme examples of things that would involve similar dramatic lifestyle changes; we do not even pick on people for the things they do *not* do that would affect their lives far less, such as buying a cup of coffee each day instead of giving the money to the poor.

Let's move on, folks. It is time we ignored this question when asked of us by an ignorant media who are so blinded by biology that they fail to see the utter hypocrisy of the situation. As the media spokesperson for No Kidding, when i am asked this question, I begin speaking of the good things that our members do - such as the brilliant girl who choses a career as a schoolteacher, the clinical psychologist who works with troubled kids, the volunteer career counselor who works with Dress for Success. I do not repeat the question, or the word selfish even in the negative. It doesn't deserve a response.

It is time we follow suit, and begin focusing on what we do instead of the remote chance that some possible good that might have come from the one thing we don't do.

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Condi, Take Three: Rush to the Rescue

In case you missed the posts below, ([1] [2]Barbara Boxer made a comment in the Senate that was perceived as attacking Condoleeza Rice for being childfree. True or not, the reaction has been telling.

As noted in the blogs below, conservatives have leapt to the defense of the childfree, in what would be a strange reversal of roles - if liberals ever defended us.

Conservatives suddenly defending childfree women?

Ultra-conservative Rush Limbaugh not only responds with a laundry list of childfree legislators, but goes as far as to use the derogatory term for kids "crumb crunchers. .
See also BritGirl's take: Rush Limbaugh Defending The Childfree?

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Australian Political Candidate Touts Childfree Status as Asset

Kids 'a hindrance to being PM'
Labour Party deputy leader Julia Gillard has sparked a national debate on the kids-or-career issue by presenting her childlessness as an asset in her quest to become Australia's first female prime minister.

Political aspirants everywhere have traditionally presented themselves to their electorates as 'normal' people.

Wives and husbands, daughters and sons, even pets, have been trotted out as tokens of the ordinariness that makes for acceptability with voters.

But Gillard, 46, has turned the convention on its head. She says that, for women but not men, children are a hindrance and a distraction from the biggest prizes in politics.
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Some have noted that New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is childless - as are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

Noted social commentator Bettina Arndt commended Gillard for her honesty, saying that "women with political ambitions may be far better off putting these on hold until their breeding days are over".
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"Julia Gillard's remarks are ludicrous," Kate Beaumont wrote to her local paper, noting that when a woman was old enough to try for the prime ministership her child-rearing days would be over.

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