Sunday, June 24, 2007

Child-free and Single - by Choice in New Zealand

Child-free and single - by choice

"I don't subscribe to what I see as the somewhat romantic notion that having a child somehow completes you and is the most valid thing you can do with your existence."

Bill Boddington, a senior demographer at Statistics New Zealand says Sarah is not unusual when it comes to the type of women choosing to remain childfree in New Zealand.

She is also one of a growing number of female New Zealanders who are not partnering. The census revealed a dramatic rise in never married or non-partnered women. These women made up 6% of 35 to 39-year-olds in 1986, rising to 14% in 2006.

But Sarah's educational qualification is one of the biggest commonalities that she has with other childless women: 25% of women with a post-graduate qualification have no children, as opposed to only 13% of women with no qualifications.
. . .
Eleven per cent of Maori women over 44 were childless, as were 12% of those of Pacific and Asian descent, while more than 16% of women of European descent had no children.

Technorati Tag:

Indian Paper Covers Childfreedom

When good news
Many couples today are simply choosing not to have children. While the reasons to remain childless vary for each couple, freedom to pursue their dreams and set the pace of their lifestyle seems to top the chart. Rekha Borgohain Dixit meets couples for whom the worst news is the euphemistic good news.

Mita De smiles to herself every time she catches someone looking at her with pity. She knows well enough what people talk about her when she is not around: “Poor thing, they've been married for over six years now, and still, no good news!” Smita knows that if she were to ever tell these well meaning friends and neighbours that becoming pregnant is the worst news she could get, they'd think she had taken leave of her senses.
Smita isn't your regular DINK (double income no kids). She is, in fact, a homemaker by choice. Happily married and comfortably well off. Pleased with her lot. “We are a happy threesome - my husband, our dog, and me. We don't need a child to complete our family, as they say,” emphasises the 30-something woman.
. . .
Agrees Asha, mother of a seven-year-old. “Frankly, I don't see what's the big deal about having children. Had I married a man who, like my brother and sister-in-law, was not keen on children, I wouldn't have had any problems with the decision. Of course, now that I have my boy, I cannot live without him.”

Technorati Tag:

The esctasty and agony of living childfree

No kidding
Andrea and Peter drove north to the Denver-based club, where they would go out to dinner or concerts with a loose assemblage of non-parents. Eventually, when the Colorado coordinator stepped down, Andrea took his place. Denver Metro No Kidding! now has 347 online members, with a handful of newcomers joining each month.

Andrea and Peter live in Colorado Springs, and host some of the best-attended events. At a recent costume party, Andrea asked guests to dress up as superheroes. Many came in costumes based on their strengths. She went as Grammar Girl, a takeoff on her English instruction master's program. Peter, who always dresses for the weather, wore layers. Another person was "Esposo Fabuloso," the fabulous spouse. Nobody, of course, dressed as Best Mom or Dad.

"No Kidding! gives me a relevant social life," says Peter. "When you're a minority, it's easy to feel that you are isolated and the people around you don't share your experience. Especially in Colorado Springs."

The kidless choice

Colorado Springs is unabashedly kid-centric. Up north, Focus on the Family and New Life Church glorify parenthood, while suburban sprawl accommodates ever-growing families and their litany of plastic slides, basketball hoops, sandboxes and kiddie pools. Downtown, the Uncle Wilber Fountain serves as the city's literal and figurative core, with hundreds of children splashing in the summer months. Bars and clubs might open their doors in the evenings, but so do the ice cream shops and the pizzerias.

Families in Colorado Springs pull major political weight. New U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn ran on a pro-child platform, touting his "reputation of being a strong family man," as his Web site reads. When he won last November's election, Republican supporters gathered in Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center to celebrate. The adults washed down rum and colas while their children played on plastic inflatable slides in the adjacent room.

Colorado Springs' kid fever has people like Andrea and Peter feeling like uninvited party guests.

"Many of them have to be in the closet," says Vincent Ciaccio, a spokesperson for No Kidding!'s national chapter, speaking of childfree couples in conservative cities. "They can't tell people � otherwise, they have a huge backlash against them."
Technorati Tag:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Childfree In Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Independent 's Cover Story

The Colorado Springs Independent ran a story today on the local No Kidding! chapter.

Technorati Tag:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Childlessness and the Clergy

Fathers to All
One of my favorite responses to those who challenge my childless choice with the impossible (ergo useless) hypothetical, "What if everyone felt that way?"

"Would you ask that of a nun?"

This article does explore that aspect of the priesthood; it is a life that also opts out of parenting, although we don't get many at No Kidding! events :)
On the other end of the spectrum Monsignor Alfred Culmer, 55, who has been in the priesthood for 30 years said that he has never felt that he missed out on anything by not having children.

"I choose not have children for a higher value, for the kingdom of God," he said, "but I have nieces and nephews, and I have done a lot of work with children," said the chaplain at St. Thomas More School.

He too said that fatherhood is more than just biological, but relational, and added that there are a lot of men who are not fathers.

"Fatherhood is how you see your role with respect to children, and about molding and forming, really fostering and engendering the holistic well being of children, and as a spiritual father," he said.

Technorati Tag:

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Local: Childless Residents and School Taxes

School costs chafe Wake's childless
As surging growth forces the rapid construction of more schools -- and the prospect of higher taxes for everyone -- one result is a divide just as deep among the broader county population, including the two-thirds of households with no kids in schools.

A large majority of Wake citizens opposes paying higher taxes for more schools, according to a poll conducted last week for The News & Observer.

To an even greater extent, those without children oppose higher property taxes, a new "transfer tax" on the sale of homes and businesses, or a school bond referendum this year, the poll found.

They're equally opposed to raising the local sales tax to pay for schools -- and equally in favor of making developers pay "impact fees" on new housing.

Technorati Tag:

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Postponing, Ergo Skipping Motherhood Not Neccesarily Failure . . .

Recently, we reported on a study in England that Educated Women in UK Less Likely to Be Mothers. One woman responds:
Given that my seemingly hazardous decision to "wait" primarily means that I avoided having babies in any of my previous relationships, I don't rue a darn thing, thank you.

I can't imagine anything worse than still being tied to some of the men I've had relationships with - for me, or for any child unfortunate enough to have resulted from those doomed affairs.
. . .

Wanting children by hook or by crook - or by IVF - is not a foregone conclusion just because you're a woman. I have never said I don't want children, but I would like them to arrive into a happy home.

Reports like the one I mentioned at the outset seem to me to presume that the decision of when to conceive is entirely in a woman's hands: as if I and millions of women like me have been dillydallying, careless and negligent, through our adult lives.

The trouble is that the implication I have faced all too often in society at large is that women who forego having children are selfish hedonists bent on pursuing their own desires at the expense of their obligation to help ensure the survival of the species.

But not having children isn't necessarily a selfish decision.

Over-population is an enormous problem, not just in terms of the well-being of the population which already exists - many of whom don't seem to be doing too well, not only in Africa and Asia, but also at home.

Perhaps I ought to help care for the babies who already exist and give them access to some of the privileges with which I have been blessed.

Technorati Tag:

Proposed California Law Takes Pronatalism To New Heights.

Government baby-sitters
It appears California is considering a bill that would include parents as a protected class in employment; a rare designation that joins race and religion as interrupting the general assumption of at-will employment.

Though we agree that employers who want to retain valued employees should try to work around the demands of caring for children, ill spouses or aging parents, businesses should not be compelled to do so. Workers' schedules are better decided on a case-by-case basis by employers rather than by Sacramento lawmakers who can't possibly understand the dynamics of every work place or industry.
. . .
Some working parents have sued their employers because they wouldn't accommodate family schedules. That sense of entitlement by workers fueled the lawsuits that led to the Senate bill. The Democratic majority in the Senate, ever the friends of trial lawyers, took the wrong side.
. . .
Unlike gender, age and disabilities, having a family remains a choice. And, when considering whether to make that choice, parents need to weigh their employment status.
I couldn't have said it better myself. So I won't. But I will ask - which one of us was behind this rare glimpse of sensibility?

Technorati Tag:

Hewlett Returns, this Time with 50% More Whine.

After the media blitz and sales disaster that was her first books, Hewlett is giving publishing another go. In her first book, Hewlett dismissed the possibility that declining birthrates had anything to do with choice, concluding instead that those who put off parenthood for too long were teeming with regret. Her implication that women should have babies young (anything being younger than her ripe age of 50) caused even future mom Tina Fey to state:

I definitely should've had a baby when I was 27, living in Chicago, over a biker bar, pulling down a cool 12 grand a year. That woulda worked out great.

Now Hewleet is ranting about how employers fail to subsudize women's dreams of 'having it all. InThe hidden brain drain, we discover the source of her bitterness:
[S]he was told that she hadn't made tenure because she had "allowed childbearing to dilute [her] focus".
then quit her position as the first female head of the Economic Policy Council because they refused her flex-time.

Indeed it seems a cornerstone of her demands:
The key seems to be to convince the people at the top that all jobs can be done flexibly.

"The trick," says Hewlett, "is to make flexibility totally universal, and to make it very real." Flexibility can mean working 10 months a year instead of 12, or working a compressed week (a full-time workload compressed into less than five days), or just getting a cast-iron promise that you can have dinner with your kids twice a week. But the main point is that it should be available to everyone.
Of course, she ignores the very reason that such programs are not in place (as they would be if they really were good for businesses). Many positions, including political appointment, require availability. What happens when a client finds a new company after consistently being told on a Thursday afternoon that her contact won't be available until Monday?

If someone finds an article that actually deals with the hard questions, point it out. In the meantime, brace yourself for a politically-correct charge of one-sided pieces that fail to give the critical look that made her first book such a highly discussed failure.
Technorati Tag:

Choosing Pets Over Children?

Do Americans love pets too much?
This bitter diatribe begins with the "extreme" story about parents who shockingly fail to have their dog killed after he accidentally strangled their child. Apparently, refusing to exact an eye for an eye for an accident is a symptom of how America has lost its priorities.

The bizarre rant continues by citing statistics of the increasing childfree, who are clearly foregoing parenthood in favor of having dogs. I know what's why I chose not to have children. After all, no one has ever had both. (except the author) or neither.

Sanity returns a bit in the Letters to The Editor, where readers write:
Love and compassion can be freely and generously offered to both animals and humans
and tell tales of infertility soothed by the love of a pet. Hopefully, Mr. Bauer is at this moment pledging not to write his articles at 3AM the night before they are due, when awakened by a barking dog. I can think of no other explanation for his rambling logic.

Technorati Tag: