Monday, November 09, 2009

No Kids? I boycott your Wedding

Anywhere, USA: Dear Prudie,

A mother wrote in to Dear Prudie on the subject of children at weddings.  Here is the question and her response:
I am having some trouble with my son, "Charlie". This past spring, he got married. He and his bride decided to exclude my other son's children, two boys aged 6 and 9, from their wedding festivities. We are a close-knit family, and this was very disappointing to his nephews. I tried to convince him that his actions were hurtful, but he would not listen. Things were said in anger, and as a result, I and my family chose not to attend the wedding if everyone would not be invited.

Since then, he has cut off all communication with us, he won't take or return our calls, and he even "un-friended" his brother on Facebook. My grandchildren's birthdays came and went, and he didn't bother to send a card or even call them to wish them happy birthday.

Prudie, this is not how I raised my son to behave, and it's the kids who are suffering most from this family feud. My heart breaks for them. With the holidays approaching, they're sure to ask why Uncle Charlie hasn't come. They must feel as though he doesn't love them. How do I encourage him to make amends? I just want our family to be whole again.
-Miserable Matriarch

Emily Yoffe: You say you didn't raise your son to escalate small disagreements into major breaches, but, Mom, you led the rest of the family into a boycott of your son's wedding ceremony! I'd say he's absorbed the upbringing you gave him very well. Your son and his wife didn't want children at the wedding. That is a perfectly reasonable decision to make, even if two of the children excluded were his nephews. It may have annoyed everyone, but what the people with children do is hire a babysitter, keep their complaints to themselves, and enjoy child-free afternoon.

You can try the politician's passive "mistakes were made" locution, but you and the others who didn't go made a whopper of a mistake. Own up. Write a sincere letter of apology saying you made bad decision of your life by not going to the wedding, and the estrangement is tearing everyone apart. Ask their forgiveness and invite the newlyweds out for a peace dinner. Your other son should send his own letter if he would like to repair relations. Do it now -- maybe this Thanksgiving you can all share a family meal.
Technorati Tag:

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Book Review; Two is Enough

Author defends choice to be childless
Laura S. Scott loves her husband. And that, she says, is enough to sustain a marriage.

They don't need children. "Two Is Enough" is the name of her book explaining a couple's guide to living childless by choice.

"I think I knew very early I didn't want to be a mom," Scott tells me. "I never imagined myself a mom, even as a small child. I never played with dolls. I was 15 when I told my mom, and she suggested things might change with my hormones. Nothing changed."

Scott is 47. She's too young to conceive (excuse the pun) the impact the FDA-approved birth control pill had on young women in the 1960s.
. . .
There has been little popular literature on childless-by-choice marriages.

She says her study led to several surprises, including how much time couples spend making this decision. "It's not made lightly or easily," she says. "For many it's an agonizing process."

And the result?

"For many couples, it's surprising how connected and supportive they become of each other as individuals. There are no gender roles. They really do share household duties," Scott says.

They also share the responsibility for reproduction, with many men deciding to have vasectomies, she says.

There are several web sites and organizations supporting childfree marriages today, Scott says. Check childlessbychoiceproject.com for more information
Technorati Tag:

Monday, September 21, 2009

a few things that child-free women can't possibly know.

New Mama: From Princess to Queen
Inevitably someone from the latter camp would fire off the hurtful missive, "You girls don't get it. You don't have kids of your own!"

Back then, I disagreed. But now, as I look at all the things my 11-year-old and 6-year-old have taught me, I finally get it. I do know a few things that child-free women can't possibly know. So, what was it that I didn't "get"? And how could I explain to new mothers that they are about to transform into another animal entirely?
. . .
Speaking of power, I think that's the biggest transformation that a new mother makes -- from your lover's hotty princess to a fully developed queen. Mothers are the queens of their world. There's a saying in the South that sums up the power of motherhood: "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." You are now the emotional lightning rod and the gentle soothing wind to every other person in your nest. And this power can bring feelings of self-esteem unmatched by any paycheck. Mothers are the life force of a household, providing food, a comfortable shelter, and, when necessary, a gentle admonishing or a supportive cheer. Whether you work outside the home, from home, or on your home, you are the most valued member of the team.

You have proven yourself. You have the capacity to create human life within your womb and nurture it to greatness in your nest. And this is the thing child-free women will never know -- the secret confidence that comes from knowing you did something so magical. You created life and forever more, you will nurture life. Mothers are almost God-like in that way. And when you carry that force out into the world, you will be awed by the power you have to effect change everywhere. You are now a mother in the world. All hail before you.

Technorati Tag:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kids at Cons

The Pros and Cons of Bringing Your Kid to a Con
Michael and I were brimming with excitement on the drive to Dragon*Con, and for the first time in a year we were child-free. Of course, once we got there, we couldn’t stop talking about our kid and couldn’t help but notice just how many children there were running around the con. Kids in costume, kids on leashes, kids running amok, kids behaving politely, kids not even old enough to care.
Technorati Tag:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Child-free movement: You say 'child-free,' I say 'childless'

Orlando Sentinel
My life would be a lot less full and happy and complete without my children. Here's a short list of what the so-called "child-free" are missing.

(I figured I'd tell them since they've never actually walked in the shoes of a parent, but I've walked in theirs -- for 35 years to be exact. And sorry, no, nieces and nephew aren't the same as having your own kids.)
And a response.

Online (and sometimes off) there is often tension between child-free zealots and passionate (some would say overly-passionate) parents.
. . .
One part of the child-free analysis often comes down to a discussion of return-on-investment. My husband and I often spoke in these terms when talking about whether or not to have kids. We're both extremely analytical people and for a long time, for us, when we would list the pros and cons, the ROI was simply not there. Until I was pregnant, we decided to stay pregnant, and then it didn't matter anymore.
. . .
But I am still far too analytical to ever do what the author of the Moms At Work piece did. And I still sympathize with the child-free crowd--not, mind you, because we regret having our son. But because it is a thought process that makes sense to me, even though we ultimately chose a different path. Not everyone needs to be a parent, no matter how rewarding some (but certainly not all!) aspects of childrearing may be. My child has added immeasurably to our lives, but that certainly doesn't mean that I think anyone who doesn't parent is "missing out." Besides, most of my child-free friends make great ~Aunts and ~Uncles for my little guy!



Technorati Tag:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Laura Scott on Living Childless by Choice

Not All Trees Are Meant to Bear Fruit

Laura Scott's newly published Two is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice. . . is a qualitative look at what motivates couples to decide that their two-person families are already just the right size. Scott expertly navigates uncharted waters by focusing on the process of choosing to be childless by choice (CBC), as opposed to those who have been unable to conceive. Like most groups, the intentionally childless are not monolithic, and Scott gains insight from a diverse group of people who share their various paths to voluntary childlessness.

Laura Scott's newly published Two is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice, I am far from alone.

Two is Enough is a qualitative look at what motivates couples to decide that their two-person families are already just the right size. Scott expertly navigates uncharted waters by focusing on the process of choosing to be childless by choice (CBC), as opposed to those who have been unable to conceive. Like most groups, the intentionally childless are not monolithic, and Scott gains insight from a diverse group of people who share their various paths to voluntary childlessness. . . .
Technorati Tag:

Study finds parents' carbon footprint multiplies 5.7 times per child

GREENSPACE
Environmentalists tend to avoid the topic of population control. Too touchy. But the politically incorrect issue is becoming unavoidable as the global population lurches toward a predicted 9 billion people by mid-century.
. . .
Now comes a study by statisticians at Oregon State University focusing on the elephant in the room.

The findings: If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, think birth control.

The greenhouse gas effect of a child is almost 20 times more significant than the amount any American would save by such practices as driving a fuel-efficient car, recycling or using energy-efficient lightbulbs and appliances, according to Paul Murtaugh, an Oregon State professor of statistics. Under current U.S. consumption patterns, each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of CO2 to the carbon legacy of an average parent -- about 5.7 times a person's lifetime emissions, he calculates.
Technorati Tag:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Planned parenting

The Ottawa Citizen
The latest hot topic in newspapers and magazines seems to be the (apparently scandalous) notion that some people don't want children. The whole thing seems to be fuelled by Corinne Maier's book No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children. The publisher describes it as a "shocking treatise."

Why is this shocking? . . .I can't see why listing the cons is so controversial. Surely everybody who has children -- or who at least had them through planned pregnancies -- has considered the pros and cons and made an informed decision. (Or maybe they haven't. That's a scary thought.) The answer to the question: "Should everyone have kids?" is quite obviously "no." Some people just don't want to, which is fine. I wouldn't want those people raising children and hating every moment of it, would you?
Technorati Tag:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Children the Greatest Threat to US Environment: Oregon Study

LifeSite News
A new study by statisticians at Oregon State University claims that one of the best ways for people to support the environmentalist cause is to refrain from having children. At the same time that the US fertility rate stands at 2.05 children born per woman, barely under the level necessary to maintain a steady population, researchers Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax maintain that having children is the most destructive thing that can be done to the environment.

The "basic principle" of the study, titled "Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals," is that "a person is responsible for emissions of his descendents." Because of the high-consuming American lifestyle, the study maintains, US children add tons more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than their parents, use more water and generate more waste. According to the study, the long-term impact of a child in China is one-fifth that of a child in the United States.

The study claims to be able to chart the total "carbon impact" of a single child and all his descendants. A media release from the researchers said, "The average long-term carbon impact of a child born in the U.S. - along with all of its descendants - is more than 160 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh."

By having two children, the study says, a woman will add 40 times the amount of carbon dioxide emissions than she would have saved with conventional "green" practices such as recycling.
Well, the simplest of logic could have told you the same thing, but I'm glad that at least someone has said it more directly, clearly, and scientifically. The article above goes on with an obvious religious and political bias, calling the childfree movement "anti-child" and linking to a paper about the racist and "anti-human" origins of the theory, but this was the first layperson coverage of the study I came across. More on the "racist" angle later, and hopefully, more neutral coverage of this study as it emerges.

Technorati Tag:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No kidding: The child-free couple allow parents another chance to air their views

No kidding: The child-free couple allow parents another chance to air their views
[A] father of three children under 6. . . pleads: “I wonder if you could stop telling me about your fantastic social life. I know I asked what you’d been up to, but it was purely rhetorical: I don’t actually want to hear that your suite had a plunge pool, or that everybody ended up back at Kate Moss’s, or that the sharks were so close that you could touch them. Show some sensitivity. Please shut up. Last weekend I went to the park four times and saw some tramps.”
. . .
Still on non-invitations, one of our respondents, a Miss S, a mother of one from Camberwell, complained: “This year alone I’ve had two wedding invitations that specifically excluded children. Who’s next for the ban? Old people? If you think children will ruin your wedding, do you think you should be getting married at all? It’s absolutely ridiculous. It makes my blood boil.”

One marrying couple did complain to us recently that, between the lot of them, their friends had nearly 150 children. That’s the size of a small school, and one can quite see how that might alter a sophisticated metropolitan reception. And the bill. But on the whole, marrying non-parents, we’re slightly ashamed of you on this one.
Oh, you know where I stand on this one. What so quintessentially celebrates the beginning of a childfree marriage as an adults-only celebration? I don't know where anyone gets off trying to push a guest-list agenda, let alone one which includes a probably unwilling participant who is likely to disrupt the festivities.

Technorati Tag:

Childless is not a synonym for weird

It's intolerable that women's careers are still hobbled by assumptions based on their fertility
A new book by Dr Caroline Gatrell, based on several years of research on women in employment, found some bosses consider those who choose not to have kids to be cold and odd, and refuse to promote them, since their deficiency of maternal instinct is seen as tantamount to a lack of "essential humanity".
. . .
Motherhood is a huge part of female identity and any woman who doesn't experience it, for whatever reason, has to find meaning and self-definition in different ways. Work is one important area for childless women to find fulfilment and to contribute to society, and employers should recognise what they have to offer, not seek to punish them for being outside the maternal mainstream. Being childless means what it says: a lack of children, not a lack of ability, a lack of empathy or a lack of humanity.
Another piece not worth equal billing has nonetheless drawn the attention of the childfree:
It's not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they'll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time.

It's not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest.

They're not there to compete for the attentions of the male executives; they're there to get out of the house; they're there because they genuinely enjoy some adult company; and they're there because they have mouths to feed other than their own and shoes to buy for someone else's feet.
This is both sad and humorous. Is she under the impression that the stork still brings babies? It is the only way one can so completely conflate singledom and childlessness. The "author" neglects the possibility that colleagues without children are married. After 13+ years with my husband, I can assure you I spend exactly zero time competing for male attention. I also have never had a hangover, let alone at the office; it is that kind of preparedness that enabled me to never accidentally get pregnant, you see.

And unless "on the razz" means "on the couch, reading" it isn't very likely that was my night. I do love that I have the freedom to go out, but lack of children also means that I can balance such nights with a good nights' rest the day before and after so as not to have it affect my work.

My commentary is useless anyway. Add up the idea that a harried morning shoving Froot Loops in a cranky toddler makes you more ready to work upon arrival and the nonsensical "bitchiness" comment (I happen to be bitchy, but that is just a coincidence, most of my childfree friends are quite pleasant) and you see that her comments are not worth dissecting rationally. All you can really do is sit back and laugh at the sad stereotypes she has constructed to deal with her own workplace insecurities.

Technorati Tag:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Huffington Post: Are the Childless Weird?

Cameron Diaz on her Childfree Status and Why the Planet Needs More Non-breeders
When it's still okay to ask "are the childless weird?"

While Diaz added that she thinks attitudes are changing, there are still plenty who fail to see a choice to not have children as one of the most selfless things a woman, or man, can do for the planet (one U.S. person= 20 tons of CO2 per year).

The same magazine that published her interview turned around and asked in an online poll: "Are women who don't want children weird?". While there was plenty of support for non-breeders, there were the inevitable comments like "isn't [it] natural for women to have children?" and "as women we are or should be born with a natural instinct to have children".
I have to admit, I'm predisposed to HuffPo right now, and for reasons completely unrelated to being childfree. When the traditional news media blew coverage of the Iran Election so badly that "CNNFAIL" became a top Twitter trending topic,, the Huffington Post picked up the slack and sorted through all the Twitter, Flickr and Facebook chatter to keep us updated. In other words, they acted as journalists. So even in an opinion piece as this, I was not surprise to see the pregnant writer escape the bias of her fecund state with the following paragraph:
For me, having children -- and adding to our planet's ecological footprint is a matter that deserves conscious thought, and shouldn't be treated as a duty or simply an instinctual act. When considering that every American requires 24 acres of productive land, according to Harvard ecologist E.O. Wilson, all my eco-diapers and vegetarian meals seem a bit trivial (see my videos demo-ing a flushable diaper and our daily beans & rice).
This is not news to many of my readers, especially the childfree majority. But while the environmental impact of having a child has been pointed out by neutral sources before, I love to see it pointed out that a granola lifestyle by no means cancels out that impact. I do not own a car, eat vegan, recycle, and all that crap, but I'll be the first to point out that I cancel out all of that when I have a child with free will. (because yes, us crunchy types like to pretend that teaching our child our values both guarantees they will live them and somehow transmits them further to the world).
Not breeding as an "unacceptable crime."

It's a shame, for both our planet and reluctant potential parents, that too many people still see having children as something we all should do, or should at least want. When UK journalist Polly Vernon wrote an editorial about not wanting kids, she discovered that "voluntary childlessness is an unacceptable crime to cop to" and she was "denounced as bitter, selfish, un-sisterly, unnatural, evil".

Filmmaker Nancy Rome agrees, telling Harper's Bazaar that the childless, like herself, are outcasts. "We are doing something that is viewed as un-American, unfeminine, un-Christian, uneverything."
The article goes on to rehash some recent trends (the views of employers, kids on status symbols) and other topics in a way I could not do justice to with my usual quotes or justices. I suggest you read it for yourself.

Technorati Tag:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why DO babies turn so many brilliant women into slummy mummies?

MailOnline

My heart sank when I saw her because I realised that here was yet another clever, pretty woman who had chosen to sacrifice herself and her marriage to motherhood.

Why is it that when so many women become mothers they turn into boring frumps with one-track conversational minds that rarely stray from the oh- so fascinating subjects of nurseries, nappies and (lactating) nipples.

These women infuriate me. They think they are doing what's best for their children when, really, they are committing the worst form of self-neglect, and insulting their marriage into the bargain.

Most of the women who think having a child entitles them to become unattractive, undesirable and uninteresting are, inevitably, British. . . .

Technorati Tag:

Kids on a plane

I prefer Snakes
On one side, you have childless customers who just want a little civility while they're locked inside a pressurized aluminum tube. And on the other, parents who believe airlines should accommodate anyone, anytime — particularly their beloved offspring.
. . .
Question is, what to do about the littlest air travelers?

A decade ago, the last time I wrote about this issue, my sympathies were with solo passengers who wanted to ban babies on board. But now I have three kids — ages 6, 4 and 2 — and I'm leaning to the parents' side.

Kinda.

Here are five ways we might approach the kids-on-a-planes problem — and what you can do to become part of the solution:

Technorati Tag:
Childfree Cinema in Atlanta

Technorati Tag:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kids ruin everything ...

... Like making friends. And having a social network.
Or so the Kansas City Chapter of No Kidding! tells us. Not really, but the organization has been formed because it's not so easy for child-free adults -- especially those who've just moved to town -- to make friends and socialize without the crutch of children's school activities and social circles. . . .

Technorati Tag:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The "Right" Babies?

Video

This video explores the demographic "crisis" and trend of rewarding people to procreate in Europe. "The only reason to call that a crisis is if you're focused on whether they're the right religion and right race. This is tied to this article at the Nation

Technorati Tag:

Monday, June 15, 2009

In praise of the childless: the workforce heroes

Non-breeders work every bank holiday
You’d never guess that behind her forced smile, as she enthuses over another potty-training anecdote or soothes a colleague’s hysterics over a departing nanny — “She’s pregnant! How could she do this to me?” — that really she’s thinking: “Oh, change the record you self-absorbed loon.”

I’m a parent but as it happens I sympathise wholeheartedly. Not only because I remember, pre-child, what it was like spending all those Christmas Days office-bound, those sunny Bank Holidays eating triangular Esso service station egg sandwiches while imagining smug family rounders games on the heath, but also because I share her view that non-breeders are frequently the forgotten heroes of the workforce.
Technorati Tag:

Mommy blogging gone wild has to stop

Thinly Read
But now, in our nation's Facebook Period, the trials themselves are tribulations, the photos are albums of interminable length, and the overflowing diaper is in each status update and every twitter and tweet.

The phenomenon reaches its zenith when your friends' smiling faces are replaced, overnight, with those of their giggling children. Their very personalities are subsumed by their offspring. They exist only to chronicle every gurgle and burp.

It has to stop. For the good of online networking, for the good of the child-free innocents, for the good of the children themselves. Nobody asks the baby if he'd like to be online. And no kid I've ever heard of could consent to Internet infamy before he could utter a convincing "Da Da".
Technorati Tag:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It takes guts to say: 'I don't want children'

Cameron Diaz admits she's happy to be childless. Yet few women - or men - will praise her stance
[Cameron Diaz] told Cosmopolitan magazine that being a woman and admitting you didn't want children is taboo. "I think women are afraid to say that they don't want children because they're going to get shunned ... I have more girlfriends who don't have kids than those that do. And honestly? We don't need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet."

Diaz, who is 36, didn't go as far as to say that she definitely does not want children. But to be openly, loudly undecided on the issue - at the point when her biological clock should be ticking so loudly that she can hardly sleep, eat or think about anything else - is to be brave enough, frankly. It's an admission that invites suspicion and pity. To be a thirtysomething woman in 2009 and not want a child so desperately that you think you might die is simply not allowed.
Technorati Tag:

Great times for childless heathens

Great times for childless heathens
Children, you see, are no longer the must-have accessory of our times and women like me are finding their personal choice validated by a sea-change in global politics. I'd become used to thinking of my aversion to having children as a flight from responsibility and worse, evidence of faulty womanhood.

Now it turns out that I've been a conscientious objector all along, with the planet's best interests at heart. These are great times for childless heathens.

Of all the factors contributing to climate change, over-population is the one which dare not speak its name, calling into question as it does our inalienable right to reproduce. Nonetheless, the evidence is mounting that our sheer abundance is the cause of irreparable ecological damage and the voices of those who believe that we are our own nemesis are getting louder.

Among them is the Optimum Population Trust, which campaigns worldwide for access to family planning services and calls for parents to stop at two offspring, presumably by air-dropping flick books about Octomom and Kerry Katona over the developing world.
Technorati Tag:

Readers Respond to "Snappy Comeback" Query on Advice Column

LOTS OF ATTITUDE ON NO-KIDS DECISION
DEAR READERS: Some time back, I ran a letter from "No Babies in South Dakota," about how to respond to frequent queries about when she and her husband would have children. Because they don't plan to have children, they were looking for a "snappy comeback."

Readers responded by the bushel. A surprising number of readers accused people who don't wish to have children of being selfish.

Other readers offered snappy comebacks or other responses to the age-old question: "When are you going to have kids?"

DEAR AMY: Why is it necessary to have a snappy comeback?

Most people ask out of curiosity.

Being a person who decided against kids and marriage, I always politely but firmly say that was my lifestyle choice.

Only a Neanderthal would push the point, and then I still politely but firmly say, "These questions are getting a little personal." -- Personal Choice

. . .
Technorati Tag:

Monday, May 18, 2009

If You're Not a Mother, You Won't Get on

Amelia Hill: Non-mothers are 'vilified' in the workplace and frequently refused jobs and denied promotions says new research
Working women who choose not to have children are treated by their employers with less respect than those who take time off to give birth, new research shows. Non-mothers are "vilified" in the workplace and frequently refused jobs and denied promotions.

Dr Caroline Gatrell, a director at Lancaster University Management School, who has spent six years interviewing about 1,500 women, said: "Women who explicitly choose career over kids are often vilified at work and face enormously unjust treatment."
Technorati Tag:

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Parents Speak Out About the Childfree

No kidding: The child-free couple allow parents another chance to air their views
A father of three children under 6.. . . pleads: “I wonder if you could stop telling me about your fantastic social life. I know I asked what you’d been up to, but it was purely rhetorical: I don’t actually want to hear that your suite had a plunge pool, or that everybody ended up back at Kate Moss’s, or that the sharks were so close that you could touch them. Show some sensitivity. Please shut up. Last weekend I went to the park four times and saw some tramps.”

It’s a fair point, Mr P, but don’t you see? We are simply trying to fill the void, the chasm of childlessness, with inane chatter, shiny baubles and rodomontade.
Heh. Someone from my H.S. actually posted about meeting Kate Moss this week, but she has kids, and it didn't sound like that much fun. My response (of the list famous people you've met variety) included several Supreme Court Justices, four Senators, and two famous law professors. Party on!

In all seriousness, um, ha! I mean, isn't this part of the trade off? If your friend who teaches third grade has to hear about your first class trip to Rio, you have to hear about how she has all summer off. Choices, eh? Speaking of which, yeah, sometimes I catch the Pontini sisters at Corio, close down a restaurant in the West Village, and then dance to street musicians in Washington Square Park until 3AM with half a bottle of wine in my system. Sometimes I spend Friday night at the Met, watching Ms. Netrebko belt out Lucia di Lammammor. There are also many Saturday nights I sit in my living room with excel spreadsheets working on a client matter, or turn in early after reading a novel.

Part of the point of being childfree is your options are perennially open. At any point you choose a job with higher pay and less free time, or vice versa, you can choose to be a party animal or a homebody. Parenthood is signing up for all your weekends in advance, and I don't see why a little buyer's remorse should make me quiet about what I'm selecting for the evening.
. . .
Still on non-invitations, one of our respondents, a Miss S, a mother of one from Camberwell, complained: “This year alone I’ve had two wedding invitations that specifically excluded children. Who’s next for the ban? Old people? If you think children will ruin your wedding, do you think you should be getting married at all? It’s absolutely ridiculous. It makes my blood boil.”

One marrying couple did complain to us recently that, between the lot of them, their friends had nearly 150 children. That’s the size of a small school, and one can quite see how that might alter a sophisticated metropolitan reception. And the bill. But on the whole, marrying non-parents, we’re slightly ashamed of you on this one.

Um, what? When I had been dating my husband for 1-8 years, we were not engaged nor living together and thus he had no "right" to be invited along with me to weddings, according to proper etiquette. And so it is with children. I never thought that someone celebrating the joining of their life to another human being had any obligation to spend another $100 just so I could bring someone along.

I don't understand where anyone gets off demanding an paid invitation to anyone else's reception. If the bride and groom have an especially close relationship with the child, and are having a child-friendly affair, yes, I might think it odd. But if they don't, what exactly is your cause for complaint? You don't feel like spending a night without your child? Well than that is your decision, and that is what a "no" RSVP is for. And if is because you don't feel like hiring a babysitter, then I'm at a loss for words.

At the end of the day, it is about the bride and groom, and the way they choose to celebrate their love and union. If they want a quiet, sophisticated affair, or they don't feel like inviting along tiny beings they don't know particularly well, that is indeed their choice. That day of all days, shouldn't they be able to decide what is right for them?
Finally, but first in popularity among parents’ all-time gripes: back-seat parenting. This seems to be the one thing that riles all parents and yet who among us is not guilty? “Is he all right playing near that big pond . . .?”; “Should you be eating all that sugar? Should you? Should you?”; “I think that children really enjoy structure to their day. You know, doing stuff, activities . . .”; “Shall we find you a warmer coat? Did Mummy bring you a warmer coat? Did she?”

As Ms V so eloquently writes, “It’s not just the suggestion that the we failed to see the vast pond right in front of us, it’s also the slight implication that we no longer care, have given up, and would, if it was easier, probably raise the child in a motorway service station.”

You can see how that might offend, but what can you do? It takes a village to raise a child . . .
Yes, well, I might be with the parents on this one. Of course, if a child looks like she is in danger, I might speak up. And the second it affects me, I'm entitled to an opinion, within reason (this is when bringing my mum along is handy, she can speak with authority and is even less tolerant of noisy seat-kickers in proper restaurants). Outside of those situations, I'm apt to pipe down.

After all, opting out means I don't have to trouble myself with such things. how delightful.

Technorati Tag:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Repro Men: A conversation on the parenthood choice and gay culture

Withering Glance: Repro men

Technorati Tag:

Friends With Kids

Finding time for friends saves sanity
Becoming a parent makes time spent with pals not nervously waiting for our kids to come off a ride at Chuck E. Cheese or chasing them around a park especially precious.

Parenting, of course, has its joys, but it can be an isolating experience as even when you manage to find time to spend with other adults, the conversation tends to focus on the little ones.

Having kids (or in our case, kid) tends to consume your life giving you little else to talk about.

This makes having relationships with people without kids nearly impossible.

You can at least commiserate with other parents, but the child-free live in an entirely different universe - a land where staying up past 10 and watching a whole movie on a weeknight remain possible.

For people without kids, listening to someone talk about their children is about as interesting as listening to a long story about someone's cat.

My single friends maybe want to see a picture and hear a quick update. They do not want to sit through my story about how Joshua spent three hours refusing to go to sleep while taking every item out of every storage area in his room and calling me "a fresh face."

Being a parent overwhelms your life in a way that makes it hard to remember that you are anything else.
I think I'll forgive the childfree=single slip in this instance; as a married and childfree person, this is often a pet peeve of mine. But it is good to see yet another parent who is aware that their friends without kids have a different perspective while their own has changed - that they might not be interested in hearing every detail of your progeny's life, and may barely have a clue who Miley Cyrus is.

I don't have any friendships with parents, not really. Although I've hit my 30s, my friends are just starting to get married, and the few former friends who have procreated had pretty much dropped out of my life before it happened, or live in another state. So I am kind of curious - has anyone managed to make it work?

Technorati Tag:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Life Without Debt: The Decision to Remain Childless

A Life Without Debt: The Decision to Remain Childless
However, not having children does make it much easier to stay out of debt. When one of us loses a job, we only have ourselves to worry about. When creating an emergency fund, we only have to worry about each other, not what can go wrong with several children. Our expenses in every category are less without kids (except maybe housing as we would have this house with or without kids). We don’t have college educations to save for so we are able to put away more for our retirement or other big purchases. Our incomes only have to cover us, not educational expenses, childcare, extra insurance, additional medical bills, lots of clothes, and additional food.

I know friends who have kids that have remained debt free so I know it is possible. They do a wonderful job of balancing the needs of their children with the household needs and saying, “No” when the budget does not allow for extras. But I do know that it is harder for them than for us. They say no a lot more often than we do. And while they have remained debt free, they have not been able to save as much as we have. They have very little in their retirement accounts and a modest emergency fund that would only last two months. It is harder for them and I am aware, when I visit with them, that remaining debt free would have been much harder for us if we had kids.

. . .

I know other DINK’s who are in debt up to their necks, so being child free does not confer an automatic debt free life, either. It’s about the choices you make and the priority you place on remaining debt free. I wouldn’t recommend basing the decision to have kids or not solely on your desire to remain debt free. Kids are about a lot more than money. But there is no denying that it is much easier without kids. It’s yet one more choice and factor that has to be considered when planning your financial future.
Having spent some time on childfree mailing lists and discussion boards, I know there is some resentment towards the assumption that being childfree automatically means one is well-off. Well, of course it doesn't. But - saving a matter of six or seven figures over one's lifetime has a major impact on one's bottom line. Many childfree people see this as an opportunity to choose (I am here exclusing those with unfortunate circumstances or just starting out) a life other people cannot - a career that they love and/or fulfills them, that they would never be able to support children with. Some choose to live lavishly or generously, and end up spending or giving away that same money elsewhere. These two camps end up just as money-poor as those with kids. I'm not quite sure I understand the resentment of the positive stereotype coming from these camps - it seems a great opportunity to point out the alternative one has chosen (or at the least how much worse off one would be with kids!)

I'm happy to remain one who will sit in the public eye reinforcing the positive stereotype. Sure, my discretionary spending month to month on travel and spas (and the amount I ferret away in my 401k and pretend isn't there) leaves my bank account just as sad as anyone elses at the end of the month. But I am free - free at any time to cut back my lifestyle and take advantage of the cheap real estate in my lovely NYC neighborhood. Free, should the economy cost me my bewitchingly fortunate job to reign in my expenses to a ridicously low amount and live on a Starbuck's barista salary once again.

There will always be among us great diversity, both economically and otherwise. However, what will always unite us is that no matter where we are, we are a bit more free than we would be if we had children. I have yet to come across a childfree person (and I have known hundreds) who made the decison for financial reasons. But why let that stop us from enjoying one of our lifestyle's happenstance perks?

Technorati Tag:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Won’t Roll the Biological Dice

Because of my ominous genetic history, I decided I would never have children. Got a problem with that?
. . .genetic testing showed that I have a 67 percent chance of passing on the illness responsible for my younger sister's death. The statistics were sobering, and they meant that my husband and I would never have a child of our own. I grieved the loss of that version of our future. But knowing my child was likely to carry danger in her cells, I chose not to take the risk. My husband understood.

I knew that in deciding not to be a mother, I was making a choice that would define the rest of my life. But my fear surpassed longing: fear that my child would be ill and die before her time, or that my child would be well and I would worry her away from me.
Now that is a selfless choice.

Technorati Tag:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dear Amy Response

Los Angeles Times
Dear Amy: I am responding to a woman who wanted to know how to respond when people ask when she's going to have a baby.

I am 64, and my husband and I elected not to have children. Knowing what we do about the rise in human population and the problems that today's children will face in the future with climate change, global warming, peak oil, and that in 100 years this planet will be a very different but not better place -- those are reasons enough not to have children.

We are "child free," not "childless," and proud of it.

Jennifer in Oregon

Dear Jennifer: Though I don't necessarily share your dim view of the future, I certainly respect your choice.
Technorati Tag:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Secret to marital bliss? Don't have kids

Couples' satisfaction declines after birth of first child, eight-year study finds
An eight-year study of 218 couples found 90 percent experienced a decrease in marital satisfaction once the first child was born.

"Couples who do not have children also show diminished marital quality over time," says Scott Stanley, research professor of psychology at University of Denver. "However, having a baby accelerates the deterioration, especially seen during periods of adjustment right after the birth of a child."
Technorati Tag:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I was a career women who boasted about being childless ... until a puppy sent my maternal instinct into overdrive

Author of Childfree and Loving It eats some humble pie after seeing what being a devoted dog-lover turned her into.
And where, given my experiences as a canine carer, do I now stand on the whole childfree business?

In the same way as I didn't want to get pregnant, I would never have voluntarily become a dog owner.

For starters, our minimalist flat in central London is all cream rugs and polished wood floors.

Then there's the fact that I have the near-perfect work-life balance. My job as a freelance TV and radio producer is stimulating and varied, working on shows such as the BBC's Breakfast and Today programmes.
. . .
They're the banal conversations of parenthood that I always feared, but with Chula I love it.

And it's exactly because she's a dog not a person that it's so much more entertaining.
I love the eccentricity of our semi-parenthood. Our trips to the cafe are a ritual I look forward to. Dogs are allowed and for that reason it's like a canine kindergarten.
Her friends are always there - Brock the bull terrier, Atash the Alsatian, posh pugs Charlie and Oscar.

I much prefer it to being surrounded by children and am thinking of beginning a campaign to make all cafes, restaurants and cinemas dog-friendly.

For someone who in the past has criticised the workplace divisions between those who have children and those who do not (all that sloping off early for little Jimmy's sports' day) that might sound a tad nonsensical? Well, what can I say? That's doting mothers for you.


Technorati Tag:

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Harper's Bazaar: Baby blues

Seattlepi.com
Ambivalence about having children isn't a particularly welcome stance in this culture of childcentric ├╝bermommies, with their tangle of parenting accoutrements — nannies, twin Maclaren strollers, Tumble Tots classes, socially vetted playdates. Questions inevitably arise as to why one wouldn't want to join their Pampers-changing ranks. . . .


Technorati Tag:

Friday, April 03, 2009

http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-why-im-not-having-kids/

Women Who don't Want to Have Children
I am a woman. I have all the biological requirements to have a child. Yet, I do not have the instincts or rational desire to do so. Does that make me less of a woman to not want to have a child either by using my body, my eggs, or my money to adopt?

My parents are the only people who, when I said I didn’t want to have kids, responded with, “Sounds like a good idea.” They married because I was on the way and had two more after me. They know how hard it is to raise kids, but they also love us very much. They wouldn’t change what had happened, but they wouldn’t force their want for a grandchild on me. Besides they have two already (I’m off the hook!) . . .


Technorati Tag:

Child-free couple want to stop the questions

Dear Amy

My husband and I haven't even been married a year, but already people are starting to ask, "Are you pregnant yet?"

My husband and I don't want to have children. Whenever I tell people that we aren't planning to have any kids, they seem to make it their personal mission to persuade me to have a baby, or assure me that this is only a phase and I will change my mind. How do we avoid these conversations?

We will be deflecting these questions for the next 50 childless years. Help!
Technorati Tag:

Britons Say 'Yes' to Child-Free Zones on Planes

TripAdvisor(R) Survey Reveals Challenges of Travelling With Children
. . . 79% of Britons believe there should be child-free zones on planes.

Whilst 88% of travellers without children would like to see the introduction of adults-only sections on flights, a surprising 71% of parents also agree.
Technorati Tag:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spare Us News On Your Kid's Bowel Movements

Childless Bitch on Mom Logic
New moms, especially the stay at home type, have taken to their Facebook status updates as a means of letting the world know every detail of their spawn's daily developments. Those developments range from the earth shattering napping schedule to the awesomeness of little Jaden's first poopy in the big boy potty. While these updates might not be news, the reaction to those updates by the non-babied community probably is. For real, '[redacted] is smiling at her baby because she is using a fork' is driving us bananas. . . .
Fortunately, the ones showing up on my stream have been more banal than gross. But it has spawned a new game that my husband and I play, "Where do I know them from?" I read the facebook status without the name, and my husband will guess whether I know the person from elementary/high school or from law school/work. It is frightening how accurate his guesses are! For example, insightful comments about the S&P are always the latter category, as are exciting posts about foreign travel and breaking news of world politics. Meanwhile, posts about going to the zoo, taking naps, and going to the gym are inevitably the former category.

Technorati Tag:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oz Study on Cost of Raising Children

Child costs 'only $1300 a year'
Dr Dockery said if children were a "cost", parents would end up less wealthy than comparable couples without children. But his study, based on 3168 married couples, found this was not the case.

When the net wealth of the parents and the child-free in 2002 was compared - housing, shares, superannuation and savings - the parents were only marginally worse off, suggesting a child cost $1300 a year. When wealth accumulation between 2002 and 2006 was considered, couples with children were a little better off.

Dr Dockery said couples with children were more likely to be home owners and to have a bigger house.

Previous Australian studies have shown that a typical family will spend $537,000 on raising two children from birth to 21. Dr Dockery claims the cost is more like $55,000.
I don't even know where to begin with this one. The logic is all over the place, and at times non-existent. To begin with, he compares parents and child-free, and reasons that because parents are homeowners, the decision to have children does not leave one worse off financially. He does not consider the strong possibility that the group of people with children includes those who began worse-off, and decided not to have children, making the populations he is comparing completely disparate in the first place.
Dr Dockery disputes the logic of seeing children as a cost. The price people were prepared to pay for fertility treatments showed children were regarded as a "very large net benefit".

He also takes issue with previous studies that used the amount of money parents spend on children to determine their cost.

"There seems little justification for considering expenditure on children to be a measure of their cost, any more than going to a restaurant can be considered a cost to the patrons," Dr Dockery said. Restaurant-goers saw their night out as a benefit, not a burden.
To begin, food is a cost; the act of dining in a restaurant merely increases the price of a necessity. Furthermore, since the alternative is cooking, which costs the diners the time of food shopping, meal preparation, and cleaning up, the meal might actually not be a luxury but a necessity; for some of us the increased expense of dining out makes up for the translated value of lost time. (which, of course, has a monetary value)

Secondly, one knows what to expect when dining out, one researches the restaurant, or dines someplace they have been before. One is likely to see a poor meal as a "cost". A parent cannot know what to expect of the experience of raising a child. Overall, if disappointed in the experience (which many studies show is common, whether admitted or realized or not) the expense of raising a child could similarly translate into a "cost."

Overall, it sounds like this Associate Professor (tenure burn!) is projecting his own values about parenting and children into this so-called study, instead of approaching it with logic and common sense. Worse yet, the failure to equalize the populations he studied makes his methodology questionable, or even useless.

Technorati Tag:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Things to do before the kids come

The Poop
Wife: She should get really drunk. (Husband gets to be the designated driver.)

Me: She should buy Rock Band and play with her husband as much as possible. My wife and I played once for an hour, had a really good time and promised to do it again soon. That was more than a year ago.

Wife: She should consider taking pictures of herself naked. Because she may never look like this again.
Technorati Tag:

Monday, March 02, 2009

Instead of bickering about abortion, let's focus energy on contraception

Citizen-times.com
With no societal censure in place, women's reproductive impulses have run amok. The selfish sense of entitlement we seem to possess in this regard has few boundaries or limits. Why is there no praise, reward or incentives for remaining child-free, but instead the positive reinforcement, angst and drama of either childbirth or abortion? If our government really wanted to help the economy (and the planet) it would offer a stimulus check to encourage women to pursue other means of self-fulfillment besides childbearing.
Technorati Tag:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Open Thread: Child-Free Resources, Suggestions, and General Bitching

Feministe
I know this has come up before on the blog, so this may be a good time to pool resources and share stories. These things go both ways: Women who are considered “fit” to reproduce (young, white, middle-income or higher, educated, able-bodied, etc) are often second-guessed in their decisions to not have children or to delay childbearing — and especially in the decision to go on permanent or long-term birth control. On the other hand, women who are deemed “unfit” to reproduce and/or parent (often women of color, poor women, drug-using women and disabled women) are forced or coerced into sterilization, or legally punished for exercising their fundamental right to reproduce.

So this might be a good place to share resources, strategies and information about how we can fully exercise our reproductive rights in a world where our identities shape just how free we’re all allowed to be.


Technorati Tag:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Diary of a child-free couple

Times Online
Valentine's Day in Manhattan. It's midnight. My boyfriend Mr W and I plus Kiki my John Frieda stylist - also in town for Fashion Week - are having the ultimate “no kids” experience. We're perched on a crowded stairwell in a freezing Chelsea warehouse, watching a raucous set by an impromptu band consisting of two catwalk models, a member of REM, a well-known actor and the lead singer of Screaming Baby.
. . .
It's reassuring to know you've outgrown notions of cool. Still, I felt that by attending the hippest party in the world, I was somehow taking one for the team and returning to report: parties really are as rubbish as when you were 14.

Damn, I've just googled Screaming Baby and they are in fact called Amazing Baby.
Technorati Tag:

Is America Becoming Hostile to Children?

Crosswalk.com Christian Site

The always provocative Keith Drury has written a new article called How Dare You Have Eight Children! Despite the title, it’s not really about the “octuplet mom” in California. Drury is writing about a larger social trend in which having children is viewed as a purely personal choice and not as the natural outcome of the marriage relationship. In 1990 65% of the public agreed that “children are very important to a successful marriage.” By 2007 that number that dropped to slightly more than 40%. Having children is increasingly seen as an optional lifestyle choice. . . .

Drury goes on to probe what all this means for the church. He wonders if we will not eventually adopt the attitude of the surrounding culture. Will ministries that focus on children and youth lose their importance in the church, being supplanted by ministries that focus on adults?

Technorati Tag:

Friday, February 20, 2009

As a contented, settled 42-year-old, Kate Johnson wonders why she still has to explain her decision not to have a baby .

Why I’m happy to be child-free
. . .There’s a tacit implication that you can’t know real love (or even real fatigue) until you’ve had a baby. The love I have for my family (including nephew and nieces), my close friends and my boyfriend doesn’t feel less than whole. Maintaining those relationships takes time and mutual effort, patience, love, generosity, good humour, understanding and selflessness. At 42 I find my close relationships satisfy any and all nurturing urges. I agree that my fatigue isn’t remotely noble, because it’s due to late nights and red wine, rather than early mornings and baby duties.
. . .
I’m child-free, not because I’m an ambitious high-flyer, a self-obsessed consumer, a feminist or anti-children in any way. There are lots of children in my life; they’re adorable. And it’s not because I’m selfish; in fact, I can’t see what’s so selfless about people choosing to have children. But that’s their choice, and I accept it. And this is mine.
Technorati Tag:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FRESH HELL: The troubling economics of embryos

The McGill Tribune
As someone who's not particularly interested in reproduction . . . I just assumed that if you couldn't have kids, you didn't. Having spent hundreds of eight-dollar hours with other people's kids, being child-free doesn't strike me as a terrible fate. But for those infertile folk who feel otherwise, in vitro fertilization is available all over the U.S. and Canada for the low, low price of about $15,000.

For 15 grand, I can understand why patients would want the maximum bang for their buck. IVF involves mechanically implanting fertilized eggs in the mother-to-be's womb. If the embryos don't take, that's a bunch of hope and the price of a modest car down the drain. However, the recent birth of octuplets to an unemployed Californian woman has me (and the rest of the world) wondering whether cost-benefit analyses should enter into the decision to start a family. . . .While I do believe that a woman, and not the state, should control the number, spacing, and upbringing of her children, that isn't a free license to make irresponsible choices. Raising children is expensive, even if you don't use IVF to conceive them. It's irresponsible to have a child if you're unemployed, especially if you're paying scientists to make it happen, and you already have six kids and no job. That shows a lack of respect for the children being brought into the world, and a lack of foresight on the parent's part. It's not entirely the mother's fault, though.

It was irresponsible for a doctor to condone the implantation of a whopping six embryos instead of the normal two or three. The logic behind this decision is both economic and ethical: the chances of a successful pregnancy are higher with more embryos. Also, without getting into an abortion debate, the embryos belong to the people whose sperm and egg produced them, and can be used however these progenitors see fit.

The decisions of the doctor and the mother were both flawed, but the root problem here is thinking of IVF as something other than the creation of a life. Treating IVF as an industry alters a patient's expectations, and changes her from a mother to a consumer of services. IVF shouldn't be about getting your money's worth-the goal, as with any pregnancy, is a single child.
Technorati Tag:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Diary of a child-free couple

No kidding
It's Saturday and we're in trolley gridlock at Waitrose. No Lidl migration from here: the place is hopping. It's hellz-a-shoppin'. Toddlers howl the pain of life. Posh dads, panicked by their unfamiliar surroundings, bellow for their young: “OLIVER! DON'T. TOUCH. THE. OLIVES.”

And it is here, in the very heart of London's Nappy Valley, that you may observe the yummy mummy in her natural habitat, moving in a herd and yet haughtily individual, highstepping her way through the plainer inhabitants of the Waitrose veldt. As if all of which weren't enough, here, too, is my boyfriend, Mr W, with a hangover and wincing at every childish squeak with a theatricality so insistently absurd that you'd think he were witnessing an acceptance speech by “Wince-y” Winslet herself.
. . .

Technorati Tag:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Denmark Court Rules Against Child-Free Resort

Resort ban on child-free breaks out of order
Upmarket resorts catering for couples seeking a quiet getaway will no longer be able to ban children under a landmark decision by the State Administrative Tribunal.

The SAT has refused the owners of Chimes Spa Retreat, near Denmark, an exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act after it described itself as an “adults’ retreat”.

The ruling outraged many South-West tourism operators who say they cater for a niche market — couples looking to holiday without children. The unnamed complainant had not tried to book at Chimes but claimed her threeyear-old daughter was discriminated against after the resort was advertised online as an “adults’ retreat”.

Equal Opportunity Commissioner Yvonne Henderson said yesterday any resort that refused children opened itself to legal action. . . .
Technorati Tag:

Friday, February 06, 2009

Parents are not excused from sex, authors say

Tribune reporter
In fact, Kerner and Heidi Raykeil, a Seattle-based sex columnist, heard the kids excuse so often they decided to write a book, "Love in the Time of Colic" (Collins, $16.99), aimed at getting parents back in the sack. . . .
. . .
"Of course," he says. "I have a 5-year-old who cannot fall asleep without us in his room and will be in our bed by midnight," he says. "And other things happen as your kids get older. You get habituated into not having sex and taking each other for granted. It's easy to see your partner as wife/mom or dad/husband as opposed to friend/partner."

And parent isn't always the sexiest label. . . .
Technorati Tag:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

“American society is changing in ways that make children less central to our common lives, shared goals and public commitments.”

Life Without Children: The New Nurture Gap
Researchers in America and Britain have recently identified several key indicators signaling that child care occupies less of the average adult’s lifetime in the 21st century than in past decades. The social implications for the future of the family in these two countries could be enormous.
Technorati Tag:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is Having Children Sexist?

Forgive the blog within a blog within a blog , but it is kind of funny how this blogger gets herself all worked up about the notion that the nuclear family is sexist.

We've all heard the eco-warriors talk about the extinction of mankind as a benefit to the planet. Who cares about humans, Gaia must reign supreme! The latest reason to stop with the babymakin', though, is because it is SEXIST!!!!!!!!!!

While of course we're used to the feminist argument that marriage is just legal slavery or rape, I have to admit this was a new one for me -- albeit, unsurprising, given how enthusiastic feminists are for meaningless sex and unfettered access to abortions.

Along with the emancipation of women, sexual liberation has become very much a part of politics around the world. To the conservatives, both these issues challenge 'family values'.
But what if there were no families? What if we say no to reproduction?

My understanding of reproduction is that it is the basis of the institutions of marriage and family, and those two provide the moorings to the structure of gender and sexual oppression. Family is the social institution that ensures unpaid reproductive and domestic labour, and is concerned with initiating a new generation into the gendered (as I analyzed here) and classed social set-up. Not only that, families prevent money the flow of money from the rich to the poor: wealth accumulates in a few hands to be squandered on and bequeathed to the next generation, and that makes families as economic units selfishly pursue their own interests and become especially prone to consumerism.

So it makes sense to say that if the world has to change, reproduction has to go. Of course there is an ecological responsibility to reduce the human population, or even end it , and a lot was said about that on the blogosphere recently (here, and here), but an ecological consciousness is not how I came to my decision to remain child-free.

... Thus as I realized how the cultural imperative on starting a family was unfair to women and the poor, I felt an instinctive aversion to it. That is the emotionally conditioned response that could override our responses to needs and instincts that make us want to reproduce. And if we rule out the biological 'instinct', which is strictly only to have sex and not to reproduce, my case for saying no to reproduction becomes much stronger.
Do we need to end all procreation? Intelligent minds can argue about that one.

But putting the extinction of the human race aside, the nuclear family does tend to reinforce gender roles. It can't help but do so - the father is in no position to take time off work to have the child, or deal with breast pumps. Biological mandates aside, hormonal compulsions and community norms mean that those that have children tend to shift even farther into the paradigm - although there are of course exceptions on either side. Of course, this blogger is way too into her sputtering state to think logically about any of this.

Technorati Tag: