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.

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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.

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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.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

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


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. . . .

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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.


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

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Childfree Cinema in Atlanta

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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. . . .

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The "Right" Babies?


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

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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.
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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".
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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.
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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.
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Readers Respond to "Snappy Comeback" Query on Advice Column

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

. . .
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