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."
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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.

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