Monday, July 25, 2011

Your Child-Free Friends

I mentioned that I had kids to someone recently, and her reaction was shock, “You have kids?”
. . .
My new friend looked a little disappointed. She was going to pre-break up with me, and I wanted to tell her that I can have grown-up conversations. I won’t talk too much about my kids. No stories of potty training failures or videos of my kids doing some silly dance. I like fine dining and good literature as much as I like swiping fries from kids’ meals and rhyming books.

Keep up you pre-kid hobbies and volunteer commitments.

Don’t let the responsibilities of parenthood drain the life out of you.

Being a good friend is about finding points of connection.

Don’t judge or be a matchmaker or be a fertility counselor unless someone asks.

Not all child-free people are averse to kids. Invite your friends to a birthday party in the park. The ones who aren’t into kids will gracefully decline. The ones who love kids will appreciate the invite (and chance to throw water balloons).
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On maternal desire

I have heard, more than once, young women describe themselves as ‘bad feminists’ for aspiring to motherhood. I don’t think this is only because of ingrained notions of feminism meaning a focus on career and financial independence (although feminism sometimes still means these things and that’s not always a bad thing.) I think it’s also because women who love babies are liable to be stereotyped as ditzy, unambitious or sentimental at best. Sometimes they are seen as emotionally voracious or, well, gross.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Childfree Novel

Is Child-Free The Way To Be?
In her new novel The Barreness, Lewis explores the fraught and emotional territory of going child-free. We called up this Georgia-born journalist and writer in her current home in London—where she happily lives with her husband—and asked her all the questions you’d be too polite to ask.
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Someone to help blow out the candles

Tasha Kheiriddin:
But a word to the childless: These are also snapshots of the future. There will come a time when Zara makes her own way in the world and I can once again read the Saturday paper in bed.

And then, decades later I hope, will come a time when I have trouble leaving my bed at all. Aging is not pretty or dignified; one day I – like my toddler today – may not be able to hold a spoon or stay continent. And who will be there when that happens?

Of course, you can always pay someone to care for you, and the childless will crow that they will be able to do so, having not spent their savings on their kids’ college education. But nursing home attendants, attentive though they may be, are not family. They are not bound by ties of blood, memory, and love.

While having children does not guarantee their presence in your old age, not having them makes their absence a certainty. My father’s struggle with dementia, still in its early stages, makes me realize how precious family ties are. He delights in the antics of his granddaughter. He revisits his own youth and retells stories of when he was a child. Like Mandela, his eyes light up, sparked by the presence of new life, and love.

Who will blow out the candles on my cake when I no longer can? Hopefully, my daughter, or her children. I can’t think of a better way to spend a birthday — now, or then.

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