Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jennifer Aniston isn't "selfish" for not wanting kids

Australian Womans Weekly

Jennifer Aniston: "I don't like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women—that you've failed yourself as a female because you haven't procreated. I don't think it's fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn't mean you aren't mothering—dogs, friends, friends' children."
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The Warm Embrace From the Club I'll Never Belong To

The Warm Embrace From the Club I'll Never Belong To
The Semantics

This author wrote about about her struggle with infertility, referring to herself as childfree. Apparently, she was told this was the incorrect word, since she followed up with an article about whether she was childless or childfree. Personally, I do think that people who have struggled with infertility can indeed become childfree if they eventually grow to embrace a life without children and feel they are not less for having a life without them. Embracing the freedom this life brings can transform one's status, if it is done genuinely and wholeheartedly. However, even in the follow-up article, she says:
nd yet, I desperately wanted children. I paid a lot of money to have children. And, I suffer lifelong losses from the journey I endured to have children.
. . .
My heart, my soul, my life are not missing pieces. They are simply scarred by three tiny souls. These soul scars have not left me lacking anything, but rather have left me more whole. For I am a more loving, more compassionate, continually healing person because I so loved those three tiny souls and even more so because I lost them.

I now choose the term childfree, yet childfull, because this is where I have found my continuing recovery.

And yet, there are days it doesn't feel like a choice at all.

I do not need everyone to understand my semantics but I do ask for compassion and the permission to define my own journey, just as I give you to define yours.
This doesn't sound very much like a person who defines herself as free. It is certainly not up to me to label her, or to give her permission. But if she is looking for accuracy, perhaps she should try a more objective approach.

I can understand why she doesn't like the word childless, though. Perhaps instead, she should stick with childful, or shun single word labels for descriptive phrases. Or perhaps we need a new word. After all, the reasons we ran from the word childless could indeed apply to more than just the childfree by choice.

Monday, July 07, 2014

'Childfree' forum closed after hot car death hearing | HLNtv.com

Last month, a man named Justin Harris left his son in the car on a hot day, and the two year old perished from the heat.  This has gotten a lot of media attention since prosecutors are charging that he did it on purpose. One of the pieces of 'evidence' of intent? The fact that he visited child-free Reddit boards.  Which means they either 1- didn't bother to do one bit of research into what childfreedom is about, or, 2-they are dishonestly pretending there is a relationship between being childfree and killing a child.

Jerry Steinberg has made it clear since he founded No Kidding! in 1984: child-free people are those who have never been a parent.  Even those who lose children to illness or accident will never be childfree, since being a parent is a major life decision that changes you forever.  Noncustodial parents and empty nesters have likewise been specifically excluded from our ranks.

I suspect that Justin Harris was just browsing through various Reddit forums.  If he had lingered about the child-free boards, he would have quickly learned that he was forever barred from becoming one of us.  He likely would have also encountered disgust with parents who harm their kids, with perhaps a little smug pointing out that parenting does not make you a better person.

He would not have read, as prosecutors claim, instructions on "how to live a childfree lifestyle." The very notion is laughable. One doesn't need instructions, you just go on living a normal life without the tasks of parenting, as nearly all parents did before they had children. If Reddit is like other childfree discussion boards, in addition to stories about terrible parents, were opinion pieces on how to stop stereotyping the childfree, cathartic rants about irritating children, and complaints about how people denigrate our choices.

Obviously, the death of Harris's son is the huge tragedy here, and my heart goes out to any suffering he may face.  I feel for his grandparents and anyone suffering his loss.  But blaming a group of people who knew enough to never have children, or even mangling the possible motives of the father, does nothing to bring him back or serve his memory.  So I do wish the media and prosecutor would get their facts straight about who we are.
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

The flexible working debate shouldn't be made into an argument between women

Anne Perkins | Comment is free | theguardian.com

An excerpt:

"Day claims that childless women do end up working longer and are harder to cover for than the mothers in the office who have (by implication) swanned off for a little light childcare. Passing over the gritty reality of parenthood, if that was really the case then they should be directing their rage not at the parents but at their employer. It is not acceptable to give one person flexible hours and make others pick up the tab. One of the (long list) of reasons for refusing a request for flexible working is if the employer can claim that it is difficult to reorganise the work among the remaining staff."
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who Has a More Satisfying Life: Parents or the Childfree?

Kathy Buckworth

An excerpt:

"Having the comfort of blaming my bad moods, disorganization and
occasional stained blouse on the children has been one of the mainstays
of my parenting technique. While no one can scientifically measure the
joy of a first smile or the bliss of a newborn's smell, let me tell you
there are many dissatisfying moments every parent goes through on pretty
much a daily basis, and I guarantee that these are not the moments when
they're filling in a satisfaction survey.  "
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Baby Shower Invitation Etiquette - Don't Be Gift Grubby

Baby Shower Invitation Etiquette - Don't Be Gift Grubby

After reading the horrifying behavior of this mom-to-be, suddenly the monotony of our friends' baby showers won't seem so bad . . .(Hint: I volunteer to write down the gift and giver so I don't have to pretend to ooh and aah over baby clothes!)

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Monday, February 03, 2014

The Perks Of Being Child-Free Are Summed Up In This Brilliant Parody 'Try Not Having Kids'

'Try Not Having Kids'(HuffPo)
"Are you beginning to feel pressure from others to have children of your own? Do you find you are not yet ready to obliterate any chance you have left to enjoy life to its fullest?" asks the voiceover lady. Solution? "Then try Not Having Kids!" she chirps.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Childfree Life: Kids Really Do Ruin Marriages, Study Finds

Childfree Life: Kids Really Do Ruin Marriages, Study Finds
In a study of more than 5,000 adults, findings showed that childless couples have happier marriages and feel more valued in their relationships, reports The Guardian. But researchers also found that women without children were the least happy with their lives overall, whereas mothers were happier than any other group, even if they had troubles in their relationships. Yet fathers were twice as likely as mothers to report a lack of sexual intimacy as the biggest problem in their relationship.
If society stopped putting pressure on folks to procreate, I wonder what that rate would be? I suspect that deliberately choosing parenthood would result in happier parents than those who simply stumble into it as the default. Recently, a very close friend and relative had a child. She told me that having childfree people in her life had caused her to make the decision differently than she would have otherwise; she spent more time deliberating on the decision. I don't think it is a coincidence that a year later, she is a happy mother. Still, without a larger sample size, it is just speculation.
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Friday, January 03, 2014

How Not To Be A Dick To Your Childfree Friends

1.“I thought I didn’t want kids, too -– but then I grew up.”
. . .
This line of reasoning is scarily similar to things queer people often hear -– it’s just a phase, you’ll get over it, you’re just trying to be edgy/trendy.

But by declaring that your childfree friend will change his or her mind implies two things:
  1. You know your friend’s mind, hopes, dreams and desires better than your friend ever could. Your friend is mistaken about his/her desire to live a childfree life, and, by proxy, maybe not so smart.
  2. You think your friend’s very responsible, often quite difficult, decision has been made flippantly and without much consideration.
I find that this is often coupled with the idea that I don't know what I am missing, so as to justify the idea that they know better than I do.  I have a ready-made retort handy:  My mother knows what I am missing, and she doesn't think I am making a mistake.  I'd say she knows me a fair bit better than you do.  Indeed, I have never heard this from someone who knows me well at all.

Still, even if this were coming from someone close, the speaker only knows what parenting would be like for them - someone who actually wanted to parent.  They are completely incapable of understanding what parenting would be like for someone without that urge.  Therefore, they are in no position to understand your choice at all.

Click over to the article for a far longer list of ways not to be a dick.

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