Sunday, May 23, 2010

Childfreedom--An Overview

Of the many stances I have written about in this blog, one of the things that I haven't really covered is the concept of being "childfree." First, I'll define a couple terms.

Childfree: you have never had a biological child & are perfectly happy with this

Fence-sitter: you haven't had a biological child & don't want any right now but might want them sometime in the future

Childless: you have never had a biological child but it's one of your life dreams to have one sometime before you die or hit menopause

Okay, now that we have that out of the way I'll explain some details on this to bring my views into context:

A) There are MANY misconceptions about people who don't want kids, especially women. Society believes that childfree women hate children, want them to suffer unspeakable harm (physical, emotional, take your pick), hate mothers & are right up there w/Satanists & the terrorists as people to be hated.

B) Society assumes that ALL women want to breed. In fact, so do many male law firm partners & perhaps many male leaders in other industries. I only really know about law firms, though.

C) If you are a woman without children, you will most likely have friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, somebody pestering you about pro-creating. Statements such as "You'll change your mind" and "It's different when they're your own" are known as a bingo. The verbal form of the word is known as "being bingoed" or "bingoing".

* I don't come up w/these terms, I'm just passing this along for your benefit.

Now, I'm fortunate in a number of ways:

A) My family is very much "live and let live." The relatives I speak to have known me for a very long time & know that I was always going to be a career woman. They also knew I'd be living in the Northeast & wasn't particularly maternal.

My sister, on the other hand, has been a natural with kids since she was a kid herself. She always wanted them & is one of the best mothers I know. Between me & my husband, we have 5 nieces & nephews so there's already enough grand kids for everyone to be happy.

B) The legal industry & the entertainment industry aren't the types of fields where motherhood is overly encouraged. In fact, you're going to have a much harder time as a mom working in either field depending on what you do for a living. I would go so far as to say there aren't as many family friendly workplaces in these fields as there ought to be & finding one is difficult.

You're just not going to find a lot of people trying to push parenthood on you in entertainment or in the average legal job. If anything, you'll find people trying to talk you out of parenthood.

C) I found a great surgeon who performed sterilization surgery on me so I don't have to worry about accidental pregnancies or not being able to get an abortion if religious fanatics get their way. You can't leave a tubal pregnancy or the woman will die when her tube bursts. I'm far happier having gotten that done.

So my basic view is "different strokes for different folks." There are some good parents out there & people who've wanted kids their whole lives. They love their kids unconditionally & would do anything for them. I know many parents & if they're doing right by their kids, I have no problem with the fact that they made the choice to have them. It's also not my place to shun anyone for having kids.

However when you start invalidating someone's intelligence b/c they don't have kids or try to sell me on having kids like you were a dealer selling me crack, then there's a problem. Just as I don't get to pry into your reproductive business, you don't get to pry into my reproductive business. Unless you will personally have said child, raise it, pay for it & I have no changes to my life whatsoever, you don't get a vote in the matter.

I've got nothing against responsible adults having kids raised in a loving household & teaching them to become productive members of society. But the fact is, my husband & I have no patience w/them, prefer our alone time & like having our lives be our own. We don't want that kind of responsibility & have no apologies for it.

Memo to Society: Some people have NO business having kids. Some people are or would make shitty parents & I really wish you could mandate parenting licenses. Take YOUR religious views to YOUR church & keep them off everyone else's bodies.

So society would likely brand me as childfree. That's not quite accurate, though b/c I do have some problems w/being lumped in that group.

A) Some childfree people hate their own child relatives such as nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. This is not b/c of those kids being bad but just b/c of the fact that they are kids. Some of these people actually try to get advice to avoid seeing infant & child relatives. This is a HUGE issue for me.

While I'm all thumbs when it comes to children under 5, that child hasn't done anything to piss you off yet. Plus, what about leaving your mark on that kid? Don't you think that kid might want to be like you & admire you if you're nice to him/her? Why make an enemy of a little kid who could turn out to be a really great person & someone who learns good things from you?

Shades of my childhood also come into this: I had an aunt say something shitty to me as a child that you should never say to a kid. She actually told me that she loved my male cousins more than she did me & my sister.

B) There are childfree people who hate all parents & all kids. I don't. I just dislike anyone who tries to butt into my personal life or who causes problems for society, the courts, social services, etc. by bringing a child into the world & not bothering to be a parent. This includes not having the money to take care of those children & having the taxpayers support them.

My nephew is a little sweetheart & if anyone dared to mess w/him or the one I'm going to meet in a few weeks, they'd better pray their parents or my mother got to them first b/c as we all know, I'm not someone you want to start trouble with.

We don't need any more breeders in this country. Don't get me started on the Octo-Breeding Bitch.

C) I don't hate all conversation about kids. Don't tell me about the color of the poop or marvel at minute details I won't really care about, but you don't have to pretend your child doesn't exist at all to speak to me. If you have other interests but make a comment or two about your child, that's fine. Just don't turn it into a 3 hour discussion on kid stuff; save that for other parents. Moderation, it's a beautiful thing.

I also avoid new parents unless they are family & wouldn't want to go to a child's birthday party unless that child is a family member or close enough to me that he/she might as well be family. I know people who didn't change after having kids but also know others who became ex-friends; childfree people really don't like those types. They wonder where their old friend went.

I think I just have problems aligning myself with most groups since no one ever gets my philosophy or thoughts on things 100% on target. Not even 95% or a number close enough for me to overlook other things. There's usually at least a few fundamental disagreements I have with particular groups someone might try to lump me in with.

Guess that's why I'm your classic lone wolf.

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