Maybe When I’m 30

Maybe when I’m 30…

That’s what I used to say when people asked me about having kids. I always thought that I’d have kids at some point because I figured I’d want to at some point. No one ever tells you it’s perfectly fine to neither want nor have kids. They spend most of their time, in fact, telling you the exact opposite.

You’ll change your mind… One day you’ll have kids… You’re too young to know yet…

Whenever anyone asked what my plans for kids were, I certainly did know that they were not in my near future. I just didn’t have that urge. But I swallowed what they were feeding me and was convinced that one day I’d wake up and realize Oh my god, I’m ready. I want to be a mom! So in high school, and college, and after college when I got married, whenever anyone asked about kids, I told them maybe we’d start trying when I was 30. That seemed like a good age. I figured we’d be financially established by then, but it wasn’t so late in life that I’d be risking health issues for either myself or a potential baby.

Well, yesterday I turned 30.

A few years ago I started getting a little anxious about that number. Not because it means I’m getting older, like many people seem to assume. Hell, I’m excited to be 30 years old! I feel like this will be a great year for me. No, the reason I started looking at 30 a bit sideways when I was still in my 20s was because there were still so many goals I hadn’t reached and that seemed like they would be ten times more difficult if I suddenly had children to care for. I’d been saying maybe when I’m 30 for so long, but I was starting to think I should start saying maybe when I’m 35. That wasn’t too late, right?

My concerns over the age at which to have my first child were superficial at best. It was a distraction from the real reason I was wary about reaching the maybe when I’m 30 deadline. The truth was that I just didn’t want kids. I still hadn’t had any urge or desire to have a child. Whenever I thought of my future – where I’d be or what I’d be doing – kids never factored into my daydreams and desires.

But… I couldn’t say that… could I? It seemed so strange. So foreign. As I mentioned before, we’re all indoctrinated with the message that we will all be parents one day, and it will be glorious, and hard, and rewarding, and frustrating, and miraculous, and fulfilling, all at the same time!

No one tells you that you can choose not to have kids.

When I first realized that I didn’t want kids, period, I couldn’t even assert myself fully. It was all I don’t think I want kids… Maybe I’ll want them in the far-off future, who knows? But I doubt it… Who knows, who knows… Because I was afraid of the reactions I would get. I mean, doesn’t everyone want kids? How weird was I for not wanting what everyone else wanted?

It’s taken a few years, but it finally doesn’t feel weird to say it. I’m not having kids.

Okay, I lied, it’s still weird. I still struggle with worrying what people will say or how they’ll look at me when I say firmly, “I am not having children.” But even though I worry about that, I’ll still tell them.

No kids for me. Not even when I’m 30.

Reproductive Rights and my Presidential Vote

I’m sure anyone who knows me can guess that I did not vote for Romney and Ryan. I’m quite happy that Obama will have another four years. I certainly don’t think he’s been perfect, but no president has. There are issues where I agree strongly with his stance, and others where I’m not so sure. But even if I disagreed more than I agree with Obama’s ideas and policies, there was no foreseeable scenario that could have made me vote for Mitt Romney, and it boils down to one thing: reproductive and women’s rights.

While all the news stations and pollsters were looking at the importance of jobs, the economy, and foreign policy on this year’s presidential vote, those were at the bottom of my list. If Mitt Romney had said everything I wanted to hear on all those other big issues, I still wouldn’t have voted for him. If ever there’s any candidate who can win me over on all of those issues but who has the same attitudes about women and reproductive rights expressed by the Romney/Ryan campaign and other Republicans this year, there’s no way in hell they’ll get my vote.

I know to some it may seem extreme. Would I really not vote for someone I thought could do great things for the economy or jobs because we had differing ideas about abortion, birth control, rape, or other similar issues? Absolutely.

But why?

Romney and Ryan would want to restrict access to abortion. Ryan wants it gone altogether while Romney would have included exceptions for rape or incest (which is a joke. I’d like to see how he would’ve wanted to enforce/prove those exceptions.) And if anyone believes their stances on abortion have to do with anything other than their religious beliefs, you’re fooling yourselves.

Various Republican politicians have made spectacles of themselves this year by making uninformed and outright stupid claims like women can’t (or rarely) become pregnant as a result of rape or incest and that women’s bodies can somehow “shut that whole thing down.” One expressed his hope that a doctor, when counseling a woman seeking an abortion, would ask questions like whether it was rape, or whether it was the result of regular marriage relations. Because, you know, the reason a woman wants a perfectly legal medical procedure is anyone’s damn business. Oh, and because, you know, I’m sure married women seeking abortions couldn’t possibly have been raped and must be lying about that.

Don’t forget about some of the bills introduced in several states seeking to further restrict abortion by redefining the timeframe of conception or imposing unnecessary and potentially painful and humiliating procedures like trans-vaginal ultrasounds. Wonderful time to be a woman, right?

Any politician who does or believes these things, or who doesn’t explicitly and quickly condemn those of their party who do is saying the following to me:

  • They would like to put their religious beliefs into legislation, despite the fact that many people do not share those same religious beliefs.
  • They do not think women are capable of making their own health and reproductive decisions in partnership with their doctors, based on factual evidence and their own religious beliefs if they so choose.
  • They are willfully ignorant about basic biology but have no qualms about trying to enact legislation about healthcare and reproductive choices.

These points do not inspire any faith that these politicians are capable of making rational, informed decisions on other issues, no matter what they may say to our faces. If you are hell bent on restricting rights of any one group, think your religion gives you either the right or the obligation to make or influence anyone else’s major life decisions, and can’t see past your own high opinion of yourself to see why your ideas and policies may be detrimental to others, I have no reason to believe you could possibly make good decisions about jobs, the economy, or anything else.

And that is why women’s rights will always be at the top of my list when voting for President, or any other elected official.

The Child I Didn’t Have

Whoa, hold up. Settle down. This isn’t some sort of abortion or adoption confession. Just so you know.

I seem to be a minority among the childfree people I’ve met in that I adore babies. (I just can’t identify with kids once they become mobile and verbal haha.) I am nurturing and sometimes get those ooey gooey maternal feelings that can make come CFers want to retch. You know what I mean.😉

The child I didn’t have… This is the child who got the best of my maternal instincts when they were at their peak (which happened in my teens). This is the only child I would have ever braved motherhood for. The love of my life, the apple of my eye, all that gag me with a spoon sentimental type stuff. The child I didn’t have is my little brother.

I was 12 when he was born, so I was old enough to help care for him in many ways, babysit when my parents had to run out to the store or whatever, change diapers, all that good stuff. We developed a close bond, especially as he got a little bit older and started talking. Kids in general make me uncomfortable and I just can’t relate to them, but my brother was different. We were a lot alike personality-wise, and he was a smart kid from the start. From an early age, I remember having great conversations with him, almost like he was a tiny adult, except he had the infectious fascination and sense of wonder that so many kids have.

My little brother went through a phase, before he understood what marriage really was, where he would say he was going to marry me some day. It made my heart just ache with love. I thought it was the cutest thing. In his mind, when you loved someone a lot, you married them. Simple!

I’ve always seemed older than my age, so people occasionally assumed I was his mother if I had him perched on my hip and our parents weren’t close by. I balked at the idea of being a mother, especially at thirteen or even sixteen, but at the same time I thought if he could be my child, if my child could be just like him, I would welcome motherhood with open arms. But obviously there’s no way to know what your child will be like.

While I was falling in love with my little brother as though he were my own child, our family also experienced some difficult things. My little brother was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, something we’d never heard of before. There was no visible family history of it, but both parents must be a carrier of the gene for a child to have it. To give you a general idea of SMA, this is from the Families of SMA website:

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a motor neuron disease. The motor neurons affect the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, and swallowing. It is a relatively common “rare disorder”: approximately 1 in 6000 babies born are affected, and about 1 in 40 people are genetic carriers.

My little brother was just on the verge of walking before he was diagnosed. It was a milestone we were all excited to see. It was a milestone we never saw. At least not in the usual way. He was fitted with leg braces and had a walker and he could take a few steps that way, but his mobility steadily declined. My parents treated him as normally as possible, even as his strength and muscle control diminished. We had a special bike that he could ride with help for a period of time. We had another piece of equipment (I can’t remember the name of it now) that supported him in a standing position and had a tray so he could do activities or watch TV or whatever. He could still crawl and support himself on hands and knees for a while, until he got bigger. We pushed him in a manual wheelchair until he got too big and old enough that he needed to be able to get himself around, and then he switched to a power chair.

Because he was more dependent on us as a result of the physical disability, I think that strengthened our bond even more. Whether it was taking him out in the pool or adjusting his sitting position while he was playing with his toys, I was happy to hang out with my little brother, and I actually liked feeling needed and appreciated that way. Of course there were moments when sadness took over. Even though my brother is happy and smart, does well in school, has friends and interests and hobbies, I still have those moments of fear and sadness.

He’s had two spinal fusions. He uses a CPAP machine at night for his sleep apnea. When he gets sick, something that wouldn’t be too serious for you or I affects his immune system more strongly. He’s been hospitalized several times with pneumonia.

It’s a selfish sorrow, of course. I wonder what the future holds for him, and I fear what it will do to me emotionally to see the little boy I love so much struggle.

At the same time, that little boy impresses me so much every day. SMA has no effect on cognitive ability, and many people with SMA are actually extremely bright. I have fond memories of playing Zelda games with him when he was much littler and I had to read all the text to him until he could read well enough on his own. When I went away to college, he sent me e-cards using my parents email, wrote me notes, sent Valentine’s Day cards, and even sent me a piece of ceramic art he made in school. It didn’t matter how many boxes of pop tarts my parents sent, if there was a note or something from my little brother in there, that alone made my day. I have this picture of him in a middle school home economics class, using a sewing machine of all things. He held the foot pedal under his chin and controlled the machine that way.  He played the baritone in band for a few years, before his second spinal fusion. He had to improvise with certain fingerings to compensate for weakness in one of his fingers, but he enjoyed playing and was accepted as a member of the All-Shore band. He has a dry sense of humor that I love, and we share an interest in a lot of the same geeky TV shows, like Doctor Who. He is an amazing kid.

I still feel that if I could somehow guarantee my child would be just like him, I’d do it. At the same time, I feel like I’ve experienced so much of both the joys and the challenges of having a child just by being his big sister. My maternal instincts were satisfied. And I just know there is no other child – not even one that I pushed out of my own womb – that could ever come close to matching the bond and the love I have for my little brother.

Why am I telling you all this right now? Because this is the last day of SMA Awareness month, for one. And two, because it’s also my not-so-little brother’s birthday. He’s 17 and just started his senior year of high school. He continues to make me proud and I continue to love him to bits and pieces. He’s all I could ever ask for in a child I didn’t have.

My Childfree Case for Mother’s Day

Despite dancing the maybe one day dance for a while, I think I’ve always known on some level that having kids wasn’t for me. But since it’s only been in the past year or so that I’ve been firm in stating openly that my choice is to remain childfree, I’ve never sought out other CFers or the CF community online until recently. Just like any otherwise random group of people that happen to share a certain trait, there are pleasant folks, and there are less pleasant folks. I know that some of the people I find to be off-putting would probably rub me the wrong way even if they had six kids, and it’s not necessarily a poor reflection on CFers in general. Just like bad parents aren’t necessarily indicative of all parents. You simply cannot generalize that way.

Still… I’ve been surprised at some of the vitriolic responses from some CF folks regarding Mother’s Day. This post is for those people. The ones who say things like:

It’s a joke. Like a participation trophy. Even the “losers” win.

Bitter much? Sometimes I wonder if the people who state this type of thing are the people who had shitty parents. Or are you afraid that someone else wishing “Happy Mother’s Day” to a not-s0-stellar mom somehow diminishes the good things your own mother did for you? If you don’t think your own mom is deserving of Happy Mother’s Day! that’s between you and her. You also aren’t obligated to acknowledge the holiday for anyone else.

Why reward people for using up our resources and killing our planet?

Please. Spare me. I’m no dummy.  I know and acknowledge that this planet is overpopulated and we are using up our resources at a dangerous rate. But I’ve seen this zinger so many times from CFers, in response to so many things, it’s starting to become as irritating as all those bingos people with kids throw our way when we say we don’t want kids.

You are free to make your choice to be childfree, and if concern for the earth and the environment fuel your choice, good for you. But you know what, that doesn’t factor into all CF people’s decisions. Does that make them less than? And if you want to get all self-righteous about using up valuable resources, what kind of car do you drive? When was the last time you carpooled or took public transportation (or walked or rode a bike) when the options were available to you? What else do you do to support alternative energy research, or funding for efforts surrounding availability of birth control, sex education, fair access to abortion, supporting same-sex adoption, or other things that will help reduce unwanted pregnancies/births and help care for the children already in the system?

Keep the dialogue going about the issues. They are worthwhile. Just don’t pretend motherhood is theonly issue.

While we’re on the subject, one more thing. Stop celebrating your birthday while you’re at it. Why should your friends reward you with gifts for using up 0ur planet’s resources, especially after you were brought into this world against your will? (see next point) You can also stop celebrating birthdays of family members you think are jerks or bad people. Don’t want to reward that behavior, do you?

Someone brought me into this world against my will and now wants me to be grateful for it.

That’s a direct quote from someone. But the sentiment of babies being born “against their will” or that babies “aren’t asked to be born” is one I’ve seen a lot. Just like the response about overpopulation, this is getting to be a bingo on the childfree side. It’s meant to paint the parents as selfish.

First of all, you didn’t have a will until you were born. You really didn’t even have any sort of true free will until you could form rational thoughts. Your mother can’t have brought you into the world against your will before you had one. You couldn’t have asked to be born before you existed. These are the dumbest things I’ve ever heard from childfree people. Sorry, but it’s true. They’re empty statements that don’t mean anything.

You do have a will now, and if you don’t want to be here, well…

Harsh, perhaps, but don’t talk about what’s been done to you against your will without acknowledging that you now have the will necessary to get out of this life you never wanted, but you choose not to. When it comes down to it, does it matter whose will it is that you came to be? You’re here now, and you a rational adult human being. If you still have a chip on your shoulder about not getting a say in being born, that’s your issue. No one else’s.

Bottom line? We may not all choose to be mothers (or fathers) but we all have mothers. Is there a commercial aspect to Mother’s Day? Like any mainstream holiday, of course. But you don’t have to buy into it. Does that contribute to an unfair idolization of moms and motherhood that then contributes to the negative stereotypes surrounding the childfree choice? It’s possible. But I’m fairly certain you can have an honest, constructive discourse about these real issues without insulting your own or anyone else’s mother, and without resorting to idiotic zingers that make you sound as bad as some of the natalists that frustrate us all.

I bought my mom an orchid plant and a card and took them to her when I saw my parents this weekend. I wished my other mom happy Mother’s Day on Facebook. (Yes, this lucky gal has two moms.) I’m sure I’ll call my dad on Father’s Day to wish him well. I certainly didn’t have a Brady Bunch type of relationship with my parents, but it wasn’t awful either. At the very least, they brought me into this world, raised me, kept me safe, warm, and fed until I could provide these things for myself. And you know what? I like my life. I’m not sorry I was brought into it against some imaginary will I couldn’t have before I was actually born. I’m going make the best of my time here, and I couldn’t have done it without a mother to bring me into the world. So…

Happy Mother’s Day to my moms, and to all those who are raising productive members of society, whether they’re yours  biologically, by marriage or adoption, or even just through a mentor relationship. Happy Mother’s Day.

Contraception and the Constitution

I’ve been debating a post on this topic for a while now. I hesitate to get too political because I tend to take a long time to think before speaking (or writing) and therefore don’t enjoy the type of rapid-fire discourse that can erupt online around these issues. Nevertheless, my thoughts have been nagging at me to set them free for weeks, so here we have it.

To say that I’m alarmed by the current political climate and what many have labeled a “war on women” would be an understatement. The fight over government-mandated birth control coverage and whether or not Catholic universities and other such businesses should have to abide by these same rules has gotten a lot of attention recently. Access to contraception is something I’ve always felt strongly about, even before consciously deciding that I wasn’t going to have kids at all. Many would argue that this current debate is not an issue of women’s reproductive rights, but rather an issue of constitutionality and freedom of religion. I disagree, quite strongly, but I’ll focus on the religious aspect for now.

We are all free to worship who- or whatever we wish, if we wish to at all, and the government doesn’t have the right to make laws that infringe on that freedom. I understand Catholics and others may have objections to contraception based on their faith. They are free to use it or not use it as they see fit. Congress cannot create laws that would force these people to use contraception in violation of their religious beliefs.

We all in agreement so far? Good.

Whatever your faith, or non-faith, I think we can also all agree that each of us has free will. Even those who share your faith have their own free will, and may choose to do things with which you don’t agree, and which you may feel go against your shared religious beliefs. Do you get a say in their decisions, or anyone else’s? No.

If an employer is required to include contraception coverage in their medical benefits, this in no way affects anyone’s right to worship as they wish. No one is forced to use the birth control. But it will be available for anyone who chooses to exercise their God-given free will and use it, no matter their religious beliefs.

There’s still the argument that Catholics (or anyone with religious objections to contraception) shouldn’t have to pay for anyone’s birth control. There are two reasons I find this argument ridiculous.

1. A lesson in how businesses works

A business provides goods or services to a consumer, who pays money for those goods or services. The money paid by the consumer goes to the business and is used for various operational expenses, including employee wages and benefits. It works this way regardless of whether the company or organization is founded on any religious principle, and regardless of the religions of anyone in the organization, from top to bottom.

I sure hope all those employers crying foul about their religious liberties and whining that they shouldn’t be forced to pay for that sinful stuff called birth control think twice before buying, oh, anything, ANYWHERE, as a private citizen. Because you’re paying for the birth control of that restaurant manager every time you eat out just about as directly as you’d be paying for the birth control of your own employees.

Another news flash to employers: You’re funding your employees’ birth control anyway! Even if they aren’t on your insurance! Even if you get your way and your insurance doesn’t cover birth control! How? You’re paying them! Whether their wages are rated to pay for employer-sponsored health insurance and then pay a co-pay at the pharmacy, or they take their pay directly to a clinic or other provider and pay full price for their contraception, you know who still “paid for” it in one way or another? The employer. Or you could say it was the consumers who patronized the employer, who then paid the employee, who then paid the doctor/pharmacy/insurance company for the contraception. However you split the hairs, it’s you and me paying for each other. Get used to it.

2. Your rights end where mine begin. My rights end where yours begin.

You have every right not to use birth control because of your religious beliefs. I have every right to use or not use based on my own beliefs. None of that changes just because you start a company or organization and start giving people jobs. Each and every person you employ has their own religious freedom, and they may choose to use or not use birth control, and that does not affect your ability to worship freely. You may not, however, use your personal religion to try to circumvent laws that will regulate your business.

I won’t get into the fight about whether access to birth control is a “right”, because it’s really irrelevant here. An employer that wants to be exempt from this requirement is effectively telling employees “You have to be governed by the laws of my religion, no matter what you personally believe.” Nope. Doesn’t work that way. I’m sorry, but it is not against your religion to partially fund, however directly or indirectly, an insurance plan that covers, among myriad other medications and procedures, contraception that a woman may or may not choose to use. As I mentioned in the point above, if that were truly the case, I’d expect to see good Catholics everywhere boycotting any business that subsidizes health insurance with coverage for contraception.

If you are going to engage in the business sector by becoming an employer, you must abide by the laws regulating business. That’s it. Period.

End of story.

Childfree Traveling – Or Is It?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It was a busy holiday season, personally and at work. We traveled back and forth to parents and in-laws a few times in December and January. Now that we’re no longer down the highway from my in-laws, and now twice as far from my parents, visiting for holidays (or just because) is a bit of an ordeal. Arranging a few days where my husband and I both have off work. Packing up and driving anywhere from four and a half to eight hours (one way). Sleeping on a couch or strange bed for a couple nights. Of course it’s worth it, getting to see our families. It can be tough enough, though, with just the two of us. I’d never want to have to deal with even just that little bit of traveling with a small child. You have to worry about:

  • Packing all the kid’s stuff, too. Clothes, toys, supplies.
  • Potty breaks before, during, and after the car ride
  • Potential car sickness
  • Car safety and comfort – proper seats/belts/harnesses, blankets, pillows
  • How your kid will get along with other kids/adults/pets where you’re going

Whew! Glad I don’t have to worry about all that…. except, wait… I DO!

It struck me during one of our trips that traveling with our dog is exactly like traveling with a small child. We have a three-year-old dachshund. She’s small like a baby, and also has similar needs. I think at least half of the stuff we had to pack for a trip belonged to the dog. Maybe more than half. We had to worry about:

  • Packing all her stuff – blanket, bowls, treats, doggie steps (so she can get up on the couch without skidding out on the hardwood floors at both our parents’ houses), a bottle of water so she can have a drink during the ride, her leash
  • Potty breaks before, during, and after the car ride. Once or twice we’ve had to pull off to the side of the turnpike in those little emergency stopping shoulders because she either wouldn’t go before we left, or had to go again. And that was slightly terrifying.
  • Potential car sickness. She’s only gotten sick in the car once, after gorging herself on treats and another dog’s food the day before. But it required cleanup and created more laundry to do later.
  • Car safety and comfort – She likes to burrow, so we pile her king-size comforter in the back seat so she can snuggle in it. We have a special harness she wears for the car ride that we hook the seat belt through to make sure she doesn’t distract us while driving and is secure in the event of an accident. She still manages to pull a Houdini now and then and get out of the harness and jump up front with us.
  • How she’ll get along with my parents’ two dogs, or my father in law’s dog. She’s familiar with them by now and it’s not a huge worry, although she still has issues with food around other dogs. She eats fine at home, but put another dog in the house and instead of eating right away, she decides she needs to hoard her food and defend it from the other dogs. And also eat the other dog’s food. Yeah, she’s a little neurotic, but we love her.

Why can't I ride in the front seat on your lap? It's only an eigh-hour drive.

I end up turning around to pet and soothe her several times during the first 45 minutes or so, just like you would a fussy child, because she doesn’t settle in until we get away from the stop-and-go traffic of the city. Going from the house to the car and vice versa, I often stash her regular harness, leash, and sometimes her bone in my purse for easy access. During the last trip to my see my parents, I realized my purse has become a doggie diaper bag!

Traveling with pets (at least mine!) feels like it requires as much energy as traveling with kids. It’s a wonder just how much having the dog has reinforced our thoughts that we just don’t want to have kids. I understand kids will eventually grow up and be able to pack their own bags, be responsible for going to the bathroom before a long car ride, and be able to tell you to pull over before they puke all over the back seat. But that brings with it a whole new host of irritations, which I won’t go into in this post. Traveling with a spoiled dachshund is enough for me. I couldn’t deal with a human baby on top of that.

If you’re a parent (of human or fur babies), what traveling tips or tricks do you have to make it easier?

TV Parents

I watch way too much TV. Even now that we’ve gotten rid of our satellite dish and have barely a dozen channels, I probably still watch too much.  Two great shows I like both revolve around parents and their children – I know, I know. It probably sounds weird that I would love shows like that, being CF and all. But these two shows are awesome, and I’ll tell you why.

One of my favorite shows is Parenthood, on NBC. My husband and I have watched religiously since the show started last year. (And the show consistently makes my big man of a husband cry, almost every week. But sshhhh, I didn’t tell you that.) I can immediately identify why I personally love this show. I’m amazed, obsessed, and enamored with human relationships. It’s part of my introverted nature, I think. As a writer, it’s human relationships that fascinate me and that drive my stories. I love the emotional drama. Parenthood delivers on this aspect.

The Bravermans are a big family of people with big personalities that sometimes clash, but they always pull together to support each other in the end. They aren’t perfect by a long shot, and their flaws are addressed instead of swept under the rug and ignored. They deal with some difficult and sensitive subjects at times – the struggles of raising a teenage girl in the dating years, a young son with Asperger’s, fertility and adoption struggles, substance abuse, job woes, co-parenting when not married to your child’s other parent, and more. But they handle these issues realistically, and often with well-placed humor. I would’ve loved to have seen a childfree character in the show – I just think it would add an interesting dynamic, and I think the writers would probably handle some of the assumptions about CFers beautifully. But I suppose when the show is called Parenthood, a CF character would be a stretch. I have hope for Amber, though. I could see her making the CF choice in the future.

On the flip side, I’ve really been enjoying another NBC show, Up All Night. This comedy doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and has no trouble poking fun at parents and parenting. Everything from trying to get the spark back after having a baby to trying to maintain your “cool couple” status to playing peek-a-boo the right way. Parents and childfree folks alike can laugh at some of the absurd situations in the show without feeling like either side is judging or being judged. The baby is pretty darn cute, too.

The great thing about both of these shows is that they present various aspects and potential situations relating to parenthood that will make the natalists say, “The things we go through for our kids! But it’s all worth it,” and the childfree say, “Those are the things I don’t want to have to deal with in my life.” But they’re always handled with a level of humor and tenderness that can make both sides feel good and say, “There’s a loving family.”

What are some TV parents that can make you laugh or cry?

How Many Kids Do You Have?

Twice in the past few weeks, I’ve come across this question in kid-centered discussions and it makes me want to scream. It’s often asked derisively, as though the status of parenthood raises the person asking the question to some higher moral or intellectual level. The first was a TV talk show where a restaurant owner discussed his decision not to seat children under the age of six. (And before anyone asks, no his revenues did not decline. He actually saw an increase.) The second was an online article about a mall (where I worked for almost four years) enacting new rules prohibiting unaccompanied minors on Friday and Saturday after 6pm.

In both cases, the most common retort from people against the restrictions toward those supporting them is how many kids do you have? And for anyone who responds that they don’t have children, like the restaurant owner on TV, people snicker in response, as if that fact negates the childfree person’s ability to reason and form logical conclusions.

Listen, just because I don’t have kids and don’t want kids doesn’t mean I don’t see and hear the obnoxious things kids sometimes do. And it doesn’t render me incapable of placing a value judgment on those actions, nor does it nullify my opinions. Hell, I could argue that if anyone is not in a position to look objectively at children’s behavior and the impact it can have on other people, it’s the parents. They love their kids (as they should), and that skews their view of their child’s behavior. Now I’m not arguing that, exactly, but I could.

If a person doesn’t own a dog, does that make them incapable of meaningful discussion about leash laws? They, too, are affected by pets allowed to run free. Should an adult non-driver be laughed at, or their opinion discounted, in a debate about the residential speed limits in your neighborhood? As a pedestrian, they likely are very concerned about speeding cars. Likewise, even those people without children are affected by your child’s public behavior and have a right to voice their concerns and look for solutions.

I’ll discuss the merits and problems of some of these kid-free restrictions in a later post. For now I just wanted to say that whether or not a person has children has no bearing on their ability to logically and objectively assess issues with the way some children behave in public.

Childfree, Not a Child Hater

The past few weeks I’ve been on adorable overload, ooohing and ahhhing over pics of babies from friends, family, and even a stranger or two (that’s not as creepy as it sounds, promise). I can hardly describe the giddy glee that overtakes me when I see babies doing cute things, or just sitting there and simply oozing cuteness. It’s as simple as this: I LOVE TEH BEBEHZ!!!

I imagine some people may find it difficult to reconcile this sentiment with my childfree choice. Some people also seem to think that making the choice to remain CF means you must not like kids or, worse, that you must hate kids. This is simply untrue. Sure, there are some people out there who do hate kids – I know a few of them – but saying CF people all hate children is like saying everyone who studies Psychology in college loves bologna sandwiches. The choice is in no way related to the preference in either case. Besides, I bet we’ve all met (or know of) someone who really seems to dislike kids and yet as a few of their own. Am I right? Uh huh, that’s what I thought.

As for me, I love babies. I love to hold them and snuggle them and make silly high-pitched talk at them. I also like to hand them back to mommy and daddy after a while. Luckily for me, in this day and age, that’s my prerogative.

There are lots of other myths/stereotypes about being CF, and I’ll address more of those in the future, as well as touching on some of the real reasons a person may choose to be CF.

So tell me, what are your preconceived ideas about the choice to be childfree?


I don’t know how people with kids do it. My husband and I are relocating to the other side of the state, and it’s been hectic. It came about without much warning, so we were in a frenzy of cleaning up the house, making some minor improvements, finding a realtor, packing things up, finding a place to live in the new city, etc. I’ve been exhausted for almost a month now!(hence my absence from the blog)

My husband has been in the new city for a few weeks now, even though we don’t officially move until next week, so it’s just been me and the dog. If I had an infant right now – or even an older child – I don’t think I could cope. The kid wouldn’t be going to bed at decent times, or eating proper meals at proper times. I’d be too tired to play. And we haven’t even gotten to the move out/in part, or the four hour drive part! It’s time like these where my childfree choice makes complete sense and I’m glad it’s a choice I made.