Saturday, December 26, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
When people see me with kids and see how much I enjoy them and how good I am with them, they cannot wrap their minds around the fact that I do not want kids. People assume that if a person likes kids, she must want them and that not wanting kids equals hating kids. For me, this is not true. I don't hate kids. I hate the lifestyle that comes with having them. When I tell people that, they look at me like I am speaking a foreign language. They just don't get it.
My very close friend Sara, who loves being a mom, demonstrates for me every time we are together why I do not want the parent lifestyle. We were together all day on Saturday at our house doing our annual holiday cookie bake - a tradition we have been enjoying for over 20 years. We start at 8:00 a.m. and go until well after dinner time, sometimes into the evening. Her kids stay home with her husband on cookie bake day (thank goodness) so we have the entire day together, just the two of us.
Even though Sara is sans kids for the day, she never escapes the demands of being a full-time mom, with her husband calling her on her cell phone every hour to check in and ask for her advice on every situation that arises with the kids. She's got to talk him through everything from what foods to feed them to how to get them to settle down for nap time to what time he should put the t.v. on, to who gets what snacks. He is helpless without her.
Last week, Sara and I went out Christmas shopping together at the local Target. I noticed that Sara always seems like she is on methamphetamines - she is always racing. While I am casually strolling through and aisles, browsing and looking at things in a leisurely and contemplative way, Sara is manically grabbing this thing and that, talking a mile a minute and making decisions quickly in a feverish rush, even when it's just the two of us and there is no reason to rush. I realized that her frantic demeanor has been honed from having to do shopping trips with her young boys who have very short attention spans that expire after 10 minutes a store, resulting in out-of-control temper tantrums. Sara has learned to think and act quickly and impulsively as a means of survival. Being with her turns my stomach in knots.
I have also noticed that with the onset of children, Sara has lost most of her attention span. When she and I are together and having a discussion, I have to get to the point quickly because she quickly loses her focus. She pretends to be listening, but I can tell her thoughts are elsewhere. Her brain has lost its ability stay with a train of thought for more than 1 minute. Again, blame it on endless hours of interactions with her kids who require rapid-fire responses from her - several per minute.I love Sara and our friendship goes back many, many years. I am sure our friendship will go on until the end of our lives, but being around her now gives me bad nerves. I keep telling myself to hang in there - that in a few years, when the kids are older, things will settle down and she will return to the calm and attentive friend I once knew. In the meantime, I just have to remember to take deep breaths when I am with her and try not to absorb the frenetic tension of her manic lifestyle.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Dad joins in, and then little sister and now the whole family is in on the abuse. The baby will have no part of it and screams louder. Now he is so upset he is gasping for air and turning blue. The elf finally gives up and takes the photo. Santa gives a hearty chuckle. A terrorized child memorialized for eternity.
Now, isn't this what Christmas is all about?
Once the photo is taken, mom runs over to rescue the screaming child from Santa's lap. She picks him up and presses him against her, consoling him and patting his back. The child is grasping onto her like a Titantic survivor clinging to a lifeboat. "It's all over now. Now that wasn't so bad, was it?" The mom and dad are giggling between themselves with a knowing look as if to say, "oh, the things we have to go through as parents" (as though torturing a child like this is some kind of parental obligation).
Yes folks, these are the same people who look down their noses at the childfree for our "selfishness".
Isn't that like Santa calling the Pillsbury Doughboy fat?
Friday, December 4, 2009
I posted a poll asking what you thought - is a married couple without kids a "family"? Not surprisingly, a vast majority of my readers voted "yes" and a couple people commented that my poll would get very different results on a non-childfree site.
So out of curiosity, I posted the same poll on another site - a non-childfree discussion board. The members of the forum are primarily women from all walks of life. Most are moms or are planning to be moms at some point. A few are childfree. Some are childless. They are a pretty good cross-section of women.
Well, you may be surprised to know that with 130 votes cast so far, in answer to the question, "is a married couple without kids a 'family' "? they responded as follows:
Not Sure: 2.3%
Surprised? I am.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
On Wednesday, I left the office at 2:00, but before I did, I stopped by the waiting room and grabbed a magazine to read on the train. I really don't care for our office's selection of magazines - it's the usual tripe, and the women's magazines usually end up annoying me more than entertaining me, but I went against my better judgement and grabbed the November issue of Redbook to read on the way home.
In addition to finding a yummy-looking recipe for cranberry apple chutney, I learned something very interesting while reading Redbook. Hubby and me are NOT a family. Redbook is very clear about this in their article entitled What's the Right-Size Family? The tag line to the title is "Sometimes you build your family by choice, and sometimes by chance. These eight couples share the stories of how 1, 2, 6...even 12...is just the right number of children".
So against my better judgement, I tortured myself and read through the entire article just to make sure they really didn't present a couple who chose not to have children. Heck, I would have even be happy to see a presentation of a childless by circumstance couple who, in the normal feel-good Redbook fashion, overcame their circumstance and came to embrace their life as-is.
Ah, but alas, this was all just fantasy on my part. As would be expected from such a typical rag, the usual assumptions were made: first, that all couples have or want children - that it's not a matter of whether a couple will have kids but how many. Second, that a couple who does not have children is not a family and of course, the underlying sub-message to that - that if you desire to live and create a family lifestyle for yourself, you'll need to pop out at least one kid.
I got to read heartwarming stories of blissful families like Jody and Chad who have come to terms with the fact that they will only have one child together (Chad already has a brood from a previous marriage and had a vasectomy before meeting Jody). Of course, it never occurs to them to adopt, but that's another issue. And then we have Aly and Jay who started with one but ended up with five and talk about how "awesome" it is to have this many kids, even though, Aly admits, there are days when she doesn't sit down for 12 hours straight. Lisa Renee and Russell opted to have 2 (and no more) because having 2 is manageable enough to allow them to "put their marriage first", for example taking 3 trips per year by themselves (yeah, we childfree couples know all about putting marriages first, if anyone's interested).
Then we get to the "faithful" family of Kate and Ray who allow God to determine how many kids they have. No surprise, they're up to 12. While saying it can be difficult, they mostly stress how blessed they feel and how the local business just love to see their van pull into their parking lots (can you imagine the carbon footprint of this family?)
The article goes on to feature 4 more families: one with a big age gap between their 2 kids, one who opted for just 1 child, another one with a big brood. Some of them (like the only-child couple and the couple with 6 children) describe the judgements they suffer from others who think their choice of number of children is wrong. Ha! They haven't seen anything. Try stating aloud that you have chosen not to have kids and then you can talk about judgements.
I guess what irritates me the most about this article is the title itself and the one obvious missing answer: What's the Right-Size Family?" The question begs for at least ONE of the answers to be "2 - just the couple" and yet, despite the fact that 7 - 10% of all couples opt to be childfree and very much consider themselves a family, not a single sentence in this article mentions this option as an answer to the question it presents.
I don't know about you, but I consider hubby and me (with or without our furry boys) a family. I always have. Hubby is my family. He's more family to me than my parents and siblings. He is the person who loves and understands me the most. He is the person I have built a life with - who I share and run a household with, who I go through all of life's joys, trials and tribulations with. We grow and develop together and make each other better people. If that isn't a family, I don't know what is. Frankly, I am sick and tired of being marginalized and treated as though we do not exist when the truth is - not only do we exist, but we flourish because of our chosen lifestyle.
Rags like Redbook (and the media in general) love to expand the boundaries of what constitutes a family and for the most part, I think that's a good thing. Today, family is no longer narrowly defined as a married couple with children. We have blended families, single-parent families, even families with 2 moms or 2 dads. The idea of family has been stretched so far beyond it's original definition that almost anything will be defined and embraced as family - that is, except for childfree and childless couples. For some reason we cannot seem to earn that title. We've come a long way baby, but we haven't gotten there yet.
So what do you think? Is a couple without children a "family"? Cast your vote on my new poll.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
9 Silly Things People Say When They Hear You Don't Want Kids (and Ways to Counter Them)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Want to see what other celebrities are childfree by choice? Check out my list and be sure to let me know if you learn of others so I can be sure to add them!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
When I try to dissect this perplexing behavior, I can only come up with this theory:
Friday, October 16, 2009
I haven't written about the subject of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before today, but it's been on my blogging back burner. Thankfully, two of my readers e-mailed me to vent about the subject and their eloquent letters (which they permitted me to reprint below) raise some very interesting questions and I'd love to hear your thoughts:
Is in vitro fertilization in line with "God's plan"? (assuming one believes in God)By the way, thank you to ALL the readers who contact me with blog post ideas or forward links to me. I save them in a little file called "Blog Post Ideas" and my folder is getting pretty big. I plan to dip into it on a regular basis. Please continue to send me your ideas, letters, links and vents. You can reach me at firecracker_mandy(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Is IVF an act of selflessness, or selfishness?
Is having children an entitlement? Is the capacity to give birth a medical necessity? Should health insurance companies be required to cover IVF?
Are those who pursue IVF (and the docs who perform this procedure) "playing God"?
And now to the letters of our esteemed readers, HawkMom and Shrodinger's Kittens (thanks, ladies).
I'm a mother (obviously) but I just love reading your Childfree blog. I've been to other places that just rant about "greedy moos". I don't take it too personally, though, as I've heard from some childfree acquaintances that parents are often self-righteous and arrogant towards them. All of what you say is spot on. When having children, you gain a lot emotionally and spiritually (if you're into that), but you give up a lot more. If kids were adults, we wouldn't put up with them. It's all take, take, take. I adore my girl to pieces, though, so I don't mind being temporarily insane for the next 18 years, which is basically what parenting is. I'm okay with that. : )
Anyway, I was about to write a post on my own blog about IVF and fertility treatment. I've written about it before and commented on forums, but I was charbroiled beyond recognition. These ladies are brutal. I'm in a weird place, as I am unapologetically pro-choice. However, fertility treatments in general make me uneasy. I'm one of those natural birth loons, so forgive me in advance, but I do find it offensive that many of the same women pumping themselves full of hormones and graded embryos are rallying against gay marriage and abortion as "against God's plan". Hypocrisy much? I lost a friend over this recently, when she found an old blog entry of mine. As diplomatically as I could, I explained to her in an e-mail back-and-forth that her twins (formerly triplets) were more the result of her selfish desires, that her PCOS was not a life-threatening disease comparable to cancer, and I just couldn't sit back and pretend that she was selfless and brave, no matter how many treatments she went through. She had "no regrets" over the fact that one of her babies died before the end of the first trimester and another one almost died in utero, spending the first few weeks of his life on breathing machines, clinging to life. She said she would do it all again, because I "wouldn't understand" what it's like to want something so many other women can have. The jaw drops when I think about this. I did apologize for offending her, if that helps. I thought you may understand my perspective, because those of us who have biological children or don't want any altogether are forbidden to have an opinion. I was actually searching your archived posts for something about the topic. I have to go run some errands now, but I was wondering if you could link me up to an old entry or if you were interested in writing about it in a newer post. My interest in all of this has been piqued even more with that recent mix-up in
Every time I see an article that argues assisted reproductive technologies should be covered by insurance I can't make a coherent argument. It makes me too angry. Covered by insurance? It should be illegal. Nobody ever died from not having a baby. And then you get a situation like Jon and Kate--note in the article when they started trying for another baby she told the doctor she would not selectively reduce. This is the thing I hate most about assisted reproduction: for some reason your body is not able to sustain an embryo or bear a child, but we can chemically torture it into doing what it shouldn't, all because society says you are a failure as a woman if you don't pursue every possible option to get a baby, no matter how impractical or expensive or detrimental to your health. Look what Science can do for you! Oh, so many beautiful babies! It's a miracle!
Then a few months later the doctor sits them down and says, "You have to think about selective reduction. There are too many embryos," And mommy and daddy say, "Oh, teehee, I can't play God!" Guess what, you got into the god business when you started this chain of events. Everyone screams about their right! to have a baby, but nobody wants to take the responsibility. So God, in the guise of the taxpayers, pays for their defective litter that's plagued with physical problems and learning disabilities. Because no sacrifice is too great for a baby, especially if other people do the sacrificing.
So where does it end? Thanks for letting me rant, I apologize if I got wordy, but I thought you might have something (more coherent and less ranty) to say about this article if you hadn't seen it already. Take care.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thanks to SwissBarb for forwarding this to me.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
10 children! ?
Thursday, October 1, 2009
In recent weeks, the less-educated and more reactionary on the political right have been calling the President a "fascist" (apparently talk radio blowhards weren't generating enough anger from using "socialist"). Anyone familiar with history, or the first pages labeled "F" in the dictionary, knows how ludicrous this is. But the irony of our democratic society, where pronatalism is inextricably bound to the political right and religious zealots, is this: many of the complaints leveled at the president from them could be solved by us adopting a single concept from Communist China:
ONE CHILD PER FAMILY.
Now, of course I'm being facetious, knowing it would never happen here. But before you grab the torches and pitchforks, hear me out a moment.
As discussed here on my wife's blog, the average cost of raising an American child is several hundred thousand dollars, not including college or weddings - an extraordinary burden on parents, especially in this economy..but wait! It's often NOT on parents.
Despite a declining US birth rate, 4,247,000 children were born here last year. The growing poverty rate in the US was listed by the government as 13.2% for 2008. If you apply that percentage to the number of children born, it's credible that close to 321,700 of them were born to parents who are, or will be, partially or completely dependent on taxpayer support to provide for the kids. Multiply that times the average cost per child: a possible 64-billion-plus eventual taxpayer dollars, times the adjusted birth numbers, for each fiscal year!! Of course, once the children arrive, we have a moral obligation to see that they don't end up dead or living in the streets. But one of the many problems with pronatalism is that it's message isn't selectively parsed - according to society, religion, and the media, EVERYONE should have kids.
Consider just one example: Nadya "Octomom" Suleman is reviled for her selfishness, as well she should be. But, change the channel, and we have the sickening spectacle of 'poor' Kate Gosselin raking in the dough as she bequeaths a video diary of self-pity and infidelity to her own octo-brood. Her relative mental stability and likability compared with Octomom's becomes semantic: she appears on the surface to be more fit as a mother than the average apathetic, unemployed and/or drug-addicted mom..but the end result is still another narcissistic child-woman who bought into the 'more is more' philosophy of child rearing, and now depends on the profitability of our voyeuristic culture to try to put strained carrots on the table.
In rural areas, the 'quiver-full' philosophy has a better chance for a happier outcome, given that others in the community often step in to help with care, yet it also has more sinister undertones: in misogynist cultures (which traditional ones usually are), the easiest way to keep women 'controlled' is to keep them breeding..and, as Christianity declines in popularity worldwide, what better way to produce converts than to 'manufacture' them? Of course, at the moment of conception, none of these outcomes is guaranteed - so then the taxpayers must step in. A popular bumper sticker seen on cars owned by conservatives in the '70's, during the peak of our mismanagement of the welfare system, read: "The more we feed, the more they breed." The racial implications of that statement notwithstanding, every pronatalist should pause to consider how the breeding imperative has backfired on the stated value of fiscal responsibility that many of them espouse. Many pronatalists have fought for decades to eliminate comprehensive sex education in schools, especially regarding realistic birth control options (and abstinence doesn't count as one of those when you're talking about teens - sorry, it's just human nature, not politics!). The result, of course, has contributed to the problem outlined above, as people without knowledge consistently make bad choices. But luckily those pronatalists have been losing of late, as statistics show.
Irony strikes hard again, though, as many of the apoplectic, socially sheltered talk radio fans chanting for the president's death due to the kind of projected spending that I've outlined above, would direct the same level of anger and obstinacy toward their own children if greeted with: "We don't want kids".
Of course, we'll always need new citizens. But as we continue to become a less agrarian and industrial society and a more technical one, creating more 'laborers' becomes less of an imperative. And if smaller government is an ideal of fiscal conservatism, it stands to reason that a smaller, yet just as productive, society would be also. Knowing that quality education for everyone is also the key to this, this speaks to another frightening trend: It's the dumb ones that tend to breed the most.
Sorry, call me elitist, but a major aspect of intelligent people is planning. Great leaders, generals, scientists, businesspeople..they all have this in common. If the financial, emotional, and pragmatic aspects of child rearing were carefully considered by everyone..the fewer children who WERE born would be so well cared for, loved, and developed, that almost every American would have a shot at greatness..and before you could say "welfare state", we'd have transformed ourselves to most-profitable-nation-on-Earth status!
So consider all this, America (and the world), and then ask yourselves: wouldn't a little sacrifice of technical "freedom" result in a better life for all of us? Of course, this is the same argument used to make torture seem patriotic, so I'll stop typing now..and you can all resume the procreation!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
EXCEPT when it comes to the Octomom. I guess even the parenthood-obsessed Today Show has to draw a line somewhere. Watch the above clip and listen to Dr. Almighty Snyderman (a Today Show regular) cast her judgment on Nadya Suleman, Suleman's doctors and our culture's obsession with multiple births and bad parenting, a.k.a. "bad parent porn."
I agree with Dr. Almighty, but here's the rub: The Today Show is one of the very outlets that relentlessly feeds our culture's breeding obsession, and fuels the attention-seeking, baby-obsessed psychosis of human breeding machines like Nadya Suleman. This in turn ramps up the demand for unethical doctors who will do whatever they can to service women like Octomom, yet now The Today Show stands in judgement of the very monster it helped to create.
The Today Show may cast all the stones it likes, but today I am casting some stones right back at it.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I just wanted to say thank you for your blog, it has been so insightful and interesting to read, particularly as I share your values. My husband and I have declared ourselves completely and utterly child free and are just loving our lives. It has been hard though as we are now reaching the age where children are expected of us (I am 27, he is 33) and it has began to get harder and harder to avoid the "pitying" glances when we explain we have no interest. Luckily my parents are wonderful and have put no pressure on us, although my mother sometimes says "give it a while" whereas my husband's parents have only recently come around to us - a couple of years ago we were "selfish" and now they say they respect whatever we choose. It is also beginning to reduce our social circle as friends vanish off the face of the earth, or so it seems. This is a shame but inevitable as we are no longer of any use - our home is not a place for baby sitting or children in general - spiky furniture, fragile ornaments and orchids and my precious fish tanks. And I love it that way.
It is very exciting to know that there are others out there that are coming to the realisation that having children is not a requirement (I think I was about 23 when I realised I didn't HAVE to have children) and reading blogs like yours is very inspiring - in fact I have read all of your blog in one day. I can do this as I am at home, on my own, while I am in the middle of a career change - which I can do because I don't have mouths to feed. I may also be about to undertake a degree - which I can do as it is my money and my time. I love it! My husband, the eternal child anyway, may actually have realised earlier than I did that kids were not in the plan. His favourite thing is to be left alone after work, to play on the computer, read e-mails and relax with a big gin before joining me to do whatever we want whenever we want. A night in or out can be spontaneous and we are so happy. Going to the shops is an experience these days and often encounter at screaming children, strollers (Why do mothers attempt to take these things down the most insane narrow streets? Why do they seem to think they have the right of way with these behemoths when the child is nine times out of ten in one of the parents arms??) we tend to catch each others eyes and the relief and absolute pleasure that we will never have to go through it is just... fabulous!
Anyway, this is getting overly long, I just felt compelled to write and thank you for a very refreshing blog with some excellent insights and a very captivating read!
Take care A."
Friday, September 11, 2009
As you might imagine, my cat-update-comparison didn't go over too well and her reply was something to the effect of "you can't compare cats to kids" and "good riddance" and that was it - the end of our Facebook friendship. I felt a little badly at first because I know I was a bit hard on her, but I think after months of enduring those awful, mind-numbing, narcissistic Baby Joey updates, her deletion of my comment was simply the final straw.
Edited to Add: For those of you who have similar Facebook issues, I have since learned that there is a way to stop a friend's updates from appearing on your wall without de-friending them. If you put your cursor over the friend's name (on their update), you will see a link appear to the right of their update that says "Hide (friend's name)" Click that link to "hide" the person and their updates will no longer show on your wall (although they will still be in your friend list).
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The childfree lifestyle must really be catching on. Every time I check sitemeter to see how people are referred to my blog, the majority are google searches for "reasons not to have kids" or similar searches.
Do you find that as interesting as I do?
Monday, August 31, 2009
Typical families, those making from $56,870 to $98,470 a year, will spend a whopping $221,190 to raise a second child born in 2008 through age 17, estimates the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (.pdf file), a division of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Higher-income families will spend even more. Those earning more than $98,470 will spend $366,660 overall in the U.S. to raise a second child; that figure rises to $406,680 in urban areas of the Northeast.
Though not as steep, the figures for lower-income families are just as unsettling: $159,870 for families making less than $56,870 to raise a second child. That averages $8,882 a year for a lower-income family, $12,288 for the middle-income group and $20,370 for top earners.
Ah, but fear not! According to the author of this article there's no need to take a vow of celibacy because there are ways to trim costs. (Interesting, isn't it that the only choices presented here are having kids or taking a vow of celibacy - no mention of the obvious other option of using birth control and not having kids at all.)
I continue to be utterly fascinated by the undying devotion to parenthood and the never-ending claim that it is so worth it. So worth working yourself to the bone for? So worth giving up any chance of saving for retirement? So worth endlessly struggling to make ends meet? So worth ruining your marriage for? So worth losing your friends for? So worth giving up your hobbies for? Your personal privacy? Your sex life? Your sleep? Your mental health? Your energy? Your free time? Your attention span? Your career advancement? Your community involvement? Educational opportunities? Your sleep? Your health? and on and on and on and on.....?
Oh, that's right. Of course it's worth it. Having children is the most joyful, blissful, fulfilling experience in life. This is so evident when we look around at our friends and family with children, isn't it? Aren't they all just beaming with joy and happiness?
Here's my theory about the it's so worth it line. I think this line is nothing more than parents' rationalization to convince themselves they didn't majorly f*ck up by having kids. They realize they have gotten themselves into deep doo-doo, and they are coming to terms with the fact that they can't undo the doo-doo, (they can't take their kids back to the hospital and get a refund), so they delude themselves chanting the it's so worth it mantra, like glassy-eyed Stepford wives, because facing the truth head on is simply too horrifying.
To be clear, I do not claim that there are no joys involved in parenthood. There most certainly are joys. But to date there has not been a single person who has effectively convinced me - either through discussion or by example - that the joys of parenthood outweigh the costs. Yet somehow, despite the fact that the painful costs of parenthood are in everyone's face all the time, the having kids is so worth it mantra continues to wash over everyone like mind-numbing Muzak and we are all hoodwinked.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Because I posted a comment to the article, I get sent notifications when other posters post comments. Here is an interesting response from a father:
There are a couple of things I found very illuminating about this response:
I am a happy parent of two, and here are my reasons to have kids:
1) Having a captive audience. Who better to listen to your cheesy renditions of bed-time stories than a wide-eyed child? Or your off-tune renditions of lullabies?
2) Best cure for loneliness or boredom. It takes a lot to sever your relationship with your child. Sure, it takes a lot of love, time and understanding, but tell me something worthwhile that doesn't require effort? Put some love and time into it, and it's probably your best bet for a lasting, close relationship with another person.
3) Relive your childhood. If there were things you loved about your childhood, you can recreate them. Things you hated? You have a chance to set them right.
4) Live comedic performances for free. If a 1-yr old baby playing fetch with your labrador or dancing in the buff to a Michael Jackson tune won't make you smile, nothing will.
5) A witness to your greatness and to your shortcomings. If you continue to screw up-- tell half truths-- your kid will know. If you are prone to tantrums, your kid will know. Likewise, if you love unconditionally, give your time generously, and are truthful, your kid will know. What better inspiration to become a bigger person than that little beloved witness in your house?
6) Getting old will be easier. This I'm speculating on, as I'm not yet old. But I dread to think what holidays without children would be like. Imagine being 75 and spending a lonely Christmas in a retirement home. Yuck! Or my wife, being a solitary widow when she outlives me. Thank God for my two boys. And if they give me grandkids, I'll have little babies to buy xmas gifts for.
7) Will bring your relationship with your partner to its true light. If you are unsure of how strong your relationship with your partner is, there is no better measuring stick than the challenge of bringing up children together.
Well, that's it for now. GTG.
First, the fact that a parent can state that he had children so that he can have a captive audience, cure loneliness and boredom, be entertained, make getting old easier to bear and have a witness to his greatness screams SELFISH to me, but who am I to judge? Oh, that's right - I am a selfish childfree person, so what would I know about selfishness? ;)
Second, in response to the items listed by the father above, I feel compelled to post a line-item response to this gentleman:
1. Do you really find performing before a long-suffering, captive audience fulfilling? Why not spare everyone the agony and sing into a mirror?
2. Make some friends. Be a devoted partner or husband. Take your wife on a date. Take a class. Develop some listening skills. Show interest in other people. Become a volunteer. Go to school. If having children is the only way you can prevent being lonely or bored, you aren't really living your life.
3. Want to relive the fun things of your childhood? Go ahead. You don't need kids to do it. Ride a rollercoaster, have a pajama party, write in your journal, play board games, play a game of touch football, have silly theme parties with your friends (and make silly videos), laugh until your sides hurt. I do, and you'd be surprised how many other adults, when given the opportunity, like to do these things too. Or if you really can't bear the idea of doing these things without children in tow, take your nieces, nephews or friends' kids out for a day. And then when you're all tired out, turn them back over to their parents and get on with your peaceful life.
4. Get pets. They are endlessly entertaining. I highly recommend having multiple cats and watching their wrestling matches. Boatloads of fun. Or marry a funny person like I did. Rent vintage Eddie Murphy stand-up routines. Your library probably rents them for free. Classic! Here's my favorite Eddie Murphy routine of all time. I laugh just thinking about it!
5. I have news for you. Your kids aren't the only witnesses to your greatness and shortcomings. Have a wife? She's a witness. Have friends? (maybe not, since you rely on your kids to cure your loneliness) - if so, they are witnesses. Have a job? Your boss is watching. If you only care about what children think of you (and not adults), you are selling yourself (and everyone else in your life) short.
6. Follow my advice in #2 above and make some friends. That way, when you get old, you won't have to rely on your adult children to keep you company out of obligation - you will actually have people who voluntarily hang out with you (and really, isn't that more rewarding?) - people to share your life with, to do fun things with, to talk with. Can't bear the thought of not having children around at Christmas time? Invite your friends and family over. Most of them probably have kids - make it a big party! Better yet, adopt a needy family and shop 'till your heart's delight. There is certainly no shortage of kids who would be thrilled to receive Christmas gifts.
7. Have an affair. Develop a drug or drinking problem. Max out all the credit cards. Develop a gambling problem. I mean, come on. If you have to add "challenge my marriage to see how strong it is" to a list of reasons having kids is so wonderful, you're really stretching. This is a minus, not a plus. I am very happy not knowing my marriage's stress threshold, thank you very much.
Edited to Add: I just remembered that my very first post on this blog was about holding onto your inner child. Very relevant to this post.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Hubby and I just got back from a week-long vacation camping at Assateague State Park in Maryland. For those of you who have never heard of Assateague, it's a state park that is located on a barrier island, so we were camping on the beach all week. Heaven!
There's plenty of beautiful wildlife at Assateague, the star attraction being the wild ponies that inhabit the island. Of course, it being the shore, there are also plenty of seagulls, and those of you who have had experiences with seagulls know that they are adorable, but they can sometimes be annoying.
Every morning, all morning long, there was this annoying, loud, relentless screeching like nails on a chalkboard coming from the dune behind our campsite. Upon closer inspection I observed that it was the sound of a baby seagull screeching for food from its mother. The baby was almost as big as the mother, and able to fly, but apparently he was still dependent on his mother for feedings. All morning long he would stand right next to her, pace in circles around her, while loudly screeching in her face, demanding food from his mother. The mother gull would try to ignore him, or occasionally (we observed) try to get away from him. We never did see her feed the baby, but she did seem to be annoyed by him (or maybe we were just projecting?)
Hubby and me just had to laugh. Even in the animal kingdom, motherhood is a royal pain-in-the-ass.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Well, according to a new study from statisticians at Oregon State University, apparently I make a big difference, simply because I am childfree.
The carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.In other words, a typical American who tries to live as green as possible - driving a fuel-efficient car, recycling, using efficient light bulbs, using energy-saving appliances, etc. - undoes the positive impact of his green efforts 40 times over by having 2 children - increasing his carbon footprint 40 times.
The researchers smartly point out that curbing population growth is rarely addressed in discussions about climate change:
In this debate, very little attention has been given to the overwhelming importance of reproductive choice...When an individual produces a child – and that child potentially produces more descendants in the future – the effect on the environment can be many times the impact produced by a person during their lifetime.
Under current conditions in the U.S., for instance, each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent –about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible.
While the researchers do not advocate for government regulation of reproduction, they do hope to educate people on the environmental consequences of reproducing.
Some people who are serious about wanting to reduce their 'carbon footprint' on the Earth have one choice available to them that may yield a large long-term benefit - have one less child.
I'll take it a step further. Consider not having any children at all and you'll really do the Earth a big favor.
(Thank you Amy and CFVixen for forwarding me this study).
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The station is supposed to send me an MP3 soon so I can post it here. In the meantime, you can listen to it by following these instructions:
CJOB's Audio Vault
August 12, 2009
When the Windows Media screen comes up, slide the little blue bar right below the screen to 27:39. This will take you to the beginning of my interview.