Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Mommies Found My List (and they aren't too happy with me)
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Childfree (or childlike?)
I don't find parents who give up career, friends, and adult interests particularly mature. Many parents seem to launch themselves into a world of youthful fantasy that temporarily frees them from facing the difficulties of adulthood. Ironically, they abdicate their roles as parents as they desperately seek to be a best friend and key member of their childrens' clique.
And, it's important to remember that caring for others doesn’t mean just catering to kids. It can mean caring for the community, the planet, for students, for pets or other aging family members. Caring and nurturing comes in many forms. Parenthood is not the only path to maturity or social responsibility. In fact, if parenting is not undertaken with maturity it can lead to chronic childishness.
My reader Betty emailed me with her thoughts about this matter (and gave her permission for me to publish part of her letter here).
"My nephew's wife, Laura (age 29, with 2 lovely little girls who would be my great-nieces) said to me, "I believe you don't really grown up until you have children." Really? My husband and I don't have children, which must mean we haven't yet grown up, however:
*My husband and I are not only both University graduates but have advanced degrees
*We have no student loans or credit card debt, in fact except for a small mortgage on a rental property we are completely debt free.
*We have never defaulted on any payment, EVER.
*We have not been drunk since our college days, don't smoke and have never done drugs.
*We have not borrowed money from our parents.
*We file our taxes on time every year.
*Both my husband and I have had modest careers with Fortune 500 companies that have afforded us many opportunities to travel, work and live overseas.
*I speak 3 languages fluently (English, Spanish, German and actually a little bit of Thai), and my husband speaks fluent German and English.
*Due to my husband's career, in the last 8 years we have lived in Melbourne, Bangkok, Buenos Aires and currently live in Munich, Germany. Meaning I have planned, organized and done 4 international moves, found a place to live in each country, set up house, dealt with all the transition issues of a new culture as well as set up our social network and support system and then packed up and done it all over again...several times.
*We are avid sailors and owned our own sailboat when we lived in Melbourne and have chartered sailboats in many different parts of the world. We have sailed the Great Barrier Reef, Bass Strait, Gulf of Thailand and Mediterranean Sea, mostly just the two of us without any crew on 30-35 ft sailboats. Our ability to work well together as a team at sea has proved invaluable to our relationship on land.
*We have only 1 car, my husband's company car which he drives to work. I go everywhere either on my bike or on public transportation which admittedly is top notch here in Germany.
*We live in a nicely decorated, clean and tidy apartment.
*I love to cook and without being too crazy about it eat as much non-processed, fresh, organic, high quality food as possible. I can't remember the last time we had take out food from a box.
*We are kind and loving to our parents and family. My husband is a doting godfather to his two nephews.
*We have been living on only my husband's income the last 8 years. Due to the many international moves it wasn't always possible for me to work. However, we still manage to have 1+ year salary in savings.
*We have written wills, health insurance, life insurance, car insurance, rentors insurance and disability insurance all paid up and up to date.
*We don't keep the neighbors awake with loud parties or annoying music.
*We do not own a Playstation, Wii, X-box or any form of a video game.
......So I am kinda wondering what part of us has not yet grown up?????.......
Thank you for doing such a great job at the blog. Would enjoy being in contact with you.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
A Man's View - Hated on Mostly
After so many years together, she suggested they had reached their limit: "You bring people into your life at certain times. Maybe you have a relationship to have children and you realize that it's fulfilled after that point."
Comments like this and women's general baby rabies behavior that eventually comes to dominate all things in a relationship always make me question whether a woman is really into her partner and really loves him or is he merely a means-to-an-end. The end being children and oftentimes the financial ties that bind a man once he has children. The majority of relationships with children resemble this comment in that once the children enter the picture the woman stops caring about her boyfriend or husband and focuses on the children and whatever else she is into (anything except her partner). The sex stops, the affection stops, the honey-dos list become unending, fun non-business type conversations disappear, etc. He basically becomes a worker-bee/butler for the most part and is only there to serve the children and his now unattentive woman's needs.
I have seen it myself and heard about it in numerous confessions from men who are "happily married with children" too many times over for it to be a coincidence. This is a behavior very unique to having children. I never seen it in the few child free relationships that I have encountered or heard about. I don't think a woman can take a man for granted as much when the legal and financial ties that children create do not exist. Neither party, man or woman, can bind the other with children in a childfree relationship. I think that leads to a healthier relationship because both participants have to actually like the other person and demonstrate it on a regular basis since the person doesn't have to "stay together for the kids" or "the child support will kill me". Laziness has no place in an intimate relationship and not having children helps reduce the chances of either party becoming lazy or taking the other for granted.
I think it is a topic that a lot of child-free people and men in general never discuss and to me is a huge elephant in the room. The fact that a lot of women enter relationships just to have children and there are a lot of unsuspecting guys on the other end of that who suffer, emotionally, mentally, and financially. The man doesn't really matter other than if he meets a profile good enough to her standards to have a child with. He is replaceable and unimportant. He only needs to feel special or loved up to the point that the baby pops out (sometimes not even that long). Once the baby is there he is stuck and you can ignore him.
Does a woman really love you if she would leave you because you won't have kids? A person who doesn't even exist is more important and more loved and desired than you who is right there with her right now, going through life's ups and downs with her? That is a very offensive notion to me and one of the major reasons (the others you cover pretty well) why I will never children. How can I trust someone who would leave me for someone who doesn't even exist. That doesn't sound like someone who is taking our relationship very seriously to me or someone who would have my back when I really need her to. If I am that interchangeable with another guy, she can't possibly be really that into me. I'll pass on that kind of relationship thank you.
I could write a lot more about this and maybe one day I will, but I just wanted to throw this out there as something to discuss since it never is and I think a lot of men with and without children can relate to it.
Thanks for the great blogs and links. Keep it up.
Hated On Mostly
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Childfree Celebrity Spotlight - Vincent Kartheiser
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!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Agent Smith was Right
One of the arguments against the childfree philosophy is this: "If everyone felt the way you do, the human race would die out."
True. And this is a bad thing, how?
Perhaps this makes me a nihilist, but unlike many people who operate on the assumption that it is of upmost importance that the human race continue in perpetuity, I do not share that assumption. Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist over this statement, let's take a rational look at what man has accomplished during his tenure on earth. Yes, he has made many advances and discoveries, but all of them have been in his own self-interest, not in the interest of the earth or its other inhabitants (unless you count advances he has made to undo his own damage). The planet and its inhabitants were just fine before man came along and didn't need any of his help. And to the larger universe, man is just a spect of dust, if that.
The problem with humankind is that our sense of self-importance is completely blown out of proportion. Just as we can bend over to look at an ant hill and marvel (and snicker) at the thousands of ants scurrying around with a great sense of purpose, so too are we just scurrying ants in the big picture. And like ants and all other living creatures, we eat, sleep and mindlessly breed, and then congratulate ourselves for doing so, as though it is some great, beneficial accomplishment.
The truth is that man is a scourge upon the earth. He has done more damage than good (again, unless you consider benefitting himself as a good, or undoing his own damage as a good). He has raped and polluted the earth, replicating himself and spreading like an agressive cancer. He abuses nature, animals, the environment and even others of his kind. Despite this, he is unwavering in his fundamental belief that replicating his kind is priority #1 and that people like me are deeply and fundamentally messed up.
Now, before anyone tosses the Bible at me and God's commandment to "be fruitful and multiply", you can spare yourself the effort. I believe in God, but not the manmade version most people believe in, and certainly not in the manmade writings that people pass off as the word of God.
The God I believe in would never order destructive beings like us to replicate uncontrollably, destroying all his other creations in the process.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
A Man's View - Daniel
However, after 5 years I felt like we were just starting to get the hang of things. We had dealt with the biggest issues and I recognized we were going to be married for a long time. But we still weren’t ready for a family. We gave ourselves 5 more years. I had periods were I was sure that I did want kids (I actually enjoy children – as long as I can give them back) and periods when I wasn’t. I am more impetuous than my wife and I’d occasionally say, “Let’s just do it!” But it started to dawn on me that maybe she would never be ready. I’d prod her with statements like, “It gets harder to conceive as you get into your 30s...” At the end of another 5 years we had a discussion in which she stated that she just didn’t have the desire to have children. I think if either of us had been adamant about having them we could have convinced the other to acquiesce and we would be parents today. But we remained open-minded and thoughtful about the choice - yes we always saw it as a viable choice. But in the end there was just never a compelling argument for either of us. I immediately felt a sense of relief. We had a decision that we could make short- and long-term plans around. I began to feel like I will, in general, be comfortable financially for my entire adulthood. We’ll likely always have two incomes but never any child related expenses. We may even be able to retire early. I’d never be jealous of my own kids for my wife’s attention and affection. I’ll be able to enjoy the things in my life and not be consumed by the events in my children’s lives. We won’t have to sacrifice our sex life. We’ll have the freedom to travel whenever we’d like and to destinations that inspire us and not a 7 year-old. These were the things that preyed on my mind when contemplating parenthood and they were the weights that were lifted after our firm decision.
Up until the point when we solidified our decision we fielded only occasional questions from our families. Plenty of people wait longer than generations past to marry or have kids so I don’t think anyone thought much about it. After disclosing our decision to our families we were faced with their disappointment. We both come from good homes and supportive parents but it’s obvious that they would like grand-children (my brother, while not married, is also childfree). More important to me was this feeling that I was in unique territory. I knew that procreating is a choice but I had never heard or read anything about other people who had made this lifestyle choice and now I was very interested to hear what other childfree persons’ perspectives were. Do any regret their decision? Did they feel lonely later in life? How did they deal with the loss of friends as they have children and become inaccessible? How do they find like-minded people? How do they deal with the inevitable questions from those without the same perspectives? That’s how I fell into your blog and I feel very glad that I did. It really helped to center me and realize that it’s really not a risky choice. The risky choice is having kids.
I can safely say that a man suffers less judgment from society on this issue. For example, most of my male colleagues and friends have children (in fact all of the married ones and some of the unmarried ones) but they rarely discuss them at length. They may come up in passing but family seems more a matter of intimate detail and frankly I think most men realize that other guys don’t really care what your kid’s GPA is or if it has a propensity toward mechanics. Moreover, many men don’t really care what others think of ourselves so passing judgment is of no consequence - I certainly know I could care less what any individual beyond my family thinks of my choice to not have kids. I try to pass my ambivalence for societal judgment to my wife but she’s more affected by criticism – especially from other women, most notably her mother. On the other hand, no man has ever been critical of my choice nor have I ever sensed any judgment from a male. Several have even expressed envy and one has even confessed a growing resentment for his wife over his feeling that she bullied him into parenthood before he was ready.
In the end, we just realized that we didn’t want children. No noble motives… just the sense to take time to make a well-considered choice, the realization about what was right for us and the courage to disregard societal pressures.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
What are YOU Thankful for?
Today, I am thankful for:
Maintaining my personal identity fully;
Having a home that is a serene and peaceful retreat;
Not having to sock away thousands of dollars for kids' college education;
Being able to set my own agenda;
Having the personal privacy I desire;
Not having to yell, fight, scream, correct, punish, scold anyone;
Being able to invest in a comfortable retirement;
Being a genuinely enthusiastic and engaged aunt (because I am not jaded from having kids);
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Scoop on Pregnancy (and Childfree Pre-Thanksgiving Thankfulness)
Monday, November 15, 2010
Mothers Spilling Their Guts
Thanks to CFVixen for forwarding me this blog post entitled, "I cannot handle being a mother anymore". The post itself is a heartwrenching expression of anxiety and grief (with an allusion to suicidality thrown in for good measure):
I have been tempted in the past, to throw up my hands, and walk away from it. From all of it. Times when it’s gotten so hard, too hard, worse than I ever imagined, I wanted to walk down the road, climb up onto the highway, and be gone. Never to be seen again. I thought it, many times.
Equally stirring are the comments from like-minded readers who share in this woman's pain with a resounding "DITTO". Many of the readers arrived at this discussion by googling "I hate being a mother".
A sampling of some of the comments this post received:
I felt that way, maybe still do. It started when Jackson was two and I couldn’t get far enough away from him……..I couldn’t escape the responsibility physically, mentally, emotionally….no way. Maybe it’s like a leather glove bought a size too small. It stretches to fit eventually.
Yup — I hear this. I love my boys but I don’t even feel like the same person I used to be. And I liked that person. I don’t like this mom-person I’ve become. She’s bossy and stressed and forgets to smile most days. Boy, do I hear this.___________________________________________________
Thank you for posting this reply. I am a stay-at-home mother to a 4yr. old and a 2yr. old….sometimes the dredgery, monotony and demands can send me bursting into tears, wanting my old life before children to come back. But at times I punish myself for my feelings because I WANTED this – I chose to have children, and now I must fulfill their needs because it would not be fair to them – they didn’t get to choose me as a mother. I don’t understand many times how I could love these children indescribably, yet want to run away and hide, leaving them behind – all in the same day….
I just spent an entire hour at the store buying school supplies with my 5 year old and 7 year old. The entire time we were at the store, the 7 year old was begging for me to buy him toys. Non-stop. What the hell do I do with that?!? By the time we pulled into the drive-way, I was a wreck. I made them go in the house while I sat in the driveway for 10 minutes crying my eyes out (and I’m on Zoloft). After dragging 10 bags in the house, my daughter was yelling for me. She was on the toilet having diarrhea and it was all over her, her clothes, my bathroom rug, and the toilet. Back to my son, I need to tell you that this begging (for Pokemon cards) has been going on for 2 days with him. All punishments have failed. I’m just exhausted by him! Today was the last straw. I had to “google” “I hate being a mother” and am so glad I’m not alone. Yes, I love my children. Yes, they were totally planned. I am a stay-at-home mother and sometimes think I should not be. And no, no one can prepare you for all this. I just hope it gets easier some day.
Gotta go. My daughter just flooded the bathroom.
I hope I will not be bashed for entering this discussion, however my wife is in the same exact boat. My heart breaks for her because she cannot cope with being a mother anymore. Our marriage is on the rocks because of it. She is a stay at home mom (full-time) and I work full-time. I do the best I can to give her a break, by cleaning up around the house (cooking,cleaning,laundry) and taking the kids to the park or just out back on the swingset. As a husband, father and a man, I am trying to the best I can. My Daughter just started Kindergarten (3hrs a day) and we are enrolling my son into daycare a couple days during the week. Im trying to put myself in her shoes and understand more of what she is feeling, so I can help her. It kills me when I am at work and she texts be messages how she can’t cope anymore and she hates being a mother. Again sooo sorry for hitting this forum, but I’m lost and wanted to see what other people think anda re saying.
...I feel SO out of it. Like a zombie, no where near my former self. A shadow, really. An angry, grumpy shadow. The worst part is, I’m still as ambitious as I was before kids. But now that ambition is succumbing to despair because I have no “me” time . . . no time to accomplish things for myself. I feel like my life has ended . . . and I’m only 27!
I found out I was pregnant 2 months after my honeymoon. I too, felt like I had no choice but to keep him, and I wasn’t happy about it. Everyone told me that my feelings would change once I saw his face for the 1st time. I do love him, but those “natural maternal feelings” never showed up. I resent being a mother even more now that he’s in the rebellious toddler phase. Most days I don’t think I can take one more minute with him and then he does or says something so sweet that makes me feel so guilty for feeling that way. I want to be a GOOD MOM, and I hate the anger/guilt cycle, I just don’t know how to break out of it. You’re not alone and I’m glad I’m not, either!_________________________________________________
Obviously, I googled the same thing as everyone else. Lately, I just really hate being a mother. I was so happy with my life before she came along, I was never wanting children to make me feel complete. She is so wonderful and can be so sweet and has a great sense of humor, but I just need some time away. My husband and I work opposite schedules, so I don’t have tons of support at night. No friends or family help–they are just as busy or live out of state. It is very lonely and draining and I feel a lot of guilt–even as I write these horrible things, she is poking my arm with a cardboard box on her head saying “yehaw”. I miss the old fun me. I am grumpy and tired and easily irritated and short-tempered. I think my husband is starting to think I’m a terrible mother, too. _________________________________________________
I should have NO complaints…afterall I’m living the dream, right? Right…the only problem is it was never MY dream. I knew my whole life I was not cut out for this dream. Now…I’ve proved it, and I don’t think anything will ever bring me out of this G-U-I-L-T. I knew better! I freakin knew better and I CHOSE to do it anyway. I never thought I was capable of such feelings of inadequacy. Holy cow do I feel inadequate. Across the board… I can’t think of a single thing I do well. Others assure me that’s not the case, but I honestly beleive it is out of respect of the skinny fun loving person I used to be. I will never regret giving my husband a son, but I think I will probably always regret creating and subjecting another sweet living being to the dissapointment of being my child. If your gut says no….listen. I wish I had, I really do, and I’ve got it pretty good. Damn.
If you take the time to read through the comments you will see that a lot of women didn't even want kids, but caved to the pressure put on them by others.
If you'd like to read more from regretful parents, click here.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
A Very Uncomfortable Bed
Well, surprise of all surprises, she's now pregnant and not married. I found out a month or so ago. She's in her third month and sick as a dog. Almost every day she looks completely miserable. Yesterday, she came into my office looking not only miserable but on the verge of breaking into tears. I asked her how she is doing. "Not good" and her eyes began to well up. I invited her to close the door and sit down so we could talk.
She is completely overwhelmed with being pregnant. She is nauseous every day and nothing helps. She is having anxiety attacks and is sick with worry over being a mom, given the fact that she is unmarried and lives with her mother and grandmother. She is stressed about not being a good employee (because she's had to leave early frequently due to being so sick) and worried about my perception of her. I told her not to stress out as far as work is concerned - that we all have a generous bank of sick time to use. I was being extra compassionate because I truly feel sorry for this young woman. She has made a rough bed to lie in and it's clear she's having regrets.
Now of course I am now dealing with yet another scenario where I am going to have to find a replacement for an employee on maternity leave. It got me to thinking that perhaps I should stick to hiring men from now on, since it's pretty safe to assume I won't have to deal with these kinds of issues with them...
WHICH got me thinking about the glass ceiling and the reason women are paid less than men. I suspect it has less to do with general gender bias as it has to do with the fact that women are not as reliable as employees because most of them become moms and desert their jobs - or at the minimum become distracted and less invested in their jobs once they have kids. Many women leave the workforce altogether to raise kids and interrupt the progression of their careers and then return to find they are not making as much money as their male counterparts who have reliably remained on the job.
Later yesterday afternoon I was meeting with another director and filled her in on the situation with Charlene. At the end of the discussion I said, "God bless her" (in other words - glad it's not me) and the other director said, "Yeah. Better her than me". Hm, is there another childfree-by-choice person in the office that I didn't know about? I must investigate.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Secret Confession of a Mom
I liked the day in the life post so I’m going to post my day from last night til now lol. After dinner last night, that my 4 y/o took 3 bites of then said ‘I had enough’ and tossed it, i cleaned my kitchen for the 8th time that day and found greenbeans hiding in my miniblinds and in my cupboard. No one will confess to who did it. i put a movie on for the kids made them some popcorn and decided to sit and read for a bit until my hubbys aunt came over and hopped my kids up on cookies and hot chocolate right before bed (gee thanks) not only that but she stayed until 10 pm when my kids go to bed at 8. ok so now at 1:30 am i hear my daughter crying in her room she is burning up with a fever and complaining of a sore throat. She finally went back to sleep at 3am. I wanted to keep her home from school but she threw an epic temper tantrum. so now i am home getting ready to go out grocery shopping, bill paying and then to have lunch with my hubby with an expectation of my cell phone ringing and the omnious “this is the nurse from maple avenue school calling, we have katie here…” on top of all that one of my kids decided to that it would be a fantastic idea to paint syrup all over the other so now i have a ton of laundry to do on top of cleaning the house. pick the kids up at 2 pm just to have them come home argue about homework, snacks and cartoons. then dinner that again will be wasted in the trash or hidden in various spots around my kitchen, another mess, the bathtime battle and then the bedtime battle which I can say is like world war 3 every night while my husband kicks back in front of the computer with headphones on so he doesnt have to hear a damn thing because in his words: “I worked 9 hours on my feet all day. what exactly did you do?” mother f-er i am a stay at home mom and feel like the front lines of the war in iraq would weep if they had to do my job for one day. And to EVERYONE that says you should have thought about it, you’ll think twice next time…bite me. i am so sick and tired of people sitting on their high horses looking sown on those of us who are geniunely stressed and near the verge of a mental breakdown. at least we have the balls to admit that life is crappy and that we hate it while you sit in your bathroom crying wishing you had the strength to be as bold and strong as we are. to those who admit that hey motherhood blows, bravo! and the one thing we can lean on is that if we feel like we are all alone, then we are all in it together.
If you'd like to read more from regretful parents, click here.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Timbuktu or Bust
Like when I am constantly being irritated by the noise emitted by other humans.
If I am to be objective, however, it's not only families with children who are disturbing the peace. I ride a train to work and every day I am on a quest to find a seat in a quiet area. When I enter the train, I strategically scan the aisle, looking at the passengers. I look for people who are talking to others and talking on cell phones and I sit someplace else. I try to sit myself next to sleeping passengers, to increase the odds I will have some peace and quiet, but inevitably my strategy fails because within a minute of settling into my seat, someone within earshot of me will start yammering on their phone full-blast, or break into a full-volume conversation with someone across the aisle with complete disregard for how they are annoying others.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Trick or Treat
One Halloween, much to the shock of my friend Sara who was hanging out with me handing out candy, I flat out refused to give candy to a trick or treater. Here's what happened:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Another One Bites the Dust
The once childfree Mariah Carey has announced she is pregnant. Read it and weep.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Parental Entitlement Revisted
The birthday lady (aged 68) complained that she has to pay such high taxes when she is long past the days of having kids in the public schools. I complained that it is unfair that seniors and people without kids have to pay as high property taxes as people with kids. I stated my opinion that all citizens should contribute to the schools, but that those with kids should contribute more, perhaps an additional flat rate per child. The more kids a household has, the higher taxes they pay. THAT seems fair to me.
At this point, a young mom of 4 spoke up, "Yes, but the people with kids can't afford to pay more because they have kids to support."
And this is when Firecracker Mandy made her appearance. "True, but having kids is a choice. It's not like being afflicted with some disease that you have no control over."
That shut her up real quick.
I am continually amazed by the entitlement that people feel simply because they have kids. "I have kids and it's a struggle to support them so YOU help me out and pay for my kids' education." It's always this attitude of roll-out-the-red-carpet-for-the-"families". Pop out a kid and receive free meal tickets. Everyone should open their wallets wide for those who made the choice to reproduce. "I reproduce, therefore I receive."
It's truly sickening.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Potty Training, Peanut Allergies and Zhu-Zhu Pets
Being childfree bestows many advantages - we have more time, more money, more rest, happier marriages, more flexibility and spontanaeity, and more time to devote to the important relationships in our lives. The problem is that most people have kids, and losing a friend to parenthood can be akin to experiencing the death of a loved one for many of us.
I still see my best friend Sara on a regular basis - not as regular as before she became a mom, but I give her credit for being proactive about staying in touch and planning dates to get together with me. The problem is, Sara's identity has been supplanted by her kids' identities, which makes for not-so-interesting interactions between us. Here's a typical conversation between Sara and me:
Sara: So how's everything with you? What have you been up to?
Me: Well, I've had some issues at work to deal with. I had to "write up" 2 people last week, which is something I really hate doing. We're still trying to sell the house too which is getting really old. On the up side, we're going away on a fun camping trip this coming weekend. It'll be great to have some time out in nature. What's new with you?
Sara: Well, Michael had his first guitar lesson on Friday and he just loved it. We're taking the kids to Sesame Place next weekend for their birthdays. Oh and get this - I met with Michael's teacher last week and she told me he is getting perfect grades.
Me: Good for him!
Sara: Yeah, and oh - the kids were so cute on Sunday. My sister came over with her girls and you should have seen them playing together. Jason is finally learning to share his toys.
Me: So the boys have a lot going on, but what's new with you?
Sara: (has no reply)
Whenever I ask Sara what's new with her, or how she is doing, she immediately starts telling me how the kids are doing, what the kids are up to, what successes or failures the kids have experienced. She no longer has her own identity. Her entire life - every waking moment - is living for and through the kids. It's as though some soulless robot has taken possession of her and she doesn't exist anymore. It creeps me out.
We rarely talk about current events anymore because she doesn't have the time or interest to follow the news. We don't talk about work issues too much either. Correction - I talk about work issues and Sara nods her head, but we can't compare notes anymore because she's stay-at-home-mom. The only subject she can talk about is childrearing and honestly, it's so boring. I love Sara and I love her kids too. I like to know what they are up to, but endless pratter about potty training, peanut allergies and Zhu-Zhu pets gets old real quick.
Sara is like family to me, so I will endure the best I can but I am coming to terms with the fact that it's going to be several years before Sara's interests expand outward again out of her bubble and back into the world where the rest of us live.
Friday, October 22, 2010
A Cute Pug with an Incomplete Message
There's one problem. No surprise - the most impactful way to be green is not listed:
You can replace all your lightbulbs, recycle all your plastics, drive hybrid cars, go vegetarian, and drink filtered water out the wazoo but none of those actions will reduce your carbon footprint like the simple act of remaining childfree. NOTHING.
But as we can see, that message is so taboo even cute little pugs are afraid to say it.
So I will.
Monday, October 18, 2010
C is for Clone
What's going on here? I wondered.
Hubby surmised they must be giving away free handbags and took a seat on a park bench while I went inside to investigate.
To my disappointment, there were no freebies being handed out - just hordes of women acting like there were.
I walked around and looked at the handbags - $179 for this bag, $229 for that. A $500 bag on sale for 30% off (let's see....that makes it $350). A miniscule, cheap-looking change purse for "only $37". Apparently these were bargain basement prices judging by the reaction of the rabid women in the store - aggressively grabbing merchandise and laughing giddily over their big finds, like they had just won the lottery.
And me? I was standing in the center of the store scratching my head.
You see, I don't get the Coach handbag craze. I really don't. They seem to be decent enough bags, but in all honesty, I've seen far more stylish quality handbags from other manufacturers for less. Coach quality is good but it ain't all that.
What really gets me scratching my head, though, is the insatiable hunger women have to look just like everyone else, paying big bucks for the privilege of serving as a walking billboard with corporate logos plastered all over them. Everywhere I look - in the city, in the suburbs, at the mall - it has gotten to the point where 7 out of 10 women are carrying Coach handbags plastered with the C logo. Even underprivileged women who can't afford $50 for a handbag, let alone $500, scrape their pennies together and race to city street corners to buy $10 vinyl knock-offs so they can at least appear to be members of the Coach club.
What is it about being just like everyone else that is so appealing? I don't get it.
As is my usual tendency, I began philosophizing to make sense of it all. I theorized that the same psychological phenomenon that fuels The Coach Craze also fuels The Baby Craze. It seems to me that human beings, and particularly women, are addicted to peer acceptance and approval and being part of a club. In the case of Coach handbags, displaying the esteemed Coach logo gains a woman entrance into some sort of imaginary sorority which deems her culturally superior in some way. But superior to whom, I wonder? When everyone else is doing the exact same thing, how can one differentiate herself as superior?
I asked one of the sales associates which bags are the most popular and he replied that the ones with wall-to-wall Coach logos on them are the biggest sellers. The more elegant, understated (and in my opinion, appealing), plain bags are not as popular. The women who buy the C-plastered bags want to make sure that everyone who sees them knows their bag is Coach, and they are a bona fide member of the Coach cult.
Just as most women wear Coach handbags because that's the thing to do, I believe that most women have babies because that's just the thing to do. Women look around and see what everyone else is doing and they mindlessly imitate. Everyone is carrying Coach bags, so I must carry one. Everyone is having kids, so I must have kids. They don't think about what makes the most sense or whether what they are imitating is worth the cost, or even worth imitating. They just copy and breathe a sigh of relief that they have conformed to the status quo and are now members of the sorority. Coach handbags aren't anything special. They're not exquisite in any way. In fact, in my humble opinion, Coach bags are are best boring and at worst (as in the C-plastered bags) tacky. Reproducing isn't anything special either. Yet most women seem to charge through life with the sole objective of being postergirls for mediocrity, strolling the mall with 2 kids in tow and a tacky Coach bag slung over their shoulders and self-satisfied smirks that say, I'm all that and a bag of chips.
As for me, I've always thought that striving for individuality is the way to go. I like to stand out in a crowd. But hey - if any clothing or handbag designer wants to send me around with their logo plastered all over my ass, I'm happy to oblige. But they better open up their checkbook nice and wide first.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thanks to CFVixen for the link.
Monday, October 11, 2010
How to Endure (Being Childfree)
Friday, October 1, 2010
The "Unflappable" Working Mom
The article is full of advice for women who have opted for the untenable life of juggling motherhood and career (a.k.a. the headless chicken life) - advice which basically boils down to this: Multitask! Do personal stuff at work and work stuff at home! Create a "Command Central" in your house where you can get stuff done while keeping an eye on the chaos! Keep positive and try not to focus on how hard your life is - you are an important person with many hats! Don't worry about getting anything accomplished in the morning - just get the kids out of the house on time and consider that success! Don't agonize over your decisions! Limit bragging about your kids while at the office! (Hey, I like that one).
The fact that working moms need advice about how to manage their lives says something, doesn't it? It says to me that such a life is undesirable. The fact that anyone would voluntarily choose to to live a life where their every waking moment is overscheduled, overwhelming, filled with incessant and competing demands that assault the senses, exhaust energy levels and send a woman into fight-or-fight mode confounds me.
Oh that's right. I keep forgetting. It's so worth it.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
62, Childfree and No Regrets
Love your blog!
I'm now 62 and my husband of 35 years is 71. We have NO regrets about our decision NOT to have children. I'm extremely happy to see so many young people today choosing "childfreedom". Good for you for putting up a blog about it.
I love kids and taught elementary school for 27 years but never felt compelled to be a mother. When you choose parenthood you take on a job that will last a minimum of 20 years--a job with no pay, no days off and it's 24/7. And your needs will now come last. If people really thought about what they are sacrificing to become parents, most would not do it-!!
Being a teacher and seeing how many things and how much time and attention kids require, I realized that I didn't want to be a parent. I could have done it, and probably done a better than average job, but I wouldn't have been happy teaching all day & being a mother besides. My husband and I have led an interesting life- we've had the freedom to travel and we have. We have a beautiful home that we love. We have great friends and many interests. My brother's 2 adult children have caused him and his wife endless pain since they were teenagers. My cousins' adult kids the same-!
I am glad for my freedom from the worry that children bring, my freedom from hurt they can cause. I love that I have been able to develop myself and I think I have a good sense of self. I kind of think as a species, human beings suck. So why breed more? I like individuals but when each of us die--it will be a small blip in the larger meaning of things. I am just not that impressed with humanity--they do not take care of the planet, the air, the water, the creatures, the children, unless they are FORCED to out of self interest. Big deal. So I say live as lightly and happily as possible. Bless others and wish them well. I try to listen to others and laugh as often as possible. I work to contribute where I can when I can--but I am no martyr.
Keep up your good work with your blog!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
A Man's View
I'm not a huge football fan, so I don't really know how to answer that kind of question. Doubly so when the person asking has your scrotum in one hand, and a scalpel in the other.
I hope it goes without saying, this was not a typical Thursday morning for me. A normal Thursday would see me sat at a desk, using a computer, not lying on an operating table, naked from the waist down, whilst a nurse grasped my testicles so that a surgeon could inject some anaesthetic. But hey, you only get a vasectomy once. This is the story of mine.
My wife and I decided that we didn't want to have children. There are numerous reasons for this: lack of parental instinct; a belief that bringing a child into a dying world would be cruel to the child, and environmentally negligent; a commitment that if we ever did want children, we'd foster or adopt an existing child that needed a family, rather than creating one "just because we could". Before we got married, one of the bridesmaids set up a game of "Mr & Mrs" where one question was "Does Paul like children?" My wife got the answer spot on - "yeah, they taste great with BBQ sauce". That just about sums it up.
Birth control is fine for those who do not want children for the time being. But for those of us who do not want children at all then sterilisation is a pretty good option. No pills to remember to take, no prophylactics to remember to buy. But who should be sterilised? With a choice between a major surgical procedure, with the possibility of horrendous complications, at exorbitant price for my wife, or a quick cheap day procedure for me... well, that wasn't any choice at all.
I opted to have my vasectomy through Marie Stopes, who by luck were offering the procedure at almost half-price (cut one vas deferens, get the other cut free?), but there are a variety of providers out there. By doing it privately, I also had the advantage of speed and convenience.
I called them on a Tuesday, and was offered an appointment two days later, with no problems. The closest thing to a problem was the realisation that I may not get the time off work at such short notice! When I called they took my details, identified my closest Marie Stopes Clinic, and took the deposit. I received by email details of my appointment, and leaflets about what to expect before, during and after the procedure, as well as a frequently asked questions list about vasectomies.
Thursday morning rolled around. There were no major preparations I had to make. I didn't have to shave anything, avoid eating etc. They advised wearing tight fitting underwear (to provide support afterwards) and to arrange to be collected after the procedure, as driving puts too much strain on the area.
So I arrived half an hour early, as they advised, and sat in the waiting room until I was called. First up was my consultation. This could be with an administrator, a doctor or in my case with one of the nurses. We discussed my decision to be sterilised, reiterated that this was permanent and though reversible it was difficult and not guaranteed, and to ensure that this was a decision I had made myself, and was happy to proceed. Then we discussed my medical history, and only once satisfied was I cleared to have my procedure, and sent on to the pre-surgery waiting room.
I sat in a comfy chair, reading magazines, and waiting my turn. I was called forth, and walked into the theatre to meet my fate.
If it weren't for the fact that a strange man grabbed my junk and used a scalpel on it, it would have been the most unremarkable 15 minutes of my life.
I was asked to remove my jeans, hop onto the operating table, and pull my underwear down to my knees. The surgeon scrubbed up, the nurse brought him his equipment, and we began. First came the initial anaesthetic injection. It stung, about as bad as the initial injection at the dentist. He paused, we chatted for a minute or so, then he checked whether I could feel anything. Confident I couldn't, the incision was made. There may have been a second injection, I couldn't have told you. I felt nothing other than the odd sensation of pressure as the surgeon fished around to pull out and cauterise the vas deferens.
Some people claim there is a slight burning smell, but for me there was no smell. The nurse engaged me in polite conversation about Scotland. The surgeon talked about football. Then he said "now this might hurt". He was about to start on the second vas. And it did. "It always does, for some reason" was his considered opinion.
Gentlemen, a word here about pain, for those who may be wincing or crossing their legs. Any of you who have played sports, had older or younger brothers, hung out with cruel friends, or been particularly clumsy, will have experienced "the nut shot". In fact if there is a man out there who hasn't taken a shot to the guys, then you sir are fortunate, and in the minority. So, since we're all aware of what it feels like, then the pain you will feel during a vasectomy... is far less. It's a mild, dull pain, as if someone had tapped gently on your testicle with a tiny hammer. Who knows, maybe that is the procedure?
Anyway, the second vas was sealed, a dressing was applied, and the procedure was finished. I pulled up my pants, put on my jeans, and was led out to the recovery zone to sit back on a comfy chair, put up my feet, and drink coffee and eat biscuits. The main reason for keeping you around for 30 minutes after the procedure is to check you don't have any adverse reaction to the anaesthetic, but it also gives them an opportunity to go through recovery, and give you your aftercare pack.
For 48 hours after the procedure, you should stay off work, keep your feet up, and relax. Keep wearing snug underwear, and try to keep the area dry for 48 hours. That's sort of difficult with showers, but not impossible. Fresh dressings are provided, but if you need any more, then surgical dressings are available at all good pharmacies. You shouldn't do any heavy physical exercise, or sports or heavy lifting for about four weeks.
The good news is you can have sex as soon as you feel well enough, but you have to keep using birth control until you get the all clear from your semen tests. Trust me though, you won't feel well enough until the pain and swelling disappears, and the wound heals. Yeah, remember that thing about pain? That only applies for the duration of the surgery. Once that anaesthetic wears off? Imagine taking a shot to the balls every time you move wrong. You've just gone through a surgical procedure that involves pulling on and squishing your tackle. That causes bruising, and that's why they advise you to take it easy. So do yourselves a favour; take the advice, and kick back and watch some TV. Your nuts will thank you for it.
The procedure I had involved a small incision and no stitching, so you go home with an open wound. It can bleed (hence the dressings). It heals pretty fast though. Itches like hell and you can't scratch it, but it does heal fast.
Then they called me a taxi, and sent me home to recover. 16 and 18 weeks later you have to provide semen samples for a sperm count. This is because live sperm can remain in the seminal vesicles for up to 83 days. But if you get two negative results at 16 and 18 weeks after your procedure, you're now free to have sex without contraception.
It's been six months since my procedure, and three months since the all clear, and I'm happy with the results, and have no regrets. For anyone who has decided to be childfree, then I can recommend a vasectomy as the ideal solution. It is simple, low-risk, and far less traumatic than the equivalent procedure for women, which is a major surgical intervention, with the risks that entails.
But guys, don't let on that this is so easy. You get 48 hours of grateful care from your other half. Milk it for what it's worth, you won't get another chance!
Some final words of caution. Although I've said "you're now free to have sex without contraception", that only applies in a committed and childfree relationship. A vasectomy offers no protection from sexually transmitted diseases, so be sensible guys and use condoms in all new relationships until you are both checked out.
This is also a surgical procedure, and as such there are possible complications afterwards, including infection, bleeding, haematomas, long-term pain and possible failure. You will be warned about the risks of these during your consultation, including what to look out for, and further information will be in your aftercare pack. But as with all surgical risks, the chances of these affecting you are low, and outweighed by the benefits.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
A New Dining Trend? (we can only hope)
Kudos to Old Salty's Restaurant in Carolina Beach, North Carolina for enforcing a No Screaming Kids policy. Have a kid who is carrying on and screaming bloody murder? You're out the door. Can't control your kids and don't care how they are disrupting the dining experience of other patrons? Hit the road, Jack. Don't have the common decency or consideration to take your kid outside if he is throwing a full-blown tantrum? Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Of course, no matter how reasonable and sensible something is, there's always someone who will take offense. Watch this clip from the Today Show and witness a mom getting her panties in a twist over Old Salty's policy. How dare someone require her to control her child! How dare someone prevent her kid from annoying and ruining the meal of everyone in the restaurant! How dare someone not kiss up families! This is America! It's all about babies - and mommies -and families and look at us - we are the circus and we have come to town!!!
I say kudos to proprietor Brenda for having the guts to put her foot down and say enough is enough. I hope more restaurants will follow her lead. In fact, why stop at a No Screaming Kids policy? How about a Kid-Free Dining Section? Let the families with kids have their own rubber-walled dining room where the kids can stand on the tables, eat without utencils, smear food on each other and have screaming matches while the parents pin awards on them for being exceptionally expressive. Let the rest of us dine in peace.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Sexy. Superhuman. Mom.
I am happy for people who truly enjoy whatever it is that they have undertaken in life, but I think celebrities do a real injustice to women by portraying motherhood in these kinds of over-the-top, rapturous terms. The fact is, all living creatures reproduce. It is not an achievement. It is not superhuman. It is not miraculous. It is ordinary. It is expected. Billions upon billions of people do it. Sand fleas do it. Garden slugs do it.
I would argue that to not reproduce is extraordinary. To not succumb to societal pressure is an achievement. To minimize one's carbon footprint (instead of multiplying it) should be applauded. To take one's energies and direct them toward making a positive difference in the world is truly admirable. Ironically, Oprah herself is the prime example of what a childfree-by-choice person can accomplish, and yet she brushes her childfree status under the rug and kisses up to mommies at every opportunity.
Anyway, here's the clip. Let me know what you think. Christina's effusive gushing over motherhood begins at the 2:45 mark.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Do Kids Cause Divorce?
It's amazing to me that people still believe that having a child makes a marriage happier when all one has to do is look around them to see that the opposite is true. I can't think of one couple I know whose marriage became happier after having kids. Not one. Can you?