Monday, April 30, 2012

But it's SO WORTH IT!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mirror Mirror...

...on the wall
Who's the fairest of them all?
Beyonce of course
She's on the cover
She sings, she dances
But above all....she's a MOTHER!!!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hey - What Brings You Here?

I think it's interesting how people find this blog.  Blogger analytics tells me that these are the most common search keywords that land people here (in descending order).  Looks like there are hoardes of people looking for reasons not to have kids. 

Marisa Tomei will be reassured to know what a popular CF celeb she is.

Search Keywords

Reasons not to have kids
Reasons not to have children
Reasons to not have kids
Childfreedom blog
Regret having children
Brat ban
Reasons to not have children
Marisa Tomei
100 reasons not to have kids

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just like Real Life

Proctor & Gamble - the maker of brands like Crest, Head & Shoulders, Olay, Oral-B, Pantene, Bounty, Charmin, Dawn, Downy, Gain, Pampers, and Tide - knows who butters their bread - moms. So they put together a little commercial to butter up their bread butterers with the message to remind moms that theirs is the best job in the world.

The video shows the sacrifice involved in being a mom - the cooking and cleaning, the caretaking and cheuffering, exhaustion, early mornings and self-sacrifice. There's lots of standing on the sidelines too - conveying how mom gives up her own life so that her child can have a great life and become successful. (Of course, from the viewpoint of a childfree blogger, this reinforces the contention that for many people parenthood is nothing more than a cop-out and a way to relegate true effort and achievement in life to someone else). We see the moms cheering on their Olympic athlete kids as if they themselves are the medal winners.

And then of course, at the end of the commercial we get the big tear-jerking bingo that being a mom is tough work, but it's SO WORTH IT. Sure, you cook and clean and slave your ass off and give up your entire life and identity - but in the end, look what you get - AN OLYMPIC MEDALIST!

Yeah, just like real life.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Laugh

Bill Burr's solution to all the world's problems.  This had me cracking up!  Thanks to Lauren for the forward.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Maternal Self-Congratulation

I always get a kick out of the articles that pop up on the internet about how moms are all that and a bag of chips.  The most recent specimen was forwarded to me by Trista (thank you!).  It's an article that appeared on Shine called 5 Reasons Moms Returning to Work Make the Best Employees.   Betcha can't read it without giggling a bit.  Here are the 5 Reasons, followed by my response to each (in red).


She will not distract your clients from the business at hand by showing her cleavage, tattoos, body piercings, flip flops, by flipping her hair, or saying 'UM' or 'LIKE…'
That's correct - she won't distract the clients because she won't be there to distract them.  She'll be running late to work, leaving work early, taking extra time off to deal with sick kids, school plays, parent/teacher conferences, calls from her kids' school, and dealing with her own illnesses (that she caught from said kids) while she dumps her work on her childfree coworkers who WILL be there to deal professionally with the clients.  Yes, that's right.  Professionally.  As in - we know how to dress.  We know how to speak.  We don't wear flip flops to the office or walk around with our boobies hanging out.  Sorry to burst your bubble but Childfree Woman does not equal Snookie.

Schedule Coordination:
You will never meet a professional better equipped to manage multiple schedules than a Mom. Conflicting sports and activities, travel schedules along with the huge amounts of paperwork associated with each, make them pros at this. As a matter of fact, they are so adept at this that they know how to face complete chaos in a calm and professional manner.
Problem is, Mom is juggling so many conflicting schedules and so much chaos, she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown and piling just one more conflicting schedule onto her will be the straw that breaks the camel's back and gets her carted off to the loony bin.  It is precisely the multiple, conflicting schedules that make Mom an absentee employee as mentioned above under Professionalism.  The childfree worker, on the other hand, is better able to think clearly, with an uncluttered and calm mind, a full night's rest and a laser beam focus devoted to the tasks at hand.

Organizational Ability:

None of the above happens without keen planning. Uniforms must be washed; bags must be packed- water bottles, completed homework, snacks and sunscreen, permission slips and bathing, including checking/ clipping 20 finger/toenails per person must happen in advance.

If one detail is missed, the entire schedule can fall apart and they will be called on the carpet- either by a disappointed child (much more painful than a disapproving boss), or by a school and/or coach (too embarrassing to mention). The level of accountability far surpasses any business environment I have ever worked in, which includes Fortune 100 companies.
See Schedule Coordination above.

If any one demographic knows and understands the importance of loyalty and giving back, this is it. These women know how to appreciate a job and flexibility. As an employer, if you can offer what this employee needs, you will get it back four-fold. They will treat your business as though it is theirs. And they will tell all their friends about you- so you see? Free marketing built right in!
Moms aren't the only employees who appreciate a job with flexibility.  Childfree folks appreciate flexibility too - to care for our partners, family members, friends and companion animals, to participate in the many pursuits and activities we enjoy outside of work.  And since we are devoted friends, family members, spouses, employees and members of the community, we understand just as well as Moms the importance of loyalty and giving back.  And when we are treated well, we spread the word too!

People Management:

Anyone who has ever managed people knows that one of the most difficult groups to manage has to be volunteers. The variety of personalities and agendas among people who are not being paid and are emotionally involved could drive a person nuts. The volunteer leader's intuitive ability to see all sides and maintain harmony within a group like this is definitely worthy of international acclaim. And, they know how to manage their own demographic, in addition to understanding how the minds of the Millennials and Gen Y-s tick!
I'm lost.  Volunteers?  Volunteer management?  Is she saying that children are like volunteers and Mom is a volunteer manager?  What volunteer work are children doing, exactly?  What greater good are they serving?  And how does Mom's caretaking of them have anything to do with volunteer management?

I think the author may be trying to make the case that moms have more people management skills than non-parents.  If so, I beg to differ.  Moms might excel at baby talk, shuffling children in and out of time-out, breaking up fist fights and gossiping with other soccer moms, but sophisticated people management skills come from working with diverse groups of people in and out of the workplace - people from different age groups, socio-economic backgrounds, political and religious affiliations, and professional and educational backgrounds.  This is best obtained by being fully engaged in the world as the childfree are, as opposed to existing in an insular bubble where one's interactions are limited to children and the neighborhood coffee klatch.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Who Represents Us - Them or Us?

One of my favorite television shows in the 1990s was Ally McBeal.  I really loved that quirky show.  So recently, when hubby and I ditched cable t.v. and switched to streaming, I was excited to see that my old favorite was available for viewing, commercial-free.

So, I've been chipping away at the episodes and it's fun because I don't remember much of them, so it's like watching a brand new series.  I'm on Season 2 right now.  Anyway, an interesting thing came up in an episode called "The Dance".  The character, attorney Nell Porter revealed (to the horror of her male colleagues) that she doesn't want children.  Yes, a vocal childfree-by-choice character on a hit television show!  I was very excited (for a few moments). 

This revelation came up because she was defending a law firm client against charges of discrimination against mothers in the workplace (i.e. non-moms get made partner, moms don't).  Outside the courtroom, when Nell's male colleagues begin talking in stereotypical ways about women - that it is every woman's destiny and desire to have children - Nell fearlessly reveals that she does not want children and gives a compelling speech that would make my readers proud.  She lays it all out.  Not all women want children.  Motherhood is an honorable choice, as is the choice not to have children.  Women who go from working 14 hour days (before kids) to 8 hour days (after kids) should not expect the same promotions as women who continue to put in 14 hour days, plowing tirelessly down the partner track.  Moms should not be given special treatment in the workplace, because that would result in discrimination against those who choose not to have kids.

Wow.  Impressive so far.

But then, as it always happens, the childfree stereotypes quickly rear their ugly heads and it all goes off the rails.

First, let's start with the producer's choice to make Nell, a character who is so notoriously cold and buttoned up that her nickname is "Subzero Nell",  the childfree character.  Stereotype #1:  the childfree person as cold.

Second, Nell's argument about moms versus non-moms in the workplace, while noble and on-point in some important ways, centers mostly on the idea that women who choose not to have children do so solely because they are career-hungry and getting ahead in their careers is more important to them than family.  Childfree stereotype #2.

Third:  The plaintiff mom wins the case and the jury finds that the defendant law firm discriminated against moms by not giving them the same promotions as the non-moms.

Fourth, and the final nail in the coffin:  As the episode unfolds, Nell admits to her colleagues, in a moment of emotional honesty, that she is a child of divorce and it is the pain she suffered as a child - feeling torn between two parents - that resulted in her desire to not have children.  At the end of the episode, she is shown sitting by her hope chest, clutching two teddy bears against her (one from each of her parent's homes) and weeping.  Sigh.  The stereotype of the childfree as damaged goods.  Picture complete.

As a childfree woman, it is incredibly disheartening that despite the fact that 40% of U.S. women reach the age of 40 without bearing children, there are so few representations of us in the media.  When a representation of a childfree woman does appear, as in this Ally episode, it is always comprised of tired stereotypes that bear little resemblance to the childfree women I know. 

Ultimately, this drives home this important point.   Real childfree people, like you and me, have a very important responsibility.  We must be our own representations to the world, and we must also be the role models for others coming up behind us.  People struggling with the decision to be childfree need role models, so they can see a truthful representation of what it really means to live a life free of children instead of the tired, negative stereotypes that paint a bleak and unappealing picture of the childfree life.   At 46 years old, I know with certainty that my childfree identity is not one of coldness, emptiness, loneliness and selfishness but rather one of thoughtfulness, intelligence, warmth, fearlessness, engagement, spaciousness, freedom and opportunity, yet I had to discover this for myself because I did not have a single role model to represent this to me.

If you are a childfree person who is happy and comfortable with your decision, do yourself and the generation behind you a favor.  Don't lie about your choice.  Don't downplay your decision.  Don't take the cowardly route and say you are infertile or that you will have kids someday just to get people off your back.  Stand proud and be honest about your decision for the bigger good.  Be someone that others can look to and see that it's great to be childfree by choice - that you are happy, fulfilled and even normal.   Be visible and counted so others will not feel so odd and alone.  If we want the tired old stereotypes about us to be stamped out, we need to be the instruments in writing the new narrative about who and what we really are.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Laugh

Looks like WestJet pulled a good April Fool's joke on it's passengers.  Too bad it's only a joke!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dear Mandy...

I've been following your blog for about a year now, and LOVE IT! About a year ago I decided to live a child free lifestyle and always turn to your blog for support, because unfortunately everyone else in my life from all angles has decided to become a parent, and right now the baby talk is in full force, and I can't seem to escape it. I was going to e mail you but couldn't find you address - haha it may be too early in the morning. But any way I was wondering if this type of situation may have happened with any of your other readers - yesterday I asked my friend who is a new mom to run a 5k with me in July. She automatically e mails me back very smugly saying that she doesn't think it would be appropriate to take her baby in 100 degree weather all day on a run. haha first, who said anything about the baby? the dad can watch him. also, who said all day? 5k only takes an hour! Anyway, I get the feeling that from now on I can only suggest child friendly activities when it comes to hanging out with her for a while, or until she finally comes to her senses and needs an escape. I guess I just really felt the gap between our lifelong friendship grow yesterday, and it was not a fun feeling. Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for all that you do, and all of your support!


Dear Julia,

Most certainly, your friend was wrong to assume that you were including her child in the invitation to run a 5K race.  It's interesting - and quite surprising - that she made that assumption, since no reasonable person would assume that such an invitation would include a baby.  Your friend's response speaks to the unreasonable sense of entitlement and self-absorption that many people (especially women) fall into once they have kids.  Because a mom's entire existence revolves around her child, she automatically assumes that everyone else's lives should too and sadly, our culture reinforces this idea at every turn.

In this situation, the appropriate response to your friend could be, "Oh, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to imply that you should bring the baby.  Of course a baby should not go on a 5K race.  I was assuming your husband could watch her, or you could get a sitter.  Would that be possible?  I'd really love to do this event with you."  And see how she responds.

If your friend continues to insist that every outing with you must include the baby, you may have to speak up in a gentle way.  One way to approach the issue is to say, "I really love spending time with you and the baby and so look forward to our times together.  Would it also be possible for some of our outings to be just the two of us, so we can really catch up and have some adult time together?"  See how she responds.  Hopefully, she will not be offended and will realize that your request comes from a place of cherishing your friendship and wanting to maintain the level of closeness you always had.

If, despite your requests, she isn't willing to keep your friendship a priority and find time to spend with you one-on-one, you have two options.

Bite the Bullet:  Accept the fact that all of your time with your friend will include her child and realize that this will be the case for at least a few years, until the child is old enough that it does not need to be with her all the time.


Take a Break:  Create more space in the relationship and give yourself something of a breather from your friend, until she gets out of the phase of being attached at the hip to her child.  Stay in touch, but perhaps not as frequently, and focus more of your energy to developing and nurturing friendships that will provide more one-one-one engagement for you.  Seek out other childfree people to form friendships with.

I'd love to hear from my readers on this issue.  How have you navigated this type of situation with your parent friends?  Please post a comment!