Having Fun As An Adult

A unique benefit to being childfree means being able to have fun as an adult. If the wording “have fun as an adult” seems somewhat awkward, well, it’s because I have to be very careful with my wording here. If I write “adult fun,” everyone assumes I mean something R or X-rated. Now sure, that could be included, I guess, but thinking of having fun as an adult being just this is really limiting the way we look at things. The best way I can think of to explain what I mean is with examples, so here’s here is one. In a few days, I hope to revisit a nearby water park that I always enjoy. Now sure, the place is often full of parents and kids, and most things are designed with them in mind, but their experience and mine will be quite different.

  • Going to the water park will be easier. I won’t have to find a way for school schedules, work schedules, and the planets to align.
  • I won’t have to deal with trying to arrange babysitting for someone too young to go, or try to justify to myself bringing along someone still in diapers who simply should not be there at all.
  • Going to the park will be cheaper. I’ll be buying fewer tickets, will not need a large locker, will buy less food, won’t be nagged to buy toys at the gift shop, won’t have to buy floaties, and so on, won’t have to ensure that growing bodies have appropriately sized swim-suits, and so on.
  • I won’t be waking kids up early in the morning, getting the fed, dressed, and in the car with all their accessories packed. I can just roll out of bed, grab my stuff, and go.
  • At the park, I don’t have to worry about anyone scraping their knee, getting lost, getting sunburnt, getting kidnapped, or drowning in the wave pool.
  • I can go on the rides that I want to go on, without worrying that it’s too scary for someone or that someone is too short for it, and without someone screaming they want a different ride, and I don’t have to spend any part of my day boring kiddie play areas.
  • I won’t have to deal with anyone fussing or fighting, or with any tantrums.

Basically what I’m saying is that I will actually get to have fun myself, without just being around to ensure someone else has fun and just hoping for some kind of vicarious benefit to make up for all the expense and stress it all brought. See, having fun as an adult is like that. I have freedom that I didn’t have and kid, and having no kids myself, I actually get to keep that freedom. I get to do things I enjoy, without them being ruined for me or otherwise diminished. On Easter, I don’t have to share my candy or my bunny ears, and I get to buy better candy. On Christmas, I get to exchange better gifts, don’t have to worry about anyone breaking or swallowing ornaments, won’t hear any ungrateful whining, won’t be stepping on Lego’s the next day, and I get to open presents whenever it’s convenient (could be February, doesn’t matter.) And when I go out to dinner, I don’t have to deal with bringing kids along, won’t have to deal with tantrums or having to step out because of tantrums, will be able to eat where I want to without caring whether or not chicken nuggets are on the menu, won’t have my food sneezed on, won’t have to serve food or cut anything up for kids, and will have more money to go out at all. I get to actually enjoy myself. I can go shopping, go to movies, visit museums, watch TV, play games, go on trips, and just have a life of my own in general, without dealing with kids and the complications they bring. That is what having fun as an adult is about. I get to actually enjoy my own life. Being childfree means more than being free of children, it means being free because they’re not there.

Actually, Rowena Pelham, I AM Childfree And I Don’t Owe You Anything

Rowena Pelham wrote a guest post for Attachment Feminism, declaring that childfree people have to shoulder the burden of other people’s decision to breed. Pelham admits that the world is overcrowded, and that breeding is selfish and is a choice, and yet, still thinks that the burdens of it all should be imposed on others anyway.

The logic? Well, someone has to take care of you when you’re old. And then someone has to take care of them. And then someone has to take care of them. And so on. Because the cycle of death must continue, apparently. New generations must arise to watch the previous ones die. Yeah, not really a compelling argument, when you think of it. But I’m sure that Pelham will of course make sure that her children grow up and take on careers specifically to serve the elderly, free of charge, right? Right?

Apart from that, we get to the real reason, simple selfishness, irresponsibility, and entitlement. Parenting is just “Too. Damn. Hard.” The author says. I say again that it’s a choice and its difficulty/ inconvenience/ unpleasantness really should have been thought through before breeding, otherwise that person is just not fit to breed at all. But no, Pelham declares that it’s the community’s responsibility to do the parents’ job for them, just like village communities of her imagination.

I suppose she isn’t at all grateful for the fact that society ALREADY helps her raise her kids. I doubt she had to build a hut out of sticks to live in, or hunt and gather for food, or make her own pottery, or fend off while animals. She lives in relative comfort, with access to schools, grocery stores, daycare, maids, cities, medicine, internet access, and absolutely everything she needs not only to survive with ease, but also in relative luxury, thanks to human society and civilization making her own life and raising her kids easier. Yeah, that’s the village. Apparently, this doesn’t count when it’s done for her and her kids. Because some things still require trade from her in exchange and she still has to change diapers sometimes, and dang it it’s just too damn hard! No, those sorts of things only count when her own special snowflakes are the ones doing it.

No, she wants her own choice to have children to grant her the elevated status of royalty in a society where natalism is revered above actual contribution to society, and where everyone else is relegated to the level of a free servant there to clean up puke and take over parenting duties for free whenever she napped her fingers? She apparently believes that just because she wants something and would find it convenient, she is not only owed it, which is appalling entitlement enough as it is, but she presumes to declare that a specific group owes her this. No, it’s not parents teaming up and trading favors, that would interfere with her belief in being owed elevated status. Of course it’s the childfree who owe her this. Because if anyone is going to get to go to cinema and art exhibits and enjoy mojitos, well, it should be her.

Listen, unless I get veto power over whether or not a child is born, then it’s really not my responsibility if it is anyway. The responsibility for the child rests solely on those how chose to force it into being, and the consequences of this are brought upon themselves. They did not do it for me or in collaboration with me or with my approval, so I see no reason that I suddenly owe them anything for it. The burden is your own, Pelham, not mine. Shoulder it yourself.

I’m not a parent, Pelham. That’s the point. And there is nothing at all blurry about it. It is NOT a shared responsibility, it is YOUR responsibility, and if anyone helps you out with it in any way, be grateful, because they are doing you a favor, not fulfilling an obligation to you.

Who is being dishonest?

Meghan Daum, author of a recent book of “childfree” essays, states in an interview on Jezebel that childfree people are intellectually dishonest if they claim to have never wondered about the path not taken. What a bunch of hogwash.

I’m sure there are childfree women who do wonder about it, just as there are childfree women who love being aunties and writing articles about it (legions of them, to judge from how common that trope is). But experiences are not universal.  For me, childfreedom is more like a sexual orientation: such an inherent component of who I am that the only decision I had to make was whether to repress myself or not. And even that was an easy choice that I can’t even recall making. As an atheist growing up in a religious community, I had a great deal of experience being the outcast at an age when I was more vulnerable to peer pressure, so by the time I reached puberty I’d given up all pretense of trying to be like others.

I never liked being around children, and sterilized and standing here at the end of my 30s, I can honestly say I never contemplated having children. Having doubt requires that you have the underlying desire that drives people to reproduce, and that you at some level feel that having children would answer that need.

It would be intellectually dishonest for me (personally) to say that I’ve never contemplated marriage, despite not being keen on it. I can identify with one of the desires that motivates people to marry. At some level I’ve swallowed the idea that marriage can bind a person to you forever. Ultimately, I always conclude there’s really no way I can freeze a relationship in amber and prevent someone from ever feeling differently about me. So, yes, I’ve thought about marriage.

But I don’t think it’s an inherent part of the human condition to want to cling to a romantic relationship, although it is certainly common. Nor do I think that everyone who has ever felt this way has yearned for marriage, because seeing marriage as the answer depends on conditioning which not everyone has been exposed to or absorbed.

That is what I claim when it comes to children. I don’t identify with some of the more common reasons people give for having children, and when I do experience the desire, I have never viewed children as a way to achieve it. Here are a few examples:

Fit in with my peers
I don’t identify with this at all. I think the key to happiness is in knowing what you want out of life and striving toward your own dreams. Being unconventional brought me misery as a child but has only increased my pleasure the older I’ve become.

Be remembered after death by future generations
This doesn’t resonate with me, but if it did I’d work on becoming famous instead of striving to be a photograph and a name in a distant genealogy project. If true immortality were in my grasp, I’d be interested, but this seems like a pointless consolation prize.

Take on a nurturing role
I have no craving to nurture. I don’t mind temporary and reciprocal nurturing in a friendship, but to constantly be in a position of caring for something or someone sounds like a burden to me.

Be taken care of in old age
This is a desire I can strongly identify with. I fear the decline that accompanies aging and can lead to loss of independence. I’ve just never believed children are a solution. Children might move far away from their parents (as my own did) or become estranged (as some of my parents’ siblings did). Financial security and a network of loved ones seems like a better plan than trusting that one person will have the time and temperament to care for you.

The pressure Daum describes to “champion and celebrate [the childfree] choice every moment of every day” is not part of my experience. I can accept that it is part of hers; unlike Daum, I don’t think it’s compulsory for others to share my experiences. Yet I daresay, if most childfree people aren’t talking about second thoughts, it’s because we aren’t experiencing them, not because we’re a bunch of liars.

Childfree Voices April Question: Sterilization – Fear Of Permanence?

monthlyquestion2Getting sterilized is the ultimate goal among many childfree people, although sometimes the system makes actually obtaining sterilization far more difficult a task than it really should be. However, not all childfree people choose to get fixed. Some balk at getting fixed themselves, or suddenly freak out at the idea of their partners being fixed, and it’s not for fear of complications or pain or hospitals or surgery.

Your question is this: Would you consider someone who is hesitant to get fixed on the grounds of its permanence really childfree?

And

In the case of a partner showing such reluctance, would you consider that a “red-flag”?
As always, leave you answer in the comments section below.

No Skyla, This Is NOT My Baby

cello

 

It comes as no surprise that I like birth control. I think that birth control is not only good for individuals, be they men or women, and is good for society and the planet as a whole. I wholeheartedly reject the notion often touted by aging anti-feminists that birth control is somehow bad for women. That said, the ads can certainly be pretty bad.

Skyla is a brand of IUD that works for about three years. Although the IUD (Mirena) that I once had was not kind to me, I like IUDs and generally consider them to be the next best thing to sterilization for those who don’t want any/any more kids ever, and excellent for those who just don’t want them now. Notice how I made a distinction between the two and didn’t just assume the ‘not right now’ was the only kind of woman who would want an IUD; it will be important later.

Skyla has some of the most sexist ads for their product that I’ve ever seen. It’s truly amazing. Even while selling birth control, they just can’t escape a pro-natalist message. The ads that I’m referring to involve such things as a woman pushing a baby swing, in which is seated not a baby but an expensive-looking camera and tripod. Another shows a woman at the base of a playground slide, waiting to catch, not a child, but a cello. Then there’s a woman wearing a front-loaded sling hanging, not an infant, but books. You get the idea.

And just in case you didn’t, each of these images comes with the nauseating caption “This is my baby right now.”

books

Ugh.

Now, I get the intent. And I get that showing freedom and happiness because of the absence of children is a little difficult to do visually. It would just look like happy people and it wouldn’t be obvious that their happiness is because of the absence of children. But still, everything about these ads is wrong.

The first problem is the women not only calling their interests their “baby,” but actually treating it like one. It’s as if it’s completely impossible to imagine women as relating to anything at all except in a maternal sort of way. The message is woman=mother. If she doesn’t have an actual baby, then she’s still a mother symbolically to a baby-substitute. Apparently, women only have other interests in order to make up for not having a baby (if that sounds like I’m reaching here, consider that people do exactly what I’ve described when discussing childfree people with pets all the time,) and anything a woman could possibly be doing must just be re-directing her mommyness. Ew.

Look, I have many things in my life that I care about. I paint. I have pets. I enjoy hiking. I have some home-improvement projects that I’m working on. I’m a college student trying to start my career. Being a woman doesn’t make my interests my “baby,” nor are they any baby place-holder, nor are they any redirection of some kind of maternal instinct. It turns out that I’m actually a person myself, and have my own interests, which have nothing to do with babies, because woman does NOT equal mom.

I remarked in a recent conversation that people don’t do this crap with men’s interests. When men have things they care about or are interested in, no one considers those things to be replacement-babies that the man is in a nurturing paternal relationship with. You would NEVER see these kind of ads for a birth control to be used by men. Just try imagining it. Ridiculous, right? Ever see a condom commercial about really anything other than sex? I haven’t.

No sooner did I say this than did several people chime in that men sometimes call their cars “baby,” as if that was somehow the same thing. One even showed me ad for car insurance in which men treat their cars like cars (not babies,) but must protect their cars from such thing as lose shopping carts, upon which their cars take the form of giant babies. Yeah. Not the same. The imagery of a baby was not used to show that the men are in a fatherly relationship with their cars. They don’t treat their cars as babies, they treat them as cars. The cars become babies as a metaphor to show their helplessness and vulnerability. It’s likely too that they take this form at least in part due to the popular cliché mentioned earlier of referring to cars as “baby.” But when men call their car “baby,” they don’t mean “infant,” they mean a totally different use. The car is regarded as an object of desire that the driver would be possessive of. But it was probably not a good idea to depict the cars transforming into attractive women. The baby was a play on words, not meant to imply that men are fathers to their cars. So, yeah. Not even remotely the same.

photo

Driving my point further is the caption that goes with these ads. “This is my baby right now.” Did you catch that? “Right now.” I acknowledge that most women do breed, and it would be unreasonable to expect birth control ads to target the childfree demographic specifically. That’s not what I’m saying. The inclusion of the phrase “right now” implies that further breeding is an inevitability. This ignores people who are childfree or who already have kids but don’t want more. I’m not saying that it should have said “right now, or possibly forever,” (and not just because the “this is my baby” bit is objectionable enough of its own,) I’m saying it was completely unnecessary all together. Why does a product that promises to protect us from unwanted breeding still market itself on the promise of future breeding? It’s nuts! Our culture is no natalism-worshipping that you can’t even escape pro-natalist messages in ads for birth control.

But there’s another problem with the inclusion of the words “right now.” It proves what I was saying a few paragraphs ago that society seems to find it difficult to think of women as anything except mothers. The implication of those words is that the woman only cares about her interests to the capacity that she currently does temporarily. Eventually she’ll not only have a real baby (it’s apparently inevitable, remember,) but then she’ll abandon her current silly little interests. After all, she’ll have no more need for baby stand-ins once she has an actual baby, right?

Here’s a crazy idea marketers: how about marketing birth control as, you know, birth control? Crazy, I know. But I know that when I look for birth control, what I look for is its ability to prevent babies.

And here’s a crazy idea, world: If a woman likes the cello, it’s because it’s the cello. She will tend to use it as a cello, not take it to the freaking playground. Because it’s a cello, and you can generally assume that she’s actually perfectly aware of that.

Childfree Reason: Don’t Be This Bitter

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve made a real update to this page. What an I say? Burnout happens. While I do like discussing the virtue of a childfree life, I’ve got way too much going on in my life to just talk about one subject all the time, so I can’t really do that.

And business happens, too. I know no one is interested in my excuses, but I’ve been doing quite a lot in my life lately. I’ve been working on several art projects, working on my own, admittedly small, contribution to culture. And I’ve been in college, you know, doing what people often do when they want to actually make something of themselves.

It occurs to me that, if I was a stay-at-home mom, I wouldn’t have the problem. In between sharing Facebook posts about how I’m too “busy” to clean house, cook, bathe, or put clothes on the kids (you’ve seen that post too, right?), or writing passive-aggressive Facebook posts about how rude it is to ask me what I do all day, all without giving an actual answer (seriously, this kind of crap was blowing up my FB timeline until I did some mass-unfriendings,) I’d really have nothing better to do than blog. Of course, I’d just be doing a mommy-blog then, only venturing to childfree blogs to lash out and project my insecurities onto the cool kids.

Today, I’m feeling inspired to write. I was reminded why childfree blogs are so important. Society tells women that they must breed or they’ll never be happy, and must have a man or they’ll never be happy. And so on. Apart from being demonstrably untrue, it’s an incredibly unhealthy way to think. The reality of parenting life, that it isn’t needed, is easily avoidable, won’t guarantee happiness and is more likely to cause unhappiness, and just generally isn’t the fairy tale fantasy it’s portrayed as by the media and by everyday liars, all seems like it should be painfully obvious to anyone who has ever met a parent at any time in their life, or is capable of critical thinking at all. And yet, there are still people who fall into the trap.

Now, that’s not to say that there are no people who are happy as parents, but it’s important not to forget the bitterness and regret caused to those who go into it while buying into toxic fantasies, ignorant of the realities. Those are the ones who feel a need to lash out at chidfree folk, and even concoct electorate fantasies of karmic revenge for those who did not fall victim to the same cycle, those who are not company in the misery. There’s not anything short of a condom and a time machine that can safe those people, sadly. But with increased visibility of childfreedom, other people can avoid making the mistakes of those who bred and regret it.

The reminder came in the form of a comment recently received on this blog. It should be noted that it was a comment on the “lingo” page, which had nothing really to do with anything on the lingo page, which more or less confirms that the mombie just wanted to lash out and settled for the first place she moseyed into. The comment was this:

“I think people who don’t want kids should definitely NOT have kids. I don’t think anybody really gives a crap if the self-proclaimed “childfree” remain so for the rest of their lives.

The only thing I care about is the possibility that young women have been duped by various political agendas (alleged overpopulation, radical feminism) that have left them convinced that opting out of parenthood is somehow the socially responsible thing to do. As to “childfree” men, most of them outgrow that attitude by the time they get into their 40s; finally secure in their finances and having matured beyond their fears, even the most reluctant of these guys are finally looking forward to fatherhood. Sadly for many women who’ve forged a “childfree” life with these men, the men are free to seek a younger partner in order to start a family, leaving their former partner-in-childlessness behind.”

I have to admit that, at first, I mocked this comment. It’s hard not to. I mean, it is hilariously stupid and honestly just a desperate attempt to make the mombie feel better about her lot in life, what she’s done to herself. But then I thought about it a bit more, and decided that, while I still think this person is a hilarious moron, I really just feel sorry for her. I mean, how much do you have to hate yourself to write that?

  1. There’s the fact that it’s written at all. This person had an axe to grind and just settled for a page that was related to childfreedom, despite the content of the comment having nothing really to do with the content of the post.
  2. She’s convinced that childfree women are “duped.” This makes no sense whatsoever, given that all messages at all times are “Follow the life script! Breed!” Now, it could be possible that her behavior is like that of a Christian fundimentalist in America, those who like to pretend that Christias are persecuted by the mere existence of other religions or (god forbid) atheism, as such fantasies suit their egos, allow them to feel like wronged victims and heroic crusaders. But I find it more likely that she is duped, as is what actually happens, sadly, to many young men and women who follow the life script without really thinking things through, and is merely projecting. I mean, why would she want to admit that she’s duped?
  3. Hilariously, in order to maintain her make-believe that she isn’t duped, despite obviously being quite bitter about her life, she has to actually be in denial about simple objective facts. For one thing, she has to deny the existence of childfree men, even going so far as to put “childfree” in quotation marks when referring to men. And she even has to deny overpopulation, as if completely incapable of simple counting. She even has to deny that women are people, as the meaning of “feminism” is simply “gender equality.”
  4. Then there’s the little karmic revenge fantasy. She has to imagine that childfree relationships are just doomed to fail by nature, and that men, will leave childfree women, to find women to breed with. Now, this is obviously just pulled right out of the mombie’s ass. Now, I’ve already discussed the ridiculousness of pretending that childfree men somehow don’t exist, and I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that if a man is really going to leave a woman for a younger woman, it’s probably because he wants someone whose body wasn’t ravaged by childbirth, but never-mind that. The fact that she has this little fantasy says a lot. She has to imagine that nature will somehow get back at the people she’s jealous of, so that she can feel vindicated. And she doesn’t really care that it’s not true, otherwise she would have done some actual research.
  5. What really makes me pity her though is the way she was duped. She thinks that the value of a woman is in having a man, and she thinks the value of having kids is appeasing one (which really, would be a terrible reason to create new people even if it was true, so I really feel sorry for her kids.) Obviously, no one with an ounce of self-esteem would ever believe such nonsense. Obviously, relationships are not needed for happiness. And obviously, real relationships worth having aren’t so pathetically shallow (how awful does her relationship have to be if her husband would leave her if she didn’t breed, and she’s so desperate to keep him that considers that to be a good enough reason to do it? Could such an arrangement where no one considers the other fully human even be considered a relationship at all?)

As annoying as our troll is, it’s important to remember that she is a victim of the toxic, false, and misogynist messages that breeding is needed to be happy, only to realize after it was too late that the reality isn’t whatever it was she fantasized, causing her to want to lash out here, in, ironically, a rather childish fashion. This is a miserable person in her own personal hell, and it’s not quite satisfying to kick someone when they’re already down – surely nothing anyone can say could make her life worse. And what she needs is not being fed here, but counseling to come to terms with her life and maybe learn to actually like herself.

And so I write this post not for her, but for you, dear reader. Look at the bitterness of this poor mom. It’s so pathetic I’m almost tempted to wonder if it’s just an example of Poe’s law; it just seems like such a self-parody. Clearly, breeding has not brought her the happiness or the relationship that she was duped into thinking it was, and she’s not able to deal with it. Consider her existence a warning: DON’T BE THAT MOM. Stay childfree.

Edit: She keeps leaving more comments, apparently trying very hard to have a fight. She’s desperate not only for attention, but something eventful. Her life must be painfully dull.

The REAL Reason I’d Never Date A Single Parent

I’ve been trying to make this post for years now. Seriously, years. Even since I was on my old blog, I’ve been trying to write this. But no version of this post ever went beyond a draft.

I say lots of things on this blog. I don’t go out of my way to insult people, but I do speak my mind and, on occasion, someone, somewhere will find something to be offended about, and I don’t give a single F. I don’t let ‘what if someone gets their pweshus feewings hurt?’ stop me from writing what I want to write. The whole point of having a blog is so that I can speak freely and maybe, just maybe, find out if there are a few people out there who feel the same but don’t often get to say it.

This particular topic, however, is a bit different. I have a lot of trouble writing on this topic without it looking like an unprovoked attack even in my own eyes. And considering the people involved, it’s a lot like just kicking someone when they’re already down, even if, really, they have only themselves to blame. I do feel sorry for single parents trying to date, I sympathize with their problems having normal adult relationships. But not enough to date them myself.

Now, this post will be about a specific kind of single parents, a kind I suspect to be the majority. It’s important to remember that people become single parents in many ways, and there are cases wherein someone will be an exception to the reason I’m about to give (although I still would not date them anyway.)

  • Some were dudes who were dragged into having a biological offspring against their will by some selfish woman who “oopsed” him intentionally (or stole his sperm – it happens,) and/or refused to abort, resulting in that helpless man having a baby he never wanted, all while her irresponsibility grants her the legal power to rob him blind and there’s not much he can do about it. Cases like this are why I wholeheartedly support the idea of legal paternal surrender (sometimes called “male abortion,”) and do respect men who fight this injustice and refuse to have some selfish broad use a child as a pawn to hold his life hostage. (Although I still don’t want any part in that drama.)
  • (I forgot to include this before.) Women who were denied birth control and abortion by means of force, coercion, legal dickery, or denial of services. They are the unfortunate victims of a war on women.
  • Some are wealthy people who found it in their hearts to adopt or become foster parents, and had the money to fund it themselves. Kudos to them.
  • And some are widows/widowers who made responsible choices in their reproductive lives but, tragically, lost their partner due to unforeseen death. They have my sympathies.

These are NOT the people who I am referring to in this post. Mind you, I’d still never date any of the people above, but not for the reason I’m going to get into, the reason that I think applies to the overwhelming majority of single parents.

They’re irresponsible.

Finally, I’ve said it.

When I do a web-search for reasons not to date single parents, I find that people give many reasons. They don’t want kids. They don’t want to deal with those particular kids. They want to focus exclusively on their own kids, not someone else’s (even many single parents don’t want to date single parents.) They don’t want a ready-made family. They’re wary of being seen as target for gold-diggers or as free-babysitting. They want to be the same priority to their partner as their partner would be to them. They don’t want to deal with baby-mama/daddy drama. They don’t want their dates out to be few/cheap/child-friendly. They don’t want to share in childcare/child-support/alimony costs. The list goes on and on. But few people say it’s because, in general, single parents are just irresponsible.

Ok, ok, maybe they’re not necessarily irresponsible people anymore, but they’re at least people who made irresponsible actions where it really counted. What does it take to become the typical single parent (someone who doesn’t fall into the categories mentioned earlier)? Making horrible choices about a really important thing that has major consequences that affect lots of people including that innocent child dragged into it all. That is not a minor mistake but a MAJOR fuck-up and a serious failure as a parent. Someone chose to breed with someone they shouldn’t have or at a time they shouldn’t have. That’s what it all comes down to. The first and arguably one of the most important responsibilities of any fit parent is be carefully selective of who to breed with and under what conditions, and being a single parent (again, besides the exceptions mentioned earlier) is proof that a person has completely failed to do this very basic thing.

Cards on the table, I must admit that I’m mildly anti-natlist and pretty concerned about the current overpopulation crisis, I could well argue that any breeding by anyone other than exceptional genetic specimens is at least a little irresponsible, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. If someone must breed at all, then they’d damned well better at least do it right. They owe it to themselves, their partner, their child, and society.

Sure, maybe they’ve learned from this horrible decision, have come to regret it, have done their best afterwards, have made every effort to ensure that they would never repeat it, and have managed to become responsible people later, after the damage was already done. Maybe. But it’s unlikely. We live in a natalism-worshipping society where it’s just as much a taboo to criticize someone’s bad choices to breed as it for someone who has bred to admit that they regret doing it. And without that realization that a bad choice was made at all, that they aren’t some unlucky victim of circumstance but are actually to blame for what has happened to themselves and their children, then they can not learn from it. Some even manage to be single parents of multiple kids with multiple partners, and they’re really just the worst.

That’s why I always find it a bit ironic when sites that try to list reasons why single parents should be desirable dating partners try to cite responsibility as a selling point. Just visit any article about reasons why someone should date a single mom or single dad. I’ve never seen one that didn’t try to claim that being a single parent was, bafflingly, proof of responsibility. These sorts of claims always amaze me. The way I see it, the real truth is the exact opposite. The fact that they’re single parents proves that they have, somewhere, failed to be responsible. They don’t get any credit from me for cleaning up their own mess which they just shouldn’t have made in the first place. And as someone who values responsibility, real responsibility, I can’t consider being a single parent as anything but a total deal-breaker.

Now, admittedly, a person without kids may or may not be responsible, but at least you can be reasonably sure that they understand how and when to use birth control. They’re responsible about at least one extremely important thing. They’re responsible in one of the areas where it really matters. I’d certainly consider them to be more likely to be responsible than I would consider the typical single parent to be.

Dating as a single parent is hard. Money is tight, time is limited, and options are few. I sympathize, I do, but that’s really not my problem. It’s not that I think that single parents should be punished with being forever alone due to their actions, but I wouldn’t date them, nor could I, in good conscience, advise anyone except perhaps another single parent or a childless (not childfree) person who desperately wants kids and doesn’t care about biological relation to do so. I always advise the childfree to stay well away.

It’s Not That I’m Not “Cut Out” To Be A Mom

It’s OK, not everyone is cut out to be a mom.”

If that isn’t just one of the most irritating phrases I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is. It masquerades as understanding, but in reality isn’t just a barely concealed insult with a bit of natalism worship thrown in. Basically, when a condescending mommy says this, she’s just giving herself a pat on the back.

It’s not like being a mom is actually difficult. I know that sounds like blasphemy, but it’s the cold truth. Being a mom is really not hard. Any idiot can do it (and many do.) Sure, it may be inconvenient, tedious, generally unpleasant, annoying, and comes with many, many awful consequences, and certainly not everyone is fit to breed, but difficult, it is not. It’s not something that really requires education or skill, like just about any actual job in the real world. Otherwise people might be required to undergo training or licensing to have kids (and boy to I wish that was the law.) Computer programming, healthcare service, engineering, education, military service, those are difficult; those are things that not everyone is cut out for. If you can do most of it from your home while watching Netflix, it’s not hard.

Really the standard for what qualifies a “good parent” is a little more than a series of “don’t”s. Don’t abuse your kid. Don’t leave them unsupervised. Don’t let them cause problems. Don’t make excuses for them if they do cause problems. Don’t let them be in charge. Don’t be more of a friend than an authority figure. Don’t forget to feed them. Don’t forget to take them to school. Don’t take them to places where they clearly don’t belong. Don’t bring them into an unstable home with unstable people. Don’t neglect their healthcare. Don’t have them if you can’t afford them. Don’t take naked/gross/embarrassing pictures of them and definitely don’t put those pictures on the internet. And so on. It’s simple, really. If anyone fails at any of that, it’s not because parenting is just so hard that they couldn’t manage it, it’s just because that person is a total shitbag who wouldn’t bother to do it, and there is absolutely no excuse. It’s too bad that when parents talk about people not cut out to be parents, they usually aren’t referring to this group.

Really, anyone who was basically responsible, stable, and consistent could parent more than fine (it’s a shame that so many “parents” would rather be lazy and make excuses than actually parent (verb.)) The only thing that would keep me from being a good parent is simply that I don’t want to be a parent at all.

That’s what this is really about. It’s not that I’m not “cut out” to be a mom, it’s that I don’t want to be a mom. There are a lot of things that I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be plumber or a garbage collector or an attendant at a home for the mentally handicapped or a prison guard or a stripper or a drug dealer or an elementary school teacher or a pig-farmer, or a lump in my parents’ basement. It’s not that I’m not “cut out” for any of that, it’s that I don’t want to be any of that. And it’s all for the same reason I don’t want to be a mom: I find it absolutely unappealing.

I look at the lives of moms and what I have is not some sense of awe coupled by a self-depreciating private confession of “I, a mere mortal, could never hope to measure up to these holy mother-goddesses! Oh, if only I could be more like her! I don’t know how she does it!” Far from it. What I see utterly repels me and I think to myself “Geez! That just looks awful! I sure am glad that will never be my life! I don’t know why she did this to herself!” Moms often say that they’re happy, and that might even be true for a few of them at least some of the time. But me? Noooooo, I sure wouldn’t be.

So when parents say of the childfree, “not everyone is cut out to be a parent,” what they’re really saying is that they’re insecure. They don’t want to believe that anyone would just not want to live their lives their way, that we could find it wholly unappealing and unpleasant. That feeling might just hit a little too close to home if seriously considered (regret, I suspect, is far more common among parents than most are willing to admit.) So this response is really all about ego. They don’t have to consider that we really don’t want kids if they can just dismiss us as some kind of inferior person not cut out for the task, and at the same time they can give their own egos a much-needed boost with a compliment to themselves. It’s kind of sad, really.

In any case, it’s certainly not acceptance or understanding or anything that I would welcome. It’s not that I’m not “cut out” to be a mom, it’s that I’ve chosen to enjoy my one and only life instead.

Childfree Voices September Question: When Does A Child Become An Adult?

monthlyquestion2What makes an adult and adult? Now that might seem like an easy question. Most of your minds go immediately to whatever the age of majority is in your local jurisdiction (say, 18,) or maybe legal age of consent. Maybe some of you will think of some arbitrary, culture-specific “coming of age” ritual. And maybe some of you will choose puberty or some other physical developmental milestone, the onset of which may vary wildly between individuals. And maybe you can think of some other criteria, such as lifestyle or disposition.

Your question is this: What is required for you to consider someone an adult, no longer a child?

And, just for fun, can with think of an adult “you must have all of the following” checklist?

 

Restaurant Nope

The other day, my since grade-school best friend’s aunt sent me a message on Facebook about a friend of hers who is apparently starting some kind of “ICE-CREAM-CAFE-BAKERY” that seems to target parents and hipsters downtown (kind-of) near where I live. The message included a “share” of what her friend apparently wrote about her soon-to-open establishment.

The ad… well, I just have to copy it.

What if I told you that I was gonna open a neighborhood ICE-CREAM-CAFE-BAKERY? A hip place for the blase-savvy, with good food and coffee, occasional ridiculous games, music, podcasts and broadcasts, with a children’s creativity zone…a real piece of the community? Eh?… Eh?!…Right along the beautiful Shook’s Run park and within walking distance from this lovely neighborhood? Walk down, ride down, see what’s happening or bring the whole fam? Sound pretty good?
Yah, sounds pretty good. Okay, so I’m gonna do that next weekend, August 16th & 17th.

(Name and address redacted)

Yep, you read right. as in “HOLY CONOLI!”

I know that this is so…banana-flapjacks but I think I know enough talented, funny, sparkly, wonderful folks (and cranksters) that we can make some magic, right here. Obviously, I’m asking your participation. If you live around here you gotta come down! If you don’t, you gotta spread the word!

To start with, I will only be open Saturdays and Sundays. Next weekend, opening wknd, is most crucial of all! If you want to get down on this as a musician or podcastor or whatever please msg me here or at (name redacted.)You know who you are!! RSVP!

(Name redacted) is also open Mon-Fri, 10-2 for lunch, serving awesome Runzas and Meat Pies.

Maybe I’m just not “with it,” but I can’t think of much reason a small ice-cream parlor/cafe/bakery/coffee shop needs podcasts or what she means by broadcasts if not podcasts. Also, I have no idea what the phrase “blasé-savvy” is supposed to mean since blasé is an adjective meaning unimpressed or indifferent to something, and savvy means shrewd, practical knowledge. For some reason, whenever I read this advert, I hear it as Juno’s voice in my head. Still, she seems excited and good on her for her enthusiasm. Not really sure that it’s a good idea to only be open two days a week, but what do I know?

Now, as much as I like supporting local small businesses, I can’t say that this place holds any interest to me. What’s really keeping me away more than anything else is that the whole thing seems to be marketed towards kids and people with them. That’s fine and all; that’s a large target demographic to cater to. It’s just that it isn’t a demographic that includes me. She really lost me at “children’s creativity zone.” To me, that just means barely supervised children children making noise and messes. Since it’s downtown, I doubt the shop is very large so it’s not like the kids are being corralled into some area where they won’t bother people.

So, yeah, not the place for me. I just wrote back, “Good luck to her,” because I wasn’t interested in explaining nor in making excuses.

See, I just don’t hang around places full of children. When I go out to eat, I want to actually enjoy my experience. I have food at home, you know. I pay money for service and atmosphere. And at atmosphere becomes significantly less enjoyable if it’s so packed with children and their noise that I may as well be eating in a school cafeteria or daycare center.

More than once my boyfriend and I have popped into a restaurant only to turn right around and leave after a quick peek into the dining area. Once, we were really looking forward to a meal at a certain steak restaurant nearby. Just as we were about to walk in the door, a person dressed as some animal mascot walked out. We’d never seen this at that restaurant before, so we just thought it odd and didn’t register it as the red flag that it, in hindsight, very clearly was. The first alarm went off when we opened the doors and immediately inside and kind-blocking the way, we found a face-painting table. Now, this restaurant wasn’t exactly fine-dinging, but it wasn’t a freaking Chuck-E-Cheese either, so we were quite surprise to us. We only noticed the noise second because the place wasn’t exactly the quietest on a normal evening, but all the little ones we then noticed in the dining area really put it over the top. We turned right around and left. We don’t begrudge the restaurant for having a children’s event, but we do wish they’d informed us of it when we made our reservation by phone earlier.

Just recently, my BF and I were craving stir-fry, and  had it in our heads that we’d grab a quick bite before heading to the theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy. We arrived just as the restaurant was opening, but still had to leave. As we entered one door, a parade of kindergarten-age children in identical shirts bounced cheerfully in from another. The restaurant part of a large shopping center, so we hadn’t realized that the school busses for some summer camp were in the parking lot for the same thing we were. Again, I don’t begrudge the children for their cheerfulness, and I do realize that they’re probably rather excited about going to a restaurant after doing whatever it is they do at camp, and I do realize that so many kids packed into the small restaurant would be noisy even if everyone was on their best behavior, and I realize that managing so many young children would be a daunting task for the few adults in charge and that they probably chose to eat at this time for this very reason. It’s precisely because I realize all of this that my BF and I simply turned and left. We don’t want to deal with any of it. We decided that theater food was worth the price after all.

So of course I declined the invitation to be a customer at this ice-cream coffee shop bakery kid-zone hipster-hangout broadcasting center on a “whatever” schedule. I wish the owner the best, but it doesn’t look like my thing. If anyone opens a kid-free restaurant nearby, however, I’ll be all about it. Apparently, the food only even has to be movie-theater quality.

 

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