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 against their will by some selfish broad who “oopsed” him intentionally 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.
  • 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 decisions, 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. 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 don’t do pity-dates.

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.

 

Down’s Syndrome And The Cruelty Of Birth

There IS such a thing as a wrong choice.

The problem with being famous is that if you ever say anything at all, no matter what you say, drama will ensue. Twitter just makes the problem worse. Recently, a small but fussy part of the internet threw a fit because Richard Dawkins committed the unforgivable sin of… well, saying something on Twitter.

And what awful thing did Professor Dawkins say? Um, pretty-much what prochoice advocates have always been saying, that knowing a fetus has a serious defect is a very good reason to abort (not that there has ever been a bad reason.) Specifically, he said that he said that he believes that if down’s syndrome is detected in a fetus, the best course of action would be to abort and just try again. But from all the nutters hooting and hollering on social media, you’d think he just said to go gun down everyone with a disability. He pointed out multiple times that women who realize that their fetus has down’s often do abort. Down’s syndrome certainly is one of many reasons to keep abortion care safe, legal, and accessible.

As far as I can tell, it all started with this:

DS

Oh, the horror.

First off, I agree with Dawkin’s statement. But as I’m not famous, and have no book deals or speaking engagements and such to worry about, I think it’s safe enough for me go on with my own thoughts on the matter. And I stress that the following are MY OWN thoughts, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Richard Dawkins.

I take the matter step further by saying that that it is actively cruel to carry a fetus to term while knowing that it would be born as a child afflicted by some serious disability or illness. In the case of hereditary disorders, I take it a step further by saying that even taking the risk of passing it on is unforgivably irresponsible. See, when a child is born with a disability that no one had any means of predicting, or was later afflicted with the condition somehow, that’s an accident. Of course the person must be taken care of, their condition managed, and every attempt should be made to help them make the most of their life. No one says that these people are a lost cause or should be exterminated (no one sane, anyway.) And it’s certainly possible for these people to be reasonably happy despite it all. And yet, how many people would vote with their feet and join them? If there was a pill that could give a person a condition identical to down’s syndrome, who would really take it? Yeah, you wouldn’t. Because you know it would dramatically harm your quality of life. So let’s all stop being “polite” and just acknowledge this fact. I believe that we can love and care for people with severe disabilities without creating more.

Now, with that in mind, can you imagine anyone considering it to be acceptable for a parent to beat a child with a brick until it becomes mentally handicapped, or purposefully injecting them with a disease in order to cause their disability? At that point, it’s clearly not an accident anymore. No matter how pro-choice anyone is, they know that term doesn’t mean “anything goes as long as it relates to parenting/not parenting.” The freedom to choose doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as a wrong choice. The way I see it, that is exactly what a mother is doing when she knows her fetus will result in a person with a disability or illness, or has the tests to find out available but chooses not to use them, and carries to term anyway despite the ability to abort. When this happens, it isn’t an accent anymore. It’s something that she has done knowingly, on purpose. In this case, she has actively CAUSED this disability. Then it’s not a tragedy of nature, but a cruelty committed by a person. The disability wasn’t bad luck, it was inflicted (or at least caused by negligence in the case of a person who declined tests.) A timely abortion could have prevented that suffering with minimal ill effect. No child need be forced to be born with a serious disability. The woman could abort and simply try again with nothing lost but a little money and some time. A healthy child could be born instead.

For some reason, this idea still outrages people. So think of it like this. When people do IVF, more embryos are created than are actually used. If it was possible to detect before implantation which embryos would have down’s syndrome (I actually don’t know if it is or isn’t possible already,) do you really think that anyone, be they the doctor or the patient, would choose to insert that embryo over other, healthier ones? Do you think anyone would knowingly use that embryo even if there were no healthy ones? Because I really freaking doubt it. An embryo that is not implanted will surely perish (even those that do implant have no guarantees either.) So really, it’s not much different from aborting a down’s fetus.

In full disclosure, I find no morality in reproducing under any circumstances. The world is overpopulated, the only thing that is ever guaranteed to anyone who lives is that they will one day suffer and die, and there’s really no need for creating new people anyway as there is a horrifying surplus of children in need of adoption but who are not being adopted. I am saying this now because anyone who reads my blog history will know that I already don’t think highly of bringing new people into the world anyway, and I want to make it clear that I consider what I’m talking about in this post to be a whole different level of awful. At least I can believe that, under “ideal” circumstances, the parents who bring new people into the world at least mean well, they at least believe that their child can have, at minimum, an average quality of life.

But when a mother knows that her fetus has down’s, then she can harbor no such optimism. Maybe she will deny it, but she knows that her child will have next to no real future, will never be able to fully participate in society, and will likely never even really be able to take care of itself. And that’s just the mental challenges. Downs also comes with a whole array of serious physical disabilities and illnesses as well, including massively increased risk for heart disease and certain cancers. Forcing such a child into existence, she can’t even think that she is in any way giving it much of anything. She does it for her own personal whims, her selfish ego. She KNOWS that child will suffer, will never have any hope of a normal life, but she doesn’t care. As much as she will say that she loves that child, the truth is that she has decided that she loves herself much, much more. In my personal opinion, I see little reason to think that such a person even deserves the title of “mother.”

I bet she’d never volunteer to get down’s syndrome herself.

 

Childfree Voices August Question: Assumed Free Babysitter?

If you’re here, reader, then it’s probably a good bet that you’ve wandered into a few other childfree sites. If you hang around long enough, you might see that, every once in a while, something rather odd happens.

I once read a story about a woman in an airport lounge of some kind, who was minding her own business when a strange man came along and plopped his kids down next to her, and then, a short time later, he just got up and left, leaving his children with the woman. He never asked her to watch the kids, and she never agreed to do so.

I read another story where a person was standing in line when another woman in line abruptly said “watch my kid!” and promptly ran off to some other part of the store before the person in the que could even say anything. Again, the person was never agreed to watch the kid.

Another story that I ran across involves a woman asking strangers in an amusement park to watch her kid while she got in line for a roller coaster.

And we all hear stories all of the time about people with kids just dropping the little ones off in stores while they wander off to do something else, just assuming that the people in the store would watch the kid, despite no one being asked or agreeing to do so.

Then there are the stories where people with kids literally just drop their kids off at the homes of friends, relatives, and neighbors without ever asking permission and even when having previously been told “no.”

So, readers, my question is this:

If someone just left their kids with you somewhere in public without you having agreed to watch them, what would you do? What if the kids were kids who you knew? What if they were dropped off at your home?

Leave your answers in the comments section.

New Childfree Subreddit

Sorry I’ve been silent for a bit, everyone. I’ve been too pissed about the Hobby Lobby ruling to write much. Today, I just have a short announcement.

Recently, /r/childfree went private. It later became public again, but the fact that they went private for a while at all was cause for some concern. /r/childfree is a very active childfree sub with many great members, but it has a bit of a problem – it worries about what outsiders think. Banhammers are swung freely without warning, and they often hit childfree members and I’ve seen many interesting posters suddenly fall silent as a result. It has created at atmosphere where the very people who the sub was supposedly created for feel closeted. I, as /u/childfreevoices, rarely even post. When childfree sites were mentioned in media articles about a man who seems to have purposely murdered his child via a hot car, /r/childfree went private, closed to may of its own members.

This isn’t an attack on /r/childfree so much as it is a critique of its major flaw. Theyre afraid of what the rest of the world thinks. As often as they’re attacked by trolls, it’s hard to blame them. Still, I long for options.

There is another childfree sub that I know of, called /r/truechildfree. The title is ironic, since it seems to have actually been set up by parents who, evidently, didn’t think /r/childfree should be more draconian. Hardly anything ever seems to get posted there.

So I’ve created a sub on the other end of the spectrum. It’s /r/childfreevoices. It’s not a sub about this blog, but another childfree sub, one that endeavors to facilitate open and free discussion, valuing childfree opinions over outside opinions, and won’t shut down just because of some unfavorable news mentions.

It was just created today, so there has been little activity. I’m hoping it will grow, in time.

Currently, I’m looking for moderators for that sub. If you’re interested, contact me on Reddit.

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