Monthly Archives: March 2012
Wow, this post turned out to be a lot more popular than I expected! On the one hand, I’m pleased that something I did was well received. On the other, I’m irritated that posts I spend days researching for and writing get ignored.
Anyway, not everyone embraces each and every rule I’ve written here. To clarify, these are just my own rules. If you want to change diapers, fawn over babies, and treat public breast feeding as acceptable behavior even in inappropriate settings you go right ahead.
About Being Childfree
- First and foremost, I will never have children, not even one, not by any means, no matter what. That’s what it means to be childfree.
- I am happily childfree and I will not pretend otherwise just to make others feel more comfortable. I won’t necessarily offer up information out of the blue, but if the subject is brought openly and clearly state that I am never having children, no matter who I am speaking to. I will not be forced into silence about being childfree, as the childfree life is not merely a simple absence of children, but a completely different lifestyle from that of a parent. It is, therefore, a completely valid topic of discussion if I so choose
- I will not try to appease anybody by pretending that children are a possibility in the slightest. I won’t use phrases like, “maybe someday,” “I’m not ready yet,” or “if I change my mind.” I will not allow anyone to have any impression that I am in anyway unsure about having children, or that not having children was a difficult decision to make. I will not entertain thoughts that there is even the slimmest chance that I might one day change my mind. “You’ll change your mind,” or “you’ll regret not having kids” are bingos that have zero credibility with me.
- I have many reasons for choosing to be childfree, but I do not owe anybody a single one. That I simply do not want children is all the explanation anyone needs. I will especially not offer my career as an excuse for being childfree. Although my career goals are likely incompatible with children, even if I lived out my days as a slacker, I would still not want kids. I do not need to have a conflicting interest.
- I will not use “I’m sterile.” as a means of making people feel awkward and shut about me not having kids. I am sterile, and I’m quite happy about it. I don’t want something I’m so proud of to be seen as something negative.
- I will not use self-depreciating language to compliment parents to make them more comfortable with my choice. I won’t say things like “I’m not cut out to be a mom,” “I couldn’t handle it,” or “I’m too selfish.” None of those are even true, and I’m not one to be a kiss-ass anyway.
- I will not let anybody try to guilt me into thinking that I should have kids to satisfy another person. Anyone who wants kids can have them, just not through me.
- I will not act as if being childfree is something I should have to make up for by involving children in my life in other ways, or by making frequent public proclamations that I love children. I will never utter the phrase, “I love children, but…” I do not need to provide a child-friendly disclaimer before saying what’s on my mind. If anyone gets the wrong idea from my statements, that’s their problem.
- I will not pretend to find anything about parenting to be even remotely appealing to me as it simply isn’t. I’m not impressed by Kodak moments of barely intelligible “I love you”s, drooly kisses, or messy macaroni cards.
- I will not make any concessions for the sake of “building bridges.” I speak my mind honestly.Anyone who can’t take that is free to grow a thicker skin. I don’t give a damn about bridges (there’s an engineering joke in there somewhere.)
About My Personal Life
- I will never, under any circumstances, be in a romantic/sexual relationship with anyone who has or so much as even thinks that they may ever want kids. I will not start a relationship, however casual, with such a person, nor would I remain in such a relationship should one turn that way. We would simply be incompatible.
- I will not agree to babysit anyone who isn’t potty trained. I have never changed a diaper and I never will.
- I will not agree to babysit anyone who I’m not allowed to spank, if especially destructive behavior calls for it. I’m not playing that Super-Nanny game of dragging a child back to time out again and again for hours on hours when swift discipline can take care of the situation.
- I will not, in anything short of an emergency situation, allow people to dump their kids unannounced on me, either at my home, their home, or in public, with the expectation that I will watch them. Because I won’t. I will report unattended children to the appropriate authorities. For example, a man who has his children sit near to me in the waiting area of an airport and then proceeds to walk away can expect to have a conversation with security about the whereabouts of his children upon his return, while I enjoy myself in an airport lounge.
- I will not pretend that anything else that I do with my life is “channeling my maternal instincts / need to nurture.” It’s simply called having a life. People with and without kids alike usually have interests apart from kids. I pity anyone who doesn’t.
- I will not refer to a “biological clock.” Such a thing is an entirely fictional concept. There is the circadian rhythm, but that’s not typically what people mean when they use the term.
- I will not answer any questions as to whether or not I’ve ever had an abortion (although I may disclose such information on my own, if I so choose.) Just as no one is entitled to control my uterus, no one is entitled to ask about it.
- I will immediately have an abortion in the unlikely event of pregnancy. I will do so without hesitation, doubt, shame, or the consideration of anyone else’s opinion.
- I will not tolerate others telling me that I shouldn’t get whatever home I want with any number of rooms on the basis of my non-childed status. I have a right to live wherever I want and can afford, and I’d like a reasonably sized home with a decent sized yard some day. I will not tolerate anyone telling me that rooms used for purposes other than child’s bedroom aren’t still full and used. I like having office space, a craft room, a video game room, and a room filled with nothing but wolf collectibles.
- I will not tolerate people claiming that my dog is a subconscious substitute for a child. She’s a dog. I got a dog because a dog is what I wanted. I prefer dogs. I will not call myself my dog’s “mommy” or refer to her as a “fur-baby.” She’s a dog.
- I will not child-proof my home. My home is not dangerous. Just because I’m childfree does not mean that habitually I decorate my floor with razor blades, heroine needles, cyanide capsules, dildos, and cups of vodka mixed with anti-freeze.
- I will remove from my home any parents who do not watch their kids while visiting. Needless to say, the child will leave as well. Guests with children will be expected to supervise and control their kids at all times.
- I will hold parents responsible for any damage done to my belongings as a result of unsupervised children. It’s not like I keep expensive, fragile sculptures teetering on the edges of every surface, or leave crayons all over against my walls. Any serious damage done would not be an accident, and will not be chalked up to “kids being kids.” No, I will treat the situation as what it is: a serious failure to parent.
- I will not allow uninvited children into my home or onto my property. For instance, parents who unexpectedly show up with children to a party that I’ve arranged to be child-free will not be admitted in. Girl Scouts are the only exception to this rule, being allowed to stand on my porch while selling cookies (I’m a sucker for Girl Scout cookies, and I do like supporting the Girl Scout organization.)
- I will not allow anyone to breast feed on my property except in private in a closed room. I expect guests to be about as covered as I am at all times.
- I will not allow anyone to change a diaper in my home anywhere but in private in a closed room. They will do so on a towel (their own, brought from home,) and on a non-carpeted floor and not on a bed, table, or counter top.
- I will not allow soiled diapers to be disposed of in any receptacle on my property, indoors or outdoors. It must be disposed of outside immediately in a dumpster.
- I will not allow children of guests to be less than fully clothed while on my property. That diaper-only thing is unacceptable.
- I will not shut my dog in another room, or in her kennel just because children are visiting. My dog lives here. It’s her home. I will expect children to respect my dog, her space, and her things. I will remove children and their parents from my property if they fail to do so.
- I will swear in my own house if I damned well please, no matter how young any guests are. If you don’t like it, fuck you, it’s my house.
- I will not regard motherhood is the pinnacle of womanhood, or fatherhood for manhood, or parenthood for adulthood. Breeding is not required to be a complete, mature, adult human being. In fact, the two aren’t even related.
- I will not give parents special treatment just for being parents. Simply being a parent is neither a disability, nor an action worthy of a congressional medal of honor. Parents can wait in line like everybody else, do their jobs like everybody else, and work holidays fairly like everybody else. I will not respect parking spaces for pregnant women, or women with children. The only exception would be at hospitals/medical clinics, as those are the only places that I can think of where such a treatment makes any sense. As far as I’m aware, the reservation of such spaces in store parking lots isn’t legally enforceable anyway
- I will not ignore overpopulation or avoid speaking about it for the sake of the comfort of parents. Nor will I pretend that overpopulation is a local problem, the fault of other people (read: brown folks,) rather than a global one, the fault of everyone.
- I will not consider parenthood a job in any way, let alone the hardest or most important. It is none of those. Stay-at-home-mom/dad least of all.
- I will not pretend it’s OK for people who know they can’t afford kids to go ahead and have them anyway and then, through abuse of the system meant to help people with actual need, have their irresponsible and selfish actions subsidized by the taxes of their neighbors. If you can’t feed em, don’t breed em. It’s called personal responsibility. I’m a supporter of government aid for people who need it, but having a baby is not a need.
- I will challenge the notion that a family is defined by having children. I have a family of two adult humans and a dog.
- I will not pretend that a fetus is the same thing as a baby, no matter what the situation. It plainly isn’t.
- I will not refer to losing a pregnancy as losing a child. For one thing, it isn’t true. For another, I think it’s cruel to people who have actually had children who died to refer to a miscarriage as comparable in any way. Loss of a wanted pregnancy might be disappointing, but it is not the same thing.
- I will not refer to pregnant women who do not already have children as “mothers.” They aren’t yet.
- I will not pretend that all people who have produced children deserve the title of “parent.” The sad truth is, parents deserving of the title seem to be a minority among people who have kids. Other childfree folks commonly use the title “breeder” for those who do not qualify.
- While I might read an interesting blog that happens to be written by a mother, but I will not read any “mommy blogs.” The same goes for fathers and “daddy-blogs.”
- I will not refer to birth as a miracle. It isn’t. It’s a simple, well-understood biological process that occurs among our species with dangerous frequency.
- I will not pretend that pregnancy and birth are beautiful either aesthetically or as concepts. Aesthetically, everything about pregnancy and birth disgusts me. As a concepts, they horrify and disturbs me on many levels.
- I will not worship anyone’s bodily fluids. Breast milk is not “liquid gold” and amniotic fluid in not the “elixir of life.” Mothers, you aren’t earth goddesses or super heroines. You’re simply placental mammals doing what placental mammals do.
- I will not pretend it’s acceptable to breast feed everywhere. If you couldn’t expose yourself without a baby, it’s still not appropriate to do it with a baby. Having an audience does not affect nutritional value. Be discreet like a civilized human being. It is entirely possible and not unreasonable to expect. Breastfeeding is fine and usually healthy (although not always,) but come on, what’s acceptable on your living room couch is not the same as what’s acceptable at a restaurant table.
- I will not congratulate anyone on becoming pregnant or giving birth. There is nothing about doing either that warrants it. Not only are those occurrences not remotely difficult, being things that most people have to work just to avoid, but breeding is actively detrimental to the world as a whole and not a positive contribution warranting praise.
- I might congratulate responsible people on adopting, however. That’s actually a thoughtful and beneficial thing.
- I will not touch anyone’s bump. It’s just creepy.
- I will not pretend to be remotely interested in ultrasound photos. I don’t care about your blurry, Rorschach image clump. … Unless it’s like this.
- I will not ignore bad parenting. Bad parenting is bad parenting, and I will say so. I will call out unacceptable child behavior and call on parents to do something about it, regardless of where I am. And if the situation is particularly bad, I might not be polite and quiet about it either. If this villager has to get involved, it won’t be pretty.
- I will not accept the fact that I do not have children of my own as invalidation of my pointing out of bad parenting. Whether or not I have children of my own is of no baring on the lack of parenting on the part of parents. I will not accept such diversionary tactics.
- Ram me with your stroller on purpose, and I might just kick it over. If you don’t care about your precious cargo, why should I? Too much? Maybe you’d rather I simply call the police and charge you with assault, because I will.
- I will not walk in the grass or on the street if a stroller comes the opposite way on the sidewalk if there is enough room to pass. Moms do not own the walkway, so get out of the middle and move to the side.
- I will not accept baby shower registries. If I chose to give a gift, which I may not, it will be what I want to get. Anyone who gives me a list is guaranteed to not get jack shit from me.
- For a baby-shower, if I give anything, I will mostly give inexpensive items one needs in bulk. I’d give items like diapers, formula, and condoms. Unless I manage to find something second-hand for cheap, I will not buy necessities like cribs. It’s the parents responsibility to obtain such items well before any shower would likely take place. If they haven’t done it by then, they already fail as parents. I will not buy stupid luxury items for showers. If the parents really think Snookums needs an oversized play-pen, they can purchase it themselves.
- I will never actually attend a shower. I have better shit to do. If I send a gift, it will be mailed or delivered by a shower guest.
- I will not validate parents carrying on like their tired somehow is more tired than my tired. Fuck off, I work.
- I am not anyone’s servant just because they’ve bred. Any entitled parent/parent-to-be who tries to give me a list like this, can fuck right off.
- I’m not an open wallet to anyone just because they’ve bred. I might choose help people in need, which might include people with kids. But I don’t subsidize irresponsibility. No, having a baby you can not afford does not entitle you to to my paycheck (the part of it the government doesn’t already take to subsidize those same people anyway.) If you can’t afford to have a baby, don’t. save the public assistance for those who already exist and truly need the help. Don’t be selfish.
- I am not interested in “meeting” anyone’s baby (I’m sure as hell not going to travel hundreds of miles to do it, even if the baby is related.) It won’t care, or remember that I was ever even there. As for me, once you’ve seen one baby, you’ve pretty much seen them all. It’s not like I’ll find anyone especially remarkable.
- I will not be baby-stalked. Any child trying to get my attention on its own or any child being used by a parent to get attention will be ignored entirely. I’m good at this game.
- I will not pretend to like or be at all interested in every child I see. No one expects me to like and interact with every adult I come across. I will not act as if everyone is required to like every single person below a certain age. I neither like nor dislike kids in general, but I won’t pretend that disliking being around children is unacceptable as long as no harm is done.
- I will not let anyone talk to me about poop or any other gross, mundane baby thing. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? I do not want to hear about diaper blowouts. No normal person does.
- I will not give special treatment children just for being children. They’re not the center of the universe.
- I will not pretend that it’s acceptable to bring children everywhere and at every time. Yes, there as some places and situation where it’s inappropriate to bring children along. To the selfish bitch who brought an infant to an R-rated movie in a theater at 9pm, fuck you.
- I will not accept “kids will be kids” as a valid excuse for parents to fail to patent (verb.) Further, I will not pretend that child misbehavior is cute in any way. Failure to parent is not cute. While a misbehaving child is irritating, it’s ultimately the parent that is to blame.
- I will not pretend that excessive noise is any more acceptable from children than from adults. I will report noise violations, especially as I mostly work nights.
- Unless there’s some kind of emergency, no, I’m not interested in holding the baby. For all I know, you could shout “you touched it last!” and run off. I’m not interested in having my hair and earrings pulled, having drool-covered hands dragged against my face and neck, or being pissed on.
- If inept parents let their kids bother me, I will counter-troll. I will poke parents in the head and yank their hair while they’re trying to eat in a restaurant if they let their child stand on the booth and do the same to me. Oh, don’t like it huh? Neither do I. Maybe you should do something about it, like a real parent would? I am not free entertainment for your kid. I will recline fully if a child persists in kicking my seat on an airplane. And I’ll make sure to report it to the flight attendant who will, hopefully, have a word with the inept parents who allowed that to go on.
- No, I will not feel sympathy for the parents of the screaming child in public, especially if they aren’t doing anything about it. If you can’t get your kid to behave properly and not bother anyone, leave! Any inconvenience that comes with you choosing to have kids is your burden to bear, not mine.
“You’re too young to know what you want.” “You’ll change your mind someday.” “You’re just going through a phase.”
Those are all bignos childfree people often hear. We’re quite frequently told that we don’t know our own minds, but somehow the bingoer does. Such irritating dismissals are nothing short of insulting, as anyone who has dealt with them can attest.
It’s frequently pointed out that these bingos, while common to the ears of people with the courage to say, “I never want children,” are rarely if ever used on people who say “I do want kids some day.” Also not said to people who want kids: “You’ll regret having kids,” “what if your partner doesn’t want kids?” Indeed, I received similar but opposite comments when I was fighting for my tubal.
Never mind the unfairness of questioning the personal decisions of others (one particular group and not the other) for now though. My problem is the accusation that people who choose to be childfree haven’t thought their devision through carefully. Quite the contrary, I think choosing to be childfree necessarily requires much thought and honest introspection. When people live in a world where breeding is expected, it takes serious thought to realize that breeding even is a choice, rather than a mandate, and then choosing to opt out.
In contrast, it’s having children that often seems to involves little thought. I can’t count how many times I’ve encountered people with the attitude that kids “just happen” and put little thought to family planning. Then there are life-scripters who will declare that having kids “is just what you do,” and are shocked when faced with the fact that having kids is optional. Then consider that roughly half of all pregnancies are un-planned.
The picture paints itself. Sure, there are some responsible parents who think carefully over whether or not to have children, weighing the pros and cons honestly, and diligently do their research on relevant matters considering possible effects on their own lives and on the world at large. However, although I do not have the data to prove it, I doubt most people who have kids do the described. Most, it seems, put more thought into purchasing butter than they put into reproduction, and that’s a sad commentary in and of itself.
That’s what makes the accusation that I don’t know what I want all the more ignorant. I’m certain that I put way more thought into being childfree and getting a tubal than amount of thought that the average person puts into forcing a new person into this world, yet I’m the one questioned and dismissed out of hand.