Update: Dr. Berger has assured me that he has nothing to do with the spam bots.
I recently checked my blog’s automatic spam filter. It seems a number of not spam comments were falsely flagged as such. They are now up. I apologize for the delay to those comment authors. But as I was checking my spam notices, I discovered something weird. I have a disproportionate amount of spam related to infertility, including IVF and tubal reversals, the latter of which specifically advertising one, Dr. Berger. Yeah, kind of barking up the entirely wrong bush on a childfree blog. What’s weird is a lot of these spam comments are on posts completely unrelated to my tubal ligation, or fertility, or childfreedom, or children. Weird! This was on my Sticky: WARNING! OPINIONS AHEAD! post. It contained no pictures and no mention of children. And yet:
Hi Julie,I found your blog via Wendy’s class. I’ll be in it also.Love your photos. Such an aalodbre little boy you have. You have so much good info on here. I’ll come back frequently to check it all out.-Carol
I’m not currently in any classes and I don’t know any Wendys. I’m no photographer, most of the pics on this site are from my phone or just taken from random sites. I certainly don’t have any children, let alone any boys. Imagi-Gary is not real. I can’t think of who she might be talking about, or what photo. WTF?! It gets weirder. This was on My Childfree Rules Re-Write: About Being Childfree. Anyone who read that would have no doubt about my childfree status, and yet this was posted, apparently to me (and not to anyone else.)
Congratulations on your beautiful bludne of joy and the relief of problems from your tubal ligation. I too have have so many problems of the same nature since my TL 13 yrs ago. I received my TR surgery on my birthday 4/28/2009 and turned 41. I did it due to having the same problems and to also be able to conceive again if possible. I am kind of skeptical due to my age, but I am very healthy otherwise. My husband was concerned due to my problems and is hoping I will be better than before. He is more excited now than he was before my TR surgery to be able to conceive. He is so anxious he can’t hardly wait for me to heal to try and conceive. We both have children from a previous marriage but none together. We believe it will be wonderful to have a child together and raise it together. Thank you for your encouragement.Annmarie M.Tennessee -Gina
My only “bundle of joy” would be my adorable dog, Molly. And I have had NO problems with my tubal ligation as “post tubal ligation syndrome” is likely not even real. I’m sure as hell not encouraging anyone to pollute this already horrendously overpopulated world with more children, especially when they already have some, and especially when their advanced age is likely to result in children with health problems, because such actions are selfish and stupid. On the note of not giving a crap about any Infertile-Myrtle’s non-problems of infertility, I got these two nonsense spam messages. Both of these were on Sterilized On World Population Day, which, as you might guess, was about how I finally triumphed in obtaining permanent sterilization, and just happened to do so on a day that serves to remind us of our growing overpopulation crisis.
I am so glad to see this post. I’m 45 yrs old and had my tubes tied (cauterized) 11 yrs ago after my third child was born. Same as Penni, the fertility cilnic I went to would not perform the reversal because of my age. IVF is apparently my only solution. I’ve gone through all the hormone test (FSH, sonohystogram, etc.) and I was told that there’s follicles we can work with.I have finally decided to go ahead with my original plan to have my tubes reversed. My current partner doesn’t have any children while I had 3 with my first marriage. I would really love to have another child and I hope that someday, I can have another one. I am planning my reversal for September of this year. -Austin
Weirdly, this comment was in response to Beth, who wrote:
Just wanted to say a very sincere thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences pre- and post-TL; honestly, several of your posts have been the most helpful things I’ve read so far. I’ve got a TL scheduled in a couple of days, and was doing a bunch of web surfing to try to make sure I have a thorough understanding of what it will be like and what (if anything) I need to worry about for afterward. I found it refreshing to read something that’s not borderline hysterical. -Beth
Yeah, I don’t think Beth and Austin are on the same page here. Here’s another comment on the same post, evidently posted to me.
What an inspiration to read your story. I will be 46 in Sept. Had my fsh tsteed and it came back 2.9! Thats when I really beleived maybe my eggs werent to old yet -like all the other websites statistics and Dr. tell us they are at our age! Like many of you I already have 4 wonderful boys 26-11 yrs old and my fiance has none. I am torn between invtro and TR. I also want to experience getting pregnant the natural way not through invitro. Thanks for posting your story of encouragement for all of us. Many blessings and prayers to all!! -Auth
Not only is this, again, a story bout a happily childfree person joyfully obtaining a tubal ligation, and doing so on World Population Day, but his is also the blog of a borderline anti-natalist and outspoken atheist. Ok, now I start getting ads for Dr. Berger tubal reversal. Oddly, they don’t even seem to be on the post where I dismiss “post tubal ligation syndrome,” as little more than a medical myth, according to current medical research. This was on Sterilized On World Population Day.
I just finished the first and prlobaby last IVF treatment that resulted in 45 shots over 10 days, surgical retrieval of eggs, only 2 fair to poor embryos that were transplanted, and a negative pregnancy test. I was told because of my age 45 that IVF was my only true hope of having another baby (I have 3 children already and my husband has 1 from a prior marriage). My husband is 12 years younger than me and we both want children together. After getting a phone call today from my doctor on the heels of the bad news, she doesn’t think I should try again because of my age. While devastated at this news, I am taking heart and hope from the testimonies on this page that all will be well for us. We will get pregnant the old fashioned way after a little help from Dr. Berger and his team. It certainly should be a heck of a lot more fun than what I just went through. -Miranda
IVF, it’s selfish, stupid, narcissistic, wasteful, and disgusting. I hope it fails every time. Stop breeding more people into this overpopulated world and adopt if you really must have kids. And stop wasting medical resources so your narcissistic asses can have your genetic replicants. This was posted to me on the post, Kids and Soldiers, which is about soldiers in my company, including myself, volunteering to help out in child-related activities. The comment below has nothing at all to do with the content of the post.
I just want to thank Dr. Berger and staff for helping my couisn Pamela and her husband to having a baby. She tried for the longest time after she had the surgery to have a baby and had 2 miscarrages(sp) and then she got pregnant with Baby Jesus (aka Porky as we call him) he is the sweetest lil baby. Pamela and Jesus are the loving parents of this beautiful baby boy. I speak for the whole family when i say THANK YOU for helping them get pregnant and having this miracle baby. We are greatful for what you done for this family. To all the women that want to have babies beileve in Dr. Berger and his staff at Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center they will help you in anyway possible to make a miracle come true for you!!THANK YOU GUY!!!! -Sachin
This next one was posted on A Kid Visited My Home. Nothing Broke. I’m Not Surprised, which is a diary post, which is mostly about how I actually don’t hate kids, and how the stupid advice given in various child-proofing articles is completely unnecessary when parents actually parent. So, again, the comment has nothing to do with the post.
Dr. Berger, I am a 28 years old woman hoping for anohter chance to have anohter baby. I have two boys and they are 14 and 11 years old. I had my tubes tied when my youngest was 5 years old Now I am with someone that doesn’t have any kids he loves my kids and is very good to them, but I would like for us to have our own .he is a good guy and at the beginning I was afraid to tell him about my tubes tied, but god helped me and I told him ..he was sad but then we found your website and we are very excited about meeting you and hoping you could help us !!!
I am not Dr. Berger. If it were up to me, none of these idiots would get reversals. If they can’t be bothered to think through decisions like permanent sterilization, then they aren’t responsible enough to be trusted with children anyway. Think through your actions, bitches! Worst of all, these thoughtless idiots make obtaining sterilization harder to obtain for people who actually are responsible enough to think their actions through very carefully. So thanks a fucking lot, assholes. As for infertility, get the fuck over it. It is not a tragedy, or anything anyone “suffers” from. No one needs children, especially not in an overpopulated world. If infertility is someone’s biggest complaint, I’d like to congratulate them on having no real problems in life. If you really want kids, adopt.
Remember waaay back when I wrote a post about how people who are just desperate to be offended will go out of their way to find things to be offended about, no matter how far they have to stretch the truth of what has actually been said? Of course you do. That was written quite some time ago in a train-of thought sort of way, covering a few related topics. But for the most part the conclusion is, “haters gonna hate.” Now hold that thought.
Do you also remember waaayback when I wrote a rant about two insane articles about childproofing for the childless, one of which being insulting and the other being a thinly-veiled advertisement for expensive and unnecessary child-related products for people who don’t even have kids? Well, someone, Andy Semler, found offense with it. Apparently, not going crazy about childproofing my perfectly safe home, not punishing my well-behaved dog just because I’m having visitors over, and not spending $200+ dollars on baby things to keep in my home when I DON’T EVEN HAVE KIDS makes me and anti-child, anti-feminist, ablest, classist bigot. Oh, and I’m probably a racist too, apparently.
I swear, I don’t even know how to respond to shit like this. Andy’s post is fail from start to finish. How can I even begin to argue against complete, hysterical nonsense? I suppose it wouldn’t matter as any response, if read, would only be met with yet more nonsense from someone determined to be offended and unconcerned about petty things like reason or truth. I suppose I probably shouldn’t answer at all, as that only gives attention to an individual who is clearly out for just that. This blog in particular is no stranger to such people, as any long-time readers will recall.
Oh, well. Here we go anyway, if only for the lulz. As Andy frequently quotes me, and I will be quoting Andy, things might get confusing. To make things easier, quotes of me will be in blue, and Andy’s quotes will be red.
And with that sensationalist bit of dishonesty, this pile is not off to a great start in the integrity department. It is neither “forgetting that children are people,” nor is it discriminatory to not go to absurd lengths to child-proof my home, especially as I don’t have any children. The troll, when addressing my original post about childproofing for the childless, quotes me in parts, and in intentionally misleading ways – but we’ll get to that later. The interesting thing is that in the post, Andy links to another, mostly unrelated post of mine, which actually hilariously proves Andy wrong on a number of accusations.)
And important thing to keep in mind: As stated earlier, the post Andy was attacking was about countering notions that a childfree person’s home is some kind of pigsty and that childfree people should shell out hundreds of dollars on kid junk just because someone with a baby might drop by some day. Oh, yeah, I must be the wicked witch of the west.
If you’re like me, you always see red flags whenever someone says things like “I don’t hate blacks, I just hate loud angry blacks” or “I like women, just not the crazy ones” or “some of my best friends are gay, but I don’t think gays should act all effeminate”. Yeah, kinda gross.
Fist off, Andy goes ahead and makes up an excuse for me (how thoughtful!,) and one that I’ve never actually offered. This is called a straw-man fallacy. The author is desperate to frame me as some kind of bigot who argues that I’m not a bigot based on my relationship to members of X group, in this case, children. I guess, being childree, I HAVE to be anti-child, otherwise the Andy’s might have to reconsider some of Andy’s pre-conceived notions about what a childfree person is and aught to be. Basically, Andy is making shit up. And I’ve seen this kind of behavior before. It seems that Andy needs drama, needs to feel like a martyr and crusader, so I have to be the big-bad-wolf, despite my actual words and behavior. Aren’t there enough real problems in the world that people shouldn’t have to make up new ones?
Note: This really doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but by now, readers will have noticed that I’m trying to avoid gender pronouns. Andy identifies as genderqueer, and while that’s nice and all, it doesn’t exactly lend itself well to the English language we’re all taught. Andy writes that pronoun preferences are Ze/hir, but I’m not sure how to use those or which, if not both, would apply. I’ve been attacked before for trying to use the wrong pronouns while trying to speak of a transgendered person in a gender-neutral way, and that wasn’t much fun. So I’m just avoiding the whole thing.
But if it’s kids, then magically we can judge away without reprisal, amirite! And since kids, depending on their development level, often need caretakers with them at all times, the judgement extends to those caretakers too.
I’m accused of being ageist, and yet Andy even acknowledges that kids are different at different developmental levels. Simply put, a child is not the same as an adult and it’s silly and counter-productive to pretend otherwise. How is it ageist to acknowledge this fact? Would you let four-year-olds drive? Let 8-year-olds vote? Put 10-year-olds to work in factories? Leave 2-year-olds alone at home?Yeah, unlike blacks and whites, one comparison the insane author makes, kids and adults actually ARE different from adults in more ways than the superficial. And it’s not ageist to acknowledged this fact. It’s damned irresponsible not to.
Incidentally, if children and adults really should be treated exactly the same, and we could realistically expect the same behavior, why would anyone ever want to childproof at all?
As for judgement, I judge everybody based on their words and behavior, regardless of age. Despite Andy’s title and opening premise, I’ve never said anything along the lines of “I like children, but-” In fact, I refuse to preface my statements in any such apologetic way.
14. I will not write the disclaimer, “I love children, but..” before expressing an opinion that sits in contrast to the natalism-worshipping sentiments people are used to encountering.
As it is, I don’t hate children, nor do I love them, in general. (I neither love nor hate adults in general.) Regardless, such a thing would likely be irrelevant to whatever statement follows anyway. Honestly, if someone is set on painting me as a childfree, child-hater, then it won’t matter much what I actually say or write anyway. That’s their problem, not mine. I really don’t give a fuck.
In fact, the closest thing I say to Andy’s premise is in a blog post about having a lovely child over, who DIDN’T get eaten by my home, DIDN’T break anything, and was taught by his parents how to behave and those parents could actually be bothered to ensure that he did behave. That is to say, that tangentially-related post that Andy links to and is utterly refuted by.
“Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually hate kids. I just don’t like non-parenting parents and the bratty behavior that results.”
No, seriously, what kind of idiot does someone have to be to think that is an ageist remark? Someone who is completely inept as a parent, I suppose, who can’t be bothered to actually raise their kids right and doesn’t appreciate being called out on it. Oh, did I strike a nerve?
Again, Andy needs an enemy. So if I directly contradict a stereotype, Andy is quick to push me right back into that neat little box. Some people are more comfortable believing that childfree people are just nasty, rather than re-evaluating their own prejudices.
[Huge trigger warning for ageism for the rest of this post].
OK, never-mind that there was actually no ageism on my part, but that is not how one uses a trigger warning. Andy is just trying to be dramatic.
The author starts out by saying that she shouldn’t have to reconfigure her home to make it accessible to young children. True. If she’s not ever going to invite anyone over, she shouldn’t have to. Also there is a cost element to these things. My house cannot be accessed except by going up steps in the front, and even coming in from the back isn’t a smooth ride. I cannot afford to fix that, though I could put a plank over the back door to create a makeshift ramp if necessary for a person in a wheelchair. I see that as a regretable reality and I apologize to anyone who is discriminated against as a result.
I actually never said anywhere that my home couldn’t be accessible to children. In fact, it must be as I just had a child visit me not that long ago, and he didn’t seem to have any trouble getting in. Not only that, but my home never once tried to eat him. Yes, amazingly, he managed to survive my home, despite me not spending hundreds of dollars on child-related merchandise. And I know Andy must be aware of that because Andy links to the very post where I talk about it.
Amazing, right? Not really. Apart from not having child-proof locks on every door and window (and why would I?) I don’t think that my home is any less child-proof than the home this particular child came from. Come to think of it, the home I grew up in didn’t have tons of expensive child-proof crap, and yet three children managed to survive it just fine.
What I’m not doing is making my home into one giant, spill-proof padded room. My home is NOT dangerous, as this tykes survival proves. And with minimal effort from his folks, he behaved wonderfully. Amazing what actual parenting can accomplish! This is what actual parenting looks like people. I know this must seem fantastic, given how few people these days actually deserve the title of parent, rather than simply “person with kids,” or “breeder” as some of my childfree peers would say.
Honestly, if I couldn’t trust a kid to behave in my home, and the parents to ensure that the kid actually did behave, I wouldn’t bother inviting the kid at all. The only child-proofing that my home, and indeed most homes ever need is simply attentive and involved parents.
But then she goes off on this ableist ageist tangent for pretty much the rest of her post:
My home is not dangerous. If things like the contents of my cupboards, the things on my shelves, or my electrical outlets are any threat at all to a child (or vice versa) that means that the parent has failed, not me.
I’m not going to argue that a noncaretaker is obligated to become a caretaker as a general rule, though I do question the humanist values of someone who is okay with allowing a person under their roof to come to harm. But to say flat-out “my home is not dangerous”, that is flaunting her privilege straight-out. Her home is not dangerous to her. To someone with different abilities, it can be a difference of life and death. Check your damn privilege, or don’t accept anyone into your home. That simple.
To claim that it’s ablest or privileged to say that my home is not dangerous is beyond absurd. My home isn’t dangerous to me or to children in general, so long as those children are appropriately supervised by their parents. Consider that I live in a townhome surrounded by identical units, many of which contain children. None of them have been eaten. Consider also that if my home was dangerous, my landlord would have to fix it. Indeed, these units have to pass inspections before they can be deemed suitable for habitation. So if you want to argue that my home is, indeed, dangerous, perhaps you’d like to have a discussion with the inspectors about building codes?
So now I’m going to challenge Andy. Andy, despite never seeing my home and having no idea about how it’s constructed, you seem certain that my home is dangerous, even going to the extreme of engaging in “life and death” hyperbole. Either tell me now exactly how my home is dangerous, and in ways that could kill someone, based on what you already know (nothing) or retract your statement that I am privileged for saying that my home is not dangerous. Good fucking luck.
Yeah, anyway. If a child manages to get hurt in my home, consider that the person who was supposed to be watching the kid is responsible for that. I expect parents that I have over to know their kids well enough to be able to form reasonable expectations of their child’s behavior and to know what level of supervision is necessary. Again, my home is not dangerous. I don’t keep broken glass embedded in my carpets, nor do I have an alligator pit surrounding my yard, or sippy cups filled with poison, or heroine needles in my couch cushions. My home is NOT dangerous. Not to me. Not to children. And that was exactly the point that I was making in my post, especially the first portion of my childproofing post that was addressing a rather insulting article that basically insinuated that people without children are total slobs, not to mention drug addicts and sexually indiscreet.
And I am talking about children here, not people with physical disabilities like being confined to wheelchairs. Yeah, those aren’t even close to the same thing and it’s beyond shameful that Andy even can even try to make such a comparison and expect to be taken seriously. I suppose that if I did know anyone confined to a wheelchair, if they came to my home, for whatever reason, they’d have to sick to my ground floor, or just not come over. I’m not about to renovate my home to make all of my halls wider or install ramps and machines to help people with stairs. It’s expensive, for one thing, plus there’s no need for that as it’s MY home and no one in a wheelchair lives here. As my home is a private residence, rather than public property or a business, it is not at all discriminatory to leave it as it is – I’m the one who lives here, no one else has any need or intrinsic right to be here.
But physical ability is not the same as voluntary behavior, which is the problem with inviting children who are either not taught by their parents how to behave, or have weak parents who won’t enforce appropriate behavior. Being a kid, especially a poorly-behaved one, or else one who just doesn’t know better, is NOT a disability. It’s ridiculous to pretend that it is. Take that from a veteran who happens to have an actual disability.
Oh, and as for the advice about locking my animal in another room, FUCK OFF! My dog lives here. This is her home. The kid’s the guest. If anything, I’d be more inclined to shut the kid down in a separated room.
I’m going to skip over the part where this woman is inviting a child into her home to be treated as lesser than even a dog. There are genuine reasons why dogs need to be kept away from certain people, and kids are people (yeah, I guess I gotta keep reminding her of this). Some people have severe physical reactions to certain animals. Some people have debilitating phobias or PTSD regarding certain animals. Those things require accommodation, and if you can’t accommodate, let people know before inviting them into your home, rather than flaunting your ableist privileges.
So, apparently guests are more important than those who actually live at a residence. Consider, why would I invite someone over who, for whatever reason, couldn’t be comfortable around dogs? Why would the parents of such a child bring them to the residence of someone who has a dog (can people really not turn down invitations if they foresee there being an issue?) It’s not like the fact that I have a dog is a secret to anyone who I know well enough to have over.
My dog happens to be very well behaved. In fact, I’d like to train her to be a therapy dog some day. So any problem between my dog and a child would likely be due to the child handling my dog improperly (and I do expect parents to either teach their kids how to treat animals with respect, or else keep said kids away from said animals.) There is never any excuse for animal cruelty, regardless of age. So if there was ever any problem between my dog and a child, I’d put the child away somewhere, not my dog. My dog lives here. What, you’re not speciesist, are you, Andy?
Here’s a real-world example. I had a child over recently who got along with my dog famously. However, he was briefly seperated from my dog by one of his own folks, because he threw my dog’s Frisbee down a basement fire escape in an attempt to trap my dog. My dog wasn’t brought inside for the child’s behavior, the child was. By his own care-giver! And without even a word or look from me. Truth be told, I didn’t even notice that anything had happened until the child had been sent in, and one of the care-givers had already retrieved the Frisbee. This is what responsible parenting looks like, people!
Later, the child was again separated from my dog, but this time it wasn’t due to anyone’s behavior. When it was time for the boy to go to bed, I shut the door of the room where he was staying so that my dog could not get in and disturb him while he was sleeping. I shut the child (as well as my other guests,) in the guest room. This was an act of courtesy. What I did not do, however, was shut my dog into any room. She still had free reign of her own home, minus that one room. She still needed to have access to her food, water, and bed, after all, which aren’t all in the same room.
Andy quotes me again, but only in part.
The article, when making these demands, explains that most women don’t have the luxury of a nanny and lacking these things at your home, these poor mothers would have to scurry back to their own homes to tend to the baby. Um, I’m pretty sure a babysitter would cost a lot less than $200!
Oh look at that, classism too! If you don’t have money, you gotta stay trapped in your house or among your own caste other parents. Couldn’t be that a certain humanist would be happy to make the world a better place for everyone to coexist. Nope!
What, am I classist for being able to do basic math and figure that the average babysitter would probably charge less than $200 for whatever length of time would be appropriate for a visit? And even if the cost of the times was less than a babysitter (and it certainly isn’t) how is any of this my responsibility and not the parent’s? Or am I classist for not spending my own money on a whole bunch of expensive baby crap that is completely useless to me, because hypothetical visitors are just that entitled to my money if they happen to have kids? No, really, the logic of how not spending hundreds of dollars for a crib, high chair, and other baby-junk for a home that usually contains no babies is somehow classist is never explained, especially since, if these items are so important, a parent could buy them themselves and, as they’re portable, simply bring them over.
Oh, and I guess now is a good time to mention how much I just love how the author doesn’t bother to provide context for the quotes. See, where she quotes me above, she doesn’t even include any mention of just what demands I was talking about: a childproofing tips for the childless article, basically being a transparent attempt to market expensive baby products to people who don’t have kids. In this case, the list of demands totaled over $200 in price. Um, that’s quite an omission.
An honest writer would have included the following quote from that post for context, but I’m not dealing with an honest writer here, am I?
While the first article was all about childproofing on short notice, the second one is about childproofing way in advance, just in case. And by “childproofing,” it means buying tons of expensive kindercrap, despite the fact that I have no kids, only some of which actually has anything to do with childproofing at all. The following is the list of demands:
- The North State Superyard XT Portable Playard – $49.50, or Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard -$91.54
- Chicco Caddy’s Hook On High Chair – $37.99, or Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair- $59.99
- Safety First Infant-to-Toddler Tub – $11.99
- Just Kidz Yellow Duckie -$6.40 (a child-proofing must? Really?)
- ProGrade Dual Action Outlet Protector – $3.99
- KidCo Auto Close Center Gateway – $84.95
- Corner cushions – $10.49
(And by the way, how did generations of children before us ever survive without all of this?)
And this isn’t even the only place in the article where the author deliberately leaves out important information relevant to the portion of my writing that she quotes and argues against. What we have here is a complete failure of integrity that could well make Fox News blush.
Another aspect which I wish I could had the time to dig into is the anti-feminism of being anti-child. Suffice it for now to say that in a society where women are disproportionately expected to bear the majority of the labor costs involved in caring for children, it is anti-woman to be anti-child, and any accommodations not given to children are also denied women.
So now I’m anti-feminist because I’m supposedly anti-child. Well, false premise, false conclusion. For one thing, I’m not, as a matter of fact, anti-child. The author made that up for drama. Or is it anti-child to expect parents to actually parent (verb) their children?
Secondly, I don’t think that even being anti-child is anti-feminist anyway, unless one would like to infantilize women. Yeah, women and children are not the same thing. Curiously Andy’s rationale for the link is pretty sexist. Um, yeah, it’s pretty anti-feminist to expect child-care to be primarily the responsibility of the mother.
Andy quotes me again:
If the kid is young enough that that it’s a real danger to my home or vice versa, it’s staying in it’s carrier or the parent’s lap for the visit, or will be otherwise secured. It will not be granted free access to roam my house, and certainly won’t be left unattended by the parent for a minute.
So a kid must be restrained at all times but a dog can roam free. Um, how are you calling yourself a humanist again? I’m not saying that anyone who isn’t a caretaker must assume the responsibilities of a caretaker. But if you’re inviting someone into your home and expecting them to spend their entire time without dropping their guard even for a second, don’t invite them into your home. That simple. A parent would rather hear the honest “my home would be a horrible place for your kid” than the “oh sure, come over” with all this hidden baggage attached.
Of course my dog can roam free in her own home. She lives here. She is not a danger to my home and my home is not a danger to her. As it is, my home isn’t dangerous for kids either. If, say, a child is so young as to not be trusted around stairs, then it’s the parent’s responsibility to keep that kid away from the steps. It’s not that hard! This isn’t ”hidden baggage,” this is just expecting a parent to be responsible. This isn’t any different from a parent’s responsibilities with their kids anywhere else in the world. Parent mode does not get switched off just because they’re inside my doors. (I would hope that the same would be true within that parent’s own home as well.) My home is not a day-care. If keeping kids safe and out of trouble, in my perfectly safe home, means being constantly “on guard” then that parent must be doing something seriously wrong somewhere or just shouldn’t bother to visit at all.
Why does this generation of parents, seemingly more than any generation before, have so much more trouble with the concept that it’s the parent’s own responsibility to control their kids and raise their kids properly? When did it become completely unreasonable to expect parents to actually act like parents?
I’ll ignore that they assume that children are even welcome in the home at all (some people don’t allow kids in general, kids under a certain age, or specific kids for various reasons,) as that’s the scenario being addressed. I’ll even ignore that it expects the host to care about childproofing at all. What these articles fail to do is address the responsibilities of the parents. All of this childproofing is completely unnecessary if the parent guest just acts like a responsible parent. If I went to the home of a non-dog-owner, I wouldn’t expect the place to be dog-proofed, stock dogfood and dishes, and I sure as hell wouldn’t expect the host to allow me to just let my dog wander free in their house without me still taking responsibility for watching it. No. Fucking. Way.
Nobody must allow people into their homes, and not everyone can accommodate every need. But if you’re having people over (again, children are people), you need to understand that people will be in your home. I don’t have dogs over. There’d have to be an extenuating circumstance for why I would. The reason? I have no clue how to accommodate for dogs, and I’m sure I wouldn’t do it right, so I simply am honest and don’t have them over. Even the most responsible dog owner can’t perfectly control a unique and independent organism, and it’s 10-fold with parents and children.
Actually, I can control my dog, being a responsible person and all. And I have brought my dog to visit the homes of people who do not also have dogs (I was actually on my way somewhere else and just stopped for a short visit to drop off some gifts which were, yes, for a child,) and everything went quite well. In fact, we were invited back over, dog and all.
See, the thing is, responsible dog-owners and parents alike actually DO have the ability to control their respective tag-alongs. It just takes a little thing I like to call “competency,” which seems to be something that many people in this generation lack.
Don’t bring your kid unless you know that they’re welcome. If you have to, arrange for a sitter. If you’re not willing to cut the umbilical chord for a few hours, politely decline the invitation. Consider having the meeting at your own home.
It’s “cord”, not “chord”, though an umbilical chord would probably sound really interesting!
Oh, she got me. I used the wrong homophone. Well, I can’t argue against this new evidence. Clearly, my type error proves that I must surely be the most despicable kind of villain, and I probably eat babies in stews.
Incidentally, I wonder how the Andy’s article would fare under the red pen treatment.
And I agree that people who visit other people should make them aware of who all is visiting and it helps to announce any particular special needs. But people who are having guests should also ask if there are any special needs as well, as a matter of common courtesy. You know, giving a fuck.
Being a child is not a special need. Parents can, and if they’re good parents, will, teach kids to behave, and watch those kids to make sure that they do. That’s the parent’s responsibility. The only “special need” children in general can be said to have is the need for their parents to be responsible. The only children with special needs are actual special needs children. No excuses.
The next few bits are some highly condescending ”omg, did you know that you have a kid and your kid has needs?” bullshit, so I’ll skip past them as well.
I really can’t contain my amusement that the author references “… a few bits [that] are highly condescending…” then proceeds to put in quotes a remark I never actually made, as if I said it in my original post. Integrity fail!
I might know what the author is trying to say, but simply couldn’t write it in a way that made sense. Simply, Andy is dismissing what I wrote as stating the obvious – that parents should watch their own kids. It’s amazing that Andy can here dismiss this as obvious, but in the rest of the post, declares me a bigot for just such a statement. Andy, is parenting the parent’s responsibility or not?
But for this next paragraph. It’s astoundingly bigoted. How can I tell it’s bigoted? Because if you replace “child” with any other human demographic that is not in that human’s ability to control, you’d be disgusted as well. For example: Manners will be expected. Do try to keep your black under control and quiet, or, if you can’t, consider taking them home.
How do you know someone is bigoted? If you can replace a word in a statement they made with another word and still make a grammatically-correct sentence that actually is bigoted, that’s how! I wonder how this line of logic fares I practice.
- Registered sex offenders shouldn’t be allowed to live close to schools and playgrounds.
- Jews shouldn’t be allowed to live close to schools and playgrounds.
See? Using Andy’s own “logic,” I’ve just proven that, unless Andy is OK with having pedophiles and rapists living close to schools and playgrounds, then Andy must be a bigot. Right, Andy?
Yeah, no. Just because one statement is bigoted does NOT mean that the other is. No rational adult considers these linguistic acrobatics to be a valid form of argument. But it seems that not everybody actually is a rational adult – Ahem!
It is nonsense to pretend that expecting a parent to mind their child’s behavior is like instructing someone to mind their black (as if black people were legally the responsibility of, presumably, white people by virtue of being black, or black people, like children, cannot realistically be expected to behave properly.) If you can manage to be offended by being expected to actually ACT LIKE A PARENT TO YOUR CHILDREN, then you have absolutely no business having children as you clearly aren’t fit for that responsibility.
Of course, if I notice a member of my group I’ve brought with me is starting to cause problems, I would take them home. And if someone in my house was acting like a douchebag, I’d call it a night and ask everyone to leave. But that’s just the thing: this works for all ages and all people, but it’s only with children that we somehow have the delusion that they can and should be controlled like puppets.
Well, considering that my original post was about a couple of absolutely absurd child-proofing articles, yeah, this IS about the behavior of children. I have yet to see any articles that demand that I must 20-year-old proof my house. Do you know why? Because adults and children are not the same! The expected behavior of them is not the same! But that doesn’t mean my rules aren’t the same.
I would certainly not expect a 20-year-old visitor to mark with crayon all over my walls, or swallow random small objects around my home, nor would I tolerate such behavior (I certainly don’t see articles demanding that I must spend hundreds of dollars on things that I don’t need just in case a 20-year-old visits.) Likewise, such behavior is not allowed by my younger guests, and I expect parents to teach their kids how to behave, especially in the homes of others, and also ensure that their children actually do conduct themselves appropriately. That’s not too much to ask. That’s simply the parent’s basic responsibility to their kids and to the world as a parent. Yes, children do need to be controlled, and anyone who is an actual parent, rather than simply someone who managed to breed, knows this as a fact.
But no, no, we shouldn’t burden children with things like rules or boundaries! No! Let them run feral! Anarchy!
Nor have I ever seen a babyproofing article that went like this:
1. Lock your doors.
2. Use birth control.
Funny, that’s how I can keep people with disabilities out of my home as well, but you’d be horrified by me making a joke about it, and rightly so. Turns out, people who have different needs are still people, even those people who need someone else to care for them. And caretakers are people too. It’s time we start treating them with some basic human dignity.
Birth control keeps disabled people away. Who knew? Seriously, this troll has problems.
The only different need that children have in my home is the need for their parents to treat the word “parent” as a verb and actually parent their children. Period.
tl;dr: If you can’t check your privilege and contain your bigotry, don’t let anyone into your home, because you really shouldn’t have people around you.
Andy, get help. You clearly need it.
You know what’s “privilege?” Thinking that parents and children are superior beings to be worshiped by all sections of society, to think that I should spend hundreds of dollars buying expensive kindercrap rather than commit the unforgivable sin of expecting parents to take basic irresponsibility for the needs of their own children.
Wow, I never thought my post, My Childfree Rules, would be so popular! I got a lot of “hell yeahs”s and other praises, for sure. That was certainly nice to see. I also seemed to earn a lot of haters too, many of which didn’t seem to have any real point of contention that they cared to name, but were nonetheless still certain that I was wrong anyway. That was at least entertaining. And within only a few days of being published, the post even managed to be plagiarized! What a turn-out!
I’ve decided to re-write my original list. Partially to kill some time, I admit, but mostly just to do it better. The original list that I wrote was pretty much farted out, something I added to now and then whenever I had a few minutes of spare time between tasks, and then decided to publish more or less as-is. I liked it quite a lot, but it was really only meant for me so quite a few people didn’t really “get it.” Looking back, some portions seem to have been just ambiguous enough in some for people to manage to read things into what I wrote that simply aren’t actually there.
I’m not rescinding or watering down any of my original rules. You can compare this post to my earlier one to confirm this. Every single rule translates over and to an equivalent degree of certitude. I stand by my words.
The difference is that here, I’m writing more clearly and specifically, and going into more detail in some places. Additionally, I found that I had a few more rules to add that weren’t part of my original list. As such, this list is significantly longer, written out, and so I’ve decided it would be most prudent to divide the list into multiple posts, rather than one super-long, page-eating one.
So here they are again, with some additions:
About Being Childfree
1. My first rule is that I am certainly childfree, meaning that I choose to never have children.
Indeed, I will never have children either by my own body or by adoption. This is what it means to be childfree. I might temporarily take care of the children of others, if extreme circumstances call for it (I am a “god(less)mother,” after-all,) but I will never play the role of mother in any sense. I could only be, at most, baby-sitter.
I do not accept being told that I could still have kids, either by changing my mind or by becoming accidentally pregnant. I will not change my mind. Some people are able to make solid, informed decisions and stick to them. I count myself as one such person. Moreover, I do not accept that kids “just happen.” They don’t – there is always a choice. In the highly unlikely even of an unintentional pregnancy, I’ll have an intentional abortion. My life is controlled by myself, not by chance.
I’ve heard people complain that the term “childfree” is “loaded” or “aggressive.” I don’t think that it’s either, I simply think that it’s unambiguous, straightforward and unapologetic and serves to make a clear distinction between people who choose to never have children, and people who are childless in general who may or may not also be childfree.
The biggest argument against use of the word “childfree” is that it paints having children (parenting) as undesirable. This argument is 100% correct. Yes, having children/being a parent is undesirable for me. Yes, having children/being a parent are negative things to me. That’s exactly why the word “childfree” is such a perfect term. And when I speak about being childfree, I stress the suffix “free” because that’s exactly what I am – free of a childed life. It’s impossible for me to talk about my childfree life without also referencing the alternative.
3. And yes, the word “childfree,” when referring to a person (rather than a place like a restaurant that bans children, for example, which would be more accurately labeled “child-free,”) does mean a person who has chosen to never have children, and no one else.
Making this distinction between such people and the childless in general seems to be the reason that the word was coined in the first place decades ago. And so when a parent hears the word, can’t be bothered to know the real meaning, decides it sounds hip, and wrongly uses the word to describe themselves after dumping the kids, or themselves prior to having kids, I will correct them. Being childfree is not a temporary state, but a permanent one. A person can no more be “temporarily childfree” when away from the kids that they have had than they can be “temporarily a virgin” if they’ve had sex before but aren’t screwing away at the given moment. (And yes, I understand the virginity myth issue, but it’s not a topic I’m trying to explore here as I’m just trying to make an analogy.)
A parent is the opposite of childfree, and they will always be. A parent is a parent no matter where the kids are. (And really, it seems a sad commentary on their opinion of their own children if a parent would describe themselves with a label meant to refer specifically people who never want to have children.) So upon correction, a parent can then either throw a hissy fit, declaring me to be some kind of dictator who thinks that I “own” words (because obviously, one must own words to know what they mean,) or they can take correction like mature adults and benefit from the learning experience, and thereby be good examples to their children.
4. I won’t be shy about being childfree either.
I won’t make a point of being careful not to let the cat out of the bag. No matter what the situation, I am very openly childfree. I won’t necessarily offer such information to people out of the blue, but I won’t hide the fact either. I am not “in the closet.” I’m quite proud of my decision and I don’t give a dirty diaper what anyone thinks about it. So if the topic comes up, I will be straight-forward about my decision.
If an awkward situation follows my disclosure, it won’t be because I spoke up about being childfree, it will be because another person failed to accept that.
5. I will speak up about childfree topics where appropriate in conversation and here on my own blog.
Because there IS something to talk about. Being childfree is not simply an absence of children, but is a completely different lifestyle from that of an adult. There is A LOT to talk about, because there is a lot going on in my life that is affected by this particular decision. I will not be silenced as if only topics related to parenting deserve discussion. Additionally, the harassment and downright discrimination faced by childfree people simply for not having children needs to be pointed out and addressed.
It seems common for people to say that there is nothing to talk about when it comes to being childfree, as if any topic must involve children to be worth discussion. This is nonsense, obviously, as a non-parent’s life is no less valid a topic. Incidentally, I’ve always wondered why people who make a point of commenting on CF articles, saying “who cares if your childfree?” bother to read and comment at all if, indeed, they do not care?
6. I will not try to appease people by appearing uncertain or unsteady about my decision to be childfree in the slightest.
I won’t let people think that children are a possibility by saying things like “I’m not ready,” “not yet,” “maybe someday,” nor will I give any hit that there is any chance at all that I might one day change my mind, or regret my decision. It is for this reason that I won’t even try to quell someone’s “concern” by saying things like I might adopt if I decide I want kids, because I will not make such a concession for the sake of someone else’s comfort.
When I was trying to get my tubal, as I was trying to convince the doctor, I told a lie. I said that if I ever change my mind about having kids, I’d adopt. It’s true that I think adoption is far superior to breeding new children for a plethora of reasons. But it isn’t true that there’s actually any chance at all I would want kids and adopt. I only said that to put the doctor at ease so that I could get what I wanted. I will never make such a concession again.
7. I am happily childfree, and will not pretend otherwise in order to make other people more comfortable with me or my decision.
I won’t say things like “I’m sorry, but I won’t be giving you grandkids,” because I’m not sorry in the slightest and won’t even use those words in the “I obviously don’t actually mean “sorry” literally and am just using a figure of speech” sort of way.
I won’t pretend to envy anything about parenthood. I simply don’t. Some CF people do claim to envy certain aspects of parenthood, and for all I know they could actually mean it. However, when asked about “pros and cons” of parenthood, I honestly can’t think of a single thing that I would consider a “pro.” I am not swayed by the unrealistic, fairy-tale portrayal (“Kodak moments”) of parenthood as is so popularly promoted in popular culture.
Not only do I not wish to be a parent, but I honestly can’t see why anybody ever would. Simply, I can no more relate to the appeal of parenthood, as a childfree person, than a strictly heterosexual person can really relate to the appeal of homosexuality. We can accept it for others, but do not “get it” in a personal way.
A “bingo” is a cliched argument. Arguments made against the childfree life are often referred to as “breeder bingo.” These arguments are so common and vacuous as to be nauseating, yet the people spouting them always seem to cave the conviction that they are both original and convincing.
So I will call someone out if they “bingo” me, and slap that bingo down. I won’t even pretend that they’ve made a valid point and I will shame them for their presumptuous attitude towards the goings-on my my uterus. Bingos are rude, so I feel no need to be polite in return on such an occasion.
9. I won’t use my sterility just to shut people up.
It seems common for childfree people to say “I’m sterile,” to make others feel awkward enough to drop the subject when the topic of breeding comes up. Indeed, I am sterile and will openly say so, but I won’t use that as an excuse. I am damned proud to have finally gotten my tubal ligation. I’m happy about it. I don’t want anyone to pity me in the slightest for it. And if I really want to end a conversation, I will be considerably more blunt about that desire.
If I do choose to mention my sterility at all, I will point out that it is a choice, a testament to how serious I am about my childfree position. And I would be childfree, sterile or not.
10. I will not offer my career or other ambitions as an excuse for being childfree.
It’s true that my major goals in life are likely incompatible with child-rearing, but that’s entirely besides the point. I do not have to be too busy to have kids. I do not have to have an excuse to opt out. My decision to never have kids can be fully independent of any other life goals that I might have.
The truth is, I’d be happy living out my days as a slacker, while never having kids. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live a comfortable life. Breeding isn’t a required complication in life that I need the excuse of a significant conflicting and equally consuming interest to opt out of. And really, having kids simply out of having nothing much better to do with one’s life is kind-of pathetic.
11. I will not allow anyone to press me for an explanation for why I am childfree as if I owe them any justification.
I have many, many reasons for deciding to be childfree, and I’ve written about them here before. However, I don’t owe anyone an explanation of any kind just because they want one. It is not for other people to judge whether or not my reasons are good enough. Consider this: who finds it acceptable to demand to know why someone wants to have kids, and argues against those reasons? Arguably, one would be more justified in this hypothetical scenario, I believe. Someone should have to have very good reasons to have kids, not to remain without them (the default.) Not only is having kids, as opposed to not having them, the major life change, but it’s the one that carries far-reaching consequences for everyone, including the new person to be forced into existence.
Some time back and not long after my tubal ligation, my boyfriend’s parents came to our home to visit us. It was a lovely visit, all things considered, and I’m glad they came by. However, at one point while I was cooking dinner in the kitchen and alone with BF’s mother, she asked me out of nowhere, “So why don’t you want children?” I told her that she was asking the wrong question. I don’t need a reason to not want children, but a reason to want them. Sufficed to say, I have never had one single reason to even consider having children. None. And as I recall, she didn’t have any convincing reasons to offer.
Incidentally, I’ve always wondered why she even bothered to ask me that as she knew that I’d already had a tubal ligation by then. Seriously, what was the point?
12. I will not refer to being childfree in a self-deprecatory, natalism-worshiping way in order to make others feel more comfortable.
I often see the choice to be childfree referred to in depreciating ways that seem engineered to give parents a big pat on the back. It’s like saying, “See how much I bend over backwards to praise you? I’m not threatening! Can I have some respect now, pretty-please?” I don’t play that game. “I’m not ready to have kids,” “ I don’t have what it takes (patience, sense of responsibility, etc) to have kids,” “I’m too selfish to have kids,” are all things that I’d never say. Simply, they aren’t true. The only thing that makes me someone who would not be a good mom is simply not having a desire to be a mom. I am not less as a person, in any way, than someone who happens to be a parent. And I won’t pretend that I am.
On a related note, nor will I pretend that parents are in any way superior beings, or that they necessarily posses the traits of selflessness, responsibility, etc, any more than anyone else. Arguably, breeding new children is a selfish action, and doing so in an overpopulated world is irresponsible. Note: I’m only referring to the action of breeding as being considered selfish and irresponsible, not the people themselves. There’s a difference.
13. I will not act as if being childfree is something that I should have to make up for in any way by involving children in my life in other ways, especially ways that go beyond what’s normal for the average person.
I don’t have any need to get a “kid fix,” nor do I feel a need to prove that I don’t really hate kids by having excessive involvement with them. It’s true that I like some kids, just as I like some adults. But that doesn’t mean that I have to be very interested in every single one that exists ever, or that I have to act like I absolutely need to have minors in my life somehow.
I’ve heard people talk about the childfree women needing “outlets” for our intrinsic maternal desires and “need to nurture.” I call bullshit. I am not defined as a woman by being a servant to others, but I have my own life. I try to help people, but that’s out of my nature of not being a prick, rather than any subverted mothering impulses. Seriously, the notion that the childfree or childless people must find alternative ways to be “mothers” in order to still be women is misogynistic and stupid.
14. I will not write the disclaimer, “I love children, but..” before expressing an opinion that sits in contrast to the natalism-worshipping sentiments people are used to encountering.
As it is, I don’t hate children, nor do I love them, in general. (I neither love nor hate adults in general.) Regardless, such a thing would likely be irrelevant to whatever statement follows anyway. Honestly, if someone is set on painting me as a childfree, child-hater, then it won’t matter much what I actually say or write anyway. That’s their problem, not mine. I really don’t give a fuck.
15. I will not concern myself with building bridges to the point of making concessions and generally being fake.
I will not censor myself, sugar-coat my words, feign interest or reverence, or in any way be fake for the sake of making others more comfortable. I will speak my mind openly, exposing discrimination, calling out entitlement-minded behavior, committing the grave sin of mentioning the elephant in the room – overpopulation, and ranting about general failures to parent. Indeed, although I consider this list, both what I’ve already said in this post and what is to come in future posts, relatively tame. Yet I’m sure people will find offense with my view that one must have a good reason to breed new children, my refusal to predicate statements with “I love kids, but…” as well as my refusal to degrade myself for the sake of congratulating parents (“I’m not X enough to be a mom.) I don’t go out of my way to be needlessly hostile, nor am I what any other unapologetic childfree fold would refer to as a “breeder-pleaser.”
Well, anyone who doesn’t like what I say is free to argue on the merits of my statements. However, anyone who simply doesn’t like that I have the audacity to challenge the pro-natalist status quo and has no valid points of contention about what I say but none-the less is offended that I’ve said it is free to grow a thicker skin/bugger right the fuck off.
Next- My Childfree Rules: My Personal Life
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.
If You Knew As A Child You Wanted To Grow Up To Be Childfree, How Did You Know So Early In Life?
Well, I’ve never wanted children. Not to the smallest degree, for the smallest measure of time. Even as a kid, I didn’t much enjoy being around younger kids. They bugged me and could do nothing for themselves. And I never liked to play with baby dolls since they were about as interesting as vacuum cleaners (I’ve gotten a toy one of those as well.) I grew up hearing about my mom talk about birthing her 3 kids and what it did to her, which she’d recount in gruesome detail much like a war story. The thought of being a mother myself horrified me.
I just haven’t always known that I had a choice about it.
This might seem surprising, but I was not nearly alone in that thought. Distressingly few people realize that having kids is a choice, and not a requirement. Not everyone knows that it’s perfectly acceptable to choose not to breed. There is a popular attitude, “it’s just what you do.” Worst of all, some of these people don’t realize this until after they’ve had kids. I think we’ve all seen the confessions of regretful mothers and fathers at some time or another and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. It’s not good for the parents or for the children.
Our culture promotes parenthood as an absolute requirement and an unquestionable given. How many of you have been confronted with the phrase “When you have kids…” at some time or another? “When.” Not “if.” Another example? Look down the pink-colored isle in a toy department. Then go look down at the “boy toys.” Do you notice a difference? Here’s a hint: baby-dolls that excrete. Oh, yeah, that sounds fun. Still more? How about just about every woman in media being portrayed as baby-obsessed, as if “woman” and “mother” are synonyms.
It’s assumed that everyone wants kids and everyone will have them. And if anyone doesn’t, they’re either some poor soul to be pitied or some evil witch to be hated. Deviating from the life-script is not often presented as a valid option. This is unacceptable.
I viewed having kids as much like puberty, an unavoidable part of my development. I resented this idea, but this is what was foisted upon me. I dreaded the idea of becoming a mother much like I dreaded my first period. I didn’t want it. I didn’t like my life being decided for me, especially on the basis of something as uncontrollable as the sex I happened to be born with.
As I grew, I came to realize the truth. I do not have to become a mother. I have the means to avoid becoming a mother. I can control and take responsibility for the path my own life takes and do not need a script. This is perfectly acceptable, fuck whatever anyone else thinks. My life is mine! What a liberating epiphany! The question was no longer “when will I do X?” but “What do I want to do?”
I’ve never wanted kids. I’ve always known that I never wanted kids. But I didn’t understand that I had a choice until I was closer to 13. I didn’t realize that this choice had a name, childfree, until closer to 18. I’m glad that I figured things out about myself before it was too late.
And yes, I heard at every age that I’d certainly change my mind about having kids, and yes, I was also perceptive of the smugness in people’s voices when they told me this. Hell, I still hear that old bingo. Well, I’ve been alive for a little over 23 years now, and in that time I’ve never once felt any desire for children. None. So I severely doubt that I will suddenly have some total mind and personality transplant. I know my own mind and values better than anyone else possibly can. So other people can keep their attitudes to themselves. Obviously, I was old enough at 13 to know I would never want kids, and old enough at 18 to decide that I never would have them. At 22, I was old old enough to take permanent measures to ensure my decision.
It doesn’t matter what age you are. If you’re old enough to say that you never want kids, then you’re old enough to know what you want.