Fellow Child-free folk - Let's Chat: Do you feel it is risky being "out" these days?

Nevin73 wrote:

First I said that they live for themselves. As in the primary person in their life whose needs have to get met is their own. And that it wasn't a bad thing.

Second, I emphasized "good" parents. There are plenty of parents out there that don't qualify for that descriptor.

self·ish
/ˈselfiSH/
Adjective
(of a person, action, or motive) Lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
Synonyms
egoistic - self-seeking - self-centered

I've already explained to you that we don't live only for ourselves. Given that this is supposedly my area of expertise, I'm going to believe me over you.

You don't have to explicitly say that it's a bad thing. It's just strongly implied. I'm not saying that you are personally implying that, just that by saying that childless people only live for themselves, you are saying they are selfish, and being selfish is seen as a negative thing in society.

I completely agree with you that there are plenty of parents who are actually sh*t at it. The problem is that parenting is like driving. Everyone always says that they're awesome at it and it's only the other folks who are sh*tty at it. The reality is that you're all bumbling through it and, more likely than not, f*cking things up.

But we never hear that. We only hear how being a parent bestows a mystical/magical view of the world on people.

Personally, I dislike hearing that I'm worse than a 15 year-old who couldn't be bothered to use a condom. Especially when that f*cked-up attitude was very likely conferred to them by their supposedly morally superior parents.

KingGorilla wrote:

Can't we all just get along? OG, come out and have a drink with me tonight, folks with kids can stay in and help with homework or try and find a sitter.

We can all get along when people recognize that rutting like animals doesn't make you better than others. There's seven billion of us, now. It's not like anyone can continue to claim that it's a sacred or mystical act. We like to f*ck. Get over it.

Yet another thread where OG represents the general side of the argument which I favor in a way that utterly turns my stomach.

Jonman wrote:
dejanzie wrote:

It comes off as if he's using the tired 'parenting has changed me, man' cliché

So, I think that that cliche is at the heart of this recent discussion. It's a cliche for a reason. Parenting does change you. But here's the thing, so does everything else. That's the corollary that is usually ignored.

Every day I wake up, I'm changed from the person I was the previous morning. If I have kids, I'm going to change in different ways, because I'm having different experiences, just like I would if I were to get divorced (another change to my family structure which affects my daily life).

Completely agree. I think there are two nuances here (that may or may not be obvious - apologies if they are):

First, there are varying degrees of changes that you go through day to day. Having a great sandwich, getting a new job, losing a loved one, and finding your soulmate all impact our lives (and our perspectives) but to varying degrees.

Second, when we start assigning positive and negative attributes to these changes, we start getting into shaky ground. As has been pointed out many places in this thread, becoming a parent doesn't make you better, it makes you different than you were before you had a parent.

Tanglebones wrote:

Yet another thread where OG represents the general side of the argument which I favor in a way that utterly turns my stomach.

Kisses.

Nevin73 wrote:

First I said that they live for themselves. As in the primary person in their life whose needs have to get met is their own. And that it wasn't a bad thing.

This is straight out of "breeder bingo". Column 1, row 4.

The "live for themselves" part is the part that's silly. Those of us without kids would argue that having a child could be considered selfish. Because I'm childfree I have more money to donate to charity. Because I'm childfree when I vote for school bonds or healthcare services I do so because it helps someone else, not me. Because I'm childfree my carbon footprint can be lighter. Childfree people are often the ones who have the resources and time to care for their elderly parents. Because I'm childfree I'm very giving to my family. I've given my parents a water heater when theirs broke. I once gave my brother a car because he needed it. I've given 4 or 5 members of my family a computer when theirs broke down.

There are innumerable reasons why being childfree can actually be the selfless choice. That's why saying we "live for ourself" rubs us the wrong way.

IMAGE(http://7deadlysinners.typepad.com/sinners/images/breeder_bingo.jpg)

Tanglebones wrote:

Yet another thread where OG represents the general side of the argument which I favor in a way that utterly turns my stomach.

Yup. If anything, being childless, I'm living for my wife and her well-being, happiness, etc... and she is doing the same for me. I also spend a decent amount of time doing things for my mom to help her out and make sure she is doing well. In the time outside of that, can I be a little selfish? Yar, but that's certainly not a large amount of time.

DSGamer wrote:

There are innumerable reasons why being childfree can actually be the selfless choice. That's why saying we "live for ourself" rubs us the wrong way.

Genetically speaking, having a kid is the most selfish thing you can possibly do.

OG_slinger wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

There are innumerable reasons why being childfree can actually be the selfless choice. That's why saying we "live for ourself" rubs us the wrong way.

Genetically speaking, having a kid is the most selfish thing you can possibly do.

OG wins the thread. Decisive victory.

The "Who will take care of you when you get old" weirds me out. 1. Are you anticipating financially supporting your parents in the event that they suffer from Dementia? And 2. How selfish is it to expect another human being to do that to you?

I am planning on having disability insurance, life insurance, and the health insurance capable of placing me in a pleasant assisted living facility. If my investments really pan out, perhaps 24 hour care at home. My wife's aunt and uncle care for her invalid grandmother and it is supremely sad. They are not healthcare professionals and are not helping her. Do you want your kids bathing you, changing your diapers, feeding you if things get really bad?

Seems like a long of anger over just an article where a guy says some games affect him differently now that he's had a kid.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Seems like a long of anger over just an article where a guy says some games affect him differently now that he's had a kid.

If you go back to the first comments there was no anger that I could discern. This is what we're used to seeing. The "anger" if you want to call it that was after parents became defensive in the childfree thread. #irony.

This was how I vented my "anger".

DSGamer wrote:
mudbunny wrote:
Wembley wrote:

I'm confused. What relevance does that article have here?

Apparently a father saying that some games these days have more of an impact on him because his fatherhood has provided developers an additional button to push is somehow saying bad things about childless couples.

Wrong. Parents often talk as if parenthood gives them a level of perspective and empathy that the childfree or childless simply couldn't comprehend. It's a bit condescending. I didn't take offense to the article, but it's relevant. It's so common, though, that I don't bat an eyelash, honestly. GWJ alone has posted a dozen+ front page articles in this vein so it's nothing new.

Gravey wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

There are innumerable reasons why being childfree can actually be the selfless choice. That's why saying we "live for ourself" rubs us the wrong way.

Genetically speaking, having a kid is the most selfish thing you can possibly do.

OG wins the thread. Decisive victory.

If by win a thread, you mean use the word that he's been a stickler over (rightly so) against someone else, expecting that this will go better when he uses it compared to when someone else doesn't use it directly... yeah, big win. *eye roll*

Besides, having yourself cloned is more selfish than sharing DNA with a partner. And for adoptive parents, having a kid doesn't involve DNA at all.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Seems like a long of anger over just an article where a guy says some games affect him differently now that he's had a kid.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Seems like a long of anger over just an article where a guy says some games affect him differently now that he's had a kid.

Don't you batsplain at us.

Demosthenes wrote:
Gravey wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

There are innumerable reasons why being childfree can actually be the selfless choice. That's why saying we "live for ourself" rubs us the wrong way.

Genetically speaking, having a kid is the most selfish thing you can possibly do.

OG wins the thread. Decisive victory.

If by win a thread, you mean use the word that he's been a stickler over (rightly so) against someone else, expecting that this will go better when he uses it compared to when someone else doesn't use it directly... yeah, big win. *eye roll*

I just mean I really like both the book The Selfish Gene, and ironic humour.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Seems like a long of anger over just an article where a guy says some games affect him differently now that he's had a kid.

Don't you batsplain at us.

You're the one who let Jason Todd die.

Childfree != single

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

Seems like a long of anger over just an article where a guy says some games affect him differently now that he's had a kid.

Don't you batsplain at us.

You're the one who let Jason Todd die.

Wasn't my kid.

clover wrote:

Childfree != single

IMAGE(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i453/czpv/SOON_zps30c4b8a5.jpg)

I never said and did not mean selfish. I did not expect, nor intend for anyone to be offended by my post. I was merely expressing the changes in thought that I went through when we adopted our son. By the way, none of my DNA in him, which puts to rest any claims that I was being selfish in becoming a parent...if you really want to push that angle, I can share some stories.

I want to use a simple example to clarify my "live for yourself" comment:

You have a bit of milk left in a gallon carton. Going to the store isn't convienent tonight.

As a childfree, single person, you drink the milk you have and move on with your evening.

As a person in a relationship, you may pour milk for yourself, or (if you're thoughtful) pour it for your significant other to be nice. Or you might even share what's left.

As a good parent, you give it to your child first. You don't think about how much you would like a glass of milk with dinner. There might even be enough milk for two glasses, but wait, you realize your child needs milk with their morning cereal. So in this situation, my wife and I drink water, my son drinks milk with dinner and with his morning cereal, and we buy milk the next day. As a good parent, your child's best interest must come first for healthy physical and emotional development.

Parents are not intrinsically better than non-parents. Sprouting out kids doesn't give you a glub-given right to look down on others. But to be a good parent, you need to shift your thinking. Your wants and needs, even survival, become secondary. It was hard for my wife and I to do. I imagine it is hard for any parent.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing that as a parent or guardian you SHOULD refocus your priorities, the emphasis however is on good parent and noting how few of them are.

Then supposing one is a good parent and does shift their behavior and thinking accordingly... well, ***NSFW Language Chris Rock ***, that's what you're supposed to do.

KingGorilla wrote:

The "Who will take care of you when you get old" weirds me out. 1. Are you anticipating financially supporting your parents in the event that they suffer from Dementia? And 2. How selfish is it to expect another human being to do that to you?

In some cultures that is exactly how it works. The children take care of the parents when they get old. I've heard this about China and I know first hand that some Filipino families think this way. I think it has allot to do with the way the country a family lives in supports the elderly (as in, lack of any safety net or social security like programs). Do I think having kids is a better strategy than a 401k or insurance? Absolutely not.

Another aspect is just the fear of growing old and alone. Your spouse, parents, and siblings (if you have any of these people) will start to slip away as you get older. It isn't really fair to use your kid as loneliness insurance but I can see the fear.

Yeah. That's a weird reason to have a kid, but I get the sentiment. My wife and I know that unless our nephews think we're the bomb we'll be alone in old age. And even then we'll probably be alone. All we can do is plan and save as best as we can.

I think it's important to point out that even if childfree don't explicitly have kids taking care of them the social construct is till implicitly this. We pay taxes with the expectation that by the time we're old society will still exist and there will be trained doctors, nurses and maybe a functioning retirement system. That won't be staffed and paid for by people our age.

That is kind of a lot of pressure to put on a zygote or an infant, no? You have 30-40 years to become enough of an earner to support me when I get decrepit either to stop working yourself to care for me or to pay for my care.

Anyone here, capable of doing that right now?

KingGorilla wrote:

That is kind of a lot of pressure to put on a zygote or an infant, no? You have 30-40 years to become enough of an earner to support me when I get decrepit either to stop working yourself to care for me or to pay for my care.

Anyone here, capable of doing that right now?

Dude. I moved 8000 miles from my aging mother to get the life that is right for *me*. I certainly expect my children to do the same if that's what works for them.

To that end, I've been squirreling as much as I can afford into retirement savings.

I think the whole 'have a kid just to have someone to take care of you in old age' is a bit reductive, especially when you consider it within a historical context. It's not just that a few countries here and there did this kind of thing, it's that it was historically the way family units were for generations.

Mobility as we know it today was not as common. It was very common for 3 generations of a family to be living under one roof, or in the hut/house next door. So it's not that it was 'expected' that the grandparents would be taken care of, they just were because that's the way things were. It was rare for people to move away from their neighborhoods, let alone their hometown or state.

Social Security as we know it today (in the US) has only been around since 1935, so it's barely even 100 years old. There are probably people alive today who remember when it didn't exist.

There's the adage that when we become old we become like babies again, needing help with everyday tasks. They also say it takes a village to raise a child. So maybe the thinking was that it takes a village to care for the elderly? I dunno, just spitballin on this last part.

KingGorilla wrote:

That is kind of a lot of pressure to put on a zygote or an infant, no? You have 30-40 years to become enough of an earner to support me when I get decrepit either to stop working yourself to care for me or to pay for my care.

We do that to an extent through social security and medicare taxes. Orphans are required to subsidize everyone else's parental care even though they never had the benefit of parents and would not have to support any old people at all in a libertarian society.

Orphans aren't entitled to social security and medicare?

nel e nel wrote:

Orphans aren't entitled to social security and medicare?

If they live that long and the programs exist when they meet the age requirements, sure. And at that point their children and other orphans will be forced to take care of them via taxation.