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

Bloo Driver wrote:
Seth wrote:

You know what I get asked a strange amount of times after people find out we don't have kids? People ask if we're swingers. Does that happen to anyone else?

My boss (Joe, you know him!) actually assumed the very same thing of us.

That seems really weird to me.

NathanialG wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
Seth wrote:

You know what I get asked a strange amount of times after people find out we don't have kids? People ask if we're swingers. Does that happen to anyone else?

My boss (Joe, you know him!) actually assumed the very same thing of us.

That seems really weird to me.

In case you are trying to identify why, apparently no kids = more sex? Wouldn't more sex by default lead to more kids?

I guess it just partners up (no pun intended) with the carefree or irresponsible image.

Edit: NOT, to avoid offending anyone, that that's what swingers are. But I suspect that there is a societal belief in such a thing that incorrectly correlates the two things being discussed here.

Somewhat connected in illogic is the theory that "you're gay, so you must have sex *all the time*!"

Hypatian wrote:

Somewhat connected in illogic is the theory that "you're gay, so you must have sex *all the time*!"

Men are the gas, and women are the brakes. Put two men together, and...

NathanialG wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
Seth wrote:

You know what I get asked a strange amount of times after people find out we don't have kids? People ask if we're swingers. Does that happen to anyone else?

My boss (Joe, you know him!) actually assumed the very same thing of us.

That seems really weird to me.

It was certainly very weird to me as well. Small office politics/comments are an unending source of amusement/bafflement, though.

clover wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

Somewhat connected in illogic is the theory that "you're gay, so you must have sex *all the time*!"

Men are the gas, and women are the brakes. Put two men together, and...

I thought women were the scissors?

Wait, crap... am I mixing up my metaphors?

I always figured I'd have kids some day. I know Yellek did too. When we got married, it was assumed. Over the years, we both just realized it wasn't something either of us wanted any more. For me there are a whole bunch of reasons, some I don't really care to talk about.

So when Yellek was faced with deciding on a hysterectomy as treatment, we both agreed that we were okay with it. I know she had gotten questions before about having kids, mainly from her parents, but I hardly did. A couple from my little sister years ago.

At work I'm the "smart" guy who decided not to have kids. All my coworkers, boss included, have kids.

I'm wondering how it'll come up now that Yellek and I are buying a house and moving into a neighborhood where it's more likely that we'll know our neighbors.

At work I'm the "smart" guy who decided not to have kids. All my coworkers, boss included, have kids.

Yeah, my supervisor is just a little younger than me and with him being the only guy who is into superheroes and video games, we get along pretty well. He is consistently jealous of my amount of time the last couple months playing Skyrim and such as his girlfriend already had a small child, and they have another child on the way now.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

I'm wondering how it'll come up now that Yellek and I are buying a house and moving into a neighborhood where it's more likely that we'll know our neighbors.

If you ever need ours around to deflect any unwelcome neighbors' comments, you can take them. No really... please do.

Please?

NO KIDS ALLOWED, LOU!

Late to the party here, but in response to the stick figure decals, here's my version:

IMAGE(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518Z6F1IpcL._SS400_.jpg)

To chime in with my story: I don't even quite remember when this happened (in terms of where I was working at the time), but I do recall being asked to cancel my scheduled-in-advance time-off because somebody else needed to be out of the office on short notice. When I asked "Uh... what? Why should I cancel this so that they can take time off?" they told me "Oh, it's a family thing, and I know you don't have family here, so..."

That assumption that because I was without family obligations I should be expected to change my plans at a moment's notice was unsettling, and it took me a while to realize that the reason was that it felt like I was being told "because you don't have a family, your time isn't as valuable as that of people who do have a family." I only figured it out after years of feeling awkward and self-conscious about taking time off for myself, even though people I knew were doing so all the time to deal with kid stuff or spouse stuff or what-have-you.

The heart of the problem is that making assumptions like that is really inconsiderate. And... unfortunately... it's again one of those unconscious things (see: the less in-your-face expressions of sexism, racism, etc.) that you can't really blame people for--and which you know will result in drama if you bring it up, because people really reflexively get defensive about stuff when you tell them they're doing something unpleasant and they [em]know[/em] they're not doing it on purpose. I think a lot of that defensiveness in all of these things comes down to the sense we all have that we consciously choose what to do, even though a great majority of the choices we make are things we never think closely about.

Anyway... those unconscious things are a real mess on both sides. Consider, at the basest, the combined impact of unconscious assumptions about women being destined to desire children and the assumption that women ought to be the primary caretakers of children. Those assumptions together are a solid chunk of the glass ceiling problem (although not all of it).

Another kind of weird situation is to think about someone who's not a real "kids" person, but still produced offspring, and takes their job as a parent seriously. To that kind of person, the attitudes and assumptions that your kids are the most important thing in your life must be terribly chafing. Sure, they have a real responsibility and they discharge it well, but that doesn't mean that they want to focus solely on their kids when they know the kids are safely occupied somewhere else and there's other stuff going on. And yet, if they were to outright say something about that, a lot of people would look at them like they'd suddenly grown a tentacle. "You care about other things more than your kids? You monster!"

And, of course, this thread has already talked a lot about the wrongs created by these assumptions towards childless individuals (like myself), childless couples by choice, childless couples for medical reasons, and of course parents. The parents addressed by people who are sure they know better. The child-free by choice expected to pop out a kid any day now. The childless by chance looked at with pity for what they don't have. The singles assumed to have nothing but free time.

In short: Think about your actions, in order to avoid making unjustified assumptions. When you see somebody else doing it, do your best to help them understand. Give people the benefit of the doubt, and give them a chance to be better. We all come from different backgrounds. We all live with different situations. We all have different preconceptions. But if we take a moment to think things through, well, we'll at least be doing better than if we don't think at all. And that holds true for every kind of unconscious prejudice.

To get back to my story, I finally came to the following stance on stuff like that: I don't let people walk all over me, because my time is just as valuable as anybody else's. But I'm still willing to bend things on occasion when family matters come up, because I know that's important to people. There are limits, and if it gets to be habitual to impose on me I'm going to speak up. But for the occasional thing? Sure. I'd do the same even if I [em]did[/em] have my own family obligations to deal with, because that's what good people do: they look out for each other, and when it's not a great hardship they do what they can to make everyone able to do what's most important to them.

And yet... I still feel awkward about the idea of speaking up sometimes, just because it's so hard to say anything without drama. Still, you do what you can.

NathanialG wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
Seth wrote:

You know what I get asked a strange amount of times after people find out we don't have kids? People ask if we're swingers. Does that happen to anyone else?

My boss (Joe, you know him!) actually assumed the very same thing of us.

That seems really weird to me.

Yes, that's very odd. I think that says something about the people asking. My assumption is - and this is telling, on reflection - is that perhaps the couple couldn't have children.

I ran across a thread on reddit today linking logical fallacies to common things the childfree hear.
Thought you guys might like some of these so here ya go!

Reddit wrote:

Ad hominem – “Why do you hate children?”
Appeal to Authority – “As a mother...”
Appeal to Fear – “If you don't have children, then no one will care for you when you get older!”
Appeal to Nature – “It's human nature to have children!”
Argument from Ignorance – “You'll have children some day.”
Argumentum ad nauseam – Speaks for itself.
Argumentum ad populum – “Everyone has children.”
Cherry picking – “My child is wonderful and well-bahaved!”
Hasty generalization – “Everyone I know loves having children.”
Mind Projection Fallacy – “Well, I love having children.”
Slippery slope (appeal to probability) – “Well, if you don't have children, then our entire world economy will collapse!” (As seen around here lately)
Tu Quoque – “Children annoy you? Well, just remember, you were a child once, too.”
Appeal to probability - "Everyone I know has kids"
Circular cause and consequence - "Kids just happen, you know?"
Correlation proves causation - "You like kids, therefore deep down you must want them"
False dilemma - "If you don't have kids, you'll be lonely when you're old"
Psychologist's fallacy - "Well I know it's hard sometimes, but it's worth every minute"
Special pleading - "It's different when it's your own"
False dilemma -- Just wait until you get pregnant! Then you'll have it! (As opposed to adoption or abortion.)
False attribution -- You have animals! Therefore you are maternal/paternal and will love children!
Mind projection fallacy -- But everyone loves children!
Ad hominem -- You must be an awful person.
Appeal to fear -- You'll die alone if you don't have children.
Appeal to flattery -- But you're so smart/good looking/etc.! You'd make a wonderful parent!
Straw person -- If no one had children then the entire world would come to an end!

Feel free to add in!

That is so many kinds of awesome.

Hypatian wrote:

Another kind of weird situation is to think about someone who's not a real "kids" person, but still produced offspring, and takes their job as a parent seriously. To that kind of person, the attitudes and assumptions that your kids are the most important thing in your life must be terribly chafing. Sure, they have a real responsibility and they discharge it well, but that doesn't mean that they want to focus solely on their kids when they know the kids are safely occupied somewhere else and there's other stuff going on. And yet, if they were to outright say something about that, a lot of people would look at them like they'd suddenly grown a tentacle. "You care about other things more than your kids? You monster!"

I'm just gonna quote this, since I've put up with it, and can't say it any better.

Just saw this, and figured it was worth posting, if only for the article and the links in the article:

Hypatian wrote:

Another kind of weird situation is to think about someone who's not a real "kids" person, but still produced offspring, and takes their job as a parent seriously. To that kind of person, the attitudes and assumptions that your kids are the most important thing in your life must be terribly chafing. Sure, they have a real responsibility and they discharge it well, but that doesn't mean that they want to focus solely on their kids when they know the kids are safely occupied somewhere else and there's other stuff going on. And yet, if they were to outright say something about that, a lot of people would look at them like they'd suddenly grown a tentacle. "You care about other things more than your kids? You monster!"

I wonder about this in terms of partners too: I mean, one of the greatest things in recent history is how much more emotionally invested men are in their home life--I feel like men in general have never been as connected to their families in terms of being their kid's friend or their wife's friend the way they are these days. However, it does point up how many different ways there are to be a family: the child-free couple that are best friends, the kid-orientated couple where a big part of what makes the marriage work is the common interest in being parents, and everything in between.

edosan wrote:

child-free parent

Wait. What's that?

jdzappa wrote:

The flip side unfortunately people that want to have a life outside work will get singled out if they work in an environment where the bosses are all single/divorced workaholics who are married to their jobs.

There. Fixed it for you. People that do not have children also get it from overbearing bosses as well.

Please don't assume that someone that doesn't have kids:
-- hates your kids (I know all sorts of parents that hate other people's kids)
-- wants to work 80+ hour weeks.

You're totally comparing apples and oranges here.

That's the problem -- it's hard for people that want kids to relate to people that don't want to have kids. I think it's way easier for a child-free person to relate to a parent. It's not a choice I'm going to make, but I see that you wanted have kids but on the other hand, child-free couples are looked upon as mutants or something.

DSGamer wrote:
edosan wrote:

child-free parent

Wait. What's that?

Atheists. We eat babies.

DSGamer wrote:
edosan wrote:

child-free parent

Wait. What's that?

You know, demons and stuff. Or imaginary children.

Or I edited my post too many times. Fixed now.

NSMike wrote:

Atheists. We eat babies.

(Shhh!!! Don't tell!)

CheezePavilion wrote:

Just saw this, and figured it was worth posting, if only for the article and the links in the article:

I'm not sure how to respond to that overall.

#1 - I'm never in love with people airing their personal dirty laundry for what looks like "art" or a little fame. It just feels weird to me. Especially when it looks lika a hipster art project.

#2 - Kudos to them for choosing this over "compromise" followed by years of resentment and eventually divorce.

Demosthenes wrote:
NathanialG wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
Seth wrote:

You know what I get asked a strange amount of times after people find out we don't have kids? People ask if we're swingers. Does that happen to anyone else?

My boss (Joe, you know him!) actually assumed the very same thing of us.

That seems really weird to me.

In case you are trying to identify why, apparently no kids = more sex? Wouldn't more sex by default lead to more kids?

I guess it just partners up (no pun intended) with the carefree or irresponsible image.

Edit: NOT, to avoid offending anyone, that that's what swingers are. But I suspect that there is a societal belief in such a thing that incorrectly correlates the two things being discussed here.

Most of the swingers I know have multiple kids, and jobs in the teaching or healthcare professions. It's one way to deal with the stress of caring for your own children and the children of others all the time plus make time as a couple that doesn't spill over into daily life like alcohol or drugs would, or simply not caring and being a sh*tty parent. Seems like an odd assumption to make.

A couple of friends of mine have been arguing about having a second child. The mom wants another, dad feels OK where he is. I really hope he gets his way - not because I begrudge anyone having children but because when it comes to raising children, if you feel like you could take it or leave it, you're better off leaving it. Societal pressure (as an aggregate) seems to lean towards taking it, which I feel is bad news for everyone including the unborn child. I have all respect for those who take on the responsibility but wish people would do so more often with a clear head and a clear heart.

DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Just saw this, and figured it was worth posting, if only for the article and the links in the article:

I'm not sure how to respond to that overall.

#1 - I'm never in love with people airing their personal dirty laundry for what looks like "art" or a little fame. It just feels weird to me. Especially when it looks lika a hipster art project.

#2 - Kudos to them for choosing this over "compromise" followed by years of resentment and eventually divorce.

I totally agree with point #1. Maybe if more people felt like that Gotye would have never written that annoying song that's been played and parodied to death and Adele would still be unknown.

DSGamer wrote:

#1 - I'm never in love with people airing their personal dirty laundry for what looks like "art" or a little fame. It just feels weird to me. Especially when it looks like a a hipster art project.

but I thought you liked Lena Dunham's work?

Spoiler:

; D

RoughneckGeek wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Just saw this, and figured it was worth posting, if only for the article and the links in the article:

I'm not sure how to respond to that overall.

#1 - I'm never in love with people airing their personal dirty laundry for what looks like "art" or a little fame. It just feels weird to me. Especially when it looks lika a hipster art project.

#2 - Kudos to them for choosing this over "compromise" followed by years of resentment and eventually divorce.

I totally agree with point #1. Maybe if more people felt like that Gotye would have never written that annoying song that's been played and parodied to death and Adele would still be unknown.

You had to bring it up, didn't you?

Not the original, but if I have to hear it...

As probably being tied fairly closely with the "diatribes" and "genuine anger" in the babies on a plane thread I felt like I needed to contribute.

The genuine anger is about the intolerance. It works both ways, I know.

I feel like, in a public place, some genuine forgiveness is expected of child-free people toward parents and children, if only for the reason, you were a child once too. If you're in a public place, you can expect to encounter children. Please give them the chance to be children and to grow up to a point where they too can make the decision to be child-free or not. There are a number of reasons why I think it's fair for children to be behaving in a way that may annoy a child-free person in a public place, but I don't think that elaborating on that would be productive in this thread.

As a child-free people, does the "you were a kid once too" argument hold any water with you? For me, it's terribly compelling. I usually try to afford others the luxuries I've enjoyed myself. I think it's a good baseline for my own moral compass.

Now let's be sure to go forward considering that, I agree, in an adult only venue, everyone has every right to be annoyed by the mere presence of children; but in a public place, I feel like the judgements should be fairly skewed in favour of the children.

I don't expect many child-free people to agree, but for me it's, a case of match the expectations to the company. A public place demands one set of expectations, a private child-free venue demands another.

As for the other discrimination expressed in this thread. Family pressure, unfair job discrimination, etc. There isn't one thing stated here which didn't make total sense to me. As to the homosexuality situation, I'm entirely befuddled. With all of the other crap that you would have to deal with in society, I'm ashamed to be a human being to think that this on the pile too.

Sadly, we've evolved to address selfish needs first, and social empathy much further down the list.

Ghostship wrote:

As a child-free people, does the "you were a kid once too" argument hold any water with you? For me, it's terribly compelling. I usually try to afford others the luxuries I've enjoyed myself. I think it's a good baseline for my own moral compass.

It definitely does, just the most vociferous arguments from parents go towards reducing children to mere property way more than anything the child-free say. A lot of the arguments are very parent-centered: I think they'd be a lot more effective if they included the children in the discussion as people. Like one of the things I thought about as a reason to travel with kids is because you want to make your kid a part of your family--you want the grandparents to "ooh" and "ahh" over you kid because that's an important relationship for your kid.

Or even if the arguments were less "don't question me--I'M A PARENT!" and more "hey, I didn't lose my humanity when I became a parent." That's why over in that thread I wrote "You can fly with your kid even when you don't necessarily have to fly, just don't do so as care-free as you would if you weren't bringing a kid along. I'll trust you that you made the right decision."

For what it's worth, I wouldn't tie you in with diatribes or general anger. The only thing I can think to say is: definitely don't think that the child-free are such because they don't like children or they find them annoying; in many cases, it's the high opinion the child-free have of children--and therefore, the high bar they set for parenthood, one they might not feel they can live up to--that is part of the story of why they are child-free in the first place.

Ghostship, I really can't figure out what you're trying to say or argue against. I'm not reading the babies on a plane thread, so maybe that's part of the confusion.

"Please give them the chance to be children and to grow up to a point where they too can make the decision to be child-free or not." I don't even know what that means.

Babies cry. This is unfortunate, annoying, and in the end there's not much parents can do about it. But when older kids act up in public, yes, I expect parents to do something or at least try. I was once a child, sure, and my parents made damned sure I didn't act like an asshole in public.

CheezePavilion wrote:

it's the high opinion the child-free have of children--and therefore, the high bar they set for parenthood, one they might not feel they can live up to--that is part of the story of why they are child-free in the first place.

I too once thought things like: my children won't eat dessert, they'll only get healthy foods, and they'll exercise all of the time, and homework first etc. etc. etc.

We had family members, before they had children, actually say "our baby won't cry". No sh*t.

As someone with all of the energy and confidence of the early twenties, it can seem easy to set the bar in the ideallic zone. sh*t gets real quickly.
A lot of this falls into the, "you chose to have kids, you should have known what you were getting into". And I agree. A lot of my initial arguments were defeated by that. I knew it was going to be hard. Probably could have done a little more research.

However,

When you're on that side. It looks pretty easy.

I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to my family members and done things like:

I apologized to my aunt for calling her old, when I was four and she was in her twenties. I did this in my mid twenties.

There are any number of things I've gone back to my parents and apologized for; either because I didn't know what I was putting them through, or I thought I knew what it was all about when I ran my mouth at them (don't extrapolate this to our argument here, I don't mean to imply child-frees are "running their mouths" this is about me and what I did when I was young).

To be fair there are probably an equal number of times when we look back and think, well it wasn't perfect, but we came out of it OK. You're (fairly) normal.

As with many things, it's when you think you know what you're talking about that you can get yourself in the most trouble. This is a scary foreshadow for me.

Also, it's worth considering that many parents have been both the child-free and parents as well. I was the 20 something on the plane annoyed by crying babies. I would save as many as I can from the humiliation of being here now knowing how wrong I was. Sorry that's a dangerour wording. Please, agian, don't extend that beyond me talking about my situation. I'm not calling child-fees, wrong. See my other posts in the babies on a plane thread. I would afford you the peace of being able to not be annoyed by a crying baby.