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

I'm really not sure what specific idea you're trying to get across, Ghostship. Do you think you could sum up your thesis in a sentence or two?

Ghostship wrote:
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.

I think that's a different discussion. What I'm trying to communicate is that you shouldn't assume you have to argue very hard to get the "you were a kid once too" argument recognized by the child-free like you were asking about. Don't assume people are child-free because they lack sympathy for children. In fact, for some it might be that they go too far the other way.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

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.

Goal 1 - not here to argue against anything. hm, it's P&C. Is the C optional?
Goal 2 - answer for being part of, or cause of the anger and diatribes in the babies on a plane thread / picture thread where it launched. and hopefully bandage some of the anger.
Goal 3 - advocate for understanding and appropriate expectations in appropriate situations. ie - childfree, fine. Stick to child free venues or deal with it. (there's some C)
Goal 4 - don't recreate the argument from babies on a plane here where child-frees are discussing the sh*t they put up with, and support each other for it.

Probably my effort to be deliberately watered down, and a lack of attention to editing is causing the problem. Time to get off the interwebz anyhow.

Ghostship wrote:

Also, it's worth considering that many parents have been both the child-free and parents as well.

Minor nit-pick. There's a difference between childless and childfree. The childfree never become parents, because they don't want to have children, while the childless may want kids at some point in the future, but perhaps not at the moment.

I can't speak for all of us, but I believe "less" implies I'm missing out on something I really want, and "free" means freedom from a burden I don't want.

I identify as "non-child having" only because a lot of my friends are getting married, are married, or already have kids. I'm now in the minority, and I don't mind it. I'm on my way to getting a place with my better half next year, so I'm on the same path anyway - I was just slower about it.

I always felt that everyone in Maryland rushed to get married, and were competing to see who could have kids the fastest. It's like I missed a very important memo about a mandatory town hall meeting.

Others in my social group said I was the one lagging behind; I said I was the one that was still having fun.

Getting married straight out of college, or while IN college? Yeesh. Not for me. I like to take my time in life. It's not a race. I'm only 25.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Ghostship wrote:

Also, it's worth considering that many parents have been both the child-free and parents as well.

Minor nit-pick. There's a difference between childless and childfree. The childfree never become parents, because they don't want to have children, while the childless may want kids at some point in the future, but perhaps not at the moment.

I can't speak for all of us, but I believe "less" implies I'm missing out on something I really want, and "free" means freedom from a burden I don't want.

Am I understanding your post?

-my argument, parents have walked a mile in the other shoes, while child free have not, and therefore have a weaker stance (to put in an inflammatory way)
-yours, not true, you never actually had a goal to never have children. It's different.

I can probably see that. I'll have to think back if I changed from never intending to have kids, to choosing to have them.

Another thing childfree folks have to put up with frequently? Parents thinking it's all about them even in a thread that's not about them.

I don't know what kind of discussion you're trying to foster here, Ghostship. I do not want children. I do not begrudge any parent their child. I do not want to be considered less of a person for not having children. I think that encompasses the tone and topic of this thread nicely. What are you getting at?

Ghostship wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

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.

Goal 1 - not here to argue against anything. hm, it's P&C. Is the C optional?
Goal 2 - answer for being part of, or cause of the anger and diatribes in the babies on a plane thread / picture thread where it launched. and hopefully bandage some of the anger.

Then maybe the post should have gone there?

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Ghostship wrote:

Also, it's worth considering that many parents have been both the child-free and parents as well.

Minor nit-pick. There's a difference between childless and childfree. The childfree never become parents, because they don't want to have children, while the childless may want kids at some point in the future, but perhaps not at the moment.

I can't speak for all of us, but I believe "less" implies I'm missing out on something I really want, and "free" means freedom from a burden I don't want.

I don't mind you speaking for me, as long as you keep bringing the smarts like you did in this post.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Ghostship wrote:

Also, it's worth considering that many parents have been both the child-free and parents as well.

Minor nit-pick. There's a difference between childless and childfree. The childfree never become parents, because they don't want to have children, while the childless may want kids at some point in the future, but perhaps not at the moment.

I can't speak for all of us, but I believe "less" implies I'm missing out on something I really want, and "free" means freedom from a burden I don't want.

I don't mind you speaking for me, as long as you keep bringing the smarts like you did in this post. :)

Me neither. That word exists for a reason. Thanks, Bonus.

I think a thread for child-free people to discuss things should be a thread for child-free people to discuss things.

*goes back to spying on the child-free people*

LouZiffer wrote:

I think a thread for child-free people to discuss things should be a thread for child-free people to discuss things.

*goes back to spying on the child-free people*

Another funny thing about being childfree? Literally the entire planet is centered around the idea that you're probably having kids. Everything from how you consume media, safeguards put on games, etc. is influenced by this fact. So it is amusing when you try to carve a little space for yourself and a parent charges in and asks you to think about them. We do think about you. We can't help it. It's in our face constantly. It's part of navigating the world as an adult. We understand your point of view because we hear it constantly. We have a vague idea about what being a parent is like because it permeates a huge swath of movies, TV, etc. There is no shortage of ways for us to engage with the perspective of a parent.

There are, however, fewer opportunities to "talk amongst ourselves" without having a parent barge in to tell us we're wrong.

All of that is to say that I appreciate your comment, Ziffer.

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.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

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.

This, I was raised to be quit and respectful in public places. Of course I was also raised in an era when it was OK to smack your child if they got out of line.

I'm actually quite offended at the assumption from multiple parents in this thread that because I have chosen to not have kids, I somehow hate them and can't tolerate them and just "need to understand."

For the record, I like the kids I know. I understand babies cry. On the other hand, I know parents that don't like other people's kids and their parenting choices. I've also seen parents be a heck of a lot more judgmental that people that don't have children (the child-free friends I know typically go "I don't have kids, so who am I to say?"). So who needs more understanding in that case?

If you want to be upset about the "kids on a plane" thread, maybe you should go to that thread and have a discussion about it there.

Yeah, the children-misbehaving-in-public thread is down the hall that way. *points*

edosan wrote:

I'm actually quite offended at the assumption from multiple parents in this thread that because I have chosen to not have kids, I somehow hate them and can't tolerate them and just "need to understand."

Who? I have read this thread twice, and haven't seen anyone even imply this. It's been made pretty clear that the input of parents isn't welcome, which is fair enough, if that is the point of the thread, but unwarranted attacks like that are simply not fair on those who have chimed in.

And back to lurking I go.

spider_j wrote:
edosan wrote:

I'm actually quite offended at the assumption from multiple parents in this thread that because I have chosen to not have kids, I somehow hate them and can't tolerate them and just "need to understand."

Who? I have read this thread twice, and haven't seen anyone even imply this. It's been made pretty clear that the input of parents isn't welcome, which is fair enough, if that is the point of the thread, but unwarranted attacks like that are simply not fair on those who have chimed in.

And back to lurking I go.

It's how Ghostship comes off to me.

spider_j wrote:
edosan wrote:

I'm actually quite offended at the assumption from multiple parents in this thread that because I have chosen to not have kids, I somehow hate them and can't tolerate them and just "need to understand."

Who? I have read this thread twice, and haven't seen anyone even imply this. It's been made pretty clear that the input of parents isn't welcome, which is fair enough, if that is the point of the thread, but unwarranted attacks like that are simply not fair on those who have chimed in.

And back to lurking I go.

Ghostship's remarks pretty strongly implied that because we didn't want children we somehow had something to learn, and had to show some kind of respect by remembering that we were once children too. It was an implication that we, the child-free, are somehow inadequate or incomplete.

I don't think Ghostship is actually talking to anyone in this thread, merely coming in and venting for perceived judgments that no one has actually aired here. While I can understand parents do have a lot of societal pressure that makes them feel defensive, this is certainly not the correct place to come defend yourself.

I'll second everything Bonus and DSGamer have said on the thread. Well-put!

I also have to nit-pick/disagree with the concept that parents have been childfree before giving birth. That is no more true than saying that everyone was a celibate in their younger years before losing their virginity. There is a specific, major choice/decision that's made, and from then forward, the path goes in a completely different direction from those just fence-sitting, or waiting to see how they feel.

Part of the reason that the CF choice can change life so drastically is because of external reactions and pressure. So I don't understand how it feels to be a parent because I have parents, and no, parents do not understand how it feels to make the decision to live a childfree life just because they did not always have children.

It probably seems like a non-issue to most, but I have a strong opinion on this one. ^_^;

Kepheus and I are child-free (he had a vasectomy once we were 100% sure we didn't want kids), and we have no regrets about it.

We both like kids (me more than him though) and we enjoy spending time with our friend's children when we they bring them along on an outing. They are great kids and we genuinely like them for themselves. One of the women in my book club has a two year old daughter, Dagny, who LOVES being read to, and isn't the least bit shy about bringing over a book and asking if you'll read it to her. I love reading to her, and I look forward to it every time book club is hosted there.

So, I'm not a baby hater. Besides, looking after other people's kids was how I made money from ages 10 to 16 or so. I was in high demand in the village I grew up in!

We do get asked if we're planning on having kids and I always feel pretty comfortable saying, "No, we're not having any." and leaving it at that.

I only feel annoyed when I've told people that, and they give me a look that is clearly meant as a pat on the head and say, "Oh, you'll change your mind. Just you wait and see!"

I always want to argue with them, and tell them off for making assumptions about me - assumptions that seem to include me not being able to decide what I might want from my life. But then I wonder if part of them is simply being a "parent" of sorts toward me because they are parents. I can certainly remember throwing a few, "I'll never want/say/do X!! EVER!!!!" tantrums as a kid and my parents would smile indulgently and say, "You'll change your mind when you're older."

But for me, older is now. I'm 37. I've chosen, and I'm happy in my choice. So, being talked to as though I were a child by another adult is rather annoying to me.

The downside for us is that most of our friends with kids have drifted a way a little, we don't see them nearly as much as we'd like. But it seems natural enough that they might find more in common with other parents of small children, or simply find it easier to go on kid-friendly outings with other parents. I don't feel resentful, it's just how it is.

I might also just be lucky that, in general, most of my child-having friends have retained some sense of self and are not all mommy/daddy all the time.

As for being a selfish jerk and not using my uterus for its intended purpose, or the worry of who'll care for me in my old age, or any of the other horrifically bad/rude arguments some people make regarding child-free people, I say "Meh."

You do what you like, and I'll do what I like. Seems nice and simple, and we'll all get to be happy.

LouZiffer wrote:

I think a thread for child-free people to discuss things should be a thread for child-free people to discuss things.

This thread is going *way* better than the conservatives thread.

To ask someone whether he or she is going to have children seems like such an invasive and inappropriately personal question to ask.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

To ask someone whether he or she is going to have children seems like such an invasive and inappropriately personal question to ask.

It is, but that never seems to stop people.

Hey child free people, I get the annoyance. I have three kids and am asked if my wife and I plan on more. I try to laugh it off but it is annoying to be asked.

goman wrote:

Hey child free people, I get the annoyance. I have three kids and am asked if my wife and I plan on more. I try to laugh it off but it is annoying to be asked.

Not the same. Not by a long shot.

What about asking if you want to buy someone's children? Is that still rude or invasive? It becomes a business transaction!

clover wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

To ask someone whether he or she is going to have children seems like such an invasive and inappropriately personal question to ask.

It is, but that never seems to stop people.

To be fair, it's not nearly as bad as people who think it's okay to put their hand on a pregnant woman's belly, unasked.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
clover wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

To ask someone whether he or she is going to have children seems like such an invasive and inappropriately personal question to ask.

It is, but that never seems to stop people.

To be fair, it's not nearly as bad as people who think it's okay to put their hand on a pregnant woman's belly, unasked.

I don't doubt that. But who actually does that? It's so weird and creepy. I imagine the people who do it are other parents.