Sunday, November 27, 2005

Child-free and rubbing our noses in it

This is a free country, more or less. So no, I don't care if people decide to adopt the "child-free" lifestyle.

What bugs me is the "child-free" attitude.

Here's the thing -- the decision to go without kids wasn't some flash of brilliant insight that you had and we parents didn't. Yes, people who don't have kids have more spare time. They can focus on their careers, their health, their meditation, their personal growth and their sex lives in ways that those of us whose schedule revolves around nap times cannot.

To which I say this: Duh.

It's about choice. Those of us who decided to be parents (and were lucky enough to make it work) gave up that time to do something else we find fulfilling. Child-free folks have the freedom to do what they want. So do we. This is what we want.

If you're child-free (voluntarily, of course), you've made a choice. A valid one. But smarter?

Let's take on some of the arguments from the story I linked above:

There were larger issues too, such as environmental concerns and worries
about an overcrowded planet.


That may be a valid reason not to have five kids. But it's not a reason to avoid having two. That's how many it takes to replace you and yours, and it doesn't even take into account all the people who can't have kids.

Besides, one of the biggest problems facing this country is the economic crisis we'll have when the number of retired people grows so large that younger folk can't make the Social Security and Medicare payments. So in that sense, having kids actually helps to avoid future crises.

Zombie Parents from Planet Zygote


Oh, you poor poor dears. Tired of hearing your former friends babble on and on about their kids? Well, that's what's going on in their lives these days. Has it occurred to you that they might be bored with your endless prattle about your trip to Morocco or your convoluted sex life?

The last bit is interesting:

Forget-You-Nots: DNA-free ways of leaving a piece of yourself here on Earth after you die, like planting a tree, getting a street named after you or donating all your money to your alma mater.


Hmmmm. If you decide to spend some of your surplus free time doing good works, that's sensible. Childless folks certainly have more time for community service and perhaps more money to donate to an alma mater. But if the whole reason you're doing it is to get something named after you, that's a little tougher to defend as a smart and moral choice.

And if you're THAT impressed with yourself, then shouldn't your genes survive?

4 comments:

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I don't know, the people in the article don't seem to be "rubbing our noses in it." I do know the type you're speaking of, though--I've seen some websites where people are openly hostile to all parents. But the quotes in the article didn't really bother me (except for the one psychopreacher who said it's a violation of God's will NOT to have kids). Maybe the quotes didn't bother me because, for a long time, I was pretty sure I never wanted to have kids (so I can see where they might be coming from).

Michael said...

Simpsons Did It!

This is one of the only recent episodes that stands with the wheelhouse days. Here are some more quotes from the episode, and my favorite one which isn't mentioned which is said by Homer after the introduction of the initiative.

"You can't chage the rules in the middle of the game! There's no way we would have had these kids if we knew we had to pay for them! Promises were made!"

I'm 28, unmarried and childless, but in a relationship and getting to that point where all of these questions become relevant. I am fairly certain I will have a child, but I've never really been *sure* about it, like it was the only appropriate use for my 30s and 40s, or my religious/genetic/societal destiny. That said, if I do have a child, I will haughtily demand that everyone look at my adorable baby pictures and vote through every school tax increase that comes down the pike. That's how society works.

bdure said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bdure said...

(Take two, replacing the word "done" with "dumb" to avoid unintentional irony. BTW, Michael, do you find that there are actually a LOT of inaccurate tabs at OLGA? I liked the one I found for the Allman Brothers' "Jessica," but the one for Dire Straits' "The Man's Too Strong" was even more simplistic than the version I hacked out on my own in high school.

Anyway, here's the comment again:



The whole "school" thing is where I depart from the Chris Rock, er, school. He says he doesn't care how dumb your kids are. ("Your" being non-specific in this case.) I do. A generation of dumb kids will eventually kill us all. They'll be the ones in the White House when we're old. Closer to home, they'll be changing our IV tubes. And well before that, we'll be sharing the road with them and asking them to hurry up and give us the tacos we ordered.

So yeah -- child-free or not, there's ample reason to be invested in the next generation.