"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Yes, Unwilling Raconteur, there are nice Childfree people.......

To the Raconteur....if you wanted to just discuss books, the arts, careers, gardening, or pretty much anything NOT involving kids/being childfree, then why not join just a normal "General chat" forum?  Here are some for you -
http://goth.net/forums/ (Don't laugh - some very good discussions on here)

The list goes on - just Google "general chat" or "Gardening chat" or "[insert hobby here] chat" and there will be a forum somewhere about it.  But you chose to come to a CF forum, and were surprised and somewhat miffed to find that, horror upon horrors, we discuss our childfree choice.  Did you really expect a forum for the CF to never ever mention our decisions or the problems raised by our decisions, or kids and parenting in general?

You point out and also seem to mock the "Kinship" being sought on CF forums.  But you joined one hoping to discuss hobbies, life and the universe, with Childfree people.  Therefore you yourself were seeking some "Kinship".  Can parents not discuss books, film/TV, politics?  Course they can.  So why seek out the CF? 

I don't like football so I'd never join a football forum then complain that they only REALLY discuss football and never the latest episode of House......you get my drift?

I am a member of thechildfreelife.com forums (TCFL), as I understand are you.  And not a new member either.  So you see the many posts about our leisure and hobbies, our views on movies, photos of our gardens/pets/cars, travel and holiday pics.  You would also read some people venting personal woes about money/job/boyfriend, or just posting after a bad day to have a blast about their horrid boss and receive some sympathy.  

I will certainly not oppose or try to hide the fact that the "Childfree Pub" section has over 3000 threads, discussing parenthood and kids.  And yes, some are vicious, some are petty, and there is definitely a sense of "Kinship" there, as you put it.  Why do you think we feel the need to post little niggles about kids or Mumzillas, and why do we like people agreeing with us and forging the old Kinship thing?  Why?  Because in a world and society where parenthood is expected of EVERYONE, and supported by the mainstream media, advertising, politicians, Governments, the economy, TV soaps etc etc....it's just good to know there *are* other people out there sticking up a  middle finger at all the stereotyping and all the Dogma fired at us from all directions and from all levels of society. 

Think about it -  we, the CF, all have jobs and relatives and friends, and the majority of these people will have kids....or will *want* kids as part of their future.  And if we wanted to vent or talk about being CF to them, wouldn't that turn into a bit of a nightmare?   Essentially, those who like and want kids or those who already have them, may not be interested in hearing our own opinions and discussions on all things parental.  In their view "you dont have kids so can't possibly understand" and there is potential for disharmony in the office and an awkward working environment, or even family rifts (many posts on TCFL about family breakdowns due to people insisting on grandkids, or newly married couples being badgered about when they are going to have kids). 

I have a few parents on my Facebook and when I posted up anything relating to being CF they normally post comments - always constructive and supplying their side of the discussion, which I always find interesting reading.  Never have they dropped a "oh FFS shut up you whining old bat".  Whether they say that in private I'll never know ;o)  But I do value their input and thoughts and *maybe* they are curious about my whole attitude about being CF, because they, as parents, would never understand or know how it feels to utterly LACK the instinct or need to have a child - just as I will NEVER understand their NEED to have a child.  Or maybe they just find it rather amusing to read my little snippets of Childfree-ness.

You say you have "never been bingoed".  Well I'm telling you - when you spend the best part of your adult life bing bingoed, and always defending yourself as to why you are CF, you will soon start to seek out some kinship.  And you may even start to get a bit pissed off and needing to vent.  Because it wears you down, it's draining, it's frustrating - having people simply sweep away your statement about being CF with those odious presumptions "oh you'll change your mind!"  "You've just never met the *right one* yet", "But it's different when they are your OWN kids!!".  Thankfully my parents have never been on my back about my CF choice, but I get it from people at work and from friends, or I get it when I'm at a social event and kids may be mentioned.  The arrogant presumptiousness that I will "change my mind" because "everyone wants kids" to me is just a result of successful brainwashing and Dogma spewed forth by society.    

So, maybe when we are back from a party and have had our CF choice challenged by a semi-drunk parent, or have had a nasty bingo at work, or Uncle Ernest has been chewing your ear off about your body clock running out, it's nice to vent a bit on a CF forum and know that you'll get some sympathy, sympathy you may not get from parent work colleagues or parent friends.  Maybe you have family or friends who do not treat you like this, in which case you are very lucky.  But some of us are assaulted from all directions and we will seek out the like minded for reassurance, opinions, and sympathy if we need it.

As for the gripes about badly behaved kids or poor parenting - these kids, and the parents who are (supposed to be) bringing them up properly, are the generations that will be running the country when I'm an old granny living in a retirement village.  I want my granny-years to be safe, secure and economically sound, with good healthcare.  If the upcoming generations are just legions of morons with poor social skills, half a brain, an iPod earphone permenantly attached, and a selfishness/sense of entitlement that means they will only look out for themselves, well what does that mean for our country?  The formative years of a child's life are the first 5 years - when their social skills, personality, intelligence, pretty much everything important to carry them through life - are formed.  If these 5 years are filled with pisspoor parenting then I think I have a right to be worried and to complain about it.

Thankfully there are a good percentage of great well adjusted happy kids and teens out there, and it's always a pleasure to meet and interact  with them - certainly gives me a sense of hope.  But the burgeoning breeding benefit-fed underclasses seem to be encroaching more and more into the fore.  Argh.  And look at what's happening to our schools and education - Political correctness is rotting education to the core, destroying any sense of competitiveness between children ("there are no losers, everyone is a winner!!"), removing powers of discipline from teachers, dumbing down the curriculums, removing the sense of respect towards adults and authority figures.  The Nanny State and Compensation Culture encourages us to always blame others and never ourselves.  Parents are scared to discipline their kids in public in case Social Services get involved, or even the Police.  Smacking is frowned upon.  Parents are allowing their kids to grow up in a non-competitive non-authority non-respect environment, and look at the STATE of these kids.  They can't cope with rejection, they can't cope with being told what to do, they lash out at authority, they are filled with a disproportionate sense of entitlement due to this lack of authority and discipline.  They are soft, wimpy, pathetic, mollycoddled, spoiled (My Super Sweet Sixteen, anyone??).  And they'll be in charge when I'm an old granny.  HELL YES I WILL COMPLAIN.  Because I'm a tad worried for my future, y'know?  But I digress....... *ahem*

"The childfree movement has a serious P.R. problem" - damn straight, and it's fostered by the childed, and society/the mainstream media, and advertisers/PR people.  Cameron Diaz and Eva Mendes have both recently spoken about their decisions to not have kids - read any comments left on these articles by Joe Public and see the Dogma at work, see the vicious responses from the parents, see the "selfish" word batted around, the "what a waste", the "she must just want a CAREER" sneer, as if wanting a career over a child is a bad thing?  What's wrong with just going *shrug* "OK, it's your choice lovey", and then leaving them to it?  (Of course the same could be said of why don't the CF just *shrug* about parents and let them get on with it, but we have a vested interest - ie the future of the world we live in).

Did you ever stop to think that the Governments and societies would want to perpetuate a growing population just to encourage spending, material gain, boost the economy, keep credit and borrowings high?  Keep us down, keep us poor, keep us consuming, keep us controlled, keep us afraid - afraid to lose our jobs "because who will support the kids"?  It's in their interests to encourage more and more babies.  So they happily encourage the Canonisation of parenthood, and portray those who do not choose it as cranks, weirdos, freaks.  Heaven forbid the masses start breaking out from the Dogma, thinking for themselves, and deciding to not go the route of kids, thus having a healthier income and lifestyle, with much less fear of "the machine" that controls us?

There are other CF communities on the web that are much more vicious than TCFL, but I've never joined them because I like the vibe and balance on TCFL and enjoy the discussions on there.  In any hobby or gathering of like minded people you'll always get factions of nutters and people who will overstep the mark.  Get onto Google and find all the mommy blogs and parental communities who regularly lay into the CF people, or the very religious who believe a child is a "Gift from God" and happily tell us that we will "rot in Hell" for choosing not to "accept God's Gift".  Nice.  So please don't reserve the "militant" tag just for the Childfree.

You say the CF movement is not given any respect or credibility.  This may be partly due to the more aggressive CF communities out there, but I believe the BIGGEST part of that lack of respect is once again, the age old assumptions that we will "change our minds", and the sweeping aside of our decision as mere trivia, bullshit, meaningless, because *EVERYONE* wants kids don't they?  Of course they do!  Cuz like, it's just WHAT YOU DO, isn't it?  Because everyone else does it?  Because seemingly there is an invisible rule that simply *everyone* must procreate.  How utterly blinkered.  Those that do not give us the respect we ask for suffer from these blinkers.

"Very few human beings are tolerant of abject insults against children and parents"
you say.  Again, social conditioning.  Parenthood is sacred.  It's been made sacred by society, governments, the media, and parents themselves.  Mothers are canonised, pregnancy is glorified (how many Demi Moore-esqus magazine covers have we had now??), parents get tax breaks, kids get Govt child trust funds.  Can't criticise mum or dad, even if they're doing a crap job bringing up little Timmy, who enjoys playing with knives and swearing at old Mrs Dobson next door.  Single/childfree people get no tax breaks or no Govt bonuses, and we're doing far less damage to the environment by not reproducing.  We should be rewarded, not those who send thousands of Pampers into landfills each year, or irresponsibly have kids that they can't afford then sit back and watch the State benefits roll in.

As a side note, in my local paper this week there was a story about a woman who, despite severe epilepsy and against the warnings of her doctor, she insisted on having a child.  And now at 37 she has died, leaving her child without a mother.  Yet the newspaper headline extolled her as a "BRAVE MUM".  I'm sorry???  Brave?  Selfish and foolish more like, knowing the risks and seemingly not caring.  I wonder how many people will have read that article and thought this woman was foolish.  But you'd never see a headline screaming "FOOLISH MUM" would you? 

I too have a sort of incredulous respect for anyone who chooses to have kids.  My brother recently announced his impending fatherhood.  My immediate response was to ask him "WHY?????" but I held my tongue.  It's his choice and I always knew he'd be a dad one day.  Unless you're filthy rich, the sacrifices and pressure of having kids are to me, utterly crushing, and anyone who goes into them willingly has got to be given some kudos.   But when I hear new mums whining about how "bored" they are "stuck at home with nothing but baby talk" and how they "can't wait to get back from maternity leave and escape the baby", or moaning about how skint they are/how they can't afford a nice holiday/how their tits have sagged to their knees, then I also want to ask them "WHY?"  Why did you do it, if it's now making you so miserable?  Did you just follow your hormones/instinct, did you do it because it was "expected of you" or because all your friends are doing it??  Did you NOT realise that your life will irrevocably change once you become a ward to a new human life?  Quit yo bitching and go change a diaper. 

I respect parents who take all these sacrifices in their stride and do an amazing job bringing up awesome kids, but I do not respect the whingers and moaners who hand their child over to daycare, let the TV bring them up, and then wonder why they grow up into a basket case unemployment statistics.

http://thebritgirl.com/ asks "are the Childfree misunderstood" (http://thebritgirl.com/2010/06/15/so-does-the-childfree-movement-have-a-pr-problem/) - I would say definitely so.

I'm Misanthropic in that I enjoy my own company and I enjoy the company of nature, plants, insects, birds, animals.  I enjoy the peace, the quiet, the stillness.  I do not crave human company nor do I ever feel lonely.  A lot of human beings piss me off.  Society and the Govt TOTALLY piss me off.  I have friends that I love and respect, but if they were wiped off the planet tomorrow I'd not shrivel up and die.  I'm a Malthusian in that I fully believe one day we'll wipe ourselves out through our own stupidity and our burgeoning consumption of this planet and our insistence on squeezing out too many kids.  I'll be happy when we're wiped out.  We've had our time, had our chance.  Give the planet back to nature and let it recover.

To all my CF buddies I refer to the Steve jobs quote at the top of this page - "Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."

This to me sums up what it is like to be CF.

Finally, if you dislike Childfree forums that much, then erm, don't go on them?   ;)


Anonymous said...

Wow, such a long and well thought out post that I can't leave without commenting - that would just be rude even though I have nothing to add.

Although I agree with Raconteur in that I would like to talk about stuff other than children on the forums, I inevitably am drawn to the discussions about mums, kids, parenting, yadayadayada, because nowhere else I can hear the sweet voice of common sense regarding the whole thing. I enjoy it.

Restless Cynicism said...

Love your blog, I've just "Liked" you on Facebook too :D The "it's fine" dog story was rather amusing!! Clearly NOT fine!

SM said...

Hi RC,

Just came across your wonderful blog. Thank you for covering the child-free topic. Being a CF married American woman whose friends are having kids I watch the problems build from that choice in their lives, causing stress fractures in their marriages and finances and in their own identities. I am always happy to see others voicing their "freedom" for the CF choice.

I found the following article interesting (and you might as well) "Why Parents Hate Parenting"


"Children have turned from being staff to being bosses."

Keep up the good work : )