Have I Offended You?

I came across this article and decided to read some of the comments to see the direction it took.  Usually when people discuss the concept of “childfree” other people tend to get defensive and overly opinionated…this time was no different.

After reading some of the comments I gathered people had the opinion that the childfree were selfish, immature and pretty much worthless.  Maybe I’m exagerating but at least that is how it came across to me.

What I still have trouble understanding (and will probably never fully grasp) is why anyone has the right to judge how I decide to live my life?  By not having children I am certainly not hurting anyone, quite the opposite I think.  I feel quite the same about gay marriage, how is that going to hurt anyone else?

It’s a little bizarre how obsessed people are with people choosing not to have children and it makes me wonder what is really behind such animosity.  I certainly don’t judge others for their choices even if it’s not a choice I would make.

  1. Avitable

    March 20, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    I can’t understand how it’s anyone’s business. I don’t think I want kids either, and I’d like to see someone give me shit about it. Of course, I also think the promotion and discussion of childless life as if it’s an activity is irrational too, but I’ve already told you that.

  2. Mr. Fabulous

    March 20, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    No one has ever given me any crap about my choice, but then I look like a guy who would take someone’s head off for doing so…

  3. Blueyes

    March 20, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Hey, the way I figure it is, it’s my life, I know I don’t want a kid and nobody can make me change my mind.

  4. Leanne

    March 20, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    I look at it like this – it’s your business. Just like if you wanted to sleep with someone of the same sex, or if you prefer to do it doggy style. It’s your business, nobody elses.

  5. Robin

    March 20, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Avi – That’s how I see things in general, other people’s lives aren’t my business. It helps me to discuss this topic because it’s such a conflicting issue for me that I’m still working through…like my emotional issues and my body issues…it may not get the world as it is very far but it may help me a little.

    Mr. Fab – Yeah, I wouldn’t want to piss you off…wait…no I don’t care if I piss you off :nana:

    Blue – Good for you.

    Leanne – Wait…so should I stop running things by you first? I was thinking of having sex tonight but I want to make sure it’s ok with you.

  6. Leanne

    March 20, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    NOW I’m offended. :poke:

  7. Robin

    March 20, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Well then, I did my job for the evening :dance:

  8. Heather B

    March 20, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    I think it’s totally stupid for people to get upset or offended because someone else doesn’t want to have kids. I will only say that I fully believe that every woman who is capable should totally try to experience pregnancy. But I also understand that it isn’t for everyone. One of my best friends never thought she would ever have a child and neither did I because she is so career oriented and loves to travel the world. But now she is due to have her first child at 38 in May…

  9. Robin

    March 21, 2007 at 7:57 am

    I can imagine, part of me questions it all because of that but until it feels like the right path for me I will not do it just because everyone says it’s a great experience…same with bunjee jumping :twitchy:

  10. Denise TN

    March 21, 2007 at 9:04 am

    I don’t give a flying fig newton if anyone has kids or not. There should be more people that choose to not reproduce.

    Me, personally, if I could go back…I would not have kids. I love my kids, but I really think that maybe I should have either waited a lot longer or simply not had any.

  11. Robin

    March 21, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Denise – You are an amazing woman, not many have the balls to say that but I admire that you did. All I know right now is I barely have the energy to take care of myself, much less a child.

  12. Maureen

    March 21, 2007 at 10:36 am

    I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding between the two ‘sides’ of this issue, which leads to defensiveness, which often manifests itself in offensiveness.

    I really do think it’s a great thing for people to think carefully about whether they want to be parents, then responsibly move forward in their lives with that decision (leaving themselves room to grow and change).

    For *me* having children was life-altering. It did help me grow into a better person, I think. It was mystical, magical, spiritual, awesome. It still is. It has also created a closer bond between my husband & I.

    Then, I read articles like the linked one, including phrases like this, “becoming a mother is still seen as a defining moment. Magazines are full of celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow gushing about how her Oscar means nothing compared to the delights of changing Apple’s nappy”. I read sarcasm in that statement. Sarcasm & condescension. Implying that those of us who do find out lives fuller because of our choice to parent are something to be derided & scorned, because some of our fulfillment comes from something other than a paying career.

    It’s hard not to feel defensive when you feel like you’re being attacked.

    I can see that on ‘the other side’, too.

    I read articles saying that childfree people are ‘constantly’ being hounded for their choice. That seems to be a bit of an exaggeration to me. I read articles where childfree people feel they are being attacked when asked ‘Do you have children?’. Now, personally, I see that as more of a ‘getting to know you’ kind of question than anything. No more offensive than ‘So, do you ski?’ or ‘Did you see the latest Tim Allen movie?’. Just a looking for common ground. Apparently, though, it is seen as rude by people who have chosen not to have children.

    And, I guess that I can understand that defensive reaction, if the person *really* feels they have a history of that question being followed by recrimination more often than not. In my experience, though, I don’t really see that happening all too often.

    Kind of like when another person asks me, “What church do you go to?” and I say “Oh, we don’t really go”. If they want to follow up and ask me more about my spiritual beliefs or lack of them, I’m happy to discuss them. It’s just conversation.

    I don’t know, I just think it’s too bad when people can’t just support and understand each other.

  13. Avitable

    March 21, 2007 at 10:41 am

    I think that anytime you define your entire life based on another person, you have a problem.

  14. Robin

    March 21, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Maureen – Well there are always extremes on both ends obviously. I see myself as having my own opinions but I don’t push them on anyone else…I just want the same courtesy. I don’t mind being asked any questions about children, I just don’t want anyone to look down on me because of any of them.

    Avi – No, that is rediculous. I hope you don’t think I am.

  15. Avitable

    March 21, 2007 at 10:48 am

    No, I think people who define their entire personality and life by having a child are the ones with problems. There are people who have kids as a part of life, and there are “mommies” who have no other personality.

  16. Robin

    March 21, 2007 at 10:50 am

    avi – I agree, completely. I think if someone finds themselves that absorbed by the whole thing they need to step out of the situation and reevaluate. Life should be about various things not one thing, my life is about my fiance, my cats, my job, my writing and my friends…other stuff too like a good dose of sarcasm.

  17. Avitable

    March 21, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Well, I do define myself completely by my penis, so I guess I shouldn’t judge.

  18. Maureen

    March 21, 2007 at 10:58 am

    And, of course, it should be pointed out that the people who *actually* define their whole life by being parents are extreme (and very rare) exceptions to the normal parent. Just as people who define their entire life by the fact that they choose *not to* have children are extreme (and very rare) exceptions to the norm.

  19. Avitable

    March 21, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Maureen, to some degree that’s true. But I know too many moms personally who do define themselves to say that it’s very rare. I’d say it’s infrequent, but still relatively common.

  20. Maureen

    March 21, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Parenting is a 24 hour responsiblity. It can also be a fascinating study in human psychology, fodder for self-reflection and personal growth. It’s hard to be responsible for something 24/7, be learning & growing from the experience, without it seeming to consume your life. I would guess, though, that if you took the time to actually get to know those parents a little better, you might see some more dimensions to them.

    I must admit, though, that comments implying that people who are enjoying parenting have a problem, tend to make me feel defensive. I obviously don’t know your friends at all. Maybe they do have emotional issues that they need to work on.

  21. Avitable

    March 21, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Maureen, I don’t know you, so I’m not saying you’re like that. I’m aware that parenting is a full-time gig.

    I just know too many people (and unfortunately, they’re almost all women) whose only goal in life was to have children. They were cute and perky before marriage, and now they’re cute and perky moms who have absolutely no personality except when it comes to living vicariously through their children.

    Enjoying parenting is one thing. But there are too many people out there who whittle down their own lives until the kids are all that are left.

  22. Robin

    March 21, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Ok, let’s not get carried away on this…it’s always a tricky subject and easy to have misunderstandings.

    Being a parent is a big job that takes over your entire life…that’s a given. I think what Avi means is that when people appear to have no other thoughts, opinions or ideas except surrounding their children.

    It’s obviously going to be an enormous part of your life but as with everything it’s about balance and it’s not always easy to do.

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