Do we judge the childfree?

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312
Do we judge the childfree?

The Time magazine issue that Alyssa's Happiness/Misery article came from has generated a lot of buzz. The issue is about being childfree by choice. I haven't read the actual magazine but some of the other articles floating around out there about it were interesting to me. Many describe it as the new divide...much like the SAHM WAHM battles or the breastfeeding vs bottlefeeding. There are a lot of articles and editorials that bring up a lot of different points

Does society judge the CFBC group? Do you have a gut reaction when someone tells you they don't want to ever have kids? I personally wonder if there is any religious criticism that plays into it to, even though that doesn't seemed to be mentioned a lot. Are they really marginalized or overly criticized? Or is it more silent and mild than that...or does this divide exist at all?

I provided some specific quotes from dif. articles, and links to the entire things. Sorry i couldn't pick just one. Its kind of a loosey goosey debate topic, but i found it interesting enough that i didn't want to pass over bringing it up at all.

The Childfree Are All Right -- Yes, Someone Needed To Say It

Consider the most recently monthly Vanity Fair/CBS poll. For September, 2013, the topic was "The Perfect Woman." (The August 2013 poll was on the perfect man -- it's apparently equal opportunity ridiculousness over there.) When the 1,017 participants were asked the most important quality in a woman, 39 percent said being a good mother, above brains, a sense a humor and a healthy sex drive.

This "mother above all" view of womanhood is Sandler's target, not the women she profiles, who don't want kids, or readers who have or want them. Her point is that no one is doing it wrong, but for a very long time, childfree women have been told they are. They are interrogated about their choice in salons and post offices even as they are marginalized by a culture obsessed with maternity and parenting -- see celebrity bump watches, the $49 billion baby product industry and articles accusing women who don't want kids of selfishness, all of which amount to what Sandler calls the "ambient roar" of motherhood.

This one kind of says there really is no judgement, its just a matter of practicality
Can Parents Stay Friends With the Child-Free?

As a parent myself, I don?t read my tendency to gravitate toward fellow mothers as judgment ? I read it as practical. Fellow parents are more likely to understand if I bail on dinner because of a sudden teacher conference, and their eyes are less likely to glaze over if my preoccupation at that dinner is more temper tantrums than, say, the right way to temper chocolate (which might once have held my interest for hours). In fact, I?d argue that it?s win-win.

This one tries to give both points of view in a dialogue that i wonder if it even really happened
Is Being Childfree Selfish? Debating Time Magazine's Touchy New Issue

SBW: As a working mom myself, I completely know what you mean. And I wonder why I, feminist that I purport to be, have a knee-jerk reaction when I hear that women (and also men, but less so) don't want to have kids. The other day, my husband said that one of his colleagues, in her early 30s, definitely doesn't want to have kids. I immediately went to "selfish, narcissistic." What is that about?

BG: Do you think it could be partially that you are envious of her gall?

SBW: I wouldn't ever give up the experience of being a mom. I think it?s that, somewhere back in my primitive brain, I see it as "natural" to have kids, and weird not to have that desire. Of course there are many reasons?economic, environmental?that might make it extremely reasonable not to have kids.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

Oy.

I'm sorry, this just strikes me as navel-gazing. Seriously? This is like a "thing"?

I have many friends who have kids and many who don't. Of the ones who don't, some are planning it and some aren't. I think that people who don't want kids shouldn't have them and good for them! People who do should have them and good for them!

Seriously if I had friends who judged people for not having kids (or for having them, if they wanted them, or having lots of them) I don't think we'd be friends.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Oy.

I'm sorry, this just strikes me as navel-gazing. Seriously? This is like a "thing"?

I have many friends who have kids and many who don't. Of the ones who don't, some are planning it and some aren't. I think that people who don't want kids shouldn't have them and good for them! People who do should have them and good for them!

Seriously if I had friends who judged people for not having kids (or for having them, if they wanted them, or having lots of them) I don't think we'd be friends.

This is kind of what i think...logically and rationally. Which is why i agree with the middle article that kind of says if you don't have a lot of friends who are childfree, its probably just because you have a lot in common with those who have kids...not because of some harsh judgment of the childfree.

However, and I am just being totally and completely honest....i get this weird twinge of negative feeling when people are adamant about not wanting children. Just so you know and so you don't 'internet un-friend' me ;)...i fight it tooth and nail and ignore it with all my might and beat it into submission and bury it away 6 feet under, very purposefully because i don't know where it creeps up from. But i can't deny that i get it.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I will never un-friend my friend Kim!

I totally don't get that, though. I have some friends (and a big sister) who are adamant about not having kids and I commend them for knowing that they shouldn't. I don't want people having kids who don't really want them. I don't have any reaction at all unless I feel like people are judging ME, thinking I'm lame because I don't go to the movies anymore and I'm always racing home from work to be home in the evening with my cuties.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I agree that I feel people should never have children who don't want them. It's a hard enough gig when you do.

I do admit to always being surprised when I hear someone say it. Not so much a "they are selfish" thought but more in a way of not being able to wrap my head around it. I always wanted kids and I think the majority of people want to have children so it just seems out of the norm so to speak but like Kim...I don't say it and I squash that feeling down because it's judgey.

I also seem to accept it more from people in their late 20s and into their 30s vs teenagers and early 20 people...only because I know how much I changed during my teen years and early 20s that I don't know if those feelings will last for them. They very well may but I think you are still forming your adult self that not wanting kids may change.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"Jessica80" wrote:

I do admit to always being surprised when I hear someone say it. Not so much a "they are selfish" thought but more in a way of not being able to wrap my head around it. I always wanted kids and I think the majority of people want to have children so it just seems out of the norm so to speak but like Kim...I don't say it and I squash that feeling down because it's judgey.

I think thats it for me...i can't relate to it at all, i don't understand it. And the explanations, when given, i don't know, i can't understand them either. I really can't put my finger on it. So its hard for my rational side to kick in and say "hey, you don't need to understand it"

And i absolutely 100% agree that people who don't want children shouldn't have them because its expected of them. That would be awful.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I cant believe this is even something that is a topic? I am guessing the people that choose not to have children must feel very judged and it has become an issue?

I dont think I judge people, but when I encounter people that dont want kids I do have a reaction. It just takes me a minute to comprehend it.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I think they are judged.. I see it among women more than men when it comes to mother's day.. or baby showers. Especially for those that are not necessarily CFBC but chose not to adopt when they couldn't physically have children.
It is a deep issue (tender) for some of these women especially.
It is the same feeling I think that I have seen with people who are unmarried.. who can't find someone to commit to.. The long time single people in their 40s that want to be married but haven't found someone.

I do think some segments of society feel pity upon women that do not have children.. I haven't seen the similar "pity" for men. Men get the oh so sorry.. when they get "tied down".. etc.

I do not think it is a huge issue, especially since the Women's Rights Movement has come along.. people do not put all their worth onto if they have children, what gender they are, how many they have etc.. One's legacy.. especially a Man's was his sons.. A woman who wasn't allowed to own property needed to have sons to survive.. unless a family member took care of her... Historically since most societies have been patriarchal has been the issue... caring for widows is even addressed in religious texts.

Children are viewed very differently now.. in American society.. some of that is good.. and some I think is not so good.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I can completely understand why people would choose not to have kids...it doesn't seem strange to me at all! It's all about the kind of life you want and the level of responsibility you want. It does not seem weird to me in any way to make that choice.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I don't judge people who don't have kids. Before I had kids, I felt like part of me was unfulfilled and it was filled by my kids. If they don't have that, then I think it is great they find something else they are passionate about.

2 of my CFBC (mid 30s) friends have said that while they are convinced they don't want kids, their biggest fear is being 53 and wishing they had them. They get asked all the time about kids (one is married, one is single) but I don't think single guys get the same amount of hassle.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

My sister gets hassled sometimes...she said that when someone asks her bluntly, "Why don't you have kids?" she sometimes just wants to say, "I can't!" and pretend to cry because it's so rude when someone who doesn't really know her asks. She & her husband are so happy in their lives the way they are....makes total sense to me!

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

I do think people are judged who do not have children. Someone on my FB just posted a total rant about how people treat them because they do not want children. I do not think it is a religious issue, but more of a lifestyle issue. Most all of my friends either have children or do not have children because they can not, or are single. I do not have any friends who just do not want children, but I would not, not be friends with someone for that reason. I just do not happen to know anyone that fits into that category.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I still find all this surprising. I have a lot of friends who don't have kids because they don't want them. They are pretty happy!

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I think that like any minority they absolutely are judged on occasion- or subjected to stupid or thoughtless comments or assumptions. I have a few friends who choose to be child free - they have awesome lifestyles that I feel a twitch of envy for on occasion. I've always known I wanted kids but what other people want doesn't bother me in the least- I understand it even if I felt differently.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I honestly don't get why anyone else would care (other than maybe their parents and siblings) whether anyone else wants to have kids. If my neighbor or coworker or whoever doesn't want kids, how is that any skin off of my nose? I also agree that if someone feels that they don't want kids or can't handle kids, they shouldn't have kids. Good on 'em for knowing that about themselves.

Having said that, I will totally admit that I judge the Childless by Choice Movement. I've done a little reading on the topic and also had a CBC indentifying coworker, and I found them to be over the top nasty towards kids and parents. My coworker would freely complain that she hated seeing kids in public in totally normal places to see kids (like the grocery store) regardless of their behavior. I have also seen CBC people refer to mothers as "moos" who get "pignant" and "wombies" and what not. Gross. Way to dehumanize women by referring to them as animals and walking body parts. So I do admit that if some one tells me that they are childless, by choice, I don't judge, but if they tell me that they are Childless By Choice I do. I know I probably shouldn't judge all CBC people by the actions of some, so that's probably my bad, but that is my first reaction.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Having said that, I will totally admit that I judge the Childless by Choice Movement. I've done a little reading on the topic and also had a CBC indentifying coworker, and I found them to be over the top nasty towards kids and parents. My coworker would freely complain that she hated seeing kids in public in totally normal places to see kids (like the grocery store) regardless of their behavior. I have also seen CBC people refer to mothers as "moos" who get "pignant" and "wombies" and what not. Gross. Way to dehumanize women by referring to them as animals and walking body parts. So I do admit that if some one tells me that they are childless, by choice, I don't judge, but if they tell me that they are Childless By Choice I do. I know I probably shouldn't judge all CBC people by the actions of some, so that's probably my bad, but that is my first reaction.

I have never heard of this. There's a movement?

I think it's okay to judge people who join a movement. Smile

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Yea, they are to the child free what PETA is to vegetarians.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I had a woman that identified with CFBC movement call me a breeder. Didnt bother me, but I did have a moment of "what would she think if I called her by some of the names that are associated with not having kids?

And Melissa, I agree that minority issues do get judged. I have been judged for having 4 kids, for extended bfing, for having my kids in private school. I just dont feel like I have the time to be bothered by it

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

There is really a MOVEMENT?

Why don't people just not have kids and enjoy it? They aren't being deprived of any rights or anything....OY!

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

There is really a MOVEMENT?

Why don't people just not have kids and enjoy it? They aren't being deprived of any rights or anything....OY!

That's what I'm saying. Don't want kids? Don't have kids! But what is there to "move" about? :shrug:

But yeah. There is a movement. One that swirls with some serious animosity on the edges.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

From what I've read they are "moving" about the three million sad faces over the course of their 30's on when they get when they tell people they don't have kids. The whispers of "oh are they infertile?". The way that they have to explain or justify their choice. The constant "So how many kids do you have" assumption at cocktail parties. The strange obsession with over breeding a la dugger or kate gosselyn and TV fame. The strange obsession with faux parenting a la kardashians (Kim is the BEST Mom! Kanye is an AMAZING dad scream headlines on day three of North Wests life........and don't even get me started on the inanity of the celeb names....when one steps back and looks at it all objectively ~ and at how HUGE segments of American's are lapping it all up, glued to every celeb bump and name and royal baby.........its totally ridiculous and almost nauseating) ........ And as Lisa even mentioned......she immediately had assumptions or stereotypes leap to her mind about someone who chose to be childless. We can pretend that they don't exist (career obsessed, selfish, emotionally wounded, etc etc) but they do.

All of that crap, I bet.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I'm going to start a movement for people who don't know how to dress like grown-ups. Us jeans-and-sneaker-and-striped-t-shirt-wearing people need a movement! I'm tired of watching people compliment other people on their fashion choices while they ignore me!!!!!!!!

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I'm going to start a movement for people who don't know how to dress like grown-ups. Us jeans-and-sneaker-and-striped-t-shirt-wearing people need a movement! I'm tired of watching people compliment other people on their fashion choices while they ignore me!!!!!!!!

OMG, how did you know waht i was wearing today!?!? Can i join your movement.

To be fair i had flip flops on, not sneakers. And i had a hoodie on over my striped t-shirt because its chilly out. Can i still join?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"Potter75" wrote:

From what I've read they are "moving" about the three million sad faces over the course of their 30's on when they get when they tell people they don't have kids. The whispers of "oh are they infertile?". The way that they have to explain or justify their choice. The constant "So how many kids do you have" assumption at cocktail parties. The strange obsession with over breeding a la dugger or kate gosselyn and TV fame. The strange obsession with faux parenting a la kardashians (Kim is the BEST Mom! Kanye is an AMAZING dad scream headlines on day three of North Wests life........and don't even get me started on the inanity of the celeb names....when one steps back and looks at it all objectively ~ and at how HUGE segments of American's are lapping it all up, glued to every celeb bump and name and royal baby.........its totally ridiculous and almost nauseating) ........ And as Lisa even mentioned......she immediately had assumptions or stereotypes leap to her mind about someone who chose to be childless. We can pretend that they don't exist (career obsessed, selfish, emotionally wounded, etc etc) but they do.

All of that crap, I bet.

Okay, I agree that they probably get crap sometimes, and that gets annoying I'm sure. I absolutely agree that people can get all up in your business about stuff that shouldn't be any of their concern like your reproductive choices. Between when I had T and when I had Reid, I had a lot of people who didn't know me well asking "So when are you going to have another one?" with a big smile on their faces while I was dealing with losses and health problems and not knowing if I even could have another one. So I sympathize with the sentiment that we should all stay off each other's backs about things that aren't any of our business. I blame old ladies. Biggrin Old ladies looooove to ask prying questions about your major life decisions "when are you getting married? when are you having kids? when are you having another kid?..." Stay off my back Old Ladies! LOL

But, really, is the occasional overly personal question that we all kind of get worth a whole movement?

Also, I have to say that when you choose a lifestyle that is outside of societal norms, you kind of have to just chin up and accept that you're most likely still going to encounter that norm as part of your day to day life. I say this as an atheist who hears people talking about religion and god all of the time. If got all pissy every time someone mentioned their church or said Happy Easter or whatever, I'd be pretty miserable. Having kids is the norm for most people, so people talk about it. It's not done to intentionally ice out the childfree (most of the time) any more than people who casually mention going to church when they talk about their weekend plans are intentionally trying to exclude me.

Haha, having typed all of that, I realized that atheism IS a movement, so...errr....well....someone has to stand up for the separation of state and church, dagnabit!!!! OUR movement is important....or something.

It's late in the afternoon and I haven't been sleeping well lately. It's tough being a moo. Biggrin