Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Meeting Another Child-free Person

Most people I work with know I'm child-free by choice as I am open about it if people ask.
There are a few people at work who don't have children, but most are single.  There are very very few people, like myself, in their late 30's, happily married and have no intention of having children and never have.

I was chatting to someone at work the other morning, when we were about to go home after a night shift.  In casual conversation, I asked, "Do you have children."  She said, "No, we never got around it it."  I asked her how old she was, she was the same age as me.  
I said to her, "We don't have children, either.  We don't want any." I am always honest.
I could almost see her eyes light up.
"Really?  Truth be told, we don't want any."
It was like the child-free flood-gates had opened.
She continued on about how she never wanted children, doesn't particularly like them and luckily has a partner who feels the same.  
As we walked to our cars, we chatted about how we loved our lives how they were.  How we loved our freedom, our lie-ins and our money.
We also discussed how society and people expect people, once they get married, to breed.  She explained how she avoids the "children" question, and that her family and people back home in her country (she's from the Philippines), are very child-centric.  I admired her for sticking to her beliefs and not breeding because other people expected her to.

This situation has happened a few times, when I've spoken to people who are around my age and don't have children.  At first people avoid the question until I am open and then they 'come-out'. Then it's a feeling of mutual joy and respect.

Honestly, what is the worst thing that could happen if we didn't breed?.....erm, nothing? 
We're not hurting anyone, we're not some right-wing intolerant religious nut-job. No wonder people don't often 'come-out' as child-free by choice judging by some people's reaction, so make excuses as to why they haven't had children.  Luckily, most people don't care if we have children or not, which is how I like it.  Many try to convert me to 'the other side' or question my motives, and I have also been accused of being 'militant' or a 'child-hater'  for daring to buck society's trend and having a mind of my own which doesn't revolve around breeding, and being open and honest about it.  How dare I have a mind of my own which isn't dictated to by my uterus?!  Some people who read this blog and others I have written would also accuse me of 'going-on' about it.  Well, I'll stop 'going-on' when you stop going on at me.

And NO, I don't worry I'll regret it.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Short blog: Is it better to be honest about being child-free?

Now I'm in my late 30's, I haven't been subjected to Child-free/breeder bingo in quite some time, but I am always prepared for it.
Children were the topic of conversation last night at work, and I was asked, "Do you ever want children?"
Now I'm always polite about it, after all, it is just conversation
"No, I'm not bothered."
I let out a barely audible sigh, thinking, "Here we go."
"Because I don't.  I'm not maternal."
"What does your husband think?"
"Same as me."

Then came the big-one.  The personal question that most people want to ask, but are afraid to.  Although it has happened a few times.
"What would you do if you got pregnant?"
I find this question slightly offensive, I mean, would I dare say anything about abortions to a Mum about her children?
Anyway, I replied, "Well, if you're going to ask such a personal question, I'd probably have an abortion."
Her, "Oh...." Then she looked down and started doing her paperwork again, changed the subject and started talking to someone else.

I've never had it yet, but I wonder if I'm ever going to get, "Have you ever had an abortion?"

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Patronising the Child-Free: LIVE

I stumbled upon this video on youtube today. It's Lorraine Kelly on her show, interviewing Vicky, a child-free woman. I thought it might be an interesting interview about her choice. (I say 'choice' as that what it is).
They initially start to chat about Cameron Diaz being child-free by choice and how Diaz says that women don't 'come-out' saying they don't want children as they are afraid of being shunned by society.
Apart from the slight look of disdain from the start on the presenters face, I didn't have to wait long for the patronising remarks to start.

And there it is, 90 seconds in, Lorraine offers the little gem, "I wasn't particularly maternal until I was pregnant." Yawn!! Really? I've never heard that one before! And then, "You never know", with a patronising wink.

Then we quickly move onto speaking to the "Mum of 4", where Lorraine and a drab looking Mummy, Lucy, start to bleet on how lovely it all is being a yummy mummy etc etc. How it's a "fun, magical world". How you learn more patience and are less selfish.

OH, PLEASE! Give us a break! So, by default, I am more selfish because I don't conform and can make up my own mind?

But why do we need to interview a parent as well? Why does she need to be there? Do they need her there, just in case the child-free woman suddenly whips out a baby and starts eating it with a knife and fork? Because we all openly despise children, don't we, us child-free people.
Why can't we just hear from the child-free woman and her life, but no, we are treated to most of the interview being monopolised by two mum's who obviously think a woman's role is to become a breeding machine.

Then we get to Lucy, who says, "Having children is a common bond," and that when someone says they don't want children, she "automatically says why don't you want children?" and that she "wheels her children out........because they are missing out on something."

What problem does Lucy have with people who chose not to have children? And why does she feel the need to convert us? It's not as if there is a population crisis in the world, and that the human race is going to die out. More importantly, what business is it of hers? How would she feel if Vicky started to harass her about her decision? "Why did you have children? Do you ever regret it?" etc etc.

What could have been a good interview, turned into two women patronising another, with words and statements us child-free folk have all heard before from friends, family and colleagues.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Child-Free in a Nutshell

Sleepless nights. No money. No lie-ins. No 'me' time. No peace and quiet. No freedom. Screaming babies. Toddler tantrums. Nappies. Baby sick. Breast feeding. Weaning. Constant worrying. Expensive holidays at peak time. Babies on planes. Toddlers on planes. Allergies. Teenagers. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. Sex. No sex. Eating dinner far too early. Constant moaning. Constant complaining. Teenage tantrums. Bad behaviour. Constant interruptions. Rude children. Ingratitude. Paedophiles. Too many cars. Sensible car. Drugs. Teenage pregnancy. STD's. Expensive designer children's clothing. Constant demands. Carbon footprint. Overpopulation. Crap TV. Crap music. Postman Pat. Health of baby. Health of child. Accidents. You must do this. You must do that. Labour. Labour complications. Morning sickness. No soft cheeses, no rare meat, no shellfish. No wine. Pregnancy. Pregnancy complications. Episiotomies. Tearing. Pain. Sore nipples. Saggy tits. Saggy belly. Wrinkles. Arranging baby sitters. No spontaneity. Need a bigger house. Need a garden. Can't afford this. Can't afford that. Watch your language. Watch your behaviour. Worry. Worry. Worry. Bullying at school. School exams. University. Grandchildren. Babysitting grandchildren. Selfish children. Selfish adults. Still living at home at 25. Still living at home at 30. Death.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Militant Child-Free?

It's been a few weeks since I've been 'bingoed' about being child-free face to face. But it happens reasonably regularly on twitter, where I dare to retweet or post something about my personal choice.

I've been accused of many things, one of which is that I am "militant" about being child-free. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "militant" as an adjective means "favouring confrontational or violent methods in support of a political or social cause".
Well, I'm not violent, nor would I regard myself as "confrontational". If you ask me in conversation if I have children, I say "no, we're child-free by choice". Some people are positive about it, saying "don't blame you" or words to that effect, some people couldn't care less. Unfortunately, many people start to assume a few things;

(a) That I hate children (b) That I hate parents (c) That I am militant or confrontational because I have the audacity to answer a question they asked, honestly.

I don't hate children and I don't hate parents. I do seriously dislike ill-behaved, noisey rude children and bad parenting, and I do hate nosey-parkers who then think it is their business to try and convert me.

I was accused of being confrontational by a follower on twitter a short while ago, because my status says "child-free by choice". This person then said that I deserved criticism because of it. When I replied saying that some people have "mum of 3 kids" on their profile, does this mean they are a "confrontational" or "militant"? Does they then deserve criticism because of it? What is the difference? Of course, no answer was forthcoming from my accuser.

There are some confrontational child-free people on twitter who I follow. These people verbally attack people who are parents, or attack people who use the hash tag #childfree. Personally, I use the hashtag and there are always interesting comments there and some interesting links to articles and blogs. But I couldn't care less who uses it, I get more irritated by tweeters who think the hashtag is their property and waste the timeline to tell everyone or argue about it. It's just a hashtag people. As for the trolls; I wish people would just ignore them.

I can see why people become militant or confrontational about being child-free. People do think it's their business to tell you how WRONG you are not to have children, that you're a freak, not a 'real' woman, that 'children complete you' and that you'll regret it, that you're biological clock is ticking, that you'll 'change your mind'. They ask 'who will look after you when you're old?' , 'why did you get married?', 'what about your husband, what does he think?' and I've even been asked (on more than one occasion), "What would you do if you actually got pregnant?" Yes it actually does get that personal.

When this kind of verbal abuse goes on for year on year, I can see why people get defensive about it - I know I do sometimes. I used to avoid the questions, now I just tell people honestly. Well, if they're going to ask personal questions, they get an honest answer. If they don't like it, they'll just have to lump it.
Now I'm in my late-30's, people seem to be badgering me a lot less, as if they've finally got the message that I'm not going to change my mind. It still happens from time to time and you can guarantee, they'll not say anything I haven't heard before. Now I get accused of "going on about it" if I dare mention it in conversation or if I answer honestly. Luckily, most of the time, people don't mention it, and that's the way I like it. After all, being child-free is my default setting.

It seems sometimes, that I cannot win, but at least I get to have a long lie-in at the weekend.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Short Story of the Day: New Present for the Newly Weds - A Palace All of Their Own!

After we paid millions for their wedding; the happy couple, William & Kate now get to chose a mega-palace of their own, also paid for by the tax-payer, with it's own set of staff.

"We want THAT one!" They both said, opting for Kensington Palace as their "base". Being used to the best for doing very little real work, as was Wills birth right, one palace isn't obviously enough, this will only be their base.

"Oh, but it's in such a state of disrepair." said Wills.

"Don't worry." said the Queen, "Granny won't expect you to stay in a grotty place like the peasants do. Even though I am one of the richest people in the world, I'll allocate some of the tax payers money that could be used for the NHS to repair it for you! After all, we don't use the NHS. Economic crisis? What economic crisis?"

"Good idea, Granny." They both said, "In the mean time, we can take several holidays they can also pay for, because the stress of choosing a palace has been over-whelming.....but won't the peasants get a bit fed-up of us?"

"They may start to," said the Queen, "But there is something you can do."

"What is it Granny?"

"Well, there you know you're most important role, Kate?"

"Yes, Granny, " began Kate, "It's shaking the hands of important people AND peasants. I have to remember it's very hard, very important work, so I have to be well paid for it."

"No, that's not the most important job."

Kate thought some more, "I have to con people into thinking I'm a courageous lady by doing two hours work of cuddling babies a year and patronise their parents. I have to remember that people will compare me to Saint Diana."


Then Kate suddenly remembered, and Will spoke for her, "In the next few months, just as people start to get bored with us, your role begins."

Kate started to jump up and down with glee, "Oh yes, I'm to become the newest Royal Breeding Machine!" she exclaimed with joy.

"Yes," said the Queen with a grin, "With only 7 billion people on the planet, what the world and this country needs is another Consumer. Not your average consumer, but a very special consumer whose carbon footprint we don't even have bother trying to off-set! One that does absolutely nothing except go on holiday in it's own private jet!"

"Hurrah!" They all cried.

"There is one thing, " the Queen said, "If it's not a boy, you can fuck off."

I even made a short, amusing cartoon about it.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Generic Bland Pop, Westlife, Reality Checks and Amusing Tweets

Today we had the great news that Westlife had split up. Yes, a small victory for the war against dull generic bland pop is being celebrated.
If you're reading this, and you're a devastated fan, give yourself a slap around the face and get over it. You've got all their back catalogue and twenty "best of" albums to bore yourself to death with. As Oscar Wilde said, Westlife were, "Both original and good. Unfortunately, the original stuff wasn't good and the good stuff wasn't original." And that's putting it mildly. Yes, they were popular; but so is malaria.
To be fair to Westlife, they aren't the only band (and when I say "band", it is a loose term, as they didn't exactly play any instruments, so I prefer the term "group") who are dull. The charts are dominated by bland, generic pop. But I suppose Westlife could sing a bit, but as that was what they were - a group of singers - I would hope they could. So in a very real term, they were Kings of Bland. And apparently, they mimed anyway, which in my opinion is a real insult to their fans when they can't even be bothered to sing.

Twitter, as per usual, is full of devastated fans. I actually started to read the hashtag line, and couldn't believe how many adults are reacting to this as if it's a world disaster. Personally, I think anyone over the age of 16 and is "devastated" needs to give themselves a slap in the face and a reality check. I just wish demented fans would react to world hunger, war and other real problems the world faces with such gusto. I can sort-of understand why children liked them and are upset, but adults? Come on! Get over it.
But who cares about kids in Africa starving to death? Westlife have split up!!

The one saving grace is that it has led me to amusing 'tweets' and to compile ones of my own.

A couple of tweets of the day include:

@ James Blunt, Britney Spears and are on a sinking ship. Who gets saved? The world of music.

@ make statement about splitting up. One of them read the statement, two of them mimed it & the other guy just looked bewildered.

@ Today just got better, are splitting up! Make sure you do this right fella's don't follow take that's example.