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.


  1. Thank you for this, very good. I used to get, "When you find the right man, you'll want them." To which I would reply, "When I find the right man, he won't want them either, that's why he'll be the right man." It is funny/ridiculous how people think oh it's just a phase and you'll come to your senses and change your mind. Sigh.

  2. Thanks Rhonda. I've been asked, "What does your husband think?...What if HE wanted children?" etc etc. YAWN.

  3. "What would you do if you actually got pregnant?"
    I had an abortion at age 41.

    1. Good for you, critter. Thanks for being honest and sharing that. I know it's what I would do.