A childfree response to: “What I Don’t Get About My Childless or Childfree Friends”

A childfree response to: “What I Don’t Get About My Childless or Childfree Friends”

I recently stumbled across this article “Midlife Ramblings: What I Don’t Get About My Childless/Childfree Young Friends.” I was frustrated by the patronizing way in which it was written so I felt compelled to write a response.

Woman responding to a childfree article on her computer

The article is written in a typical ‘holier than thou’ way. It’s literally all the nonsense that childless / childfree people hear every day- I even thought perhaps it was a satire article but sadly it’s not.

The author (Ann Brenoff) basically admonishes anyone who doesn’t want children because she decided to have kids and it was “the best thing ever.” You know, since we all obviously come from the same backgrounds and strive for the exact same lives…

Her arguments about why the childfree are just making the worst choice are typical. I’ll be a ‘little’ kind because she did adopt her children which, in my opinion, is a rather noble way to become a parent if you want to parent. But I just can’t excuse the entire blatant attack she made on the childless / childfree lifestyle. Let’s deconstruct some of what she said:

“My issue with young people deciding not have children has far less to do with any societal obligations they may or may not have. It’s way more personal: Yes, you may count me among those dumb-clucks who worry that young people just don’t know what they’re missing and when and if they do realize it, it’ll be too late.”

Guess what. Some people have kids and then realize that they weren’t missing out. Why do you think so many children are in foster care (430,000) or have abusive/ alcoholic parents. I would much rather regret never having a child than regret having one. Also, why do you have an issue with what other people decide to do with their lives? Is their decision hurting you? No? Well move on.

“Child-free, on the other hand, reflects the choice of keeping the little ankle-biters at bay. As one child-free proponent wrote, she largely finds children annoying, would never intentionally harm them, but would prefer that they were kept at a distance and wishes her neighbors would stop attempting to foist them on her.”

I hate when people assume that the childfree don’t have children because they don’t like kids. Or when they purposely seek out hateful comments to paint us all with an evil brush. Yes some people don’t have children because they don’t like them, but many of us have other reasons. Much more far-sighted reasons. Reasons like a dying planet. Limited natural resources. No financial stability. Mental health or genetic disorders. No partner. No family support. The list goes on and on and on.

“I happen to agree that people who don’t want children should not have them. I’m delighted to wish you well on whatever road you take, but I do find myself stopping mid hand-wave and asking this question: Really? How can you be so sure?”

Actually you don’t agree. If you did you wouldn’t have followed that statement with a “really, are you sure?”. Thank you for the fake support.

“I think having kids is one of those things you should probably never say never about. What feels right today may not feel so right tomorrow.”

Could the exact same thing not be said about becoming a parent? Ask all those children of daddies who ran out on their family after deciding that “actually kids don’t feel so right tomorrow.” The difference is our choice isn’t inflicting emotional or physical damage on another human being.

“Parenting is a unique experience that stretches our capacity to show compassion toward others. It lowers our self-absorption level and requires us to put another’s needs ahead of of our own.”

I LOATHE this statement. There are childfree people running charity organizations, caring for their parents and grandparents, helping the poor and wounded etc. The fact that you had to have a child to have capacity to show compassion to others worries me. It worries me a lot. Also, the self-absorption comment grinds my gears every.single.time. Children are an extension of yourself and your family line. Investing in them is not showing less self-absorption. You’re essentially investing in your own future. I put other’s needs ahead of my own an awful lot, and I’m not doing it because those people may keep me out of a nursing home someday or keep me from getting lonely.

“Parenting, in my opinion, also presents us with the best opportunity to have our days on Earth count for something: Producing a child who can make us better as a civilization, turn us into a kinder and gentler nation. It is our last best-chance to make a difference and answer the question of why we are here. And no, we are not here to simply try every hip new restaurant or tweet about what we watch on TV.”

My days on Earth don’t count? What in the actual f*ck! First off, on behalf of all those women who wanted to have children but couldn’t- way to rub salt in the wound. Secondly, there’s a whole lot of children that don’t grow up to make us a better civilization.

I also don’t think I’ve ever read a more insulting line than “we are not here to simply try every hip new restaurant or tweet about what we watch on TV.” Who does this woman think she is? Who does she think we are? Does she actually think that’s what childfree people do with their lives? We are doctors, nurses, counselors, teachers, caregivers, entrepreneurs, run youth mental health lines, charities etc. Has she heard of Amelia Earhart, Issac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Rosa Parks, Oprah, Ellen…. How dare you suggest that our lives are so shallow and without meaning!

She finishes the article with the typical:

“My kids have forced me to become a better person… I believe that the very reason I came into existence was to launch these two children into happy, fulfilled lives. From them, great things will flow.”

I don’t know why society insists that we must have children to become a better person. What if I am a good person? What if I have people in my life that force me to be a better person? People that I didn’t have to make or bring into my life. I mean it’s fine that she believes her reason for existence was to launch two children into this world. But some of us have different reasons or bigger dreams. Like Rosa, Amelia, Issac…can you imagine if they thought their only reason to be here was to raise children.

So Ann, please stop and consider what you’re saying before you unabashedly judge an entire population of people. Your comments are not okay.