The Childfree Culture

Recent online “bashing” of the Childfree has morphed into a “why bother” or “what’s the point” mentality as more parUNts have “joined” the, ahem, conversation[1].

“Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…a Very Good Place to Start”

If you haven’t read my Parent-to-Childfree spectrum, check it out. Here are the basics:

  • Parent – both a noun and a verb. Parents (n) wanted to have children and parent (v) them well.
  • Childless – someone who wants kids, but can’t have them
  • Childfree – someone who doesn’t want kids, not now, not ever

But What’s the Point?

Just like parents want to find families with kids the same age(s) for playdates and socializing, childfree people want to find friends with commonalities, too. Because of their schedules and the time it takes to properly care for children, it is difficult to be friends with parents. They simply don’t have time to be friends. When they do spend time with friends, it’s usually with the ones with kids so they are killing two birds with one stone. They almost never go to the trouble to hire a sitter to spend quality adult time with their childfree or childless friends. In addition, it’s heartbreaking to lose a close friend to the burdens of parenting. As childfree people, we have all been there and miss those friends terribly. In turn, we seek friends who won’t do that to us again….we seek friends who don’t ever want kids.[2]

Is that really so crazy to believe? ..that we just want to be around people like us?

Apparently, it is.

There are several parUNts out there (the three nasties claim to hail from Alabama or Mississippi, London, and Australia) who troll the #childfree tag just to pick fights and argue that it’s not “our” word/tag. So, here are my I-don’t-Tweet-these responses:

  1. Get a life. Please go parent (v) your children.
  2. Um, yes it is too our word. It was our word for decades before Twitter and hashtags existed; hell, it was “our” word before I was born. We don’t troll #parenting. Have a little mutual respect. (Or at least some common freakin’ sense.)
  3. Read a book, the news, a blog, or something and get your head out of your ass. The world does not exist to pander to your offspring. You chose to have kids and claim they are the best things on Earth. If that’s really how you feel, then if I did chose to become a parent, you’d just be arguing with me that your kids are better than mine. Again, please just go away!
  4. Why do you care? I like knitting. I don’t get on #quilting threads and bash quilters. What business is it of yours if I do or don’t have kids? Why do you care that I don’t want them? Do you also seek out people who choose not to own a car and bash on them? Do you also hate vegetarians? Haters gonna hate, I guess.
  5. I don’t even want my own; I sure as hell don’t want to hear about yours….not after the “example” of a human being you’ve been.
  6. Grow up.
  7. I just want to read news stories, blog posts, jokes, etc. about/for the childfree culture. (and yes, we are a culture). That’s why I follow a tag called (amazingly!) #childfree. The fact that you’ve put your crotch trophy to bed is uninteresting and clogs the thread for good stuff. Yes, I have blocked and reported you for spam many times. So did many others. And, eventually, I stopped seeing most of your drivel.
  8. We are only seeking one tiny little corner of the Internet where we can gather. Is your life as a parent really so miserable that you have to impede on our tiny sliver of space?
  9. …and a constant loop of “fuck you!”

The Culture

So, what defines our culture, in general?

  1. Adult conversations. There is never any mention of pee, poop, or puke. Rarely is there any talk of kids at all….they aren’t part of our lives. That doesn’t mean we don’t love and adore young family members and our friends’ kids. But we don’t interact with them much, so it’s a rare part of our conversation with anyone.
  2. Spontaneity abounds. We can drop whatever we are doing and head out to Happy Hour without planning ahead of time for a sitter.
    (We did this on Tuesday with our friends Jeff and Judy. And, in 2009, we dropped our lives in BCS and moved to Austin without any cares about the time of year for kids/school, what school district we’d live in, or any safety/financial considerations of raising kids in a bigger city.)
  3. Simple living. We can live our own lifestyle. We can work the job we want/like because we don’t have to maintain the salary necessary to support children.
    (Though we still think we had the most amazing house in Bryan and wish we could have moved it with us to Austin, it turns out we didn’t like being home owners. We don’t like maintenance for the lawn, plumbing, roof, A/C, etc.  We have fallen in love with apartment living….and when a light bulb burns out, we simply let someone know that they need to come change it. If we had kids, we would need a larger place, a yard, etc.)
  4. Environmental. Some people choose to be childfree to minimize the impact on our dying planet. Most childfree people are good stewards to the planet by recycling, driving efficient cars, using minimal resources, etc.
  5. Well read. Childfree people delve into books and movies. And, because we aren’t watching the sproglet’s current favorite for the 842nd time, we engage not only in more books/movies, but also in better quality ones.
  6. Well Educated.
  7. Fun. We user our time to further our on hobbies and interests. On the weekends, we aren’t stuck at 1-year-old birthday parties, soccer tournaments, or dance recitals. During the week, we aren’t schlepping anyone (other than ourselves!) to practices and rehearsals.
  8. Technology not toys. We can have the latest/greatest gadgets.
  9. …and many, many more!

We are a culture just like any other group with something in common. It’s time for the “nasties” to learn to be polite and respectful; after all, they have young/impressionables at home.

[1] They haven’t really “joined” and it’s not really a “conversation”. They have mommyjacked (or daddyjacked) the #childfree tag on Twitter, inserted themselves into a conversation where they have no real business being, and have rudely scoffed at childfree people for making a different choice than they did. WTF and why do they care? We all wish they would go back to parenting (again, as a verb) their offspring.

[2] Living in Aggieland was the same way. Every year, we had a very tearful goodbye to dear friends. One year, we lost three in one week. Someone is always graduating or taking that next big career opportunity. They were ~daily parts of our lives. Then, suddenly, they were gone.

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