Childless Vs. Parents
There seems to be an ongoing war between childless and parents as evidenced by blogs and forums. Sometimes, they can get really nasty with everyone attacking the other. I can’t tell you who is worse. I almost laugh at some of the silly comments from both sides. The most fury comments come from the child-free-by-choice reacting to parents who attack their lifestyle.
Until the last decade or so, child-free was not an acceptable lifestyle. It still hasn’t quite caught on though it is making progress. Joy Behar aired a show back in 2010 about child-free by choice and you can imagine the backlash from the audience and viewers. Comments ranged from “who will take care of you when you are old” to “they don’t know what they are missing.”. It was obviously a foreign concept to most of the country.
Marriage and parenthood is the default lifestyle in the world. Anything else is seen as failure or selfishness. Especially women are made to feel less if they aren’t married and have children. It is almost as though having children are more essential than a steady relationship in which to raise them. If you decide to not have children, you constantly explain yourself. Married couples are even under greater pressure to have children because what married couple would not want children?
The number of intentionally childless people are increasing. Current stats reveal at least 10% in America and 7% in Canada are child-free by choice. These numbers could be greater but it is a rough estimate. Groups like ‘No Kidding” and “Child-free By Choice’ give support to those who decide not to have kids. They are making themselves known in a child-centric society.
Regardless, there is a great divide among parents and childless. These issues can range from workplace fairness to child-free flights. The childless feel parents get preferential treatment everywhere. The IRS seems to prefer parents by giving them generous tax breaks. Parents are quick to act defensive arguing how the childless don‘t understand the responsibilities.
I think the main problem is lack of understanding. If others took time to research reason why someone may not want children, it would be much better. As Is aid earlier, child-free by choice is a new concept. Regardless of choice, a little understanding goes along way. I can hardly blame someone when they want to enjoy a meal or flight without unruly children. It isn’t just this childless who feel this way.
A child may have their moments but it is the parts’ place to be sure the child doesn’t disturb anyone. No one should be expected to put up with the behavior. You may think I am mostly preaching to parents and, yes, I am, in a way. Parenthood isn’t entitlement nor does it make you a martyr. Some people do not care if you spend every waking hour cleaning up toddler messes , barely making ends meet, or juggling multiple kid activities. It has been done for years.
From the outside looking in, I feel the criticism come from not the person realizing they have choices or that choice isn’t as fulfilling as one thought. Most people have kids without a second thought because it is traditional. Stats who 2 out of three pregnancies are unplanned so that could explain things. It is understandable parents can get frazzled and overwhelmed but so can someone who feels condemned because their choice is not seen as politically correct. Then, some people cannot choose to have kids whether by fertility problems or chance.
My advice to parents is take a break. Hire a sitter and see a movie. Drop the kids off somewhere and spend a night at home alone. No one asked you to be martyr. My advice to the childless is not take all the comments seriously. Don’t freak out over screaming babies. We were all kids once. Everyone should think twice before commenting as you never know who is on the other side.