this is probably the best newborn photo shoot i’ve ever seen, and the only kind that wouldn’t make me immediately unfollow my friends on facebook. more of this type of thing please, friends!
Archive for the ‘childfree’ Category
i’ll be honest. i love the fact that the media are getting in on the childfree discussion. however, take, for example, this article, 12 women who have the best response to society’s biggest expectation. it’s so cute how they pretend to understand and try to portray the childfree-friendly side of things, but i worry that they’re contributing to the whole us-them paradigm. the whole point of the blogging about being childfree thing is to emphasize the fact that it is what it is. no excuses needed. no reasons need to be given. no justifying the choices.
and then these articles come along that demand that childfree women have the most articulate, or humourous, or clever response at the ready. i say enough with the relentless expectations. no kids, no explanation. it is what it is.
and as if that isn’t bad enough, people like jennifer anniston takes us steps backwards with the argument that some of us are ‘still mothering’ even if it’s just a or a dog or cat or someone else’s kid. jennifer, some of us do not mother at all. and that is fine with us.
I just came across this old post on a
friend’s girl i used to know’s facebook page. she argued that the article, being a mom has made me a bad friend was basically rubbish and everyone who agreed with it could “F off”… oh, and to all her besties who gave stuck it out with her, she’s got their back.
here’s the rub. moms like that say they’re the same, and that they’d do anything for their friends at the drop of a hat. translation: you must make yourself available within a 45 minute window in the mid-morning. don’t expect phone calls. and if you phone her, don’t expect her to remember anything about a single thing that’s going on in your life. even major life events or milestones. and forget about calling in the middle of the night for help solving a problem; the phone is turned off promptly half an hour before bedtime. and if, by some great miracle, she does manage to find a way to “have your back” you’d better understand that it comes at the tremendous cost of the expectation that you will babysit at the most inconvenient time for you, repeatedly, until she feels the debt has been repaid.
this is why my friend circle is currently in flux. friends with kids: it was a good run while we were young and you were fun. but now I need to find someone my age who still knows how to be a good friend. because friendship can’t be one-sided.
so you know every mother who tries to talk you into having kids of your own? you know, the ones who say trite things like, ‘you’ll never know real love until you have one of your own,’ or, ‘it’s the best thing i’ve ever experienced!’? this campaign is here to prove them wrong. as if we needed it. do not ever believe them as long as you live. the things these mothers say are some of the most depressing things you may ever hear (go ahead… fill your boots. but don’t say i didn’t warn you…).
i find this one the saddest of all (quite frankly, it breaks my heart):
i’ve always loved the oatmeal. but lately i’ve realised just how much.
it isn’t too often, but now and then he throws out a gem for those of us who just don’t want to hold other people’s babies, those who frequently run into mothers who just can’t understand why we wouldn’t want one of our own, and those who know the grim reality of life after babies.
so thank you, matthew inman, for sharing my thoughts in a way i never could without getting a dirty diaper in the face. you’re all right.
this cbc article showed up in my google alerts last week. you may have read it. in case you haven’t, let me summarize the situation for you:
- neighbours are less than impressed about noisy kids in neighbourhood.
- neighbours write anonymous letter asking parents to have them limit outdoor screaming time.
- parents deeply offended, public outrage ensues.
there are so many things wrong about this story and not a single one has anything to do with the letter writer.
- the mother can’t believe that the letter writer wouldn’t just come and talk to her in person. ha. i can believe it. could you imagine the wrath she would bring down on this anonymous letter if she knew who it was? the mother tried to track them down by knocking on every door in the neighbourhood ffs! no, mothers like this are best treated with a great deal of distance.
- is it too much for a homeowner to expect to be able to enjoy their property in peace? i know, it can’t be quiet all of the time. but how about being able to enjoy a space the majority of the time? i have no doubt they were over the moon when the school year started up again.
- enough with the playing up adhd for sympathy. i know i risk taking a lot of heat for this one but come on. your kids are hyper because you probably feed them too much crap food and everyone around you is supposed to suck it up and be sympathetic to your situation?
- this line: ‘she has used the letter to remind her kids to be respectful of their neighbours, and as an example of how not to deal with a problem.’ at first i read it incorrectly. i thought that ‘being respectful of their neighbours’ meant that the mother would encourage her children to play more quietly. ha nope. i guess these children have learned a valuable life lesson: if you have something to say, you’d better bring it right to the person’s face. three cheers for fisticuffs.
judging by the public outcry of of support for these parents, i’ve reconsidered writing a letter of my own to my noisy neighbours just yet…
a few months ago i interviewed diane curtis (many thanks to her for her patience and good humour). if you like what she has to say, visit her website or follow @DianeECurtis on twitter for social media industry news, general geekery, random snark, a bunch of steampunk stuff, and the UFC (because life is just one big ass-whoooping contest, you may as well watch it on tv, too).
me: when did you realise you officially didn’t want to have kids?
diane: I’ve always been sort of ambivalent about children. I’ve never been one to gush over babies. I don’t find them particularly interesting or even attractive; they kind of freak me out. I’m an only child and an only grandchild on one side and youngest of 11 on the other. There weren’t a lot of children around me growing up. Honestly, most of my “playmates” were people my grandparents’ age. So, I was never really exposed to children and had a hard time relating to them in school. They seemed loud, silly, brutish, undignified. I just wanted to go home and quietly play Scrabble and drink tea with my REAL friends.
There were times in my life when I entertained the idea (before my wedding and in the first couple years of marriage) of having children, but it never felt right for me, and I struggled with it. I think my husband never took me seriously when I told him I didn’t want children. He always thought that some day that biological clock would start ticking and the baby lust would set in. There were certainly other reasons, but this was the primary cause for our divorce.
Which is really unfortunate, because the other issues were minor and we could have worked them out. But the question to have kids or not is one that is non-negotiable, and there is no meeting someone halfway. You either do or you don’t. And if you do, you commit yourselves fully to it. I couldn’t, and we loved each other enough to let each other go. That was my defining moment, I think. Sacrificing my marriage in favor of being Childfree was the point of no return. I would regard it as a betrayal if I were to turn around and have a child with someone else.
me: how has being childfree shaped your relationships (romantic or friendships)?
diane: I actively seek out friends who do not have children, do not want children, or have already “done their duty for God and Country” and their children are now grown. In some cases, I’m close friends with both the parent and the adult child.
Romantically, it has been amazingly smooth sailing. Before my marriage, I had my fair share of boyfriends but none of them were really serious. Most of the men I dated were quite relieved to know I wasn’t hot to get married and have kids. I think they regarded me as something of a unicorn in the dating world.
After my marriage ended, I dated “smart.” I had a couple casual relationships with men I had known for quite a long time (one was even a friend and co-worker of my ex’s and he actually helped bring the two of us together) and so they knew my history. They knew about the “kid issue” and also that I was firmly committed to NOT marrying again.
My boyfriend now is simply amazing. He is the love of my life, and I am his. I’m an extremely introverted, private person and I hold sacred my independence. So does he. And yet we’re constantly around each other like two peas in a pod. We’re both Creatives and work from home; we even share studio space. And yet there is no tension, for while we may share physical space, we allow each other the emotional and intellectual breathing room we both need.
We’re also amazing together – professionally and personally. We collaborate on a lot of projects (he’s a web designer and front end developer; I’m a social media and digital marketing strategist) and the chemistry is amazing. Our creative processes are very well matched.
The best part is he is as committed to living Childfree as I am. Perhaps more so, because he has actually taken the necessary medical steps to ensure he remains “not the daddy!” And, while he would love to marry me someday and likes to bring it up to gleefully watch me squirm sometimes, he respects my view on the matter and is totally fine with us just being together. Because that’s what really matters.
me: a lot of women aren’t taken seriously (‘oh, you’re young yet… you’ll change your mind’). what would you tell a younger you, or a young woman who’s currently struggling with being taken seriously on the childfree topic?
diane: Stand your ground. It is tempting to laugh or shrug off such comments because it’s easier. Conflict is hard. Standing up to other’s expectations of you is not only brave, but necessary. You owe it to yourself to be honest and loyal to your true feelings. I would tell the person – whether it’s a stranger on the street, or your fiance’s pushy aunt – that they need to keep their opinions to themselves. Don’t presume to know what is best for me. I know myself and my own mind better than you ever will. Someone needs to do an Infographic with Childfree Bingo on top, and then Responses to Childfree Bingo on the bottom. Maybe I should do that…
me: you work as a consultant; do you feel like your childfree status or views could have a detrimental impact on your ability to land new clients or contracts?
diane: Quite the opposite, actually. I work from home, so maintaining professional space is important to me. I’m sure you’ve been on that late-night conference call where there’s a screaming baby in the background. I am proud to say that will never be me! And when I’m on a call where that happens, I’m the first to speak up and insist the clueless parent move locations.
I also tend to pick clients who support Childfree Living. I don’t have clients who are conservative, religious, or child-focused. I would most likely decline those accounts, because our views would not line up. I wouldn’t be at my best and would struggle to write with their voice, promote their views, or get excited about their project/product/service.
me: what have you accomplished that you wouldn’t have been able to if you were a parent?
diane: I started college right out of high school, but withdrew half-way through my junior year. After I got married, I returned – at age 27 – to finish. I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in the History of Philosophy and was an Honors Scholar. I made the Dean’s and President’s Lists several semesters and was inducted into a handful of Honor Societies. I then went on to earn, with honors, a Master of Theological Studies in Islamic Studies from an internationally ranked university. While pursuing my graduate degree, I also took – by invitation from the professors – some PhD classes and worked as an adjunct instructor and research assistant. None of that would have been possible with children. Or it at least would have been very very difficult.
me: one of the things i’m struggling with is being at an age where my friends are all having babies. do you have many friends who are childfree? or do you have to accommodate families in your social time?
diane: Most of my close friends, who are local, are at least 13 years my senior – and I am 37. So, their child-rearing days (if they had them) are now firmly behind them. As I have always been more comfortable around older people, it is the ideal arrangement for me.
Through the magic of Facebook, I have reconnected with many old college friends and through that medium we have grown quite close. Closer than we were in college, actually. And many of them now have children. Ironically, I absolutely love seeing pictures of their kids and their posts about the ups and downs of child-rearing, the joys and triumphs, the epic fails, the heartache, the heartburn. But these aren’t your typical nightmare Facebook parents – the ones you often write about and I find absolutely hilarious! I do have a few of those on my Friend List, but I long ago banished them from my News Feed. No, these women are different. So much cooler than that. I went to the oldest women’s college in the world, and it’s the kind of place that attracts extraordinary girls and graduates extraordinary women. Many of those women have since become kickass mothers raising super-cool kids.
me: do you actively avoid places where you know there’s a good possibility of crowds of kids and families (or am i the only one)?
diane: Like a ship full of Plague-ridden rats. Next question?
me: i’m sure know the answer but i have to ask this one – any regrets?
diane: Not at all. There was a time I struggled with this decision – the time I was trying to save my marriage – but with the perspective of a few years now, I know how terribly unhappy I was then. I wasn’t just trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, I was trying to reshape myself. That’s not healthy and it never ends well. Looking back at where I was then and how far I’ve come since, I wouldn’t change a thing, not even the darkest days. With where I am now in my life, in my career and with my true partner and other self, I am finally, completely, at peace.
this guy came over yesterday to buy something we had posted online. he was young, engaged, and had a kid. we just met this guy and one of the first things he said was, ‘i have a kid. i’m not going to lie. it sucks.”
well, straight from the donkey’s mouth.