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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:48 pm 
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I think plenty of us came to veganism for the reason that it was what we thought was right and ethical and all the identity changes, all the inconveniences...that was just what we were willing to go through for what was right. If veganism was just about the identity change, I wouldn't have chosen it.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:01 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I guess I've always taken that to mean that in a very real sense when the baby starts screaming, you're supposed to look after it and feed it and stuff. And it'll need changes and feedings and waterings all the time and then when they get mobile you have to watch them so they don't hurt themselves meanwhile trying to teach them what danger means and so on. And right from wrong. And this goes on for years. I mean, after being by myself a while, I think that would be a pretty big change in my life to be that responsible for another creature, to be charged with civilizing another human being. I have a seventy-year-old colleague with nearly fifty-year-old children and she told me given a choice, she wouldn't repeat motherhood because, as she put it, even when they're grown, she's never free of worrying about them even though they've been married, divorced, have their own children. For her, worrying about them as her children never ends.


And this is something I'd think about, what if they killed someone? What if someone killed them? Obviously being responsible for another person is a really big deal and there are so many factors. Also, I think there is a lot of pressure from society, not only to have kids but to 'do things right'. You wouldn't ever let your kid drink out of a plastic bottle, walk home from school, eat junk food or a million things that people deem 'right'. Heaven forbid you let them explore for themselves or realize that there is no perfection.

I recently had a home alarm system company knock at my door, I said I wasn't interested. Closed the door. Second person from same company came a few minutes later and started asking things like "did I have kids?" because if I did have kids, I'd be terribly irresponsible to not have a home alarm system. Also, she tried to show me a phone app that showed all the 'sexual predators' in the area. Basically, it'd pull up the (publicly free) database to show sexual offenders. Of course I could've told her that most sexual offenders know their victim and although sure it may be something for someone to know if their neighbor is a 'sexual predator' but I think obsessing about sexual offenders in your area will just cause you to go insane. And of course if anyone cared, they could just go to the website, they don't need an app.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:05 pm 
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ameyfm wrote:
Quarantined wrote:
One thing I'm not particularly proud of, is that I am sometimes jealous of the attention that people (especially women) who have kids receive. Especially in my family- my cousin has two kids and my mom and aunt are always talking about her and the kids. Sometimes I feel slighted because they don't seem very interested in me or my life. Now that I type that out, it sounds extremely petty! haha


i don't think this is petty. I have a pretty rich life with a strong yoga practice and a nice relationship and teaching yoga and 4 pets... but somehow I feel like it can be hard to find people to talk about those things with in a meaningful way. Having and raising children is obviously one of the biggest deals ever in the lives of people who chose to do so - and so their experiences in parenting give them a way to talk and connect with other parents about meaningful ideas, big questions, and life-affirming joys. As a non-parent, I look for other ways to connect with people and build relationships... but I'm not saying it's always easy.


mrsbadmouth wrote:
It's not petty, I think that's true for a lot of families. No one wants to hear about our animals or hobbies or whatever. So it's either ask about work (or if you're moving, about that), and that's about it. That's actually One Reason I Am Terrified To Have Kids, I don't want people constantly up my butt asking me questions. I like being ignored!


You are both right, I think it is hard to find other ways to connect to people once they reach a certain stage of their lives. That is part of what makes choosing to not have children tough because you feel isolated from a lot of people at times. like at work, the safe topics are generally kids, pets and the weather. I'm pretty much left with the weather, since I'm not allowed any cats right now from my landlord (though as mrsbadmouth says people are not really that interested in your pets usually). And being ignored is actually a blessing in disguise, really, when i think about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:10 pm 
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I'm 32 and for the past 7-8 years I've known I want nothing to do wtih reproduction. I don't particularly enjoy the company of children and I like my life as it is too much to want to give up so much just to accomodate another person. I'd never do that for a partner, why would I do it for a child?
Everytime I talk with friends and colleagues who do have kids, my desire not to have any is reinforced. And reading the Playground is mostly an excercise in birth control by itself.
Luckily other than my mum nobody is pressuring me. My boyfriend thinks the same as I do (and so did the last one), so I foresee no issues in me continuing to enjoy my life childfree.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
Desdemona wrote:
jordanpattern wrote:
I think it's really, really telling that in a thread where the OP is specifically asking women without children for opinions, a high percentage of the people responding have children, and in some cases, are almost arguing with the OP. I feel like if that many childless women chimed in in a thread where a mother specifically asked other mothers for opinions, it would likely be considered disrespectful.

That is not to say that the mothers in this thread aren't entitled to their opinions, or that they don't have good, useful, thoughtful, wise things to say (they do, and I <3 them). It's just interesting that everyone apparently feels so comfortable commenting on this topic, even when the conversation was started by someone seeking the opinions of a specific class of peers.

Also, in before people point out that childless people do comment on mothers' issues all the time. I know, but that's not what's happening in this thread.
All of this makes perfect sense; lepelaar's analogy to the vegan pet peeves thread illustrates the point nicely. I'd just like to say that when I have weighed in here, it was in the interest of critical debate qua critical debate: I wanted to push back against what I saw as an inversion of the pressure people who don't want children feel from people who insist that they should, will, etc. Which is merely to point out what seems fairly obvious: that judging other people as "selfish," "irresponsible," or whatever for having children is objectionable in precisely the same way as saying those things about child-free people. I have always believed that it's A. terrible manners and B. unbelievably presumptuous to comment on other people's reproductive choices (and this is by no means limited to women; I know several childless men who've had vasectomies and dealt with the whole "but aren't you afraid you'll regret it later?" thing). I simply wanted to make the point that if the decision of child-free people are their own and no one else's business, the same rule should apply to the choices that are made by others.


Ayup.


I agree with you, Desdemona, (and you know I <3 you). My comment goes less toward the content of people's comments and more toward the fact that people from outside the class asked to contribute to the discussion by the OP are contributing, independent of WHAT they're contributing. I guess I pretty much agree with molasses jane above.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:28 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
This is Brian and I as well. Currently, we don't have kids simply because there hasn't been a good time. I didn't want to be alone with a baby while he was deployed, and since he's been out of the army we've been living with my father-in-law which is the last place I would want a baby running around. Things are gonna change soon, but will we have kids? I don't forking know. I could probably live without human offspring for the rest of my life just fine, but the idea of having kids doesn't make me recoil in terror either.

On the other hand, multiple people have told me not to have kids or assume we aren't ever having them just because, so I really want to pop out one spite baby. Or maybe I could just borrow a newborn and tell everyone that's why I got fat.

this is where we are, too, i think - minus being deployed and living with in-laws. but there just hasn't been a great time. i really like kids, but i'd be ok if we wound up not having any. my anxiety is super high and i freaked when we were going through the process of adopting our dog so i'm sure i would be a wreck if i had to look after a human for the rest of my life.

that said, most of my friends have at least a couple and i've never felt like we couldn't hang out or that i was being replaced. i love their kids and i love spending time with them and their kids. i mean, my friends' kids are basically just mini-my friends and that's awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:33 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
This is like the bachelorette meals thread, when people write in and talk about what they make with their partners.

Ha! So much.

and +1 Desdemona and Pat Benatar.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:44 pm 
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To return to the OP's point (and OP, where did you go? We'd love to hear from you): For myself, I think there is something particularly challenging about choosing not to have children, and being someone with a womb, and being in one's 30s. In your 20s, there is still (in the eyes of society) possibility--still that chance that you might change your mind (and that remains in your 30s and into your 40s too, of course, but usually with less verve). But the choice to have kids or not becomes more visible in your 30s as many people settle into couples and childbearing, and it spills over into the workplace, and personal life. I often feel like a circus freak as a thirtysomething childless single straight woman. I am surrounded by people--like some of the commenters above--who share their stories of how they were "transformed" by having children, even when they didn't want kids before. And I totally appreciate that and celebrate my friends and their happinesses, but I get tired of feeling looked down upon or with suspicion for my choice not to embark on that "transformation". And the way that many assume that I don't want kids because right now I'm single. The societal attitude about my choice to not have kids used to be "oh, it will happen", and now it's just quiet clucking and what sometimes feels like condescension. My family mostly leaves me alone, except my grandma and her comments like "oh, you're just a career gal!", and "some people are meant to be alone."

(What is it about single childless women that instills such skepticism and unease?)

Where I most feel it is at work. There, I am one of the very few straight women without kids. This effects hours, staying later, people getting lots of (fully necessary) leaves to take care of kids, people who assume I can stay late/take on particular things because I'm single and childless. I fully support my colleagues with children, but sometimes it feels a bit topsy turvy in terms of which personal choices are supported by the workplace, and which aren't. My workplace is falling all over itself to make it a better place for people with children, but what about other personal choices? I worry about when I need to take care of my mom, who has major health problems and lives in another state.

And then my biggest worries are that I will miss out on the experience of having a kid, and that I'm so curious as to what it might be like. And I worry I will get old and have no one to help care for me. But, as my wise parent friends have said, if those are the only reasons why I contemplate having a child, then I shouldn't. And I know they are right. I have an amazing goddaughter and some sparkling child friends, and one great loving dog. And I relish getting to travel the world and make my own schedule and future and getting to pour myself into my job that I love. Most often, I find myself able to really relish the advantages of not having kids.

Thanks to the OP for starting this important conversation.

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Last edited by molasses jane on Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:46 pm 
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[edited to fix double post]

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:10 pm 
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I also have a worry when I think about not having kids. Rather than worry about missing out on having kids, I worry that no one will want to have a partnership with me since I don't want to have kids - my desire to not have kids is another in the long list of things that makes me not fit the way femininity is "supposed" to be performed. And sometimes I feel bad about it, despite knowing it's absurd and I should do whatever I want.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:13 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
And then my biggest worries are that I will miss out on the experience of having a kid, and that I'm so curious as to what it might be like. And I worry I will get old and have no one to help care for me. But, as my wise parent friends have said, if those are the only reasons why I contemplate having a child, then I shouldn't. And I know they are right. I have an amazing goddaughter and some sparkling child friends, and one great loving dog. And I relish getting to travel the world and make my own schedule and future and getting to pour myself into my job that I love. Most often, I find myself able to really relish the advantages of not having kids.

Thanks to the OP for starting this important conversation.


I'm kinda curious about the expectation that childless people will have no one in the end, which is something that happens to a lot of parents too, children are no guarantee they'd be willing and able to support you in old age, and who knows? Maybe you'll get along just fine in your old age. My grandfather lived alone in his house til the day he died. We all visited and checked on him and helped out when he was sick, he was a loved man, but for the most part he was independent. And it wasn't just from blood relatives, he had a rich life, and a lot of friends from the Legion and the church and just around the community. God forbid we weren't there, I know he would have had help if something ever happened.

And childless doesn't mean totally childfree! I can't wait to be a fun aunt! Whether the kids come from a sibling or a close friend, I definitely foresee myself being involved in raising a child someday, just not as the primary caregiver. I feel like part of the institution of parenting and motherhood is that in our society, a family is small and private and closed, the mother is expected to do the raising in private while the father has a public life. Its a partnered activity between two parents, not a group activity of a community. Not to displace the parents, but there's little emphasis on how friends and relatives can be a huge help.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:26 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
My workplace is falling all over itself to make it a better place for people with children, but what about other personal choices?



Last week at the boyfriend's office, the office got really quite....All the women on the team were having a baby shower for a member and did not bother to invite him or the other guy. Not that he would have went or anything but that is kinda rude. These are the same people that cannot pick something up vegan for the boyfriend to eat....but they can plan a party for a mother to be? Talk about focusing on certain personal choices...

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:31 pm 
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missmuffcake wrote:
molasses jane wrote:
My workplace is falling all over itself to make it a better place for people with children, but what about other personal choices?



Last week at the boyfriend's office, the office got really quite....All the women on the team were having a baby shower for a member and did not bother to invite him or the other guy. Not that he would have went or anything but that is kinda rude. These are the same people that cannot pick something up vegan for the boyfriend to eat....but they can plan a party for a mother to be? Talk about focusing on certain personal choices...


That's not at all the kind of thing I intended when I wrote "personal choices". I am referring to leaves to take care of sick relatives, leaves to deal with life-shaking personal issues. It would be great if workplaces would be better about vegan food, but that's not at all what I meant.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:35 pm 
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Shy Mox wrote:
molasses jane wrote:
And then my biggest worries are that I will miss out on the experience of having a kid, and that I'm so curious as to what it might be like. And I worry I will get old and have no one to help care for me. But, as my wise parent friends have said, if those are the only reasons why I contemplate having a child, then I shouldn't. And I know they are right. I have an amazing goddaughter and some sparkling child friends, and one great loving dog. And I relish getting to travel the world and make my own schedule and future and getting to pour myself into my job that I love. Most often, I find myself able to really relish the advantages of not having kids.

Thanks to the OP for starting this important conversation.


I'm kinda curious about the expectation that childless people will have no one in the end, which is something that happens to a lot of parents too, children are no guarantee they'd be willing and able to support you in old age, and who knows?
...
And childless doesn't mean totally childfree! I can't wait to be a fun aunt! Whether the kids come from a sibling or a close friend, I definitely foresee myself being involved in raising a child someday, just not as the primary caregiver. I feel like part of the institution of parenting and motherhood is that in our society, a family is small and private and closed, the mother is expected to do the raising in private while the father has a public life. Its a partnered activity between two parents, not a group activity of a community. Not to displace the parents, but there's little emphasis on how friends and relatives can be a huge help.


These are such a good points, Shy Mox. I love my goddaughter to pieces. And I love the idea of the urban family. And I have no idea where this fear of being alone in old age thing comes from, but I feel like it has long been one of the refrains that I've heard as a caution for not having kids.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:39 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
I am referring to leaves to take care of sick relatives, leaves to deal with life-shaking personal issues. It would be great if workplaces would be better about vegan food, but that's not at all what I meant.

At least here in crazy socialist land that's at least a thing. Well, I guess I work for a public body, it may be different in the private sector- but I can at least say they are as accommodating for my having to take my cat to the vet as they are for people needing to take their kiddos to the doctors.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:39 pm 
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Some of you said that childfree and childless people have no family. Do you really not consider 2 (or more) adults in a relationship (or marriage) living together a family? Do you really not consider one adult and a non-human animal they adopted a family?


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:41 pm 
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Ooooh that really aggravates me, molasses jane! There's two (male) co-workers who get away with seriously working so little and getting paid a full salary because they take their kids to hockey practice, travel to hockey games, apparently one of them can't drop their kid off at the babysitter until 9:30am, and one leaves early all the time to pick their kid up at like 3:00. No one questions it, and the burden of their unfinished work gets put onto other people. Neither one of them are single parents, either. But being a parent is SO highly valued, that no one questions it, and yet if I were taking off all the time to do take myself to hockey practice or whatever, I'd get a stern talking to.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:42 pm 
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I would like to chime in as childfree. I am 35. I was upfront with my husband when we started dating that I did not want kids. He would have gone either way I think, if he ended up with someone who wanted them. I have always known I didn't want kids. I could picture myself married but never with kids. I had a somewhat dysfunctional childhood that I am still healing from, and sometimes I feel like I have so much "me" work to do, I can't imagine how I would ever have time or mental energy for a child. Also, I have chosen a profession that causes me to be in the caring role for others and that can be emotionally draining at times. Coming home and having the liberty and leisure to take care of myself is very important for me. I love my husband and my 2 dogs and my peace and quiet.

I would like to state that I can't help but feel irrationally irritated with people who voice publicly that they do not want children and then they have them. I know people change their minds. But every time someone does this it makes MY statement that I am not going to have children more questionable to others, if that makes sense. It is very insulting and frustrating to be told "you'll change your mind" over and over again.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:46 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
missmuffcake wrote:
molasses jane wrote:
My workplace is falling all over itself to make it a better place for people with children, but what about other personal choices?



Last week at the boyfriend's office, the office got really quite....All the women on the team were having a baby shower for a member and did not bother to invite him or the other guy. Not that he would have went or anything but that is kinda rude. These are the same people that cannot pick something up vegan for the boyfriend to eat....but they can plan a party for a mother to be? Talk about focusing on certain personal choices...


That's not at all the kind of thing I intended when I wrote "personal choices". I am referring to leaves to take care of sick relatives, leaves to deal with life-shaking personal issues. It would be great if workplaces would be better about vegan food, but that's not at all what I meant.


Yes. Child-free folks are expected to work late-shifts and weekends at my workplace, while parents (particularly mothers) are not. And parents with school-age kids get priority above folks without kids for vacation time during the summer. I understand why this is, but gee it would be nice to have a regular weekend day off.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:51 pm 
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I am also a little bit annoyed at the parents who came into this thread to say their piece. (Though generally I love you all, PPK!) There is a whole subforum for parents. It seems a little... disrespectful since the OP was looking to have a discourse with other childfree people. Those of us who have chosen not to have kids get plenty of time to hear the opinions of people with kids. It is truly inescapable. We are well aware that We Might Miss Out, It Changes Your Life, It Gives Your Life Meaning, We Won't Know Love Until We Have Kids, and so on. It's rare to get to talk to other childfree people without input from parents. There are forums online for childfree people, and I have hung out in them, but ultimately I found them to be a little too extreme and sometimes even kid-hating for me, so I no longer do.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:59 pm 
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Hear, hear, erynne936.

This has actually been a really comforting thread for me, to see other people airing their concerns and anxieties about a culture that puts parenting first, and have people say they are happily childfree and very much intend to stay that way. I could do without the interjections, though. The rest of the thread has been A+.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:07 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
And then my biggest worries are that I will miss out on the experience of having a kid, and that I'm so curious as to what it might be like. And I worry I will get old and have no one to help care for me.


yeah, these are both things for me too. People always talk about how much they love their kids (obviously!), and sometimes it makes me sad to think of missing out on that experience.

And the getting old thing is definitely on my mind. I have this fear of ending up all alone in a nursing home, with fatigued staff people taking care of me and not having any reason to love me or take care of me like I am special. But, I also know that having kids is NOT a guarantee that someone will love you and care for you, so maybe even parents have these fears. I am hoping my best friend's daughter will care about me, and maybe even some of my yoga students, when the time comes.

I'm lucky to have a couple of my vegan pals with SUPER cool kids (lookin' at you ColdandSleepy!), so I get to know and play with some really awesome mini-friends. Plus, my best friend has a really cool little daughter who I get to watch grow up. I also have two nephews, but for whatever reason, we are not super close. We got along great when they were little kids, but now that they are 12 and 20, they and I don't seem to have much in common. No animosity, but we're not really pals either. I wish we were.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:10 pm 
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Brain Made of Raw Seitan
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Shy Mox wrote:
And childless doesn't mean totally childfree!

So true. I actually like most kids. They're silly and say funny stuff. I've really enjoyed watching my sister's kids turn into little people with their own distinct personalities over the years, and I like hanging out with them when I go to visit. That still doesn't make me want my own, though.

With that being said, I can understand how some people feel uncomfortable around children. Different strokes for different folks and all that.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:27 pm 
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I really, really look forward to being a safe/cool adult to my friends' kids and brother's potential kids. I want to be the auntie who takes them to movies and bakes cookies with them and has the sex talk with them because they feel awkward going to their parents about it. I want to be the person who makes them feel respected and treated like an adult, because I think that is an amazing gift to a kid but not one appropriately bestowed by parents (they should feel respected, of course! But kids need to be kids and parents need to be parents).

But I don't think I want kids myself. I want to set my own timetable and I want to be allowed to work myself to the bone on projects that really matter to me without worrying that I am denying someone something. I want to cook what I want or just eat cookies for dinner. And I want my decisions to be mine (or mine and a partner's). I want to have the time and space to put my own health first and foremost.

Most of all, though, I don't trust that even the most feminist of men would step up to the plate in the same way that women are expected to. And I do not want to be the default parent, the one who makes sure shiitake gets done because no one else is going to do it. I don't want to be tasked with the mental work because men are raised to not even think about it. And I don't want to be left with the bulk of the childraising if the relationship ends.

And I think that the world needs fewer children being born but a lot more children who are raised knowing, from day one, that they are wanted and cherished.

So I will happily be an auntie, and I will coo over babies at the supermarket, but ultimately I will sleep, eat and live on my own timetable.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:32 pm 
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Chip Strong
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I agree with everything you said there j-dub. Well put.


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