Childfree by Choice

Published on December 8th, 2012 | by Rayne

32

Tips for parents who want to interact with the childfree

Note: This post only applies to parents that exhibit these behaviours – not all parents. I cannot stress this enough. Feel free to share my posts with everyone.

We all know people in general can be annoying. People can be tactless and insulting without realising it.

Today the people I’m talking about are parents.

My readers have hopefully realised by now that I’m an indiscriminate bitch. If you throw bullshit – I’ll call you on it. So before commenters start with the “You just hate parents because you’re childfree!” or “You hate kids because you’re childfree”, as I’ve mentioned before – there’s a difference between disliking a behaviour and disliking a person. I don’t dislike parents, I have parents and I love them. If I truly had an issue with parents, I wouldn’t associate with them at all; however there are some behaviours that some parents display that annoy me. A lot of behaviours annoy me but this post is directed at parents because typically an individual won’t display these behaviours unless they have or want children.

To help me with my post, I asked those over at the Childfree Life Forums for a little help to get a more comprehensive list of annoying behaviours that parents display.

We’ll start with a list of annoying behaviours and why they are annoying:

Bingoing and attempting to convince us to have kids: This is rude. I get the vague impression from parents when they attempt to convince me to have children or interrogate me as to why I don’t have children or bingo me in anyway – they are attempting to reassure themselves that their decision to have/keep their children was the right one. Why else would someone attempt to impose their life choices on others? Childfree by choice people are the window into a life that a parent could have had if they didn’t have children and some parents don’t seem to like that.

Fishing for compliments: This often happens via showing photos of children often without asking first or talking about your child’s milestones and expecting compliments. Please ask before shoving pictures of your kids in my face. I know you’re all proud and excited over your child but not everyone cares.

Telling asinine stories about a child’s normal milestones and acting like they’re going to be the next Beethoven (without the STD): Some people may be interested in hearing about your kids normal milestones but acting like they are the first child ever to walk on two legs or speak fluently just makes you look pretentious. It feels like you want praise and adoration for raising such a (perceived) talented child.

Talking about nothing but their children: I like having conversations with parents but not when every one of them revolves around their child. Talking about the same topic over and over again gets boring and talking about your child to me makes me feel like I’m being talked at, not that I’m having an actual conversation with you.

Their kids have to go everywhere with them: I like going out to all sorts of places. I’d like to go out without having to find child friendly places all the time. I’m sure getting a sitter for one night isn’t going to mean the end of everything.

Generally being a patronising jerk: Talking about how “You could never understand, you’re not a mother/father” or talking about how much more responsible parents are without taking into consideration that childfree people have responsibilities as well. What’s more responsible than deciding that children would make you unhappy or economically unstable and choosing not to have them? As opposed to bringing a child into the world because everyone else around you is having them and being in debt because raising a child costs a lot of money? Childfree people do understand how hard it is to raise a child – that’s why we don’t want them.

Making their time more valuable, “because they have kids”: Such as saying that you should be the one covering a shift at work, because you “Have nothing better to do”. A childfree person has a life and things we enjoy. Just because we don’t have children doesn’t mean our time isn’t any less valuable than yours. Ultimately becoming a parent is a choice. If the condom breaks or you don’t use protection  – it was still a choice to continue with the pregnancy and not give the child away once it was born. You made your choice and using your child as a way to get out of doing over time is basically using your child as a weapon to get what you want. Deal with the consequences.

Saying that your love for your partner is inferior to their love of their children: That’s just plain rude. Simple. I feel sorry for your partner if they knew that your love for them came in at second best.

Graphic descriptions of childbirth: Just no. Stop. I don’t need to see graphic images of your placenta in my head. Do NOT ruin lesbianism for me.

Saying “you don’t have a family” because you don’t have kids: Families come in all shapes and sizes. A single or double parent family. A same sex couple with or without children. An opposite sex couple without children. Your own parents or extended family. Your friends. Family is what you make it. Some people don’t have parents or siblings and their extended family wants nothing to do with them so they make their own family.

Feeling like their kids are entitled to spend time with your animals: This one annoys me more than the others. My cats aren’t toys for children. They are living creatures that eat and drink and poo (a lot) and sometimes they just want to chill and relax, not be harassed and possibly abused by children who don’t know how to interact with them.

One-upping you whenever you have a bad day/accident/tragedy: This just makes you look like a jerk. See STFUParents for more mummyjacking one upping. Playing the “poor me” card makes me want to punch you in the genitals.

Not supervising their children around breakables, whether they are yours or items in a store: When parents say “They’re only kids!” when their children break something, as if that makes the damage easier to repair. Trivializing shitty behaviour means that the child will never learn. If you have children – pay attention to them when you’re out in public.

Parent martyrdom: If I ask you somewhere and you can’t make it because of your child, it’s really RUDE to then sigh and pout about how unfair it is that you can’t do fun stuff and I can: “Oh, it’s all right, you go out to the lovely restaurant with all of your friends and have a great time, don’t you worry about me stuck at home with the kid, sitting in front of X-factor crying into my ice cream for the eighth Saturday in a row, no, no, don’t you give me a second thought”. Suck it up, you made the decision to keep the child, don’t try to make me feel bad for not making choices that would lead to me being miserable.

If I’m a relative, that automatically means I’m a free babysitter: No. Way. In. Hell. It’s polite to ask first and not just label it “my job” to look after your children because we share similar genetics. Also it isn’t my job to buy toys or clothes. I’ll do it if I feel like it but if you have to rely on others to buy your kid things – why are you having them?

Make patronizing or belittling comments about how much I love my pets: Love may come in different forms depending on the relationship but drawing a line between a love for an animal and parents love for their children is basically placing less value on an animal. When you say “Just an animal” you are forgetting the fact that it is a living breathing creature.

Asserting perceived superiority because they’ve fathered a child or given birth and I haven’t: Just because you’ve given birth doesn’t negate my achievements. Parenthood isn’t something to feel superior about especially since people have been doing it for millions of years. I’m not trying to trivialize parenthood – parenthood is quite difficult but you really don’t have to act so superior about it. Please don’t imply that not wanting children means we are lesser people or we aren’t “real adults”. I’ve heard this directed at me many times over. I’m not a lesser human being because I don’t want to be miserable with children I don’t want.

“Can I go ahead of you in line? My CHILD is waiting for me!”: No wait your turn.

“We’re looking forward to your help with the baby over the holidays!”: Again assumptions make you look like an arse. Don’t assume, it’s polite to actually ask first.

How to interact with childfee people:

  1. Recognise and accept that not everyone is as interested in your child as you are. People often take little interest in things that don’t affect them.
  2. Don’t use your child as a way to feel good about you. Fishing for compliments via talking incessantly about normal child milestones or showing photos of your child without asking is not only rude but it’s unsettling. If you have to feel good about your decision to breed by fishing for compliments – there is something wrong with your self-esteem.
  3. Don’t use your child as a way to get what you want or be lazy. I’ve heard parents bitch that pram parking is further away from the shopping centre doors and that disabled parking is closer. There’s a reason for that. Disabled parking is closer so people who need it don’t have to walk so far to get to the entrance. Pram parking has only been placed in the carparks at the discretion of the shopping center – they don’t have to put them there.
  4. Don’t forget your friends. Even if we don’t want to have children – we would still like to be your friend and go out with you. Sometimes with the child and sometimes without.
  5. Don’t assume we’ll help out with your children. Most of us are happy to accommodate children in some way but it’s always polite to ask first. It’s also polite not to assume that we will or can babysit or help with chores. We still have busy lives as well.
  6. Please respect our boundaries when it comes to children, our homes, our belongings and our pets. Some of us don’t like children crawling all over us or holding them (I get quite anxious holding children because often they are heavy and I might drop them) and some of us won’t like a child touching our breakables or our pets. We have boundaries that need to be respected as well. Don’t try to convince us to have children – we don’t want them. Please respect that.
  7. Have a conversation about something else other than your child. There are a myriad of topics to discuss, talking non-stop about the same thing can get boring especially if one party has no interest in the topic of child rearing.

I’ll leave it there for now. I’ll leave you with a couple of bingo cards to reflect on. I get that parents have difficulty understanding why something they would want would be unappealing to others but that doesn’t excuse attempting to convince others to make your life choice.

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Every time I hear one of these, I’m sad that I don’t have enough middle fingers to express how I feel.

If you like some of the things I say – feel free to add me to your RSS feed, comment or email me: rayne@insufferableintolerance.com. I now have a facebook page! Feel free to like my page by clicking here!

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About the Author

Goth. Metal music. Tea. Books.



32 Responses to Tips for parents who want to interact with the childfree

  1. beekay says:

    Spot on! Thank you!

  2. Galurana says:

    Stop asking for free babysitting. I’ve told my SOs sister and her husband dozens of times it’s not happening. So they’ve brought his grandfather into it to try guilt tripping us because his daughter (SOs mom) babysits, does Grandfather’s laundry, works full time and takes care of her own house and she could use a break. (The sister had tried informing me that when they moved to town I’d be providing daycare full time for free because I was working from home as well. I found work outside the home )

    I’m not babysitting, especially a spoiled brat who freaks at the word “no” for free. Shell out the money for daycare and a babysitter.

    • Rayne says:

      Great tip!

      My parents get this all the time, the assumption that just because they are retired automatically means they can babysit. Look after your own kids.

    • permakitten says:

      “The sister had tried informing me that when they moved to town I’d be providing daycare full time for free because I was working from home as well.”

      As someone who has also worked from home in the past, NO. I worked hard as a freelancer – in fact, unlike now that I’m working full time, I used to be on call. Most of my work came on short notice, and I don’t think I took a single trip where I didn’t spend at least some time sitting in my hotel and working. I wasn’t lazing around, and I certainly wasn’t able to do another job simultaneously.

      • Rayne says:

        I don’t know what people think about working from home but it doesn’t mean you don’t do any work. It means you just as much work as going to an office but the main difference is that pants aren’t compulsory.

  3. Annie says:

    So. Much. This.

    I would add, “Don’t assume your children are invited to our parties, or are welcome anyplace you used to go. This includes cocktail parties, bars, R-rated movies (or any movies, if they’re too small to understand them). Complaining loudly about bars and movie theaters being not-family-friendly makes you look like a total jerk. If people are drinking heavily, it’s probably not a good or safe place for a kid. More to the point, adults like having places to let their hair down, talk about adult subjects, enjoy some quiet, get away from their kids, swear, etc., and having a baby or small child there makes much of that impossible. There are tons of child-friendly places in the world, and if you want to go to the places that aren’t, get a babysitter. It’s that simple.”

    • Rayne says:

      Exactly! I know a couple who only takes their child to child friendly places including child friendly bars because they recognise that not every place can be or should be child friendly – which is quite clever but also quite loud.

  4. Selfish says:

    Don’t pretend your childfree for any other reason than selfishness. You want time for yourself. You want money for yourself. It’s all about you. I don’t care that you are childfree. It’s your choice. Just don’t pretend that it’s not about self absorption. Also acting like your pets are the greatest is just as annoying as bragging parents.

    • Rayne says:

      Please explain how being childfree is selfish? My purpose in life is to be happy, I’m not happy with children. I don’t want the responsibility of raising another – that’s not selfish. That’s a mature decision.

      Parents only call us childfree “selfish” because they want to be seen as selfless martyrs. Parents aren’t selfless martyrs because becoming a parent is a choice. You chose to A) not have an abortion and B) not to give the child away. You chose to put yourself in the position of sleepless nights and debt.

      I would argue that bringing a child into the world but not loking after it or using the child as a weapon in a custody battle or using it as a way to get things – is quite selfish.

      And yes I do want time and money for my partner and I only. No children around demanding attention and stressing us out. More money for Playstation games and sushi.

      • CFUter says:

        Really, I’m supposed to give up 1/3-1/2 or more of my life to prove that I’m not selfish to strangers? Wow.

        Then, when I’m retired, I should give up more to prove I’m not selfish and put more effort in to grandkids, right?

        Give up any aspirations, friends, relationships, interests for a person that wasn’t put on this earth untill I created him from my loins?

        There are many a parent that had kids just so they would be loved or would be lonely or wanted to feel good about themselves and then found out the hard way it was a 20+ yr sentence to make sure they had those things.

        Just like a golddigger’s marriage….if you have a relationship for the wrong reasons….you pay for it one way or another.

    • Tabitha says:

      You have no idea what selfishness is apparently. From the time 99.9% of children are born, their parents start the CONSUMING machine. How many tons of plastic diapers end up in landfills because parents are too SELFISH and LAZY to use cloth and how many cows are incarcerated in dairy farms chained in stalls, having to give birth to THEIR babies in feces-laden trenches and NEVER get to nurse them so SELFISH and LAZY mothers don’t want to breastfeed, the absolute most LOVING thing that can be done for a child?? How many cubic feet of useless, worthless, mindless plastic toys, goody bags, balloons and other paraphernalia end up in landfills and choking marine life because your brat has to have over the top birthday parties every freakin’ year, while pumping them up full of candy and garbage because most parents are to SELFISH and LAZY to actually engage their child and teaching them how to give back and help others in need only to raise over-indulged and the most disillusioned generation ever to live? How about all the obesity and hyperactivity, asthma and other diseases children under ten are afflicted with now because parents are too SELFISH and LAZY to buy ACTUAL food from the grocery store, make healthy choices and cook a friggin’ meal once in a while instead of opening up yet another box of macaroni and cheese? How about the population that is ridiculously out of control because everyone is so narcissistic and SELFISH that instead of providing a loving home for all the abandoned and neglecting children ALREADY OUT THERE, they instead must have a mini-me around all the time to remind them how much they love themselves? THAT is selfish. You want to hear what is self-LESS?? All the people that, by choosing not to have children, SAVE the community money when they don’t contribute to the ever-rising property taxes, most of which goes to schools to pay for more busing, bigger schools and more textbooks so that YOUR children can have an education, but STILL HAVE TO PAY despite NOT having children? And I’ll take pets over annoying children any day because if you do everything right, it is EXTREMELY rare to have a bad outcome because pets learn EXACTLY what you teach them. So, as you see, people who have children are the MOST selfish and self-absorbed lot in the world.

    • Oh please says:

      Procreation is the very epitome of selfishness. You’re literally creating a mini-me to love and adore, a genetic replication of you and your partner to obsess over. Its self-absorbed, completely selfish to satisfy some urge (an evolutionary one which in itself is selfish- about the survival of the self), at the expense of an already over populated planet. Sure, there are some sacrifices in parenting, but overall it is vanity defined.

      • Rayne says:

        That sacrifice is self inflicted don’t forget.

        • juliewashere88 says:

          I say it’s not a sacrifice at all. If I wanted to a car, I would occasionally have to put gas in it and have it maintained. That’s not a damned sacrifice and I don’t get credit for it. It’s just part of the deal. It’s the same thing.

      • Han says:

        I agree. My mother has two children. Whenever I discuss my choice to be childfree, she usually refers to her belief that having children is selfish, even though she’s a mother! She says, “I wanted you for my own reasons. I wanted you because I wanted a family. You had no choice in the matter and you were brought into this world due to someone else’s desire”. I agree with that.

    • juliewashere88 says:

      Take your wallet and throw it into a fire. Then spend 10 hours of the day smacking your head into a wall.

      If you won’t do that, you’re selfish by your own nonsensical standards. You don’t do it because you don’t want to waste your time and money.

      Seriously, your argument is beyond idiotic. There is absolutely nothing selfish about having good judgement and not being needlessly wasteful. There is absolutely nothing selfish about being childfree.

      By contrast, there is everything selfish about breeding. In fact, it’s the most selfish thing that anyone can ever do. Not only is there not one single unselfish reason to breed, but by doing so, you hurt the planet and even the kid you force into assistance. The real self-absorbed one is the narcissist who needed the mini-me and doesn’t care that the rest of the world and the mini-me itself will suffer for it.

    • Jealous says:

      Don’t pretend you had kids for any other reason than to feel self-important and get attention from people.

  5. Awknee says:

    This entire thing should be publicly broadcasted lol.
    I’m not even that old yet and people are already criticizing me for deciding to live childfree. I already have a family of my own, and that includes my cat.
    Also why don’t people understand that bringing their screaming spoiled kid to a wedding or a movie or a party at my house is like me bringing my cat to their house after giving him adrenaline and letting him do whatever he wants. It’s disruptive.

    Your existence and post is appreciated.

  6. Jackie says:

    Why do some people assume, just because I’m a woman, that when I say I’m happily child-free, that I’m WRONG?! Would you say this to a man? Do you think I don’t know my own mind? Whilst not everyone automatically ‘bingoes’ me when I say I’m child-free, many people do.

    Now that everyone I know knows I’m not having children, I’m now accused of “going on about it” if I dare post anything on FB or twitter or even mention it.

    When will “no I don’t want kids” be seen as equal to, or celebrated as much as “we’re pregnant!”?

    When will “No, I don’t want kids” just be accepted without someone sticking their nose in?

  7. Amanda says:

    The whole thing is spot on, but the one that gets me the most lately is people assuming they are more valuable because they have kids. Around the holidays I heard a coworker complaining that people got a particular Friday off “and they don’t even have kids in the holiday program” that was held that day…like that’s the only thing that could possibly be going on on a Friday for which someone would want the day off.

    • Rayne says:

      No disagreement from me here. My Friday nights playing Call of Duty are just as valuable to me as a parents obiligation to go to a school event is to them.

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  10. Chris Woodford says:

    I had a friend who, as the end of his family line, chose not to have children because he did not want to pass on genetic deafness. I never got to the bottom of how his wife felt about it. They’re still together nearly 40 years on, so I suppose it worked for them.

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