No Kidding: Are Childfree People Angry?

As a childfree person, I feel like I often have to defend against the stereotype that childfree people hate children. Based on the comments from my last post about being a childfree person who actually likes kids, it's clear that this still surprises people, no matter how many nice intentionally childless folks they meet. Since I'm also vegan, I'm sort of used to people acting surprised when I say that no, I don't care what you eat, and no, I don't care if you have kids. I get that I'm making two non-normative choices, but I also get why both make people defensive: Because these sorts of choices in particular come with the implication, however incorrect, that my behavior alone casts subjective judgment on that of others. But why are some childfree people overtly nasty and others not? In my case, there's a story behind it.

Last year I was working at the COP15 climate conference and true to my nature, I was really into petting any dog that came around our outdoor stations. I was working with a woman one afternoon who saw me snuggling a really fantastic mutt and said, with the most frighteningly open hostility I think I've ever experienced, "I hate animals!" WTF? I thought. You hate animals? Why?? What did they ever do to you besides provide food, clothing, and companionship? Not only was I appalled, defensive, and felt immediately protective of the dog; I wondered what would possess someone to direct such unwarranted hatred at another living being.

For me, that was a really defining moment because later, I wondered if that's how childfree people sound sometimes when they say, "I hate kids." To someone who adores children, it likely does. Now, give me some credit: I never walked around pushing kids off the sidewalk. But meeting that rather atrocious person helped me realize that because I want people to respect that I don't have kids and don't eat/wear/use animal products, I've got to be really open about my ambivalence to other people's choices. Most people who know me would hopefully agree that no, I pretty much don't care if you eat a bloody steak in front of me or have five children. Hell, I'll even cook your steak and play with your kids. But it isn't enough to feel that way or even act like you're cool with others' choices. You've got to get out ahead of the bad press and say, "No, listen, I'm not going to hate on you." You have to be very intentional about this sort of thing. You've got to actively consider how you want to influence others.

Britgirl, who runs the childfree blog Like It Is, covered this same topic a while back. She asked her readers if they thought childfree people were unnaturally hostile, specifically online, and the comments seem to indicate that they are. But I wonder, is that a symptom of the way many people are blunt and often rude online rather than an indication that childfree people are generally anti-child? Are some people more inclined to say awful things about parents and children because it's just the internets?

Why do you think childfree people get such a bad rap? Is this an Internet-only phenomenon, relegated to childfree forums where people sound off about annoying parts of our pro-natalist culture? Why do we assume that a group of people is homogenous, that all childfree people are the same?

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Comments

104 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I'll be 38 next week and i

I'll be 38 next week and i don't have kids. I love kids, but I have made an effort not to become pregnant because it didn't seem like it was for me. Nevertheless, I've never defined myself by the decision not to have kids. Therein lies the difference. In my experience, folks defining themselves as "child free" tend to act as though the choice some kind of -ism, particularly online. This coupled with the way in which motherhood tends to be devalued in some feminist spaces and a smugness by some folks who are child free and that explains the bad rep.

Personal, I still don't get why people need to define themselves by what they are not. But then I tend to get defined by what I'm not on a daily basis so I'm not eager to do that to myself.

Of course, that's just my experience. Your fun-to-monkeys ratio may vary.

The "child-free" are reacting

The "child-free" are reacting to the negative stereotype of what that decision entails and want support, instead of pushing an agenda. I didn't accidentally turn out child-free. I made the same thoughtful consideration someone else did when they opted to start a family. However, I have to hear from my friends, coworkers, and family members how something is missing from my life, how they mourn what a good mother I would have been, etc. Sometimes it feels like their good intentions let them devalue what I've actually made of my life.

Is it wrong to seek out like-minded individuals for support? Is it wrong to air out some of the feelings we have about nearly half of the kept pregnancies in the United States being unplanned, or overpopulation in general, stuff we know we couldn't discuss objectively with a parent?

As a marginalized woman I

As a marginalized woman I don't get the pressure the way women at the top of the kyriarchy do, therefore I tend to view this whole conversation as kind of bizarre. My disabled female friends are constantly being told they shouldn't have children. My working class friends are told they aren't good enough to be parents. And as a women of color, society definitely sends me strong messages that my womb is something to be feared and controlled. And that doesn't even begin to give voice to women outside the margins and their relationship to the "child free" discourse. Unfortunately, this feels very much to me like NWLs universalizing their in ability to tell folks to mind their own business. Really, it's not that hard.

Yes--I would love to see a

Yes--I would love to see a post about these issues and about the privilege some of these columns may be assuming.

Thanks!

Thanks for your comment! While there is always more to be said about isms and privilege, I do want to point interested people in the direction of Brittany's previous posts for this series, some of which address these issues more directly.

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

But I am a working class

But I am a working class woman who is frequently chided by other working class women for not having children, probably because many of them got pregnant in high school and that's what has restricted their education and work hours. Don't try to speak for all of us. I assumed this was across the board. Those women are even more defensive since others deride them as welfare moms.

race argument is divisive

Yeah the whole "I'm a minoriteee" thing is moot here : all women are marginalized. reminds me of the other day when I smartassedly told my friends not to shoot me dead for wearing a hoodie. "oh we'll you're a little to pale for that". yea h we'll that ain't what heraldic said and that's who I'm ripping. Plus cops hate white chicks too. They hate everyone. Poor pigehz. Point is, control over our reproductive capabilities is highly covered. That control needs to let in the hands of individuals and "villiages".

Anonymous, I'm saying this to

Anonymous, I'm saying this to you as a white female: if you seriously think that being white is not a huge advantage in American culture, even for women, you need to open your eyes. A white chick telling minority women that race is "moot" is ludicrous and insulting.

Thank you. I really

Thank you. I really appreciated this response. From my heart, thank you!

Anonymous, I'm saying this to

Anonymous, I'm saying this to you as a white female: if you seriously think that being white is not a huge advantage in American culture, even for women, you need to open your eyes. A white chick telling minority women that race is "moot" is ludicrous and insulting.

I think it depends on the

I think it depends on the type of disability, actually. I continually am badgered to have children despite having rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and a host of other conditions. Apparently chronic pain is not a "real" disability (and I've been told this before!!!). But if you're deaf or blind or mentally ill, well, obviously you should just never have children. It's screwed up.

deaf people can have

deaf people can have kids....it cant be passed on and it doesn't determine if you can raise kids or not.

deaf people can have

deaf people can have kids....it cant be passed on and it doesn't determine if you can raise kids or not.

deaf people can have

deaf people can have kids....it cant be passed on and it doesn't determine if you can raise kids or not.

Black and Childfree-by-choice

As a woman of color, I agree. Society would prefer us child free. I am childfree and a lesbian. I am a dog owner. I have had other women of color with kids call me a show off for walking my dog in public. Unlike kids, people pet your dog and ask how old, what breed etc. I find childfree women
To be witty. We aren't angry. I'm annoyed at seeing stroller after stroller but someones life decisions don't affect me, women of color are already at a disadvantage. Kids only add to the solidifying of poverty and oppression. Child freedom is a choice for privileged white women and a way out of poverty for black women that is not advertised. White women in America are having kids because it's en vogue thanks to Hollywood, black women because misery needs company and a lack of other life options. Am I wrong?

I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments!

I'm a mid-twenties Black female. I have chosen to be child-free. Most of my friends and other Black women my age or younger, have at least one child, many out of wedlock.

I proudly say I am child-free but I am mocked and called selfish for choosing to be and remain child free.
Most of these Mommies work full time jobs and spend most of their time with their kids and often complain but still try to sell this lifestyle to me! It is sickening! Only one true friend begged me never to change my mind. She told me if she had thought things through before, she would not have had children.

I have the freedom to get up and go! I can do what I want, when I want and these Mommies are just jealous. It makes me smile but I'm still sickened by this misery loves company mind set!

Don't give into peer pressure

Your post is refreshing and I've read similar ones where 20+ year olds in your position are making sound and practical decisions regarding having children, and instead opting out. I am now going on 42 and still childfree. I knew I wanted a career and build my own personal wealth because at the end of the day, having security is more important than going with the crowd. I understand how friends have tried to pressure you to have kids and I still have a couple that try to do that with me, and I emphatically decline for a variety of reasons. So pursue your own personal goals with passion. And on the flipside of that, I may end up dating a man with kids, although my first choice is dating childfree men. But at my age, I don't think so. I will only date a man if the kids are grown and gone, and self sufficient. If you do find yourself attracted to a man with kids, keep it casual and date other men.

BTW

I am a black woman born and raised on the west coast.

child free

You being child free is fine with me. Are you saying women of color have a problem with it? Many women of color do not have children, especially in the millenium. I really don't get your position.
Can it be annoying for a grown woman to treat a pet as a real child?...Yes. Is it ridiculous when I see a woman (of any color) rolling a dog in a stroller that could be used for an underpriviledged child?...Hell yes!
But like you said, its the choice of the individual. Having children is a choice. God said 'be fruitful and multiply' so that the earth may be filled. Well, it looks pretty full to me, so I would say you are off the hook.
To not have children because you can not afford children is one thing; to not have children because you want to be self indulgent is another.
As far as the color issue, I don't see the difference between a white woman deciding not to have children and a black woman. White women looking "en vogue" because they don't have any kids, I don't think so. Black women looking miserable because they don't have kids, depends on the individual I assume. Some people just look plain miserable.
Case in point: My sister-in-law doesn't have children as a personal choice and I have caught her telling my children things like "your gonna take care of Auntie when I get old right?". Now that, pissed me off. Don't expect my children to take care of you when you get old because you made the decision to be self indulgent, date married men, and not have children. I put the sweat and tears in this house honey!
But ofcourse, that's not you! LOL.
Anyway, do your thing and don't worry about what people think. It's you you have to worry about and make sure you stack your chips for that retirement home.

Reply

Just because one doesn't have kids doesn't mean they'll end up in a retirement home. You're forgetting the fact that there are MANY elderly people who HAVE children that hated their guts and NEVER come to visit them. I feel for your sister but you never know, those kids of yours just might be there for her in old age :)

I agree with the child-free are reacting

I have chosen to be child-free. I am still in my 20s so I'm not saying this is a permanent decision. When I'm in my 30s, I may decide to have children. But at least once a week I have total strangers making incredibly negative comments about it. In the doctors office I was asked if I had children. When I replied no, the follow up was that I must be younger than they thought. I apparently looked old enough to have children. As people can do that at 14, I was a bit taken aback.

I've had strangers tell me not everyone is mature enough to have children. In my opinion that includes many people that do have children. I've been asked "why not?" to which I always reply that it is 99.9% effective and I'm just part of that majority. I don't ask you why you chose to have 3 kids like it's the extreme (though I know the 19 kids and counting woman gets asked that all the time but that is a bit different), so please don't act like I'm the first to not have children. Even if it was medically impossible for me to have children, it would take me aback that total strangers feel the need to ask that.

I have friends who have children. They have changed. They stand me up without a moment notice and the reason is b/c they have kids. If single people did that, they'd be fickle. But parents are just being "good" parents. I get invitations to both birthday parties every year, soccer tournaments, preschool graduation, and other gift giving events but I don't recall the last time the parent sent a card for my birthday. Sometimes it feels like entitlement. I'm obligated to give them gifts for reproducing.

I do not have kids and therefore my house is not child-proofed. When I invite a parent over for wine and they bring a 2 year old, I'm taken aback. I come across as someone who hates kids b/c I'm constantly making sure they don't break things or themselves. Well had I known children were going to be coming, I would have moved everything out of little Sarah's reach. But little Sarah wasn't invited to my house for wine--being not old enough to drink.

I know having children changes your perspective on life. I do not expect that friend to still be able to go on the vacations we used to do. But I feel guilty whenever I talk about a cruise my husband and I took b/c the next line is always "We can't afford to do that".

I love to hear about my friend's kids. I take pride in their accomplishments and for years I've followed blogs discussing funny comments the kids make. I've always been a kid person. But when I ask how my friend is doing, I'd like to know how my friend is doing. Not *exclusively* about the children. And above all the lamenting that I'd be a good parent, or that I must be a disappointment to my parents by not having kids, or that I can never understand the great joy, is just vicious attacks that friends shouldn't do to each other. I rarely hear DINKS talk about how sad it must be that parents had kids and what a *tragedy* it is that parents can't enjoy life. I rarely hear DINKS talk about how those children must be a disappointment or offer the name of a doctor that can help with their problem in popping out 3 kids. Most childless people I know assume those who had kids chose to do so and are happy with their life. And I'd just like for parents to listen to my vacation stories or new car for the same amount of time I listen to the story of the Kindergarten play or the lost tooth, without making me feel guilty that I could go on vacation or buy a car.

Even parents don't want to go to an expensive restaurant and hear a baby crying all evening. Even people who love children don't want one kicking the seat all through a movie. I feel bad parenting often leads to the complains about people not liking children, when in fact it's the bad actions of a child that I find unacceptable.

Bravo!

I admire the honesty and even-handedness of your comment.

guilty?

I don't understand why you think people are "making" you feel guilty. Simply by stating they can't afford something that you can afford? If you are assuming they are happy with their choices, then let it go. It seems to me you are putting this guilt on yourself.

Donna, I've gotten the "I

Donna, I've gotten the "I can't afford that" reaction from many of my married-with-kids friends and it's usually delivered with a facial expression and tone of voice that are clearly intended to make me feel guilty. While it is true that I don't have to actually feel guilty (I don't), there is no mistaking the intent of their words.

Bravo indeed

Awesome post displaying maturity and honesty in your experiences with friends with kids. Although I haven't experienced the negative incidents between you and your friends, you seem to be handling difficult situations very well. Continue on the way you're handlign frustrating situations with your friends with kids.

Child Free

I just started reading this blog and I agree with you about staying child free. Im 19 and ive decided i want to stay child free but im conflicted with the thought that i might be too young to make that decision. I was wondering at what age did you make that decision?

You are NOT too young.

I'm younger than you and have signed up to a childfree forum and know others younger than you who have made the conscious decision to be childfree. I'm a born this way CFer and I've known for a long time I won't be going through that crap. Trust me, I don't think you're ever too young.

Or are parents angry with child-free people?

In any sender-receiver situation, meaning is made by both the sender and the receiver. In the case of the issue at hand, I believe that the perception of the child-free sender's attitude is created as much by the receiver's feelings as by what the sender is actually saying. That is, though my partner and I are child-free, we have NEVER said that we dislike children and in fact we often enjoy the company of children. However, we have acquaintances who have gotten it into their heads somehow that we don't like kids, even though, I repeat, we have never said or suggested or behaved in a manner to suggest any such thing. I think that some people just read our choice to be child-free as "child-hating" or at least "child-disliking," such that anything we say about children is colored by that perception.

This possibly willful misunderstanding may occur on the internet as well as in face-to-face situations, but maybe it's magnified on the internet, where, as you suggest, people are often a little more blunt than they would be otherwise. But in any case, we have to factor in the role of the receiver as well as the sender in building perceptions.

Yes, this! I posted a

Yes, this! I posted a comment below talking about how I sometimes feel like I have to try even harder to prove that I don't hate kids, whereas I wouldn't have to do that if people didn't already have a preconceived notion that childfree people hate kids and parents.

Agreed Juju

I'm not sure where this negative perception comes from where being childfree equals hating children. It's such a false meme that marginalizes our life choices.

out on a limb

I am going to go out on a limb here for a sec ...

In my own experience with my brother who has children ... i think he assumes I don't have children for the same reasons he sometimes wishes he didn't have them himself. He loves his children and enjoys them enormously but there are moments, days, weeks when he wishes he could just send them back to the factory. But he can't. He has to live with their (childish) behavior on some level and he has to make peace with it, but he is also a little pissed about it, sometimes.

So when I say I dont want children I think he flashes on all his own feelings of loathing, mixed with guilt, mixed with (against even his own doubts) defensive belief that he has done the right thing by having them. In the end he feels defensive and then you bring my defensiveness, for all the complex reasons that have been talked about in this terrific series of blog posts, into the mix.

And here's the rub ... when we feel defensive we often confuse that feeling with having actually been attacked.

That's one angle on it :) Now, do I sometimes express my choice to not have children with a little too much vehemence? yes :) Do people launch internet missives without much thought about how they (we) are being read? yes. But I think this whole confusion around the defensiveness we all carry around with us also plays into how we perceive aggression.

I find that there are hateful

I find that there are hateful people on both sides. Some childfree people are terrible and rude, just as some parents or parents to be are the same way. Both sides use it as a justification to judge the other. Not everyone is like that, though. It just seems like, as usual, the hateful minority is the most vocal and gives the rest a bad rap.

I do think when someone goes against the norm it makes those that choose the norm defensive. I've experienced this myself. I've had people say things to me that range from cluelessly insulting to outrageously hurtful simply because I chose a different path. It's hard not to take that to heart at times and I can see why people would respond to that with anger of their own. I try my best not to do that, partly because I'm happy with my choice so I don't really care what they think of it and partly because, as someone in the minority, it seems doubly important to be kind and not hateful in order to keep the majority from thinking "There's another bitch who hates kids and family."

I do sometimes feel like I need to go above and beyond the average response to certain things, however, in order to stop people from assuming that I'm secretly hating on them. I can't just be happy for a friend who's pregnant, I have to be super duper excited. I can't just happily tolerate that someone brought their kids to a dinner party, I have to be thrilled they're there. Does anyone else ever feel that way?

Yes, I feel that way as well.

This comment and your one under STFU Parents below both resonated with me. Thank you for sharing that. :)

It's amazing to me that

It's amazing to me that anyone would pass comment on someone who doesn't have kids. I feel bad that some parents feel the need to communicate that theiy're disappointed or feel sad or something for a child free person. How rude! I have kids but it wouldn't even occur to me to pass comment on someone else's choices.

The parent's I know tend to look on child free friends with a kind of rose tinted envy at they're apparant freedom! It's good to have friends with all sorts of experiences, desires and lives. Please don't feel you have to prove someone to anyone - your choices are your choices and anyone with any sense would support you.

I whole heartedly agree with

I whole heartedly agree with this comment as well as the 2 'sub-comments' above. Well put!

This article could be about

This article could be about me. I'm vegetarian, but live vicariously through my friends' meat-eating, and childless by choice, but I really like kids. I always try to reassure people that I don't judge them. At the same time, and I'll speak specifically about being childless here, it does make me *extremely* angry that I'm constantly bombarded with negative judgments on my choice, both explicit and unconscious. I've actually been harassed by a doctor about my choice not to have children, but there's wider cultural pressure too. Perhaps once being childless is seen as a legitimate choice, I can stop reacting to negative judgments with anger -- even, or especially, when they're not explicit.

I have type one diabetes and

I have type one diabetes and couldn't drink in college. My roommates were always on the defensive when we partied together although I tried to make it clear my alcohol abstinence was the result of a medical condition, not a judgment. It seems my being child-free has the same effect on my friends who became parents, like I'm scorning their life choices.

Also, it doesn't matter if that particular friend likes to dismissively tell me all the time, "Oh, you'll change your mind once you're older/meet the right man," they don't think that's nasty. It's very funny how arrogant and rude parents can be and completely project that on to you. I don't think the majority of childfree people are nasty. A fair amount of parents don't like being reminded you have the option not to have kids, that everyone's life is not predestined to 9-5, marriage, mortgages, children.

You only have to look as far

You only have to look as far as that hideously nasty webite STFU Parents to see how vociferous some of the hatred towards women with children is from some (and I mean only some) child-free people. I recently got into an online spat about this mostly because I really resent the notion that once you have children you become a so-called Mombie who has nothing to say any more. I'm really concerned as a feminist (and, dare I say it) as a human, with the demonisation or, worse, minimalisation of mothers (and fathers).

The ignorance that a minority of child free women show towards those with children is horrifying. I'm thinking specifically of words like "breeder" and cries of "she just dropped me when she had a kid, she's so selfish". Having a child should be treated with respect and seriousness. Priorities should and will change. But that doesn't mean that a woman is any less who she was before.

Let's try and be thoughtful towards everyone - not just those who are like us.

Yes, I really resent being

Yes, I really resent being called a breeder and scorned for choosing to be home with my children for a few years rather than remain devoted to long hours in the paid workforce. Some people thought I'd lost my mind. I think it comes down to respecting other's life choices and reserving judgement.

I sometimes use "breeder" and

I sometimes use "breeder" and "spawn" as a joke, never in a nasty way. And I think it's healthy to vent online, rather than do the same around a parent you have a personal connection with.

By the way, many of the commenters on STFU Parents are parents themselves, who have a sense of humor and aren't reading it masochistically, "WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ABOUT US?!" Conversely, a woman is not less if she doesn't have children, and that choice should be respected too.

"Let's try and be thoughtful

"Let's try and be thoughtful towards everyone - not just those who are like us."

That's a good thing to remember for both sides. I don't use terms like breeder because I feel it's disrespectful, just as I find it disrespectful when people say terrible things to me for not wanting kids. Unfortunately, there is ignorance from both parties and it results in making everyone look bad. I'm looking forward to the day when both choices are given equal respect and hope that that will put an end to terms like "breeder" and "moo" or "child-hater" and "selfish freak."

STFU Parents

I hate to break it to you, Anonymous, but STFU Parents is not just a forum for the Childfree to go pick on parents. There are plenty of parents who share that space as well. They too comment on the ridiculousness of the posts.

And I love those parents for maintaining their humor. But it's not just parents who are lampooned. There are sister sites of STFU Marrieds, STFU Conservatives, STFU Believers... anyone who might take themselves too seriously.

Yep, I know that it's not

Yep, I know that it's not solely for the child free. I get that. But I, personally, just wouldn't say something hateful to someone on the internet for a cheap laugh. If someone gets on your nerves stop being friends with them if the situation is unfixable. I'm also aware of "sister" STFU sites - again, I'm not into the over-weening arrogance displayed there by some people.

Having kids requires humour. I would go completely bat-shit insane if I didn't have freinds to talk to and joke with about what it's like. I'm just not into humour that belittles people.

That said, I don't think its okay for people with kids to hold that fact as some kind of superiority card. But then, no one I know with kids is like that. MAybe it just comes down to what a person is like - full stop. If they're unpleasant or narcassistic or whatever before kids, giving birth won't change that.

"MAybe it just comes down to

"MAybe it just comes down to what a person is like - full stop. If they're unpleasant or narcassistic or whatever before kids, giving birth won't change that."

I think this quote is brilliant.

gonna hop in and defend STFU

gonna hop in and defend STFU parents because you've gone and made exactly the assumption the site owner explicitly says is not correct every so often. no, they don't assume all people with kids are mombies. they are sent the truly silly and obnoxious posts that stand out for being so absurd. that's the point. and they make the point again and again that if you are not going around acting like exhibit A here, then this is not about you.

I don't want to get into some

I don't want to get into some sort of slanging match here about this but I just need to make it clear that I know that's what the people from STFU Parents say. I am not saying that people on there think all parents are mombies. What I am saying is that there's a great deal of outright hatred on there towards some parents. I know there is some really horrific parenting which is made an example of on the site - that's not something I'm debating. What I am uncomfortable with is people being snide and cowardly on there.

Again, if someone is a shitty, self consumed parent, why be friends with them? Why take the time to villify them? It isn't healthy and it isn't going to help them change. It will just ghettoise people (ie mostly mums) which I think is really anti-equality and thus anti-feminism.

B. from STFU Parents

I think you might be missing the point of my website. Its purpose is not to single out parents and vilify them as individuals so much as to create a sort of humorous/thoughtful/bizarre database of examples of what not to do when you have kids and feel inclined to overshare on social networking sites. It's a collection of absurdities, and it's there for people who want to remain "Facebook friends" with their sister-in-law, for instance, but need a place to vent because they're being driven crazy by constant updates. I'm not sure how much time you've spent on the site, but in many cases we're talking about parents who lean over the toilet and take pictures of their kids' poop to show off to their friends.

As other Bitch commenters said, the blog is read by parents and non-parents alike. And the comments section may lean toward "childfree", but there are a fair number of parents in there, as well. Some commenters have kids but don't necessarily say so in every comment they make. They'd rather just focus on the humor, or even the 'vilifying' of which you speak. I try very hard to minimize the "hatred" and to distance myself and the blog from any parent or kid-hating, because that's not what it's about at all.

I guess i just don't get it

Some parents overshare; rejoice in seemingly weird things; don't take good, sane care of their kids. I guess I just don't get the urge to vent publically when a simpler solution would be to either, stop having contact with these parents or be an adult and tell them to stop "mommy jacking" your profile. I've just had a quick look at your current wall and I have to say there's some pretty odious commenting there.

I'm just not cool with picking on people and I don't think it's a healthy way to vent.

Again...

As a blogger, I think it's unfair to equate me and my site with the people who choose to comment there. If you took a look at any blog or website with enabled comments, you would find "odious" commenting. The blogger has to choose between allowing *some* negative comments and accepting that's what people do on the internet, or censor comments and hold everyone to a strict commenting policy. Personally, I've never been a big fan of censorship, so I moderate comments case-by-case. Some get deleted; other commenters get a "warning". But that stuff has nothing to do with the actual content of the website. Or any website.

Come on now!

The thing is though, that your blog isn't something where people just make snarky comments out of left field. STFU Parents is explicitly about taking the piss out of people who you (and your readers) judge to be wrong-headed. I'm not pro-censorship at all and I defend your right to have a blog about whatever you want, but it seems pretty disingenuous to claim that the blog is about anything other than encouraging mockery.

Also, as you yourself mentioned in an earlier post, a fair amount of your posts seem to be about you (and your readers') reaction to various overly-enthusiastic parents posting pics of their offsprings' poop. Why keep focusing on it?

It's all about perspective.

I consider the blog to be many things. One of those things is that it's a humor site, meant to poke fun at what I (and many others) deem "TMI" on social networking sites. Another is to incite discussion about the nature of overshare on social networking sites as it relates to parenting. I can't and won't try to change someone's opinion of the site, but I do ask that those who critique it read five pages of content before deciding what it's about.

There is a reason that I provide commentary -- I don't just put up submissions for people to laugh at with no comment, like some other websites do. There is much more going on, and I spend a lot of time crafting each post because I am genuinely interested in the subject of overshare. I think it's gross, funny, sad, understandable -- all of those things. If you think I'm only focusing on poop posts, you must not be a regular reader. (which is fine!)

Up until recently, I would

Up until recently, I would check out STFU almost daily. But it's gotten so negative now that it brings me down. It's not the blogger, it's the commenters. In the past, I've seen B. step in and say "hey" when things start to get too bitter but now I feel like it's just very hateful with no guidance from B. to keep it lite. Whether it's poop or a boring mom/dad related status update, people can spill some real negativity towards the poster, who let's face it probably is a very normal person who just overshared a bit or whose world revolves around their kid (and that's a good thing if you're a parent, right?). I wish I could resist the urge to view the comments but I can't so I stay far far away. It's like those crazy arguments on Craigslist....those are scary people.

Come on now!

The thing is though, that your blog isn't something where people just make snarky comments out of left field. STFU Parents is explicitly about taking the piss out of people who you (and your readers) judge to be wrong-headed. I'm not pro-censorship at all and I defend your right to have a blog about whatever you want, but it seems pretty disingenuous to claim that the blog is about anything other than encouraging mockery.

Also, as you yourself mentioned in an earlier post, a fair amount of your posts seem to be about you (and your readers') reaction to various overly-enthusiastic parents posting pics of their offsprings' poop. Why keep focusing on it?

A) Feminism has nothing to do

A) Feminism has nothing to do with equality.

B) Anti-feminism is a good thing, like not shooting abortionists.

-Smh.

P.S.: STFU, parents.

Thanks!

I love it when people defend the site in these types of discussions! You're my hero.

also: "Having a child should

also: "Having a child should be treated with respect and seriousness." ehhhh not necessarily, considering not all PARENTS treat having a child with respect and seriousness. if someone is acting like an idiot, being hateful, being selfish and entitled, then no, they don't have to be treated with the respect they themselves lack.

Sorry, I don't think I made

Sorry, I don't think I made myself clear there. What I meant is that when you have a child you (the parent) should treat becoming a parent with respect etc. I don't think that having a child should elevate you to some sort of mystic godess status at all. Nor should it give you an excuse to be rude or put your needs or wants ahead of someone without kids. I agree with another poster who said that it isn't always appropriate to take your kids everywhere and that kids shouldn't kick seats and so on. I totally agree with that and am all about my kids respecting other people, their space and their ear drums!

That's a lovely thought. But

That's a lovely thought. But it's unfortunate that a large number of parents completely fail to have any respect for the job they signed up for, and by doing a craptastic job of raising their kids, ensure that the rest of us suffer for their poor decisions.

I do agree that the minority kills it for the majority. That applies to particularly nasty childfree people as well as odious, entitled parents. I also agree with you that respect is completely earned, and not something that I should shower you with simply because you reproducd like any stray dog can do.

The key, I think, is being confident in your own choices. Parents can bingo me all they like, and I don't care, because not having kids is totally the right choice for me. Likewise, any good parent, on hearing I'm CF, will say - good for you, parenting is not for everyone - and get on with raising their children. The people who are the most vocal about the choices of others are those who were never secure in their own, or who mindlessly followed the script and found out they'd been sold a pup.

Live and let live. It takes different strokes to move the world.

But......what caused them to feel that way?

You know that those women on STFU Parent sites are only so angry because they have received a ridiculous amount of abuse from 'loving mothers' over the years.

I didn't know of the site until I read your post (2 minutes ago) but I am well aware that there are some parents I am angry with and it is because they are so unbelievably rude, judgemental and nasty to me solely because I don't want children. Of course they assume I hate kids because I don't want to babysit for them either. Why would I? They chose to have children, their children are their responsibility. Also, they both work part-time and have a whole host of people paying for their lifestyle and helping them out timewise while my partner and I are both full-time workers and full-time students who barely have the time to see each other never mind to be helping out selfish gits who have plenty of time to be helping themselves!

Having a child should be treated with respect and seriousness BY THOSE that have them! It shouldn't really matter a jot to anyone else. And that's the problem, the majority of parents do not take their responsibility seriously, indeed HALF of all pregnancies that result in a live birth are UNplanned! It's clear to see it is parents that are the problem not non-parents.

Good parents do still exist but they are becoming a rare sight.

And, in fairness, while there are smart women out there who also have children, the less intelligent you are the more children you are likely to have. Admittedly my IQ is particularly high, but I have yet to meet a mother that I can have anything approaching a reasonably intelligent conversation with. I'll still try, but as yet it hasn't happened and I'm not holding my breath that it will ever happen. The thing is that I like to keep up to date with current affairs (not celebrity stuff, properly important stuff) and I cannot imagine there is time to do that when you are raising a child, and so of course you will fall out of the loop of what is going on in the world. I don't judge them for that, but equally I have no desire to converse with them either.

i just stumbled on this

i just stumbled on this article when seeking more perspectives on why some other people don't want kids. I'm a childless, cis het married white woman in the US, household income for 2 people of 32 K a year, no savings, student loans, some credit card debt (accrued from paying vet bills for a sick dog and from airfare to visit my mom mostly.) I knew from a young age I didn't want to get married or have kids. in my 30s now, i have actually been married for 6 years (turns out i didn't want a WEDDING, which of course i now know to be different from not wanting marriage.) I got pregnant a couple years ago and knew right away I needed to find a way to have an abortion. i was horrified at the idea of continuing my pregnancy. my husband wasn't ready for a kid either and adoption was NOT for us. i would sooner have attempted suicide than continue my pregnancy.

but anyway, that's my context i wanted to give before saying the reply above by AnonymousLeah just horrifies me. you are criticizing people for unplanned pregnancy. seriously? birth control can fail. mine did. and do you know how few counties in the US actually provide abortion services. it's appalling. like fewer than 2%. pregnancy happens and people shouldn't be shamed and badgered for not having the money, time, energy, political will, and moral certainty to do something which should be just another routine medical procedure, but isn't. and mostly I'm horrified at your boasting a high IQ while expressing such certainty that intelligence and childbearing are correlated. honestly. just because you have no shared topics of (what you perceive to be) deep and meaningful conversation with your friends with kids does not mean that the main trend driving birth rates is intelligence. i am personally offended that you want to frame the issue of having children as one of intelligence or its lack.

I have kids by choice. I love

I have kids by choice. I love raising my girls, but kids are hard. Kids are work. You have to want them. I respect and support people who chose to not have kids if they don't want them. My brother and his wife have made that choice, and I see the masked frustration at family gatherings when people inevitably ask... "so, when are you two having kids?" The constant badgering they must get would be enough to make anyone hostile. It's right up there with family asking my daughter if she's *still* a vegetarian. (yep, she is. her choice. we support her.)

I think the sensed hostility is a result of how people who make a choice that is seen as less than traditional are treated. Get harassed enough about a personal choice and you're bound to go on the defensive.

Agree that kids are hard, but

Agree that kids are hard, but you don't "have to want them." You just have to have sex.

It may depend on the person

It may depend on the person and situation. If it's one of those "When are you having children, oh you're not having children yet, you will when you find the right partner" situations and someone actually has to state "I am child-free, I am never having children, please stop saying I will", they may sound a little defensive. That's the only time I get angry about being asked about kids. For the most part, no one really bothers me about when my husband and I are having babies(except for his mother).
The internet is a horrible place to gauge a person's care or disdain for something for two reasons:
1) Anonymity can make people act like assholes when they can say things without consequence
OR
2) Being in a space where you can air your grievances around like minded people.

So, some child-free people may like children, but when they're able to discuss reasons as to why on the internet, they may say all the things that were bottled up inside.
I remember when I started posting links to these "No Kidding" article and a few others within the span of a week. One of my dear friends, who is a mom, got a little snippy with me in her comments, essentially saying it was very "vogue" in the feminist community to be down on kids and parents right now and soon it will be popular again to have lots of babies. So I kept posting links to the "No Kidding" articles, but without any real commentary from me. I do not hate children. In fact, I used to work with a non-profit for kids. But on my worst days, I get angry that my friend can post all the baby nonsense she wants without critique and I have to play nice.
Also, we define ourselves by our choices, for better or worse. When I was working with a group of preteens, I made the mistake of saying that I didn't like Bella from "Twilight". They all thought I was talking smack about them personally. If I didn't like Bella or "Twilght", it meant I didn't like them because they defined themselves through the book. If I insinuated the book was stupid, it meant I thought they were stupid for liking it. And it just snowballs. So, if I say to a mom or dad, "I don't want kids because I don't want the financial responsibility, I'm not able to give over my body like that, I'm not emotionally viable as a mother now", all they hear is "You're not financially responsible, you sacrificed your body, you're a cold and distant parent".
On my good days, I say that happens because we define ourselves by our choices. On my bad days, I say that happens because parents are self-absorbed. And we come full circle as to why parents think child-free people hate kids. I actually don't hate kids. But I do have issues with parents that I keep to myself for the most part. Except for a safe online space.

From a mother

I'm a single mother who has many friends who are child-free by choice. My friends say they have not encountered rudeness or any questioning of their decision from other people, and I personally have never judged anyone negatively for their choice to be child-free. In fact, before reading this, I was not aware that child-free people ever face hostility or judgment from parents about their decision. I *have* faced commentary from well-meaning older women about my choice to remain single, however. Ladies are always offering me advice about how to attract a man or trying to "set me up" with a nice man they know. They are astonished when I explain that I am single because I prefer it that way. Sometimes I feel defensive about their reactions and respond as if they are judging my choice. Then I remember that they are not really being hostile with me about my choice; they think they are helping me. I wonder how much of this is our own human tendency to feel like we must justify our choices, and how much is truly the judgment of other people?

Some of the best parents I

Some of the best parents I know are/were single parents. Not that you need/seek my congrats or approval but I give you major props.
There is something we learned during training at my former job called the "interpersonal gap" where communication gets all mixed up because if I say to you "Your hair looks nice today" you might interpret that as "Your hair looks like crap every other day". Tone and body language play a role and the moral of the story really is: be intentional when you speak. And I think that's something everyone should remember.

The other side...

You have to admit, if we're talking about derision toward somebody's personal choice, the deck is still largely stacked against people who are childfree. I don't mean to imply that mindless, cruel scorn towards people with kids is ever justified, but I do believe that where there is resentment against parents, it's partly a reaction to resentment against non-parents.

Childfree people constantly have to go on the defensive against accusations of selfishness, misguided priorities, inhumanity (yes, I've heard this one) and the idea that it's "sad" that neither my partner or me will ever experience the, ahem, joy of parenthood.

Also, there is the implicit notion in our culture that people with kids are hierarchically more important than people without them. Matters of public policy, media, and commerce are largely skewed toward appeasing the needs of parents and families, and those of us without kids are expected to simply defer to them and be happy we get anything at all. I'm not saying these policies are always unjust or unreasonable, but really, how many times do we have to hear "think of the children!" in political debates, especially those that have absolutely nothing to do with children.

I like to say I choose not to have kids and that's good enough. I'm not out to cast aspersion on others (although one can not in good conscience ignore the problem of global overpopulation) and, if pressed on my beliefs, will say that I believe more people should be adopting than having kids of their own, but again, I'm not out to tell people how to live their lives.

I recently e-mailed an old

I recently e-mailed an old friend, the mother of two children, to share the news that I am expecting my first child (at age 33, after 10 1/2 years of marriage). For the record, I did not take the decision to have a child lightly, and there was a period of time in which I wasn't sure I ever wanted children. I have equal respect for people who choose to be parents and people who choose to be childfree. And I can honestly say I have been both at various period of my life.

The response I received back shocked me. "Oh, wow. Congratulations. I thought you [and your husband] were confirmed baby-haters."

Baby-haters?

So if I chose not to have children, that would have automatically made me a baby hater? I shot back an e-mail, "Baby-haters? There are people out there who hate babies?" My friend softened her tone a bit, but the point had been made. In her mind, people who don't have children make that choice because they HATE children.

After reading this article and the associated comments, I do still hold my friend responsible for having such a close-minded attitude. However, I wonder if she has been exposed to militant child-free people who do say such things...? This is all a revelation to me. I'm not sure why anyone would ever want to say they HATE animals or children, but clearly those people are doing a disservice to the rest of us.

I am not one to talk about my reproductive choices with others. I believe it is my personal business. I could write a book with all of the insensitive comments I've been exposed to over the last 10 years. Why do I owe complete strangers, acquaintances, friends, or even family any kind of explanation of my choices? We have friends who essentially cut off contact with my husband and me because we didn't start having children at 25 like they did, as though our not making the same choice was somehow a judgment of their decision. And we know people who like us for not having children, as though child-free people are part of this secret society of individuals who have made "the right choice." It's all ridiculous.

The sooner we can all agree to stop judging other people's reproductive choices (to have kids or to not have kids) and using inflammatory words like "hate," the better off we will all be.

On "Hate"...

I feel that too often people don't make the distinction between "hating" children and simply "not preferring them around."

I will admit I am one of those that, given most circumstances, I like not being around kids. I do enjoy them on the occasions they're around (i've even taught at summer camp and had a blast doing it), but given my choice, I'd just as soon prefer an entire evening out without coming across children and all they entail.

When I explained this to a friend of mine who does have children, she asked "how is that any different than discriminating against blacks and gays?"

I sighed.

Not only was this comparison woefully disingenuous (and just plain wrong), but it was deliberately accusatory of my decision to not have kids.

The sad thing was at that moment, I didn't have a compelling, reasonable response to that accusation. I knew internally that there was a difference, but found myself unable to articulate it. I still do.

thank you

Casatron, your words brought me a lot of comfort to hear. Sometimes I feel like I'm seen as defective as a woman and a human, but it's good to know I'm not alone.

Mother with lots of child-free friends

I have two children because I chose to. But most of my close friends are child-free, also by choice. I don't feel as if I receive hostility from them. In fact, they often invite my children to our gatherings and make them feel at home when we are all together. If there is any hostility, I would say that it probably comes from me, unfortunately. Occassionally, my friends simply don't understand the level of committment I have to my children, or why I don't want to attend a party because I've been asked to dump them in someone's basement alone with video games all night. Sometimes they compare my children to their pets, which I find offensive. And I'm concerned about my children's generation as they get older and have to bear the financial and social responsibility of caring for so many people in my generation who chose not to have children and have limited or no support when they become elderly. I sometimes feel like the mothers are the minority in today's world. But for the most part, it isn't difficult to get along well with people who have made a different choice than I have.

I suppose that would be the

I suppose that would be the same way that childfree people pay taxes so your children can get an education. Maybe I'm just idealistic, but shouldn't the point of society be that we all help each other regardless? Helping one benefits us all. I don't resent paying taxes so children can get an education and I don't resent paying taxes so the elderly can have healthcare. I'm glad my money is going to benefit someone who needs it. I would hope that others would feel the same.

Besides, after working with an elder care volunteer agency, even if I had kids I would still be purchasing long term care insurance so I wouldn't be put in the situation I see so many families in.

The gift-giving annoys me to

The gift-giving annoys me to no end. I am expected to give gifts and go to school plays, first-grade graduations and what not, from my siblings with kids, but receive no gifts from them--or attendance at my graduation--for earning a PhD.

That's ridiculous.

Although I don't know you, Anonymous, I would like to congratulate you on earning your PhD! That's quite an accomplishment!

respect for choices

As a parent, I respect people's choice not to have kids. I know it must be hard in a society that still promotes this idea that, to be a full person, one must find their soul mate and reproduce. It is still a social expectation. So I'm sure childfree folks have to face prejudice from some quarters. On the other hand, I have met a few childfree people, or read some online, who were "anti-child." But I'm pretty sure they are a minority. At least they are in my own experience.

Here is a piece I wrote on this on my blog a few years ago. http://tboyjacky.wordpress.com/2008/01/26/being-a-mom/

The only difficulty that I've had with child free friends, especially when I was in my late 20s and my childfree friends were also mostly in that age range, is that many of them didn't want to hang out with me when I had my child. They only wanted to go out and party in bars. If I would invite them to come hang out for a family activity, I would get an incredulous look. But I've changed social circles since then and now have childfree friends who actually enjoy hanging out with us, as well as sometimes hanging out with me when my child is with my ex.

As if : 1. there's no reason

As if :
1. there's no reason to be angry.
2. there's something wrong with being angry and even rude.
3. being angry and rude are bigger crimes than forcing life on someone.

I find your apathy to all the suffering in the world caused directly by those parent's choices you're ambivalent about to be atrocious.

In all fairness though, why

In all fairness though, why SHOULD you have to be proactive about "I'm childfree BUT I DON'T HATE CHILDREN."? Yes, I don't think you should walk around saying "I hate kids" but I also think that having to be proactive about your love/tolerance of them is a pretty big imposition. Should Prius owners slap on bumper stickers that say "My car gets great gas mileage and is saving the earth, but it's TOTALLY OKAY if yours doesn't." ?

People will make judgments about you based on their own experiences and understanding of the world. And while I do think that part of feminism is educating the world, I don't think the burden of education should constantly be on the people who are non normative.

Funny - I'm currently

Funny - I'm currently pursuing my doctorate in Children's Literature, and I am and intend to stay childfree. I always get some laughs from my students at the beginning of each semester when I tell them that I'm only interested in theoretical children. Everyone assumes that I must want loads of kids if I spend my time studying their literature.

I think childfree people get

I think childfree people get a bad rap because kid-haters are the most vocal, and often the most extreme in their descriptions. I've been in some CF communities over on Livejournal, and it's not infrequent to see language like breeder, moo, duh, crotch dropping, or other derogatory terminology. And let's be frank, it is derogatory. Then there are epic dramas like the Harry Potter meltdown, where an adult woman threw a temper tantrum and described wanting to stab a child in the eye and eviscerate the mother because the kid won a Harry Potter release costume contest. Stuff that extreme does happen, and it sticks in people's minds.

People hear that kind of crap and they knee-jerk. You see the same thing with people knee-jerking around feminists because of all the horror stories they've heard about extremists. Hell, you see the same thing with most any group. Reasonable people don't get gossiped about and passed around... vocal jerks do.

Like the "1 kid spoils it for all phenom"

From talking to hundreds of childfree and actively being on the e-waves for some time now, I have to say that the "angry" "kid hater" business reflects a minority of people who don't have children by choice. It reminds me of the one kid who heckles in the back of the class and how the rest of the class gets "punished" along with that kid. There does seem to be more negativeness that comes from the childfree And parents online that what you would encounter in person. The anonymous nature of the internet somehow gives people permission to treat others with less respect that they would if they were sitting right next to the person. There are those of us who want to work against that tide and encourage productive dialogue between the two camps. Not all places online have the angry banter vibe--it is my goal at laviechildfree to better accurately reflect who is out there in this regard and take the wind out of the sails of what is a myth that we are all somehow angry and defensive people.
~Laura Carroll, author of Families of Two http://laviechildfree.com

Not angry, just exasperated

I just get sick of having to answer the same question - When/Are you and [significant other] going to have kids? - with the same answer - We aren't - over and over. Recently, a friend of mine who is married and has two (adorable, wonderful, interesting, sweet) little girls asked me this question for the umpteenth time. We only see each other every couple of months but without fail, she seems to ask me this question every time we're together, and especially when we're around other people. I've told her the normal polite spiel - I adore your kids, respect your decision to have them, not for me, etc, etc - every time she brings it up, but it just won't go away. When she again asked me if/when the dude and I were planning on having kids, I replied "Never, if I can help it." I didn't mean to come off as blunt or rude, but I get tired of answering the same question with the same answer over and over!

also exasperated

I used to get the "when are you going to have a baby" question all the time (usually from men, for some reason). In my case, I eventually found out I cannot have children. Nothing shuts one of these nosy people up faster than saying "I can't have children". Of course, they probably feel sorry for me and think I'm deficient, but at least I don't get the questions anymore.

This is the thing that bothers me about people asking others when they plan to procreate or why they don't have children. Not all childless people chose to be childless. Sure, there are some who made the choice not to (and I think it's a brave choice and not at all selfish), but let's not forget there are others who did not have the luxury of making that choice. You can't look at a childless couple or person and tell who chose it and who didn't. In either case, it's none of your damn business why there aren't kids in the picture, so just stop asking.

As as 38 year old woman, I am

As as 38 year old woman, I am mostly just depressed at the realization that, as women, once again our choices are judged no matter what we do or don't do, regardless of race or socioeconomic class.

As for myself, I don't know what to say when I get the inevitable question of why I don't have kids. I may still decide to, but I don't know at this point what my body can handle, and the truth is that question feels so very invasive and brings up so much emotion that I often have to restrain myself from bursting into tears in front of a stranger. I'm not a mother, but I'm not a decidedly 'child-free' person, either. I'm just me, with the life path that brought me to where I am today. Sometimes I'm tempted to amp up the awkwardness in the room with the truth: I was in an abusive relationship during my most fertile years, I spent 5 years recovering from a mystery illness and chronic fatigue after getting sick in a toxic work environment, now I'm OK but I have no money because of our fucked up health care system and my new business that I started to make sure I never end up in that situation again, etc. etc. No one wants to hear all of that. I try to take a step back and consider that I've always been outside the norm and that's just a normal, inoffensive question for a lot of people, or at worst, my perceived life choices are once again being interpreted as a reflection on their choices, but I'll never be able to accept this as a benign question. It will always feel rude and invasive and in my mind they may as well be asking what the hell's wrong with me.

I've always approached others with a 'live and let live' attitude and it's still difficult for me to understand why other people can't do the same. I often sense people's uncomfortableness when I answer that no, I don't have children, and then I don't give an explanation. But giving them the truth can kill an interaction real fast.

I don't normally read comment threads but I found this one valuable and interesting. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments.

You took down my comment

You took down my comment because I am angry? I don't have a right to be angry? This issue is important. Why does it matter the words someone uses to make an argument? Is this about making sure you don't have a negative perception, or about making sure their feelings aren't hurt? I don't know of many parents with genuine hurt feelings, more like hurt egos.

Hi Anonymous,

Hi Anonymous,

I don't know what your comment was, but if you'd like more info on what is and is not allowed in this area, check out the link below to our policy. Generally, expressions of anger are a-okay as long as they don't include name-calling, accusations toward posters or commenters, slurs, etc.

Check out our Comments Policy!

I might get crucified for this but..

What about those of us who really DON'T like children? As a woman who's chosen to be childfree, I'm also constantly bombarded with the pity and annoying comments from people I know (and even strangers) that are parents and my own family members, etc. But I find that many women that are childfree also add that it's not because they don't like/love children, they just don't want their own for such and such reason, etc. However, maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't like/love children (in general) and I don't want to have any, ever. I don't despise their existence or hate them, I just don't like being around them. It seems that this is an unacceptable explanation to people, because it automatically turns me into this shrewd, big o'l meanie lady. So yeah, frankly, I do get annoyed when the people I know, and the media, and my family members are constantly harping on about babies and kids and their seemingly endless cuteness. I don't see it, I don't care, and I don't want to talk about your kids. I'm not looking down on parenthood by any means whatsoever, my props to all the parents out there. In some of the comments I've read, some people are childfree and enjoy playing with their friends' kids or nieces/nephews, but I don't. Maybe that makes me sound angry, but I just don't enjoy kids and I don't enjoy hearing stories about my friends' kids nor babysitting or spending time with kids. Sue me.

Seems a bit harsh to rule out

Seems a bit harsh to rule out a whole group of people. If you don't want to have kids that's obviously totally cool and no one else's goddam business, but to make a blanket statement seems a bit odd.

You are not alone and you

You are not alone and you don't sound angry, you sound just like me. I have also seen many times the automatic disclaimer "It's not that I don't love children, I do!" I cringe when women feel the need to add this, I don't like children and I won't apologize for that. I avoid kids whenever possible and when parents talk about their kids I just sort of zone out and think of something else; I really can't help it, they just don't interest me in the least. I don't wish them any harm, I just don't want much to do with them (including nieces and nephews) and I certainly won't be having any! If more women would admit to feeling this way it would eventually become more acceptable.

Huh... what?

"I have also seen many times the automatic disclaimer "It's not that I don't love children, I do!" I cringe when women feel the need to add this, I don't like children and I won't apologize for that. "

Not all of us CFers say things like that because we're putting on a mask of deceit or apologizing. I mean I legitimately just don't hate or dislike kids and have no reason to dislike someone just because they're children. Jeez. I get along with children more than I do with other childfree people.

personally i like children CONDITIONALLY

i often say that i like "other people's children for about 5 minutes, so long as they're being quiet." i don't like spending more than a few minutes with a kid, i don't like being around groups of kids, and i definitely don't like kids who are crying or acting like brats. i don't dislike children, i just don't want to hang out with them (kind of like any other people with whom i have nothing in common)...

desperate for a response

Neither the author nor the commenters on this blog seem to view this issue like I do, and I don't understand why. Having a child has many implications that perhaps outweigh society's "everyone's choice should be respected and not judged" line. Will you please watch this video and tell me what is wrong with the arguments in it? Ignore the drawing. Please? Why is it even ok for a person to bring someone into being without consulting them first?

http://inmendham.com/dog/flv347.html

I'm a mother and have faced

I'm a mother and have faced hostility from more than one person who is child-free. One of my best friends is child-free and I completely respect her choice to remain so. I think it really depends on who you're dealing with. Either side can be equally hostile.

How could you consult a baby pre-birth?

Anonymous: you ask, "Why is it even ok for a person to bring someone into being without consulting them first?"

This will sound harsh, but it isn't meant to: That's an absurd (used for its true definition, not the one that has negative connotations) question.

Misplaced Anger

I don't like the label "childfree." I am simply someone who does not have children. End of story. Who cares whether I have kids or not? Who cares whether YOU have kids or not? If you have or want kids, then go for it. But please just leave me alone; shift your focus back to where it belongs: YOUR child. The angry ones, I think, are the people with kids who realize at some point that they were programmed to be breeders or parents and that, hey, it was OPTIONAL all along.

I choose to be Childless

I choose to be childless and I'm not a mean person. I really feel sorry for children because of the type of crazy world they live in. Parents keep saying maybe one day their child or mine will solve the world's problems. I still see no change and if this child tries to solve the problems of the world. Either risk getting assassinated for example, Gandhi, Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Jesus. I also know I'm missing a few names but when ever someone wants to change the world for the better. Someone always wants to kill them and, what mother wants to give up their child for world? I choose to not have children because I hate everything about the world we live in. Every time I see a baby I just want to cry for them and the pain they will go through being here, in hell. I also don't know how parents sleep at night and not knowing what kind of day their child will face. Some parents tell me they block their feelings about the bad things of the world so, they won't go crazy. The anniversary of 9/11 is coming up and my little brother was asking me questions about war and death. I told him go ask mom about. I never what to have those kinds of questions coming to me from a child.

Judgy Me

I can't help it. I DO judge those with children. Most people either have kids accidentally or pursue it with the single-mindedness of a child who wants a toy NO MATTER WHAT. I've actually thought about my choice, and yes, I do have thinly veiled contempt for those who have not thought out their decisions on procreation. Most people with kids spend more time agonizing over what kind of computer to buy than they spend thinking about the pros and cons of childbearing. So, excuse me while I go off and feel superior.

The childfree people are hateful in general

In my experience with childfree communities on the net, I have come to realize that it seems a good majority of childfree people are hateful towards anyone that poses an inconvenience to them. If you are not willing to hate the same things they do, such as fat people, and those with mental disabilities for example, you'll be labeled a troll and systematically bullied off the forum. I've had childfree forum members stalk me on other sites on the net, spreading lies about me as a form of intimidation. They disliked that I stood up for fat people and people who are mentally disabled. I kept rainingon their hate parade. It's not just about disliking kids for the majority of childfree people, they want a space where they can hate on anyone vulnerable. That ishiw bullies behave, and it would seem the majority of childfree people are bullies.

Do they....

Ask them if they hate their own parents? It might clear up a lot of anger issues they have. I ask this in the most sarcastic way.

no, not at all...

Wow! generalize much?! Most younger people (ie teens, very early twenties) are childfree, so by your post you believe all of these people are evil fat-hating, racist bullies??!! Oh, and interestingly enough, don't you think there are overweight, disabled, Hispanic, black, Asian, Indian, Native American, (etc) childfree people??? uh...that answer would be yes. You are probably just a troll, but I felt the need to reply to such a--and let's be honest--stupid post.

A lot of childfree people DON'T hate children AND they aren't selfish, but instead are smart to know that they either don't have the money or instincts to be parents. How many people have you met that have been truly messed up due to crappy parents? Why have children if you don't want them? Because our lame society tells us we must?! Oh, that's great, let's have a whole bunch of kids we don't want, can 't pay for so that we can resent them and ruin their lives. What a great idea! (*note the sarcasm)

And, what about people who want kids, but can't physically have them?

Odd "Childfree vs. 'Breeder'" war

I've seen a lot of anger from the childfree (and hatred toward parents and children), and I've also seen a lot of people who have kids who are vexed by the childfree and insist they're selfish, self-absorbed, mean, cold, etc. Why either side hates the other is confusing to me (don't want kids? don't have 'em. Want kids? have 'em - IF you're fit). I wrote about this in "The Childfree vs. 'Breeder' War: Why Are We Fighting It?" http://sylviadlucas.com/2011/09/22/the-child-free-vs-breeder-war-why-are...

Maybe some people just like being angry and judgy, and then we get angry at those who are angry and judgy. - Sylvia, author of "No Children, No Guilt"

Thank you!

Thank you for posting this! Enlightening.

I've also written about this topic:
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/07/why-does-child-free-equal-child-h...

I feel as though people who

I feel as though people who choose to not have children are treated in a hostile way by those who think all women are "made to have kids". To be constantly judged or slammed with negative comments on a choice that doesn't even affect the person making the comments causes anger in the person being judged. I am a 29 year old woman who chose to not have children and feel constantly berated by others with kids. Many women who have made the choice to have children or who have always wanted children, are unable to focus on anything but their own beliefs. It is hard for them to realize that the world is made up of many people with differing beliefs and values. I see it like this... I choose to not eat white bread. This doesn't mean I don't like white bread, it just means I don't want it. My choice to not eat white bread has nothing to do with you and to be viewed as less of a person for not making the same choice as you is hostile. It makes me feel like people who are deeply offended by my choice to not have kids wish they had made that choice and now feel they need to take that anger out on me somehow...? Whether this argument is about not having children or what one eats, or the type of car one drives, we all have different opinions, ideas, beliefs, values, and lives. Everyone should be open minded and embrace differences. To sum it all up, people who have no children may be viewed as "angry" because they are sick and tired of people telling them they are selfish for not making the same choice as everyone else. It is a normal human response to be angry when being judged or scolded for our beliefs.

Imposing your kids' noise on others

I live in a neighborhood where the shrieking children make me profoundly grateful that I chose to NOT have children. the parents terrorize the other neighbors who are quiet with their screaming kids. They seem to think they have entitlements because they have children IF I had a dog barking as much as their children make noise, they could and would get the police to warn me.
It could be that they are just a different level of awareness, as in VERY LITTLE, because I know moms that are LOVELY people and wouldn't put up with this kind of behavior.. OTOH I know I have nearly been run off the sidewalk by mom's with massive strollers yapping on their cellphones.
Honestly though the possibility of ending up with children like my neighbors makes me so very thankful husband and I decided not to have any

Kind of late to the party, as

Kind of late to the party, as usual...

I just wanted to say that I was happily childfree until I was 37. I never felt judged for my choice. When people asked me about it I just shrugged and said it wasn't something I wanted. No one ever called me selfish or made me feel bad about it, although a few were curious or said it had never occurred to them NOT to have kids. Maybe I'm just not that thin-skinned, or maybe it says something about the city I lived in or the people I interacted with.

I did change my mind and now I'm a parent, and I actually feel more judged for choosing to drop out of the work force for a year and a half to be with my kid. I recently went back to work and friends are openly, vocally relieved.

I'm sure there are conservatives out there who believe women are for breeding, but in America the much more dominant belief seems to be that we must work above all else. When someone asks me "what do you do?" they aren't asking about my parenting or my hobbies or my education. When I told people I was staying home to take care of my (tiny, helpless, infant) daughter, they were openly embarrassed, and/or immediately assumed I was stupid / had nothing interesting to say. Research backs up the idea that people perceive mothers as less intelligent than childfree women.

In my personal experience the childfree are much quicker to denigrate mothers than the other way around. I respect that other peoples' experience may not correspond with mine.

I also just want to add that being a parent isn't that hard. I have no idea why people go on and on about the misery/drudgery/life-ending horror it it all. We chose to have less money for a while so I could stay home, and there have been sleepless nights - but I was broke and under-slept in my 20s too. Spending time with my kid is a lot of fun, and I don't know why I don't hear that more from other parents.