Monday, September 22, 2008

These days it seems I can't spit without hitting a friend who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant. This isn't a bad thing, really, and I have come to realize that my group of friends is just... in that time of life when they're thinking of starting a family.

So what's the big deal, then?

There's a couple things at work here. First... I find that from those choosing to have kids as well as those choosing not to, it's a sort of an us vs. them thing when it comes to the internet. These are some heavy issues, it seems, and people do what they always do and that is, piss everyone else off. Although, I will say that a lot of the ugly does come mostly from the "childfree" side.
*scratches head*
Ugh... this is all so complicated...

I felt I had to delve into this, though, because of a few things happening with me, including the deluge of friends having kids. I find it odd (or maybe just coincidental??) that the friends I left in California are the ones having the kids. It's just that time. I made my decision prior to the second marriage 'cause I knew that if I didn't figure out where I stood on the issue (the boyo has always been, still is and always will be of the "kids are not for me" set), then there might be the possibility of a second divorce. So we talked to a couples counselor about this (if anyone needs a name of a good one, I've got one for you!) and I decided to look at what it was that I wanted.

I was at the time a very "Definitely no kids now...but maybe later" kind of person. So I thought, ok... when is later? This was part of the problem. There were (and are) a whole bunch of things I want to do prior to kids. Not so much 'cause you can't do them, more because I know that my priorities would change and that would effect the outcome, and I'd always wonder. Then there was the why did I possibly want a kid. Well, honestly, it's because with even as fucked up as life could be, I wouldn't trade anything for the world! I love living. I can't think of anything better than this, whether in the depths of despair, or feeling like I have the best life ever! I'd like to pass that on... I'd like to show someone else what that's like. Then I again thought about when that would be a right time for me. I did the calculations with my age thinking that by the time the boyo finishes school I'd be about 35 and that we wanted to travel/ live in other countries and have some time for ourselves. So then maybe that leaves me at 40. It's not impossible, but do I really want to look after a kid at 40? Then there are the mental health issues. It's not proven with my family but after a lot of talk with my last therapist, signs point to yes in the "family has issues" catagory. Then there's me. I've been in and out of therapists since I was 15 or 16, and the cycles are easy to follow and very apparent knowing what I know now. Honestly, it's tough enough taking care of myself and I've finally gotten it under control. I don't even want to think about the stresses of having a child and possible post-partum.

So...I decided no. I would rather stay with the boyo than hold out for a possibly... I love that boy so much, I can't see it as anything other than waiting around to see if I work as well with someone else that I might want to have kids with. If I didn't have them after all, you can bet your bottom that I'd be miserable about letting the boyo go! I felt very strongly on my decision and I finally felt at peace with the argument.

Ok...right...so back to the friends. My nearest and dearest are all having kids. The new ones I'm making up here in PDX are all childfree. Weird! That's not to say I have no pre-PDX childfree friends. I've got a few in SoCal, and a couple in Lexington. Here, the boyo and I have landed SMACK-DAB in the middle of a field of childfree kids, just like us. So it's sorter weird in that it sometimes feels like that distance that's there between my SoCal friends and me is getting larger because now here's something being thrown into the mix that I can't follow them on and will not understand, just as they won't understand what my life is like without kids.

Getting into this world of blogging, and visiting the blogs I love, I found that there's only one blog I can think of off hand that's NOT a mommy blog, and there might be a few more that I just can't think of/ don't know... and EVERYONE else is a mommy. Does this upset me? Not REALLY. I just, found it strange that I can't find many blogs that are not mommy or daddy blogs or even blogs FOR mommy and daddy bloggers. The childfree ones I've found aren't the same. I'm not sure how to use my words on this one... but I just don't get the same vibe as I do from the parenting ones.

... I wonder why that is?? Maybe it's because as non-parents, we don't really need any resources. Well, that's not true. However, I'm sure it would be HEAVILY frowned upon if I started a blog on places that are childfree. Not so much because I hate kids ('cause I don't, and you can ask my best friend Ava who's 5!) but because, well maybe you don't always want the kids poking around... or maybe you don't want to attend a movie with some little kid running around. I don't blame the kid, I blame the parents! If I acted like that when I was a kid, you can bet there'd be hell to pay or we'd be leaving. Hell, maybe parents would like to know where they can get some time without kids, so maybe they'd like that resource too! Maybe they'd like a place where they can get some R'n'R!
...
Huh.... anyone want to start a new website with me???

No, no, no, no, no! I'm sure this would backfire... maybe... could backfire... maybe...

huh....

ANYWAY...the point is that most things get bastardized. My aforementioned (possible) theoretical website would not only get attacked, but also get filled with kidhaters saying kid hating things... maybe... possibly...

...

MY POINT! ... if I can just stop thinking about the aforementioned website... is that, as a "childfree" person, I'd like to say I get it already! I know you love your kids and I love reading the stories about it and some make me laugh and some make me cry, but even if it's all working out so well for you, it doesn't mean that I'll feel just as gratified at the end of the day. I could very well be that mom who everyone wonders as to how she could have killed her children. I don't think I'm capable of it (I can barely kill a spider! and I refuse to throw away my stuffed animals for fear that they would be sad), but strange things happen. I'm very happy being sans child. I hope to be someone's Auntie Mame one day (more like in the end when she takes care of Patrick's little one and less like her taking care of Patrick 'cause then that means someone I loved dearly passed on). I'm very happy to have my kid time with friends' little ones and then return him or her to them at the end of the day.

Mommies, please stop trying to convince us that we'd lead much happier lives with kids!... And you, childfree peeps, stop "neener-neener"ing the parents!

I'm going to shut up now before I start in on the Snowflake problem and the Helicopter parents, 'cause I know that you kids with kids really hate it when one of us non-kid havers starts saying anything about parenting...

Peace!

22 comments:

Da5id said...

I'll try to stop.... try i say try

Ceci said...

to stop which one? The bitchy comments or the telling the parents how to ... parent??

:P

Kidfree Kaye said...

Your situation sounds like mine. I thought I would have children someday, but my boyfriend - who didn't really want them - made me think long and hard about why I "wanted" them. The last thing I wanted to do was leave him to hopefully find a guy I loved just as much who did want kids and would be a good parent. (I know a woman who did this, and is still single and 50 years old.)

The main thing is, I couldn't come up with any good reasons to HAVE children, other than the challenge and purpose they seem to give you (which I have plenty of trying to run my OWN career and life.) The other reasons, like "everyone else is having them", "I don't want to be lonely in old age" and "my siblings would love some cousins for their kids" didn't seem to be good enough reasons to commit to a lifetime of being a parent. Plus, I do not like the direction parenting is going these days (i.e. Helicopter Parenting) and don't want to join the group. (By the way, what is "snowflaking"?)

Anyway, so I decided to remain childfree, and - now in my mid-40s - am happy to say that I made the right decision. It's not always easy (like during the holidays), but it's definitely not easy being a parent 24/7/365 either. I have joined several childfree groups online, and one of them (childfree.net) is quite an interesting group to communicate with. Yes, some of them are negative and rant about bad parents and kids, but many of us are normal people people who love our nieces and nephews and friends' kids, just don't want our own.

I am writing a book called "Kidfree & Lovin' It." I have an online survey that over 2,400 CFs around the world have taken, and would love you and your childless friends to take it too! Just click on this link to take you there, and you can remain anonymous if you like:
http://tinyurl.com/Kidfree-Survey

I also have a website that lists other childfree websites & groups, books and article links, as well as some resorts that are childfree: www.kidfreeandlovinit.com

I think your idea for a website with childfree places is good, as I am thinking of doing my next book on "Kidfree Travel." Thanks, and enjoy Ceci!

Kidfree Kaye in California

liz said...

as a Breeder, I get it! And I have to say, I would NEVER tell someone they should have kids. If anything, I lean more to the "are you REALLY sure you are ready/want kids?" Which isn't to say I don't love my monkey to bits. But it's the hardest effing J-O-B in the world and if you ain't ready, those ankle-biters will eat you alive.
And believe me, I feel the pressure to add that it's all worth it at the end of the day. But come on! Some days, I am LIVING for bedtime so I can get some peace and quiet (and a vodka tonic).
Kudos to you for making the decision that's best for you and your boyo!

liz said...

as a Breeder, I get it! And I have to say, I would NEVER tell someone they should have kids. If anything, I lean more to the "are you REALLY sure you are ready/want kids?" Which isn't to say I don't love my monkey to bits. But it's the hardest effing J-O-B in the world and if you ain't ready, those ankle-biters will eat you alive.
And believe me, I feel the pressure to add that it's all worth it at the end of the day. But come on! Some days, I am LIVING for bedtime so I can get some peace and quiet (and a vodka tonic).
Kudos to you for making the decision that's best for you and your boyo!

~:{ ... }:~ said...

I've struggled with this conundrum for years. I had always wanted to have children, there wasn't any reason for me NOT to want to have them. I like them. What I learned, however, as I became older and had more experience with parents, especially parents my own age, is that to raise children correctly(or attempt to) takes a tremendous amount of time, energy, and effort. I had to really sit down and decide if the things in my life I would have to give up, in order to raise children properly, were worth the sacrifice. In the end I decided they were worth keeping and suppressed my "clock"...the gods know I couldn't do it on my own, nor wanted to, and I hadn't been in a relationship for ages that was nearly half stable enough to bring a child into(and do I count my blessings for NOT being bound to any of those past relationships through blood....holy cow!).

Soon my body will make the decision for me and at this point I think I'm more upset about the choice being taken away from me than acting on it. I'm fine with my ol crotch-crucifix for the time being...and I could always adopt later if I change my mind ::shrug:: I'm adopted...and I didn't turn out too terribly! :P That and drink out of sippy-cups to get it out of my system!

I think the difference in the south, as opposed to the north, is an economic one. It is rather easy to make the decision to have children when you know you can comfortably afford them. Many of your friends here would take a pretty huge financial hit if they chose to raise a child, and there are a lot things to do and places to go and things to see that distract us from settling down...


I reserve the right to change my mind or deny any of this in March. I keep having dreams about coming back from Prague with a baby(outside not inside). Serious.

thedr9wningman said...

I'm a part of the non-kid PDX contingency, for the record.

On that note: I have the same issues. Some of my best friends turned into breeders. That means I don't see them much.

The people you've met here aren't breeders because, simply, the breeders don't get out much. Once they have kids, priorities change, as does their social calendars. Simply put: you're not going to meet many hermits in the world; instead, you meet people who leave their house. Breeders are tied up with their kids in their homes and struggling to work to feed them.

I have chosen to not have kids for several reasons. The number one reason is that I feel that many people who have kids do it for the wrong reasons: they want a mini-me (which is an ego projection), they want meaning in their life, they're simply irresponsible, etc.

Having a kid doesn't make any sense to me (to me). I feel that I can impart wisdom on the younger generation without sacrificing my sanity in the process.

Lastly, when people breed, it creates the need for resource extraction and economic growth. I am against those things, so chose not to do it. And for those that say 'if you only have one' that you're doing the planet a favour, it is false: the breeding cycle is 15-20 years, the death cycle is 70-80 years. That's four generations of single-kid families. That's growth.

On your overthinking and hesitancy to provide non-child resources: why not? There are plenty of people who would rather not deal with the noise and chaos that children bring into a space. I can't stand going to the Laurelwood because there is so much high-pitched screaming and crying. I'm sorry, but that's not pleasant to me. Nothing against kids, but those who have them know that they're loud, messy, squealing bags of snot and chaos. They love them for it. But that doesn't mean that I have to.

No, I'd rather travel and learn from the world. If I want kids, I'll adopt, thankyouverymuch.

Anal and oral, man... that's the solution to overpopulation.

Ceci said...

@kidfree kaye: thanks! Seriously, thanks for your feedback. I took your survey and am going to check out the site you linked to. It's not so much that I'm losing friends, as, like I've said, all the new ones I've met are kidfree as well. It's one of those times when I didn't think there would be such a large chasm (as in, in this day and age? REALLY!?) I think this post came about for me trying to find some answers and not being very happy with what I found. I mean, shouldn't we ALL have a bit more understanding?

Ceci said...

liz, darling, it's not to say that I didn't think you did. Perhaps I should have made caveats for you and leigh and dora... maybe? I think you guys are a very understanding to me and mine. and thank you for being one of the ones who asks, "are you sure you want to do this???"

I heart you

Ceci said...

kat, I know that if anyone would understand this, you would! In fact, had you come over on Sunday, it wouldn't have just been your boyo who was subjected to the drunken precursor to this post. If anything, I think you might be one who is closest to understanding the confusion and such here. and this post... is just the tip of the iceberg! There's so much more to bring up... but I was trying to be concise and... well, focused. The longer rant about this is very long and windy and ... doesn't usually have a point.

Wine some time soon to think out our thoughts and just celebrate the us that we are???

Ceci said...

Coidric:
Thank you...for always being you. Anal and oral...hahahahahah! Some of the christian kids will try to convince you that it's not even SEX and that they're still virgins! Give me a BREAK!

Anyway, yeah... I've been thinking a lot about this... and it's not so much a rethinking of it...as it is a ...rethinking of it. Heh! If you know what I mean... It's not that I might change my mind it just that... why the split?! Why the great divide?! Why can't they understand (and by they I mean both sides)?

I really should look into the kidfree resource thing, shouldn't I?! It sort of struck me as I was typing it that... well, really that's not too bad of an idea and both groups could benefit (as I know my fair share of people that would love a place that's adult only).

Ceci said...

@ kidfree kaye AGAIN!:
Oh and I forgot! I'm not sure where the term comes from exactly, but the boyo uses Snowflake all the time. As in you think of your kid as a Unique little Snowflake, ie, most individual, most unique, and my little snowflake. Everyone thinks that they're little angel is unique and it goes along with being a helicopter parent in that your kid is unique and NEEDS this extra help, etc. Like, little Bobby does things at his own pace; don't push him or it will scare him, etc. I also like to use this term with certain adults... but... you get the picture?

If you want a better understanding of this... I could get you in touch with the boyo. He has LOTS to say on the subject!

thedr9wningman said...

re: @ kidfree kaye AGAIN!:

All that snowflake bollocks is tiptoeing around the ego. It is nonsense. People do it, sure, but it isn't necessary.

Kidfree Kaye said...

Sounds more "flakey" than "snowflakey"!

"Δημήτριος ο Ταξιδευτής" said...

have a nice weekend and a poem for future inspiration
keep up the good posting

You said,
“I will go to another place, to another shore.
Another city can be found that’s better than this.
All that I struggle for is doomed, condemned to failure;
and my heart is like a corpse interred.
How long will my mind stagger under this misery?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look
I see the blackened ruins of my life,
which for years on end I squandered and wrecked and ravaged”.
You will find no other place, no other shores.
This city will possess you, and you’ll wander the samestreets.
In these same neighborhoods you’ll grow old;
in these same houses you’ll turn gray.
Always you’ll return to this city.
Don’t even hope for another.
There’s no boat for you, there’s no other way out.
In the way you’ve destroyed your life here,
in this little corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere else.

Constantine P. Cavafy

Ceci said...

@Δημήτριος ο Ταξιδευτής - Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoy my posts, and I truly love the poem. It is quite inspirational.

Cheers!

Chloe said...

As a future breeder, I have also had a complete sea change in the last year as my child-free friends have moved away, and I have started hanging out more with my boyfriend's friends who have young children. And I find, to my relief, that I actually like these people, and their children. Having almost hit the two-year mark in our relationship, they now feel comfortable asking the question, "So have you two talked about getting married and having children?" But it's okay, because the question was expected, and when the answer is "yes" as a woman at least, you almost can't wait for someone to ask.

I think you and I were thinking a lot about this subject around the same time, and we made different decisions. Not long ago, both of us were in the "maybe someday" category, and now both of us have made decisions about what we want. And, lucky for both of us, our decisions coincide with those of our respective boyo's. But it is strange, and a bit unnerving, how just making the decision changes things so much. I am not engaged, married or pregnant, and it will be awhile before I can actually call myself a breeder. And you, as far as I know, have undergone no medical procedures since I last saw you preventing you from having children. But already our social lives are different, and it may be a coincidence having more to do with you guys moving, but I think that's only part of the explanation.

One more thing- Da5id, please don't try to stop offending people. I think it's much funnier if everybody says what they mean. I love seeing how offended people get if one person on a message board dares to communicate a sentiment not couched in 4 or 5 qualifying statements:

"kidsr4me says: you childless people lead meaningless hollow lives!

kidssuck says: So do you, plus you're boring nd covered in spit-up!

havekidsnhate'em says: I miss my old life. I never finished my novel!

menopausal_regrets says: So alone...so alone."

Now that's a message board.

ALVenable said...

I can't really remember a time when I wanted to have kids. On my blog, I call myself a Wacky Spinster because the Devil will be wearing ice skates before I decide to have kids.

It's great that you're having the dialogue with yourself, though, and thinking it through. It's too bad more folks who do choose to have kids don't do the same and weigh the decision more seriously.

Like the others who have commented, you'll definitely encounter more child-free folks (or folks who are older and their kids are out on their own) as you get out around PDX. We're out here...drinking up all the vodka.

Or, maybe that's just me. ;)

thedr9wningman said...

@ALVenable said...
"It's great that you're having the dialogue with yourself"


Wouldn't that be a monologue? :-D

Dia=2
Mono=1

Kidfree Kaye said...

Great post Chloe! I'm not a breeder, but it's sure nice to see an objective and intelligent statement coming from one. And all my best to you in starting your future family. (People like you make good parents.)

www.kidfreeandlovinit.com

Ceci said...

@Chloé - Funny isn't it? How everything changes so much in just a bit of time?

This would have been a good conversation for the pizza place and a bucket o' wine.

Out of curiousity, and you can email this to me for privacy if you'd like, but what are your reasons for children? I'm always curious.

Ceci said...

@ALVenable - So that's where all the vodka's been going?! And here I thought there was a hole in my bottle. I'll be more than happy to blame it on you.

So you would say that from early on you didn't want any, but... why? Is it that you don't like them or that you just wanted a different life than that? I'm always curious as to why people choose what they do.

It doesn't help that... ok is it just me or does it seem a lot (and maybe just that it's the worst that we remember therefore giving all the others a bad name?) of parents just are doing more harm than good in how they're raising their kids? Like the snowflake issue/ helicopter parent issue?? That and...time out?! I'm still not a big fan. It may work on certain occasions but on the whole it doesn't really seem to work well.

I just... find it funny that parents are trying to reason with a child that has not learned reason, has not learned logic.

That's a whole different story though...