Do Parents Really Care if You’re Childfree by Choice?
As you might have noticed, there is a lot of back and forth ranting between parents and the childfree out there. Parents have judgments and feel judged by the childfree and vice versa, so when they feel attacked, they attack right back.
Now it is not often that a parent comes right out and contends that she does not care at all if people have no children by choice. However, recently, Mamajoy did just that. She contends that childless by choice authors think that “kids are all out of control, parents are selfish, every parent she comes across is astounded by the fact they don’t want kids, and people hate their cats.” In a recent piece, she speaks to why each of these points is off the mark.
As childfree author, and speaking for the hundreds of childfree out there, let me do a little aikido. It is not that childfree think that all kids are out of control; it is more that we observe parents allowing their kids to be out of control because they put their kids at the center of the universe, and expect others, parents and not, to do the same.
We do not experience all parents as “astounded” when they learn we don’t want kids. It is more that we experience parents as just not being able to understand a choice that is so different from what they want. This is fine, except when this inability to understand is really more about making us wrong for not wanting what they want, and what everyone is supposed to want.
We would not say as a rule people – parents and not-- hate our cats. This assertion seems to imply the childfree are cat people. Not so. Many of us don’t like cats. We have dogs. And our pets can be something we have in common with parents and their kids, not another thing that separates us.
Do parents really care that the childfree don’t want kids? They may not say they “care,” but like Mamajoy, more often than not, they are not at a loss for assumptions and criticism about this choice.
If parents really didn’t care, there would be more acceptance, less judgment and less rant. If the childfree cared less about what parents thought, this too would result in less rant.
In the coming year, how about less rant and more mutual respect and acceptance?