There Is a Wrong Time to Start a Family

Kristen

As young as five years old, I understood without real understanding that when I grew into a woman I would someday, inevitably, become a mother.

As a little girl, I semi-regularly played the game of House with a friend who lived in the next apartment building, and we’d choose our roles before each game: Husband or Wife. We took for granted that choosing Wife also meant playing the role of a mother.


Read the rest in Human Parts.

What don’t you get about the childfree? Q&A

Kristen

This post is a response to a Huffington Post article by Ann Brenoff titled, “Midlife ramblings: What I don’t get about my childless/childfree young friends.”

Specifically, this part:

I happen to agree that people who don’t want children should not have them. I’m delighted to wish you well on whatever road you take, but I do find myself stopping mid hand-wave and asking this question: Really?

How can you be so sure? I think having kids is one of those things you should probably never say never about.

Telling everyone they should have kids isn’t just mind-blowingly annoying, it’s dangerous.

Kristen

I was visiting my childhood friend, now a mother, when dinner time arrived. She squirted ketchup onto her daughter’s plate and then her son’s. And then mine. I looked at it.

She immediately recognized her mistake and laughed. She knew I could squirt my own ketchup, she said, but she was just so used to doing it… She apologized (still laughing) for overstepping her role as “mother” by inadvertently mothering me.

Where my friend excelled is where many other women, such as Kathleen Parker in her column “Of pleasure and parenthood,” fail miserably. They overstep their role as mother by saying things, as Parker did, such as, “It’s hard to know for certain that one doesn’t want children. Many don’t, until they do.”

Childfree People Are Not Selfish; Childfree People Are Self-aware

Isabel

I think the nicest mean thing I have been called is “selfish.”

When I tell people that I don’t want to have children, they usually look at me with disapproval before asking, “Why?” — with more disbelief than curiosity. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, they will tell me how and why all childfree people are wrong. They won’t refer to me specifically, as in why I (Isabel) am wrong. No, instead they will generalize. It’s more polite that way.

“I hope your birth control fails” and other horrifying things I’ve been told

Isabel

I wasn’t too vocal about my choice of living a childfree lifestyle up until a couple of years ago. I will admit that part of the reason I was so quiet about it was that I felt ashamed. I thought there had to be something very wrong with me that led me to believe that I didn’t want to become a mother, so I was denying that part of myself the right to let loose and express freely.

Baby? Give Me Personal Space

LeNora

I love using the bathroom in private. There, I said it. I took peeing in private for granted until I began pet-sitting during my 20s. Cats and dogs missing their owners would follow me into the bathroom. Then there was nephew #1 who, at age three, followed me into the bathroom telling me he wanted to watch me pee. My resounding “No!” sent him fleeing to the hall closet, upset. I felt so bad. I gently explained to him that auntie wants her privacy when she pees. He ignored me for a good hour after that but eventually forgave me. Now, that nephew is 14 and mortified when I tease him about this story.