Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Peggy N., Age 36

Is the idea of having children something that you are open to, or were open to at some point in the past? Is the fact that you don’t have children the result of a deliberate decision or just the way your life happened to work out? If it was a deliberate decision, can you tell me something about how you made this choice, the circumstances, your reasons, whether it was easy, hard, etc.?

I never wanted children since I was a little girl. Deliberate.

What are the three most important factors that influenced your decision to be childfree? Do you enjoy being childfree? If so, why? If not, why not? Are there any bad things about being childfree? If so, what are they?

The 3 most important factors are: 1. Freedom 2. Financial stability 3. My sanity I thoroughly enjoy being CF. I am not interested in children. I think it's stupid to go have a kid if I feel this way. I see a lot of people who really aren't that happy as parents. I don't want that to be me. Some bad things about being CF is the lack of camaraderie that parents have. You can lose a lot of friends as they become baby obsessed. Also, I have the way we pay more in taxes, get less back at tax time, have less flexible work schedules, benefit less from social services programs.

Please describe the kinds of reactions you have received from others in response to your not having children. How supportive and accepting have your friends and family been? How accepting do you feel society as whole is of the voluntarily childless ("childfree") lifestyle? Do you feel childfree individuals suffer from unfairness, prejudice or discrimination in society? Do you feel there are common misconceptions about childfree individuals or the childfree lifestyle?

Most of my friends are accepting of my decision. My mother planted the seed of CF in me. I was 7 when I started telling her I didn't want kids. She said you don't have to. There are a few people out there that act as though I am weird to not want kids. They just don't see that there's an alternative. I hate the way politicians pander to families and completely ignore us. Worse, sometimes they blatently omit our eligibility for tax breaks, rebates and socialized health care. Common misconceptions are that we are angry child haters. While some of us are, more of us aren't. We just choose to do something else with our lives.

In retrospect, how do you feel about your decision to be childfree? Do you still feel the same way as always on this issue? To date have you had any regrets? Do you think you may have regrets later in life? Is there any possibility you may change your mind about having children at some point?

I am happy with my decision. NO REGRETS. I am too old to start having them so I doubt I will feel differently.

Have you had any childfree role models during your life? Please explain.

My neighbor Gloria. She never did and always seemed to be doing something interesting. My mother was childfree til age 39. Seeing her go from a single woman with a career, a car, a nice apartment, great clothes, interesting men, to a bored housewife who became a martyr to her family and drank beer to dull the boredom is all the inspiration I needed.

When you compare your life to the lives of women you know who have children (family, friends, co-workers), how would you evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and overall life satisfaction associated with each kind of lifestyle?

I feel happier than most people with kids. Some are great parents.

Do you perceive that there are any dominant messages expressed in our culture about having children? If so, what are they?

YES! All these media outlets that show celebrities having it all--balancing a career, fitness regimen, S.O. as well as a bucketload of kids. Also, everyone and everything in the media talks about families--but it's always about mom, dad, and kids.

Do you feel these messages are for the most part accurate, inaccurate, misleading or something else? Please explain.

Yes, they run like a kodak commercial. No one shows broke, weary, arguing parents who haven't had sex in 2 years.

Have any parents ever spoken to you about the "downside" of having children or told you if they had to go back and do it all over again, they wouldn't have kids? Have any parents expressed that they are jealous of you for being childfree? If so, please describe the conversation(s).

Yes. It takes some prodding. It's a terrible thing to them to admit that they don't like it. One girl I worked with said she didn't count on no help from hubby. A lot of hubbies like the idea of kids, but their lives change very little. They still have time to work out, hunt, work, hang with buddies. When they are asked to watch the kids, it's termed as babysitting. One friend told me she's not interested in the shitty scribbled artwork that she's supposed to think is a masterpiece and the 5 hour doll playing sessions she is supposed to partake in. Another friend told me that she grew to dislike her argumentative, angsty teen daughter. I know many who are envious of my extra money and vacations I take a few times per year.

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