What? No children? Fending off the final female taboo

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Aussie Willy, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    That's a tough one. I hope you can find some ways to get involved with some kids in your community or church. Kids need MANY good adults in their lives to love 'em.

    ((((Gil-Galad))))
     
  2. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    We were ready to have kids (psychologically and emotionally) when I was 50 and Mr. Japanfan was 45, but by then it was too late. Our reasons were first financial - just couldn't seeing bearing the economic cost of having a child, which included renting a bigger space. But we couldn't even afford an extra bedroom, not to mention all the other costs that go with having a child, which ends up in the thousands over a lifetime. Add to that me being self-employed and earning a really low income, and there being no family support available (my mom was dead and MIL completely unavailable). There was no mat leave coming for me and not working wasn't an option, so we'd have needed to pay for daycare as well. Second, in addition to the cost there was the work and responsibility of it, which I wasn't sure I was up to.

    Third, we married when I was 33 and he 27, and his primary commitment was to his education for about 10 years.

    Fourth, I did fear pregnancy and giving birth. Fifth, as a youngest child who had never been around babies - I babysat one time only as a teenager and remember being really uncomfortable as I was a stranger to that baby - I didn't trust myself to be able to raise a child well, especially given the daily stressor or having to earn a living.

    This led to my fifth reason, my fear that Mr. Japanfan and I would not co-parent well and he would always be the one 'in charge', as he had experience with his sister's son already. I could see our fights about parenting driving us apart.

    I do admit that now I have some regrets. Some people just go ahead and become parents anyway, regardless of how ready they are, and sometimes it works out. Mr. Japanfan never achieved what he wanted with his education and in retrospect, a child might have set him on a new life direction as a parent that was more rewarding than he current child-free life.

    It's looking at others with grown kids and grand-kids now that leads me to have some regrets. Part of it is having good relationship with adult children and grandchild - no, not everyone has them, but it is wonderful for those who do, the reward of having parented.

    Then, there's knowing that some part of you lives on after you die, there must be a certain comfort in that.

    And, sometimes children can be of a great help when one is old and unwell. A child can be your primary advocate at a time in life when you are unable to advocate for yourself. Those of us who are child-less will not have that option, and at time I find it scary.
     
  3. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Have you considered adoption? There are lots of children, especially those past the baby stage, who need good parents.
     
  4. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Not for me. I never understand that reason for having a child either.
     
  5. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    If I ever become filthy rich, I will build a hospital or a school or library, and stick my name on it. That way I get to help kids (whether or not I have any of my own) AND have a personal legacy. :lol:
     
  6. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    I guess I feel like I have a personal legacy. It's not like I lived my life as a hermit and never impacted anyone in any way. ;)
     
  7. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I'd never have children just so a part of me could live on, nor would I find comfort in that. Or a library. My legacy is the work I've done, the life I've lived and the lives I've touched through that. At least, I hope it will be. :)
     
  8. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Like this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ffj8SHrbk0
     
  9. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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  10. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

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    Isn't that true for every life choice though? Usually going down one path excludes the others. Maybe in your rocking chair you'll fondly look back at everything that you have done and would have missed out on if you had had children. :)

    :rofl: Ziggy, if you're a shit parent they'll be ungrateful when they are adults. However, as small children they will be "ungrateful" even if you are the most caring, loving, intelligent, sensitive and angelic parent in the world.

    This is because being grateful requires perspective, it requires not taking other people for granted. Children don't have the life experience or empathy to have the necessary perspective and they always take their parents for granted. They feel entitled to everything their parents do for them and indeed usually they are. Hopefully they love you, but that seems independent of how much work you do for them or how many sacrifices you make. JMHO.
     
  11. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Now ubering Machida's hair

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    Agree. It takes a while for them to even understand that other people have feeling and needs. Children are not adults, and start out with no sort of empathy at all. My son at 2 is beginning to understand that his friends have wants, but it is all me,me,me,mine,mine, mine... (And I see nothing wrong with this at 2). It is a process - children are simply not 'done' - especially compared to other species. :).

    As for 'something of me will live on' - I think there are 2 things at play here for most people. One - you can have children without having money for a library or whatever, they are cheaper. Two - I think that in general, as a species, we have some sort of biological imperative to pass on our genes, that is how the race survives. That tells nothing abut how an individual might feel, of course.
     
  12. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    You think having a child is cheaper than building a library? I don't! Especially those parents who pay for their child's private education and/or college.
     
  13. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

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    I think when parents say something like "you're lucky that you don't have kids," they are often just trying to be affirming of that choice. That's what I would mean if I said that, though that's probably not how I would phrase it. But let me say, I understand why some people take a pass on parenting.

    Not that I don't love my little treasure. But I no longer wonder why parents would choose to have one child. Still making up my mind on that issue.
     
  14. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    I honestly don't know how people have more than one. My son will be 2 in a few weeks and I cannot imagine having another. At least with one you can still have some "me" time and although you make sacrifices and it is life changing, I think it is easy to...um...maintain sanity? I don't really know hot to put it but I can imagine myself not being sane with a 2 year old and a newborn LOL.

    I guess it also depends on what type of child your kid is. My sister's daughter is the same age as my son and she talks like a 5 year old and is very independent, potty trained, etc... My son is on the autism spectrum so obviously...I guess it wold be easier for her than me to have more than one.
     
  15. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    Apparently some people do really care that much because when I try to politely address the questioning my politeness goes over some people's heads and they seem to take it as an invitation to pursue even further questioning. And then I get to hear all sorts of original gems like:

    -They're different when they're you're own!
    -You'll change your mind later, you'll see!
    -You just haven't met the right guy yet!

    So, yeah. Some people really don't give a crap about what you do (I love you people), but some get rather offended when they hear "No thank you, I'll take a pass on all that!" to the kiddie question and take it as a personal affront. The polite answer to the initial "Why don't you have kids?" question doesn't always politely shut down the dialogue. In other words people don't always STFU when you give them the polite chance to STFU and move on in the interest of social harmony. Then when they don't STFU and you start taking a more clear and concise and assertive approach with the questioner (and maybe even come right out and say STFU because they're being particularly annoying) you get accused of being angry and bitter and of COURSE you're angry and bitter, if only you had kids then you wouldn't be so angry and bitter. Tsk tsk tsk, your life is so empty and sad, I really pity you. Kids would fix all that. It's not too late, you know.

    Or the other approach is to lie and say that maybe one day you'll have kids just to shut them up quickly, but I don't use that tactic. I'm not going to lie about liking sushi and I'm not going to lie about wanting kids. I am who I am. If someone asks me if I like sushi and I politely say naw, not a fan of the seaweed and they start saying "Well, why NOT? You don't HAVE to get seaweed you know, there are all different kinds! You just haven't had GOOD sushi yet! You should try sashimi! You really need to try the tuna!" they're going to get the same sort of conversation out of me. :lol:

    For the record I had sushi once and it made me vomit. So there. Good sushi, bad sushi, sashimi, I don't care. I puked. I'm not eating it. End of story.
     
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  16. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    Glad I'm not the only one who gets that argument. Gets worse when they try to condescendingly explain spending some quality time with kids in some volunteer activity would really open my eyes to how wonderful they are.
    "Erm, I volunteer coach learn to skate classes at least twice a month."
    "And aren't the kids just :swoon:?"
    "Some are great, some aren't. I don't leave the rink pining to have some of my own."
    "Hrumph, hrumph, cold-hearted and un-motherly creature."
    "eff you too"

    This could have ended very peacefully if they'd just left well enough alone. But nooooo, I must be enlightened an converted into a baby-loving woman.
     
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  17. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    Or when they try to rope you into spending quality time with THEIR kids. Because their kids are uniquely special and have The Power To Make You Change Your Mind And Swell Your Grinch Heart.
     
  18. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    This. I am grateful every day now for what my parents did for me, but I was a brat and didn't think of their needs until I was about 10. And I wasn't spoiled. I said "please" and "thank you" and was quiet in restaurants. I just didn't have the perspective of "Mom has to go to work and then come home and cook us dinner and then listen to us practice piano. Wow, that's exhausting!" It just didn't occur to me, because they made sure our needs were met first. I don't think that's bad parenting. It's just kids getting older and gaining perspective. My mom LOVES having us around now that we're adults and can do cool things with her and teach her things. :lol:

    I tell my coworker this, she's sometimes upset that her kids take her for granted, but they're still so young. I assure her that they will be incredibly thankful for what she's done for them when they're older, although it's hard not to get acknowledgement now.

    Depends on the library! :lol:
     
  19. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Now ubering Machida's hair

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    Well, having a 2 year old and getting ready for number 2 feels like insanity at times... but after not being sure about wanting kids I knew right away in the hospital (literally minutes after I gave birth) that I wanted another one (hormones are weird, I say :p). In addition, after having seen my 2 year old interact with my friends 3.5 year old I knew it would be awesome to have 2, they entertained each other so well. My brother is 8 years older than me, and we have very little in common, so I wanted them close together.
    I honestly also think I would spoil my son a little to much if I only had one...

    Definitely true. While my friends with the 3.5 year old was entertained by the 2 boys, they will not have another. He was a very fuzzy, colicy baby, and basically screamed for hours the first 6 months, no matter what they did. Our boy, on the other hand, has a basically happy temperament, nothing makes him upset for very long, and he was a relatively easy baby

    I can't imagine the extra work you have to put in with a kid on the autism spectrum!

    ugh :( meddling people!
    I admit I have personally experienced the first one, but I usually only talk about it to people who (like me) are unsure and wants to talk about motherhood.
    the second one I hate, that is the stupidest shit - the whole biological clock thing is so not true for everyone. Besides, I think it is annoying when people come off as better knowing about your personal life choices at random - like if you said you wanted to study classical roman literature and someone thinks that you should study archeology instead - do they really say ' You will change your mind later, just wait'? Well, that is just silly.

    In addition, I feel that in general it is rude to ask why someone don't have children. I might ask close friends or ask if they feel ready yet if they have previously said they wanted kids 'later', but in general I would worry about touching a sore issue if people can't have kids - I don't ask other people details about other medical issues unless they volunteer.

    I think a lot of people ask because they might not always feel happy being parents and they try affirm themselves of their choices, but it is much better to do this with other parents, and talk about how wonderful your kids are, much better not to bother your childless friends with that ;).


    oh, and the more I think about all this, I think it ties into MacMadame's statement a few pages back (think it was her) - the taboo of enjoying sex. If you are having sex, and in a relationship, you should be having kids. Otherwise are you just doing it for fun ??
     
  20. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    Well as a mother I can say that my son would totally do this for you. ;)

    Kidding aside, spending time with your own child is 100% different than spending time with someone else's kid. So when a parent says "it is different when it is your own" that is a 100% true statement.

    I have nephews and nieces and before I had my son, I enjoyed spending time with them but only for like an hour LOL. My son I just cannot get enough of and sometimes I am even sad when he goes to bed and I miss him at night.

    So anyway I guess my point is that I don't see how spending time with other people's children would make someone want a child because it is just not the same thing at all. Other people's children are annoying! :p
     
  21. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    She had another good one "My husband and I want to have kids before our parents get too old to raise them."

    I didn't have kids because I thought I would be a terrible parent. Always at work, no time or desire to make my life all about all their extracurricular events, no ability to take days off when they are sick. I don't regret it at all. My husband regrets it a little, but he doesn't regret that he didn't have the experience of raising a child, he regrets the "no-one to carry my name or take care of me when I am old" part. I told him once that we could have a kid if he would commit to being Mr. Mom. He wouldn't. Um, there is a guarantee that you have to take care of them, but there is no guarantee they will take care of you when you are old. They might hate you, or have no money, or move across the country to have a life of their own and not want you to move in with them.

    Plus, I think cats are a heck of a lot cuter than people at any age. My cat does what I want to do on the weekend (sleep, eat), and she does not join soccer teams or want to take ballet or piano or karate. She is very tidy, and her bathroom is easier to clean than mine is.

    And something else interesting - about 75% of my longtime female friends do not have children. Some were in dance and didn't want to get pregnant; some never met Mr. or Mrs. Right and didn't want to do it alone; but a lot of them just didn't want kids.
     
  22. elka_sk8

    elka_sk8 Well-Known Member

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    Slightly OT, but I read this article today about the FMLA in the US and I had no idea that companies under a certain size were exempted. So a benefit that is pretty meager to brgin with doesnt even apply to a lot of workers. Honestly, the policies in this country don't make it easy to have a career and have a kid. It's something I worry about for sure.

    http://m.washingtonpost.com/local/l...1cd468-720f-11e2-8b8d-e0b59a1b8e2a_story.html
     
  23. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    :respec:

    Next time I have sushi I will think of you.
     
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  24. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of my hypothetical school/hospital/library, I was reading Bill Gates' AMA (IAmA) Q&A on Reddit and this comment made me :wuzrobbed:

    I mean, very few of us are as rich as Bill Gates to eradicate polio worldwide, but to make such a difference in even ONE kid's life is awesome. Even if they aren't your own. :)
     
  25. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Next time ask them why care so much what other people do and, clearly, if they didn't have kids, their life would have more meaning and they wouldn't be so bitter and angry that they have to nag everyone to make the same choices they did in order to make themselves feel better. ;)

    But you should definitely try sushi again. It's awesome. ;)

    There is absolutely no guarantee of this. They may grow up to hate her or to have an uneasy relationship with her as my siblings do with our mothers.

    I have made a difference in one kid's life. I inspired the kid of someone I work with to make cake pops and I gave her some of my supplies and I have a Thank You card on my desk to prove it. So there. :p
     
  26. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    No, it's not. Blech...
     
  27. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I think you have shown your worth by this endeavour alone.
     
  28. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    Meanwhile, I still have no eyeballs. :drama:
     
  29. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    That's the kind of thing that should be asked in advance though. I own a very small company (myself and two others) and there's no way I could give maternity benefits. My colleague's wife is pregnant and giving him a week off when his child is born is going to loose me money, and give ME a lot more work (that I will have to do for free). I'm not necessarily even giving him a week, I'm making sure he gets 5 consecutive days off - so if it's born on a Wednesday, he needs to be back at work the following Monday. I just can't afford it, and he knows it and completely understands. I can't afford to pay someone who isn't working, no matter how good they are at their job, they're not good for me if they can't work.
     
  30. elka_sk8

    elka_sk8 Well-Known Member

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    While I agree it's something that should be discussed, FMLA is unpaid leave, and it applies to more than maternity. One doesn't plan getting cancer, or having a family member get a serious illness.

    Just out of curiosity, what happens when a female in your company has a baby? Do they come back that soon too? I just wonder what women do when they cant even take unpaid leave, many daycare places don't even take babies until they're a couple months old.