We need non-aggressive childfree groups!

I like children. I like talking to them and playing with them, I think many of them are adorable, and I’m quite good with them. I’m very glad that many of my friends have children. But I don’t want my own for the following reasons:

1. My mental health – I can’t rely on not getting too anxious/depressed to cope.
2. I like my own time.
3. I hate being too busy. I don’t want to be permanently busy.
4. I don’t want a job where I’m on duty all the time, no matter how rewarding it might be.
5. I’m honestly not convinced that it makes people happier, and I expect it’s especially unlikely to make someone who doesn’t really want them happier.
6. It takes up a lot of time and I’d like to spend that time doing other things.
7. It can often be incredibly boring.
8. I’m not sure I have the patience.

I found this article the other day. Dawn Porter writes that she feels like she ought to want children, because to most women it’s obvious, but that she just doesn’t, at least at the moment, for many of the same reasons as me (minus the mental health stuff). A lot of the comments say “go on, have kids, you won’t regret it!”

After reading this I looked up child-free groups on the internet. I thought that maybe I could comment, linking her to these groups and show her that there are people who just don’t want children – that it is an option. But most the childfree groups I found seem to be full of people who hate all children and parents (they call parents “breeders” – yuck). There are some slightly better ones, but even they tend to be quite obnoxious about parents and children.

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2 thoughts on “We need non-aggressive childfree groups!

  1. “go on, have kids, you won’t regret it!”

    Blimey. As a ‘breeder’ myself, I absolutely love having kids. (I don’t mind the ‘breeder’ thing too much, depending on context, but I know some do; I’m most familiar with it as a disparaging term for heterosexuals in queer communities, so it has mixed resonances for me.) I’m not exaggerating or hamming it up when I say it’s is one of the best things in my life, if not the best thing.

    But by ghods, I wouldn’t advise anyone to do it unless they were really pretty sure they wanted to. It is hugely stressful, hard work, and almost entirely life-consuming. Minute to minute it can be pretty bloody awful.

    What if you give it a go and don’t get on with it? Pretty rum do for you, and a much worse one for the child.

    “I’m honestly not convinced that it makes people happier, and I expect it’s especially unlikely to make someone who doesn’t really want them happier.”

    I agree very strongly.

    I don’t think I’d say it’s made me happier, per se. And I’ve desperately wanted to have kids since I can remember. But I do think being a parent has made my life better.

    This links up to fundamental questions about what you think one ought to do with one’s life. I personally don’t think the pursuit of happiness is a particularly worthwhile one. (Unless you define ‘happiness’ to mean something other than the straightforward ‘being happy’.) I don’t want to be happy, I want to know that I’ve done the right things and made the world a better place. If the choice is happy or miserable with all else equal of course I’ll pick happy, thank you very much, but I’d rather be a bit less happy but know I’ve done better.

    Parents often say they don’t care what their child does, so long as they are happy. But I don’t care so much about whether my child is unhappy (at least, as an adult), so long as they are doing the right things. (Snarky aside: I think there’s sometimes a bit of self-deception going on there – some of the people saying that don’t seem to be doing very well at prioritising their kids’ happiness.)

    Happiness is an important thing for kids, and my own kids’ unhappiness is really profoundly upsetting. I do try to help them to be happy. But that’s at least partly because I think being happy as a child helps build security that can help them be more effective as adults.

    Having kids is, I think, the right thing for me to do. But it’s definitely not the right thing for everybody to do. That doesn’t make me or them better, it makes us different. Which is a good thing.

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