One Man's Mindset

Living along the U.S. East Coast, one man writes about those beliefs, hobbies and ideas that mean to most to him. This is not a daily blog - new posts usually only appear when inspiration hits.

Monday, February 20, 2006

No Children? No Problem!

Hello All!

Well, here I am trying out my first public blog. I've seen other posts on maybe a dozen other blog sites and, after wrestling with the idea, have decided to try my hand here. I've found most bloggers to be a pretty hardy bunch, so if you consider my first subject to be too controversial or somehow offensive, feel free to move on to another author.

Now, let's see...

Personally, I'm doing okay with my single life, but would really like to be able to share it with my future wife, whomever that may be. However, I've endured many days when one decision can turn into a seemingly monstrous roadblock on the path to Shangri-la. What was my decision?

I do not wish to have children. Yes, I can hear it now...
"Awww, you poor thing!"
"You’re a monster!"
"What’s wrong with you?"
"Why do you hate children?"
"Selfish!"

I've actually heard similar phrases, but have also seen it in some people's eyes and body language. Now before you start typing some choice words in a return post, let me just say that I do not hate children – in fact I get along with quite a number of them. I simply choose not to have the parent lifestyle. I have other priorities and it just isn't for me. (And we've all seen instances showing why some people shouldn't become parents, yes?) I know, I know – I've heard lots of great stories about parenting and I wholeheartedly applaud those of you who undertake that noble life choice. But me? I have a job and outside of that, I'm a writer and musician (two very fulfilling activities), so there are plenty of other ways I can leave a positive mark on society and still:
1) get decent sleep
2) be financially comfortable
3) not have to deal with a gazillion after-school activities
4) not have to worry about where someone is late at night
5) have time to myself (which I believe everyone truly needs)

I am not saying that parents can't achieve all these things as well. I know quite a few parents who schedule some "me time" or "us time" during their week, or maybe they are financially comfortable enough to go to Disney World with the twins and not worry about the credit card bills later. There are all sorts of families and all kinds of situations out there, but it seems to me that they have a much tougher time, in general. That is their choice, and this is mine.

Okay. Here's the crux, then I'll shut up:

Q1) Where are all the other single, child-free (or "child-less", if you prefer) people? How many of us are really out there? How active are you in looking for your future "other half"? Some of you readers may now be thinking: "He's writing this just to get a date! What an idiot!" Well, as I mentioned near the top, yes, it would be great to find someone. However, this is not some strange, self-induced pity party: These thoughts and questions are intended to bring together a collection of world-wide views on the subject – basic research. I would really like to help others who've made the child-free decision, not just myself. I'm especially keen on those opinions from around the cosmopolitan mixing-bowl known as Washington, D.C. (or other world-centers like London, Tokyo, New York, etc.), but all global replies are welcomed.
A1) In an attempt to prove that I've done at least a little homework on the subject, I'll partially answer my own question. I am a member of the world-wide child-free group "No Kidding!". They have a growing membership with chapters scattered across the world, and I've met some great people (single and married), but I still can not help wondering what the general populace is thinking.

Q2) For my brethren child-free people out there (Please note that there is a difference between "not wanting" children and "unable to have" children. I am focusing on the "not wanting" people here.): How and when did you come about the decision? If you're one half of a couple, at what point in your courtship did you find out that neither of you wanted children? How important was that in any long-range plans?
A2) I do not have my own answer, as this is purely a poll-type of question. I will say, though, that I am dismayed by the number of people who either don't plan ahead, or are too lazy to use protection. There's a reason it's called "Planned Parenthood".

At this point, I expect that some of you parents out there may be thinking about writing back and expounding on the joys of rearing a child. I've heard it all from friends and relatives. Some of you might even be tempted to "open my eyes" to your religion's teachings regarding children, but I am not religious. I know you mean well and I don't mean to offend, but please keep your mini-crusade to yourself. If you write anyway, I will probably not respond. Thanks.

All (secular-based) responsible replies are more than welcomed – I'm looking forward to reading your posts and possibly chatting with you!

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lookin' good, matey!

And I'm one of those not having kids people too, so don't worry.

You ain't alone.

Sudiegirl

2/20/2006 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WRITE MORE!!!!

AAAGGGHHH!!

Sudie

2/26/2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that having children because you are "supposed to" even though you don't want to is actually more selfish than choosing not to have any.

My own mother once told me, "Children aren't worth it." Thanks, Mom. I wish she hadn't had any.

I'm more maternal than she is, but I still chose not to have any.

NakedRainDance

3/30/2006 1:47 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

OMM - so cool that you are an openly childfree man and brave enough to blog about it!

Will you be a guest contributor on the Purple Women team blog? Only one man (a personal friend who will remain anonymous) has ever had the huevosto leave a comment, even though I encourage a broader dialogue in the blog description...

May I link to your post here by way of introducing you to our readers? Oh please, Oh please, Oh please!

P.S. How did you come up with CarpeWritem as a handle?

6/29/2006 2:15 AM  
Blogger kT said...

A1) I don't know where the child-free are, except online. But I'm one of them.

A2) I decided when I was 12 that pregnancy really didn't look like something I wanted to do. Ever. I still think that. That decision made me consider very carefully whether I wanted to ever become a parent.

I don't think that I ever do want that -- I can think of a few thousand things I'd rather do than all of the things that go into raising a child. Since parenting isn't something you should do half-assed, I figured it was much less selfish of me to not have children.

I have ended several relationships because of this issue.

Welcome to the blogosphere.

6/29/2006 2:58 PM  
Blogger Boxing Tomboy said...

A childfree man! My hats off to you. Please write more!

6/29/2006 5:05 PM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

kT,

Thanks so much for your answers! Obviously, pregnancy is a huge health concern for women struggling with the "should I have kids or not" choice, not to mention that parenting should be taking seriously, as you said. I applaud you for your decision!

6/29/2006 8:33 PM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

boxing tomboy,

I'm not daily blogger, but I do plan to write more, especially if I get encouraging comments like yours. Thanks!

6/29/2006 8:35 PM  
Blogger NikkiJ said...

Hey there! You're in good company. I know there are more of you, but it's so nice to hear a bloke's voice on a blog about being Childfree!. Hope you'll visit Purple Women ( am a contributor), and also my blog (unashamed plug) http://britgirl.wordpress.com/ - lots of interesting perspectives on the childfree lifestyle. I might even be able to get my childfree guy friend to read you...
Best of luck with your blog.
NikkiJ aka Britgirl.

6/29/2006 10:57 PM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

Thanks, Nikki. Actually, I'm surprised that more men don't come forward about it. Although, it makes sense that we hear more from women, since they are affected more by the decision, in general.

Ironically, I've been invited to become a contributor to PW as well. Should be quite an experience.

6/29/2006 11:34 PM  
Blogger ChrisR said...

"I'm surprised that more men don't come forward about it"

Because let's face it, men cop way less flak for being child free than any woman ever will.

A1 This childfree black duck is in FNQ but I have lived in cosmopolitan hotspots at various times in my life.

I'm not looking for an 'other half', I feel complete as I am.

A2 Can't think of a time when I wasn't not interested in kids.

I'm with KT on this - pregnancy looks bloody uncomfortable!! And did I mention, a pain in the arse? No thanks. And then there's that whole giving birth part ....

6/30/2006 2:09 AM  
Blogger kT said...

Chris, I wonder, too, if some men don't cop to not wanting kids because they are assuming that most women DO and they (the guys) would like to keep dating?

6/30/2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger nomadshan said...

Definitely write more!

(A1) I know very few childfree couples. San Antonio is a procreation-friendly place!

(A2) Dave + I each assumed the other wanted kids some day (and at some point I thought I did) and were willing to go that route for the other person. We were actually married already when we discovered that neither of us wanted or needed children. I feel foolish writing that, but it was kind of an epiphany.

6/30/2006 1:12 PM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

Thanks, chrisr.

What I'm getting from many women (via the blog and other places) is that pregnancy and birth are two popular reasons for deciding to go child-free - and rightfully so!

6/30/2006 11:59 PM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

Hi nomadshan,

Thanks so much for your answers! Hey, sometimes it just happens that way.

7/01/2006 12:01 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Please say there's more where this came from??????

7/06/2006 9:59 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

Dear Carpe,

Bravo to you. I am also a musician (and a music educator) and it is, I think, just another in a long list of reasons why I'm CF (other than not having a lot of extra time and money, and not wanting to go get a boring desk job to increase my income; I am fully qualified to be a legal secretary/admin. assistant, etc., but I'm just not willing to give up the creative life). I already have a creative outlet, so parenting is just that much less attractive to me.

My first marriage was CF, but broke up due to alcoholism (his). He actually had seen having kids as sort of the "price of admission" for marriage, but we were both thrilled to gradually figure out that we just didn't have to do it, so we didn't! It's amazing how long it took the two of us to figure it out. Up until then, it had always been "maybe, later, someday". What a heap of rationalization that was --- neither one of us wanted kids but we just didn't know how to get past our socialization and admit it!

This time around (I'm engaged and living with my fiance), I was completely upfront about wanting no kids. We actually discussed it on our first date and I was thrilled to discover that Rob was snipped (highly recommended, by the way, if you're not --- it will really separate the fencesitters from the truly CF women you might meet if you've actually gone through with it. It's kind of sweet --- he served as sort of a "vasectomy mentor" for a couple of other guys at his work who needed to ask a few questions and work through the issues with a real-life example before they took the plunge!) My advice to you would be to a) get on match.com (the grand-daddy of all online dating sites; I can vouch for their effectiveness!), be *entirely* upfront and honest about yourself, including the CF factor. You might also want to dry Dinklink, the CF dating site; I hear it's good. Get a picture posted, too! Go out on the sites actively looking; don't wait for people to come to you. b) Keep going to No Kidding outings! You never know who might be there or who might know someone! c) Be proud, stand tall. You sound like a *total* catch! If you were in the Boston area, I would have several of my girlfriends to introduce you to, but Baltimore? 8^)

7/10/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

Hi Dr. Band,

Many thanks for the kind words and the well-written reply!

Yeah, the music thing is such a big part of me that I couldn't imagine letting it go to be a parent. It's very satisfying and waaaay too much fun!

Admitting (to yourself as well as others) that you really don't want kids is, I'd say, probably the biggest hurdle anyone in today's society could learn to jump. In general, I think most people would do well to try thinking "outside the box" - not only regarding the possibility of childfreedom, but many other facets of life as well.

I've actually asked one guy (via e-mail) about his vasectomy and he described the operation to me in detail. All I have to do now is get over the "oogy" feeling I get when I think of some doctor fooling with my bits and pieces. But certainly, I understand about putting actions behind my words.

As for the online dating: I've tried DinkLink. Not so good. Match.com was much better, but it's been a while since I've been there. Maybe I'll try it again. Thanks for the advice, too.

Baltimore to Boston is nothing, but don't get me started on long-distance relationships. That's another whole blog in itself!

7/10/2006 11:44 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

CarpeWritem -- You're the CF man of the hour!

KT and ChrisR -- Have you seen the yogurt commercial with pregnant gyrating women exposing their bellies? Not my favorite. Body beautiful and all that, but let's face it, pregnancy is God's punishment to Eve. And we're still paying for her transgressions.

BT, NJ, and Sarah -- Yes, puleeeez...more along this line!

Dr. Band -- Do you know any personal success stories from Dink Link? I was really nervous about online dating when I first heard about it. Now I have three close friends who are now married and met online. Want to tell a story?

NomadShan -- I miss your posts. Please keep on keeping on. You have great ideas. Let them flow!

CW -- I think it's time to post a picture along with your profile. You're driving us all crazy...

7/20/2006 4:03 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

Carpe ---

I just started being an organizer for a new childfree meetup group, targeted towards Central New England (North and West of Boston). 22 members in five days! Now let's see how many of 'em we can actually get together in real lfe (I hear that can be the big challenge). But there are lots of singles in the group. Check out meetup.com for your area and see what's available; if there's lots of people "waiting" for a meetup but no organizers, I can tell you it's pretty fun, intereting and easy (the website gives you lots of good tools for organizing).

Dinklink does seem rather, um, limited (upon finally going and checking it out myself). However, I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of Match.com.

Teri, in answer to your question: sure, I'd love to write about my CF dating experiences. There's a lot there to write about! Let me know if you'd like me to write about it for the PW site.

Elise

7/20/2006 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Carpe,

A1) I'm a woman in a major US metro area and I'm not looking because I found. :) I'm currently dating a wonderful man who has a child from his first marriage, but is not custodial (she does not live in this area), and he doesn't want any more. Between the fact that there is a child in the picture -- even if just on the edges -- and the fact that I'm Catholic (and yes, in communion with the Church; it's possible), I don't associate with many other CFers. It's just as wearying to be told I'm "not really childfree" as to be told I'm selfish for being childfree...I'm moving out here into the blogosphere to find more of the many, many different flavors of childfree out there. :)

A2) I fence-sat for a long time and technically may still be one as I'm not yet ready for the Big Snip. For me it was a gradual thing; I had to do an awful lot of mental work to move from "I'm a failure for not having children" to "there's so much good in life that doesn't require having children." Being Catholic, I'm technically open to the possibility (in other words, if I accidentally get pregnant -- and for me it truly would be an accident -- I'll have and raise the child), but the things I want to do in this world involve the kinds of lifestyles that are not good for raising children. In the end it was a realization that (a) I can contribute in many other ways (b) my talents are best used in areas that don't involve children and (c) there's nothing wrong with that.

6/12/2007 11:39 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Hi Carpe,
I hope you continue to write, I really enjoyed your blog!

I am a 32 year old woman in the DC Metro area. My boyfriend and I have lived together for a few years. I was very open about not wanting kids when we started dating, because it is VERY important. If he had wanted kids, it would not have worked out. Thank goodness we are of the same mind on the topic of having kids!

I have always been grossed out by pregnancy and birth. I always assumed that at some point I would "get over that" and the urge/desire to have kids would kick in, but it never has. I'm 32 and have never felt even a hint of a biological clock, so I'm pretty sure I don't have one.

Hey, Silver Spring is not far from us. My boyfriend and I do like to meet other childfree people, it would be fun to come and see you play!

11/27/2007 10:56 AM  
Blogger CarpeWritem said...

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for the messages. I'm glad you enjoyed my writing.

After many months of dealing with what I guess were Google glitches, I can now log on to Blogger again, so I am quite happy to be able to reply.

Yeah, getting an answer to the "Do you want kids" question has been of top importance to me, too. Can be a little strange trying to work it into a conversation on a first date, but it's necessary.

I've also heard that pregnancy and especially birth can be really disgusting. It's certainly not for all women, as it is a choice based on personal preference, not an assumption based on gender.

To get in touch with me, and also to see more of my writing, please go back to my Blogger bio page and click on the link under "Contact." That should take you to my Helium.com page.

Thanks again for the nice words.

11/28/2007 1:11 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I'm really enjoying your blog.

You are definitely not alone in your desire to remain childfree.

I am a CF woman, married to a wonderful man who is as happily CF as I am. It took some looking, but we found each other. At the time, I had been on dates with a couple of men who were so keen to procreate that they brought up kids before they asked typical first date questions such as favorite music. I was beginning to believe that I would remain single for life, since all the men seemed to want children.
My husband and I met at a poetry reading. After we had been dating for about a month, he casually mentioned that he didn't want kids. My response was something along the lines of "thank GOD!" (In a secular way, of course).
I know it is hard to find childfree women (or men, for that matter!) but we are out there. Thanks for sharing your words.

1/12/2009 11:58 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home