We Don’t Look Down on Anyone Who Makes a Thoughtful Choice That’s Right for Them. And We’re Not Sorry.

The latest throw-down in the supposed war between parents and the childfree took place today, as self-professed “daddy sorryblogger” Chris Jeub took a run at all childfree people in his post “We Look Down on Child Free Ideology and We’re Not Sorry.”

Written in response to Amy Glass‘s Jan. 15 piece, “I Look Down on Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry,” Jeub makes the mistake of assuming that Glass is the voice for all childfree, everywhere. He also mistakes the childfree choice as “ideology.”

Say What?

In particular, Jeub challenges what he calls the “Child Free movement” on a few “ideological levels.” Whether the childfree “movement” really can or should be characterized as such is a post for another time. For now, a response to Jeub’s “ideological” challenges, as he phrases them:

1) “Logically”

First, to use one of his own favorite words, Jeub insists that the childfree “insist” that “children would never bring them anything other than whatever bad things they conjured up in their head.”

Say what? I’m childfree and I’ve never insisted such a thing. My husband is childfree and he’s never insisted such a thing. Where is this mysterious universal insistence of which you speak coming from? Sure, some childfree hypothesize that they’d be worse off with children so they choose not to have them. Would Jeub prefer they bring unwanted children into the world?

Jeub goes on to suggest that supposing one wouldn’t like a life with kids is “like insisting to hate a food that you have never tried.”

A-hem. One major difference: if you try a food and don’t like it, you throw it out. Or maybe pawn it off on some unwitting dinner companion. If you try a kid and don’t like it, it’s generally not considered acceptable form to  throw it out or pawn it off on others. There are no take-backs or do-overs or returns with kids. Nor should there be.

2) “Individually”

Jeub warns readers that, “If you go the giddy Child Free way…, you may get your wish, and your life will end with depressing consequence.” What is this “giddy” of which he speaks? Sounds fun; I’m in!

But seriously. How many times do I have to say it? Research shows that the childfree fare well as they age and that they don’t tend to regret their choice. Check out Marcia Drut-Davis‘s excellent memoir if anecdotal evidence is more your style.

Jeub also uses the scare tactic of citing an interaction with an elderly couple whose daughter is apparently the disappointment of a lifetime because she made the choice that was right for her and is selfishly denying her parents grandchildren. If ever there was a reason to have kids, there’s one! Worried you’re not cut out to be an excellent parent? Who cares! Do it for your parents, who may visit on occasion and would like someone other than you (you big disappointment, you) to interact with when they do.

3) “Culturally”

Here, Jeub makes one claim with which I wholeheartedly agree: “The world will go on if you decide not to have children.” Then he ruins it by continuing with this: “But if everyone decided to not have children, all hell would break loose.”

Who said anything about everyone deciding not have have children? Here at w{n}hab! we celebrate living in a time and a place where people get to choose the path that’s right for them (see?). We know many childfree who feel the same way. This whole “everyone must do as I do” thing is crazy talk. And certainly not a position we espouse.

Free to Be

In closing, Jeub urges readers to “be free of ‘Child Free’ thinking.” He juxtaposes his wife’s ideology – “sacrifice, affection, giving spirit and heart of love” – with the supposed “Child Free ideology” which he characterizes as an “anti-people perspective.”

Jeub’s description of the supposed childfree “ideology” is odd given what we know about the perspectives of many of the more visible childfree people in our society: from Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls to Ellen Degeneres’s support for numerous charitable organizations and touching and hilarious shows featuring kids to Rachel Ray’s kid-friendly charity yum-o! to Ashley Judd’s work with Demand Abolition to eradicate the illegal commercial sex industry (to name just a very few childfree and their non-anti-people-perspective efforts).

In the end, I suppose Amy Glass got just the dialogue she was hoping to spur. I hope we all come out the other side with a better understanding of and appreciation for the reality that we each have the right and opportunity to make the choice that’s right for us when it comes to parenthood. I’m certainly grateful for that. And I’m not sorry.

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6 Responses to We Don’t Look Down on Anyone Who Makes a Thoughtful Choice That’s Right for Them. And We’re Not Sorry.

  1. anovemberdusk January 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    Thank you! An awesome article. I am fine with whatever your life choices are so does it seem to bother so many people that mine are drastically different. I kinda feel as long as your choice is not “I’m going to go shoot up some heroin and then go murder some people.” it should be respected. Everyone wants to live life differently and some people just don’t feel kids are right just like some people feel kids are right for them. It isn’t like all of a sudden those of us that are childfree will rise up and form some kind of violent rebellion. I just want my choice to be respected but instead I sometimes feel I have to lie about it just to keep conversations from being awkward when I get dead silence as a response.

  2. Dee January 29, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    There are more people being born today than are passing away. Our earth is bulging at the seams to support us all, so Jeub is off his rocker if he thinks everyone on the planet is suddenly going to stop having kids. It is a fact “Humans” are not in fear of extinction, unlike so many other species we share the planet with. People who should not have kids are having kids to satisfy other peoples will and wishes, and not their own. To abandon your life, and have babies, to make someone else happy with you and not for yourself is dangerous on so ever many levels. I have no problems with thoughtful, resourceful, independent couples having a child-1 child. It is the cult of birthing ideology I take issue with! I am sorry but the quiver full movement is not healthy for our planet. To insist that anyone subscribe to your life plan be it CF or Reproducer, inherently is wrong. People must, and I think this is where so many people go awry, take a hard, real, scouring look at their life, and weigh the pros and cons of both lifestyles and make a choice; because let’s face it: only you can and should make a choice either way, that is right for you. Keoki said “People hate you. Why do they hate you? Because they are jealous.” I don’t hate parents. They have nothing I want nor desire. I just don’t like most children, because they are so miserably behaved. Simplicity, privacy, serenity, stability, these are the qualities I want in my life, and I got this life by choosing not to have a child. Having a child would have undermined the goals for my life I had set. If someone wants to hate on me, so be it.

  3. KS January 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    When my husband and I got married almost 9 years ago, and even while we were planning our wedding, the question always arose: “When are going to have children?” When we responded that we weren’t, as it was something we discussed LONG before saying “I do,” we were confronted with “Oh, you’ll change your mind,” “Are your parents okay with that?” and “But, you are so GOOD with kids!” I tried to laugh it off, and soon after we were married I had my tubes tied, knowing we did not want “an accident.”

    Suddenly, it felt like, all of our friends were having babies, talking about babies, asking about babies. I felt like I was not invited to a party I didn’t want to go to. It made me sad that even though I did not want children of my own, the assumption was made that I knew nothing about children (I used to work for a pediatrician), and that I didn’t like children (I am a children’s librarian). Both of these could not be further from the truth. My husband and I taken pride in being the cool Aunt and Uncle and have fantastic relationships with our nieces and nephews, as well as our friends’ kids.

    It has only been in that past year or so that I have discovered these childfree communities that celebrate a person’s right to choose what is right for them. I salute you and your efforts for acceptance and inclusion. We are still very secure in our choice and have fun celebrating our couplehood.

    I would also like to state that I have the utmost respect for parents. They are doing a job that I could never do and the ones that I know are AMAZING at it.

    In this day and age, choice and diversity are always hot topics, and most people only support these things when they are inline with their own thinking.

  4. Sylvia January 29, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    I’d like to know what hell would break loose if everyone decided not to have kids.

  5. Megan Abel January 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Amen well said. The sad thing is that the two articles that this is in response to just so happen to be on the extreme end of each ideology/lifestyle. Glass went too far talking smack on stay at home moms just as Jeub went too far saying what he did about those who choose to not have children. What really needs to happen is that both sides need to respect the choices of the other. The child free can respect those who have kids and if harsh opinions are there keep them to just the ones they trust instead of blabbering on the Internet. At the same time, those with children can respect the choice of the other side and not assume the worst in them. They too are entitled to their ooinins but if they are brash they can keep to themselves or loved ones. We all just need to get along instead of distributing scathing comments about others.


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