Do moms shun childfree women? Are women being judged for that choice?

The birthrate in the U.S. is at its lowest point ever in American history, and Time Magazine takes a look at the childfree lifestyle in its Aug. 12 issue. Many other publications are examining issues related to it as well: Are the childfree being selfish to society as far as not producing taxpayers for later? Do moms judge the childfree and not want to associate with them? What will happen to the childfree when they are old? Who will care for them? So here are some samplings from the different articles.

From Time.com: (You have to pay for the whole article but here it the introduction)

“One evening when she was 14 years old, Laura Scott was washing dishes in the kitchen with her mother when she decided she didn’t want to have a child. At 26, Scott got married and waited for her mind to change. “It never happened,” she says. “And I realized I was going to be fine.” Now 50, Scott is more than fine: she’s fulfilled. And she’s not alone. The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.”

“The decision to have a child or not is a private one, but it takes place, in America, in a culture that often equates womanhood with motherhood. Any national discussion about the struggle to reconcile womanhood with modernity tends to begin and end with one subject: parenting. If you’re a woman who’s not in the mommy trenches, more often than not you’re excluded from the discussion. But being sidelined doesn’t exempt childless women from being scolded. The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last has made the case in his controversial book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting that the selfishness of the childless American endangers our economic future by reducing the number of consumers and taxpayers. With fertility treatment widely available, not to mention adoption, even clinically infertile women have more options than ever to become mothers, which increases the possibility that any woman who doesn’t will be judged for her choice.”

Here’s another perspective from a new dad at the Christian Science Monitor:

“Instead, I’ll just say the following: We love our son very much, and we are very, very tired. Anybody who chooses to skip the expense, the health risks, the sleep deprivation, the work-life-child balance discussions and the general anxiety of having a child strikes me as eminently rational. I’m feeling a lot of things right now: joy, love, stressed, tired, exhausted, proud, spent, knackered, and fatigued – but “rational” is not one of them.”

“But of course, on some level, reason did play a role. Back when we decided to have a kid, we made the (arguably) rational choice that we’d like to have kids grow up and explore the world so that when we’re older, we have family around us and connections to younger generations. Naturally, having kids isn’t the only way to accomplish these things, but it’s a classic option.”

“We have chosen to live our lives with the difficulty setting changed from “Novice” to “Expert,” and now even simple things are complicated – having breakfast, or mowing the lawn, for example. The flip side is that when something goes right – and sometimes it does – it feels amazing. An efficient trip to the grocery store with everyone in good spirits is exhilarating – really, it is – and watching our son smile and coo is, thankfully, inexhaustibly rewarding.”

The New York Times Motherlode columnist wants to know if moms can stay friends with the childfree? Do we judge them?

“As a parent myself, I don’t read my tendency to gravitate toward fellow mothers as judgment — I read it as practical. Fellow parents are more likely to understand if I bail on dinner because of a sudden teacher conference, and their eyes are less likely to glaze over if my preoccupation at that dinner is more temper tantrums than, say, the right way to temper chocolate (which might once have held my interest for hours). In fact, I’d argue that it’s win-win.”

I have a close friend and her husband who are choosing to be childfree, and I am completely jealous of their lifestyle. They are traveling the world, They eat at fantastic restaurants. They get plenty of exercise. They go out with friends. They love up on nieces and nephews but then are able to go home to their clean house and have a glass on wine. They don’t have to worry about schools or teachers. They don’t have to plan their lives around school breaks. I think they are extremely fulfilled and happy.

Also I am happy hanging with the childfree because then we talk about things other than kids. I think when parents talk it’s frequently about their children.  It’s also often easier to go out with the childfree because they often have less restrictions on their time and they don’t have to find a babysitter. (I also like parents with older kids for these same reasons. They are easy to work with.)

Overall I think either you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you have to have kids or you don’t, and I think it’s a personal feeling that shouldn’t be judged either way. I knew I wasn’t done at two. I was in the hospital with my second and I knew I wanted at third. At three I knew I was done. Just like some people don’t feel the need for any.

Are you friends with the childfree? Do you care if they are childfree? Is it better or worse for your friendship?

Is there any selfishness to being childfree? Do you think moms shun them from their circle?

64 comments Add your comment

Jaynie

August 8th, 2013
10:02 am

I certainly don’t think it is selfish to not want to have children. In fact, making that decision for one’s self is the best decision possible for that person and for any child that might have been born from pressuring someone into having a child. I have children, nieces, nephew, and grandchildren. I am also friends with a couple of folks who have no children. This is very much a personal choice for each individual.

jarvis

August 8th, 2013
10:11 am

Selfish? How is it selfish? Who are they wronging? A person that doesn’t exist?

missnadine

August 8th, 2013
10:22 am

I am surprised at your comments. A while back you mentioned it was hard for you to make friends in your new area. You has said that some people had kids too young when compared to yours, and you were looking for possible friends that had older kids, so that you could learn. I was going to suggest childless women but figured that this would not interest you.

The last thing I would want are friends that are exactly like me..

Young Lady

August 8th, 2013
10:28 am

What will happen to the childfree when they are old? Who will care for them?

I want to say from personal experience that having your children care for you when you are older is not a guarentee. My aunt has one living son with MS who requires full time care in a home, and her other son tragically died of cancer. If she’s sick or hurt we are the ones that have to step in for her. And if we weren’t there she would need a sound plan for those events. That’s why retirement planning and end of life planning is so important and you have to talk about the what-ifs.

Childless

August 8th, 2013
10:35 am

I do not think there is any selfishness to being childfree. Just phrasing the question that way indicates a belief that not having children is a selfish choice. Some women, like me, cannot have children. Others with a history of major health problems choose not to have children because of the likelihood of passing that genetic problem on to another generation.
And some people know they are not cut out to be parents for a variety of reasons. Maybe a few of those reasons are selfish, but the vast majority are not.
It is natural for women, especially new moms, to gravitate to others like them. Some reach a good balance and maintain friendships with their childless friends. Other friendships end because of it.
But to simply ask if there is any selfishness to being childfree is arrogant and selfish. Not all childfree women are that way by choice.

K's Mom

August 8th, 2013
10:47 am

I was 35 when i had my first child, so I feel like I have seen both sides of this. First, when I was child free I did not feel shunned by my friends with kids, but I did feel like we had less in common and that led to us seeing each other less often. Now that I do have kids, I know I talk about my kids a lot and so I do not naturally gravitate to child free women because we have less in common since I only work part time and my husband travels a lot, so my world is fairly child centric.

If women do not want to have children, then they should not have children. PERIOD. I know some women who had children because they thought they were supposed to and everyone is miserable. It is not a a selfish choice to not have children, it is a different choice. However, if you choose not to have children and then say you feel shunned by moms you are being dumb. Most moms are actually sensitive to the fact that not everyone is as in love with their little darlings as they are and try to navigate the world through that lens….or at least this mom does.

Abby

August 8th, 2013
10:51 am

I don’t believe I’m selfish for choosing not to have kids; I am single, live alone, I pay my bills and have a little left over for savings and shopping. I couldn’t afford to have a child, to pay doctor bills and add them to my insurance, to pay for day care and education, clothing, shoes, toys, vacations, the list goes on and on.

By choosing not to have a child, it means I am choosing to live within my means. It means I won’t be one of the mothers who applies for benefits to help out. This is a choice I made many years ago, and do not regret it at all.

I am engaged and soon to be married, and thankfully my wonderful man feels the same way. Knowing we can enjoy our freedom and live our life as we choose makes me smile.

I have friends with kids, some better behaved than others. I have nieces & nephews I spoil constantly. But at the end of the day it’s just not for me.

Blessed

August 8th, 2013
10:56 am

My sister is over 40 and doesn’t have any children. I’m the mother of an 18 year and 19 month old daughters. It’s fun to see my sister with both of my girls; she spent a lot of time with my 18 year old. Now she’s off to college and my sister has dedicated a couple of days a week to spend with my 19 month old. I think she is now reconsidering having children because I had my 19 month old after 40.

I have not shun my friends or family members who do not have kids; I find them to be a blessing when I need free time. They get to go home after the ruckus is over at my house.

Denise

August 8th, 2013
11:01 am

First, thanks for saying “childFREE” instead of “childLESS” because I am not LESS of a woman for not having children. :-) And like Childless says, some women (like me) are not childfree by choice. It sucks that I am not married and do not have children…sometimes. Sometimes it is GREAT! Sometimes it sucks when I’m ready to go out and my friends with kids can’t go because they can’t find child care. That usually means that I can’t go either unless I go alone. I’ve learned to adapt. I enjoy visiting my friends with kids. They call me “Tee Tee” or “Auntie Angel”. They are “my kids”, too. I actually miss “my kids” as much as I miss my girlfriends since my move.

beth

August 8th, 2013
11:04 am

I don’t like to use the word “judge” because I never say “how dare they be childless”, but the mom in me does feel sad for childless couples because they will never know the love/joy/unconditional love of a parent child bond. For me, that comes from the fact that I also never wanted children. I knew it as a kid. I didn’t grow up imagining my wedding or future family. I didn’t play house or with dolls really and just didn’t have a nurturing disposition. I always joked that I was born without the mommy gene. Not only did I not want kids, I didn’t even really like them. I was that person who would ask to be moved if children were seated next to me in a restaurant.

Then in my mid 30s… something changed. I have amazing kids now and I’m convinced most childless couples are more just afraid to take that leap of faith. Most childless couples like to spend their time exploring thru travel etc, but there is no greater exploration than figuring out how to raise kids. If that’s not a “journey” then I don’t know what is. For me… I know that if I knew then what I know now about the experience of being a parent, I know I would have started earlier and had more.

I have a former work colleague that I used to be quite close with, but she chose to remain childless and I just don’t have very much in common with her. We keep in touch on facebook… I “like” her travel photos and She “likes” my kid phtots. But I would never choose her childless life over mine. The mom in me can’t help but feel sad that she will never know this experience. Sure, travel is nice but you can’t watch it learn and grow (as you grow with it) and it definitely doesn’t give you hugs at night or make you birthday cards. I guess in the end, all that travel, while fun at the time, seems… to me… to be meaningless in the end. I didn’t have kids until my mid 30s so I was able to get some traveling in with my husband “pre-kids” and I can say with out a doubt in my mind, that the expereince of being a parent is far more Meaningful and Purposeful than spending time traveling or having dinner out with friends. They are not even in the same ball park in my mind so yeah, I feel sad for my friend that she is missing out.

Okay, so there might be a bit of judgement but the intent is not with malice.

Childfree, thankfully

August 8th, 2013
11:06 am

I’m 36 and I recently underwent the Essure procedure. No kids for me, ever. I think NOT having children is one of the least selfish things you can do. I’m not creating another human to consume resources on our planet. (can you tell me a reason you had kids that doesn’t start with “I wanted”? – *that* is selfish.) I get so tired of people asking me when I’m having a child. Now, I flat out tell them that I’ve been sterilized and I’m not having children. You would not believe the looks I get and I’ve gotten so many comments about how I’m going to regret that choice. No, really, I’m not. I’ve known since I was at least 18 that I wasn’t ever interested in having children.

To answer your question, yes, moms shun childfree women. I don’t think it’s necessarily a conscious decision but they seem to want to talk about diapers, preschool, discipline, etc, 24 x 7. If you don’t want to talk about that, it seems they have no use for you. I’m not interested in talking about things related to your kids for more than like 10 minutes. I care about the children of my friends but only because my friends do. Some random child on the street – no interest at all for me.

Mayhem

August 8th, 2013
11:07 am

Why on earth would you shun someone who’s choices are different than yours?

After raising 3 kids, I can honestly understand a woman’s choice not to have kids, we have several child free friends and sometimes, back when my kids were younger, I was envious. They were globe trotting, I was a room mom. They ate in fancy restaurants, we at at Chuck E Cheese. Lol

I understand the choice, but I certainly would not shun someone for their personal choice.

Liota Lukaka

August 8th, 2013
11:18 am

I am a 36 and half beautiful women- I eat apples everyday and no one judges me for that!! I took a picture of my poop once with my I-phone and sent it to my boy friend and he laughed so hard he pooped his pants. So now i have to wash all these dirty gotchies!! So my point is if you want a baby have a baby- if ya don’t then don’t. For me i think more kids is better so i get a tax break. But to judge another women because she has three boobs is just wrong!!

jarvis

August 8th, 2013
11:21 am

@TWG, I’ve been out of the loop for a few days.

Found your “morning date” piece a couple of days ago very funny. As an FYI, you didn’t “almost mess it up”. Michael would have sat there for another 3 hours.

Kudos on getting laid on a Monday morning though. Makes the whole week better, doesn’t it?

Childfree, thankfully

August 8th, 2013
11:30 am

Beth – that is exactly the kind of “pity” that we don’t want. I wouldn’t trade my life for yours any day of the week. You can use all of the poetry in the world to describe being a parent but if someone doesn’t want to be a parent, they don’t want to be a parent. Some people are passionate about their children, some about their careers, some about travel, some about animals. Being different is what makes the world go around. I wouldn’t try to convince you why my childfree life is better than yours but for you to imply that a childfree life is missing something (THAT WE DON’T WANT) is just plain rude.

Abby

August 8th, 2013
11:45 am

@ Childfree, thankfully…….did you have any problems finding someone to do the procedure? I’ve been unable to find a doc willing to do any kind of sterilization procedure. I was told I wasn’t a candidate for it as I haven’t had any kids and may change my mind.

iRun

August 8th, 2013
11:58 am

I’ll answer the questions directly.

Are you friends with the childfree? Do you care if they are childfree? Is it better or worse for your friendship?
————————————————————————————————————————-

Yes, I am. Several of our friends do not and have no intention of having children. We don’t care either way what they do. It has no impact on our friendship.

Is there any selfishness to being childfree? Do you think moms shun them from their circle?
——————————————————————————————————————
I hadn’t heard the economic angle before but I don’t think of it as selfish. Occasionally I think someone who decides to remain childree isn’t doing it for the right reasons, but most times I have no opinion on their decision.

As for shunning…no. Shunning implies a deliberateness to the action whereas I think what really happens is when you first become a parent and your children are very little your world becomes very narrow by necessity.

I have one child who is now 12. I feel like I didn’t really have many friendships when he was very small because there was no time. I had 3 friends – 2 who are a little older and have no children and 1 who is a lot older with an older child. All 3 I met through work.

Now that my son is older I feel like I have more time for friendships and my female friends (I only have a few male friends) has expanded to two more childfree women I met through work and a handful of brand new moms (all in their mid-30s). And I feel like I have more in common with the childfree women than with the new moms. I am sooooo far away from diapers and pre-school and temper tantrums. Not that older children mean no involvement but my son pretty much gets himself around via bike and has a lot of activities and his own interests and no major behavioral problems that need attention (just the normal puberty moodiness that’s best left alone).

DB

August 8th, 2013
12:04 pm

I don’t judge anyone for choosing not to have children – it’s not for the faintheated, or for those who aren’t willing to dive into parenthood and embrace it fully, the challenges AND the joys. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can identify a few people who never SHOULD have had children, but only had children because it seemed the next logical step, or their spouse was wanting one, etc.

I do often feel judged by the childfree folks, though — the reasons they often give seem to be critical of my own decision to have children (overpopulation, etc.), as if I should feel guilty for having children. I have a childfree neighbor who announced, quite emphatically, when she moved in, that they did not have kids and did not WANT kids. (Did I ask? Of course not — I always assume that there’s a reason a couple may not have kids, and it’s none of my business.) Still, it did sort of kill the conversation 20 years ago when I took homemade brownies over to welcome them, and the first thing out of her mouth was not “thank you,” but a declaration of childlessness. Okaaay . . . but at the time, I was up to my eyeballs as a SAHM with a new company I was kicking off the ground, a toddler and a pre-schooler, as were my friends. I have to admit that I didn’t feel particularly motivated to get to know her, as I felt she had made it plain that kids were an off-limit subject — but I was a mom, and a relatively new mom, at that. It was a major part of MY life — and if I couldn’t share my “mom moments” with someone who didn’t even pretend to understand or sympathize, well, then — what’s in it for me? Did I “shun” her? No. But they did a pretty good job of ignoring us for 20 years, and refused initial invitations for dinner, drinks, etc so who shunned who?

I think it’s normal to want to hang with people who value the same things you do. Birds of a feather, etc., someone who understands and commiserates on your challenges, successes and problems.

jmb

August 8th, 2013
12:11 pm

Having children is a huge sacrifice and a joy at the same time however, given the world today, I most likely would remain childfree. It’s just not like it was in our day and neither are the children IMO. Technology has ruined the way they communicate and I really don’t think they obtain the morals and values like we did. I see my 4 year old that would rather play a game on her Ipad instead of throwing a hook in the water to catch a fish and it makes me feel like a third wheel to her game. I can’t even imagine trying that with my grandma or missing the time that I did have with her. Overall, I don’t blame anyone that wants to remain childfree. It’s a personal choice and it’s thier right to make it. I am thankful that my kids are now grown but at times I feel like it’s all started again with the grandkids. I’ve not had a free weekend in a while and I’m missing those days again.

jmb

August 8th, 2013
12:12 pm

And my 4 year old is my grandchild. Sorry to not make that clear.

beth

August 8th, 2013
12:15 pm

@Childfree — I totally understand what you are saying and I would have said the exact same thing 8 years ago. But having been on both sides of the fence… this is how I feel today.

iRun

August 8th, 2013
12:25 pm

@Abby – I have a real problem with doctors who won’t let women make up their own minds about their childbearing years.

I am sterilized. I’m 38 but I had it done when I was 35 (or 34?). I had a problem with polyps and my doctor said, “Hey, you think you want any more kids? Because if you don’t then I have the perfect option for you.”, which was endometrial ablation and tubal ligation. But she wasn’t going to REFUSE me the procedure because I MIGHT change my mind about kids.

Afterall, if you actually did change your mind you could adopt, right? Having kids isn’t about being pregnant.

Anyway, perhaps Childfree can recommend her doctor. Someone who doesn’t treat women like infants when it comes to their reproductive agency.

beth

August 8th, 2013
12:28 pm

@jmb– I grew up in the 70s/80s and I seem to remember my grandparents saying that about TV. They just couldn’t understand why kids are so drawn to television and swore that it was ruining not only us, but the moral fabric of the country.

Also for the record… I don’t “shun” childless couples or anyone else for that matter. That’s just silly.

Childfree, thankfully

August 8th, 2013
12:38 pm

Abby – no I had no problems finding a dr to do it. I’ve been at the same GYN practice for years and I had an IUD prior to the Essure. My practice is Arbor Ob/Gyn in Dunwoody – highly recommend them!

Childless

August 8th, 2013
12:41 pm

@Beth. You feel sorry for me because I do not have any children? How arrogant. You say that you have been on both sides of the fence and feel sorry for couples with no children. You have not been on my side of the fence as I am not on a side. I have no children and do not need your demeaning pity. My husband and I have a rich and rewarding life. We are active volunteers, we take in rescue dogs that cannot be placed elsewhere, we are well loved by family and friends.
Our life is different than yours. And your attitude, feeling sad for those without children, makes me hope we never meet you. Regardless of what you say, you are judging me without knowing me at all. Walk a bit in my shoes and you might have a completely different attitude.

HB

August 8th, 2013
12:48 pm

I’ve experienced a little of beth’s style of judgement in my mom’s town. It’s not meant with malice, but the pitying nature of it is really obnoxious (”her life can’t possibly be as happy as ours are, poor thing”). And I do have a friend who felt shunned when she moved to a new small city that was very family-focused — moms grilled her on her intentional childlessness and made it clear they thought she was a freak.

In my own larger city, though, I never feel judged for being single and without children. I adore my friends’ kids and feel our friendship is as close as ever; now we just hang out at kid-friendly places instead of nice restaurants, performances, etc. I do miss going out with those friends and just being grownups sometimes since they are rarely able to go out kid-free, but that’s the way it goes.

guy

August 8th, 2013
12:53 pm

that time author is right. why doesn’t every infertile woman just drop $30k+ on fertility treatments or adoption?

so selfish….

Becky

August 8th, 2013
12:59 pm

I am one of those that doesn’t have children due to medical problems..I don’t think that anyone that I know has ever shunned me for not having kids, nor do I think anyone pities me..I had always wanted children, so it was a very though choice to have my hysterectomy at 32..Now at 51, I don’t feel like I made the wrong choice..

I come from a huge family and have always wanted children, it just didn’t happen that way..I have more than made up for it though as I have my two “adopted” grand children live with me now and I also babysit my great nieces baby girl on the weekends..Plus in about 4 weeks, I will have another baby girl on weekends as another great niece will be going back to work weekends only..I honestly don’t remember the last child free weekend that I have had in about 10 yrs. or so..:)

So if a woman (or couple) don’t want to have children, good for them..As someone else mentioned, I would rather them not have them, then to have them not wanting them..I have a entire family like that, it’s not a good thing..Kids are special and they deserve to be treated special..Just my opinion..

Childfree, thankfully

August 8th, 2013
1:01 pm

Guy – not everyone without children is infertile. I’m perfectly fertile (well, I was before I got sterilized), as is my husband. We just don’t want kids. Some people don’t want sports cars, or cats or dogs or a condo. We all make different choices.

guy

August 8th, 2013
1:04 pm

i never insinuated otherwise. just pointing out that flippantly saying that you can always adopt or use fertilization procedures ignores the comical costs associated with both. most people don’t have an extra $30k just lying around.

Abby

August 8th, 2013
1:30 pm

Adam

August 8th, 2013
1:52 pm

Thanks for the topic, now I have something to laugh at and make fun of the rest of the week. Ah, yes, just because a person can, is able too, and can provide for it does not mean they should.

jmb

August 8th, 2013
2:05 pm

Beth, a big difference between the TV and today’s technology. I don’t remember carrying my TV outside or out on the boat while riding the lake. And I do remember my mom saying that but not my grandmother. When I was her we were tending farm animals or canning veggies. Memories I cherish today. Wonder what memories our grandkids will have? Angry birds most likely.

@ Childless

August 8th, 2013
2:24 pm

No need to be high and mighty. You do what you want/like, other do what they want/like.

@Beth

August 8th, 2013
2:30 pm

@Beth is the one being high and mighty telling those of us with no children either through infertility or choice that she feels sorry for us. That is wrong and I simply called her/you on it. I presume the snarky comment is from Beth under a new name or another person who does look down on those with no children. That is arrogance no matter how you look at it.

@Beth

August 8th, 2013
2:34 pm

Laughing my head off. @Childless being high and mighty? Nope. Just calling Beth out about her inappropriate pity remarks. Beth is sitting in judgment on those that have no children. And TWG now has an answer to her question: Are women being judged for that choice? Yes they are.

TheOracle

August 8th, 2013
3:21 pm

What about childfree men? I wonder if men would get shunned by friends or family that have kids.

Jenny

August 8th, 2013
3:27 pm

The decision to have children or not is one that should be made wisely. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of women who secretly regret making the choice to have children–because it is one of the most difficult paths that any woman could choose to take in our modern world. Trying to juggle children, a career, a household, aging parents, and maintain your sanity is a tall order. The women who choose not to have children have most likely made a conscious choice that has served them well in their life. It is not selfish at all. One could argue that their life purpose didn’t include children, but rather something else. –Jenny Rawlings, The Career Mom’s Happiness Coach, http://www.consciouschoicescoaching.com

father

August 8th, 2013
3:34 pm

hey beth/my wife felt the same way about towards children. we ultimately had a daughter thinking the mommy gene would kick in and unfortunately it never did as yours did. we are in a constant struggle to provide love for our daughter while we now know we really don’t like being around kids. needless to say we stopped at one.

Techmom

August 8th, 2013
4:38 pm

@father – how old is your daughter? I am not a huge fan of little kids and never have been. I’ll babysit my niece or nephew FOR my sisters-in-law but not because I actually enjoy little kids, rather I’m doing it to give them a break.

I about did a happy a dance when my son turned 10. I felt a sense of freedom from being a “babysitter” all the time. It’s not that he didn’t require a lot of time and attention after 10, it was simply that he was his own person and I felt like we could have a relationship where I taught him things (and he taught me things) and we could enjoy each other. I didn’t have to constantly do for him and watch him just to keep him alive. When he got a bit older, we were able to enjoy things together and that’s when I feel like I really enjoyed parenthood. Not all of us are cut out for babies, toddlers or even children. I work with the middle school youth at church and middle & high schoolers in Scouts and LOVE that age but I didn’t really know that until my son got to that age. So just my two-cents that maybe you’ll enjoy parenthood as she gets older.

Techmom

August 8th, 2013
4:41 pm

By the way, even though I have a child, I definitely get judged by moms who have multiple. “You don’t want anymore?” “Don’t you feel bad that your son doesn’t have siblings?” and my personal favorite since we literally just moved him into the dorms this week, “Hey, it’s time for another!” WHAT?? These people are crazy. Start over. (I am young, had my son young so I could technically birth another child but why people think I would want to is beyond me!)

I think moms are constantly comparing themselves to others. I did it, so you should too! Kind of like married people ;)

Tired

August 8th, 2013
4:47 pm

I don’t feel judged, but I do feel painted with the same brush. When I read or watch something on women in the workplace, 99% of the time it turns out to be about mothers in the workplace. When our church plans adult Sunday School events they often revolve around parenting/school/etc. which could not interest us less. I use the “Best Businesses For Working Mothers” lists to know who would stick me with everyone else’s work during Spring Break, and not apply there.

I have friends with kids, and friends without. The key word is “friends.” The people from whom I grew apart when they had kids were people I wasn’t all that close to, anyway.

catlady

August 8th, 2013
5:37 pm

There are people who will judge on just about anything, even private stuff. I would never care about what they thought, if I am making the choice that is right for me.

My elder two each have 2 children. My younger one has NEVER wanted one. Her husband seems to support that. It would have been a deal breaker. She is a good aunt (even better than I had hoped.). I think she would have a beautiful, talented kid if she wanted one.

But as a teacher, I have seen FAR too many unwanted and unloved kids. Don’t do it unless you are totally into it!

Sk8ing Momma

August 8th, 2013
6:56 pm

Are you friends with the childfree?
Yes, I have childfree friends; however, they are certainly in the minority. I can count my childfree friends on one hand.

Do you care if they are childfree? Is it better or worse for your friendship?
Nope! I don’t care if a friend is childfree. Whether one has children does not make my friendship better or worse.

Is there any selfishness to being childfree? Hmm…I wouldn’t call it selfishness. I’d consider it a difference in priorities.

Do you think moms shun them from their circle?
I haven’t had this experience. Rather, I find that birds of a feather flock together. IMO, moms tend to hang out with moms similarly situated out of convenience and close proximity. If one spends lots of time volunteering at school, on a youth sports field, or at various extracurricular activities, she tends to spend time with other moms at these activities because that is who she sees the most. I’ve found that friendships naturally develop out of those circles.

beth

August 8th, 2013
7:57 pm

Oh wow… wasn’t expeciting such a visceral response. I guess my sentiments are not being communicated correctly. I don’t “pitty” childless couples. I respect their choice. I spent many years expecting to be one of them…. and I would have argued to my death defending my choice.

But I know now, that I would have been wrong. And as I said, I have friends who choose to be childless as well. The sadness that I described isn’t a “put down”. It’s just a way to express my emotion on the topic. For ME, choosing to be a parent is a very powerful and emotional, maybe even spiritual experience… especially after so many years of positively insisting that it wasn’t what was best for me. I KNEW that I did not want kids. BUT this experience of motherhood, I feel, has absolutely made me a better person. I have come to realize that EVERYTHING I thought motherhood would be (which was mostly negative), has turned out to be wrong. It still astounds me to this day how I could have been so wrong. So… I don’t feel that I am “above” childless couples in any way. I am just giving my input/experience of having lived on both sides of the fence as a childless couple in their 30s choosing not to have kids… and as parents. When I had my first child, I had never fed a baby before, or changed a diaper, or had any kind of emotional bond with a child. So I didn’t know what to expect, but then was blown away by the emotional connection.

Also, I wanted to say that yes, kids are “alot of work”, but so is cultivating a happy marriage. There are ups, downs, annoyances, complaints, vents, Love, and ALOT of work involved… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. I’m not trying to convince anyone to change their mind… This is just my opinion from this side of the fence.

MG

August 9th, 2013
5:11 am

I got so sick of hearing the holier-than-thou, “Since you don’t have children, you can’t understand …” that I consciously did not say it to others when I had children. And, frankly I never felt the sentiment either. Saying that to people without children is a clown move, bro.

RJ

August 9th, 2013
7:22 am

MY BFF doesn’t have kids. I couldn’t care less. She lives a single persons life. I love my kids and being a mom. It’s my choice. The only people I find selfish are the ones that choose to have kids being single because they want a child. That is selfish in my opinion.

FCM

August 9th, 2013
7:28 am

I have a a few friends who knew from an early age (one since HS) that they never wanted children. Being a parent means sacrafices that they were not wanting to make. I fully support that decision. There are things they admit they don’t necessarily “understand” because they are not parents. They do however often have an interesting way of looking at things that my kids do. They see it not through a parenting lense. I think that I am a better parent for their sharing that perspective.

Remember too some people are not parents b/c they are having trouble getting pregnant. I have a sibling and his wife in that situation. We certainly don’t shun them for it. We pray that it chnages since they want one. They are close with other families with children too.

TWG..do you think your question about choosing to not have children (as opposed to unable to have them) being “selfish” comes from your religious doctrine?

Me

August 9th, 2013
7:38 am

Jealous? Why are you jealous of their lifestyle? You made the decision to have not a single child but three and you should, therefore, enjoy both the perks of such while knowing there is a “downside” when it comes to being “footloose and fancy free” — We love our kids but cannot believe how happy I am that we had them at younger ages. I’m 52 and my wife is 47 and we love being “empty nesters” at what we consider still fairly “young” — We now have the lifestyle that TWG is jealous of — trust me, your time, too, will come!!

FCM

August 9th, 2013
7:56 am

@ Childfree, if you are who I think you are (and you know my screen moniker if you are)…then you know for a fact I have always supported the no child decision. If you aren’t she, then you have remarkably similar stories.