Post # 1
This is a spin-off to the CBC lifestyle introductory thread. One non-CBCer asked a compelling question: What seemingly harmless and well intentioned comments or actions get under your skin the most?
Laying out our perspectives in advance might help the “other side” to see why we get so upset, or seem to “snap” at something they think as innocuous. I’ll start.
1) That look of pity you get from people when they hear you choose not to seek out parenthood
2) Being told you will change your mind. This is especially annoying for a myriad of reasons:
- The person has devalued your perspective about YOURSELF, and implies that either you do not know yourself, or they are now all knowing, or more enlightened about the future because they have kids and you do not (condescending, much?)
- Your friend is now projecting societietal expectations onto you
- Your friend is not giving you unconditional love and support in your life’s unique path
3) Being told “you don’t know what you’re missing”
- Kind of, we do. We are not incapable of seeing parents and children interacting and knowing that given a choice, we wouldn’t opt to trade our resources for a baby
4) Being asked repeatedly when you’re going to have a baby, even after you express interest in keeping your family at status quo
- Again, another example of friends or family not respecting you and showing unconditional acceptance
Even though some of these things might be coming from a genuine place, it is off putting to hear these things constantly, and to have your character called into question over and over again. Sometimes, we are made to feel like second class citizens for not wanting children, and are even called selfish. This is far from the truth. So if one of us responds a little strongly, please try to understand that we hear these comments repeatedly, and there is only so much societal questioning we can take.
Does anyone want to add to the list?
Post # 3
I haven’t been asked when I’m reproducing yet, just told repeatedly that I’ll change my mind. It has to be the most grating thing. I generally try to handle it with grace and ignore it but sometimes I’ve just had enough.
“2) Being told you will change your mind. This is especially annoying for a myriad of reasons:
- The person has devalued your perspective about YOURSELF, and implies that either you do not know yourself
- Your friend is now projecting societietal expectations onto you
- Your friend is not giving you unconditional love and support in your life’s unique path”
You’ve hit the nail on the head.
I’m sure this isn’t for all CBCers, but I hate being asked to watch someone’s children or hold someone’s baby. I’m just not interested and it’s so rare that they take your no to mean no…
Post # 4
@Aure: I agree about the babysitting thing. My sister seems to think that because I have no kids, it automatically means that I am available and would WANT to drop everything to watch her kids. Not so much. I like visiting, but not substitute parenting.
Post # 5
For me, the absolute WORST is being told I will ‘change my mind’; especially if this is coupled with ‘you’re young’.
I am 25. I have never wanted children; even as a child I did not like children. I do not want children for a multitude of very good reasons. I have thought long and hard about this. I am with a man who also does not want children. I am about to pursue a PhD and then probably a post-doc, so won’t have finished studying until I’m 31/32. I am not going to wake up at 35 and think ‘do you know what’s missing from my great life? Children. I would really really like to be able to experience sleepless nights, less sick, cleaning up poop and sick, boring my brains out teaching a kid the alphabet, entertaining snotty, bratty, noisy kids at birthday parties, not being able to go on luxury holidays, being comfortable financially…’ Nope. Not going to happen. Please just accept that.
I also dislike people asking when we will be having kids. It is rude. My womb and sex life is absolutely none of your business. Would I ask you when you last had sex? Nope. So butt out.
I also hate the ‘but you don’t know what you’re MISSING!’. I am not stupid. I know what having children involves, and I do appreciate that there are some good moments. But for me, these are far outweighed by the bad ones. I don’t have rose-tinted glasses like so many people who have children do; I’m aware enough to see the full icture. And it does not appeal.
My other ‘favourite’ is ‘you’re selfish’. Yeah, I guess my choice is selfish; and?… Would you rather I had children I don’t want? And do these people honestly think having children isn’t just as selfish?..
The other one that makes me smile is ‘you’ll be a good parent’. Yep, I probably would be; I’d be strict, and I’m sure any kids I had would be intelligent, well-adjusted, and certainly not spoilt or bratty like so many children today. But this is not a reason to have them. I’m sure I would be great at water-skiing if I ut in the time, effort, and money; but I have no inclination to take water-skiing up, it does not interest me, I don’t want to do it; I feel the same about parenting.
Post # 6
For me it’s not any particular comments, it’s the bias of the comments. Meaning that people will tell you how happy they are to be parents, how great it is, etc., but no one who regrets it will tell you so. So you get this really skewed perspective, like everyone on earth with kids thinks it was the greatest thing that ever happened to them, when in reality that’s probably far from the case.
Post # 7
@Over the Moon: I agree that it’s bias and sometimes the tone as well. I just can’t stand the finger-wagging “I know better than you” tonethat is used to deliver a lot of these comments.
Post # 8
@barbie86: Hahaha, I love you already!
Post # 9
All 20 somethings – how about when someone says, “oh, wait til you hit 30, then you won’t be able to think about anything but babies!”. Ummm no. I really don’t think that at 30 years old I’ll finally “see the light” and want to have a kid. It hasn’t happened in 28, I don’t see it changing in less than 2 years.
Oh and “but when its your kid, its different.” Ok, I can see that. BUT (and this is a huge BUT) I STILL WON’T WANT TO BE AROUND OTHER KIDS!!! So basically you want me to spit out a kid, which will then make me have to spend years of my life with other peoples little creatures? No thanks, I’d rather poke my eye out with a rusty spoon
Post # 10
@Aure: Agreed. I dislike the condescending attitude that some pushy parents have when you break the news you won’t be picking up their lifestyle.
It’s ok to love your own children, and it’s ok for yourself that you changed your mind, but just accept that some people are comfortable on the opposite side of the spectrum, and love them anyway.
Post # 11
Actually I do have a most-hated question: “When are you going to start a family?” It is SO offensive to say that a childless couple is not a family.
Post # 12
@Over the Moon: I will add it to the poll just for you. I don’t mind that quetion the first time it is asked, so I didn’t think of it.
Post # 13
I hate the very hinting that I am selfish simply because for now we don’t want any children. I even had a friend ask me if it is because I “don’t want to give up my lifestyle.” Is that a bad thing, really?
I love children and I love having them around. I equally love our freedom and the ability to give back those adorable children to their parents. I am not selfish just realistic with my expectations and hopes for our lives right now. Will this change, maybe. That doesn’t make me any less of a good person or my Fiance and I any less of a family simply because we currently are not in the mind set to procreate.
Post # 14
“Oh and “but when its your kid, its different.” Ok, I can see that. BUT (and this is a huge BUT) I STILL WON’T WANT TO BE AROUND OTHER KIDS!!! So basically you want me to spit out a kid, which will then make me have to spend years of my life with other peoples little creatures? No thanks, I’d rather poke my eye out with a rusty spoon”
Totally agree. Why do people act as if when you have a child, you live in an insulated bubble where the only child you interact with is your own? I do not doubt that IF I had a child, I would probably love it. But I still would not like other people’s. I honestly cannot think of anything worse than going to ‘family parties’ and ‘child-friendly’ hotels/restaurants, and hosting children’s birthday parties. The thought makes me cringe.
So nope, won’t be having any!
Also, the other thing that annoys me is people who say they were CF, but that then they got pregnant and ‘changed their mind’. I honestly think that if geting pregnant would make you change your mind, you are probably not truly CF. Because I, and most CFers I know, would simply have an abortion if we got pregnant. At no point would I be thinking ‘Oh well, I might as well have it, and hopefully parenthood won’t be SO bad..’ My reasons and feelings are just too strong.
Post # 15
I’m going to jump in here (uninvited, since I do plan on having kids) and say that ANY time someone calls any of you selfish for not wanting to have children, pleaseohpleaseohplease remind them of modern-day American parents who choose to overpopulate our planet with children that they neglect financially, emotionally, and physically. I’m planning on a strict 2-kid limit because I don’t want to be outnumbered by my children and I want to be able to educate them so that they will serve their (our) world well.
CBC-ers (I know some in real life) are some of the most generous, loving people i know. They spend their time doing anything they please, and often it pleases them to make our world a better place.
Post # 16
What, no “all of the above”? Haha.
I voted that “you’ll change your mind” is the most offensive one, but “you don’t know what you’re missing!” is equally irritating. Actually, most CBC-ers know exactly what they’re missing and that’s why they want to miss it!