Claer wrote:OK - not entirely sure this is a topic for a Druid Parenting section of the board, but wasn't sure where else to put it.
Just wondered if any one else out there is childless by choice, and if this has anything to do with your spirituality or not? Anyone think it is un-pagan?
What has sparked me asking is that I've just returned from a local pagan group gathering which is all female, and have come away feeling drained and fairly upset. I was the only one attending who was either not pregnant or had no children. I was made to feel entirely defined by this status, and was quizzed a fair bit about my reproductive status. Part of me does know that I should worry what others think, but, another part is really quite hurt and upset.Interested to hear others views.
PS ...my choice to be childless is not because I hate children.
I am childless by choice and my reasoning is that I believe children should be 100% wanted and I definitely do not want them. I don't dislike children, but I don't have the patience for them and have too much else going on in my life. My mother did not want kids and we knew that growing up. I couldn't do that to a child. I've known it since I was a child and my husband is 17 years older than me. It just wouldn't work, but we're very happy not having kids. The way kids are being raised today scares the heck out of me and I would probably be charged with being negligent for allowing my child to walk to school on his own. (Some parents in the USA have been charged with this because they let the kids take the bus or train to school on their own.)
It doesn't surprise me that others might seem to be judging you based on the fact that you don't have kids. I get that all the time too. If I were to say I can't have kids, people would likely understand. I just tell folks that I don't want kids and never have. Many react in surprise, but I am also relieved to say that many of them say "At least you are aware of that and don't just have kids because you were expected to." (That often makes me wonder if they didn't really want their kids either!) Only a few have given me the replies of "It's different when they're your own" or "You'll change your mind later". I'm 37 years old and my husband is 54. We're not going to change our minds. We like being able to go out at night on a whim or go away on vacation with no worries.
It's gotten to the point where I actually have a little fun when someone pops the question about kids.
The weirdest one I got was a college student last Summer who was going door to door doing a survey on parenting for his course. I opened the door and the first thing he said to me was "Are you the mom?" (no "Hi there" or anything, just "Are you the mom?")
I said "Young man, I am no one's 'mom', nor do I ever wish to be. Just because I am in my late 30's and live in a suburban neighbourhood does not automatically make me a parent." The poor thing didn't seem to know how to respond to that, so I advised him to consider his wording at the next house by saying something to the effect of: "Hello, my name is _______ and I am doing a survey on parenting for my college course. Would you be willing to answer some questions?" (At which point, he could ask if the person at the door is a parent.) Honestly, I can always tell who the parents are because the kids are usually visible or at least audible in the background when they answer the door. My quiet house, devoid of toys lying everywhere, should have been a dead giveaway!
The second weirdest was a telemarketer trying to sell cable TV to me. I said "I don't want cable TV, thank you." He asked, "Well, don't you have kids who watch TV?" I said "No, I didn't want them either!" He hung up, having no idea how to respond to that one!
Unfortunately, we live in a child-centric society. (At least in North America we do - I can't speak for other continents.) Everything seems to be about children, from movies to advertising and everything in between. Ads for insurance companies on the radio feature kids telling adults who to go to for insurance. (Seriously!) Parents are very involved in their children's lives, which is where the term "helicopter parents" comes from. You rarely see kids taking initiative to do things without their parents around; even going door to door to ask other kids in the neighbourhood to come out and play. A kid did that in my neighbourhood last year and my 30 year old neighbour who has 3 kids, freaked right out. Apparently kids have to be taken to play-dates by their parents, not find their own friends. I thought it showed some sort of initiative or leadership skill, but she just looked at me like I was on crack. I never see my neighbour's kids outside. She has them enrolled in 6 out-of-school activities and their socializing comes from play dates or organized sports. I kind of fear for their future because they will have no idea how to do anything on their own.
Everyone around drives their kids to and from school, rain or shine, even if they live a block away from the school. The schools in my city have created two-lane drop-off areas for the 80+ minivans that are parked out there every morning and every afternoon. When I was a kid, those who had to be walked to the bus stop or school by their parents got laughed at for being "mamma's boys". The only time we got driven to school was if the temperature was below -25 degrees Celcius or there was a ton of snow. How times have changed.
Schools are not allowed to give failing grades where I live lest that hurts the child's feelings and parents are even accompanying kids to their job and college interviews.
Things will change as each generation grows up, but it's funny how people still get judged based on if they have kids or not. I'm proud of my choice to be child-less and I don't let anyone make me feel bad about it. If you are happy with your choice then be happy. Not everyone has to be a parent and that's okay.
Anyway, I'd better get off this soapbox now...