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No. of Recommendations: 12

At first, I almost thought the cover of the NYT magazine yesterday was a joke. But no, there was a 10,000 word article in there, describing The Backlash Against Children.

And yes, I have had these feelings too. I first started to notice that the whole concept of children was an all-exculpating one in the workplace. "There's nobody to pick up Jessica today, so I'm leaving early!" That gets you out. The rest of us were left to slog away, and even double-up on the workload.

About two years ago, I noticed that there were more and more sprogs in ever higher calibers of restaurants, running around the tables and shrieking with impunity. Grumble grumble, this dinner's ruined, you privately mutter as you fake a smile. Simultaneous to this, new tax credits appeared for you-know-whos. You think we've taken care of welfare in this country? We all but have--we've taken it away from the poor and redistributed it in a way that assures families can dress their daughters in AirBaby Nikes and other essentials.

"So, when are you going to have kids?"--for years, I have felt that question to be a virtual paraphrase of, "So tell me, what's going on in you're bedroom, and BTW what is your mate doing with her plumbing, and also, are you gay or something?" All in all, no children for long enough, and eventually you will be branded as too selfish to have children, regardless of how much time you spend bettering humanity, working with the homeless, or organizing charitable events.

The young woman who doesn't want children? Gasp. Forget her. Ostracize her. Society will punish her as best it can. If she tries to make a decision about it and get the female equivalent of a vascectomy, her doctor will invariably tell her to get psychological counselling. There was a grand horror story in the article about a woman who was referred to another doctor--who told her that he had tied one set of tubes in his life, and the woman later committed suicide.

It turns out that now those without children constitute record numbers, enough to coalesce into some kind of vague political unity beneath a few groups with founding [non]fathers and nonmothers. The new PC word is "child-free"--childless implies that there is a lack in one's life, and implies that it isn't even much of a choice. And they occasionally accuse their fertile friends of "spitting out spawn."

Perhaps eventually bars will become the only childfree zones. I knew there was more to it for me than olives and nuts.

jeanpaulsartre
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jps said:
"So, when are you going to have kids?"--for years, I have felt that question to be a virtual paraphrase of, "So tell me, what's going on in you're bedroom, and BTW what is your mate doing with her plumbing, and also, are you gay or something?" All in all, no children for long enough, and eventually you will be branded as too selfish to have children, regardless of how much time you spend bettering humanity, working with the homeless, or organizing charitable events.

This paragraph explains the single mother trend more than any other writing I've seen. Of course, men can't do it, but there are times when I've fantasized life as a single parent just to escape the way I can feel ostracized in this small conservative town. I'm sure there are other reasons, but it was an eye opener the day I had a father check me out because I was single and coaching a boys baseball team. That one experience changed my views, and I can't really tell anymore whether I am overly sensitive about this issue or whether a stigma really exists. And of course, one can't really talk about it, because nobody admits to that.

Don't even get me started on this new marriage tax credit.

Thanks jps, nice work.

Rick
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I was reading that article, thinking that for the most part the author was far more objective than most parents I've seen writing on the topic. Then I got to the end.

My answer to those who think my life intrudes on theirs is simple: Every person with children was once a person without children, so you have to take our word when we say we can't do it without help and without spilling over into your space all too regularly. The life of any given parent is more complicated, stressful and expensive than the life of that same person would be if he or she were not a parent.

A$$hole.

6
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so you have to take our word when we say we can't do it without help and without spilling over into your space all too regularly. The life of any given parent is more complicated, stressful and expensive than the life of that same person would be if he or she were not a parent.

If it is such a burden don't have one of the little snot suckers. At this point I don't want one, so why the hell would I want to put up with someone else's ankle biter? If I wanted to deal with a crumb snatcher running around making my life difficult I would have one. Until I do I will continue to torment your children until you stop inflicting them upon me.

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Six quoted:
My answer to those who think my life intrudes on theirs is simple: Every person with children was once a person without children, so you have to take our word when we say we can't do it without help and without spilling over into your space all too regularly.

I can't find a link, Six. Where did this come from?

Rick
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My answer to those who think my life intrudes on theirs is simple: Every person with children was once a person without children, so you have to take our word when we say we can't do it without help and without spilling over into your space all too regularly. The life of any given parent is more complicated, stressful and expensive than the life of that same person would be if he or she were not a parent.

--------

A$$hole.


Completely. It took 10,000 words to get to this conclusion? A woman whose told by her doctor that she should see a shrink for not wanting to have kids--that's not stressful? The workplace slack we pick up (always OT--our admin leaves about two afternoons a week, and I leave at seven, picking up the slack) while Mr. Daddy Track is out picking up Jason, who's just called on his cellular asking for a ride home from high school--that's not stressful? The conclusion was like a too-wet rag at the car-wash, sliming up an otherwise decent detailing.

jeanpaulsartre


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No. of Recommendations: 5
The life of any given parent is more complicated, stressful and expensive than the life of that same person would be if he or she were not a parent.


Just in reply to this sentence & not the article since I have not seen it, the author is pretty much on target, imo (especially the expensive part). As the father of four (three out of college & one still in school), raising children is a complicated & somewhat stressful proposition from day one. With children, as the saying goes, problems don't go away, they just change. What the author doesn't say (at least in this sentence) is that in most cases the rewards far outweigh the problems. The child's first words; first steps; first dance recital; first hit as a little leaguer; first smiley face at school; making the high school football/debate/band/cheerleading,etc squad; throwing/receiving a touchdown pass (& looking up in the stands to make sure you saw it all); earning a scholarship; getting their degree; & on & on, too many to mention. As the commercial says, these things are priceless.

Sorry if I've butted in here where I shouldn't have.

P413
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No. of Recommendations: 6
The conclusion was like a too-wet rag at the car-wash, sliming up an otherwise decent detailing.


So typical though. I've read a lot of rebuttals to Baby Boon, and almost exclusively they boil down to, "We understand that our kids are unruly brats, that you pick up our workplace slack, and that we are financially rewarded at your expense for choosing to reproduce, but once we have children we are more important than you, so just shut up and deal with it". It really comes down to the fact that people who reproduce are considered more valuable than those who don't.

6
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No. of Recommendations: 7
The solution is really quite simple. Parents simply need to teach their children to behave. Parents need to behave themselves.

As for the tax benefit argument, all I can say is democracy doesn't work. What does the minority expect?

As for the poor sot who couldn't find a child-free neighborhood, I sympathize, but ask what is the difference between children playing early in the morning, and lawn mower brigades early in the morning? It sounds like he should simply avoid suburbia--although even on my property, I can hear my neighbors' chainsaws and tractors hundreds of feet away.
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Six:
"We understand that our kids are unruly brats, that you pick up our workplace slack, and that we are financially rewarded at your expense for choosing to reproduce, but once we have children we are more important than you, so just shut up and deal with it". It really comes down to the fact that people who reproduce are considered more valuable than those who don't.

And to some extent, I support this. We need another generation. I just ask that parents be a bit more understanding and tolerant towards others. Drop the attitude. I don't deserve it.

Rick
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SQ said:
It sounds like he should simply avoid suburbia--although even on my property, I can hear my neighbors' chainsaws and tractors hundreds of feet away.

But I think you are missing a big part of this. There was a time when inner city living was for adults only. And if not there, somewhere. With changes in modern life, and the unwillingness of some parents to compromise their lifestyles because they have children, child free areas are difficult to find. The guy in the article lived on the beach, fer cryin' out loud. That's a child free zone, in the old days.

Rick
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<<The guy in the article lived on the beach, fer cryin' out
loud. That's a child free zone, in the old days.>>

Good point.

The whole article sounded like internecine boomer fighting to me--you know, the baby boom echo they created is catching up with themselves. I guess in the baby bust days when I was born, there weren't enough of us relative to the boomers to provoke this kind of reaction.

I know generalizing sucks, but it seems like boomers have always wanted their way because they are a big honkin' generation and could get it. Here's an issue where they're up against themselves, and they're going to kill each other, and I'll just hang back with my relatively well-behaved kids and laugh.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
6 quoted:
My answer to those who think my life intrudes on theirs is simple: Every person with children was once a person without children, so you have to take our word when we say we can't do it without help and without spilling over into your space all too regularly. The life of any given parent is more complicated, stressful and expensive than the life of that same person would be if he or she were not a parent.

I hereby pledge and avow that I will not be like this.

My siblings and I were raised under a very strict code of public behavior.

NO incidents were allowed. One transgression meant that mom (occassionally dad) hauled the errant rugrat to the car and took them home immediately. There was no debate. There was no pleading. The outing was OVER and that was that.

What this meant was, there were times ... at the grocery for example, the the goods were left at a counter... and later when dad came home, mom returned to the store to finalize the purchase.

At restaurants, the other parent would finish the meal with the 'good kids', and would call when ready to come home, and the sent-home-parent (again, usually mom) would drive back to get the family. Bad rugrat was left at home, in their room, with a neighbor sitting watch in the living room. (Quite frankly I don't know how I'd manage this today, where I live & with the neighbors I have. My childhood neighborhood seems a million years & miles away.)

I don't recall getting smacked or even verbally chastised when I erred in this regard. It was the silent treatment, which I think was worse than having the belt wielded across my bottom. It was quite clear that a huge disappointment was made and that better was expected of me. I don't recall my siblings ever getting smacked or verbally chastised in this regard either.... and mind you, two of my siblings are 13 & 15 years my junior, so my memory's pretty good on this topic.

DH was also raised in a strict household... afterall his dad was an Airforce Master Sargeant! (pause while audience shudders) He has reported that his family pretty much handled it the same way, though rarely did parent & child return home... they usually just hung out in the car until the kiddo calmed down/started to behave again.

DH and I have discussed the eventuality of unborn-baby-girl-child raising hell in public. Our plan is to handle it pretty much the same. Drop everything, return home, child gets major time out. It won't be easy... it will certainly be difficult.

Too often we see children running amok in public and I'll be damned if my kid(s) is(are) going to be like that.

- Tera, setting lofty goals since whenever.
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...but it seems like boomers have always wanted their way because they are a big honkin' generation and could get it. Here's an issue where they're up against themselves, and they're going to kill each other, and I'll just hang back with my relatively well-behaved kids and laugh.

I rather agree. I have also seen kids who are well behaved--all too infrequently, sadly. With these, the parents will always garner my unfettered admiration and encouragement. (And those who have read the O Report know what my favorite charity is, and it is an organization which educates large numbers of well-behaved kids). But I still don't like insouciant spawners coming up to me and asking about when our kids are coming.

When I go to 28, I sometimes drink with someone who has kids and loves them but only brings them up in the sensible contexts of the terror and wickedness they are capable of. There is no discussion on how appropriate it may be for me to have children; there is only subtle reinforcement that I should not, and I appreciate it. But then I also get a certain avuncular bartender (just attended his 1-year-olds big birthday bash this weekend, and there were at least a dozen sprogs there, including many at considerable risk in the pool, their lives dependant on the perfect functioning of cheap inflatable made in China toys), and his wife is putting the drill to Lynn. I think, spoiled or no, boomer or no, it is entirely bad form for anyone of any age to offer questions in such a way as to suggest that there is but One True Path, that what's right for spawners must certainly right for the child-free. The world will certainly not suffer for population if I choose not to spawn.

jeanpaulsartre
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I agree that a large part of the problem is that a lot of parents are raising their kids weird. Either kids are smothered or left with no boundaries, and end up not knowing what acceptable behavior is because they never have to choose for themselves or always have to. (Of course, this excludes all the MC parents here. We're perfect. It's our children who are the problem. They got all our spouses' genes.)

Also, I wonder about the schedules these kids keep. I know mine aren't old enough yet to *want* to be involved in every last thing that's available, so I may be underestimating the pressure to be involved, but it seems like even grade school kids have schedules worse than most CEOs. What ever happened to playtime? Did it go the way of the stay-at-home mom?

As for the financial aspects, I thought it was unfair before children, and I still think it's unfair. At GM, for example, if you're married with children, you get a health insurance allowance of several thousand dollars (enough to cover family coverage). If you're single, it's about 60% less. That's compensation the single person is being denied, if you ask me. Plain and simple.

I made the choice to have children. I carry costs and get benefits which a childfree person won't because of that choice. But the benefits I get should be fistfuls of half-crushed clover flowers and big sloppy kisses and sweet sweaty brows fast asleep at the end of the day, not financial incentives from business and government.

MamaMitten
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<<I think, spoiled or no, boomer or no, it is entirely
bad form for anyone of any age to offer questions in such a way as to suggest that there is
but One True Path, that what's right for spawners must certainly right for the child-free>>

Oh yeah. People are rude. Maybe they're looking for validation.
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6 wrote:

A$$hole.

Heh. I grew up with that a$$hole. Chased her younger brother around academically from grades K-12. In high school, he drove a red Volvo that was passed down to him from her and to her from her parents, who had had it forever. To this day, I think of the Belkins whenever I see a red Volvo.

Anyway, do I get some kind of Martini Club prize? This is the first ever post I've made to the Fool while on the clock.

Dave
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No. of Recommendations: 5
But I still don't like insouciant spawners coming up to me and asking about when our kids are coming.


When I was married and attending husband's firm functions, I would invariably be asked when I was going to get pregnant. I finally got fed up and asked one woman what she would say if I told her I was sterile and the whole subject of having children was painful. She replied with "I'd pray for you." Thanks.

Then father in law would ask the same question. I would always reply with 'When your daughter who's been married for 10 years gets pregnant, I will.' She finally got pregnant in year 13, and that's the year I decided to get divorced. I couldn't go through with the promise and saw no other way out.


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Drop everything, return home, child gets major time out. It won't be easy... it will certainly be difficult.

It takes an iron will. It also takes a certain amount of sacrifice. Yeah, I don't particularly like getting up and going to the grocery store early. But it is the time of day when the store is less busy, when my kids are fresh, and when the cashiers have time to dote on them and give them balloons or stickers. So that's when I do it.

Part of having well-behaved kids is doing your best to help them be well-behaved. Stacking the deck in their favor. Sometimes you can't do that, and then you hope like hell that they learned something under all those optimal situations and you fall back on the out-to-the-car routine (that's our method too) if you have to.

Mitten
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As for the poor sot who couldn't find a child-free neighborhood, I sympathize, but ask what is the difference between children playing early in the morning, and lawn mower brigades early in the morning?

And it's not that big of a deal. My neighbors on both sides have kids, one of them takes care of about 10 kids after school, and the folks across the street have their 5 or 6 grandchildren over every weekend, and it doesn't bug me except in principle.

Although, I must admit, I get a little nervous when they're jumping from the trampoline into the kiddie pool.

6
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Anyway, do I get some kind of Martini Club prize? This is the first ever post I've made to the Fool while on the clock.

Yes. You now must certainly be fully vested at that company. Congratulations!

jeanpaulsartre

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<<Perhaps eventually bars will become the only childfree zones. I knew there was more to it for me than olives and nuts.>>


I routinely ask for the "no smoking/no children" section. Some people think I am joking. The host/hostess usually does not.
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<<When I was married and attending husband's firm functions, I would invariably be asked when I was going to get pregnant. I finally got fed up and asked one woman what she would say if I told her I was sterile and the whole subject of having children was painful. She replied with "I'd pray for you." Thanks.>>


Being a particularly cruel individual, I have this overwhelming urge to mention to very pregnant women, around this time if year, that oral sex is a win, win, win, situation.
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Well said. Folks find it easier to polk their noses in everyone elses biz, but don't mess w/ theirs!!!!! So funny & so sad at once.

77
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I think, spoiled or no, boomer or no, it is entirely bad form for anyone of any age to offer questions in such a way as to suggest that there is but One True Path, that what's right for spawners must certainly right for the child-free.

You mean like I just did in an email to JJ? I meant to say, of course, is that the world is filled with more challenges about kids than in the world described in Tera's post. It's tough out there, just do the best you can.
Rick
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Being a particularly cruel individual, I have this overwhelming urge to mention to very pregnant women, around this time if year, that oral sex is a win, win, win, situation.


You think we don't know that already?

Geezeypetes, Scube! Have you no idea what preggers hormones can do to a woman??

- Tera, can't get enough.
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DH and I have discussed the eventuality of unborn-baby-girl-child raising hell in public.

Years ago I took my then 3 year old niece into a store when she was tired and cranky and really didn't want to go; once in the store while I was looking at some merchandise she dropped to the floor, clenched her little fists and in complete silence pounded the floor for a few seconds. In amazement I blurted out "What are you doing" and she softly responded "temper tantrum". Trying hard not to laugh I observed she wasn't making much noise for a temper tantrum. As she got up off the floor she informed me in a very dignified voice that it was against the law to make noise with a temper tantrum.
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No. of Recommendations: 12
At first, I almost thought the cover of Wired magazine yesterday was a joke. But no, there was a 10,000 word article in there, describing The Backlash Against Technology.

And yes, I have had these feelings too. I first started to notice that the whole concept of digital communication was an all-exculpating one in the workplace. "I'm on the phone here!" That gets you out. The liveware doofus in front of you is left to fume away, and try to avoid infringing on your bandwidth.

About two years ago, I noticed that there were more and more "devices" in ever higher calibers of restaurants, proliferating at tables as their owners (or charges?) yapped away with impunity. Grumble grumble, this dinner's ruined, you privately mutter as you fake a smile. Simultaneous to this, new tax credits appeared for you-know-whos. You think we've taken care of welfare in this country? We all but have--we've taken it away from the poor and redistributed it in a way that assures self-important ponytailed dotcom windbags don't have to figure out how to pay out-of-state sales tax the way that Spiegel could, the bricks-and-mortar saps.

"So, when are you going wireless?"--for years, I have felt that question to be a virtual paraphrase of, "So tell me, don't you do anything important, and isn't it so retro that you don't yet have a phone to go with your designer slacks, and BTW don't you know that Blackberry isn't a flavor of ice cream?" All in all, no technology for long enough, and eventually you will be branded as too stupid to deserve it, regardless of how much time you spend bettering humanity, working with the homeless, or organizing charitable events.

That old white guy who doesn't want technology? Yawn. Forget him. Mock him. Society will punish him as only it can: as a walk-on character in a Sex and the City episode. If he tries to explain how he separates work and personal life in order to make each more productive, his thirtysomething boss will invariably make a notation about inability to be a team player, and the next round of performance incentives will go to those who are with the program.

It turns out that those able to live without newly-released technology constitute record numbers, enough to coalesce into some kind of vague political unity beneath a few groups with founding [non]pagers and non palmers. The new PC word is "off the grid" -- "no-tech" implies that there is a lack in one's life, and implies that it isn't even much of a choice. And they occasionally accuse their wired friends of "being on a digital leash."

Perhaps eventually churches will become the only tech-free zones. I knew there was more to it for me than Moses tying his ass to a tree and walking two miles.

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Perhaps eventually churches will become the only tech-free zones. I knew there was more to it for me than Moses tying his ass to a tree and walking two miles.

What kind of bungi cord did he use, or was it a really flexible tree?
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