Like every movement, there are some objectives we would like to accomplish eventually. Most of which the things we want are not that unreasonable and would benefit all of society, not just ourselves. Here are the main goals:
Because we don’t want children ever, we need to ensure our reproductive freedom. We want to make sure that we are allowed access to birth control, sterilization, Plan B and abortion.
While we still have the right to sterilization procedures, getting them is another story altogether! Many doctors do not want to sterilize people without children and have even been known to say they think sterilization is immoral! We must fight for the freedom to be sterilized if we so choose for ANY reason. I’m told that Iceland has a law that says doctors can not refuse to sterilize someone, and I hope some day we’ll have similar laws passed in every other country.
We still have the right to birth control, but we must continue to fight to keep it legal, to get it covered by insurance companies, and to force pharmacists to fill our prescriptions. Many insurance companies gender discriminate by giving Viagra to men, but refuse to cover women’s birth control (even though birth control is much cheaper than pregnancy costs). We must fight to stop this gender discrimination.
Plan B is finally legal, but good luck finding some doctor or pharmacist to fill it! We must keep fighting to force doctors and pharmacists to stop imposing their religious views on us. Hopefully some day we will be able to pass a law that says any pharmacist who claims his job violates his morals will be kicked out of the profession so he can go teach Sunday school (since that won’t violate his “morals” such as they are).
It would be great if no woman ever needed an abortion because she has access to reliable birth control (two forms is best!) and Plan B. I have no moral or religious problems with abortion — I just think it’s such an inconvenient (on many levels) experience and I’d rather no woman ever have to go through all that. But because it’s not always possible for women to avoid it, we must fight to keep abortion legal. No woman should have to have a baby she doesn’t want, and no child should be born to a mother who doesn’t want him.
All too often I hear stories of Childfree people who are treated unfairly in the workplace. Stories of having to work holidays so people with kids can have those days off, or having to work late to work for a co-worker who left early (again) to pick the kids up from school or go to a soccer game. While most Childfree wouldn’t mind a quid pro quo relationship (you work late for me today, and I’ll do it for you tomorrow, all too often, parents in the work place aren’t reciprocating, and leaving the Childfree feeling resentful and abused. Worse, many Human Resources departments (run by people with kids) don’t take Childfree concerns seriously and just tell them to “get over it” and “be a team player”.
All that most Childfree people would like is equality. We don’t mind if Suzie Q takes six weeks off for maternity leave — what we mind is when you stick us with her work for six weeks but don’t pay us extra for it. It wouldn’t be so bad if, when Suzie Q got back, you gave us six weeks off while she did our work for us… but that never happens.
We often talk about how nice it would be if a company offered a “menu” of benefits up to a certain dollar amount. Parents might choose things like extra sick days and adding family members to their health insurance, while Childfree might choose things like added vacation time, a gym membership and a college class. In this way things would be more fair and everyone is getting and equal amount of pay and benefits — everyone just gets to pick what means the most to them.
It seems these days that the government or businesses want us to pay more for services to help subsidize freebies and discounts for families or to punish us for not having kids. As an example, one recent proposed health plan would like to force childless people to pay the most for coverage so that people with kids could get their coverage subsidized. That makes no logical sense, other than to pander to people with kids and “punish” us for having different life goals. If I’m not running up giant obstetrics bills every other year, why should I be the one being penalized?!
We’re also being told now that while we are expected to pay taxes that will fund things like public parks, that we will not be allowed in the parks, because if we don’t have a child with us, it must mean we are child molesters. This is clear cut discrimination and is something we need to fight. Either we should be allowed to use parks, or we should not have to fund them.
Also these days you can’t even visit schools anymore without a child. I went to a school once to drop off boxtops for education once and I was quizzed on what my kids’ name and classroom was — and when I said I didn’t have a child, the woman started looking at me suspiciously and didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was contemplating calling security. I wasn’t even trying to wander the halls looking for a kid to abduct — I went straight to the gal at the office there and offered her the boxtops. So much for trying to do something nice for the school! And let this be a warning to any of the rest of you who might even THINK of collecting boxtops for a school if you don’t have a child who attends there!
Most people with kids see nothing wrong with that kind of behavior (despite the fact that most child molesters have children of their own), yet if I suggest ONE Childfree restaurant, people with kids scream DISCRIMINATION at the top of their lungs, and then support policies that discriminate directly against us. Oh, so I’m supposed to pay for your parks and schools while you discriminate against me, but if I want a private business (that I don’t ask YOU to pay for) that doesn’t allow children in, I’M the bad guy? Give me a break.
Generally, we just want equal protection under the law. We don’t want to be discriminated against. We don’t want to be forced to pay more for services because people with kids are selfish and want to pay less. We don’t want to be told we have to pay for things like parks and schools if we’re going to be accused of being child molesters for being near them.
All too often, Childfree people are treated like nobodies in society. We just don’t count. Our life events are belittled, our time is not valued, and no one thinks we should need to celebrate holidays. People rudely pry into our personal lives by trying to make us justify why we don’t have kids. Sometimes we deal with constant harassment with people always demanding to know if we have changed our minds yet, or suggesting we are pregnant every time we are tired or not feeling well. Sometimes it’s worse; resentful people have run around telling people, “Oh, she’s just a child hater! Don’t talk to her!” even if the person in question doesn’t actually hate children.
It’s not like parents have to deal with the same scenarios. No one says to a parent, “Oh, you had a baby? That’s no big deal. EVERYONE does that.” People don’t act like parents don’t need to celebrate Christmas, people don’t demand that parents justify their choice to have kids, or suggest they are immature for having kids, or tease them about wanting to give their kids up. No one ostracizes a parent for liking children.
I would definitely like to live in a world where no more women are hounded into having babies they don’t want, just to fit in, and no more babies are born to mothers who don’t want them. When I was young and in my 20s, older women constantly told me, “We ALL went through the phase of not wanting kids, and we all ended up wanting kids. You will, too! Besides, no man will ever want you if you don’t want babies!” Since I’d never met anyone who voluntarily didn’t have kids I figured they were right. I almost fell for it. So I married, fully believing I’d wake up one day and want kids. Luckily for me I a) didn’t just dive into having kids, assuming I’d fall in love with the idea of being a mother once the kid showed up and b) had a husband who didn’t have his heart set on a bunch of rugrats. I was one of the lucky ones. Other women in my situation probably ended up divorced when their husband went in search of a woman to give them babies, and their husbands ended up angry for being misled by a woman who really never wanted children.
And why is it that so many childed people belittle so many events in our lives? Examples:
How incredibly rude and insulting! Many parents seem to think the only people who have any emotions or feelings are the ones who have given birth. Meanwhile, way too many women want us to take their miscarriage “tragedies” seriously, but then don’t want to take our pain seriously. It hurts and it’s completely unrealistic.
Many times Childfree folks might like to have a no-kids parties, such as weddings or Halloween parties or maybe just a girls’ night out (without the kids). But often, when we suggest something like this, we’re treated with contempt, as if we are asking our friends to leave their children home alone to die. We just can’t figure out what’s wrong with getting the other spouse, family members, a friend or even a (gasp) babysitter to watch the kids once in a while. People in previous generations managed to figure that out. We also wonder why, if someone feels the children will die without them there to hold the kids’ hands, they can’t just politely decline the invitation instead of creating all the drama. If I’m throwing the party, why can’t I have the party the way I like? I don’t tell childed people how to throw theirparties, so why should they tell me how to throw mine?
Generally, we’d just like people to just accept that we’ve made a different life choice and be okay with that. We’d like our peers to resist the temptation to try and convent us, ask the prying questions, belittle our choice, exaggerate about us, to please respect our life events as being just as important as theirs and to politely decline our parties if they can’t afford time away from their kids. I can’t see why that would be too much to ask.
At the risk of sounding like I’m 100 years old, society has really been going down hill! I’m just amazed at how rude everyone has gotten, and how few people take responsibility for their actions. Call me crazy, but I think we could and should be better than this.
First of all, we all have to start expecting more from our citizens. Why do we just accept it when people are rude? It’s bad enough when people are generally rude, but then we have childed people who add extra rudeness on top of that. No matter how crowded a place is, they bring in these huge strollers, because they feel entitled to take up extra space in an already crowded area, and then on top of that, they ram into everyone who gets in their way. They bring their tired kids into stores and let them scream and scream, driving everyone in the store crazy. They let their kids run around the store with mini-shopping carts, ramming into people and blocking aisles. And we just put up with it all. Why? Is it that most people WANT a rude society? Previous generations were able to control their urges to be so rude. What was their secret?
But more importantly, society needs to expect more from it’s citizens, especiallyit’s parents who are role models to the next generation. Why don’t we?
Many times We’re also told that “parenting is the most important job in the world!” If this is so true, why don’t we demand that parents do their very important job correctly to ensure their children will be future, productive, responsible citizens? It’s ridiculous to claim it’s an important job and yet not have any expectations that it be done well!
I’m not suggesting rigid rules or laws that all parents must follow, but all too often we see terrible examples of parenting, and yet we all tolerate it. I don’t understand. It’s SUCH an important job, but no one gives a crap how it’s done?
People are so quick to burst a blood vessel if they even *think* a parent spanked their child, but no one bats an eye to the abuses above. If we really want the future generations to be productive citizens, shouldn’t we have just a few expectations on parents to help those kids become productive citizens? We need to hold parents accountable when they are not doing their jobs as parents properly, rather than the current system of allowing them to do a crappy job while we all stand back and say nothing. I’m not saying all parents are doing a crappy job, but look around you — a lot of them are. If we allow the parents to be irresponsible, who will teach responsibility to their children?
And why is it that if a parent leaves a child to die in a hot car, charges are not filed, but if the baby sitter did it, then it’s suddenly a crime? We should expect morefrom the parent! I’ve seen similar exceptions made for parents if the child wanders off, but rarely is a babysitter allowed to just let a child wander off with no consequences. Why do we expect babysitters to care more about the kids well-being than we do the parents? Doesn’t that seem really backwards? Or is this just proof that parents really don’t like their kids any more than anyone else does, and the whole “it’s different when it’s your own” propaganda is a lie?
We all get stuck paying to foam pad the world, but because no one requires parents to do their job, we’re wasting our money! We all pay more for movies so they can go through the ratings process, yet we let people bring kids to R rated movies. Wait… why bother rating movies if the ratings are not enforced? We all pay more money so that TV-shows can be rated, TVs come with V-chips, cable boxes come with parental controls, and TiVos come with “KidZone”. Yet, most parents don’t even bother to pay attention to the ratings or use any of the parental controls! And then they bitch that the TV industry isn’t doing enough to protect the children! Ridiculous!! Ultimately, we pay even more so that all the TV shows have to be run by the censors to make sure NONE of us are allowed to see anything inappropriate for kids. I’m over 18 — why does everything *I* see have to be censored? Why not require people with kids to use these devices? As an example, if I call up the cable (or satellite) company, they ask how many kids under (what, 13? 15?), and if there are any kids under that age, the family gets a cable box with parental controls already enabled. The rest of us can have a box without the parental controls. That wouldn’t hurt anyone, and then maybe cable TV can go back to being cable TV — not all censored and white-washed for kids!
Why doesn’t society expect, even demand, that parents set good examples for their children and teach them wrong from right? All too often we see parents trying to help their kids get away with things, and no one says anything, less we make parents feel guilty. Just look at all the times parents yell at schools for failing or disciplining their child? How many times have you heard stories where some kid did something destructive and the parent tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal and the kid was “only a child” so they wouldn’t have to take responsibility for it? Nearly every time you hear a news story about a kid who broke a law (usually killing someone) and the parents say, “But he is such a good kid!” And we let them get away with that!
I’m often told that I have to pay school taxes because future educated, productive citizens are good for all of society, and I’d agree. But why isn’t anyone (not even the parents) expecting kids to learn even the basics of grammar and spelling? Okay, maybe not all jobs require math, and not all jobs require science, or history, but all jobs require communication skills. So all students should be learning reading, writing, spelling and grammar. Blame the crappy school systems all you like, but the parents can’t help them learn their own language? And if parents taught their children to value education (and specifically communication skills), the kids would want to learn at least their own language. Today’s kids are proudto be ignorant — and no one seems to care. So… I’m paying school taxes for… what, exactly? I’m certainly not getting those future educated, productive citizens I was promised. Just check out the online teen hangouts like livejournal or myspace to get an idea of just how ignorant today’s kids are.
So here I am paying money for education, but then if I want a say in how the school is run (since I help pay for it), I’m usually told to stay out of it. And why is it that we have to pay as much for schools as a family with four kids in the system? I’m supposed to pay because while I get no direct benefit, I’ll supposedly get a future benefit when there are more productive, educated citizens. But the family with four kids at the school is getting both a direct and a long-term benefit from it, and yet I pay as much as they do (for the sake of argument, our property values are the same). It would be great if there was some kind of sliding scale for school taxes. I can understand the benefit of basing it on the property value (lest someone buy up a huge chunk of land and only be charged taxes for one property) but why not also add an equation that says zero to one kids in the local district pay X amount, people with two kids in the local district pay a higher rate, and goes up from there? It seems only fair. Maybe if parents were paying for their kids to be educated, they’d be more interested in making sure their kids actually learned something. At the very least, communication skills would be nice.