My Childfree Post Hits a Nerve

Stephen King once said that if you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society will be numbered.

And I’m finding his point reassuring as I watch my 5 Points I Want the Childfree to Consider article get shredded across the childfree subreddit community.

I’ve never spent much time on Reddit, to be honest. It’s the virtual Mos Eisley Cantina: a wretched hive of scum and villainy where hacked-off limbs barely rate second glances, a den of anonymous hostility and unbridled trolling…

cantina
“We don’t serve their kind here.”

Still, you can’t help being curious when people are talking about you. It’s gratifying to have written anything interesting enough to warrant its own discussion threads, even if those threads mostly consist of people wanting to kill it with fire.

You need thick skin to speak your truth. But in my case, constantly wondering whether my critics even read the article softened the blow. Defeating my logic might’ve been devastating, yet my critics seemed far more interested in contradicting points I never actually made.

The two most common complaints were that I:

  1. Think everyone should have children because anyone who doesn’t is a bad person, and
  2. Didn’t convince them that parenting is wonderful enough to make them change their minds.

It’s actually quite baffling, since I directly said that choosing not to have children is a  reasonable, respectable choice that society should accept.

And if I’d wanted to talk people into the glories of parenting, I definitely wouldn’t have used public tantrums and the lack of American leave benefits as major selling points…

I’ve always tried to be very honest in my blog, never pretending that every aspect of raising kids is wonderful or that it doesn’t sometimes challenge you to the very limits of your emotional and physical well-being. Yet despite the entire nature of my article being the need for greater empathy on both sides, I’m just left feeling as though I’d sold out the whole parenting experience.

Apparently unable to grasp the idea of neither side being “wrong,” these critical subreddit members seemed more interested in either having their own choices validated or being convinced to change their minds.

And since they don’t understand why anyone would want children, they can’t be talked into reconciliation.

So maybe a different approach would help. In my next article, I’ll try explaining why so many of us believe parenting is worth the hardships.

 

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20 thoughts on “My Childfree Post Hits a Nerve”

  1. Haters gonna hate. People seem to really have issues when someone has an opinion other than their own. But that’s not your problem, it’s theirs. Keep writing. I may not always agree but I will always respect. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Right? I figure we’ve all had unique experiences that shape our perspectives, which may change as time wears on. I’m surprised by how intolerant people can be of different opinions.

      I prefer to be respectful too. Even when arguing a point, I remain civil until someone else throws the first punch, lol. Of course, the internet is brutal. The comments section under any news article should tell us that. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The childfree community on Reddit can be pretty brutal. My post about possibly not wanting children myself is by far the most-viewed of all my posts, and a majority of the readers came from Reddit, so I’m glad for that – but I also know what you’re talking about. I’m sorry people are being so harsh about it! Even if you know 100% that you expressed your truth, it still annoys when people take it the wrong way, and it hurts when they get personal.

    For the record, I read your post and thought you made some good points 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you… it’s reassuring that some of my points made sense to you, even if you don’t want kids personally.

      I get that. As much as I adore my children, I can absolutely understand why someone wouldn’t want to have them. It’s a lifetime commitment and they drive you crazy sometimes. People shouldn’t be pressured into it if it isn’t something they want themselves.

      But as a parent, I was hoping to better explain where we’re sometimes coming from–why we go overboard posting pictures, how tough it can be to navigate simultaneous demands to make our children behave while never making them feel bad… I’m cool with people not wanting kids but hope they’e also willing to respect my choice.

      Heh, I wasn’t familiar with the childfree reddit community until they collectively told me to F off and die. 😉

      Still, it brought in a ton of views. It’s interesting that your post about not wanting children was by far the most viewed. Apparently, it’s a very controversial topic that people care a LOT about.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can’t speak for others of course, but I think your post really did a good job of explaining where y’all are coming from! I don’t personally get annoyed by lots of kid photos on social media. Annoyed isn’t the right word. It’s more that…at times, when I find myself leaning a bit more toward the idea of being married and having kids, seeing all of those sweet baby photos doesn’t exactly make me feel good. It’s like when you’re struggling financially and people are posting pics of their new homes and fancy cars — it’s not that you hate cars, or are offended by big homes. It’s just a reminder of what you don’t have right now – even if you’re not positive you want it in the first place.

        Hopefully that makes sense…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope it is worth the hardships. Right now for me parenting sucks and should be outlawed lol.
    Perhaps you should go into Reddit with your lightsaber and cut off a few limbs 😝

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It struck a nerve with one of my followers when I shared it, thinking it was condescending. I didn’t think so, maybe my intro was a bit. I don’t know. I do know it seems to be an issue certain people or very defensive about. Like their past experiences about not having kids already has them on high alert, and they have their response script in hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I noticed that and debated about whether or not to respond. Ultimately, I decided not to since she is also follows (followed? lol) my blog. I figured she would’ve commented directly on my post if she was looking to open a discussion.

      It’s probably tough to escape sounding condescending, given that my basic premise was that people who have children are, by definition, working off more information than those who don’t.

      That’s hard to get around–actually trying something is never the same as imagining it. Of course, I was never trying to talk people into having kids or condemn those who don’t, but it seems to have been read that way by some.

      Ah well… maybe there was a better approach, or maybe anything controversial is bound to make enemies. It’s all good practice, I guess 🙂

      Like

  5. I’m 34 and have had several uterus mutinies that almost resulted in us making preparations to get pregnant. When the hormonal insanity dies down, I realize I have a chronically ill spouse, work full time, and that I don’t have a life set up so that I could care for a kid how I would require myself to. But also, man, parenting is so bloody hard! I’m in my thirties as are the majority of my closest friends. They ALL have kids. Kids that I really adore for the most part at that. I talk to them and facetime one of them almost every single day. I see your insanity. I feel that. The struggle is REAL.

    That being said, I found your article insightful and enjoyable to read and I am very ashamed of my childfree peers. Please note the ratio of over opinionated people to the incidence of childfree people who are jerks though. There is an astounding correlation. As I put in a post I wrote recently, there are opposite extremes in every group. There are parents who are amazing people and parents who probably should have been sterilized at birth because they are horrible parents… but they were horrible people first. There are a high number of those same horrible people that have chosen to be childfree and loudly voice their opinions and utter loathing of children. If I hear one more “childfree” person say the word “breeder” I might go full on postal.

    The real, angry, screaming divisions here are between the horrible people on one side and the horrible people on the other side. Let them fight each other. We’ll have the good sense to go for coffee, enjoy doing our best for the greater good of humanity, and leave ourselves out of their bickering.

    Also, I am beginning to feel so incensed by this term “childfree” and the stigma attached to it because of these overly opinionated people who hate children and have become unreasonable to the point of wishing to live in a world without the burden of dealing with children. I am not one of these. If labels simply must be applied, I ask for something else to separate me from them. They are giving people like me and my husband a bad name.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your perspective! I can absolutely identify with feeling “on the fence” about motherhood because I wasn’t sure about it for a long time. If things had gone differently, I’d be part of the childfree set myself–and I definitely remember being frustrated by so many expectations and judgements about women who didn’t have kids.

      You’re right, of course, that many people without kids aren’t hostile (just as there are bad and good parents). I think the most vocal extremists are just louder and it skews our perception… just as we’re more likely to hear dramatic stories about terrible parenting than the more common but boring scenario of parents struggling to do the best they can. And on the other hand, parenting is really tough and not everyone needs to, wants to, or is in a good position to be parents and that’s okay–I wish some judge parents were more understanding about the choice to forgo kids.

      I think some people feel the need to justify their own choices rather than live and let live. It’s a shame because we’d all be much happier if we could just empathize and get along. I LOVE your idea of going for coffee, doing the best we can to make a better world and letting the haters fight it out with each other.

      So I’m going to give you a virtual high-five over a virtual latte and hope parents and the childfree can find more common ground in the future ☕️☕️ 🙂

      Like

  6. Loving you writting. Motherhood is the hardest job EVER!!! I have just started writing about my experiences so please feel free to come check it out 🙂 look forward to more posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I agree… motherhood is so much tougher than I ever expected, yet still maybe the greatest experience I’ve had. I try to see the humor in it and write about it honestly.

      Congrats on starting to write about it and I will come check you out. 🙂

      Like

  7. My wife and I decided not to have children long ago…and long ago we also decided, a) raising a child may be the hardest job in the universe and, b) who are we to give any advice or provide commentary on how someone should do what may be the hardest job in the universe? I read your initial post that started the “feedback” and found it to be fair, well-balanced and well-written. I reflected on our decision and ultimately assured myself for us it was the correct path. I don’t know if any topic is immune from toxic responses anymore. Sad. Debating differences in opinion is often what helps us understand each other so, so much better. Again Erin, well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot to me, especially coming from someone who opted not to have children.

      I wanted to share some of the insights I had after having kids myself. It’s tough to do that without sounding condescending, but I think it’s impossible to know what *anything* is truly like when you haven’t done it–be it getting married or having a specific job or being a parent or what have you.

      I never intended it as an attack on not having children (though many took it that way)–more an explanation of what parents are dealing with and why we make some of the choices we do. Or to let people know that while people are judged for not having kids (by judgmental people), you’re also judged once you have them. It never ends!

      I agree with you about it being tough to have a rational, honest conversation though. I would’ve loved to have heard a child free advocate share their own point of view and had a great discussion about it. Instead, people either supported it or lashed out about how vile children are… not the desired reaction, of course.

      And I know that *most* child free people aren’t like that, and that completely unreasonable parents exist, but maybe the internet brings out extremists. Or we’re getting more extreme. Hmm…

      Liked by 1 person

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