COVID & Childfree

COVID & Childfree Does Not Mean Stress-Free

Guest Post by Brit McGinnis

“There will be a baby boom after coronavirus, and they will all be first children.”

This quote has been circulating the Internet since mid-March, and unfortunately the source has been lost in the ether. But parents and non-parents alike have echoed this sentiment: quarantine with children in the mix is a friggin’ nightmare.

In a weird turn of events, the widespread quarantine against COVID-19 infection has inspired parents to openly voice their frustration about suddenly having to care for their children without the help of teachers, coaches, and extended family. All of a sudden, parents became solely responsible for their children’s’ schooling, entertainment, discipline, and psychological nurturing.

I haven’t seen this kind of desperation in popular discourse in a very long time. Parents are saying they didn’t sign up for this. Parenting 24/7 style “isn’t human.” The farthest thing from a vacation, “Mommy juice” jokes are flowing.

While I’m all for honesty about parenting, I don’t agree with an edge to this sentiment: People who don’t have kids must have it soooooo easy right now. They don’t have to take care of babies and children or deal with teenagers. They have substantially more control over their surroundings. Quarantine must feel like an actual vacation for childfree people.

And you know what? Sometimes it does. It feels nice to have quiet in my house when I really need it to calm down from my existential dread about a global pandemic. But that doesn’t mean I’m enjoying myself during this crisis when forced to stay at home.

Not having children doesn’t mean I feel in complete control of my life right now. I’m on furlough from the first “real” job I’ve had in seven years, even though three days before I was set on furlough I was informed that I was an essential worker in my company. The already notoriously slow unemployment insurance benefits system in my state (Oregon) now faces a flood of applicants. My best case scenario: I hope to resume quasi-normal work at the end of June this year.

Childfree folks and parents share worrisome work realities. Those of us lucky enough to have jobs are working hard and praying that the jobs stay. Most of us are caring for someone, be they children in the here and now or parents far away. Some people without kids are managers working to keep their companies moving (or to bring back people who have been let go, a mental burden I personally can’t fathom). All of us are worried about our parents, loved ones, and people in general who don’t seem to care about the quarantine. Whether or not a person has kids, they’re eagerly taking notes on the best time to visit stores to buy toilet paper.

We all feel the low, pulsing anxiety hum in our lives. We can’t ignore it, and there’s little we can do to alleviate it. All we can do is sit, wait, and try not to go insane. That’s the heart of quarantine stress: A feeling like the world is changing rapidly and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. None of us are in control.

Of course I feel badly for the parents quarantined with their kids. I cannot imagine that because I decided that I didn’t want that possibility for my future. But that’s as far as it goes for me. You won’t see me in the smug corners of the childfree internet that are jeering at the parents finally “facing the consequences” of having kids or whatever. We all feel frustrated. We all have our self-medicating go-to’s (in my case Special Cupcakes). Parents and not, let’s joke about this together. Rather than from two separate camps, let’s focus on getting through this together.

**************************

Covid & Childfree

Brit McGinnis is an author and editor from Portland, OR. She writes on Medium, The Salve, and covers weird news for The Stacker. She was named a Hero of Haddonfield by the filmmakers behind Tales of Halloween in 2014.

childfree trending

Looking Back: 2019 Childfree Trending

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to talk 2019 childfree trending!

I’ve researched and tracked the childfree choice and those who make it for 20 years now, and can say that in the past year, online and everywhere the childfree community has continued to grow. This choice continues to be talked about more than ever before. Childfree trends we’ve seen this year include:

Continue reading “Looking Back: 2019 Childfree Trending”
climate change

Not Having Children Because of Climate Change

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent statement about young people having a “legitimate question – is it OK to still have children” in a world amidst climate change sure created a flurry of commentary and articles. But when the topic made USA Today (print and e-newspaper), I thought now that’s mainstream traction.

Continue reading “Not Having Children Because of Climate Change”
maternal

https://www.goodfreephotos.com

Yes, the Childfree Can Be Maternal

I love how in recent years as Mother’s Day approaches we’ve been seeing more writings that question the maternal instinct. As one example, take the National Geographic article that just came out titled, “Is Maternal Instinct Only for Moms? Here’s the Science,” by Sarah Gibbens. I’d like to discuss a couple of related questions but without an assumption of instinct. Why? Continue reading “Yes, the Childfree Can Be Maternal”

childfree sterilization

On Childfree Sterilization: Shifting from Paternalism to Reproductive Autonomy

I sure like seeing more pieces out there these days on childfree sterilization in popular women’s publications. A recent piece in SELF on this topic deserves mention. After Deputy Editor Nina Bahadur relays a few women’s frustrating experiences and describes what male and female sterilization procedures involve, she gets into the ethical issues that need more talking about. Continue reading “On Childfree Sterilization: Shifting from Paternalism to Reproductive Autonomy”

childfree decision

At the Heart of the Childfree Decision

With the rise in articles and posts about being childfree these days, I especially appreciate those that give good summaries of the childfree decision. Take the recent post, “Why Many Millennials Have Decided To Be Childfree (And That’s Okay)” by Liz Greene on peacefuldumpling.com. Continue reading “At the Heart of the Childfree Decision”

childfree trends

Looking Back: 2017 Childfree Trending Part II

Now for Part II of childfree trends we have seen this past year. In addition to muddied use of “Childfree,” “Child-free” “Child free “and “Childless” I wrote about in Part I, five more childfree trends are worth noting: Continue reading “Looking Back: 2017 Childfree Trending Part II”

childfree trends

Looking Back: 2017 Childfree Trending Part I

At the beginning of 2016, I took stock of 40+ years of talking about the childfree choice. At the end of 2016, I looked back and discussed positive childfree trends that year. It’s time for childfree trending 2017…this year I’ll do childfree trending in two parts. Here’s Part I: Continue reading “Looking Back: 2017 Childfree Trending Part I”

childfree movement

Moving Toward a True Childfree Movement

If you follow childfree news, you probably know that not only did filmmakers Maxine Trump and Therese Shechter hit their Kickstarter goals to finish their films about the childfree choice, they surpassed them with Stretch goals.  This is exciting news in a number of respects.  The biggest? I say it’s a sign of a swell toward a true childfree movement. Continue reading “Moving Toward a True Childfree Movement”