It’s no news that there’s lots out there from parents judging the decision to be childfree. But here’s a piece that goes further; from the Curious Dad section of the Vancouver Sun, dad Chad Skelton discusses “Four reasons the “childless by choice’ may have chosen wrong.” Let me summarize —
In so many words, Chad thinks the childfree might have made the wrong decision because:
-We may not have discussed or thought enough about whether being childfree is a good or a bad choice. Uh yes, the childfree do. They take the decision very seriously. And good and bad choice for whom? Inherent in his comments is clearly the view that having kids is clearly the “good” choice.
-We somehow don’t get that the childfree choice is not as valid as the choice to have kids, and that the childfree decision is not in our best interest–Skelton says, “We can all agree that people have the right to make their own choices. But that doesn’t mean we have to pretend that every choice is equally valid — or that the choices people make are always in their own best interests.” Clearly according to Chad, having kids is the more “valid” choice.
-We somehow don’t get that having children is the most unique experience anyone can have. The childfree may think that they’ll miss certain experiences but get to have other great experiences instead, but those experiences will never match parenthood. We make the wrong decision because we just don’t get that parenthood is the experience in life. Really.
-We fail to fully recognize that procreating is “the entire basis for civilization” (oh so this means everyone has to do it?) and that having kids is a “more monumental, and even primal” decision than “deciding where to go on your summer vacation or what to have for dinner.” According to Chad, we make the wrong decision because we are disconnected from our primality, and only think about simple, vacuous things..ouch.
-We don’t think enough about how we might regret not having kids in the future. His anecdotal experience suggests that a person is more likely to regret not having kids. OK now I finally have to say something. Wrong. Anonymous surveys (including by Dr Phil) of thousands of people half or better say if they had parenthood to do over again they would not.
While I find Kelton’s article insulting, and want to come back with guns a blazin to make him wrong on all of these, I won’t. Why? It goes nowhere.
Instead–I continue to be struck how those who have kids just do not understand a different choice and find ways to judge the choice and make it wrong. And it goes both ways -there is plenty of bashing of parents by childfree, and even experienced as venom by some parents.
I say let’s stop the judging and try understanding instead. Like a wise blog visitor has written me, “I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the judging part of being a parent or childfree. It seems to me that when we find differences in each other instead of embracing the differences as a learning process we tear down the other person, culture, whatever without making ay attempt to look at if from another perspective.”
When it comes to the choice to become a parent or not, what would embracing the differences as a learning process look like?
Wouldn’t that be a way to connect, rather than create distance through judgment? Let’s stop the right and wrong. It gets us nowhere toward understanding and accepting each other and our different choices in life.