Monthly Archives: February 2013

Thank god I’m childfree so I don’t have to care about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book

"Lean In" book coverI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: One of the many joys of childfree living is getting to sit out the Mommy Wars.

The latest reminder is a front-page article in The New York Times about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s forthcoming book, Lean In, which calls on women to go-go-go and push to the top of their career fields, having kids along the way but not letting those kids get in the way. This article is just the first shot in what’s sure to be a relentless media barrage about the book, its author, her supporters, and her detractors.

This follows last year’s kerfuffle over Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer’s super-short maternity leave, and Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” The year before that we had the Tiger Mother. The roster of skirmishes stretches back decades.

Over the coming weeks, instead of being irritated every time I see yet another volley in the Sandberg conflict, I’ll take the opportunity to remind myself how happy I am that I just don’t have to care.

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The mainstream media just can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to have kids

woman with question marks

(Photo: Shutterstock)

After publishing a long article suggesting that childfree people are destroying America as we know it, Newsweek is now asking childfree people to explain themselves. Share your story, they implore. Subtext: What is this bizarre subclass of people thinking? How might they justify this totally unnatural decision?

Slate did this same thing last year, asking childfree women to “explain themselves.” So did Huffington Post.

It’s nice that childfree people are being invited to express their views publicly, but I wish we could stop being seen as some exotic tribe in need of anthropological examination. After all, nearly 20 percent of American women end up not having kids, and a lot of American men too. We’re really not that rare and peculiar.

Newsweek bashes the GINK movement

newsweek cover with babyShould I be perturbed or pleased that this Newsweek article calls me out by name as one of the misguided, selfish people destroying America by not having babies?

“More and more Americans are childless by choice. But what makes sense for the individual may spell disaster for the country as a whole.” So argue Joel Kotkin and Harry Siegel, ignoring all of the obvious environmental (and other) benefits that could come from a population that’s growing less quickly or even stabilizing. Oh, and they also ignore the fact that the U.S. population isn’t stabilizing; au contraire, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that our current population of 315 million will balloon to 400 million by 2051.

Nonetheless, I and fellow greens who cite potential environmental upsides to lower fertility come in for criticism, along with other cultural degenerates:

[T]he childless and even the partnerless life has gained something of a cultural cachet, with some suggesting they represent not just a legitimate choice but a superior one. It’s a burgeoning movement that’s joined cultural tastemakers, academics, neo-Malthusians, greens, feminists, Democratic politicians, urban planners, and big developers. …

[U]rbanists like Peter Calthorpe … link their density agenda with environmentalism; he’s deemed dense urbanism “a climate-change antibiotic.” Decades after dire predictions of mass starvation and rising population growth lost credibility, the environmental mantra against children remains reflexive. Now greens are pushing for fewer high-income children, since they generate more carbon than offspring in poorer countries. Jonathon Porritt, an adviser to Prince Charles, has called for Britain to halve its population, arguing that having even two children is “irresponsible.” The influential Center for Biological Diversity has called for planetary age standards for getting married or having children, while Lisa Hymas, senior editor at Grist, has signed up for what she calls a “fledgling child-free movement” to stand up against the “pro-natal bias that runs deep.” Her self-designation: “GINK, green inclinations, no kids.”

Stay tuned for a rebuttal …

Anonymous confession from a childfree woman: ‘I find your child tedious’

Thumbs up for this short post by “Anonymous” on the Guardian website, expressing something many of us childfree people feel:

I don’t dislike your daughter — like most well-behaved children, she can be charming. But to me she is a stranger whose language I cannot speak.

I care about you and your life, and I’m delighted you’re so happy being a mum, but there’s something I am never allowed to say: I find your child tedious. …

Read the whole thing.