January 26, 2007

Compliments on a Childfree Choice

Several weeks ago, my husband and I went to lunch with some friends after church. This has become somewhat of a regular routine, particularly with one couple whom we have gotten close to. This particular Sunday there were 3 other families involved and we met at a Wendy's/Tim Horton's. The guys sat at one table, the ladies at another, with the kids in between. Most of the kids were school-age while the youngest sat with her dad (she was under 2 years old). When the mother of the 2 youngest kids sat down with us ladies, she looked at me and said,

"You're the smartest woman at this table." We looked at her curiously for what she meant and she responded, "For your decision not to have kids."
I was a bit surprised as it's quite unusual for a parent to make a comment like that. She didn't mean at all that she didn't love her own children. Rather she was acknowledging that having children can be difficult at times and making the choice not to have them is valid. Situations like these seem to be rare and it was encouraging to be complimented on the choice I had made.

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12 comments:

AlphaGirl said...

I've encountered that, too! I got that same compliment from a friend of mine who loves her kids to the end of the earth, but if she had it to do again, she would have not.
Great post! =)

Teri said...

Wow. I really hope most parents don't feel like that. I want to be surrounded by HAPPY people!

Okay, I have been accused of wearing rose-colored (purple?) glasses before...

AlphaGirl said...

Back in my speech-giving days, I used to quote an Ann Landers survey that stated nearly 70% of the parents who responded stated that if they had the chance to take a "do-over", they would not have had kids.

I prefer to mainline reality whenever possible. ;)

Teri said...

I'd really like to read that Ann Landers piece. I've caught wind of it in cyberspace before.

My burning question is, has anyone duplicated this test scientifically? I am certain this sold a lot of papers.

AlphaGirl said...

It was done quite awhile back. The Chicago Tribune(Ann Lander's home paper) should have it in it's archives.
Not sure if it was ever replicated scientifically; it was one at a time when parental regrets were a mostly taboo topic. The respondents to the Ann Landers survey were anonymous to prevent backlash toward the regretful 'rents.

Elise said...

Here it is, from the Happily Childfree site:

http://www.happilychildfree.com/ann.htm

James said...

that's cool

Elise said...

I hope that eventually, we get past being viewed either with condescension, derision or pity (which seems to be more often the case) or --- as in the post --- with envy.

If the only people having kids were those who were truly cut out for it *and* wanted it, all of the squirrely stuff parents throw at us would just go away.

Teri said...

Elise, I really think you have nailed it on the head.

Teri said...

Oh and, thanks for that link! I wish I knew how to do a live link in a comment, but alas...it eludes me.

AlphaGirl said...

I've noticed that the more secure a parent is with their decision, they least likely they are to snark on my childfree lifestyle. It's the more ambivelent parents that are defensive and questioning.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of ambivelent parents.

Maureen said...

Put me down as a parent who would definitely do it all over again, but who still thinks you're very smart to have made the decision that you think is right for your own lives.