First: I know. Parents are also guilty of being mean to the child-free, calling us “selfish” and whatnot. So, I can see responding to a particular person who makes a particularly offensive remark. But why throw unbidden offensive remarks out into the world, ourselves?
Some time ago, I wrote about the “childfree vs. ‘breeder’ war,” unsure why there was so much animosity between parents and people who would prefer not to be parents.
I didn’t think one little post from an unknown like me would have any effect or inspire any change or understanding – what can one person do, after all, especially in a world that seems to thrive on drama and conflict? – but it did seem, at least, like I was seeing less of the warring online over the last few months.
The reason for that, I think, was simply that I was spending less time in online childfree hangouts. When you’re not there, you don’t see it. (Ah, blissful ignorance!)
This morning, I saw that a seemingly well-meaning father of a toddler had stopped in to a childfree forum to say, “Hey! I’m a dad. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.”
Cue the “What the f*** is a DAD doing in here?” replies. Except, I made that one up. Here are a few of the real ones:
My only question would be – why are you here? We all know parents and we can ask them questions anytime we want.
Grr. First there was a childless person on here, now an actual parent. Grr.
(don’t worry, I’ll find the ignore/foe button).
It’s time to create a super elite ChildFree forum where you have to be an actual CF person to gain admittance. I’ll help fund it if anyone is interested.
3. (This one actually went on for some time, so I only selected a snippet.)
I don’t think you should explain parenthood. We have enough information. We have been children and we are cousins, aunts and uncles. A few of us have step kids, have tried for childrenin the past and some of us take active roles within the community and we ‘get’ it. We really do. We not personally agree but we’re still people… with families and friends.
The fact that you can’t even respect our views by lurking tells me a lot about you. You’re the same pro-natalist as the rest of the entitled parents… just a far more mild mannered one. You think that at least wanting to understand make you a ‘better’ person but no matter how nice the ignorance… it’s still ignorance.
Oh look a parent who is so gracious to bless us with his time to educate us. I don’t care if your intentions are sincere, please go away.
Why? Why the automatic assumption that the father who joined the board to have a conversation – a board where there’s a lot of parent shaming, by the way – had ulterior motives? What is so unappealing about civility, kindness, and having an open mind?
Here was the father’s opening paragraph:
Greetings. I’m a 30something father of a 2-year old female toddler. A recent FB comment by a childfree friend prompted me to lurk here a bit in an attempt to gain some insight. In the interest of promoting dialogue and understanding, I figured I’d offer myself up for any reasonable, respectful questions you may have.
Well, he could immediately forget about “reasonable” and “respectful.” That much was made clear.
I’ve visited that particular forum a number of times, and there actually are a lot of questions the childfree people ask that the father could probably answer. Such as, “Why do parents think it’s okay to bring their babies to restaurants?” and “How do you maintain a relationship with a friend once s/he has a baby?” and “How do I tell my friend that I don’t want her to bring her kids when she comes over?”
I mean, how is someone who never had kids supposed to answer these questions? How could a parent’s perspective – when asked for – not be useful?
One of the comments above (in the numbered list) included the following:
I come here to read about the awesome lives CF people are leading.
It would be nice if that was how a lot of people treated childfree forums. But there sure is a lot of hatin’.
And it’s funny – while parents in parenting forums are talking about parenting and children, the childfree in childfree forums are talking about…well…parenting and children.
Isn’t that kind of funny?