Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Run It Up the Flagpole…Day: The Childfree Friday Link Party [My Post: Why Talk (or Write) About Being Childfree?]

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Run It Up the Flagpole… Day: The Childfree Friday Link Party

I recently discovered that January 2nd is “Run It Up the Flag Pole and See if Anyone Salutes Day”. That expression reminds me of this song which includes the line “When I feel a bit naughty, I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes, but no one ever does”. Apparently it is a day to test new ideas and concepts and see if anyone gets on board or notices. So here’s something to run up the flagpole in the hopes of seeing some salutes: The Childfree Friday Link Party.

I’m going to start this today and leave it open until next Friday (January 12th) until 23:55 EST in the hopes many of you choose to participate. My post for the linkup will be Why Talk (or Write), which you can read below the link party widget. You can share a post on any topic related to childfreedom. If you’re stuck, some options you might consider: the “bingos” or inappropriate questions you hear most often, your reasons for being childfree, a favorite childfree-related book, or a spotlight on an inspiring childfree figure.

Though this link party is intended to build support in the childfree community, you don’t have to be childfree to participate. Those who are on the fence but leaning toward childfreedom, infertile and trying to embrace not having children, or others who are supportive of childfreedom are welcome as well. The only things I ask are that your posts be childfree-related and be in a spirit of support. Those who have negative things to say about the childfree are not the intended participants or audience for this link party, so please skip it if that sounds like you.

Although I encourage you to write a new post even if you regularly blog on childfreedom, if you have a favorite old childfree post to share, you’re welcome to do so. Please make sure you’re linking to your Childfree Friday Link Party blog post itself and not to your blog’s main page so that if people see the link list after you’ve made new posts, they won’t have to hunt for the one you shared for this link party. If you like this post, plan to participate, and/or know someone who might be interested in participating, please share this post via one of the sharing options below. If you do participate please grab the badge for your blog, share your post on your favorite social media sites, and comment on the posts of at least a few other participants. If you want to host your own link party, try InLinkz.


Why Talk (or Write) About Being Childfree?  

My corgi and minpin (much bigger now) are more than enough for me to handle.

Sometimes these questions come up to the childfree: “Why do you talk (or write) about being childfree? Why do you talk about what you aren’t doing?” In a way, I understand where those questions come from. I don’t generally define myself by the fact I don’t want to be or do something in life. I just decide not to be or do that thing and instead focus on the things I am doing, and I think that’s a good approach for most things. However, I see labeling myself as “childfree,” making it clear that I don’t have nor want kids, to be different and even necessary for a few reasons:

People Ask

It doesn’t matter whether you want kids or not, people will ask about your decision. When I worked with kids. I found I got questioned even more than usual, by coworkers and parents. Some of them even asked “when” I would have them and if I’d had them “yet,” which especially irks me and points to the fact that the general assumption is that people must and will have kids at some point. While it is generally none of anyone’s business if I don’t want to talk about it, if they’re going to ask I may as well answer, and I want to do so clearly and truthfully.

It’s Relevant

Choosing not to have kids isn’t like choosing not to eat squash. The latter would have little impact on my life one way or another. Choosing not to have children, however, has an impact in much the same way choosing to have children would. Whatever choice one makes regarding having children is going to have a lot to do with the lifestyle they’ll have and options they’ll have. There are many mommy blogs about the life people have because they have children. In the same way, not having children has an impact on my life that I can write about.

The left side of Nyhavn. That red house is where Hans Christian Anderson used to live.

I went to Copehagen by myself. Pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened if I had a kid to pay for and take care of.  This is Nyhavn and the house is where Hans Christian Anderson used to live.

As blogger Julie put it in The Hiking Humanist, which is now defunct, though many posts from it can be found on Childfree Voices, “Childfree means more than simply not having children around. It means having a completely different lifestyle, and different options, because there are no children to consider.” I think that sums it up nicely. Many things I have had the opportunity to do as big as traveling on a whim and going to grad school or as little as sleeping in, all day, or at “odd” hours are possible because I have the time, funds, and/or flexibility I wouldn’t have with kids, so I think it’s relevant to mention.

To Represent

On her blog Childfreedom, Mandy wrote about representation of the childfree in media and closed with this statement: “If you are a childfree person who is happy and comfortable with your decision, do yourself and the generation behind you a favor. Don’t lie about your choice. Don’t downplay your decision…Stand proud and be honest about your decision for the bigger good. Be someone that others can look to and see that it’s great to be childfree by choice–that you are happy, fulfilled and even normal. Be visible and counted so others will not feel so odd and alone…”

This quote had a good deal to do with why I finally decided to step forward and devote a portion of my blog to talking about child freedom. I didn’t even know about the term “childfree” or even really think about not having children being a lifestyle choice until I started looking up things on choosing whether or not to have children to cement my decision. When I started posting articles on Facebook with a childfree perspective, I had people thank me for doing so, one because she hadn’t thought about finding other people like her until I had.  Being childfree is a valid choice, and a great choice for many of us. In a society that pressures people to procreate, it’s important for people to see that there are those of us who choose not to have kids, who are happy with that choice, and that we still have rich, rewarding lives, sometimes partially, and maybe even mostly, because of that choice.

I know it sometimes doesn’t even really occur to some people that they could make a different choice, and there are still places where culture and/or country very much restricts that choice. I am blessed to live in this time and be a citizen of a country that allows me to make a different decision and to be able to talk about it, and I think it’s important to share that perspective for those who might be looking for their options or looking for others like them. I think there is also a need for some of that representation to be with the written word.

A Need for Childfree Perspectives in Writing

Literature and blogs abound for parents and those who want to be. In comparison, little is available for those who deviate from that particular life script. In the book Childfree and Loving It, which I’ll post more on soon, Nicki DeFago says, “If you have or are about to have a baby, you’re extremely well catered for in the reading department. Amazon offers more than a thousand titles on the single subject of what children eat, but if you’re undecided about starting a family or resolutely childfree, you’ll go hungry (p. 5).”

When I found out that Marcia Drut Davis was getting told her book (which is great and also a book I’ll be posting about later) Confessions of a Childfree Woman: A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream wasn’t necessary, I decided to look up just how hungry for childfree literature we are in comparison to parents. Although I don’t remember what the exact numbers were at the time, I think they were close to what they were when I looked the other day at which point “childfree books” netted just 85 results while “parenting books” netted 99, 949. Although I don’t have a count on mommy blogs vs childfree blogs, I’ve seen countless mommy blogs and maybe a couple dozen childfree blogs. There is plenty of room for us to share our voices via writing in books and blogs, and I encourage you to share yours.

To bring more attention to the childfree-related literature that does exist, I will be continuing my series Spotlight on Childfree Books with info on childfree-related books I have read and some of my favorite quotes from them. At some point, I’ll also be doing Childfree Blog Round Ups with some of my favorite childfree blogs. If you’re childfree and haven’t blogged on the topic yet, I encourage you to do so in the Childfree Friday Link Party (above). If you liked this post, please check out my Childfree Corner for more posts on childfreedom, and subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss future posts. You may also enjoy my Cheerfully Childfree board on Pinterest. Thanks for reading and, if you choose to do so, participating in the first Childfree Friday Link Party. 

 

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