Complete Without Kids

Exploring all facets of childfree living.

Parenting: A Lot of Work and Not For All

Cameron Diaz speaks out about being childfree by choice Read More

How selfish are we the childfree?

We the childfree are so selfish that: all of us are taxed to subsidize the tax breaks and education for those with children, many of us cover for those with kids at work, and some of us work for them over "family" holidays. Yep, we're definitely the "selfish" ones here!

Selfish, or self-aware

If Cameron and those of us who choose to be child free are selfish, then what label applies to the people judging us for our personal life choices?

I think this version of "selfishness" should be encouraged, if only so potential parents can actually consider the reality of child rearing prior to pregnancy.

Some people just shouldn't have children, some just don't want to.

Selfishly considerate

I think she is not being selfish but she is actually being considerate to the possible baby.

Being a mother of 2 kids (1 yr old and 4 yrs old), it's definitely hard work (understatement) to take care of the baby/kids personal needs, your own along with demands of other roles. ( I used to work full time till 3 mths ago to dedicate more time to the kids' needs). Even though I have a maid who helps me with the household chores, it is still hardwork to take care of kids. But the difference is I wanted so much to be a mother and be a domestic goddess (the one to look after them, cook for them, clean house so that they can live in a clean beautiful house, tutor them, take them to school), in short, all the works that come along with it. It's like being given a big beautiful mansion by the beach, fully furnished, for free, only condition is you have to do all the cleaning every single day to maintain it. I think it's still worth having =)

For someone who is aware of such hardwork and decides not to have kids, I think she is being considerate to the possible kids since if she gets to have kids, she may not be able to be a good mother and may find kids to be burdensome which is not fair for the kids. If the kids could also choose their mothers, I'm sure she won't be their choice either.

Courageous?

Cameron Diaz is "courageous"?

Now, call me crazy, but I thought New York City firefighters were courageous. I thought paratroopers were courageous. I thought Martin Luther King was courageous. Those are people who put their lives on the line to help others.

What did Cameron Diaz do that was courageous? Did she risk her life? Did she risk going to prison? DId she risk her job?

No! She risked absolutely nothing. Her decision not to have kids will have absoluely no negative repercussions for her.

If that's courageous, I'd like to know who you consider a coward.

One more thing

Tell your friend "Sherri" she's a first class jerk.

Sherri's niece never judged Sherri for her decision not to have kids, but Sherri doesn't mind being judgmental and looking down on her niece. Sherri doesn't mind telling the entire world how horrible motherhood is for her niece, and how her niece is wasting her life with baby care when she could be pursuing her career.

You can be sure the niece will see Ellen's post. She will then recognize instantly who "Sherri" is, and she'll tell her dear old auntie, "Get the hell out of my life, and don't come back. How DARE you embarrass me in front of millions of strangers????"

Sherri's kind of "help" is the kind we're all better off without.

I quite enjoyed reading this

I quite enjoyed reading this article. I made an extreme commitment to not have children at the age of thirty-two. I rather appreciated hearing about other’s point of view on my decision, and the term “selfish” often came into the conversation. This is one opinion that always left me puzzled.
Simply because I don’t want to have children doesn’t make me selfish. It’s simply that children do not fall within my life plan.
To be selfish, you are primarily concerned with your own interests regardless of the interests of anyone else.
There isn’t any other person that should have an interest in my uterus so much that by my not bearing a child adversely affects them in any negative fashion. Also, there isn’t any other person that should have a negative impact by my making the decision to not raise a child.
I’m honest and upfront with boyfriends in regards to my decision so any unfavorable effects can either be prevented or lessened. I’m not a Saint, but I’m certainly not selfish.

Diaz’s decision is neither selfish or selfless. She is self-actualizing.

Selfish? She isn’t disregarding others for fulfil her own agenda. Selfless? She’s not making a sacrifice. Courageous is a very strong term, but I don’t disagree with it.

If Diaz were a man, would the same words be used to describe him?

There is nothing selfish

There is nothing selfish about not having kids. In fact, those decided to have kids w/o putting the need of their kids before themselves are selfish, and there are plenty of these people around. Even worse, there are plenty of incompetent parents who basically brought their kids to this world to suffer. Just because you had sex and gave them life, doesn't mean you deserve respect.

Will parents resent us?

"Childfree adults have historically been in the background, not saying much about how liberated we feel by not having the responsibility of parenting, but now that we’re starting to speak out openly, what will parents think? Will they resent us? Will potential grandparents try to stop their adult children from even considering a childfree life?"

Will parents resent you? How important do you think your opinions are? Now you're starting to speak out openly...? How can you even have an opinion on both sides of the subject, since your personal experience is limited to your own life choice?

You must have heard that childbirth can be not only extremely painful, but also dangerous. Women die, even in first world countries with excellent health care. That hasn't stopped the majority of people going ahead and having children. How could your openly self satisfied and self-justifying opinion that it's too much work cause resentment?

I observed that studying medicine was expensive and arduous, and that on entering the workforce most doctors spent their working lives treating colds and lifestyle related conditions, so I decided to pursue another career. Should I expect doctors to resent me?

Cameron Diaz has made a thoughtful decision and expressed it succinctly. “It’s so much more work to have children. To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for — I didn’t take that on.” She's thoughtful, not courageous. I acknowledge her choice.

For what it's worth, I absolutely and totally agree with Ms Diaz and you that having children involves more work and greater commitment than most people expect or are prepared to make, but the only people who can speak on this subject with any authority are parents. The only opinion anyone else can provide is that they are having a good time without children. That's probably why historically childfree adults have not been recorded. What are they going to say? "I'm liberated but you have responsibilities!"
Very impressive.

I don't have an opinion on anyone's choice. I write to question the idea that anyone else's opinion of your choice matters, and equally, your opinion of their choice.

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Ellen Walker, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the author of Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living By Choice Or By Chance.

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